Who Are You?

As an artist, who are your role models? Whose pictures make you want to make pictures? Is there some sort of influence from another medium—poetry, music, couture? Ray K. Metzker took inspiration from contemporary percussive compositions; Walker Evans was inspired by Charles Baudelaire and Gustave Flaubert, as well as Eugene Atget (though he tried to obfuscate that connection), and repelled by Alfred Stieglitz.


In my informal education, I was drawn to Robert Frank and Ken Josephson (lucky me); Diane Arbus, introduced to me by good friends who simply showed me the book and let it knock me for a loop; and an anthology of pictures of musicians published by Rolling Stone magazine. (Also, there is a children’s book titled “A Hole Is To Dig.”) Ask Ms. H. who hers were. Lately I’m interested in Giorgio Morandi and Henry Threadgill.




This is not idle chatter: it’s not only important to know whose are whose, but also whose others’ are. A current runs through everyone’s best pictures. It’s a conversation, and it’s a continuum.


So what’s your specific, personal answer to my questions?

We  want to know. It’s Comment Time. Click on it.



A colleague suggested I link this site (in one direction or the other, or both) to the Art Department’s site (if it ever gets its act together). I’m comfortable going from here to there but not the other way. This place is a serious, real-world web log, and subject matter in photography does not limit itself to the politically correct, FCC-style network guidelines mentality; but  eliminating the possibility of the potential messiness of art right from the get-go? Why bother with the whole enterprise? I  cannot guarantee the nature of content in any of the links I provide. They are carefully chosen, but we have no control over them, nor should we.


…to Our Own Jessen, late of draft age, who was selected as one of about 125 out of 3100 to be part of the exhibit at Drexel University, corner of Arch and 33rd Streets in Philadelphia from January 31st to February 28th, with a public opening reception the afternoon of the 31st. Road trip!

                                    (Photograph by Diamond)

January Shows to Attend

Here are four excellent exhibits for you to visit in Chicago before the next semester begins. There are two one-person shows and two two-person shows, in every kind of venue one might imagine.


At the Museum of Contemporary Photography, on the ground floor of Columbia College’s main building, you can see “Michael Wolf: The Transparent City.” Perhaps you recall I pooh-poohed* it when the poster first arrived, dismissing what appeared to be visual trickery; I was wrong. It’s mature and fascinating.




About a mile and a half up Michigan Avenue, in the old Water Tower, Columbia has also mounted around two dozen sparkling prints by Scott Fortino, an acquaintance of mine from Ray Metzker’s Senior Seminar class. Is Scott the only Chicago police officer with major gallery representation? Could be.




Several blocks west, and down on Superior, are Schneider Gallery and Catherine Edelman. At Schneider, see what’s glibly described (by me) as photographs embedded in glass by Pablo Soria; and more serious work by Jorge Martin. At Edelman, one of the exhibits is “It’s Complicated: The American Teenager” by Robin Bowman.




Lastly, about another mile and a half west of there at 1433 West Chicago Avenue, a place I have not visited called Architrouve with a presentation called “Fine Art Rescue Revisited.” The Reader says it’s “Photos by Robert Mapplethorpe and Jock Sturges; the exhibit also addresses art preservation.” Judging by the names of the photographers, there is more than a little flesh in the photographs; that’s OK, don’t worry. I also don’t know what the preservation portion is—yet. Better call before going, to see what their hours are (or watch this space): 312.563.0977. Stop in at Rockstar Hot Dogs, too, a block away at the corner of Ashland. You get a free tattoo with every order, and you can see photographs by Philin Phlash (!).


All of these happen to be free, and it makes for a big day in the big downtown, including luncheon. Plus, you can do it all without an automobile. I can help you with logistics. Galleries aren’t open on Mondays, so the days after finals are best. Do it. Bonus karma for all.


* a real word


Woodstock Opportunity

The Northwest Area Arts Council mounts an annual exhibit called “Women’s Works” in the old courthouse on the town square in Woodstock. The entry fee is a typical 35.00 (OK, it’s on the high side).


OTOH… there is an ancillary, concurrent show with the unfortunate name “Little Women’s Works.” If you are of the appropriate gender and not over 17, you may enter the show for the low, low fee of five dollars.


This is definitely worth your consideration. Talk to me; I’ll facilitate delivery on February 28 and pickup too. Check it out:



Elements & Principles of Design

Here are three different explications of the elements and principles of design for you to peruse.







The Girl Project

Kate Engelbrecht has a terrific idea: to pre-loaded disposable cameras available to as many adolescent (and shorter) females as want them, to collate and display their best (in her opinion) pictures. Editing and sequencing appeals to me too: I do it all the time, and it’s a pleasure, therefore I think her idea is a good idea.


Look at her warren of web sites and act quickly. The project is ongoing, but nothing is forever. Begin with: