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Friday, 20 September 2013


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Marvellous. The portraits are too much "bokeh hunting" for my personal taste, but the warm winter sun underlines the mixture of life and decay in the pictures. Bookmarked.

I spend a lot of time browsing photos on the web, but rarely do I find myself so captivated that I feel the urge to comment. Thank you for sharing this, the photos are breathtaking. And he makes interiors, portraits and landscapes all speak the same "language". Excellent.

Bryan Schutmaat's photo "Train Yard" is one of the few artworks I appreciated enough to feel compelled to purchase a print for myself from 20x200. Not exactly sure what up with http://20x200.com/ these days (seems they're relaunching/rebooting), but here's a URL of the photo on Flickr:


Definitely fits in with Ctein's article on presenting one's work well. I enjoyed the landscapes, but wanted to learn a little more about the people, who sometimes seemed presented just to gawk at. Anyone who knows humanity knows we have more than grim and flat expressions, even in depressed areas like old mining towns.

I could look at these over and over. Remarkable images.

Mike and Enrique, thanks. Bryan Schutmaat's work is excellent. I have seen some of these semi-abandoned towns (although I don't recognize these specific scenes), and he captures their feeling well.

A very nice set of pictures, but to me these cry out for captions -- who is this person, where is this place, what's the story here?

Beautiful, and so sad.

Superb work. Thanks for letting us know about it.

Wonderful work. Thanks for the heads up.

Wonderful work that reveals the essence of these forlorn places. Thanks for finding it Mike.

You can pre-order the book from silasfitch.org or from his web site.


Yes, indeed, this is a very effective essay.

Bryan won Aperture's 2013 Portfolio Prize. Those of you in, or visiting, NY can see some of this work on display at the Aperture Foundation until the end of October.

Very compelling, thanks Mike.

Great stuff. Inspires me to raise my game.

Beautiful work, great documents of these people and places. Sad too, but in a uniquely American way.

Bryan is a very good photographer, and he's shot some beautiful landscapes and details...but I don't understand the appeal of the "pose stiffly and look bored" school of portraiture. A bunch of awkward, emotionally vacant portraits add nothing to my understanding of mining towns.

Gorgeous and unique. Thankfully presented with a total lack of text to get in the way. Seeing someone let the images stand alone is so refreshing.

Bookmarked. Also makes me appreciate quiet colour, Mike.

Absolutely wonderful images, but I have to agree with John Krumm's comment above - I would have liked to see more humanity discovered, too much defeat, these people must smile, however rarely. I felt the images didn't give me - or the subjects - enough freedom. And just one (beautiful, but face hidden) woman?

Stunning work indeed. I've looked through that portfolio almost daily for months now. My favourite work of 2013!

A lot of the photos are clearly staged/directed/posed. But I also don't see the big deal re: the peanut butter. To me, at least, the more galling photographic manipulation is in the cooking turkey photo, where all the food packaging has been carefully arranged so we can't see the brand names or logos clearly. It's a cheap attempt to add a frisson of timeless nostalgia to the image.

It tickles me how the photographic medium lulls even its practitioners into conflating the photograph with reality. The very wonderful thing about photography, the reason it is so obviously an art, is precisely because it is not reality. Thank goodness we don't all sign an oath of documentation each time we pick up a camera, or perhaps it would have been unethical for me to remove that distracting wine glass from the frame of a photo of a plate of food I recently took, or for Bryan Schutmaat to arrange the spice jars just so or to incorporate (perhaps accidentally) the same jar of peanut butter in two different shots. In fact there's nothing in that body of work that conveys photojournalism or street/found photography to me at all; to judge them as if he had just stumbled upon these scenes strikes me as disingenuous. What I see are painterly still-lifes, meant to capture and distill and evoke something about a place that is altogether difficult to capture. As such, I find them very evocative. The challenge for Bryan (and for all of us, really) is that his approach doesn't become so refined that it becomes cliched. Which hints at the only fault I can find---that the obvious beauty of the images tends towards the predictable.

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