Inspiration + Influence: Grete Stern

Grete Stern
Grete Stern

During my recent trip to NYC I caught a gallery showing of German photomontage artist Grete Stern at the Museum of Modern Art.  Stern fled the Nazis to Argentina in 1935, and produced a stunning series of images that are impressive for their creative weirdness as well as technical precision in the pre-computer, pre-xerox machine days.

Grete Stern
Grete Stern

The sense I get from Stern’s ideas is what I really want out of “assemblage” kind of art- a concept, completeness to the piece, and out-and-out craft and composition.  As many modern collage artists show up on my Tumblr feed, few can pull those elements as tightly together as Stern did.

Grete Stern
Grete Stern

If you enjoy any of this work I encourage you to like it and share it!  For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.

Alaska Panoramics

Alaska July 2015 (80 of 435)-Pano

As I’ve been able to travel to more interesting locations in the last year, I’m getting a wider variety of panoramic images worth printing.  These were shot along the Seward Highway outside of Anchorage with my Fuji X-T1, not using the panoramic but as multiple images stitched together using Lightroom CC’s Panoramic feature.Alaska July 2015 (137 of 435)-Pano

It was a completely overcast, sometimes rainy day, but getting the DNG file from Lightroom’s merging means I can actually pull some detail out of these “blah” areas.  And since they were shot as individual vertical images, the final pano is closer to a standard aspect ratio- easier to frame and display.

Alaska July 2015 (350 of 435)-Pano

New Music Video: Je Suis Crabbi “Bend Over Boris”

I did this video for Graham Crabb, the singer of Pop Will Eat Itself who has a fun electronic side project Je Suis Crabbi.  JSC is an outlet for the less serious targets of Graham’s ire- note track titles “Bonophobic”,”Uptalk” and “Big Mouth Wanker”- in this case, London mayor Boris Johnson.  I learned a lot about ridiculous British politics doing this video.

Je Suis Crabbi EP available exclusively at crabbi.net/ep1 and if you enjoy any of this work I encourage you to like it and share it!  For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.

New Video Art: “La Furia”

“La Furia” was filmed in March 2015 and for a number of reasons I didn’t complete it in its current “faux movie trailer” until July 2015- a really unusual length of time for me.  So far, my approach to these video art pieces is film it, edit it, as quickly as possible; as I alluded to, one thing after another kept this one cooking rather slowly.
The video itself is an extension of my “Scream Queens” series of images, which are cheeky commentary on women in cinema.  Many of those images are stuck in the 50s-60s films of America, and I wanted to do something more contemporary and violent.  The model, Janette Adriana, is a gun enthusiast who was well suited for the concept.  Who knows, if there’s a multitude of fans clamoring for a full film, maybe it’ll become a real thing!  As it stands, the trailer is meant as a “commentary” of sorts in the grand artistic tradition of making fake parodies, and not as an indicator of something real.
If you enjoy any of this work I encourage you to like it and share it!  For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.

Creativity, Budgets and Speed

My strategy of choice when making new work is to gather materials and burn through as quickly as possible to get the piece done.  That includes photo shoots, video art pieces, sculptures, music tracks, you name it.  Experience has taught me that everything you create is as much a run-through for the next, better thing as it is a uniquely crafted piece unto itself.

Keeping a fast pace on the creativity also keeps it fresh.  I’ve had some recent experiences where I gathered the materials- in this case, shot video- then had some delays and hiccups, and before you know it, two months had passed and I hadn’t finished the piece.  Today I scrapped two months of on-and-off again editing to start fresh, and the “few-hours-old” video edit is coming together nicely.  It’ll probably get finished this weekend.

I bring this up because Time and Money are the main obstacles artists present as reasons why things don’t get done, stay dreams. A recent Telegraph article investigated why the creators of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow didn’t make any other movies.  Basically, an inflated budget imposed by the studio also inflated expectations of how their film would perform, and they ended up being on the hook when it didn’t recover the budget.

The demo trailer that the creators, Kerry and Kevin Conran, put together took them 6 years.  They got a shot at a film with a screwy budget and that was the end.

In 2015, it wouldn’t take 6 years to assemble a neat demo trailer for something along the lines of Sky Captain- perhaps a few months or even a few hard weeks.  FX work can be outsourced to cheaper countries or freelancers, and once the studio apparatus has been built- a studio with green screens, computers with the right software, costumes kept, cameras and lenses bought- the work is easier and faster.

This is a case where people had a lot of time and a lot of money (and I do love Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) but it wasn’t sustainable.  We can’t expect to sculpt a masterpiece or two and expect the world to sustain our career based on that.  Especially if that masterpiece isn’t a “hit.”  We should be prolific and quick- producing a lot, quickly, and advancing our skills as much as we can as fast as we can.  Challenging ourselves to make the next thing better than the last.  That is how careers are made.

Which brings us to why I have Red Letter Media’s “Space Cop” trailer attached to this blog entry.  The RLM guys have made a few movies that are easily defined as entertaining schlock- and they are authorities on the process, as their youtube channel is chockfull of b-movie reviews and examples of DIY fx work.  The key word is “entertaining.”  I can guarantee I’ll find “Space Cop” more entertaining than Avengers: Age of Ultron, or any other star-studded, inflated budget-ed mainstream film.  The creativity of RLM outpaces the constraints of budget and time, and creativity is an unlimited resource.

 

One Day In Alaska

Alaska July 2015 (307 of 435)I installed a photo show in Chicago on July 3rd but found it difficult to return to Phoenix on the holiday weekend using my wife’s nifty airline standby trick, so my son and I ended up spending a single day of adventure in Alaska.  If you plan on driving you basically have one stretch of highway that runs north of Anchorage to Denali National Park, and one stretch that runs south to Seward.  We took the Seward route, and came to one of the most magical locations I’ve ever been – Exit Glacier.

Alaska July 2015 (327 of 435)

We were pretty beat up by the redeye flight, but the air was so clean that one doesn’t get the sweaty, scummy feel one gets by having to maneuver around subways and skyscrapers.  Patrick especially had a great impression of Alaska, maybe because he got toys in Anchorage.  If you enjoy any of this work I encourage you to like it and share it! For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.

If you enjoy any of this work I encourage you to like it and share it!  For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.

Five Muses

I made this video with the 5 amazing models I photographed in Brooklyn in May of this year- Cacia Zoo, Glass Olive, Sierra Mckenzie, Kacie Marie and Victoria Elle. It’s a combination of behind-the-scenes footage and intentionally artsy stuff, shot on both my Fuji X-T1 and GoPro Hero 4 Black and scored with my ambient guitar noodling.

If you enjoy any of this work I encourage you to like it and share it!  For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.