OTHER PEOPLE’S PICTURES

CAMILLE GUERER

I met Camille a few months ago. It just so happened that I was
thinking about finding someone to mentor and Camille was very
interested in photography.

After a bunch of meetings with her and her folks it was decided
that Camille and I would spend some time together, talking about
and committing photography.

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I fully expect to learn as much from her, and from the experience,
as she’ll learn from me. And so far that’s been the case.

Because of her school schedule and exams and stuff it’s been a slow
start but now that summer’s here the plan is to ramp it up some.

In the meantime, here’s a slide show…..a short sequence of Camille’s
fotos.

DEBORAH LUSTER

I came across ONE BIG SELF, Deborah Luster’s five year project
photographing inmates in Louisiana, on Pete Brook’s great blog,
Prison Photography.

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© Deborah Luster

I haven’t been this awed by a series of work since I saw Vanessa Winship’s
portraits of Turkish school girls. (Here).

I kindly request that you bounce over to Prison Photography, where Pete has
cobbled together a pretty inclusive post about Luster’s work. Source material,
videos, links and more.

Go look. Be amazed.

LYLE RICHARDSON

Yes! Paintings on drool.

Lyle Richardson will be showing his paintings for one night only
at La Petite Mort Gallery.

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Lyle and I go way back. I’ve known Lyle since high school. We’d
skip class, hang in the basement listening to Muddy Waters,
Howlin’ Wolf. Lyle would play the blues on the piano and paint
pictures.

He still plays the blues, and paints them, too. His little water colors
are stunning jewels, sometimes clear like diamonds, other times dark
and deep as a blood red ruby.

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He says he paints the weather, and I take that to mean the weather in
his head. Pure poetry…..the sunny days and the storms that sulk and
rage inside each and every one.

Go see this show. July 9th, 7:00 to 10:00.

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TONY FOUHSE

Finally, what would an edition of drool be without some hype for
the master drooler?

A couple of images I shot of April and Erik will be included in a
group show at Abnormals Gallery, in Poznan, Poland.

Just printed them and took this shot before they were bundled up
and shipped……..

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THE NEWS

I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY

Just got Will Steacy’s newspaper, DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS, today.
(Thanks to a swell giveaway over at Conscientious.)

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Fotos on newsprint. I love it. Gives the images a totally
different juju than if you looked at them in a book or online
or on a gallery wall. (Not that those all aren’t totally righteous
venues for fotos.) But looking at these pix on the kitchen
table with my morning cup of coffee is like seeing the news
as poetry.

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Brings to my mind the time I was at Oka, during the armed standoff
between the Mohawk warriors and the Quebec Provincial Police.

I was at the top of the hill, behind the Warrior barricade, along with
representatives of the world press. This was big news….Indians
shooting and killing police, then making a last ditch stand, all
to protect a piece of forest, that was sacred to them, from turning
into a golf course.

At a certain point a Mohawk mother, father and son came from their
village, behind the Warrior barricade. They were scrummed by the
press: “Did you come to make a statement?” they were asked.

“No, we came to smell the pines” they replied. Pure poetry and,
in fact, the reason for the whole armed standoff. Preserve the
towering pine trees that figured in their history.

Their statement went way over the heads of the gathered reporters.
They wanted “hard” news. I remember shaking my head and thinking:
“You idiots just don’t get it, do you? Here this family replies to your
question in a poetic way, a way that totally cuts to the chase, vis-a-vis
why this is happening, and you just don’t see it.” It was then when I
realized that most of the news media are stuck in a system that precludes
any real understanding, that the mainstream media is a machine that only
knows one way to process information.

So, as I sat at the kitchen table, reading Steacy‘s news, one of the
many thoughts that passed thru my noggin was: “Oh boy”.

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Page spreads from: Down These Mean Streets by Will Steacey

Same goes for Alec Soth’s THE LAST DAYS OF W. A newspaper (from 2008)
made up of sequenced fotos that, very subtly, talk to a society in the grips
of a President and a history that just doesn’t seem to be working.

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Some page spreads from: The Last Days of W., by Alec Soth

SOME RECENT EDITORIAL

Here’s a few of the pix I took for Guerilla Mag. These are the
result of winning the WinInitiative 10BEST10 contest thingy.

Went to Montreal and shot a bunch of artists in their studios.

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Domenic Papillon

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Jonathan Villeneuve

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Marina Zuger

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Trevor Kierander

And here’s a picture of a Mr. Dave Gower. Shot for MoneySense
magazine to illustrate living on retirement income.

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I SUPPORT PORTRAITURE

For those of you in other countries, and to my compatriots
who aren’t paying attention, I’ll just let you know that we
(Canadians) have elected (sort of, but that’s a whole other
story) and are living with, a pretty reactionary conservative
government who seem to be anti-art/culture and pro-them-
selves.

One of the things the gov’t did was to cancel a perfectly good,
and already proceeding plan to establish a National Portrait
Gallery (NPG).

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Now, drool usually doesn’t dip into the political swamp, much
preferring other types of swamps. But it has to be said: Bad
move Mr Prime Minister.

Anyway, some students at the University of Ottawa pulled
together an exhibition and panel talk on the NPG’s demise,
titled: Out of Site/Out of Mind.

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Fotos by: Irina Lubchenko and Genevieve Thauvette

On the panel were Penny Cousineau-Levine (chair of Visual Arts
at the U of O), Michael Schreier (artist) and Lily Koltun (former
director of the NPG).

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l to r: M. Schreier, L. Koltun. P Cousineau-Levine

Regular droolers know that I’m a little bit cynical about stuff
like this, much preferring to do my own thing and let the chips
fall as they may. It must be said, though, that as of late, I’ve
been thinking about, if not “community”, at least “contribution”,
And droolers know that drool doesn’t care what you do, as long
as you do something.

So, while I won’t be signing any petitions or sending letters to
political bosses (meet the new boss, same as the old boss), I did
come away from the evening with renewed hope (look out for
hope) that, if enough art-type folks in Ottawa do their thing,
and keep doing their thing, some critical mass will be reached
and, sooner or later, bigger things must happen.

In the meantime, thanks to the organizers of Out of Site/Out of
Mind
, and to the panelists, for doing something.

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MY SWEET NEW RIDE

After way too many years of wrestling with my $149 Staples office
chair, I finally took the plunge and bought one of those Aeron ones.

My bum and my back thank me.

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THE END OF PHOTOGRAPHY

THE END OF PHOTOGRAPHY

drool doesn’t much like over-produced commercial work done by
folks who are fotografers (usually big-time shooters at big-time
studios in big-time cities) in name but, really, when it comes right
down to it, are really just producers with a camera.

Much is made on their blogs (and other hype) about all the staging
and talent and technology that goes into their end product. Seems
to drool that the one thing missing, never talked about, in these
situations, is the soul of the image. And that’s because, in drool‘s
opinion, the resulting fotos have none. No soul. No sir! They are
commerce, pure and simple. So perhaps drool‘s criticism of these
types of images and “fotografers” is out of line. After all, it’s kind
of like criticizing an apple because it’s not more like an orange.

Never the less, drool stands by its opinion and stands up to be
counted. (Irked, no doubt, by the smugness of these techno-
geniuses at their grasp of the technology, while they lose sight
of what really counts. Unless you believe creating soulless images
strictly designed to move product is what really counts. Can’t argue
with that.)

One of the things drool finds funny (in both senses of the word)
is how the technology seems to be leading the creative and how
that defines whether the work is “good” or not. And let’s get this
straight here and now, these images are “good” in that they perform
the task the client wants them to perform. But to drool they seem
like the end of photography.

Now, it could be said that drool is just old and out of step (might be
true). That drool is envious (definitely not true). That drool should
just take a breath and get on with it (drool will)………

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

I have a couple of solo shows coming up this fall. One of these
shows will be featuring some of my older work. So I’ve been
digging thru my archives a bit lately, looking for and printing
images that mine the same vein as my most recent work, that
are different but the same.

Here are a few that are close-but-no-cigar:

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Some test prints

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Cindy at a friends cottage

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My father

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Young man with hat sitting on the ground

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Young man with umbrella (after August Sander)

FLOWERS AS METAPHOR

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Angelina McCormick is exhibiting bits of all 3 series of flowers that she
has shot over the past 5 years. The show: Secret Garden, is on display
at The Red Wall Gallery until August 18th.

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Show poster in window

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Installation view

These images, shot with Hasselblad, Holga and 8×10, to quote
the blurb:

…..convey a different aspect of the
artist’s search for self.

Early work tackles aging, sickness and
also death as transformation. Images
of this ultimate of changes from life
to death are made by someone who
describes herself as “ruined and living
in both worlds”, and pose important
questions about our perceptions of
both states of being. McCormick’s
Holga series is playful and made
with deliberate misdirection. These
photos of fake flowers cloak gallows
humour in a seductive surface of
candy colours and soft edges. The
most recent works become larger
and more iconic. Crisp and bright,
they induce awe sometimes at odds
with their unpretentious look at
human relationships, personalities
and archetypes.

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So, flowers as metaphor.

Now, I’ve never been big on metaphor, usually preferring a
more direct mode. And, in fact, battled with myself over the
seeming shoehorning of meaning (viz.: the show’s blurb) onto
these images of flowers. But after some reflection realized that,
yes, there must often be meaning in images that I just don’t get
or see. Realized that not every thing, every image, will speak to
me, nor convey its exact, intended, meaning (if, in fact, there is
one) to me.

I realized that I can just look at these images and enjoy them
for what they are to me: Plain, simple, fully rendered, absolutely
beautiful pictures of flowers. I suggest you see this show and
come to your own conclusion(s).

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Angelina McCormick at her opening

500 PHOTOGRAPHERS

Rotterdam photographer Pieter Wisse has decided to compile a list
(with bits of commentary) of 500 photographers whose work appeals
to him. One a day, 5 days a week, 100 weeks. 500 photographers.

Great idea.

I’m honored that Pieter has decided to include me in this list. Go here
and check it out.

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