Maryjane / Bar Fashion

These images were “round 2” with Portland model Maryjane McLain, which is to say, the second time I got to work with her in the last 6 months or so.  We had access to a dive-y bar which all kinds of psycho stuff written on the walls, and it was a complete blast to shoot amongst the bar patrons and in the creepy, ratty basement.  I have been a recent admirer of the South African rave-rap group Die Antwoord who have a similar rat-like vibe thanks to their frequent collaborations with photographer Roger Ballen; it’s not quite the same as shooting with a stylish Maryjane but you can see where some of the influence comes from.

Photolucida Portfolio Review in Portland Pt. 2

Some of the cards I collected at Photolucida.
Some of the cards I collected at Photolucida.
This blog is a continuation of my Photolucida Portfolio Review trip.  For part one, please visit here!
The feedback to that amalgamation depened on the reviewer’s background;  book and gallery people felt that, despite being all portraits of single models, they were all from separate series that should be all the “one” style (which they are on my website), whereas the photo critics or magazine types seemed to more easily digest the approach.  I don’t make it easy on myself since I use multiple types of image capture, varying alternative processes and feel weird about talking about the work.
Rather than go into every reviewer’s commentary, I’ll briefly mentioned a few bits of feedback.
Brooks Jensen, publisher of Lenswork and one of my favorite podcasters, let me know “Sketches” as a series title is as ineffective as “C-41” would be of a color film body of work because it’s too descriptive of the process and not the content of the work.  I made a mental note to alter the series on my site titled “Instax”.  As Brooks has a perspective of presenting work in a unique fashion, we discussed formatting it as a genuinely 1940s lost magazine with text.  I mentioned collaborating with a writer, and he proposed as an alternative I “rise to the occasion”.  Further commentary was that he had seen that process before, but never as good as I had done it- the kind of compliment I’m going to take to my grave.  I promised to send him the completed project.
Amy Wolff, a photo editor at PDN, started our conversation with “can I say, it’s a pleasure to be surprised at a review” after seeing my first few images, had a lot of engaging questions about the freelance model process.
Julie Grahame, who runs the Accurator website, was pretty critical of my portfolio box size and print sleeves (which got ditched immediately).  After a pretty serious 15 minutes she sorted me out how presentation should go at an event like this, which is what I needed to hear, then was highly complimentary of the images themselves.
Myles Haslehorst of Ampersand Gallery pointed me in the direction of a San Francisco gallery that has an anti-art, street, “Juxtapoz” type aesthetic which is where I think my work truly belongs.  He chose the bodypainted work I did with my friends Jamie Graden and Lacheln as his favorites, and suggested working with a printmaking artist which I happen to have done recently.
I had interest from galleries in Philedelphia and NYC about showing work, and a photoblog of a magazine with huge readership amongst photographers, none of which I want to jinx so I’ll just leave it at that.
One reviewer, Blue Mitchell of 112 Publishing, actually bought a “Sketches” print off of me during the review which I found immensely gratifying.
There’s certainly more to the review experience than I mentioned here, but it’s a taste of how these things can build you up- and in some cases, tear you down, often deservedly.  Out of around 20 reviewers, it’s fascinating to see the conflicting perceptions of one’s work, but that’s the pleasure of being able to choose one’s informed critics.  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.

Photolucida Portfolio Review in Portland Pt. 1

photolucida 1This is being written halfway through my journey to Photolucida, a photography portfolio review event that happens every 2 years in Portland, Oregon, aka City of Beards.  I’m in my quaint Motel 6 room on a Saturday morning, with my free coffee and convenient store blueberry muffin by my side.  It’s a small lull during days of presenting work to reviewer and fellow photographer alike, and looking at other people’s stuff, and having a table at the Portland Art Museum with over 400 attendees.  In a couple hours I’ll be hopping on the bus with my portfolio and jetting downtown for 7 reviews, which is quite a high number even if you consider they are only 20 minutes long.

Because I have another photography event immediately after Photolucida, I had to start the trip with a 4 hour drive from Phoenix to Palm Springs- time to work on the “elevator pitch,” I thought.  That didn’t happen.  On the flight from Palm Springs to Portland I thought, “I better work on that elevator pitch.”  A few scribbles later and I felt like making music for a video project.  I landed, made my way to my hotel and then the opening meet-and-greet of Photolucida, still pitchless.  Maybe it would come to me in a lucid dream.
The first full day of the event had 4 reviewers scheduled with roving reviewers on deck.  The photographer attendees would be comparing notes, who’s good to talk to, who’s a meanie, swapping or waiting on deck to get to those reviewers who are the tastemakers of the photographic art community; gallery owners, book publishers, critics and gadflys.  The process was suprisingly smooth compared to my single previous portfolio event in 2008.  We’d used a website to order our reviewer choices, recieved a schedule that closely matched that, and waited in a hallway for our turn at 20 minutes of their time.
Even before reviews began, all us photographers began eyeballing each other’s portfolios and it was immediately obvious that it was complete, singular bodies of work people were presenting.  Their portfolio boxes were immaculate, hand crafted and full of 40-50 images.  There were exotic scenarios, focuses on Indonesia and Viking artifacts and Bosch paintings.  Highly personal work about aging and unusual neighbors.  Of the few people I saw who used models, they were shooting with friends, neighbors who would work for free or trade for photos and those pictures were stunning as well as personal.
One reviewer whom I greatly respect bluntly told me “the art world doesn’t like models, they like real people.  Models are considered for commercial work.”  I’m still turning that around in my head as to whether it’ll change me or not.
As for me, I brought my “Sketches” series of xerox transfers as a unified body of work and an amalgamation of my “Pop”, “Scream Queens”, “Secretly”, “Instax” and “Scrutiny” series that was similar to what I’d been presenting in my last few exhibitions and I felt worked together well despite coming from separate series.  In contrast to the other photographers, I felt like I had a small sampling of work that didn’t have depth, leaned hard on a cheesecake factor shot with impersonal professional freelancers who I’d often compensated well for my smutty, silly projects.
What did the reviewers think?  Find out in part 2…

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 Xerox Transfers

Ammalynn 5

These xerox transfers were created with one of my favorite models in Portland.  I had been using acetone for my transfers but since I’ve been teaching the workshops at a local art store, it’s worked out to use the Chartpak blending markers instead of acetone- safer and you can get these sketchy “charcoal”-like results.

Ammalyn 6

Originally shot with my Fujifilm X-E1 and a single umbrella flash.  For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.

Photolucida 2015 Fund Drive!

Photolucida-219[1] copy

The SXSW of art photography, Photolucida, is having portfolio reviews in Portland April 2015, and I was lucky enough to make it through the lottery process they have for registration.  The next hurdle is registration costs- roughly $1000 due Oct. 7, 2014, one week.  Photolucida is a big enough deal that I am ready to sell my car to pay the registration, but since I do have an Etsy shop full of art, anyone who buys from me this week Sept 29-Oct. 5th will get something extra in their order, to be determined depending on what anyone orders!

Owl Portrait in Portland

untitled (116 of 162)I haven’t added to my series “Animal Sight” in years, but having the 55-200mm Fujinon lens on my little X-E1 makes it possible to not only revisit the series, but improve on the kinds of images I was getting.  This was shot at the Oregon Zoo in late August.

Photos from the Road #1: Verronica’s Prom

Verronica Kirei model Jodi Vaughn hmua
Verronica Kirei model Jodi Vaughn hmua

I just wrapped up 4 days of shooting around Vancouver, British Colombia, and Portland.  This was a “model shoot only” art making trip and it was a complete blast, and lots of great images got shot because I was 100% focused and got new ideas from each shoot which I could utilize in the following shoot.  This happy photo was with model Verronica Kirei and hmua Jodi Vaughn in Portland, a model I absolutely highly recommend to anyone.  Helpful that that sparkly background was a “designated selfie” area in the basement studio we shot in!

For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.