Archive for December, 2007

Spine: New Voices in Graphic Design

December 24, 2007

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Although it’s not a new publication by any means, I just finished reading Spine: Fresh Dialogue 4: New Voices in Graphic Design.

Published by The Princeton Architectural Press in 2004, the book is basically a transcription of an event which brought Peter Buchanan-Smith, Jason Fulford, and Leanne Shapton (Jason and Leanne formed J & L books) together to discuss how they got started in their careers of illustration, photography and self publishing books.

Each artist has their work showcased and a group conversation ensues. Spine is a quick read, but I found it very informative and quite inspiring. The careers of Buchanan-Smith, Fulford, and Shapton prove that being motivated and taking risks can really pay off.

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Jason Polan – The Drawing Project

December 23, 2007

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“THERE WILL BE A NEW DRAWING POSTED EVERYDAY. EACH DRAWING THAT IS POSTED WILL BE AVAILABLE TO THE FIRST PERSON THAT REQUESTS IT. IT IS AVAILABLE THE MOMENT IT IS POSTED. TO REQUEST A DRAWING SEND AN EMAIL TO ART@JASONPOLAN.COM WITH YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS AND THE NUMBER OF THE DRAWING. IF YOU ARE THE FIRST PERSON TO RESPOND AFTER THE POSTING YOU WILL RECEIVE THE DRAWING IN THE MAIL WITHIN ONE WEEK OF YOUR EMAIL. A NOTE WILL BE MADE WITHIN THE POST ONCE THE DRAWING HAS BEEN CLAIMED.”

Jason Polan, from The Drawing Project

Frank Sinatra Has A Cold

December 23, 2007

“I may not get the piece we’d hoped for—the real Frank Sinatra but perhaps, by not getting it—and by getting rejected constantly and by seeing his flunkies protecting his flanks—we will be getting close to the truth about the man.”

-written by Gay Talese in a letter to Esquire’s editor Harold Hayes

I just finished reading Frank Sinatra Has A Cold, a seminal piece of magazine journalism written by Gay Talese for the April 1966 issue of Esquire magazine.

If you’ve never heard of it until now (just like me) definitely give it a shot, it’s down right fantastic.

Also read an informative article about Esquire during the 1960’s written by Frank DiGiacomo for Vanity Fair. It gives further background into the making of the Talese piece.

(thanks to B.B. for the tip)

The Norling Family Photographs

December 23, 2007

Irwin Norling, Old Shakopee Road and Portland Ave, 8-10-1957
Irwin Norling, Old Shakopee Road and Portland Ave, 8-10-1957

“If they wanted photos, I always provided them gratis. A lot of these accident or crime scene photos would come in handy as evidence, and the cops eventually became my best salesmen. If an attorney or an insurance company wanted photos, the police department would refer them to me, and these people would have to pay for them. I knew I liked to take pictures, and I discovered that I liked it even more when I realized I could make money at it.”

“I learned pretty early on though that 30 feet of skid marks were a whole lot more interesting as a photograph if there was a wrecked car sitting at the end of them.”

-Irwin Denison Norling

The year isn’t even over yet but I’m already looking forward to seeing Suburban World: The Norling Photographs, a book by Brad Zellar with a foreward by Alec Soth that comes out in 2008.

Irwin Norling, Self-Portrait, 10-29-1967
Irwin Norling, Self-Portrait, 10-29-1967

Irwin Denison Norling was a hobbyist photographer (he thought of it as a hobby) who documented and captured a range of subjects in his suburban hometown of Bloomington, Minnesota starting in the late 1940’s and continuing into the 1980’s.

Before long his hobby developed into a family affair that included his wife June and their three kids Michael, David, and Patricia. Everyone contributed to the picture making process. Together they made over 10,000 photographs covering a wide range of subjects like car accidents, crime scenes, portraits, small town scenes, sports, business, etc.

The only information I can find about them on the net is this great article from 2003 written by Brad Zellar who is the author of the book.

This should be quite a treasure trove of fantastic photographs, I really can’t wait.

A Woody Allen Moment

December 21, 2007

Woody Allen in Annie Hall, 1977
Woody Allen in Annie Hall, 1977

I watched Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters at Film Forum (playing through December 24th) last week. I’ve seen it on the big screen many times before but I always enjoy it for the great story and snappy dialogue. It’s just so well written and the characters really jump off the screen. Diane Wiest especially blows everyone else away with her completely wacked out character.

Seeing the film reminded me of a Woody Allen moment I experienced while on a challenging editorial photo shoot not too long ago. As I uncomfortably wrestled with my camera trying to set up a shot, one of the two portrait subjects looked at me and said, “Has anyone ever told you that you look and act like Woody Allen, any relation?”

This was certainly the last thing I wanted to hear on a hot day in the middle of a photoshoot on the rooftop of a building as I struggled to get my flow going. I was distracted and strangely insulted by the comparison even though I’m a complete fan and wouldn’t normally find the comparison offensive. The real problem was that the subjects weren’t expecting some guy with a 4×5 camera who took his time. They had other things they wanted to be doing and this portrait was far from their main priority. I guess they expected it to be a quick harmless shoot, in and out. I totally understood their perspective but I wish they had been more understanding of my situation.

I really had no answer except to tell him the truth that “actually, we share the same birthday”.

I guess that somehow explains a lot about me.

Cinema – 2007

December 21, 2007

In no particular order:

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Julian Schnabel
Eastern Promises – David Cronenberg
I’m Not There – Todd Haynes
Lady Chatterley – Pascale Ferran
Michael Clayton – Tony Gilroy
Once – John Carney
This Is England – Shane Meadows
Zodiac – David Fincher
There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson
Syndromes and a Century – Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Silent Night – Carlos Reygadas
Climates – Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Blade Runner: The Final Cut – Ridley Scott

Sounds – 2007

December 21, 2007

In no particular order:

The Flying Club Cup – Beirut
The Shepherd’s Dog – Iron and Wine
Good Bad Not Evil – Black Lips
The Reminder – Feist
For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
The Stage Names – Okkervil River
Boxer – The National
Person Pitch – Panda Bear
Night Falls Over Kortedala – Jens Lekman
In Rainbows – Radiohead
Sound of Silver – LCD Soundsystem

More Blood

December 21, 2007

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If you liked the movie or just want to get a taste of something extra, there is a deleted scene from Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood posted at Little Boston News.

I promise that this will be the last post about There Will Be Blood for the rest of the year…

Nishant Shah

December 20, 2007

Untitled Polaroids by Nishant Shah
Untitled Polaroids by Nishant Shah

Hidden behind the scenes of The Jane Family website is a portfolio of polaroids taken by Nishant Shah. Shah works in an office by day, but by night he is a conjurer of imaginitive images.

I really can’t get enough of these small and dreamy jewel-like images. The photographs of Indian actresses are all unique and were made by shooting stills off of a television screen. They were extracted from classic Indian films of the 50’s and 60’s, also know as the golden age of Indian cinema.

The polaroids seem to boil down the essence of a film performance (and narrative) into a single frame and that’s what makes them so powerful. Looking at them I begin to wonder who the actresses were performing for, the film or the photograph.

Taj Forer talks to Brian Ulrich

December 20, 2007

Taj Forer, To live with you alone, Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee
Taj Forer, To live with you alone, Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee

Brian Ulrich has an interview with Taj Forer whose project Threefold Sun was just shown at Yossi Milo and published in a book earlier this year. I really love the symbiotic relationship between the images (as well as how Taj Forer went about to make them) and the ideas behind them.

Definitely check out the interview as well as the photographs.