The ramblings of a Californian, living in Nashville, going to Art School, looking towards the big city...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blog moving...

New posts will be at this address!

A blog entry in three parts...

Part One:

I've been inspired recently. Not making work or anything, but simply absorbing inspiring materials. Recently went and saw "It Might Get Loud,"

Even if you don't play guitar, or if the fact they included the Edge in the movie offends you because you only listen to skinny jean hipster music, the movie itself speaks a lot about being inspired, and where the "greats" seek their inspiration. I'd highly recommend it.

Part Two:

I recently finished a series of work for my applied lighting class that I thought I'd give you a chance to look at, it's based around my parents neighborhood in Franklin, TN. You can find it here

I have an opportunity this coming thursday to photograph Paul Overstreet, and I am pretty excited about that to say the least. For those of you who, like myself have never heard of Paul... he's a Grammy winning country music artist, as well as a songwriter for various artists that we probably have heard of. You can check him out here. So we'll see how that goes

Lastly, Part Three:

I recently had a revelation at school... Something that built a degree of humility in me. I was printing work for the Westhaven series and another photo student was working on some darkroom prints. I come to find out that they're in the photo 1 class being offered this semester, and because I'm interested in what the students around school are doing I start wandering and looking over the work... Well she asks my opinion, and I start to give her some feedback and she cuts me off telling me that she already knows this, and that... (mainly to do with prints drying down). And I realized something in the way I was reacting, every time I have tried to impress upon someone how much I happen to know about photography I've alienated and irritated them. From here on out, when I am given an opportunity to talk and ask advice from a knowledgeable photographer, I'm not gonna waste my energy to impress upon them the extent of my knowledge... It's not important, for them to know what I know... It's important to sit under their tutelage and absorb whatever they're willing to share with me. To be clear, I'm not trying to say that I am some great photographer and this person should have listened to me, but I wish it hadn't felt like they wanted me to know, that they know something... Does that make sense?



Monday, September 28, 2009

Flickr again...

So I joined flickr again... if you're on there add me

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Concept of Time

I think I have a vastly skewed sense of time, sometimes I leave myself way to much time to accomplish a certain something. For example, I think that writing a blog entry takes 30+ minutes... and truth be told it can, or even more... But as a rule if my blog's purpose is to share my thoughts as I sojourn on this journey of being an art student, it shouldn't take more time than I can spare. So... here's to new content.


Monday, September 7, 2009

What I've Been Doing.

So, it's been a while. School started... umm work... etc. I've been thinking about maybe writing a book, or at least a quality short story. I'm into this "post-apocalyptic" thing... Here's some stuff I'm looking at:

"The Colony"
A Discovery Channel "experiment" reality TV deal, where a number of volunteers are put into a post WW3, or a post-global pandemic environment. Wherein they need to live, create, co-habitate.

"The Road"
A Cormac McCarthy book. First off, I LOOOOVE Cormac, but regardless, this is a story of a father and son who trek through a burned America in search of the coast and hopefully a functioning civilization.

"Fallout 3"
A video game, roughly a First Person Shooter RPG, wherein your created character awakes in a fallout shelter and ventures out into the world to find a (once again) burned and desolate wasteland full of mutants, backwater civilizations, and conflict.

So... I dunno... if you have any other resources send them my way, if anything, I think my little story could be a good "have faith while questioning how God can let something terrible happen" kinda thing. Or not, or maybe my whim will pass. We shall see...


Thursday, August 20, 2009


"I think photography was inside me. Once I found it, it became stronger than me and I took refuge in it."
- Raymond Depardon

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alec Soth: Black Line of Woods

If you know me, you know that my favorite living working artist is Alec Soth. I have his books, I obsess over his work, I even had the opportunity to meet him after one of his lectures (I was shaking, and found it hard to talk). I just found out that Soth has a new body of work, commissioned by the High Museum in Atlanta called Black Line of Woods his only criteria for this work was that he must photograph in the south. You can read a lot more about this work here, but his general concept was that of runaways, hermits, specifically mentioning Huck Finn or Robinson Crusoe.
But something really cool about this exhibit is the five question interview with the artist attached. I want to share two specific questions with my friends one regarding medium and the debate about film or digital and another regarding being a photographer:

You work primarily with an 8 x 10 view camera. Can you describe the technical advantages and challenges of working in this format? Do you anticipate moving to a digital format in the future?

I work with lots of different cameras. One of my books was done with medium format and I've done a couple of smaller bodies of work digitally. I want to be like a filmmaker and work on a project-by-project basis. I admire the way someone like Steven Soderberg can do a high-budget Hollywood movie and then a small, like black-and-white experimental film. I want the same kind of freedom. The project comes first, then the technology.

What inspired you to become a photographer? Do you have any advice for up-and-coming photographers?

It took me awhile to find photography. I used to do temporary sculptures outdoors in the style of people like Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy. I would document these photographically. Eventually I just gave up the sculptures but continued with the photography.

My advice for up-and-coming photographers is to try lots of different kinds of photography. Along with personal projects, try doing assignment-driven work. Try sports photography. Or nudes. Try it all. Then be honest with yourself. If you really want to take pictures of your cat, then so be it. . . take pictures of your cat.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


When I first shot off Gallatin, I used to blast through 4-5 rolls in an hour or two... now I have a hard time shooting one. It's getting real now, and thus it's getting hard.


Thursday, July 23, 2009


...the obstacles that stand between you and your dreams seem enormous. Especially when stacked against life's pre-existing problems.

I finished my summer book-making class today.


I start school Aug 20th,

(In no particular order)
Shoot off Gallatin at least 3 more times.
Use my 4x5.
Write a better statement.
Go to Illinois to deal with my ticket.
Have a life.
Think about my future.
Save money for a new computer.
Develop above mentioned film.
Try and get involved in the artist community here in Nashville. (I can't go straight to the museums right?)

So whatev, we'll see.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fine/Commercial Artists

Don, Nashville 2009 © Aaron Shapiro

So, a lot of my "thinking time" has been occupied on the differences between an exclusively fine vs. an exclusively commercial artist. The differences are (in my humble opinion) as follows:

1. A fine artist's concern is primarily focused on the message (also read concept), something that is determined by, financed by, and marketed by the artist. Conversely, the commercial artist uses his gift as a means to earn a living. The commercial artist has some say in the message true, but usually there is an art director peeking over his/her shoulder making sure the "message" is in the best interest of the (company, ad campaign, non-profit, what-have-you).

2. The commercial artist's concern is the bottom-line, maybe not exclusively, but they have overhead, they gotta cover their nut essentially. While the fine artist will create their work usually at their own expense (sometimes subsidized by a grant). Once again the fine artist wants total control over their work, not offering any influence to financiers. A commercial artist does their work for someone else, the message in their work is dictated by their clients.

I mean... these are my opinions. I want to be a fine artist. I'm hoping to, and am willing to work another job (hopefully teaching art) in order to finance my work. I have a lot of friends who want to be commercial artists, and that is just as great, as respected, as valued. I guess we all have our preferences. Even commercial artists, once they've gained the respect of the industry their vision is trusted. Think of Avedon, Leibovitz, Schoeller, and Seliger. I doubt (I don't know) but I seriously doubt that an art director breathes down their neck now.

So anyway. That's what I've been thinking recently.


Friday, July 17, 2009

The greats.

So, when I started this blog, I was writing primarily and showing primarily the new, young artists out there. I think this is valuable, however at this point in my career I think it's vastly more important to look at the past and present masters. I am not going to write about any individuals tonight.

I am however going to talk a little about a movie I watched this morning. Meet the Robinsons. Yes, it's Disney kids movie, but I was overwhelmed and slightly misty eyed at the inherit theme throughout the movie. The story is about a young boy that loves to create inventions, and through many crazy capers and silly antics he's shown that anyone can accomplish anything if they just keep trying and "moving forward." I deeply believe that we are capable of great things, and it's the human nature of our's that allows us to settle for the average. Anyway, we could use more "entertainment" that had messages like this.


Monday, July 13, 2009


It's been about a week since I got back from Chicago. The trip was filled with different levels of excitement, stress, and overall enjoyment. Carissa and I were ticketed for running across train tracks, we saw an Alec Soth in the Art Institute, and spent some time with some good friends.

Something that I've been thinking about, especially when I see art hanging in museums is that I often feel like I am wasting my time right now, or that I'm not working hard enough. But I keep forgetting, I have years... I need to finish school, see what my life will entail, and the work will come with time. Very few if any of the artists hanging in the Art Institute, or in New York are 22. I have time, I just need to keep working on it.

Here's what I saw in Chicago.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

BravoTV Artist Reality TV Show

Have you guys seen this? I don't even know what I think about it yet...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

French Photo Contest Scandal

I came across this story on Chase Jarvis's blog, and it shocked me a little. I'll let you read the full story and description from Horses Think but suffice to say I don't really know what to think about it. It's not brilliant photography, but perhaps it IS brilliant artwork.

"Paris-Match awarded their annual Grand Prix du Photoreportage Etudiant this week to two French students who submitted a photographic story that apparently presented images documenting the precarious lives of students today and the things they must do to survive.

When the two winners, Guillaume Chauvin and Remi Hubert, both art students at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Strasbourg, stood up at the Sorbonne to claim their trophy and prize money, they announced the true nature of their work. The images were not photojournalism but staged images featuring many of their peers.

The winners claimed that the idea was hatched a year ago when they looked at all the work students were competing with for the 2008 prize. They realized that the “world view of this work was limited and seemed more like vacation photographs as opposed to photojournalism. The photographs depicted small children with big wet eyes in order to illustrate the misery abroad.”

Speaking to Le Figaro, Guillaume Chauvin confided that they “wanted to enter the contest in order to show the codes used too often in photojournalism and to prove that something real could be translated into something staged.”

Unfortunately, I could only find this on Le Figaro’s French website and had to use some of my own as well as some automatic translation to get the full gist of the story. If you read French, you can go to Le Figaro to read the rest.

To see the full set of staged photos, go here.


The British Journal of Photography just posted a brief write up about the story."

(Image and Story courtesy of Horses Think.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Martin Wilson

Sorry it's been so long since I blogged... But here's a new one!

Martin Wilson creates his images in an entire 35mm film strip, here's a quote

"My pictures are painstakingly created frame by frame on 35mm film. I get the whole film developed, scan it, then piece the final image together on the computer, making a large contact sheet. It's only when the completed film strips are laid out side by side in the contact sheets that the final image appear."

And some images:

(Images courtesy of Wilson's website)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jon Feinstein

Here's a body of work from Jon Feinstein, a NYC based photographer.

This series is called Friends&Family

"These portraits of my friends and family in intimate and transitional environments use the subtleties of light and gesture to investigate their hidden qualities." 2007

(Images courtesy Jon's Site)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jake Michaels

Jake is a Los Angeles based photographer who has done some very interesting time/local specific work that I'm really diggin'

First a sampling of his Current work

And lastly his series I-5 which was taken over a 24 hour period of driving from Mexico to Canada, with a photo taken every hour on the hour.

(Images courtesy of Jake's site)

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Watch THIS!!

This is me in a couple years. (Ready Carissa?? :-p )

Thanks J.R. for the link.

Herb and Dorothy

I saw this preview on another blog, I can't wait to get my hands on this movie. It frankly, looks amazing.

That'll be me in NYC soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ana Cuba

Today, I've got an artist that I really, really like. Ana Cuba. Her photographs really speak for themselves, I'm not going to say much except that her work inspires me to document my personal/romantic interactions when the time is appropriate. Her work has such a soft delicate touch to them, I just love it. I hope you enjoy as well.

From her Singles series:

From her Us Series:

(Images are as always courtesy, and copywritten by the artist, Ana Cuba)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Alan George

Another one from my archive,

This is Alan George. I think the reason I was initially drawn to him as an artist, is because he did two thirds of my "soft-life-plan" in that he lived in Nashville, and then moved to California. His work is really interesting first a couple from his Domesticated series, which is a study of plants domesticated for human use, which echo conditions in the larger context of the relationship between human and nature:

And secondly his work about Lower Alabama:

This series of images is a reexamination of a landscape that is both familiar and foreign to me. Having grown up in the south eastern part of the US, I am now just a yearly visitor. As the years have passed, this landscape seems more and more foreign and not identifiable as part of me as it once was. We all change over time, some more than others I imagine, but I don't think you can live life and not be affected, changed in someway over time. "We are the sum of our experiences", perhaps. Time has passed and experiences have accumulated, I am now a stranger in this landscape, I am changed in some fundamental way.

(Images Courtesy of Alan's Site)