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Saturday, 16 February 2008


Beautiful Streit.

Polaroids were real nice. The Streit website made no sense to me.

"almost random single selection"

That's my wife, my niece, and I at our wedding rehearsal dinner at the Rainbow Room. Jamie was my best man and my niece was the flower girl.

I've always been in awe of this work. One day Jamie noticed that he had been taking one Polaroid a day for a couple of weeks, and kept doing it for the rest of his life.

Risa Mickenberg wrote this poem about Jamie's photos.

A Still Moment From Every Day

It's strange for someone to leave behind a record of every day of their life. Or to obsessively follow a project whose only perfect completion ends with their death.

Our work is always ahead of us. It starts when we are born and it ends when we die - this work of seeing, touching and affecting the world.

Jamie spread this collection out every year and examined it - reviewed it.

Our lives are a flood of images and we are collectors who keep a strange assortment of images: moments of extreme emotion, pain, beauty, and fear stand out. Events we're taught to remember: weddings, graduations, births, deaths.

Then there are the millions of images that we can't shake out of our heads, that come to us at strange times - things we can't remember why we remember: the gold threads in an old stereo speaker, the way the light hit a thousand cars in a parking lot by the water, the face of a stranger in a restaurant, a friend standing in a pool - you can't remember where, slapping the water with the flat of her hand.

Memory is a sieve that holds curious things. A life is a trail of strange, colorful memories.

Jamie's Photo-of-the-Day works like a life. A still moment from every day for years. Remains of the day, immortalized. It is a selection: what we choose to remember, what we add to our collection of days.

There was no set time of day. It was when the mood struck: this is what I will take.

It's an accumulation, a collection, a life's work.

I couldn't get Streit to work and I gave up, got nothing.

The Livingston piece haunts and keeps me, I'm owned.

Is Jamie an everyman? Is this an everyman concept? I think it is, though, I don't think Jamie was aware of this when he was going about this document.

I'm obessed with knowing what Jamie's rules were for this project. I want to know if he made his decisions as he edited through multiple images at the end of a day, or, if he was constantly tuned into the moments during his days, where a picture needed to be made for that day. That would take an incredible amount of focus and a certain separation...being to aware of the actual project.

In some sense, you have to live your life and get on with it...you make the document and then you back off and let life happen?? I'm sure this guy was a sx-70 addict and kept things loose...it does raise a question as to the constraints, any of them, that an artists has in place when they set out to do something. These things had to cross his mind because he was obviously and beautifully obsessed

Many of us know how it was when you had an sx-70 with some film in it...I always burned through that stuff and then felt like a drug addict when I ran out...where can I get more film and can we keep taking pictures. I'm sure he had this camera at an arms length all day long.

Since I first started wandering through there, I find myself trying to align important dates in my life with Livingston's days. I don't find great revelations..I do find a strange sort of pleasure in that I can do this.

This thing has snagged a few tears from me several times since I followed Hugh Crawford's link in that Polaroid entry, always at the most unexpected moments and sometimes on images that have absolutely no tangible element of sentimentality or things that would normally jerk a tear. Not blubbering..just that rush of a tear coming when a switch gets flipped. I can't quite put my finger on why...Is it the breadth of the series? The dedication to it? The parallels I create in my own life alongside this person's experience and his documentation of the things that were important to him? The fact that he took the time to honor the people and moments in his experience? That he dies at during the project?

It's staggering to me and is easily the most powerful series of this kind that I've ever seen. It might be, for me, the best example I've seen of the power that photography can have.

I don't know what's wrong with that Streit site. I tried arrows keys as indicated and also the mouse. Kept on saying it was loading but never moved off the first image. After a minute or so I just gave up. Another site trying to impress with flash that shoots itself in the foot. For me anyway.

Jindřich Štreit really is and has been a great artist. One of the main paragons to fall in love with photography, years ago, when I was a kid. Here in Praha, I have just been to a great photo exhibition of J.Štreit on the Old Town Square. Those village and country side photos of small people... Amazing testimonial of past few decades. J.Štreit is also known for running summers photo school for young photographers. I met J.Štreit years back when I was much younger, you could tell in his presence that not only had this chap the eye, but also a strongly radiating charisma. I recommend readers to check other photograpers of Czech origin too - Josef Koudelka, some will, at least, know wordly renowned documentarist and portrait photographer Antonin Kratochvil.

Polaroids as a whole were fantastic. Jamie had a great eye, and was a real loss. I liked all the tilted horizons, they added interest to the photos. On a technical note, the body of work is a good reminder that great photos don't need to be perfectly exposed on the latest uber-camera pointed at the Grand Canyon at sunset to be inspirational.

The Streit site works quite well actually. It doesn't work until all the images are loaded, about five to ten minutes, then its a real pleasure, worth the wait. ch

I agree with David, seeing Livingston work has been a very strong and moving experience.
I think the moving part is the tangible experience this serie of pics gives of how short life is, and to some extent, how unimportant. We make friends, we have wifes and sons, we smile, we cry, a flux of irrelevant facts until the day we simply stop for ever.
The good part is it gives the feeling of a life really lived.

Streit's work is certainly worth seeing. I found that if I right-click on his site, and so reach the Adobe Flash Player Settings, and move the slider to 1mb (in the "local storage" section- one of those little icons on the bottom of the box), the pictures load easily.
Hope this works for everyone else!

Very interesting selections for random excellence, and kind of counterpoint: the few and the many.

Reading all these Polaroid mournings and reminiscences I start to feel that I also need a decent Polaroid camera like an SX70. I just have a plastic fun camera that takes 600 film, which is ISO 640 and the fixed aperture of the lens is 13 or so, i.e. it is quite useless for me.

So does anyone know if it makes sense to start using a Polaroid, or will Polaroid film be still available for some years?

Because I also have that feeling that a Polaroid is something like a little treasure, a candy as someone said... in all is uniqueness.

I am glad that TOP is mostly about such artsy stuff, which is inspiring and satisfies the visual and intellectual desire.

best always

The interface on Streit's web site is clearly an example of the absurd Czech sense of humor. It's well worth looking through if you can get it working.

I walked away from my laptop for a bit, and after I came back I found I could click on the arrow cursor that eventually appears to move the slide show to the left or the right.

Thank you for the follow up on the Jamie process...very interesting to hear that he applied a discipline to this thing, that makes it all the better for me.

I got the Streit site working, thanks for the tip on letting it load for a awhile.

This dude has a great sense of humor, wonderful stuff and a nice dose of sarcasm here and there.

Those Streits remind me in many ways of Charles Simic's poems...one of my favorite American poets who, a little while ago. was plopped into the role of being America's Poet Laureate. That struck me as funny and I'm sure Charlie was amused by it too. Charlie's roots are Yugoslavian but he made his way to the States...his work reflects a definite cross-pollination.

Anyhow, those images remind me of his work in moments...a general theme of Charlie's...much much stuff wrapped up inside (and outside) of the mundane...the erotic, the mysterious.

If you don't know Charlie then you should...go find him. I'm liking this Streit quite a bit.

Solid weekend on the Online Photog, lots of cool stuff being tossed out.

I met Jindřich Štreit a couple of years ago when he gave a presentation to a class I attended in CZ. What an impressive individual and I am so jealous of the subject matter that he has had available throughout his tenure.

I love today's color photography- but sure is nice "going back" and seeing just how lyrical and life affirming B&W can be!

And if you like Streit, chances are you'll like Ellicson:

Hi, I've changed site engine, so you can go through pictures while it's loading. Maybe we have a faster internet connection here in Czech Republic, because nobody told me about long loading before. It was 10sec max. Enjoy the site now.

I had great plasure and honor to meet Jindrich Streit personally two weeks ago in Warsaw, Poland. He has outstanding personality. During the meeting he told us a lot about how does he work, about people he deal with. He is very kind person and has a lot of respect for people he photograph so they repay him by beeing great "models" :-)
For those who have problems with Mr Streit's site, he is another one with his pictures: http://www.talent.cz/jindrich-streit/0/

good story with a lot of information for me.

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