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Posts Tagged ‘Portraits’

So the good news is that that image above from my Dead Indian Pass series received an honorable mention at the International Photo Awards (the Lucies), but the bad news is that nobody mentioned it to me. I had to find that out all by my poor pitiful self. The same thing happened already last year. My Giddy Up series placed second and I was definitely told about that. I even received an official certificate that I could frame or fold up and keep in my wallet in case I’d ever run into an art director. So last year I was checking out the winners’ gallery and, still basking in my own glory (even though my old coach said placing second only makes you the first loser), moved on to the honorable mentions gallery just to stumble upon The Sultans there.

I didn’t make much of it. I figured it was an honest mistake or maybe they didn’t think I could handle two successes at the same contest without my head swelling up to a grotesque size and exploding and soiling that nicely framed certificate on my wall.

But this year they did it again, not mentioning my honorable mention that is, and now I think they might be doing it on purpose.

I know, it’s not exactly earth shattering news (to be the 7th loser in the 32nd category) and they would have to send out a lot of emails (my picture is about # 1487 from the top) but still, every little bit counts and that’s why we enter contests:  To brag about winning (or being mentioned, honorably at that), to go to an editor or art buyer and proudly proclaim: I’m not just something the cat dragged in, no sir, I’m an award winner, you can trust me with your multi-dollar shoot.

For every photo contest already out there, there are 3 new ones springing up, blunting the effect of all of them.  Generally they charge quite a bit of money and it’s becoming very questionable if entering (and winning in some fashion) any of these is actually worth it, but what’s not questionable to me is this:  If you decide to have honorable mentions in your contest than you should put in the effort to let the mentionees know.  You’re welcome, don’t mention it.

You can check out the winners and honorable mentions here.

 

 

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While putzing around on the Internet (which seems to be my day job) and keeping a semi-interested eye on this year’s Tour de France, I came across some old images of Eddy Merckx. Like many of you will know, Eddy Merckx isn’t just the owner of the coolest name ever, he was also the most dominant bicyclist of his generation. So dominant was he that his nickname was “The Cannibal”.

He also had a way of looking larger than life in pictures. His suffering was of religious proportions…

…his crying on the bed put every teenager to shame…

…and when he got his white socks dirty he didn’t stop at light grey.

I also think that the old guard knew the limits of effective advertising…

…while this picture above makes me want to write with a Bic pen, drive a Peugeot on Michelin tires to a BP station and drink an ice-cold Salvarani (or whatever that is), this picture of the poor (modern day) Schleck brothers only gives me a headache.

There are 28 logos between them just above the belly buttons. Imagine the horror if they were triplets! I mean, is anybody buying a Skoda because it’s the seventh company from Andy Schleck’s left nipple? I don’t think so either.

In any case let’s finish the post with a great picture by Stephan Vanfleteren of the older Merckx and let’s all have a Molteni in his honor.

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During a short and sweet road trip with the missus through Wyoming last year I noticed that there were a lot of bikers out and about and after a while it dawned on me that they were on their way to the big yearly meet-up in Sturgis, South Dakota. Most of them have been on their bikes for days and you could see in their faces the effects of the wind and the sun. It seemed like we could do a nice little portrait series.

The first day we wanted to do the shoot was too rainy and we decided to use the time for a thorough location scout. We drove out of Cody and took the Chief Joseph Byway to the Beartooth Highway, which took us all the way up into Montana. One road was more spectacular than the next. We decided to set up shop the next morning at a place called Dead Indian Pass.
The spot overlooked a beautiful valley where Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce faked out a pursuing US Army on their (painfully close but unsuccessful) run towards the Canadian border.

We set up lights at a pull-out and asked the bikers that stopped there if they wanted to sit for a portrait. I think we got a nice collection of Amurrrican (and a few Canadian) archetypes.

To check out the entire series, click here.

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The passing of Lucian Freud last week startled me out of my 6 week long blog nap. When I first saw Freud’s work at the Met’s retrospective in 1994 I was blown away, and I’ve stayed blown away ever since. His portraits and depictions of the human body are just unbelievably brilliant and inspiring. Here are some of his master pieces and some good words of wisdom for the common portraitist.

“I think of truthfulness as revealing and intrusive, rather than rhyming and soothing.”

“You are very conscious of the air going round people in different ways, to do with their particular vitality.”

“I’m really interested in people as animals. Part of liking to work from the naked is for that reason.”

“I work from the people that interest me and that I care about, in rooms that I live in and know.”

“Art has always to do with sensuality and selfishness.”

By the way, the first image of this post, the back view of Freud’s frequent model Leigh Bowery can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum and is well worth a visit.

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It was a typical midwinter spring day in Minneapolis, the real-life snow globe on the Mississippi, and I was in the middle of preparing for my Upstream show at Intermedia Arts ( which I possibly might have mentioned here, here, here, and here), when I got a semi-mysterious email from a fellow photographer named Ryan Herz. He complimented me on my Upstream images and sent me a link to a series of portraits that he shot at a mental institution in the mid seventies. The email was short, to the point and all caps.

The images were quite a revelation. They reminded me of images that made me want to become a photographer in the first place. I wrote him back and asked if I he could tell me more about himself and the images and here is what he wrote:

RYAN HERZ

I ATTENDED ART CENTER AND THE SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE. I HAVE HAD EXHIBITS BOTH LOCALLY AND IN SAN FRANCISCO, NEW ORLEANS AND NEW YORK. I WAS PART OF THE “OCEAN VIEW”
EXHIBITION WHICH WAS CURATED BY KEVIN JON BOYLE AND SHOWN AT THE CALIFORNIA MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAHY,
THE LAGUNA ART MUSEUM, AND THE WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM. IN ADDITION TO MY GENERAL WORK, I HAVE COMPLETED THE ESSAYS “ROUTE 5”, “WOMEN ON DISPLAY”, “EDGEWOOD” AND
“DESERT CHRIST PARK”. I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON RELIGIOUS ICONOGRAPHY IN YUCCA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA. FOR ME IT’S ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT BEING OPEN TO WHEN MOMENTS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW CAN TRANSCEND.


THE CHILDREN AT EDGEWOOD

In late summer through early fall of 1976, I had the privilege of being allowed to photograph at
Edgewood. The State was requiring I.D. photos for all the residents. The local school photographers would not take the job, I volunteered. Edgewood’s staff did wonderful work. The residents were very well cared for. There was love and happiness in unexpected supply.

The title and much of the inspiration for this work came from discussions with those who take care of these people, both before, during and since the photographs were taken. They are children, no matter what their age might be, their feelings right on the surface without façade.

The portraits were completed in three or four sessions. I had just a few minutes with each person.
This both forced me and freed me to be instinctual rather than manipulative. Always an improvement.
That, coupled with the intense humanity and the unfiltered emotions of the developmentally disabled,
gives the photographs their power.

RYAN HERZ


He also included a few 35 mm images that are more journalistic.




I’m not sure if Ryan Herz has a website but you can see more of his Edgewood series here.

Update: The book “Children of Edgewood” is available on Blurb.

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From the Shameless-Self-Promotion-Dept.: American Photography put up a slide show with all the winners of the 27th edition of their contest. I’m stoked (that’s what we cool people say instead of excited) to have 4 of my Upstream images in there. Watching the slide show is well worth it, there is a ton of great photography from fine shooters working in all the different corners of our field.

Towering above it all, though, is the crown jewel, the Shangri-La, the El Dorado, the creme de la creme of 2010 image making: Jeff Koons’ interpretation of gayness in the animal kingdom:

So hop on over, daahling and enjoy the show.

http://www.ai-ap.com/slideshow/AP/27/
PS: Brace yourself! It starts with a set of images that are a bit tougher than gay bunnies.

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There is a new gallery called “At the Races” on my website.  I spent a day at a messenger track race in Kissena, Queens which has a velodrome (what doesn’t New York have?).  The images were taken last year on the glorious, glorious day when Germany whooped Argentina 4:0 at the World Cup which might explain why it took me so long to post them (I’ve just stopped celebrating).  In any case there will be a longer post about the nuts and bolts of the shoot soon.

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