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May 13, 2004

Another Fine PhotoArt-Photocommentary Blog, Photographer Audio Interviews, and Appreciating Emerging Photographers

Some notes and links as I continue the frantic process of preparing prints and attending to other business:

* I've run into Kevin Bjorke in a surprising number of ways online since I started getting into photography seriously...when I had a Canon G1 digital camera (one of my first cameras) a few years ago, Kevin was dispensing sage advice about flashes and the camera on dpreview...then when I "evolved" and acquired a Contax G2 film camera, Kevin was lurking around the ContaxG site with his contributions and comments. Now that I've been blogging, I discover that he's been exploring a number of the same concerns I've had about photography on the web, and photography in general. Kevin has his own photoblog and forum for occasional very knowledgeable opinions and comments, PhotoRant. Highly recommended, and we've even had overlapping tastes and discoveries, like Modern Painters magazine and Mike Johnston's columns for Photo.net.

* One of the things I've been meaning to mention here that Kevin also recommended a while back is an archive of radio interviews with photographers and other media figures on New Jersey station WFMU's program, the Speakeasy. You'll find hour long interviews with a lot of established photographers and artists like Eugene Richards, Susan Meiselas, Phil Stern, Chuck Close and Philip Lorca di Corcia (and many many more), and it's generally entertaining and educational listening. I've only listened to the di Corcia and Meiselas interviews so far, but I picked up on the same classic line from di Corcia that Kevin did regarding Cindy Sherman: "Fruit files have evolved more than Cindy Sherman has" (which my Cindy-hating friend and studio-mate Andrew will be pleased to hear). This is a great archive of interviews that includes many other interesting personalities beyond photographers, so definitely check it out.

* Kevin mentions in his latest Photorant how this blog (and others like it) acts as a sort of filter for the multitude of great or at least interesting photography out there. The only qualification I would make to his comments is that I mention many different types of photographers on this site, and generally don't intend for the blog to serve as any sort of attempt to establish a "canon" or reference point for Great Photographers. On the contrary (and I think regular visitors have picked this up), I will at times mention artists who may have only a few good pictures, or maybe one good idea among several they're exploring, because I think it's worthwhile to see people in the process of exploring their ideas, even if they don't always work...when you juxtapose these sorts of explorations (ill-conceived as they may sometimes be) against others who may be more successful (or even against similar things you as a photographer may have thought about or wanted to try) it makes for a more expansive way of thinking about the whole process and art form of photography.

As Kevin pointed out in one of his Photorants, many aspiring photographers tend to make the mistake of emulating the polish of professional stock and editorial photography, which stifles any personal expression on their part as a result. This is why I find it refreshing to be exposed to work from students at the school where I take classes currently, even though the student work can suffer from its own indulgences, like meandering self-expression and solipsism...at least it comes from a more place that's more personal than say, flower macros or babies/pets shot with two lights in a studio Sears-style. I like to look at student and (relatively) unknown artist work in that vein when I'm viewing work online, not just the big names or the commercial or art gallery up-and-comers, because it helps me see and think about the creative process, even it it doesn't always make me applaud or gasp in awe.

* OK, to end this latest ramble, I'll pick up on that theme of 'emerging artists" or "student-styled personal work" and point to a site that recommends such stuff, Paper Brigade.com. Through them, I've made the following modest and engaging discoveries: Sara Padgett's whimisical explorations of color and place, Amy Shutt's crytpic, snapshot style photographs of friends (?), lovers (?) and self (??) in low light, which are engaging in a voyeuristic way and use color and low light interestingly, and Helena Kvarstromm's My Red Self, slightly more indulgent and maddening random snapshots of a life.


Amy Shutt image


Sara Padgett image

No grand artistic statements, rather random organizing principles for the work in some cases, but with some exceptions, the best work is personal in a way that I like a lot. I especially like Amy Shutt's stuff, but your mileage, of course, will vary.

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There's a typo in the link to Amy Shutt's site. http://www.amyshutt.com will work.

Posted by: Joerg at May 13, 2004 5:21:38 PM

Love that Sara P image- and couldn't agree more about Cindy!

Posted by: Stan Banos at May 16, 2004 8:22:13 PM

The radio page is a great resource!

Posted by: James Lomax at May 28, 2005 5:51:24 AM