Couple of quick announcements. Don’t worry, these are followed by some actual content . . .
drool. is about to become a bi-weekly thing. That is: published every second Sunday.
But, wait!, you say, that’ll be too confusing. How am I supposed to keep track of “every second Sunday”?
No prob. Just subscribe using the handy subscribe form, there at the top, on the right. If you are on a mobile use this direct link or scroll to the very bottom for a subscribe button.
Fill it in. Get HYPO. delivered to your inbox. (And know that I’ll never share or sell your information.)
As well, I’ll be experimenting a bit with the format and content as drool. moves forward into the ’20’s. Maybe a bit more multi-faceted, maybe even funnier than it already is (as if that’s even possible, yuk, yuk, yuk).
So sign up and come along for the ride.
And since we’re on the subject . . . let me tell you why I do drool.:
I enjoy the process. The writing helps me know what I’m thinking (and, sometimes, feeling). And that, in turn, informs a whole bunch of other stuff that comprises certain (but not all) aspects of this project I call my life.
That’s the reason I do photo projects, too. Except with those I get to go out into the world and meet people and experience places. (Which, in my opinion, is a richer, more rewarding pursuit than writing.)
And the reason I make them public is ego and a desire to communicate.
Simple. Take it or leave it.
Sunday, January 19th Studio Sixty Six will be hosting a conversation between Michael Schreier and yours truly. The public are invited.
The topic we’ll be discussing is something along the lines of “the interior muse”. This predicated by my previous blog post and the exhibition, at Studio Sixty Six, of Dave Heath’s late work.
Who knows what’ll happen.
Anyway, it begins at four Sunday afternoon and ends at six. There will be a bar for some drinkypoos afterwards, to facilitate general hobnobbing.
Plus, if you haven’t seen the show . . . well, that’s a good chance/excuse to have a look.
Just about a year ago Jocelyn Keays and Alexandra Barlow got this idea.
Recently graduated from photo school (SPAO) they wondered what was going to replace the intensity and focus that that kind of environment engenders. And where would they find community? They decided to create their own intensity and focus.
Thus was OPAL Community born.
The Ottawa Photography and Art Label would, they decided, create and print a magazine/book hybrid that showcased local (Kapital City) artists. A celebration.
The scope was Ottawa-centric because of limited resources . . . they had $300 and no real experience with this kind of endeavour. All they had was desire and the faith to take a leap.
In June, 2018, they did a soft launch (social media) and a rudimentary website was created. (They intend to expand the scope of their site, which I hope happens because there’s nothing like the power and reach of print and digital combined in one cause.)
They asked for Ottawa-based artists to submit and thirty-one artists answered the call. From these Jocelyn and Alexandra chose 26 (mainly photographers, but also artists who use other media) and printed 125 copies of OPAL Issue Nº 1.
The official launch of the printed publication took place October last year at Bar Robo. Jocelyn and Alexandra had no idea what would happen. Would people come? What kind of support would they get? Would traditionally stingy Ottawans actually spend money on a publication such as this? They were about to find out.
Well, the place was packed and the issues sold out. It would seem OPAL had struck a nerve, fulfilled some missing link in the Kapital City Arts Scene.
Buoyed by the support, and with the first issue experience under their belt, OPAL took a bit of a breather and then got right back in the saddle. Let’s begin to think about the second issue. Let’s expand our scope. Let’s be more ambitious. Let’s continue to not charge any entry fees. Let’s see what happens the next time.
They rethought and rejigged their social media strategy, figured out a way to extend its reach beyond Kapital City borders. And it worked. Their next call for submissions brought in over 200, with more than 80 coming from places other than Ottawa. From these submissions Jocelyn and Alexandra chose 48 artists and produced OPAL Issue Nº 2.
The launch of Issue Nº 2 is happening at The Ottawa Art Gallery this coming Thursday, June 6th. Accompanying this will be a show featuring 9 of the artists whose work is in the issue. (Full disclosure: I have some work in the publication, as well as on the wall.)
The publication has beautiful, clean, design. Nothing fancy or trendy here, instead the selected works are given room to breath and to be. Some artists are represented by a single image, others have spreads. Scattered throughout are quotes from famous artists, writers and philosophers as well as a sprinkling of statements from some of the included artists. It’s the type of publication that encourages you to sit, slowly turn the pages, look and wonder.
My one beef is that the publishers/curators include their own work. I can’t help but see that as a conflict of interest, one that may cause some friction as they seek to move their endeavour forward.
Having said that, it will be interesting to see how OPAL evolves, and to see how the local scene reacts to OPAL’s more global-based focus.
I wish Jocelyn and Alexandra all success because, if you ask me, this is what Kapital City needs: people who are actively looking beyond this city’s limits, people who embrace larger possibilities.
June 6th, 1944, Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day, began.
Exactly 75 years later Leslie Hossack will be showing the photographs she made in response to that event, and launching H-Hour, her book of those images (plus essays, etc.), at Studio Sixty Six, in Ottawa.
Leslie has been studying and photographing aspects of WW ll for more than a decade, looking at it through a peripheral lens: National Socialist architecture, the internment of Japanese-Canadians, Winston Churchill, and so on.
Her approach, always rigorous, has both remained the same (cool, calm collections that show the architecture), and expanded (non-architectural artifacts) over the time she has been approaching this subject.
This show (and book) should be on your list of photography to see. Details here.
Yes, some further ruminations on just what the heck I’m trying to do with my new camera. Plus: some installation pix of the show I’m in in NYC, more Ottawa Notes, and, finally, a commercial. Anyway . . .
NOT STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
One of the things I want to do with this new tool of mine is, I want to take photos that are unlike my previous ones. I see, though, in these early days of trying, that that’s going to be a tall order.
After all, one does have ones aesthetic and political predilections, doesn’t one?
On the other hand, I’m quite sure what I don’t want to do (though to rule out any avenue at this point is a chump’s game, I know), but what I don’t want to do is your classic “street” photography. The structures of, and expectations attached to, that genre strike me as pretty strict and old-fashioned.
The camera I’m using, though, is pretty much designed (or, at least, perfect) for street snapshooting. Time for a rethink.
Further to this (and because I believe in embracing my contradictions) . . . I just bumped into this article by Jon Feinstein: “Seven Photographers Who Are Rewriting Street Photography’s Rigid Rules”. Some of the approaches and possibilities outlined there seem right to me.
SPAO hosted a one-night show by Ottawa photographer Gwyneth Orr, who won the Ottawa Arts Council Young Artist award last year.
The show, called AVIS, a series of images in which teenagers are compared to, and dressed up as, birds. The idea being to allude to the similarities between a baby bird leaving the nest and a child entering young adulthood.
You can tell this is early work . . . not completely realized and the influences are there on the surface to see. But that’s the way you begin, isn’t it. Then, if you persevere, you grow.
Gwyneth, a graduating highschool student, has been accepted into the photography program at NSCAD. I’m sure that escaping the Kapital City nest and spreading her wings there will be just the thing she needs. I look forward to seeing where she goes from here.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO PUBLISHING A PHOTOBOOK
Photobooks are where it’s at these days. A great way to organize and add worth to your photographs. Not to mention they also help get your work in front of folks who may care, be they friends, family or curators.
I’ll be holding a one day workshop at SPAO: A Practical Guide to Publishing a Photobook.
As the person behind Straylight Press I published 18 photobooks, by 12 different photographers. Let me tell you, I learned a lot.
This workshop is about, as its title implies, the practical stuff you need to know. Lots of resources, secrets, links and suppliers. As well, it will cover ways to edit and sequence your book, discuss various layout options, and a few, for lack of a better word, philosophical aspects of photobook making.