Sincerity and Photography

Photo community

Today I had lunch with my photographer friend Peter Rittling.

Topics of conversation ranged from Nan Goldin and Diane Arbus to the importance of form and content in photography and painting.

If you aren’t in school, one way to keep growing as an artist is to challenge yourself through lively conversations with artists you respect.

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Paris in L.A.

I flew to Los Angeles to meet my friends Laurence and Pierre who were visiting from Paris.

I stayed downtown at the Milner Hotel. Spending time downtown changed my opinion of Los Angeles. It reminds me of the neighborhood where I live in San Francisco with interesting architecture and no sign of strip malls.

Laurence invited me to be her guest at Paris Photo L.A. If you’ve never been to a big art fair, it’s like a temporary mall that is constructed to sell art. I was expecting that I wouldn’t enjoy most of the photography and I wasn’t surprised. I overheard a few explanations of the trite concepts behind some of the work. "He created a replica of the Taj Mahal out of marshmallows and photographed it. It symbolizes…"

The small number of photographs that I liked was older work by Daido Moriyama, Michael Jang, William Eggleston, and Fred Herzog. And a small photograph of rooftops by Jaromir Funke who I wasn’t familiar with. Seeing what galleries are selling (or trying to sell) at the show was an opportunity for me to affirm the direction I am taking with my work.

The show was at Paramount Studios. Part of the event took place in fake buildings that are replicas of New York and Chicago. Above is my photographic nemesis Alec Soth signing books for adoring fans in front of one of the fake buildings.

Next we went to the Getty Center and Laurence and Pierre photographed the sunset.

The next day we went to MOCA.

I saw sculpture made out of cardboard, foam, and dust. I didn’t care for it.

But my faith in art was restored by Rothko…

and Franz Kline.

And before I knew it, the wonderful weekend with friends was over and it was time to head back to San Francisco.

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Michael Jang opening at Stephen Wirtz Gallery tonight

Tonight is the opening of Michael Jang’s show “The Jangs” at Stephen Wirtz Gallery in San Francisco.

Michael is a talented photographer and a nice guy. I just got back from Paris Photo L.A. and his work was some of the most interesting stuff being shown there. You should stop by the opening tonight and take a look.

Show details

Michael Jang: The Jangs
May 2 – July 13, 2013
Reception: Thursday, May 2, 5:30-7:30 pm
Stephen Wirtz Gallery
49 Geary St 3rd floor
San Francisco, CA

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How long does it take to make a photobook?

I have spent so many hours working on my photobook “Gone Quickly” that it is impossible for me to know how long it takes to make each book. But I know that assembling each book takes about 45 minutes.

Assembly includes trimming the cover, scoring and folding the sheets, assembling the signatures, trimming the signatures, piercing the signatures for sewing, sewing the signatures to the cover, and trimming and scoring the cover wrapper. Prior to assembly, the book must be edited, designed, and the letterpress and inkjet printing must be complete.

Here is a time-lapse video that condenses 45 minutes of book assembly into 2 minutes and 21 seconds:

I will soon be making an announcement about the book. Stay tuned…

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Transformation

Today I visited SFMOMA and the Contemporary Jewish Museum with my aunt. The exhibition label for one of Lisette Model’s photographs in the Photo League show at the CJM nicely summarized some of my recent thoughts about photography:

Lisette Model challenged the idea that the photograph was merely a factual record, seeking instead to produce images that transformed her subjects, allowing her photographs to gain their “own independent life.”

In photographing a three dimensional reality, there is necessarily a transformation when the image is recorded in two dimensions. But the potential exists in this process for so much more than simple flattening.

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Photobook Exhibition Opening at Carte Blanche Tonight

Tonight is the opening of the exhibition “A Survey of Documentary Styles in early 21st century Photobooks” at Gallery Carte Blanche in San Francisco.

The show is curated by Darius Himes from Fraenkel Gallery and Larissa Leclair of the Indie Photobook Library. My book “Gone Quickly” will be in the show and I will participate in the photobook meet-up tomorrow morning.

The opening goes from 6-10pm. Gallery Carte Blanche is located at 973 Valencia Street in San Francisco.

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