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Monday, 31 December 2007


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Thank you for sun dog. It made me shed tears.

Mike, thanks for posting the link to Bill Emory's essay. Usually, when you find something this emotional, it has descended into Hollywoody kitschy schmaltz. I think this one is beautiful.

Bill's Sun Dog essay should be required reading for any dog owner/lover. And I agree with Zaan's post.

Bill Emory has an amazing body of work. He lives with photography.

Having an ill 15 year old black dog it was almost too much to take to go through SUN DOG. It is so moving that I just want to go and hold onto my dog for awhile.

Just want to say a quick thanks to Anonymous and Martin S., whose comments I didn't post because I acted on them by making changes in the main listing. My New Year's Resolution for 2008: To not wait until December 31st to start writing the "Best of the Year" New Year's Day posting. (g)

Mike J.

Sure tell me how nice the Oly 12-60 is. Now I want one. Thanks a lot.

Emm Jay,
Proof's in the pudding--or, in this case, the images. Poke around the web and look at some of the results people are getting with the 12-60mm. Looks like a very well-behaved lens, not that Olympus can really do much wrong on the lensmaking front these days.

Mike J.

After all too quickly dismissing Chris Jordan as yet another flavor of the month, your assessment was accurate, fair and insightful.

Where can Chris Jordan's work be seen full scale? Even though he composites to get his full numbers of orange jumpsuits, just the single panel that perhaps represents the CIA's contribution would deserve standing in front of it and thinking very hard for a few moments.

And the GRDII is most readily available from Popflash. Aren't they a sponsor? They should be.


Some interesting and some unexpected choices there, Mike.

Just an opinion: Chris Jordan's work is not so much photography as it is shock imagery. (I've called it shock pointillism.) Still, since it seems to be in a class of its own it does tend to end up being grouped as photography since its 'pixels' are photographs.

I find Chris Jordan's work pretty inane, to tell the truth. If an artist wants to combine his work with politics, then he better be very, very good and the issues very, very large. Like the toothpicks thing, or the uniforms...I look at those images for a moment and my response/impulse would be something like,"Whoa...dude, like somebody pass the joint?"

I mean, the uniforms. What's that supposed to mean? That we have too many people in prison? Then what's the right number? Should we rise up and destroy capitalism because that puts people in prison...or destroy socialism, because that puts people in prison...or destroy poverty because that puts people in prison...or destroy evil because...blah blah blah. There are very few terrific art forms that capture a political essence, and that's more a product of time and usage than art effort: the American flag (terrific design and color) the Swastika (eye catching), the hammer & sickle (workers of the world, etc.) a few religious symbols -- the Cross and the Star of David. If you said "War!" how many people (what percentage) would jump up and yell "Guernica!" Probably the greatest artist of the 20th century and what many believe to be one of his greatest paintings, and how many would now recognize anything about what it meant, or means now. And Chris Jordan, I'm sorry, ain't Picasso.

Went to a Frida Kahlo show at the Walker Art Center today, very much prepared to dislike her work, and found that she was much more accomplished and subtle than I was prepared for, and I spent quite a bit of time looking at her stuff. Still, ANYTHING that she painted that had explicit reference to the political was inferior to her best stuff.

And Chris Jordan ain't no Frida Kahlo, either.


DMD? Was ist das DMD?

John Camp,

Yes the point of the prison uniform piece is exactly that we have too many people in prison. 2.5 million is an outrageous number of people to have in prison in a free society like ours and is topped only by Russia and China. China has a lot more people than the USA which can explain part of their greater number of prisoners, but they're also one of the least free countries on Earth. Russia's population is close to ours, and they have a lot less freedom too. Russia's not a totalitarian dictatorship anymore, but its also not a free society.

Most of the people in prison are there because they're poor. Rich men don't sell drugs. Rich men don't rob banks. Rich men don't steal. Middle class people don't do these things either. Why not? Because they make enough money in the legitimate economy to put a roof over their heads, eat every day, and pay the other myriad expenses that we have in our modern world. Many poor people are from families that have been poor for generations. They don't have well off parents to live with, like I did when I couldn't find a job after college. They have to find money somewhere, and that somewhere is often illegal when all other options are exhausted.

Here's what I want to know: If the government sent a check every month to every poor person in the country to give them enough to live, would it cost more than it costs to incarerate 2.5 million people? Eliminating poverty won't end crime, some crime isn't driven by economics. Jeffery Dahmer, for example, didn't kill cause he was poor (He wasn't poor). We'd still need prisons but the number of people locked up and the cost of running them would go WAY down.

While we're on that topic, i have a friend who is poor and was unemployed for a while. He had no home and was staying with whoever could keep him that night. He went to jail for a while for not paying child support. Because he had no money. None. The job market here was really bad at the time. No one was hiring, not even the crappy places like Micky D's and Wally World.

So the state puts him in jail, which makes it impossible for him to find a job if one opened up, and spends a ton of $$$ locking him up, plus the costs of finding him, arresting him, and trying his case in court. Wouldn't have been better if they helped him find a job? And if they couldn't find him one, wouldn't have been cheaper for the state to pay his $50 a week support rather than the $150 a day or so it took to keep him in jail? This is OUR tax money being wasted guys.

Happy New Year Mike,

I'm saving my pennies for an E3 and (maybe) the 12-60 since I own a 14-54.

I will check out that paper as I am always at the mercy of the guy who does my printing. He uses Moab and Hahnemuhle which always seem nice.

On the Chris Jordan note. I find his work to be exceptionally provocative and very poignant. Call it whatever you like it works for me. And by the way, his Katrina work proves he has chops as a straight shooter as well.

All the best in 2008 for the TOP.

Hmmm. Got to love those FIBER based glossy PAPERS!

I like the Harman, very interesting paper. But, Im thinking that I like the Epson stuff better as an all around paper. It's nice to see the paper makers getting away from the photo lab mentality that has dominated the look of glossy papers from the start of the digital EXPLOSION!

Chris Jordan? Seems like you had to be there and maybe I will be, someday. When I get there I'll be sure to make a comment. I do have a soft spot in my heart for the minimalists who use minimalism to express maximilism. I'm a sucker for monumental expressions of the staggering numbers and repetitions that describe the modern world. Though, I've to say, when you look at the installation shot of the Chris Jordan piece on a website jpeg, it looks like a Powerpoint™ presentation. Ha, that's the key to the whole thing (don't tell Chris I spilt the beans).

Go Ron Galbraith! Power to the people!

Who's Ansel Adams? All I know is Jacques-Henri Lartigue, the man was a party animal.

I heard they actually screwed up the digital noise that the Ricoh GRD fans were so digging. I was gonna buy that camera just for the noise, but now I'm reconsidering. Maybe I'll just buy it for the lens and then muck everything up in post.

Michael said.."balls to the wall".

David said.."That's an excellent way to make your son think that dad is cool" Right on! I did something similar except I used the "effin A" phrase in combo with some dabs of very loud "LOL's!"

..The Senior knows I'm a dork and the Freshman is getting suspicious.

Nice list, it's always interesting to see what's important to who. The OP lens poll was one of those eye openers in that respect...I'm still making payments on that one, still voting too.

You forgot to include the entry you made here on the subject of you considering the purchase of a new view camera...that was king of the hill reactionary stuff, Mike. Get it rolling.

I might be the only one who really loves Frida Kahlo's unabashed representation of her unibrow. Quite sexy, no retouching or interpolation to pump up the numbers.

Well, I totally missed the photograph about too many people in prison or destroying capitalism or all those other things. All I saw was a photograph showing a number of prison uniforms, that number being equal to the number of people imprisoned in the United States in the year 2005, no? That was the photograph. You think it's too many people, you think it's just the right number of people, you think it's only half as many people as should be imprisoned, that's YOU. That's not the photograph. The photograph was just 2.5 million uniforms. Sure was a lot of uniforms, and I think it's a terrific photograph and a terrific body of work. Makes me feel like a mere pixel pusher.

Who was it that said that all great art was political? Although probably not always the case, not even gonna go there. The thing that made me reconsider Chris Jordan after initially dismissing his work was the accompanying photo of the couple examining it. This particular body of work can only be fully appreciated and experienced in a gallery, where it can be properly viewed in all its manifestations: as both a "larger than life" abstract pattern in "the Newtonian universe," and up close and personal as one moves in and is allowed the discovery of its "subatomic" structure. Chop shop monitor viewing only presents isolated pieces of the puzzle here.

And I can't help but reflect how a very big lie can can cover up a whole multitude of sins...

John Camp,
Have you ever seen Chris Jordan's work?

Just askin'. Just sayin'....

Mike J.

John Camp,
Have you ever seen Chris Jordan's work?
Just askin'. Just sayin'....
Mike J.

No, I haven't -- not in person. I have seen repros and comments in some art magazine, or maybe more than one (I get Art Forum, Art News, Modern Painters and Art in America. Probably in one of those -- and if I remember correctly the one that struck me most sharply was a photo of stacks of shipping containers, because of the neat arrangement colors. It looked a little like a Sean Scully painting.)

But what I'd ask you, Mike, is what would the prison uniform picture mean to you, if you didn't know it was supposed to be a pile of prison uniforms? Would the photo then have any intrinsic meaning? Would it mean anything at all? What if it was a WalMart warehouse full of working mens uniforms? Would that be good or bad? The point being, the photo itself means nothing. Most of his photos need a text to make a point, and I don't think really good art does need a text. To take the prison uniforms just an example (other the toothpicks) they strike me as typical illustrations for an article in a publication like the New York Times magazine. YMMV, of course. 8-)


"what I'd ask you, Mike, is what would the prison uniform picture mean to you, if you didn't know it was supposed to be a pile of prison uniforms? Would the photo then have any intrinsic meaning? Would it mean anything at all?"

I don't have time to respond to this thoughtfully right now, but I'll just say that this question strikes me as absurd, sort of like asking, "What if Moby-Dick were about cats instead of whales? Would it have the same meaning to you then?" I'm not trying to ridicule you, I'm just saying that the meaning of artwork is what's most intrinsic about it to me. I don't think that's true of everyone, or that's it's the best way to be, necessarily. It's just the way *I* am. So to me there's no way to make the piece be about something else and still be the same piece. The meaning *is* the work.

Mike J.

I agree with the Ansel Adams book being book of the year, it should be the book of every year. I have a lot of their photos hanging up all around my house, as I'm sure many people do.

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