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November 2009
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2009, Nov 29
Some sustained thought on Edward Burtynsky

Take a look at this image. It’s from Edward Burtynsky’s latest series, “Oil.” You may have heard of Burtynsky from his work on Chinese factories and the film, Manufactured Landscapes, which documents the process of making that work.

Looking at photos online, there’s a tendency to scroll past if it doesn’t grab you right away. I might have done the same with this image if it weren’t for some really insightful commentary on the Modern Art Notes blog. It’s a good read, and if you’re interested there are three other equally insightful pieces about Burtynsky on the blog.


							

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2009, Nov 25
A post on Asada Masashi

 

I wrote a post about Asada Masashi for Japan Exposures. This really might have been the best exhibit I’ve seen here so far, how many photo shows have everyone in the room cracking up?


							

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Ihee Kimura Award, Masashi Asada

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2009, Nov 24
Truly gross

This reminds me of my former co workers at Large Internet Company, fiending after the latest Canon/Nikon gear


							

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2009, Nov 23
Strange.rs are coming…

This is a trailer for a new photography site I’m getting involved with, strange.rs. I’m pretty impressed we actually found a decent name—we’re all a bit scattered around the globe and haven’t met in person, so it fits.


							

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2009, Nov 20
Tarkovsky on images and the unconscious

Some quotes from Andrei Tarkovsky, from a book of his Polaroids that a friend lent me. I wouldn’t choose to use this language but I’m interested in the thought he’s expressing.

 

“An image is an impression of the Truth, which God has allowed us to glimpse with our sightless eyes.”

 

“How does a project mature? It is obviously a most mysterious, almost imperceptible process. It carries on independently of ourselves, in the subconscious, crystallizing on the walls of the soul. It is the form of the soul that makes it unique, indeed only the soul decides the hidden ‘gestation period’ of that image which cannot be perceived by the conscious gaze.”

I just got back XX rolls of film from the summer, looked at them all at once, and now I’ll probably leave them alone for a little while. This Garry Winogrand video is relevant here, look for the part about 3/4 of the way through where he talks about his editing process.


							

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Quotes

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2009, Nov 16
Sung Jin Park “Kid Nostalgia”

I like these photos of “rebellious yet fragile” Korean teenagers by Sung Jin Park. They remind me of some of the students that I see here in Tokyo. There is much more to see at his site. I found these photos at a pretty amazing blog called Jia Za Zhi, or “Fake Magazine” in Chinese, which definitely deserves a look.


							

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2009, Nov 10
Japanese photography and obsession

In the end it’s all about the full term obsession. It’s something I’ve seen in Japanese photography quite a lot. A photographer is so obsessed with a topic or series, that it just comes through the pages. You might not like the photographs at all, but there is this eerie amount of time that somebody has spent into putting the big picture together and fill it with cryptic statements here and there. It’s like a short term project is something good to look at, while a long term one is something good to think about. It’s permeated with intention and choices. You just know that a photograph is not there because there wasn’t a better one; it’s there because it is the photograph that the author wanted to be there.

From a conversation with Joni Karanka on LPV.

This seems fairly accurate to me. I wonder what other impressions of Japanese photography are out there among people outside of Japan. I don’t even know which Japanese photographers are widely known besides Moriyama, Araki and maybe Hosoe Eikoh. Does Rinko Kawauchi ring any bells? She has a show up in New York right now.


							

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2009, Nov 05
Non photographic technique

That Michael Jang video is staying with me. I like that what he’s saying is so basic. It has nothing to do with photographic technique; there’s no talk of composition or exposure, much less what kind of camera you use. It’s just, get yourself in the right position and the rest will follow. That is some solid advice.

I’d like to speak about the camera for a second though. I think once you get to the spot where you need to be, the camera’s only job is to get out of your way. The camera you use is important, of course, but only to the extent that you are able or unable to develop a relationship with it, so it becomes an extension of yourself.

Of course this doesn’t mean “shoot with a compact camera,” Stephen Shore is just one example of someone who developed a relationship with an unwieldy camera.

Incidentally I would say Peter Funch is someone who has developed a relationship with a piece of software. I mean this in an objective and uncritical way. That said… in my personal life I would rather be outside than inside. Just sayin!


							

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2009, Nov 04
“So, I think what we’re talking about is… access.”

A. Mart left a comment with a link to this video of Michael Jang, watch it and feel inspired.


							

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Michael Jang

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2009, Nov 02
Something for street photographers

“In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.”

-Pasteur, as quoted and translated by a commenter on the Michael Jang interview

Or, as we might say in Amurrica, “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”


							

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