The Photo Exchange

James Nachtwey: My wish: Let my photographs bear witness

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim McKinniss on August 26, 2015

This video speaks for itself.

By Jim McKinniss

Miles Aldridge – The Pure Wonder at Fahey/Klein gallery

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim McKinniss on August 7, 2015
Miles Aldridge 3-D

Photo 3-D copyright by Miles Aldridge

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Photo Home Works #3 copyright by Miles Aldridge

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present the upcoming exhibition, “The Pure Wonder” a retrospective exhibition featuring work by London based contemporary photographer Miles Aldridge. Equally obsessed with women and with color, photographer Miles Aldridge masterfully creates visually compelling images. Working in the manner of a filmmaker, Aldridge’s world is a confluence of dream and reality. His images contain hyper-real scenes occupied by impossibly beautiful women, each an embodiment of seeming perfection. Every image however belies a darker sense of mystery and unease. Staring off vacantly, a beautiful blonde stabs a birthday cake with a knife, screams into a phone, or nonchalantly lights her cigarette on a stove while the gas flames lick her hair. Each arresting scene Aldridge has created explores the complex dualities of contemporary life– perfection and damage, violence and passivity, the mundane and the bizarre. Aldridge has simultaneously created both a dream world and a nightmare where anxiety, melancholy, and boredom seem so beautiful, it is impossible to look away.

This show runs September 10th – October 17th

Reception for the Artist: Thursday, September 10th, 7 – 9 pm

Fahey/Klein is located at 148 North La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone: (323) 934-2250 Fax: (323) 934-4243 –

By Jim McKinniss

Photographer Rondal Partridge dies at 97

Posted in Uncategorized by douglaspstockdale on July 3, 2015

Rondal Partridge

Rondal Partridge, in detail of a photo by Dorothea Lange

This is an extract from the LA Times article about the passing of the photographer Rondal Partridge, whose mother was the photographer Imogen Cunningham. This orbit was published June 29, 2015, and he passed on June 19,2015.

Partridge apprenticed himself to Ansel Adams as a teenager, lugging the master photographer’s heavy equipment up and down Yosemite’s majestic peaks. He also was fired on several occasions, including the time he tied Adams’ shoelaces together and made him fall on his face.

He has said Adams “always jumped over the fence … walked past the garbage. He always wanted to get an immaculate view,” his student once said, “and I spent my life stepping back to include the garbage in my photographic view.”

Pave It and Paint It Green

Copyright the estate of Rondal Partridge, “Pave It and Paint It Green,”

Partridge was born in San Francisco on Sept. 4, 1917, and grew up in a bohemian world. His father, Roi Partridge, was an accomplished etcher who taught at Mills College. His mother, Cunningham, was a photographer and free spirit known for her portraits of artists, botanical studies and nudes. She also was a founding member of Group f/64, the influential collective that included Adams, Lange and Edward Weston and pushed for greater realism in photography.Lange paid him $1 a week to be her darkroom assistant and driver across miles of Central California’s back roads, where she documented lives worn thin by the Depression. He considered her a more influential teacher than Adams and took one of his most memorable portraits at a migrant camp like those he visited with her.

In his last years, he devoted himself to mastering hand-coated platinum printing, a challenging process used by his mother that produces archival quality prints. He focused on images of plants, antique tools and dead animals.

“I don’t want the money. I don’t need the fame. I don’t need the admiration. I’d like all of those things, but I don’t need them,” he once said. “Because what I get from photographing is learning. I have spent my life learning by looking through a lens.”

A Quarter Century of Sharing the Light – The Photographers Exchange

Posted in Uncategorized by douglaspstockdale on June 19, 2015

Postcard-Photo Exchange

The Photographers Exchange is a group of photographers who have been meeting monthly for the past twenty five years at the Irvine Fine Arts Center (IFAC), located in Irvine, CA.

This is an exhibition of recent photographs, including your truly, to help celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the eclectic band of artist.

The artist reception will be Thursday, July 9th, from 6pm to 9pm.

We hope to see you there.

Cheers!

BC Space Gallery

235 Forest Avenue

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

949.497.1880

L.A. Photo Curator

Posted in Uncategorized by douglaspstockdale on April 19, 2015

Laurie_Freitag_Where

Where Copyright Laurie Freitag from The Lost Years series

Laurie Freitag, a Los Angeles based photographer, just announced her new company and website that should be of interest to photographers here on the Left Coast as well as Internationally.

L.A. Photo Curator, www.laphotocurator.com, is a monthly photographic competition focused on helping photographers get exposure. First place winners get a full article written about them. This month’s theme is:The Creative Self-Portrait curated by the amazing Jane Szabo – Fine Art Photography

L.A. Photo Curator believes that great photographs can fund great causes (an idea and concept which also resonates with yours truly!)

L.A. Photo Curator holds monthly photography competitions providing an opportunity for monthly winners to be reviewed by a diverse group of curators as well as help those in need by donating 20% of artist fees to the charity of the curator and first place winners choice.

MISSION & HOW IT WORKS

L.A. Photo Curator is in the business of cultivating emerging photographic artists by showing and reviewing their work online in our monthly competitions. We believe that great photographs can fund great social causes so 20% of the monthly artist fees go to the charity of the monthly curator’s choice and also to the charity of the first place winner’s choice. (10% to each.)

Our curators: choose the first place winner, 2nd place winner and also 3 honorable mentions.
The First Place winner gets a review of their work by the monthly curator mentioned upfront.  One or more of the other curators on our roster will add comments to the piece. Also included will be the artists bio & contact info. L.A. Photo Curator also interviews the first place winner making a substantial article for the artist to have online for their portfolio. Their work will be showcased on our site for the month and then archived on our site to refer back to for the future.
The Second Place winner gets a bio & contact info (website or email) as well as showcasing their photograph on our site. Their work will be showcased on our site for the month and then archived on our site to refer back to for the future.
The Three Honorable Mentions get website or contact info as well as showcasing their photograph on our site.Their work will be showcased on our site for the month and then archived on our site to refer back to for the future.
There will be a cash prize based on a percentage of the monthly artist fees submissions.

There are more than 200,000 fine artists working in the U.S., according to recent research by the National Endowment for the Arts. Our hope is to help artists market themselves by giving them exposure for their efforts as well as help out those in our society that are in need.
This is an international competition. All ages can enter.
To stay in the loop sign up on our CONTACT page and join us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/laphotocurator?ref=hl

Salt of the Earth; Academy Nominee for Best Documentary

Posted in Uncategorized by douglaspstockdale on April 19, 2015

For photographers, a recent Academy Nominee for Best Documentary (2014) that you need to be checking out is Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

As elegantly reviewed by Ron Wells, a writer and movie critic; “The Academy Award nominated documentary from Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado about renowned photographer Sebastiao Salgdo is one in which pictures speak much more than the proverbial 1,000 words. Salgdo has photographed both the hell that mankind creates on earth, as well as the beauty and hope that somehow saved his own soul from destruction. The images will linger in your mind forever, as will the words that he uses to describe what he was seeing at the time. This is not easy viewing, but it is necessary to understand that which humans often turn a blind eye towards, as well as the power of art to bring hard truths, reality, beauty and transcendence to a world that often defies explanation. Powerful, powerful stuff.”

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OivMlWXtWpY

A different trailer, here, is different and also good:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3674140/

Thanks for the shout out by PX member Ellen Butler, who adds: “this is showing at selected theaters around So Cal and is sooooooooooooo worth seeing, informative and powerful!

Detours of Life

Posted in Uncategorized by jeffalu on February 27, 2015

 

Self

Self Portrait, El Mirage Dry Lake, CA

 

An artist statement shouldn’t just sum up your intellect but also your emotions and feelings. Rather than summing your artistic beliefs up in a nice, neat little package, it should also talk about your weaknesses and your EXTREME beliefs, you know, the ones you’re too afraid to include in a “normal” artist statement.

One thing I’ve learned: A detour not taken is a world not explored. I’m not necessarily talking about a forced detour, I’m talking about all of the potential voluntary detours that we decide not to take because we’re so directly fixed upon our goals. It’s not always about the final piece of artwork, it’s about the life that you lead as you follow your path toward your artistic visions.

I once took a detour on a dry lake bed that led me into a saturated area which sucked my jeep right in. I Couldn’t move and it was getting dark. A lone house in the distance, who would I find there in the middle of the desert? Most likely crazy people. Nope, it was the elderly couple below who took me in for the night. I woke up early the next morning to dig the mud out from the front of my jeep and the elderly man used his tractor and a long piece of chain to finally pull my Jeep out.

 

hays

The Hays Family, who pulled my Jeep out of a “dry” lake bed.  I owe them the world.

 

That’s just one of the crazy incidents that have lead me to where I am today. Where that is, I can’t exactly say, but I can tell you that the road I have traveled on to get here has been a rocky one, though luckily the rocks have been relatively smooth.  I can say with confidence that I don’t have a single answer about this whole art thing, and I can only travel along having fun with it all, and seeing how things play out.  My own artist statement (below) was originally written to mock the classic, overly-intellectual artist statement.  However, after having lived with it for a few years, I realize that it has become to me a TRUE artist statement in that it expresses nothing about my art and everything about my life. Thank you for putting up with me here for the past month, it has been a wild ride!

 

Artist Statement:

Photography allows me to communicate the ways in which I see the world to others. Through it, I also discover new ways to see the world.

Personally, photography is an extension of some of my beliefs about life, such as the importance of constant searching. I’ve always been a seeker, and I always will be a seeker. What am I seeking? Answers to nagging questions on the meaning of life? Am I trying to collect heavy, provocative data so that I can form some kind of philosophical treaty in my mind about the workings of the world around me? Partially I suppose.

In fact, when I am out searching, I never have a set idea of what it is I’m looking for. I simply seek, occasionally finding exactly what it is I WASN’T seeking. For me, that’s the time I learn something new about life: When I discover a new path, a new way of seeing, a new reason for continuing my search.

Jeff-Alu-ReachII

“Outcrop”, El Mirage Dry Lake, CA

Certain things excite me: patterns and compositions which somehow come together to form a statement so complete and startling that they must be recognized; A knowledge that these patterns and compositions are ALWAYS present, everywhere; The hot sun, the barren desert, caffeine, loud music, wind blowing through my jeep as I drive very quickly, sometimes so quickly that I forget about my search. The Search? Maybe I don’t feel like searching just now, I think I’d rather kick back and relax a little. Maybe I don’t want to be reminded about my search, the pressure of it, I think I’ll just drive and see where this road takes me. This wind, this heat, this music is taking me to a place where finally, I can stop thinking. I can literally become one with whatever it is I’m supposed to become one with, not worry about life, just look at the shapes, those simple shapes, the shadows, the brightness, the blowing dust, the loudness of the smell and taste of everything around me. I think I’ll just let the 4Dness of this sensational overflow of emotion move me along or I’ll move into everything and shut my brain down for a while. Now, finally, I will be able to see.

I see a dry lakebed over there. Can I get to it somehow? Why would I want to, there’s nothing over there. Just a flat surface, what could possibly be worth looking at over there? And getting over there is going to be a hassle, no roads to lead me into it. Well, there is a small dirt road, but it’s full of rocks and brush. I can’t even be sure it leads to the lakebed, probably instead to some abandoned and completely uninteresting old house set up by a person crazy enough to have wanted to live in such an uninteresting spot on the earth.

But I take the road because it is the only road that leads to the area that I, for whatever reason, feel the need to explore. The road is rough, like life is rough, and I feel it, finally.

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“Embedded”, El Mirage Dry Lake, CA

The feeling I have as I drive along is great, one I love, one I experience only when I drive along here, in this type of terrain, or maybe when I try to imagine what it’s like to be here. I’m empty of emotion, yet quite satisfied. Maybe “empty of emotion” is not the best way to describe the feeling. “Empty” is the word, but not empty in the sense of feeling nothing. I feel so much now, as I drive along. I guess “empty” in this case means I’m finally devoid of all the unnecessary thought patterns I normally have on a given day. Usually, those thoughts I have which clog my arteries are present, but now they are absent. Or I’m absent of them. Or I’ve pushed them away. Or the scenery has pushed them away. It is a time of extreme freedom.

I flow. That’s a good way to describe it. Sure, the scenery flows by. My Jeep flows down the road. I flow past fences and rocks and bushes. So yeah, I flow along. But no, what I mean is *I* flow. ME. I flow through life as I move along, like I’m moving through it at an accelerated rate, without obstacles. Like I’m moving through a different world. A new planet. A new solar system. A different galaxy. No, it’s more than that. This is not just a new world. This is a totally different life. Not mine, a totally new state of being. A new existence. A place I hope to be, a place I’m glad I’ve found. That’s where I am now, in the desert.

So, what is it about this place? The absence of complexity, I think. Yeah, that’s what I mean. See, the desert is nothing but geography. Elevation with a thin skin. Nothing to obscure what’s real. Nothing to hide. “Nothing worth hiding”, I suppose some would say. Topography, something to navigate. A challenge of sorts, “can you make it through this harsh, barren wasteland”, to be cliche. No peach fuzz. Naked, neked, nonfat. Nothing to hide behind, nothing to lean against, no place to go to ask for advice. No fluff, no exaggerations, no timelines. Fractalization. Oh yeah, that’s a big one. Lots of Fractalization.

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“Tower”, El Mirage Dry Lake, CA

Fractalization. What the hell is that? That’s the biggest word on this page so far. Fun to say, too. Makes me sound important. I say it as I move along through paradise, “Fractalization!”. Paradise plus intellect equals ultimate high. Like I think I know what I’m talking about. Like I think I actually have the ability to express my ecstasy in large, fun-to-say words.

Ecstasy and intellect come in many forms. I really need to stop and take a pee. It’s adding up, the coffee. I’m on my 2nd “cup”, the 2nd of those large 16 OZers. The first one I got from home, the second, I picked up along the way. “I gotta pee me, I gotta pee me.” I pull over. I get out. I’m nowhere, so I need not worry about being seen. I pull’er out, let’er rip. My mind veers towards intellectual domains. The more relieved I become, the deeper my thoughts enter into a new world. The sound of a good pee is music. Even the slight splattering on my bare legs is a signal of accomplishment. Basically, I feel real good. And to think I thought I felt real good before.

Back in my Jeep, I’m moving along, the caffeine pumping, and the road is rougher now than it was before. I need to slow down, which I do, but only the minimal amount necessary to keep from getting one of those flat tires. I’ve heard those can be bad; can ruin your whole day. I don’t want anything to ruin any part of my day, and I’m sure nothing will, I’m an artist after all, and art has its way of breaking through in spite of the barriers which try to break it down.

The road up ahead is still rocky and I feel the rockiness pass under me and there are THOUSANDS of them and they fly by and I would count them if I thought I had a chance of keeping up with them and isn’t it odd how with so much moving past me in such commanding quantity the lake bed has not changed at all in shape or size. Looking back I cannot see the paved road I came from, and I’m sure I’ve traveled at least a few miles on this rocky road, which means, judging from the not-so-changing shape and size of the lake bed, I will need to drive over a deeply humbling number of rocks before I reach final flatness. And eventually I will have to drive back on this same road in the opposite direction, my tires meeting the opposite sides of all these rocks which are slowly communicating to me a desperate need to be elsewhere, somewhere familiar, with a cold beer. I do have a spare, but it’s a spare after all and there’s only one.

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“Safe To Shore”, El Mirage Dry Lake, CA

But I have the sound which I love of the wind and the dirt which is filling my ears and calming me down. I belong here, the sound PROVES that. It’s a rough sound, like this road, and it is welcome and I feel like I’m accomplishing everything I’ve ever set out to accomplish here and now and the beauty of this place is all that matters and the new sound, the hissing sound, is there now too and I’m aware of it but not yet letting it into my conscious mind because I don’t want anything destroying the perfection around me and there’s the wind and the heat and then the hissing sound is there more than it was before, not taking over the rough sound, not at all, but rather entering into my flow of thoughts so that I can no longer deny its presence and the road is rougher than before and there’s all the beauty around me and I no longer travel in a straight line but in short little arcs and I feel and hear a rhythmic pulse coming from behind and yet I feel like I’m floating and the light is bright and the shadows are long and black and the hissing, now VERY loud and I know, finally I know as I feel the heat and a huge rush of adrenaline that I can no longer deny that I have to stop…

 

…which, reluctantly, I do…

 

…and I turn off the engine and it dies…

 

…and there is only silence. Except for the wind which is still blowing and when it dies there’s only the hiss and I really love the sound of the wind and I wish that it would never die.

 

 

So that’s me, I was moving towards flatness and now I’m flat. I have a spare but no water. And I ask myself why I love to go out searching in the desert on extremely hot days. Alone. And yes, I get the spare on, and it does the job it was created for, and I make it back home, and life goes on, and even though I took not one single photo on this trip since I was too busy enjoying life and not in the mood to search for anything, I found something I suppose, though I won’t know what it is until I get further down my timeline, so I’m not going to worry about it now. I’m just going to look forward to my next desert trip and there’s really not much more I can tell you.

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“Reach”, El Mirage Dry Lake, CA

Jeff Alu
http://www.jeffalu.com

 

The Strangeness Of The Exhibition (A Surreal Short Story)

Posted in Photograph Exhibits, Uncategorized by jeffalu on February 11, 2015

 

Opening

 

A bottle of wine flies across the room and I see some kind of orange substance ground into the floor near the bar.  There are multiple, quiet conversations taking place, none of which I can resolve, nor which I care about, though I swear that I hear someone say, “boring”.  A woman approaches and asks me about something.  I’m sure I can hear her but nothing is making sense.  Something about intent.  There are too many lights and they are bright and distracting.  There are numerous people who appear to be staring at me.  They each have jiggling glasses of wine and I can smell them.  The floor below me feels soggy.  I see the bar, and the bartender is staring at me as well, but his eyes are more compassionate.  Through the window looking outside, I see many white lights quickly moving by.  Then there are bright red lights which move by much more frantically, and there is a loud sound.

The sound of the siren is excruciating and it sends me through some kind of barrier.  It awakens me.  I’m aware of a woman standing next to me and she is smiling.  She appears to be waiting for me to respond.  As I’ve learned to do, I apologize to her and ask her to repeat the question.  She asks me what my intent was when I took this photo.  She points, and I turn and look at the photo on the wall in the frame and I see a black and white representation of a crack in the ground with a pylon next to it.  Did I take that photo?  I think I would love to jump into it.  Something about it makes me want to scream for joy.  As to my intent, I recall the crack and the pylon asking me if I would please take their photo before they vanish, and I obeyed.  But I cannot say this to the woman.  I look back to the bartender for pointers and in hopes that he will send me a few words to play with but he is talking and pouring wine.  As a last resort, I think of something I’ve rehearsed and spit it out:  ‘The shapes are what intrigued me here.’   Then I pause.  In my nervousness I cannot remember the next part, and she stares at me but I give her my ‘final face’ so she’ll have to be satisfied.  ‘I see’, she says and then she quietly walks away.  My heart is pounding.  Flustered, I attempt to move toward the bar.

My journey there will not be an easy one.  There will be interruptions and mishaps along the way.  It’s possible that I will walk into someone and cause them to spill their wine.  They will question me about my photos and I’ll be forced to speak with them and will most likely spit out a rehearsed response.  Each step that I take increases my chances for an embarrassing encounter.  Someone reaches out and grabs my arm.  ‘Your work is beautiful’, they say.  I spit out a ‘thank you’ and continue toward the bar.  Someone else turns and faces me directly with a sad expression on their face, and utters, ‘Your work makes me feel so sad’.  I spit out an ‘I’m sorry’ and they smile, turning away.  I continue on but before I can move very far I trip over someone’s leg and fall forward, spilling their wine.  My hand lands in the puddle and arms grab at me to lift me up.  “I’m sorry”, I spit out, turning red as they lift me, and everyone is smiling.  As if nothing has happened, the conversations continue, though I still can’t resolve them.  I do hear someone say, ‘very trite’, however.   I try to stand back up straight but it’s difficult.  The room is so bright and confusing.  I continue forward and can see that the bar is now within my grasp.  There is the bartender with his compassionate eyes looking at me.  Behind him on the white wall I can see writing in black: ‘Photography by’ and then my own name in cursive.

I stumble into the bar and without diverting his gaze away from me the bartender moves to brace a few bottles of wine setting there.  I spit out, ‘I’m sorry” and he grins, and lifts up a brown bowl full of orange objects.  ‘Not to worry, have a cheese puff’, he offers.  There are numerous bowls filled with orange objects along the bar.  I look at them and then look back at the bowl he is holding.  I move to reach for one but am interrupted by a crash as someone drops a glass of wine behind me.  I look back but can’t see any broken glass and no one is reacting.  I turn back to the bowl of orange objects and touch one.  They feel soft and gritty. ‘His work is somewhat derivative’, I make out from a random direction as I taste the saltiness of the puff and look to the bartender for approval.  Still grinning, he lowers the bowl.  ‘You’re having quite a time today.’ he says, and then, ‘My name is Benny.  Benny the bartender.  And how are you, Mr. Jeff?’  He points to the wall behind him without turning away from me just as I begin to ask how he knows my name.  ‘You’re the star today, Mr. Jeff.  Everyone knows your name, a name worth knowing’.  He grins another grin and offers up the bowl again.  I shake my head and from another direction I think I hear someone say, ‘Photoshop?  Figures.’

A person approaches from the left, grabs my arm, and yells at me in a very high voice, ‘Your work reminds me of certain scenes from my childhood!’  It jolts me and in my reaction, I knock a bottle of wine off the bar which Benny matter-of-factly catches before it hits the ground.  I look to my left and a large male body builder type is there, waiting for my response.  I spit out, ‘thank you’.  The body builder nods, slaps my back with vigor, and quickly walks away.  I look to Benny who has his hand over his mouth, shoulders bouncing.  He takes his hand away and shrugs.  ‘Well, it would seem that many people admire you work.’, he says.  I nod and take another cheese puff, this one damp with wine.  From a direction perpendicular to the bar I hear, “Not much talent here.  I could do that.”

‘Benny’, I whisper, ‘believe it or not, I’m not having a good time here at all.  In fact I’m feeling very misunderstood’.  Benny, looking at me with those understanding eyes, says, ‘You know, I’m an artist too.  No, really!   You wouldn’t know it I realize, I mean, I’m the bartender here, but I do have to make a living.  I never feel misunderstood because I try to communicate my intentions through my art in a way that is so obvious that no one could possibly misunderstand.’  I think about this and I wonder if it’s even possible for art to communicate so directly.  I know for sure that my own art doesn’t communicate that way.  So I ask Benny, ‘What would you do if your art didn’t communicate directly, and there was so much left to interpretation that your audience couldn’t possibly know your intentions?’  Benny thought about this for a moment, and then answered, ‘Well, I suppose I would have to let them know through some other outlet’.

I think about this as I glance up and again notice my name on the wall.  Seeing it up there is somewhat reassuring, and I suddenly feel the need to boldly express myself in words, so I blurt out very loudly, “This entire exhibition is a waste of fuckin’ time!  It doesn’t at all represent how I feel or who I am or what I do!  When I’m out taking pictures, there’s HEAT, there’s DIRT, there’s NOISE, there’s EXCITEMENT!  But here, what do we have?  A clean, air conditioned room with wine and cheese puffs and uninformed people and my photos hanging nicely in neat little rows and in perfect little frames!  It’s all so completely counter to my mindset as an artist and even as a human being!  You know what I think the perfect exhibition would be?  I would take my photos and attach them to my Jeep and drive at least 100 miles per hour, and force you mother fuckers to drive along side of me to see my work!  Then maybe you would understand my mindset and who I am and just who the fuck it is you’re dealing with!”

After I finish, there is a silence the likes of which I’ve not heard since before I was conceived and I look at Benny who has eyes bigger and wider than any I have ever imagined.  Benny being Benny, he quickly recovers and says, ‘I think that came off very well.  Consider yourself understood!”  We mutually smile at one another at which point it all rushes back to me, the nervousness, the unconfident feelings, the feeling that I’m once again alone on a planet in another solar system and I am caught wearing unmatching socks.  Benny immediately understands of course, and shoots me a look of sympathy, as a monster approaches from the right and says in a whiney voice, “You know, I really liked your speech. It brought back to me subtle feelings of my last family vacation to Las Vegas.  But your photos do need a little work.’  I look back at Benny in disbelief and in a moment of weakness he can only hold up another brown bowl and mutter, ‘Cheese puff Mr. Jeff?’

I shudder.  Having reached a limit of sorts, I jerk quickly to the left and knock two bowls of cheese puffs into the air with such force that even Benny cannot catch them in time.  The cheese puffs fly upward, and when they land they are squished into the floor by my own shoes as I attempt to flee.  I find that I am immediately blocked by lovers of my work and so am forced to stop short, and adopting a false smile, I again slowly attempt to work my way through the crowd. Along my journey, I am asked questions and receive many compliments, the most poignant of which is,  “Your work makes me feel like I already know you, kind of like I AM you, which really pisses me off, because I mean, why the hell would I want to know you, let alone BE you?”  I continue slowly moving forward, until I finally make my way through the chilled room, out the front door and into the warm night, a few lingering admirers still trying to grab at me for punctuation.

I see many lights quickly moving by, and there are sounds that are immediately relaxing to me.  I take multiple deep breaths, and begin to gain my senses back.  It feels great to feel less insane.  I hear in the far distance the sounds of a marching band, there must be a parade somewhere. I concentrate on the passing cars and they ground me.  The full moon is lighting everything just enough so that I can hear what I see.  The music from the band is growing louder and I’m beginning to feel its vibrations.  I look to my right and in the moonlight I can see dancing reflections along the sidewalk. They pulsate to the rhythm of the music.  As they approach, I consider my current position in life and fear that I have a long way to go.  I realize that it doesn’t matter what others think, but it also doesn’t matter what I think.  I wonder if it’s possible to figure anything out but I also understand that it’s best not to worry about it.  The vibrations become critical and the marching band is right in front of me and there are tubas, trombones, trumpets, accordions, and a bass and snare drum.  They begin to circle around me on the narrow sidewalk.  They are playing very loudly and aggressively in tones and rhythms that are foreign to me.  Each band member is wearing a T-shirt with an imprint in large, red lettering that says, “None of this has to be how it is.”  Out of fear, I consider escaping back into the gallery and visiting with my admirers, but the music doesn’t allow for it.  I can hear each player playing individually as they move past me and it’s hypnotic.  Each instrument sounds unique but they all seem to be speaking with one voice in a unified chant which I take to be singing my praises.  I realize that I’ve been successful here today.  Everyone is here for me.  They all came for me.  Maybe it shouldn’t matter that they don’t understand me.

Four tubas stop in front of me and face me.  I can feel their vibrations very strongly.  They slowly move closer and closer.  The band which is now playing at fever pitch suddenly stops and there is silence.  I can only hear the cars passing  by.  The tuba players slowly begin to lean back and inhale as deeply as possible and when they’ve reached capacity they pause, looking at me with eyes of warning.  I pray that they won’t, but I know otherwise.  They lean forward quickly and exhale through their instruments with such force that all of the gallery windows shatter completely.

The sound of the tubas are excruciating and they send me through some kind of barrier.  They awaken me.  I look around and the band is gone.  My ears are ringing.  I turn and walk back inside the gallery.  Everything is cold and pristine and the room is empty.  I can hear the air conditioner.  Benny is there and I look at him and there are the bottles of wine on the bar and he stares back at me blankly.  ‘Benny, do you think anyone will come to my opening?’, I ask.  ‘Who the fuck is Benny?’ he yells as he grabs up one of the bottles from the bar and with an off-putting glare, launches it across the room.

Ian Ruhter – Silver and Light at Fahey/Klein Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim McKinniss on October 12, 2014
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Los Angeles River copyright by Ian Ruhter

Levi Brown

Levi Brown copyright by Ian Ruhter

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Elsa copyright by Ian Ruhter

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Downtown Los Angeles copyright by Ian Ruhter

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Biker, Los Angeles copyright by Ian Ruhter

In the process of losing my way I have taken a tremendous journey back to the 1800’s.  
I have time-traveled the way you would in a dream. Taking me backwards into the future, a future where you paint with silver and light.
-Ian Ruhter

Ian Ruhter had been working as a successful commercial and sports photographer when he first discovered the wet plate collodion process.The nineteenth century photographic process involves pouring a liquid mixture of iodides, bromides, and a solution called collodion over a glass or aluminum plate. The plate is then bathed in silver nitrate, making it light-sensitive. The plate must then be quickly exposed and developed in just a few minutes, before the collodion dries and loses sensitivity. The process is expensive, laborious, and extremely unpredictable. Temperature and moisture affect the chemicals greatly and can entirely alter the developing process, ruining a wet plate. But the results of this labor intensive process are undeniable– a completely unique and incredibly detailed image, with rich layers of silver suspended in emulsion producing a three dimensional effect. Because the process is produced and controlled entirely by hand, each plate is inherently unique, with the chemicals’ process leaving irregular and impossible to reproduce beautiful ghostly shadows, halos, and ripples in each plate.

Ian Ruhter’s collodion wet plate landscapes honor the tradition of the pioneering California photographers who documented the incredible landscape of the Western United States. Ruhter has surpassed his predecessors in scope by creating a body of work documenting modern American cityscapes and contemporary portraits. Ruhter’s images combine the unrefined, antique wet plate aesthetic with contemporary subject matter. Ruhter respects the tradition pioneered before him by early photographers, while challenging himself to work on an even larger scale. Ruhter and his team have mastered making wet plates measuring up to 48 X 60 inches, the largest wet plates ever created to date, where in one will be the centerpiece of the exhibition.
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Artist Reception on October 16 from 7-9pm
This show runs October 16 to November 29, 2014
Fahey/Klein is located at 148 North La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036  
Phone: (323) 934-2250
By Jim McKinniss

Nancy Baron “The Good Life > Palm Springs” at dnj Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim McKinniss on October 3, 2014
Mighty Joe

Mighty Joe copyright by Nancy Baron.

Bob's Red Car

Bob’s Red Car copyright by Nancy Baron.

Thought of as ‘Paradise,’ Palm Springs is a vacation spot for much of southern California. It is located about 100 miles from Los Angeles. Palm Springs has this resort reputation, which has spread nation-wide, because of its attractions amidst the desert sun. Nancy Baron, on the contrary, highlights the community aspects of locals there, sharing the small town quality that exists. Baron does not glamorize Palm Springs; she is a part-time resident, and is able to rejoice in the everyday life of this place. As she states, “I aim to capture and celebrate the majesty in worlds that could easily be overlooked, seen as mundane, or otherwise misunderstood.” Her photographs, illuminating the use of saturated colors and a specific style of decoration, emphasizes her observations and the possibility of a path to ‘The Good Life.’

This is Nancy Baron’s first solo show with dnj Gallery. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally, with an emphasis here, in southern California. She lives and works in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. The Good Life > Palm Springs is now a monograph published by Kehrer Verlag. It is currently available in Europe and will be available in the U.S. and Canada this fall, 2014.

This show runs through November 1, 2014

dnj gallery
2525 Michigan Avenue, Suite J1, Santa Monica, California 90404
Phone: 310.315.3551
Email: office@dnjgallery.net

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 am to 5 pm

By Jim McKinniss

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