Friday, November 30, 2007

I am cranking out this Open Satellite show and I have to say that I'd really like to see a little more of the super beautiful NorthWest.

This is definitely a works in progress show, with images on a different scale and using natural light so that the projection becomes visible as the sun goes down. I'm working it out. And the push pin wall is different too, similar colors together and more than one photo of the same person or place. I don't know, is seems like a number of parts that I'm not sure will all work together in this space, but I'll see how it goes. I'm interested in the daylight to night shift of prints to projection visibility... again, I'll have to see when it's all together.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

motel lobby tv 9_1  web
I'm in Bellevue, WA, right across the water from Seattle, and am working on pumping out this show at Open Satellite. This is the first time I've been in the Pacific Northwest and I'm interested in the ports and the insane growth and the logging to technology shift. It's like a little Dubai here in Bellevue, with a sky full of cranes and a non-stop growth of 20 story buildings and with strip malls and chain stores that stretch out from the little city center like Kudzu tendrils. No great photos have been made, but I'll be damned if I stop trying to get something amazing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One Week of 2007 Limited Edition Photos: Thursday and Sunday are Sold Out

Thursday and Sunday are sold out. The first batch went out...THANKS, JULIA! The second group will go out on Dec 10th. I'll update the remaining photo numbers tomorrow.

Greetings from the Pacific NorthWest

bear on tv motel lobby_1 web

santa backstage at factoria mall_1_levels_web

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The computer crash is a big problem to say the least. While I have backed up all my photos they are not saved in a very organized way... and while I have some stuff saved, I have lost my most recent email list.

Please resend me any pressing email or schedule info. Am I officiating your wedding? Helping you move? I DON'T KNOW! Please send me an email and tell me.



Sunday, November 25, 2007


My laptop crashed and everything on my hard drive was lost.
Right, this is NG, NO GOOD. Friends, because of the amount I have lost... this includes my most recent email lists and all of my old emails which I had been sorting and storing on my desktop among plans and to do lists and passwords and all my bookmarks... it will take me a while to get back up. I have to reinstall everything... if I have the original software, which I don't for photoshop and I've spent 2 hours on the phone with Adobe tonight and still haven't gotten up and running. I have backups for almost all but it will be a matter of finding the latest backups and there actually getting to the info.

All of the purchased Yearly Limited Edition Photos are done and ready to go, so no worries there.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

my hard drive failed and now I'm just sitting by the phone waiting for a call telling me if they've recovered some of data. Why am I posting this? I don't know.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Please watch this video of "Oprah's Favorite Things"

click above to watch the clip

Oh, Christ!

My computer crashed and I'll have to take it in tomorrow. I am praying that the files are still there, because I'll be super fucked if they're not. I think you know the diptychs sales will definitely be contributing to a new computer.

I am using my lady's computer to post this, and it's a pc which I can barely use. I seriously try to use all the mac hot keys on this computer every 30 seconds and then am aggravated that they don't work.

When there's a crash, it amazes me how dependent I've become on my computer. Someday I will learn to write with a pen again.
But that day is not today and I will be waiting with baited breath until 11am tomorrow when I can bring the lap top in with hopes it can be repaired within the hour.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

RIP Hy Lit

"Calling all my beats, beards, Buddhist cats, big-time spenders, money lenders, teetotalers, elbow benders, hog callers, home-run hitters, finger-poppin' daddys and cool babysitters."

We love you.
my email is busted, and although I sent an email to the hosts, my guess is that it won't be back up until after tomorrow since it's Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving From Major Drumstick, and all of us in Philadelphia!

Kicking off Thanksgiving right!
This amazing photo of Dann Cuellar, Lisa Thomas-Laury and Patti LaBelle singing "Let It Snow" begs one question, "Where the hell are Boyz 2 Men?"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One Week of 2007 Limited Edition Photos: Updated numbers as of November 20, 2007

click above to see how many are left of each print... you're still safe if getting a pair, but Thursday and Sunday are enroute to being sold out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

my god, I can not believe what's happening.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

United States Artists Ad

click above to enlarge

New York Times
Section 1
Page 10

LA Times
Section 1
Page 16

"Congratulations to this year's United States Artists Fellows, recipients each of $50,000 USA grants. The winners work in all artistic disciplines and come from across the country. Through the pursuit of their innovative work, they inspire creativity and provide us with a richer view of the world."

A recent survey shows that while 96% of Americans value art in their communities, strangely, only 27% value artists. Do your part to ensure that artists are as treasured as the art they create. To meet the USA Fellows pictured above, go to"

plus a few other papers ran this massive ad in support of artists, but those were the ones I bought.

An absolute highlight is that Lynn Bloom has a photo credit in the fine print at the bottom of this ad.

one of the greatest moments of my life.

Friday, November 16, 2007



much more later, but here's 2 big things:

1. I am a Gund Fellow, named for my underwriter, Agnes Gund.


What can I even say? I can't believe what's happening... it's surreal and amazing.

"United States Artists (USA), a national organization that provides direct support for living artists, today announced the recipients of fifty USA Fellowships for 2007 totaling $2.5 million. This marks the second year of the USA Fellows program, which annually awards fifty $50,000 unrestricted grants to artists of all disciplines from across the country, in recognition of the caliber and impact of their work. Expert panels selected the 53 winning artists (including three collaboratives) from among 344 nominated applicants ranging from 23 to 97 years of age and hailing from 42 states. The USA Fellows for 2007 will be honored this Saturday, November 17, in a celebration at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

The USA Fellows program honors artists working in eight artistic disciplines and at all stages of their careers, from emerging artists to mid-career to those who have achieved master status in their fields. The USA Fellowships for 2007 include three in Architecture and Design; five in Crafts and Traditional Arts; six in Dance; nine in Literature (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting); five in Media (film, radio, video); six in Music; six in Theater Arts; and 10 in Visual Arts. The complete list of winners is provided below.

Collectively, this year's USA Fellows represent a diverse spectrum of geographic, cultural, and ethnic perspectives. Their influences range from science to hip-hop and from the newest musical forms to ancient tribal traditions. The youngest of the USA Fellows for 2007 is 30-year-old violinist Leila Josefowicz; the eldest, renowned dancer and choreographer Anna Halprin, is 87. The honorees include the distinguished visual artist Ann Hamilton and theater director Robert Woodruff, whose acclaimed bodies of work stretch over decades. Others, like jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran, Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre, and visual artist Edgar Arceneaux are newer talents of early achievement and great promise. One particularly fortuitous outcome of the panel review process resulted in the selection of two USA Fellows for 2007 from the same family. Choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones is being honored alongside his sister, theater artist and writer Rhodessa Jones."

USA Fellows for 2007

Architecture and Design-

Benjamin Aranda and Christopher Lasch (Aranda/Lasch), New York City
Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues (Ball-Nogues Studio), Los Angeles
Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Tehrani (Office dA), Boston

Crafts and Traditional Arts-

Tommy Joseph, Sitka, Alaska
Gwendolyn Magee, Jackson, Miss.
Maggie Orth, Seattle
Virgil Ortiz, Cochiti Pueblo, N.M.
Susie Silook, Anchorage, Alaska


Joanna Haigood, San Francisco
Anna Halprin, San Francisco
Rennie Harris, Philadelphia- YES!!!
Bill T. Jones, New York City
Benjamin Millepied, New York City
Shen Wei, New York City


Marilyn Chin, San Diego
Henri Cole, Columbus, Ohio
Charles D'Ambrosio, Portland, Ore.
William Gay, Hohenwald, Tenn.
John Haines, Fairbanks, Alaska
Mat Johnson, Philadelphia
Cherríe Moraga, Oakland
Luis Valdez, San Juan Bautista, Calif.
Helena María Viramontes, Ithaca, N.Y.


Julie Dash, Los Angeles
Chris Eyre, Rapid City, S.D.
Judith Helfand, New York City
Alex Rivera, New York City
Susan Stone, San Francisco


Don Byron, Boiceville, N.Y.
Michael Doucet, Lafayette, La.
Leila Josefowicz, New York City
Jason Moran, New York City
John Santos, Oakland
Evan Ziporyn, Boston

Theater Arts-

Pat Bowie, Boca Raton, Fla.
Rhodessa Jones, San Francisco
Tina Landau, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Elizabeth LeCompte, New York City
Michael Sommers, Minneapolis
Robert Woodruff, New York City

Visual Arts-

Edgar Arceneaux, Los Angeles
Uta Barth, Los Angeles
Paul Chan, New York City
Charles Gaines, Los Angeles
Ann Hamilton, Columbus, Ohio
Daniel Joseph Martinez, Los Angeles
Marcos "Erre" Ramirez, San Ysidro, Calif.
Allan Sekula, Los Angeles
Gary Simmons, New York City
Zoe Strauss, Philadelphia



About United States Artists:

To nurture, support, and strengthen the work of America’s finest living artists

To ignite and endow the creative potential of America

• Quality: USA supports the highest level of excellence in work created by America’s finest artists throughout all stages of their careers.

• Creativity: USA affirms the importance of originality, imagination, and discovery.

• Innovation: USA encourages cultural innovators and inventors who continually push boundaries and provide fresh interpretations of our world today.

• Risk-Taking: USA promotes artistic risk-taking by providing time for reflection and work, without political and market pressures.

• Diversity: USA celebrates America's tremendous diversity by serving a constituency that is broad in artistic discipline, race, age, ethnicity, geography, and sexual orientation.

• Generosity: USA provides generous financial support and encouragement to artists and our field as both partners and advocates.

• Responsibility: USA operates with fiscal transparency, efficiency, and accountability.

I am having problems sending emails from our hotel, so if you are on the photo of the week list be prepared to receive an email announcement later.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Armistice Day

Carlos: 2 Iraq tours

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Year End 2007 Limited Edition Photos: One Week: CLOSED

Hold onto your hats, friends! I am producing a limited edition series of 7 diptychs.

Below are 7 pairs of prints. 200 dollars for each pair, in a 2007 edition of 10.

Image size for each photo is 7.5"x9.5", paper size is 8.5."x11", and each photo is an archival ink-jet print.

These are a limited edition 2007 issue...they will be signed as such and come with a letter from me. This means that I am only printing 10 of each pair of these photos at 7.5" by 9.5" in 2007. Who knows what I'll print in 2008, but there's only 10 from this year.

Each pair is named for a day of the week and begins with the first day of the work week.

These diptychs will only be available until Dec. 7, 2007. That's the witching hour, folks. The photos will be mailed out on November 26th, 2007 and December 10th, 2007. If all 10 of one of the pairs are sold before Dec. 7, I will remove the "buy now" button below and post that they're sold out.

Click on any image to enlarge it.
Please email my amazing assistant/intern, Julia Staples, at with any questions.

If you got one, THANKS!


One Week:

1. Limited Edition Pair: Monday

Detail I-95 (Satisfaction Guaranteed Removed) 2007
Detail I-95 (Camden Woman, Sunburned, with Hands on Hips) 2007

Original Digital Files 2007
Printed 2007
each image printed at 7.5" by 9.5"
Archival Inkjet Print
Signed Limited Edition 10/10


2. Limited Edition Pair: Tuesday

Detail I-95 (This Is Your Warning) 2007
Detail I-95 (Adam and Eve Room) 2007

Original Digital Files 2007
Printed 2007
each image printed at 7.5" by 9.5"
Archival Inkjet Print
Signed Limited Edition 10/10


3. Limited Edition Pair: Wednesday

Detail I-95 (Circus Circus from Parking Lot) 2007
Detail I-95 (Couple in Truth or Consequences) 2007

Original Digital Files 2007
Printed 2007
each image printed at 7.5" by 9.5"
Archival Inkjet Print
Signed Limited Edition 10/10


4. Limited Edition Pair: Thursday

Detail I-95 (Mirror in Closed Las Vegas Motel) 2007
Detail I-95 (Blue and Red Atlantic City Motel) 2007

Original Digital Files 2007
Printed 2007
each image printed at 7.5" by 9.5"
Archival Inkjet Print
Signed Limited Edition 10/10


5. Limited Edition Pair: Friday

Detail I-95 (Honey He Really Fuck Up) 2007
Detail I-95 (Don't Drink or Sit Deleted)2007

Original Digital Files 2007
Printed 2007
each image printed at 7.5" by 9.5"
Archival Inkjet Print
Signed Limited Edition 10/10


6. Limited Edition Pair: Saturday

Detail I-95 (Tanya) 2007
Detail I-95 (Kelley)2007

Original Digital Files 2007
Printed 2007
each image printed at 7.5" by 9.5"
Archival Inkjet Print
Signed Limited Edition 10/10


7. Limited Edition Pair: Sunday

Detail I-95 (Ken and Don 3_1) 2007
Detail I-95 (Stay Alive) 2007

Original Digital Files 2007
Printed 2007
each image printed at 7.5" by 9.5"
Archival Inkjet Print
Signed Limited Edition 10/10

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If You Break the Skin Trust Fund Prints

I am starting a trust fund for the If You Break the Skin youth filmmakers and for the first fundraiser I am offering a yearly limited edition archival ink-jet print for 200 bucks.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the "Detail I-95 (Phylicia's Bedroom Wall)" print sale will go into the “If You Break the Skin Trust Fund.” After the project ended, a number of the youth filmmakers have lacked cash for basic needs, and for items such as a cell phone with minutes, so a possible job could reach the applicant if they were hired. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Public Art Project does not have the budget to disperse funds as needed, hence, the print sales for the trust fund. The money from the sale of these prints will be saved and given to the youth filmmakers, at my discretion, when money is needed. All of the filmmakers will receive money from the fund. The money will also pay for carfare and meals for the youth film makers at all If You Break the Skin related events. Looking for a tax deductible donation? Look elsewhere friends! This is outside of all institutions and is intended as a "no-strings attached money is handed over as needed" trust fund. There ain't no social security numbers involved in this.

As usual, these prints are a yearly edition... meaning that I am only making 15 of these prints in 2007, and they will be signed as such. These prints are archival ink-jet prints of the photo above, at 7.5"x9.5"

Detail I-95 (Phylicia's Bedroom Wall)
Original Digital File 2006
Printed 2007
7.5" by 9.5" image size
Archival Inkjet Print
Limited Edition for 2007 1/15

Prints can be purchased through Paypal... please click the buy button below to purchase. I will remove the button and post when the 15 prints are sold.

Prints will be mailed the first week of December 2007.

Questions? Please contact my assistant/intern in charge of distribution and shipping, Julia Staples, at

Just want to donate to these guys? Donate any amount by clicking on the button below.


A little something about aging out of foster care.


Be on the look out for a few more yearly limited editions coming up.

Next one up will be to fund studio heater repair.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In: a success

Thanks to everyone who came!

Hex, Beth Stroud and Ellen Stroud, Elyse and Emilio, Jill, Shaun, Joanna Lee, Cousin Ellen Rosen and Roberta, the Exceptional Family, Gabe, Chris and Lore... I'm forgetting a billion people, remind me if I need to include you.

I have many people to thank for their participation in the film and the ongoing project.

Thanks to Johanna Plummer, without her this project would never have happened.
Thanks to Jared Martin and the BPA.
Thanks to Esther Rosa.
Thanks to Joanna Lee and Shaun Michel, DHS workers extraordinaire.
Joanna Lee helped me tremendously during the course of the summer project. I am eternally grateful for her advice, which I often needed during filming.
And Mr. Shaun was very supportive of the youth filmmakers during the difficult DHS ban, and is a constant supporter and champion of the filmmakers. He is respectful of their opinions and ideas and is empathetic while being firm. I respect him and the work he does and think he's great.
Thanks to my family, by choice, blood and marriage, immediate and extended.
Thanks to all who all worked on the film, in any aspect.
Thanks to John Pettit for his filming and for his archival mastery and all he's done on the film.
Thanks to Edan for his "sound work" and his "sound work"
Thanks to the entire staff of the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, particularly for their support during the DHS debacle.

Extra Special Thanks-

Thanks to Christine Settino, for her help as Educational Consultant during and after the film, particularly for her help in how to best articulate ideas to teenagers.

Thanks to David Kessler for his tireless work and devotion to the film and the importance of the summer project.

Thanks to:
Charday Laverty
Misha Sims
Daliyl Burton
Diane Woodlyn
Tameme McQueen
Tracey Curtis
Phylicia Allen
Shante Davis

Extra Extra Special Thanks-

Thanks to Charday Laverty, you're locked in

Thanks to Savannah Roberts, for her restructuring of the film, her edits, and her post-production work and for being world's greatest sister.

Thanks to my mom, Ilene Baker

Thanks to Lynn Bloom. None of my work would be possible without her. Lynn Bloom is, without a doubt, the greatest person I have ever met and I can't love her anymore than I do.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In: Press

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed." -Carl Jung

Here's a bunch of stuff about the festival and If You Break the Skin. Some are more about me, some are more about David Kessler, and some are more about the First Person Festival on the whole.

City Paper



Philadelphia Weekly

Philadelphia Weekly


Letter from Charday Laverty to the Philadelphia Department of Human Services

Monday, November 05, 2007

Remember, remember the 5th of November


A great intern and an awesome person!

Three Walkers

Walker Evans birthday was this week, November 3rd, and in honor of his birthday I'd like to spotlight 3 Walkers. Two of them are mainly about transcendence, one is mainly about jackassery. Thanks to my mom for sending me the Writer's Almanac link about Walker Evans.


1. Walker Evans

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest influences on my work. And a tremendous influence in my life.

"Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt." -- Walker Evans

Text from John Szarkowski, introduction to "Walker Evans"

Biography/Chronology of Walker Evans

Walker Evans
City Lunch Counter


2. Walker Percy

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest influences on my work. And a tremendous influence in my life.

"Walker Percy is chiefly known as a "philosophical novelist," but his contributions to human thought go well beyond the novels he wrote to include a rather substantial body of literary and scholastic commentary as well. Indeed, Percy's non-fiction writings might be said to reveal the elaborate, refined context in which the novelist generated his ideas for his fiction."
From "The Walker Percy" project introduction

Personally, "The Moviegoer" is often in my top 10 favorite books. "The Moviegoer" includes a passage of great importance to me... on one of Binx Bolling's many walks he remarks that newly built houses he's walking by seem haunted to him, not the older houses. Without a doubt, that passage has been of great importance in my life.

Walker Percy Project

Walker Percy's Homeward Journey by Patrick H. Samway

Walker Percy wikipedia

This the edition we had in my house growing up. Thanks, mom!


3. Walker Roberts

My own reclusive brother, who is a pain in my ass for living in Japan but is actually as much a genius as the two Walkers above. He does not like to be talked about, so I will just put up a photo of him as a child.

Hasid Walker

If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In Recap

I am writing up a lot of thank yous for the film coming up this week and I have to say that while I want the film to be seen, I am repulsed by the prospect of watching it.

There's a number of reasons for the repulsion. First, I think I sound like a complete imbicle throughout the film. My use of modifiers, particularly the word "like", is easily on par with a early 80's Valley girl parody. My speech pattern has caused me to flinch more than once while watching the film. I often have no fucking idea what I'm talking about. And why do I curse so much? Jesus H. Christ!

Second, I CAN NOT stand to look at images of myself (excluding a photoshopped photo of myself on a bear, which I could look at endlessly). Seriously, I can barely stand it and actually feel a little nauseous watching the complete buffoonary of myself.

BUT! I believe in this project, and the importance of art, "art" in the broadest definition, in all our lives as a means of connecting with the world. And I believe in art as a provocateur, leading us to think, to generate see beauty in our own lives and to question the meaning of beauty. To see what moves us, what appeals to us, what's impossible to us, what disgusts us, what makes us who we are. I mean that and I don't care if I sound too corny or earnest.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Kelley web.jpg

linda sunoco web

If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In Screening: November 7th, 2007

If You Break The Skin, You Must Come In

2007 First Person Festival

Wed November 7th, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM


First Person Stage
2111 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA

The documentary If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In does more than just scratch the surface of the lives it examines. When a group of adolescents in foster care were chosen to make a film about maverick photographer Zoe Strauss, the process turned inside out by having them turn the camera on themselves. The result is a sobering, but ultimately uplifting, look at using art to find joy and magic in the world that surrounds us. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Strauss, the director David Kessler and the young filmmakers, one of whom also curated a show of her photographs that will be on exhibit throughout the festival.

PLUS, a the panel discussion following the film will be awesome.

PLUS, a show of my photos in the lobby curated by Charday Laverty: Youth Filmmaker, Protege, Lady Killer, Smartass and Genius.

City Paper Arts Agenda Picks

Saturday, November 03, 2007




Para Carlos, y su familia, con el gratitiude y el amor

Friday, November 02, 2007

If You Break the Skin Article by Jen Colletta in the Philadelphia Gay News

This is a nice article about the film, and I'm happy that my Sapphic ways are highlighted in this piece... particularly because I was deemed an "inappropriate subject" for a documentary by the "youth" by a DHS worker who stepped in to try and halt the showing of the film. Not my work, which was explicitly put forth as "inappropriate" and "obscene" but a strong implication that I was "inappropriate" to work with these guys. Read into that what you will, no reason was given for why I was an "inappropriate subject." Just strong implications.

On a different note, when asked for a press photo of myself I now send a photo of me on a bear. At long last, it's been published with no explanation! It's just a photo of me on a bear and the caption is "Zoe Strauss." YES!!!

Of course, this was on the bottom of the PGN web homepage this week which linked to the article about the film, and so there was a little reference to me riding a bear... but still no explanation! Again, YES!

Silverstein show recap

This is a long lost post which was a response to a comment made right after "If You Reading This" went up...
"Those are pretty big prints for such low resolution cameras. How did they come out?"


You are correct, my friend! Those are very big prints for the cameras used. And they look awesome.

I was very interested in presenting my work in a different manner for this show. One of the things I've based the 95 show around is creating images that can hold up to color coping, images that are strong enough to withstand shifts in color and sharpness. The images also have to be able to withstand complete loss of shadow detail and blown out highlights. The image retains its integrity, despite allowing the composites that create the image on the whole to be seen. You can see the technology used in creating the photo; I don't have any interest in hiding it.

Is it grainy? Or, for digital, noisy? Is it soft? Mottling? Moiré pattern? I don't give a fuck if I think it's a strong photo. This isn't to say that I don't care about how my images are presented; obviously I care a tremendous amount. If the image is strong, the image is strong. This show subtly addressed a question that pops up quite a bit in my work; in a fluid, ongoing and open-ended narrative, how is “complete” defined?

I'm going at that from a couple of ways... the projection in the back will change a few times during the course of the show and the push pin wall will change if photos are purchased, new photos will replace the ones on the wall if any are bought.

two women camden 6_1_1 web.jpg
Strong moiré pattern in shirt.
This moiré pattern kills me, I love it in relation to the other woman’s arm.

I'm not concerned about sharpness in terms of getting right up on the prints. The larger sizes were made with the intent of viewing them from a few feet back, unlike the smaller prints which brings you physicaly closer to the image. Both are intimate in their presentation.

ica night view straight ahead

Making the photos larger is somewhat antithetical to my usual ways because it's asking viewers to step back to look at the photos as opposed to asking them to get right up on them. But I wanted to use the space in a way similar to how I used the ICA window above, meaning that I wanted to create an tight and intimate space by enlarging the images and having the viewer right up on them. This show is very different, but the tightness is there.

So, the way the show is installed in Silverstein, there's an "ease-in" in the front and then you’re right up on the photos no matter which way you turn in the middle room. Then the back room is the projection. I want viewers to walk into the 2nd room and see the installation from the center of the room as well as viewing the photos as individual pieces. And I want there to be a pinballing effect as folks move through the entire space, there’s a lot of connections happening with the photos and the gallery has an amazing number of sight lines. Not to be bragging or anything, but I nailed EVERY FUCKING ONE!

In terms of breathing room, you can have that when you leave.

For many reasons, this show has been great in helping me think about what direction I’m headed in for my 40s.

If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In Screening: November 7th, 2007

The documentary If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In does more than just scratch the surface of the lives it examines. When a group of adolescents in foster care were chosen to help make a film about maverick photographer Zoe Strauss, the process was turned inside out by having them turn the camera on themselves. The result is a sobering, but ultimately uplifting, look at using art to find joy and magic in the world that surrounds us. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Strauss, the director David Kessler, and the young filmmakers; one of whom, Charday Laverty, also curated the show of Strauss's photographs that will be on exhibit throughout the festival.

A Harmelin Media Series Event.

Wednesday, November 7th, 7PM
$10 at or 800.838.3006
The First Person Stage at 2111 Sansom Street
For more information, call 267.402.2059

David Kessler's statement about the film...

"If You Break the Skin represents about a year of work. The short story is that for five weeks, thanks to the Big Picture Alliance, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Achieving Independence Center, Zoe Strauss, producer Esther Rosa and myself, had the chance to work with a group of amazing kids and I think it's very safe to say that we all had a lasting effect on each other. What came out of it was a document of that time and I think the things that we learned about ourselves and each other are evident here.
The longer story is that we had to fight with scared bureaucrats, religious conservatives and institutional zombies to even get this film shown to a single person. I am very happy to say that First Person Arts, recognizing the importance of the stories told, has given us the opportunity to officially premiere the film to the world in their annual film festival. check them out at

If You Break the Skin is now updated with a soundtrack including Philadelphia's local music gurus King Britt and Marah.

Directed by David Kessler. Produced by Esther Rosa, the Big Picture Alliance and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Followed by a panel discussion with Zoe, David, Jared Martin from BPA and the young filmmakers. And an exhibition of Zoe Strauss photography curated by youth filmmaker, Charday Laverty."

Well said, David. Well said!


Color is a hook, and here's some use of color I dig.

I love the use of color in two Ridley Scott films, Blade Runner and Gladiator.

Blade Runner (1982)

Gladiator (2002)

I love the color in the original Star Trek.

The colors of the original Star Trek are amazing.
I am a big fan of the 1950's and 60's use of colored lighting to indicate other-worldliness. Star Trek employed the standard use of blue wash lighting to indicate night or a dark interior, such as a cave or tunnel. But in addition to the blue, a pink or ocher light was often included on the same set. Occasionally there would be a violet light, as seen above. Spectacular.

The Purkinje effect, the tendency of the peak sensitivity of the human eye to shift toward the blue end of the spectrum at low illumination levels, can be handled in any number of ways to indicate night or low light.

Check out the Gregory Crewdson photos below. The lighting is much more sophisticated than the Star Trek night scenes, but the Purkinje effect is still in full effect.

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson


And look at these. Are you kidding?


Here's a chart I made, unrelated to my aesthetic leanings. I'm very interested in the implication of era through color.

At some time in the future: Technicolor and Dye Transfers

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison Quote

"I long ago abandoned the notion of a life without storms, or a world without dry and killing seasons. Life is too complicated, too constantly changing, to be anything but what it is. And I am, by nature, too mercurial to be anything but deeply wary of the grave unnaturalness involved in any attempt to exert too much control over essentially uncontrollable forces. There will always be propelling, disturbing elements, and they will be there until, as Lowell put it, the watch is taken from the wrist. It is, at the end of the day, the individual moments of restlessness, of bleakness, of strong persuasions and maddened enthusiasms, that inform one's life, change the nature and direction of one's work, and give final meaning and color to one's loves and friendships."

- Kay Redfield Jamison

Kay Redfield Jamison:
on NPR
Charlie Rose interview

Recommended reading by Kay Jamison

An Unquiet Mind
Exuberance: The Passion for Life
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide