Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Photolucida 2011 part IV

Although Portland this time of year tends to be wet and gray it's citizens appear to be decidedly pleasant and upbeat. It is a wonderful venue for Photolucida. The city center has done what a lot of cities Portland's size haven't been able to pull off. It has retained it's older core and tastefully built upon that. Pervasive streetcars, well maintained streets and dignified shops show Portland to be prosperous in an old school way. The scale of the downtown and adjacent areas as well as a variety of destinations make walking enjoyable.

Nevertheless, the volume of young street people signals something gone wrong. The Sunday morning feeding of the homeless a block away from The Benson Hotel in O'Bryant Square, while certainly charitable, is truly shocking. According to this 2009 story Oregon led the nation in homelessness. Although desperation or substance abuse can lead to aggressive behavior, at no time did I see anything like that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Photolucida 2011 part III

Photolucida provided the opportunity to meet some photographers who've I've only known online. The toy camera work of Thomas Michael Alleman and Gordon Stettinius have been inspirational and I was pleased to convey that to them directly. I enjoyed hearing Gordon tell how he came to be the conservator and publisher of Gita Lenz's very satisfying photography. Elizabeth Sunday is a photographer who's work in Africa I've known about but had not seen in person. Her prints are wonderful and her generous comments about my efforts were also appreciated. I also enjoyed seeing Tami Bone's great prints and hearing her discuss her working methods in that charming Texas accent.

More Portland pictures taken while at Photolucida last week.

Photolucida 2011 part II

One common comment heard around the Benson Hotel lobby is 'How are your reviews going?' Well my reviews had a bookends quality to them. I had my first review on Thursday with Susan Spiritus of the eponymous gallery in Newport Beach, California. It couldn't have gone better. Susan was enthusiastic about my portfolio and the allotted time seemed insufficient. I left feeling that Photolucida was going to be a triumph. But of course that isn't how these events generally go.

The last reviewer on Sunday was Crista Dix proprietor of Wall Space Gallery in Seattle and Santa Barbara, California. Before looking at photos she asked what I hoped to get out of the review. I said that, like nearly everyone there, I was looking for opportunities to show work in galleries such as Wall Space. As she began flipping through the first few images I said that I hoped to show in Wall Space. Without pausing Ms Dix said that my work wasn't appropriate for Wall Space because she needed images that told stories outside of the frame. Since this happened within the first five minutes I contemplated making an early exit for the airport. Later, as I reviewed the artists chosen for representation, I have to admit to not getting the connection between Dix's stated goal and the images presented. As the review proceeded we had an interesting discussion about the economics of running a gallery and the tenuous times we're in. I wish her all the best in maintaining the galleries.

In between those bookends the most interesting review was also my disaster. Michael Mazzeo immediately started complaining about my presentation. Since I print on tracing paper it has become necessary to show photos in sleeves. To him this presented an obstacle. He then went on a rant that kept repeating 'I can't see them, they're too fuzzy'. Having no defense I simply kept quiet. As the review came to a conclusion I sincerely thanked him for honestly sharing his true feeling about what I showed. I might disagree, but that's how taste in art goes. I have no complaints.

On the lighter side, I discovered that reviewer Paula Tognarelli and I have a shared history. We both worked as strippers in our youth.

These are some shots I took while in Portland. They don't represent work I brought to Photolucida.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Photolucida 2011 part I

Having just returned from participating in the 2011 Photolucida I thought I'd post a few photos shot in Portland while not showing my portfolio. I've only been in Portland two other times and didn't feel I had a handle on the city in either visit. Also, the longer I remained in the hotel the greater the pull to have a break from telling lies about myself and get to the business about telling lies about the host city. (click image to see larger version)