Friday, November 28, 2008

Some Influences

Garry Winogrand

Jackson Pollock

Pablo Picasso

Nicolas Poussin

Here are some obvious influences on my recent pictures of people. Winogrand, Pollock, Picasso and Poussin are more or less formal influences. I've used the way they distribute the figure (or gestures in Pollock's case) kind of evenly over the composition.

Influences on how I think about my work are much more all over the map. But some obvious names that bubble up: Harry Callahan, Walker Evans, P.-L. DiCorcia, Ed Rusha, and the Bechers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Here's my daughter's friend Nate. I was taking pictures of something else when he said I should photograph him. It was dusk. He launched into this crazy five-minute dance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cold Day

This picture is done from the entryway to my apartment. It was too cold to stand outside for the necessary several hours picture-taking for this composite. I cleaned and cleaned the storm door window so it wouldn't affect things too much. I think it added a pleasant flatness and slightly magnified the overcast feel of the day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Choosing Titles

I've been thinking about the titling of my series of people pictures. I have been calling them Color People after a line from an Animal Collective song, De Soto de Son: "Color people say oh no, cause they think it’s contagious/Marshmallow people say oh yeah, 'cause they think it's a masterpiece." I think it fits perfectly, but it's a little obscure. It seems to allude to race, without really doing so, which I kind of like, but I doubt other people will be drawn to it for this reason.

So I've been leaning toward "Selected People." It's descriptive, it's plain, it proabably helps the viewer figure out what's going on a little.

My final choice is a little more poetic: "Many Are Chosen." This, of course, alludes to Walker Evans's series "Many Are Called," his series of grave and sad subway portraits. (It comes from the Bible itself: "Many are called, but few are chosen.") These pictures are a serious influence on my work. As are PL di Corcia's Heads and Harry Callahan's downtown Chicago candid street portraits. I'd like to put myself in a line with them, naturally. Who wouldn't?

I like "Many Are Chosen" because, in my book, all are welcome, all are equal, and nobody's going to heaven anyway. But I like "Selected People" for it's simplicity. I like "Color People" because, to me, anyway, it's funny and it explains my work a little.

So, for now, it's "Selected People."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vapid? What the Hey.

I'm on record as hating (1) nature pictures and (2) nature itself. So why did I take these pretty nature pictures? You could call them "impressionist" just to bug me. But I guess, like anyone else, I'm susceptible to pretty things. Also, I haven't had any serious (read laborious) projects to work on, so sometimes I just walk around like a dope and take pictures. Just like when I was a teenager. I've been trying to think of a defense of beauty for twenty years, and I really don't have one.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Non-Whites and Whites

I selected all the non-white people (top picture) from 186 exposures over about 45 minutes. The scene is the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The bottom picture collects all the white people from the same session. A lot of times when I walk around, I think about what different people might notice and what they might remember of the day when they're drifting off to sleep. A botanist's store of images would be pretty different from that of a horny teenager's, for example. So for this pair of pictures, of course, I was thinking about race. The world, thought of in this way, is a bunch of overlapping places.