Friday, February 29, 2008

If You Break the Skin: Showing March 6th!

March 6

108 E. Butler Ave.


And now I'm off to buy Charday a bus ticket home from Natchez, MS. Hello!? Trust fund should not be for getting you a bus ticket home like we're in a 70's afterschool special about runaways, Charday Laverty! I trust all who see Ms. Laverty after this debacle will get on her ass about GETTING A FULL-TIME JOB AND GOING TO COLLEGE! That's crazy talk coming from me, but I say it with conviction. I don't think college is for everyone, it was most certainly not for me, but in my assessment of Ms. Laverty's ways, I think college would be amazing for her. I hate to say this, Charday is somewhat like me in my early and mid teen years and to be completely honest I wouldn't change a thing I've done in my life, so I might not be the best person to "lead by example" with the college thing.

Charday would shine in school, from the structure and the inevitable accolades that would come her way.
Unfortunately, she's not just smart, she's also a "smart-ass." Off to Greyhound.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I met Lynn Bloom when I was 18 and fell in love with her right away. I was dating someone else when I met Ms. Bloom; not just dating, but actually living with a girlfriend, Heather. Heather and I started to date when I was 17, she worked at In General on South St and I worked at Tower Records. Heather was great. She was fun and smart and we were very much alike. We went to Nicaragua together and she moved right in with me when we got back.

But then I met Lynn Bloom. I met Ms. Bloom at West Coast Video, where she worked with my friend Elle. I was starry eyed from the moment I met LB. Jesus H. Christ, I was infatuated. And then about a week later I was in love. And almost 20 years later I'm still head over heels in love with her.
Blacklist: Recovering the Life of Canada Lee

2 Photos by Margaret Randall

Margaret Randall
sands_0145 web
sands_0145_2 web

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Greatest Day of the Year

Feb. 25: Lynn Bloom's birthday

Sunday, February 24, 2008

everything is not one dollar_9974_1 web

Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975) - Laura Mulvey

Click above to read Laura Mulvey's germinal piece where she introduces the idea of the gendered gaze.

"The magic of the Hollywood style at its best (and of all the cinema which fell within its sphere of influence) arose, not exclusively, but in one important aspect, from its skilled and satisfying manipulation of visual pleasure."
bunny_9884_2 web

I've made a few of photos of Bunny, the one above in her soon to be vacated room was made last week and the one below was made a few years ago. The one below remains my favorite.

55- bunny.jpg


Click the above link to check out the schedule for the HBO Billie Jean King documentary. I love Billie Jean and this was a pretty great documentary... a highlight was Billie Jean, the wife and the parents at Cosco.

Red Carpet Highlight!

two words: Gary Busey

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Feature: Concert Reviews

Feb 23rd- Wilco at the Tower Theater, John Doe opening.

Concert Report
1. Wilco was excellent.
2. John Doe was also excellent. "The New World" was a highlight
3. I love the Tower.
4. I became hysterical when I thought of Betsy Smittle, Garth Brooks gay sister. First, I forced Lynn Bloom to tell me who she would rather be with, me or Betty Smittle. Then I began using "Smittle" as a substitute for many words. For example, "I've got to go make a 'Betsy Smittle'" and "I'd like a 'Smittle' more water." Unfortunately, Lynn Bloom didn't find the use of the word "Smittle" as funny as I did.

I seriously can't stop laughing about this. But why is it so funny to me? I'm pretty sure it's because I have a remarkably stunted and immature sense of humor.

Betsy Smittle enjoyed having many long scarves tied to her bass while playing "Friends in Low Places" right into "We Shall Be Free."
rosemarie bed_9907_3 web

Friday, February 22, 2008

philadelphia airport_3828_1 web
woman in yellow shirt at berks el stop_0150 web

woman in yellow shirt at berks el stop_0160 web

American Beauty (1999)

Do you know this line from American Beauty?

"Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in." I often feel like that. It's from the scene where "Ricky Fitz" shows "Jane Burnham" the video of the plastic bag in the wind. One of the reasons that scene is so successful is because so many of us know of the beauty and mystery of the schoolyard and parking lot eddys. I have always been fascinated and moved by them. At Mayfair Elementary there were two corners of the school that often had vortexes, even with no perceptible wind. It was more paper, leaves and light weight school lunch refuse, and less plastic bags in the 70s. Plastic bags which now hang from the tops of cyclone fencing like leaves on trees and hang from trees like leaves on trees.

plastic bag_7461 web

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

drugs_2362_1 web

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

bruno_9861 webfrom train_3690_1 web
bruno_9835 web
Angelo Bruno

Thanks for everything Jean, including the great company.

Book Team... assemble!

OK, so I'm working like crazy on the book. The book is going to be amazing. Yesterday was the first meeting with the incredible design team of Todd Oldham's design group AKA "the book team." First, I do realize that Todd is a big celebrity and it is ridiculous to pretend like he's not. But, I have to move on from there and discuss how much I love Todd, because I love him so much. And also Tony. And also Kelly. Matt will still have to win my love, but I'm certain his day will come. And it's love across the board, because it's love of Todd personally AND of his work. Correct.

And the book is being published by AMMO. AMMO books= top notch.

The book team is spectacular. To put it in layman's terms, the book team is best described as the equivalent of a modern day Super Friends.

Here's the first part of the meeting...

(Not pictured, Steve and Gloria.)

Then here we all are in the back room talking about the cover...

Monday, February 18, 2008

As the elections near, I believe that there will be a false need for "heightened national security" with an attempt to whip Americans into a frenzy looking for a hard-edged McCain. There's no doubt in my mind that an "orange" alert will pop up. I also think it's possible that there will be a terrorist attack within the United States, caused by covet United States government action or through the US willfully ignoring a known threat.

To begin tomorrow: Cops with automatic weapons and bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol Amtrak trains and randomly search carry-on bags in a dramatic tightening of security.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Migraine Patterns

From Oliver Sacks recent NY Times blog post on visual patterns seen during migraines...

"In my own migraine auras, I would sometimes see — vividly with closed eyes, more faintly and transparently if I kept my eyes open — tiny branching lines, like twigs, or geometrical structures covering the entire visual field: lattices, checkerboards, cobwebs, and honeycombs. Sometimes there were more elaborate patterns, like Turkish carpets or complex mosaics; sometimes I saw scrolls and spirals, swirls and eddies; sometimes three-dimensional shapes like tiny pine cones or sea urchins."

"We can actually see, through such hallucinations, something of the dynamics of a large population of living nerve cells and, in particular, the role of what mathematicians term deterministic chaos in allowing complex patterns of activity to emerge throughout the visual cortex. This activity operates at a basic cellular level, far beneath the level of personal experience. They are archetypes, in a way, universals of human experience."

"...Much later still, when I first saw photographs of the Alhambra, with its intricate geometric mosaics, I started to wonder whether what I had taken to be a personal experience and resonance might in fact be part of a larger whole, whether certain basic forms of geometric art, going back for tens of thousands of years, might also reflect the external expression of universal experiences. Migraine-like patterns, so to speak, are seen not only in Islamic art, but in classical and medieval motifs, in Zapotec architecture, in the bark paintings of Aboriginal artists in Australia, in Acoma pottery, in Swazi basketry — in virtually every culture. There seems to have been, throughout human history, a need to externalize, to make art from, these internal experiences, from the decorative motifs of prehistoric cave paintings to the psychedelic art of the 1960s. Do the arabesques in our own minds, built into our own brain organization, provide us with our first intimations of geometry, of formal beauty?"

46 paula's-union-hall.jpg

Friday, February 15, 2008

from train_3703_1 web

from train_3703 web
from train_3690_1 web

from train_3699_1 web
pretty girl_9712 web

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You know who I love? Alex Mechanick! And Brian Mechanick! It's great being successful in my chosen field and all, but I wish we were just playing "topic switch."

A Public Space

Check out the new issue of "A Public Space". The photo on the front cover is "Man Sitting in Front of Team Mexico Football Fans" and the back cover is a photo of the great Carlos Gallegos.

fans with man sitting team mexico web


As soon as I got the new A Public Space in the mail, I emailed Carlos the photos below.

And greetings and love to Carlos before he leaves for JAPAN... NOT IRAQ! He had anticipated that he was going to be sent back to Iraq for his third tour, but he's being stationed in Japan, which is huge relief. Yes!


Does anyone remember that I have a brother in Japan? Hello, Walker?

Happy Valentines Day.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Peg by Steely Dan

I've seen your picture
Your name in lights above it
This is your big debut
Its like a dream come true
And when you smile for the camera
I know they're gonna love it

I like your pin shot
I keep it with your letter
Done up in blueprint blue
It sure looks good on you
So won't you smile for the camera
I know Ill love you better

It will come back to you
It will come back to you
Then the shutter falls
You see it all in 3-d
Its your favorite foreign movie

A Horrible Day: The End Of Polaroid Instant Film

"After 60 years of making instant pictures, Polaroid is peeling back from its film photography business. Polaroid quietly stopped manufacturing instant film cameras last year and will cease production of instant film altogether in 2009. The company will instead concentrate on its other interests, including selling Polaroid-branded digital cameras, digital photo frames and LCD televisions."

Pause, to Begin


Pause, to Begin is a unique, new photography competition currently accepting applications now until April 1, 2008, and the selected finalists will be announced online April 15, 2008. Ethan and David, the founders of Pause, to Begin, will hit the road in May, 2008 with a documentary filmmaker to visit the selected finalists and record the time they experience together.

By traveling to meet the selected finalists in-person, Pause, to Begin becomes a publication that reflects not only the visited photographers and their process for creating, but also the journey of making Pause, to Begin.

The word "pause" implies a stop to see, feel, and understand what one is photographing. We believe that by pausing the true potential of a photograph can be realized, discovered, and expanded upon. This allows one to "begin" to not only reflect about why he or she is making a photograph, but also gives them the opportunity to explore with their photography.

The first year of Pause, to Begin culminates in November, 2008 with the release of a limited edition, hard-bound fine art book that is distributed to important creatives in the photographic industry and available online for purchase. The selected photographers will also be exhibited at a to-be-announced gallery that will coincide with the book release celebration.

Pause, to Begin

Pause, to Begin Blog

Monday, February 11, 2008

two men ash wednesday_8948_1web
amtrak ash wednesday_8822_3 web

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Theory and Practice: Daytime Fireworks: Calling all Pyrotechnics Experts

Photographer Unknown to me.

I have been thinking about a daytime fireworks display for a long time and I recently got back into actively working on the idea after seeing this photo in a Life/Time book of 1940's photos. The pleasure of fireworks is the light, and daytime fireworks are about colored smoke, they're about the obscuring of light, which makes it very interesting to me. Of course there are a billion other things that are interesting to me about the idea of daytime "fireworks"; the implications of war and distress with sound and smoke being produced for a viewers pleasure, and the idea that we don't have to make that connection, we can view it purely for the pleasure of seeing.

"Daytime fireworks are smoke effects. When the firework bursts, a smoke cloud is produced. You can create various colors and visual patterns through the use of the smoke rather than through a burning light effect."

These are my first thoughts on how the daytime fireworks should be presented:

First, I would be interested in introducing an new component to the fireworks... when sending up one of the smoke effects shells (shells that are solely smoke effects, not the fireworks that have parachutes that waft to the ground) I wonder if it would be possible to include an organic powder element, a pigmented cornstarch or flour, that would float to the ground leaving a light layer of washable, non-staining colored powder. The "smoke" from daytime fireworks dissipates before it hits the ground. Obviously, it wouldn't be a tremendous amount of powder, but there would be a slight layering of different colors with each explosion if different colors pigments were used.. OR it could be the same color powder, I am strongly leaning toward red, leading to a more vibrant color trace on the ground. My vision for the powder is somewhat based on the pollen that can be found on cars after a strong rain in spring or summer.

And there's another component... take a look at these fireworks:

Black Cat Sky Painter
A DAYTIME cake that shoots many multi-colored parachutes that emit large
amounts of colored smoke as they plummet to the ground.

Brothers Captain America
Call on the Captain. He and his 29 cohorts parachute to earth carrying American
flags in trails of purple, blue, yellow and green smoke. Six shot finale.

Screaming Eagle
A huge red, white and blue parachute drops to the ground as it crackles
and smokes with a removable action figure attached.

OK, so there would be several kinds of parachutes I would want to manufacture... I would design the parachute and the item attached. These are "to be announced." I've got a number of ideas as to what they'll be but it's all in the beginning stages.

I'd also like the float down powder to be lightly scented with a pleasant scent, which will be determined by the construction of the rest of the project. I think I'd like it to be related to a native plant blooming, like the wintergreen of the Sweet Birch tree or Phlox in bloom, both PA natives.

At the end of the show people would be free to come and grab what's floated down from the sky. And then an overhead photo should be made of the ground after the "to be determined" parachutes are taken, of the marks made by the people through the light powder that lays on the ground. I see this more on concrete, but it could also be on grass between November and March.

There would be a two week time period in which the fireworks display could be shown, and it would go on the first day that weather permits: it would be shown on the first partly cloudy or overcast day with winds under 10 MPH, ideally under 5 MPH, and a dry ground; hence the 2 week time frame.

This is an expensive and time consuming project, but I'm thinking I can start working on it in earnest sometime in the next 5 years.



Smoke Bomb Materials

sugar (sucrose or table sugar)
potassium nitrate, KNO3, also known as saltpeter (you can find this at some garden supply stores in the fertilizer section, some pharmacies carry it too)
skillet or pan
aluminum foil

One way to make smoke is to craft a smoke bomb, but you can make a smoke powder, too. The parts or percents are by weight. Basically what you do is measure the ingredients, sift them together to mix them, and ignite the powder to produce smoke. Up to 2% sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) may be added to slow the combustion/cool the reaction, if necessary.


Another recipe:

The classic smoke bomb is a great project for the home or lab, producing lots of safe smoke, with purple flames. If you get dye and consider the shape of your creation, you can make a smoke bomb that billows clouds of brightly-colored smoke. This project is easy and safe enough to at home. Adult supervision is required.
Colored Smoke Bomb Materials

60 g (3 tablespoons) potassium nitrate (sold as saltpeter in garden supply shops)
40 g (2 tablespoons) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
60 g (3 tablespoons) powdered organic dye (found in laundry sections of the store as well as craft & hobby shops)
cardboard tube (best is an iced push-pop tube (eat the treat first), or you could use a toilet paper roll or section of paper towel tube, or even a rolled/taped paper tube)
duct tape
pen or pencil
firework fuse (hardware, rocketry, construction, or hobby shops, or scavenge it from a firework)
cotton balls
Make the Colored Smoke Bomb Mixture
Mix 60 g potassium nitrate with 40 g sugar in a saucepan over low heat. It's a 3:2 ratio, so if you don't have grams, use three large spoonfuls of potassium nitrate and two large spoonfuls of sugar (3 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons, if you feel the need to be precise).
The sugar will caramelize and brown. Stir the mixture continuously until it resembles smooth peanut butter.
Remove the mixture from heat.
Stir in a spoonful of baking soda (rounded teaspoon is fine). The baking soda is added to slow down the combustion when the smoke bomb is ignited.
Add three large spoonfuls (3 tablespoons) of powdered organic dye. Blue dye and orange dye are said to produce better results than the other colors. Stir to mix well.
Construct the smoke bomb while the mixture is still hot and pliable.

Organic Smoke Bomb Kits

Happy Belated Anniversary Roe V. Wade! January 22, 1973.

Every year I wish I could celebrate by having a abortion, but it's just too much effort to get pregnant. Instead I'll post well wishes for freedom of choice and that will have to be enough.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cleaning Windows by Van Morrison

Oh, the smell of the bakery from across the street
Got in my nose
As we carried our ladders down the street
With the wrought-iron gate rows
I went home and listened to Jimmie Rodgers in my lunch-break
Bought five woodbines at the shop on the corner
And went straight back to work.

Oh, sam was up on top
And I was on the bottom with the v
We went for lemonade and paris buns
At the shop and broke for tea
I collected from the lady
And I cleaned the fanlight inside-out
I was blowing saxophone on the weekend
In that down joint.

Whats my line?
Im happy cleaning windows
Take my time
Ill see you when my love grows
Baby dont let it slide
Im a working man in my prime
Cleaning windows (number a hundred and thirty-six)

I heard Leadbelly and Blind Lemon
On the street where I was born
Sonny Terry, Brownie Mcghee,
Muddy Waters singin Im a rolling stone
I went home and read my christmas humphreys book on zen
Curiosity killed the cat
Kerouacs dharma bums and on the road

Whats my line?
Im happy cleaning windows
Take my time
Ill see you when my love grows
Baby dont let it slide
Im a working man in my prime
Cleaning windows...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Click above to check out Michael David Murphy's documenting of the 2008 Presidential campaigns in South Carolina & Georgia.

Monday, February 04, 2008

In terms of the I-95 project, I structured the long-term blueprint on Bruce Springsteen's career. This was a very conscious decision, because I look to incorporate the specific to get at the universal and I find Bruce Springsteen's body of work exemplary in that fashion. Bruce Springsteen has built a lifetime of work while being conscious of his audience the entire time: each new album an autonomous and cohesive record, but not without references to what's come before. While I am most certainly interested in art, and photography particularly, "temporary autonomous zones" and historical references to image making with a camera, addressing the implications of "truth" within a burgeoning medium that hasn't even reached the point of reinvention, it's still being invented as I type this! and on and on and on... only Bruce Springsteen's body of work has been a direct influence on the big project.

I've got a lot of influences but to present them as linear is impossible. And why should I have to? I have noticed that a lot of folks like to hear a list of influences that lead directly to the production of art work. It's impossible! Who's not interested in everything in the world? That's crazy talk.

Here's some influences, or maybe it's just what I'm interested in. Atget, Walker Evans, Black Flag, Paula Cronan and Liz Bonaventura, Tee Corine, Anselm Kiefer, Cindy Sherman, Rosa Luxembourg, Cy Twombly, Nan Goldin, astronomy, Indian Miniature Paintings, Emma Goldman, anthracite coal mining, Oliver Sacks, Urban Planning, Helen Levitt, Louis Baltz, vexillology, Robert Frank, WPA and politics and political activism and American History, 1980 Phillies, Catcher in the Rye, Dorothy Allison and Exene Cervenka, On Our Backs and Off Our Backs, Diego Rivera, Frieda Kahlo and John Heartfield and Hannah Hoch and Mad magazine pre advertising.

Where can I stop? Everything above is as present as William Eggleston in thinking about my work. Why can't I have it all? Guess what? I can! I can have it all!

While I often have photos that distinctly reference artworks that have had great impact in my life, specifically Cy Twombly, Anselm Kiefer and Louis Baltz, Bruce Springsteen is the direct influence on the big plan, on the world wide take over plan. I'm in it for the long haul and I am devoted to producing the highest quality work I can. And I want to create an audience who will continue to follow my work over years. I had no idea what so ever when began I 95 if it would be successful, but my long term goals have remained the same since the beginning and I have just kept moving forward like Asahara's Rolls Royce limo was speeding towards Tokyo. Of course, my interest is producing the finest conceptual art in the world and killing it with photos that will enter the canon of great photographs, not Sarin gassing people on the subway, but you get the point.


Bruce Springsteen Discography

1973: Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
1973: The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
1975: Born to Run
1978: Darkness on the Edge of Town
1980: The River
1982: Nebraska
1984: Born in the U.S.A.
1986: Live/1975–85
1987: Tunnel of Love
1992: Human Touch
1992: Lucky Town
1995: The Ghost of Tom Joad
2002: The Rising
2005: Devils & Dust
2006: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
2007: Magic

Sunday, February 03, 2008

bunny_7746 web
Speaking of the Confederate States of America... remember this low point in recent American history?

Seriously, can you believe it? Looking at this photo now is shocking, genuinely shocking.

Also, where is the political analysis using the Patriots superbowl run as a metaphor for the Bush Ohio, or Florida, voting scandal? The "Patriots" are winners because they are cheaters. 3:12 to go in the game, first and goal for the Patriots and I hope those cheating bastards fumble and NY runs it in for a touchdown. And I hate the Giants! Hate them! But how can you support a team that cheats? Unless it's a kind of cheating that gets us a championship parade here. A little "Buddy Ball" never hurt anyone... well maybe more like it didn't hurt anyone with a career ending injury.