May 2009
2009, May 20
About Conscientious

It’s like they had the wrong job, they didn’t understand what they were looking at. And their job WAS to understand it.

William Eggleston on the reception of his 1976 MOMA exhibition

Perhaps critics should make an effort to cultivate the habits of a poor collector. The collector already knows what they are looking for, and then works to narrow things down—“I am now one closer!” The critic opens things up, by showing how they could belong to the broad collections called “culture,” “tradition” or maybe even “history.” The thrill of the critic, if one can call it that, comes first from understanding a work, and then from elevating it to its rightful position. Seeing with the eyes of the lackadaisical collector may lead to more surprising results for criticism.

The works that a critic praises may have an external order, but this is only a mask. Unlike a collection, the real order behind these works is always hidden. As the critic moves closer to the collector, though, his or her work moves closer to cataloging. This is a useful activity for historians, but when asked to double as criticism it appears uncurious, if not dogmatic.

The internet can only exaggerate this tendency. Where “authority” is qualified and published by third parties, the critic must construct his or her own platform, or podium. This can be done in many ways. The critic who wills collection may construct a high podium, to keep a narrow gaze fixed in the distance without the distraction of seeing or hearing an audience.


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2009, May 19
A trip to Fujiya Camera’s junk store

Fujiya Camera sits tucked away behind Nakano station in a nest of pachinko parlors. Across the street from the main store–which has a good selection of Konica/Ricoh/Contax point and shoots upstairs–lies the junk store. Here’s a look inside.

Update: link to a map of Fujiya Camera

There are always two or three bins full of (mostly working) point and shoot cameras on the floor. The cameras sell for either 105 or 315 yen. That means $1-3.


I rescued this little guy for 105yen

On the wall there are old SLRs, lenses and sometimes the odd Kyocera Samurai. Underneath is random medium format stuff

Mamiya C330 for about $75, there was a 105mm lens next to it for about $40

Lots of flashes. I bought two battery powered numbers for 315yen each

A pretty good selection of photo magazines


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2009, May 15
you call this photography?

“When the photographer is freed from photography, photography is also freed from ‘realism.’”

Enough Twitter regurgitation!

Consider the question “is this photography?” or the declaration “that’s not photography.” The thought behind these statements is binary, maybe even dogmatic. The quote at the top of this post is pointing towards a more open way of looking (so to speak) at photography.

I plan to write more about this quote, but I want to put it in your head first.

Full article by Sara L. Marion at AMERICANSUBURBX; found by lpvgallery


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2009, May 14
“I don’t understand what your problem is really”

Lately I am thinking about online criticism, online critics.

“Contemporary Portraiture” – for the most part a derogatory phrase as it alludes to a stagnant and dying aesthetic… vs a time period [link]

@americansuburbx “contemporary portraiture” alludes to a changed perception of what photographic portraiture can do – no more, no less [link]

@jmcolberg – I understand but disagree. I see it as an unfortunate “aesthetic” that wraps itself like a blanket around the intent of many. [link]

@americansuburbx I don’t understand what your problem is really. “Intent” is something you cannot know if you only have a photo. [link]

@americansuburbx Also, you cannot ignore what we know now about photography – its loss of being a real document. [link]


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2009, May 06
A few recent things from Twitter

  • For people in Tokyo, there’s a good-looking exhibit up now at the Setagaya Art Museum. It’s called “Japan: Self Portrait” and it is a survey of postwar black and white photography. Some big names are involved. (via eyecurious)

  • A theoretical essay on the tradition of photography at AMERICANSUBURBX. It’s sometimes very “soupy” but check out paragraphs 2, 5 and the next-to-last one if you are too rushed. There’s one very good sentence which I want to write more about later. (via lpvgallery)

  • When someone with a coldly intelligent blog persona uses Twitter for a rampant complaint session, it’s a little bit sad… and a little bit funny. (via jmcolberg)

  • Zizek is on Twitter. He’s pumping out a few decent aphorisms, but you’ll have to imagine his spittle and wild-eyed looks as he mashes the keyboard yourself.


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2009, May 02
A trip to the Yodobashi Camera film store

Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku is split up into a bunch of different sub-stores, i.e. camera/darkroom stuff, phone/fax, audio/video/mobile. Here are pictures from the film store.

Update: link to a map of Yodobashi Camera

this is the spot for the cheap film, Centuria (in blue) is a good deal

all Portra all the time

Kodak Ilford and other random brands

digital print stations, these are common in train stations too





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