Archive for December, 2008

Fuji Is The New Polaroid

December 31, 2008

Although most people seem to be lamenting the end of Polaroid, it’s important to note that instant photography is not completely dead yet. I’m not talking about your square format (600 series or SX-70) but about medium and large format photography which instant film is definitely still available for.

Yesterday afternoon I finally got my hands on the highly in demand FujiFilm PA-45 Instant Holder for my 4×5. The holder takes pack film that contains 10 sheets of instant film and slides into a 4×5 just like your regular polaroid back.

The film itself is also made by FujiFilm and I have to say that I’ve always preferred Fuji Instant Color Film to the Polaroid version as it reproduces an image with better color and a sharper image. Right now Fuji only makes a 100 ISO color film but I’ve been told that an equivalent black & white version is on the way.

Now that’s something to get excited about. Let’s hope FujiFilm keeps the instant film coming in 2009 and for many years to come.

For all those polaroid memories, here’s a wonderful and refreshing advertisement introducing the SX-70 camera created by Charles and Ray Eames, with music by the great Elmer Bernstein.

(via lensculture)

Also, don’t miss Michael Kimmelman’s recent essay mourning the death of Polaroid in last weekend’s New York Times.

Photograph #24

December 31, 2008

Untitled IV, Brimfield, MA, 2008

To request the above photograph:

Send an email (subject: photograph #24) to horses [at] with your name and address.

If you are the first person to respond after the posting, you will receive the photograph in the mail.

* This photograph is no longer available.

Which Beatle Are You?

December 28, 2008

I’m definitely a John and I knew that before I took this test or even this one.

Even though the above video is for charity and a good cause, I’m still not sure what I think about it even if it did have Yoko Ono’s approval.

(via HE)

Eartha Kitt, 1927-2008

December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt, the great American performer, passed away today.

I first learned of Eartha Kitt while watching the 1992 Eddie Murphy film Boomerang, and from that moment on, I could never forget her.

When I heard that she was performing again at Café Carlyle in New York City more recently, it was definitely on my list of things to do. Then I realized the cost of taking in such a performance and was waiting for a special occasion.

Needless to say, I never made it to the Carlyle to catch a performance by Eartha Kitt, but I can only imagine how legendary it must have been.

Daily Routines

December 24, 2008

Daily Routines is a site devoted to the way interesting artists and writers organize their days.

This post about Truman Capote is one of my favorites:

What are some of your writing habits? Do you use a desk? Do you write on a machine?

I am a completely horizontal author. I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis. No, I don’t use a typewriter. Not in the beginning. I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand. Essentially I think of myself as a stylist, and stylists can become notoriously obsessed with the placing of a comma, the weight of a semicolon. Obsessions of this sort, and the time I take over them, irritate me beyond endurance.

The Paris Review, Issue 16, 1957

I wish my routine was as exciting. Unfortunately my routine of getting work done is pretty standard and that usually involves many degrees of procrastination like making tea, having a snack, reading the paper, catching up on the internet, looking for new music to listen to. Once I’ve exhausted all those possibilities, I can finally get to work, whatever work might be that day.

Read more Daily Routines or even write your own and post it in the comments.

Woman with Head Scarf and Roses

December 21, 2008

I found this lovely watercolor painting and drawing over the weekend while I was killing some time.

Lately, I’ve been trying to avoid the Chelsea Antique Garage. I usually walk in there hoping not to find anything I like but it rarely works out that way as there is always a great deal to be found on something absolutely wonderful and surprising.

The details in this drawing are quite precise and very well articulated. I love the pastel colors and the overall softness of the whole thing. I’m not sure how old the piece is but it feels like it could be from around the early 1900’s.

Here’s a detail:

Sofia Coppola + Brigitte Bardot + Dior =

December 16, 2008

Arthur Lipsett

December 16, 2008

I’m rediscovering the always intriguing and fascinating films of Arthur Lipsett over at the comprehensive National Film Board of Canada website.

I remember seeing one of Lipsett’s earliest short films, Very Nice, Very Nice, in film class one day years ago and it left quite an impression. Lipsett was an experimental filmmaker but it was his interest in sound that proved a driving force in his films.

Very Nice, Very Nice (nominated for an Academy Award in 1962 for Best Live Action Short) actually started out as a sound collage. At the suggestion of some friends, Lipsett added still documentary images he took himself as well as found photographs from magazines and stock film footage of an atomic mushroom cloud and a space shuttle launch to make the film. Very Nice, Very Nice, with it’s ironic and contradictory juxtaposition of sound and image still feels quite relevant even today.

Watch Very Nice, Very Nice and while you’re at it, catch Lipsett’s 21-87, another sound and image collage, this one using mostly found footage. 21-87 was supposedly a big influence on George Lucas, especially on Star Wars and his conceptualization of ‘The Force.’

Joan Miró Collages

December 15, 2008

Joan Miró, Drawing-Collage, [Montroig], August 8, 1933

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Joan Miró but was pleasantly surprised by a couple of rooms in the current MoMA exhibition, Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting, 1927-1937.

Joan Miró, Collage (study for Painting, May 12, 1933)

There is one large room that displays a series of paintings along with the preparatory collages that inspired them. It’s fascinating to see how each individual collage composed of mechanically reproduced illustrations becomes a completely abstract biomorphic composition. Each juxtaposition between collage and painting is a wonderful exploration of abstraction as inspired by the real world or in this case from the printed representation of the real world. For one example, look at the collage shown above this paragraph and then the painting it became shown below.

Joan Miró, Painting, Barcelona, May 12, 1933

In another room towards the end of the exhibition are a grouping of experimental collages each one more interesting and beautiful than the next. Although they immediately give off the impression of being quickly rendered and free flowing compositions, but upon closer inspection one can see that the collages were carefully planned and arranged to appear spontaneous.

Joan Miró, Drawing-Collage (The Beach), [Montroig], August 15, 1933

The exhibition is worth seeing if you get the chance (it closes on January 12, 2009), but if not, MoMA has created a special online version found here.

Photograph #23

December 13, 2008

Untitled, Outside Lost Hills, CA, 2008

To request the above photograph:

Send an email (subject: photograph #23) to horses [at] with your name and address.

If you are the first person to respond after the posting, you will receive the photograph in the mail.

* This photograph is no longer available.