Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Tree of Codes

November 15, 2010

Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book Tree of Codes is literally carved out of another book, one of his favorites of all time, The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schultz.

Read an interview with Jonathan Safran Foer about the book and see some more images of it’s construction here. There is also a good interview with the publishers of the book, Visual Editions, over at The Experts Agree.

This method of creating one object out of another existing one reminds me of Robert Heinecken’s brilliant reworking of popular magazines in the late 80s and early 90s.

Robert Heinecken: Time Magazine – 150 Years of Photojournalism, Limited Edition cut magazine, 1990

I had the opportunity of seeing a copy of Heinecken’s masterful cut magazine reworking of Time Magazine – 150 Years of Photojournalism over the summer at Cherry & Martin in Los Angeles and I was blown away.

Robert Heinecken: Time Magazine – 150 Years of Photojournalism, Limited Edition cut magazine, 1990

More images from Heinecken’s cut magazine here.

Know Your Type

February 4, 2010

For me the use of type is becoming more and more important and learning about them even more essential.

Luckily, there is a great series of posts about some classic Fonts over at idsgn, covering the history and use of each typeface.

So far, you can learn about Cheltenham, Gill Sans, Clarendon, Gotham, Futura, Verlag and Din.

Art Criticism is Not a Democracy

June 28, 2009

“The reason so much average or absolutely awful art gets promoted is that no one seems to understand what criticism is; if nothing is properly criticised, mediocrity triumphs. A critic is basically an arrogant bastard who says “this is good, this is bad” without necessarily being able to explain why. At least, not instantly. The truth is, we feel this stuff in our bones. And we’re innately convinced we’re right.”

-Jonathan Jones writing in the Guardian Art Blog

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 Highlights

November 21, 2007


A few of my friends started up The Highlights, which is an artist run site consisting of critical essays, interviews with artists and reviews of art exhibitions. They post a new issue every month and have just released the November issue.

Check it out.

Robert Bresson – Notes Sur Le Cinématographe

October 18, 2007


Selected quotes:

Master Precision. Be a precision instrument myself.

Metteur-en-scène, director. The point is not to direct someone, but to direct oneself.

Shooting. Put oneself into a state of intense ignorance and curiousity, and yet see things in advance.

Catch instants. Spontaneity, freshness.

What a human eye is capable of catching, no pencil, brush, pen of pinning down, your camera catches without knowing what it is, and pins its down with a machine’s scrupulous indifference.

Forms that resemble ideas. Treat them as actual ideas.

Shooting. Stick exclusively to impressions, to sensations. No intervention of intelligence which is foreign to these impressions and sensations.

Things made more visible not by more light, but by the fresh angle at which I see them.

The real, when it has reached the mind, is already not real any more. Our too thoughtful, too intelligent eye.
Two sorts of real: (1) The crude real recorded as it is by the camera; (2) What we call real and see deformed by our memory and some wrong reckonings.
Problem. To make what you see be seen, through the intermediary of a machine that does not see it as you see it.*

The things we bring off by chance – what power they have!

Although Robert Bresson’s collection of written reflections and working memos was really an exploration of his cinematographic thinking, much of it can easily be seen and understood within a photographic context as well.

Bresson only made 13 feature length films but if you aren’t familiar with any of them, don’t deprive yourself of one of the great visionary artists of the 20th century.

still from Robert Bresson’s Mouchette, 1967
still from Robert Bresson’s Mouchette, 1967

Mouchette, a beautifully sad and tragic film is my personal favorite. I never miss a chance to see it on the big screen whenever it comes around.

Herbert Muschamp, 1947-2007

October 3, 2007

Vincent Laforet for The New York Times, Ground Zero on August 16, 2006
Vincent Laforet for The New York Times, Ground Zero on August 16, 2006

I was always a big fan of Herbert Muschamp’s writing in The New York Times. I was surprised and upset to learn that he died last night in Manhattan. Between 1992-2004, he was the main architecture critic at The Times. After that he continued to write random articles for their T Magazine. His writing always presented his honest opinions combined with his sometimes wicked sense of humor.

I vividly remember picking up the Muschamp edited post 9/11 issue of The New York Times Magazine. He brought together a powerful team of great architects and designers to come up with fresh ideas for the future of ground zero and downtown New York. I remember being very excited and feeling inspired by the ideas presented and hoped that the people in power would listen. It’s really too bad that none of the proposals were ever incorporated into what is now a very watered down and un-inspired master plan.

Read The New York Times obituary and also take some time to read Muschamp’s essay Don’t Rebuild. Reimagine.


October 2, 2007

If you’re an artist living anywhere in New York state you should already know about the New York Foundation for the Arts. What you should also know is that the deadline to apply for their 2007-2008 Artist’s Fellowships is fast approaching. The deadline is Wednesday, October 3, 2007.

This year’s grants will be awarded in the following categories:

architecture/environmental structures
music composition

If you work in more than one of these disciplines you are allowed to apply in two categories but can only win in one. I can’t urge you enough to apply, especially if you’re a photographer. The application process is done completely online and doesn’t cost you a penny, only your time.

Also I have to say that this is one of the few grants that doesn’t require much in terms of writing about your work. NYFA only requires a short two hundred word work statement. For many people (including me) that’s a relief. One of the reason’s I started writing this blog is because I want to practice my writing but that in no way means that I find writing completely enjoyable. I’m a visual person and I hate having to describe what I do using words.

I sometimes agree with William Eggleston when he said:

“A picture is what it is and I’ve never noticed that it helps to talk about them, or answer specific questions about them, much less volunteer information in words. It wouldn’t make any sense to explain them. Kind of diminishes them. People always want to know when something was taken, where it was taken, and, God knows, why it was taken. It gets really ridiculous. I mean, they’re right there, whatever they are.”

So go ahead, write a little about your work and apply. Good Luck!

Thinking About Hardy…

August 1, 2007

Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928
Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928

Last night I watched a dvd of Roman Polanski’s Tess based on the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. I liked the film quite a bit. The emotional intensity and sadness are beautifully brought to the screen. Nastassja Kinski cast as Tess couldn’t be more radiant in the role.

I’ve been going through a Hardy phase lately that began with Jude the Obscure, then I read Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Next on my list will probably be The Return of the Native or The Mayor of Casterbridge, I really can’t decide. I guess you could say that I’m into Hardy’s writing, suffering characters, and tragic stories. They were way ahead of their time and still feel quite relevant to me today.