Saturday, June 30, 2007

First Contact: A Photographer's Sketchbook: From Magnum Photos Archive

I want to plug the show that's up at Silverstein now, First Contact. The show is part of the Magnum 60th anniversary fete and includes photographs that capture the "decisive moment" side by side with their contact sheet. I love the idea of the show for a number of reasons, with the toppers being my intense interest in editorial choices and the polishing of images before they're shown.

A killer contact sheet includes Diane Arbus's twins.


And something INSANE is that one of the contact sheets is from an event that I really wanted to see some negatives from, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. It's amazing to see the scene.

Not included in the show, but a contact sheet that I'd love to check out is Bill Eppridge's negatives with the untouched "Assassination of Presidential Hopeful Robert F. Kennedy."

The top photo is by Bill Eppridge and the other is by another I don't who photographer, but you can see the tremendous difference. The first photo is the one that I know, it was the Life photo, and for years I thought Bobby Kennedy was shot alone in a wet alley with only a bus boy there. I really want to see the pre-burn shot.

"The busboy who had been shaking his hand as he went down was still holding him. Jimmy is filming, his light was on [and] I started to make pictures. I made three frames: the first one was totally out of focus; the second was in focus, it was pretty good, the busboy is looking down at him; and the third one, with the busboy looking up as if he were saying, 'Somebody help,' that's the photo that's become the icon. Then people started coming in, and the place turned to bedlam." -Bill Eppridge

Supremely Bad Decisions; Bruce Shapiro for the Nation

The above link sends you to an article about the recent rulings the Supreme Court has made. I am anxious now with every ruling, not just "major" rulings. The reversal of "Brown v. Board of Education" is jawdropping.

Friday, June 29, 2007

An Absolute Disgrace

Philadelphia is having a lot of problems right now, with the top of the list being our homicide rate. We have had over 200 murders since Jan 1, 2007.
The above is a photo of our mayor, who opted to spend quite a bit of time waiting in line today to get the new iphone.

"Street defended his love of technology as important to the city. He could use his new iPhone, for example, on the city’s Wireless Philadelphia network, which he backed as mayor. “I think the city has benefited mightily from my interest in technology,” he said."

I'm sorry that I didn't get a chance to see him there! You know, so I could have punched him dead in the fucking face.

For Your FYI

You know who I'm a big fan of? Amy Stein.

I am also a big fan of her husband John Gordon. I have spent maybe a total of 10 minutes with them in person but it's fair to say that I think they're my friends. Is that mental? Whatever, because that's how I roll.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Oh Christ!

So I have been working endlessly on this Creative Capital grant and then I FULLY read the contract. About 900 things jumped out as things I absolutely will not do. I was applying for I-95, but then I realized that I have to have complete control over I-95 IN EVERY SENSE. I ain't doing any of this contract shit! Please, I'd rather get my hustle on for the money.

Here's one thing there's no way in hell I'd do...

"6. Credit. In all and any usage of the Project issued by or authorized by Artist, credits shall be
included or attached containing substantially the following: “A Project of Creative Capital” (the
“Credit”). The Credit shall appear in a grouping with all other funding credits. Wherever you receive
credit in any advertising, promotion or publicity for the Project, Creative Capital shall receive the
Credit, provided that such advertising, promotion or publicity is within your control. When such is not
the case, then you shall use your best efforts to ensure the Credit is afforded to Creative Capital."

Um, no. But this one is the kicker...

"(c) You shall comply with all applicable State, City, and Federal laws, ordinances, codes, and
regulations which affect the Project. In addition you shall comply with not-for-profit rules forbidding the
carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation or intervention in (including
the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for
public office which affect the Project. Artist shall, at his or her own expense, obtain all permits,
licenses and approvals required and shall comply with all laws in connection therewith."

I actually laughed out loud when I read that today. And I was by myself sitting on the sofa staring at the application like I had been for the last week. The "You shall comply with all applicable State, City, and Federal laws" means I'm all ready ineligible. Not only that, but I'm actually opposed to getting a permit. Why didn't I just read the whole fucking contract before I worked my ass off on this application? Probably because I am best described as an "idiot savant" light. This is a great grant, but to say it's not for me is an understatement to say the least.


Aside- Speaking of savants, my lady works with the great Al D'Alonzo, a man who I've known for almost 20 years. Al D'Alonzo is disabled but I'm not really sure what his disability is. He's unable to live alone and he's unable to walk up or down stairs due to a phobia. He would probably be best described as having mild mental retardation. He is also a super guy. And Al D'Alonzo has an amazing talent. For real, amazing.

Al knows a lot about baseball...he actually knows almost everything about any baseball uniform ever made. He knows a mind blowing number of statistics. His specialty is backup catchers. What he knows blows your mind.

But my favorite of all of Al's abilities is his knowledge of every Mummers statistic ever. The 1967 second place string band winner? He knows. What was Quaker City's theme in 1978? He knows. Who was captain of Kensington String Band in their inaugural year? He knows.

He's to you Al! Not only our beloved neighbor but one of my lady's favorite co-workers!

Monday, June 25, 2007

I don't know what this is about, but I'm working on my Creative Capital grant application and IT'S KILLING ME. OH MY GOD, GRANT APPLICATIONS ARE TORTURE. WHY IS IT SO FUCKING HARD TO WRITE 150 WORDS? JESUS H. CHRIST.

US moving closer to closed borders

"Known as Project 28, for the 28 miles of border that the towers will scan, a so-called virtual fence forms the backbone of the Secure Border Initiative, known as SBInet, a multibillion-dollar mix of technology, manpower and fencing intended to control illegal border crossings.

If successful, hundreds of such towers could dot the 6,000 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders.

After the system is fully functioning... 'the net will be very, very tight.' "

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thanks, Silverstein Photography.

Thanks to all at Silverstein Photography.

Luis Escalera
Yvonne Gomez
Liam Derik van Loenen
Elizabeth Shank
Bruce Silverstein

Betsy, Casey and all the interns

This show was a huge success on many levels.

Thanks, friends.

Closing Party

Thanks for coming.

Lynn Bloom
Cosmo Baker
Ilene Baker

Kate Ware
Amy Stein
John Gordon
Sina Queyras
Elyse Gonzales
Emilo Abarca
Amy Elkins
Alec Soth
Jörg Colberg
Jen Bekman
Brian Ulrich
Shen Wei
Shane Lavalette
Eric William Carroll
Greg Wasserstrom
Anne Lafond
Aunt "333" Jane Roberts
Brent Burket
John Geary
Liz Gwinn
Christopher Paquette
Christina Vassallo
Marvin Newman
and his lovely wife
Jane Royal
Sam Logan
RA Friedman
Lisa Piken
Andy Koper
Metrovision Guys
Alex "Glasses" Lombardo

This is an incomplete list, please drop me a line or comment if I didn't put you on the "thanks for coming" list.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


The closing party was amazing. It couldn't have been any better. I have a lot to say about it and I have a lot of people to thank and I'll be posting a full list of thanks and a comprehensive recap sometime in the next couple of days. But first, thanks to Silverstein. This was a perfect end to a show that I considered a complete success.

I was thrilled to see many friends, including some who I haven't seen for 20 years (no joke!), to meet many who I consider to be long distance friends and to meet several folks who came because they were interested in my work. I couldn't have asked for a better night. There was a lot of love last night.

Please comment and send me photos if you took any...I'd love to see them and know what people thought. Because I thought IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME. Thanks to everyone who came.


all photos (except for photo of me and AS) by the world's greatest wife, Lynn Bloom

me and cos.jpg
me and my brother Cosmo

zs and as web
me and mr. Alec "I can't love him any more than I do" Soth. What you're missing is the fake slow motion running toward each other that happened prior to this embrace. What you're not missing: our matching t-shirts.
Photo credit: Elyse Gonzales

kate at closing party.jpg
Ms. PA POLKA and that's totally how I was eating popcorn all night

me and brent.jpg
me and Brent aka Heart as Arena who should be writing for big art magazines

The popcorn machine was an inspired idea that I DIDN'T COME UP WITH! It was just there when I got there! How great is that? My gallery is great! Thanks Beth and Yvonne!

setting up screen.jpgMetrovision provided an unbelievable service...holy fuck, projecting in the back of their truck. I loved the guys who set this up. I was so happy with them.

people watching outdoor slideshow 2.jpgpeople watching slideshow

people outside watching slideshow.jpgpeople watching slideshow

me yelling.jpg here I am yelling right after Bruce's very sweet speech. What you can't see in this photo is that in this moment my nose started to bleed profusely and I was trying to have a completely serious conversation with Wendy and with Eve and I had a tissue shoved up my right nostril kind of like a tampon and then my mother brought out a giant napkin filled with ice and then another lovely woman brought out another giant napkin filled with ice and I was still trying to have a serious talk while holding up ice bags to my face and bleeding on them. Two words for you; "class act."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Call for State of Emergency in Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Homicides in 2007

Philadelphia Shootings in 2007

gunshot wound in leg cropped_1 web.jpg

Philadelphia Homicide Victims in 2007

Tomorrow! Photo Friday in full effect.

Within 1000 miles of Manhattan? Don't miss these...

First there's an amazing opening at Jen Bekman...

>> a new american portrait
>> curated by jen bekman + jörg colberg
>> opening reception: fri june 22 | 6pm - 8pm
>> on view: june 22 - july 28

then there's a MASSIVE BLOW OUT EVENT AT 8:30, the closing party for "If You Reading This."

I highly suggest that folks make both if they can.
dunkin donuts 2 web.jpg

dunkin donuts 4 web.jpg

I am thrilled with these...I have more to go through, and I didn't get one that tops all others because I ran to the shooting while I was making these and when I came back the light didn't have the same quality. There's a tension in the one on the top with the figure so close to the edge and it causes an imbalance that I'm not sure works, but I'm thinking about it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

LEMON HOUND: In conversation with Zoe Strauss

LEMON HOUND: In conversation with Zoe Strauss...check out this intereview with me and award winning poet Sina Queyras.

Time Out New York: Don't Miss

I know I've been putting up every review and mention. This is because IT'S SO GREAT!

Worth noting is that both my brother (Mr. Cosmo Baker) and I got the coveted recommended astrick * in the last few issues of Time Out NY. This is without a doubt just the begining of my family's world wide take over.

Shooting at 4PM on Clementine St. June 20th, 2007

gunshot wound in leg cropped_1 web.jpg

on gurney web.jpg

gunshot wound leg _2 web.jpg


This poem is prefaced with
"please enjoy"
and you'd be out of your mind if you didn't enjoy!



NY Arts

Click above and please note why I am not a writer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Untold Story of Exploration by Lowell Thomas web


CEREALART Project Room presents: "Old Head Young Head"

Greg Tobias and Dan Murphy
June 28th - August 31, 2007

Opening reception: Thursday June 28, 5 -8pm

149 N 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106


BONUS!! I just received an email that included an interview with Greg and Dan (posted below)
and side by side photos made by GT and DB...and the last photo by Dan is of MY SUPER STAR SISTER SAVANNAH! How awesome is that?!?!


"World's Greatest Sister"
photo credit Dan Murphy

Third and Vine

Long Island Friends, don't miss this show. It's got me and the great Frank Bramblett in it. Rafael Ferrer hooked this show up, so it's a power packed Pew grouping. Up until July 8th.

"Third and Vine is about artists stimulating artists and making art accessible to all. Rafael Ferrer, who introduced the artists to this gallery, has long advocated making art available to everyone. A street corner seemed an appropriate title in more ways than one. This particular corner was the point of origin for an enduring friendship between Ferrer and Bramblett. The streets are also the context and inspiration for Zoe Strauss’ photography. All three artists aspire to bring art back to the streets and their inhabitants."

Monday, June 18, 2007

From Shore to Gursky, Part II

Honestly, we have A LOT of fucked up things here. But that being said, there's no doubt in my mind that Philadelphia, PA is the greatest city in the world. Good Night!

List of Reviews, Press and Blog Reports from "If You Reading This"

Village Voice, June 13-19th 2007 Sugar and Vice
Recommendations by R.C. Baker


New York Times, June 8th 2007, Art in Review by Roberta Smith


New York Magazine with reader's reviews.

The New Yorker June 11 2007

The New Yorker Short List June 18 2007



and more ArtBlog

Tim Connor

Justin James Reed

Heart as Arena


Friends, please let me know if you guys know of anything else. Thanks to all who took the time to write about my work...I'm really appreciative.


This is really very surreal.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

For Your FYI

Once someone my lady works with sent out an email with "for your FYI" as a header and it hasn't ceased to be funny to me since I heard it, which was over a year ago at this point. Why, WHY, "for your 'for your information'?" I'm going to guess no one will ever know.

Anyway, up to JUNE 4th IN EMAIL RESPONSES! Now I'm cooking with nuclear fission. The big email hold up doesn't mean that I get a tremendous number of emails, it means that I have a very hard time composing a response to emails that I get, and then I get completely overwhelmed and don't respond to any for over a month. I know it's nuts, but it's just how I am. I'm a phenomenally bad speller, to the point of a learning disability, and it takes me a LONG time to compose a simple response... so stuff piles up. I think that if I ever had to get a blackberry I would have a nervous breakdown. I've noticed that I ain't about "multi-tasking"; I can't food shop and talk on the phone and I can't watch TV and talk. But why do I have to? Why do we have to be doing EVERYTHING all the time? Fuck it, I'm going to walk and then I'm going to sit down and chew gum. I don't have to do both at the same time.

Aside- somehow my lady is able to do 30 things at the same time, and not just do them competently, but do them with great ease and skill. She is able to talk, watch TV and type some complex work thing on her blackberry SIMULTANEOUSLY. You heard me.


I am now up to MAY 22ND 2007 in email response. Cooking with gas!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Closing Party for If You Reading This

June 22nd

8:30 PM Party Begins (hell or highwater)
9 PM outdoor slideshow (weather permitting)

Silverstein Photography
535 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
P: 212-627-3930

Friday, June 15, 2007

Village Voice Review

Best in Show
Recommendations by R.C. Baker

Zoe Strauss
Whether photographing a bullet-pocked washing machine or a Philadelphia crack addict firing up, Strauss is a born composer. She crops a jowly, frowning woman at the forehead, mirroring her stained T-shirt, which sports a teddy bear cut off at the chin; colorful mattresses propped against a barbed-wire-topped fence anchor an armada of pastel balloons. Strauss conveys more sympathy than schadenfreude in these images of down-and-outers, and her eye for the absurd urban moment ("Victory Annex" spelled out in large, uneven letters across a dilapidated building) brings genuine pathos to harsh stretches of asphalt. Silverstein, 535 W 24th, 212-627-3930. Through June 23.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

bloody lip35 web

bloody lip30 web

bloody lip17_3web
Don't Drink or Sit deleted 13 web

Friday, June 22, 8:30PM, Closing Party

Honestly, that Sopranos ending was so great IT BLEW MY MIND.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Lady or the Tiger?

I'm looking to be both.
Despite how similar these portraits are, same subject same position, they all have subtle differences that completely change the feel of the photo from one to the next. The man's line of vision, lips slightly parted or closed; from arm to arm filling the frame or a sliver of space to move by the subject; shoulder position, square facing a viewer or slightly turned.

The bottom photo isn't one I would normally have in a first cut, but I think it's a pretty compelling photo. One of these will be good.

swastika web

swastika 6 web


swastika 3_1 web


swastika 5 web


swastika 4_1 web

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Second best use of "Don't Stop Believin" in film or television

#2. Last song in The Sopranos

#1. Rollerskating in Monster

Friday, June 08, 2007

2 Photos by Nick Ut

June 8th, 1972

June 8th, 2007

Nick Ut made both of the above photos.

California Pay Jail

In 1998, an estimated 56,500 Vietnam War-era veterans and 18,500 Persian Gulf War-era veterans were held in State and Federal prisons.

Nick Ut recalls the Events of June 8, 1972

Outdoor Slideshow and Closing Party


I'm sitting here on my couch, no, not doing work, but rather just reading and re-reading the Roberta Smith review and alternating between reading the hard copy in one of the 5 copies of the NY Times that I bought this morning and reading the online version.


then this

then back to this

then back to this

ad nauseam