UNBOXING

UNBOXING

I understand there is a sub-genre of vids on Youtube that show
geeks unboxing shit they’ve bought.

Well, drool will not be outdone, geek-wise, and presents you with
a series of unboxing fotos.

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Ten 10-sheet boxes of Kodak Portra 4×5 film.

And, speaking of unpacking…..there’s a group of folks in Ottawa
who ride their motorcycles (mostly Harley’s, of course) down to
the market. They park them in long rows, hang out and wait for
people to be envious.

I suppose that’s kind of like posting unboxing videos.

The problem, as far as I can tell, is that those who do that are
really only showing you what they can buy. But buying your
status is nowhere, man. Don’t show me what you can buy,
show me what you can do.

CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC

The latest issue of Can Geo has a bunch of stuff in it about Capital
City. One of the features, written by Ottawa Magazine editor Sarah
Brown, is about culture in Ottawa. She hilighted 3 fotografers; Dave
Trattles, Remi Theriault and yours truly.

Sarah writes about my work on the block, fotografing addicts, but
for some reason the powers that be at the mag decided to run a
couple of shots of mine of dancer John Phillips and painter Dave
Matte.

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canadian-geographic-2011-005

The complete story is here.
This is Dave Trattles
Remi Theriault here

CAMERA COMICS

Between July 1944 and 1946, the U.S. Camera Publishing Company
published a comic book titled “Camera Comics” in an attempt to get
kids interested in the growing hobby of photography. (via)

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WELCOME HOME DOUG AND GARY

Because I was planning on editing all summer, bringing projects
to conclusion, I thought I would revisit my American work. I put
about 120 fotos into a pile and started to move them about, to
look for an order, to (dare I say) look for a message (or at least
a feeling).

While I was editing this work I couldn’t get the movie The Deer
Hunter
out of my mind. That’s a movie I don’t like very much, I
think it’s overwrought. But for some reason I couldn’t stop think-
ing about coming home from a war to a country that is not facing
the fact that they are fading fast.

So, in the end, the sequence I arrived at is a polemic. I just hope
that there is some poetry there, too.

You can see AMERICAN STATES here. Please click on “fullscreen”
for good bigness.

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INVITATION

FIRST THINGS FIRST

The final year’s shooting of USER will be exhibited at Gallery
La Petite Mort.

Show opens this Friday, September 23rd.

Five days only.

You all are invited to the opening.

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Statement:

USER was always conceived as a multiyear project. A series
of portfolios that, though shot on just one 30 meter strip
of sidewalk and using portraiture only, aimed to explore
the face and the feel of the addicts who congregate there.

The latest (and last) work from this project, USER 2010, is
a series of images, shot simply, in natural light, snapshots
really. Echoes of all the previous shooting I have done on
the corner, about faces and relationships. A summation.

Details here.

JOAO CANZIANI

You’ve got your fotografers who love to take fotos and you’ve got your
fotografers who just do it to get paid.

You’ve got your fotografers who bring passion and politics and verve
to their work and their foto-play (i.e.: personal projects) and you’ve
got your fotografers who churn out standard shit that doesn’t add up
and they call it personal work.

Today drool gets to talk with Joao Canziani, NYC (via Peru) editorial
fotografer, and a fotografer who obviously loves to shoot and brings
passion, politics and verve to his personal projects.

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Joao Canziani at Gallery La Petite Mort

I met Joao at his opening at Gallerie La Petite Mort last week, where
he was showing images from his recent project (shot in Peru) titled
CANADIAN CAFE BAR.

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Installation view of CANADIAN CAFE BAR

drool: Can you tell us a little about this project?

Joao: It was great meeting you the other night. Thank you for coming
to the opening.

This project came about kind of by chance. I was in Lima shooting another
personal series when I stumbled upon a couple of girls shooting a “sexy
calendar” shoot by the shore. After some convincing, I got to shoot them
as part of the landscape, and then I asked the model if I could shoot her
at a later time. The girls were doing that shoot for the place they worked
at, but they didn’t want to tell me what that place was. So I assumed it was
some sort of strip joint, but that wasn’t quite it. My curiosity was piqued,
so I decided to investigate a little further.

It turned out that Karla, the girl from the sexy calendar shoot, worked at
this bar called Canadian Café Bar. It was a mix between late-night tourist
trap and hostess bar. I went in a couple of times to check it out, naively
thinking I could ask some other girls there to pose for me. That turned
out to be a bit of a challenge.

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What was a simple desire to shoot portraits and nudes of the girls that
worked there, turned into something more meaningful for me. It allowed
me to viscerally connect with the city I was born in, because I had left it
when I was barely a teenager. I have always considered Lima my home
town, but I have always felt like I didn’t quite “belong” there. After shoot-
ing this project I learned that “belonging” has a lot to do not only with
growing up in a place, but experiencing this growth with members of
the opposite sex; meaning the whole gamut of sex, falling in love, getting
hurt. I didn’t quite have that, or more to the point, I was uprooted at the
point were I was about to experience all of these things. So this series
didn’t satisfy that in a physical way, but at least it brought me closer to
a place I consider my home.

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As a note, I wrote about all these experiences shooting this project on
my blog… you can read more about it here.

drool: Interesting, isn’t it, how one sets out to shoot some personal
project and, if you are open, it can turn into something you never
imagined…it can help you to imagine, see and learn.. There’s certainly
something to be said for keeping an open mind, opening a door and
seeing (and accepting) what comes through.

You also shoot editorial and (some) commercial assignments. How
do your personal projects feed into what you do for money? And do
your personal projects get you paying gigs?

Joao: Well, personal projects on the simplest level act as a way to
investigate new ideas and experiment. Then I have a chance to apply
these new ideas to commissioned assignments. And if you “fail” with
personal work you’re not risking failing for a paying client, which will
cost you future jobs.

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David Lynch, for W magazine

But on a more spiritual level, I find that to feel good about my life and
photography, I have to have a balance between the personal and the
commercial. Like body and soul, you need both. Doing commercial
work I feel validated in a sense as clients are responding to my work
and hiring me for it. But without personal work, there is no “me.” I
have to create something that is coming from me, and not from
somebody else’s brain.

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Brady Corbet, for Planet magazine

So yeah, personal projects do get me paying gigs. Sometimes a client
sees something in that work and wants to replicate it on the commercial
assignment. But it’s better when you get to earn respect from the good
photo editors for doing both the personal and commercial and for con-
tinually striving to find your own voice. There’s a better payoff for this
in the long run.

drool: Can you tell us a little about your approach when shooting editorial?
Do you scout? How many setup do you shoot? Etc.

Joao: Shooting editorial always varies depending on the assignment. If it’s
a travel shoot I usually have a discussion with the photo editor regarding
the shot list, then you head to the location and shoot what is on the shot
list. For these shoots I like having an extra day or enough time to flesh
out the shot list. Meaning time to roam around, get lost, and encounter
things that neither the magazine or I would have thought of before arriving.

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Boqueria Market, Barcelona

When it comes to portrait assignments I like scouting whenever possible.
Most of the times this is not the case. Either way it’s about being as pre-
pared as you can be, considering that in order to get something good out
of the shoot, you need to push beyond the planned scripted shots and find
the tension in the unknown (to paraphrase a quote I read and love). Because
when you’re doing that you’re taking a risk that the shot might turn out like
crap, or maybe not. There’s something about this that makes the photograph
come alive.

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Walton Goggins, for Entertainment Weekly

drool: Thanks for your time and interest Joao. Anything else you’d like to add?

Joao: Always carry a camera. And I should heed my own advice. When you do
that, a photographer friend of mine opined, you reduce high expectations to
get something good whenever you have the camera with you, because now it’s
always with you, as part of you. Not to mention, it’s a good thing to document
your life, or the world around you.

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Television, Lima, Peru

You will find Joao’s website here.

22 MINUTES SUCKS

The CBC program This Hour Has 22 Minutes kicked off their
Fall 2011 season this past Tuesday by stealing one of my
fotos to use in a piece they did on Prime Minister Harper’s
megalomania.

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I wouldn’t have minded so much, but the piece (like the program)
wasn’t funny. And somehow, in their close-cropping of the image,
they managed to butcher its look and feel.

SPEAKING OF TV

A while ago I mentioned here on drool that I had been interviewed
by Lilly Koltun for a local art-magazine-on-television thingy.

Well, my episode is being aired this coming Tuesday, September 20,
at 6 p.m., on channel 22, baby.

STEPH’S LETTER CONTINUES

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SOME NEW WORK

RETAIL PORTRAITS

Every so often I get asked by someone if I’ll take their picture, or pictures
of their kids.

Now, I’m a guy who is used to fotografing people for other people, clients.
In other words I really owe the subject nothing except a certain amount of
respect, but I don’t have to please them….I have to please the client (and
myself, whenever possible).

But when the person you’re fotografing is the person paying you, well, the
power gets tipped a little bit, there just might be other obligations….like
pleasing the subject.

So I make it clear, from the get-go, that I’ll shoot retail portraits, but I’ll
only do it if I am allowed to shoot them the way I want. And the subject
will get only the tightest of edits, my choice(s).

This past week I was asked by an acquaintance if I would shoot his two
kids. We worked out the parameters (see above) and went and did it.

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As an added bonus (for me) the dad shot some fotos of me at work.

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Had some BIGFUN doing this, love working with kids (young and old) and
wouldn’t mind doing some more.

Any of you droolers out there who think they might like to be involved in
something like this, getting shot by me, well….just send me a PM and we
can go from there.

MORE PRINTING

Got my show printed, opens September 23rd. Details next week.

Taking the opportunity to try a new way of presenting, which, it seems
like, I do every time I show some aspect of USER.

Bits of repetition, different sizes and not everything will be, like, totally
lined up on the wall.

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Test prints and final prints, in no particular order

Now, finally I’m on to printing the final, book, version of that project.

I want to print it on double sided MOAB matte paper but am having
a hell of a time getting the prints to look right. Testing, testing and
more testing….fuck, I’m tired of testing.

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Page spread from USER

SOME NEW WORK

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Condo foundation, Ottawa, August, 2011

MORE STEPH’S LETTER

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