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August 19, 2004

Juke Joints, and Metaphoric Street Portraits and Self Portraits


Quick hits, with many that come courtesy of others:

* Forgot to mention before I left for vacation that there's a new issue of blueeyes magazine...this issue features Brian Ulrich (who I've recommended before) and Tim Carpenter's photoessay There There, which features industrial landscapes from Illinois and New York. Tim's eye for the curious color and emptiness of such landscapes is very nice...if you like it, there's more to be had on his website, Untitled and Unsung.

While you're at it, make sure you check out blueeyes editor John Loomis' portfolio -- lots of good stuff, with the same attention to simple intuitive navigation, high quality online presentation, and color and detail that he puts into blueeyes. I especially liked the portraits, the personal folder, and the photoessay "Life After Grammie".

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Barfly #2, John Loomis image

* Black and white street portraits and other interesting pictures of people from Dick Sanders. (seen at Gordon Coale)

* Metaphoric black and white self portraits from Cuban photographer Cirenaica Moreira. A little more about Moreira here. (courtesy of Jeff Spirer)

* Wonderful portraits of musicians and other aspects of New Orleans life from New Orleans professional photographer Lee Crum...in particular, check out Easy Street and A Final Note (seen at defocused)

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Lee Crum image, from "Easy Street"

* Crum's portraits evoke the mood of one of my favorite photo book pickups this summer, Birney Imes' Juke Joint, a reissue of a cult favorite from the early 1990s. Imes uses a 4x5 and color negative film to get exacting detail and delicious color and atmosphere from the ramschackle interiors of many of the clubs of the Deep South. Some of the web images look quite nice, and should be checked out here, but the book images are especially great at bringing the viewer to a different place...this despite the fact that there's no lack of atmospheric decay in photographs out there (as anyone who's checked out this blog or others clearly knows).

There's a nice article about Imes here, a review of an Imes exhibition here, and a Juke Joint book review here.

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Here's Richard Ford from the book's introduction to say it better than I could:

"Something feels hidden in these brightly-wondrous photos, but nothing is. Ghosts whose presence we can explain make us feel some important secret lies in reality, and that if we would only look longer and more judiciously we would find out more about it. But when is that ever not so? Nothing tells us we've been mistaken about the world here; the familiar is simply braced by a fabric-feeling of the new. And conceivably we look with urgent interest because we sense we might just as easily be indifferent. And by that appeal -- an appeal familiar enough to any art -- excellence and value are given an occasion.

Birney Imes has noted that many of these buildings are gone now, moved out by time or by someone's timely idea, so that his photographs have become their only records. One day -- in not so long a time, maybe -- they may all seem to us as they seemed to Imes' friend, as unearthly things, as pure gestures of the photographer's imagination."

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"Purple Rain Lounge" Birney Imes image

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Comments

is John Loomis any relation to NPPA Photojournalist of the Year and LA Times photographer Rick Loomis? Just wondered. I met Rick a while ago in Afghanistan and now I can't get ahold of that bastard.

Posted by: Mike at Aug 22, 2004 4:24:08 PM