Friday, June 06, 2008

What we’re selling here: Part II . . . or, PDN gets it right

An email from
Charity Vargas (sitting in NYC somewhere, reading PDN) recently alerted us to the following:

As part of their Photo Annual 2008, (still on newsstands, but hurry!) in their feature entitled “46 Reasons to Love Photography Now” Photo District News has this to say about “contemporary practices that function in the dark . . . are flourishing, backed by strong communities of photographers who support each other, share advice, and show their work online.” Tracing NPy’s pedigree back to the late 1800s, the article points out that study was “reignited in the 1970s: thru the efforts of NPy pioneers/educators Steve Harper, Richard Misrach, and Arthur Ollman. PDN writer, Alan Rapp further states: “Today the nexus of the movement is the Bay Area community known as The Nocturnes. These photographers helped advance Night Photography toward becoming a genre unto itself.” And he goes on to point out the many activities we sponsor, mostly around California.

The second part of the article focuses on the Urban Exploration movement, and its link to the NPy world, mentioning the work of our own
Troy Paiva.

(Do you think my horn is in tune? Toot, toot!)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

RE: Quitting Time . . . or What I LIKE about the Internet

"You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello, hello . . ."
(Hello, Goodbye - Lennon/McCartney)

Well, it seems to have started May 12, 2008, with Stu Jenks posting
An Argument Against Photography - and the follow-up on May 14, 2008, I'm Not Suicidal . . . tho' it really started before that. With the backlash. With a few heads butting up against the biz-ness of Photography, its disingenuosness. The incessant talk of gear, gadetry, gizmos, and those . . . egos. The constant marketing, self-promotion, and worse. The multitude of "Nice Capture!" comments and all.

Photo by Szymon Seweryn

Stu's exposition flew round the Photog-Blog-World, and I was 110% behind him, his sentiments, his predicament. It's something I struggle with - almost daily, and I remember the first of this year saying that I was "Seriously looking at my involvement with all this stuff for the new year."(shows, 'shops, et all) to which someone had replied: "I think you said that last year." Yeah well, anyway, I'm constantly questioning all this - it's the tried and true "Is this trip necessary?" test. So, I was primed for the artistic investigation via the Blogs that was to follow. So, it appears, was Joe Reifer - on his blog May 17, 2008, he picked up on "the question(s)" and has been attacking it from different vantage points, angles, depths (like any good photographer!) in his on-again off-again fashion ever since. Mark Hobson's The Landscapist blog - joined in the fray, as others (just google the words "Joe Reifer" and "Blog" to follow the ether trail) did the same.

Joe's latest posts deal with magic, photography, and clothespins and he makes some pretty startling (tho' some might argue obvious) statements:

"The best storytelling exists in print, the Internet is the same as TV."

"Blogs are to sell you something — what are they selling?"

That last one brings me to just what's behind "Cogito, ergo blog" (I wish I could say I dreamt that up but credit goes - in its most recent reincarnation - to Philosophy Talk, the Blog ) and the reason I why I do this. The answer to that arrived this past week in a beautiful overseas packet (check out those stamps!) from Poland, for my review. Inside was the work of a couple of artists, working/exhibiting NPy together - stunning, magical, mysterious, moody, stark b/w work - previously unknown to me. Now, The Nocturnes, you must realize, is a 'for-profit' endeavor, in name only - and that gives me (actually it "gave" me nothing - that "vision" was there from the beginning) quite a bit of "freedom," and perspective. So, to answer the question: "What is THIS Blog selling?" I would have to say THE IDEA of The Nocturnes, that community-building, the sense of the importance/relevance of NPy education and research, and the collective vision of all those associated with the endeavor. And, that is what I LIKE about the internet - and how it's not TV. Last time I checked, Channel 3 (NBC) did nothing to hook me up with kindred spirits half a world away!

As John pointed out in his comment on Mark's Blog - "We all need that “communication and connection” — it makes us fully realized human beings — and probably more engaged photographers."

Your comments/connections are MOST welcome.

(You say why . . . and I say I don't know.)