Summer School? Summer School!

Sometimes it seems as though every activity, every event that has been rewarding – field trips, Big Print Days, exhibits, whatever –  has occurred outside the normal bell schedule of the school. That’s because, like baseball and (I’m told) golf, things don’t happen according to the clock. So it is (or feels) with summer school.

Photography in summer school absolutely rocks. The sun is up when we begin, so there’s the free Vitamin D; we ignore the suggested break schedule in favor of going with the flow of the processes; every day is equivalent to a week of regular school; no other class is using the photo rooms, so essentially we take over; a field trip can take place at a smaller, more selective location; what’s not to like? Some people start in the darkroom, some continue, and some work on portfolios.

Photography has now been added to the offerings during the first session of summer school this year. If enough people register it’ll happen; it might fill and close, too. Think about it (but not for too long). Registration may be done online.

The Allure of Abandoned Places

 What is this thing, allure? The urge to make… pic-ture.

(Can you sing the above, Sinatra-style?)

I can still take a walk, or a short drive, and see all the houses I “played” in whilst under construction (the houses, I mean; I suppose moi as well), but abandoned on weekends and in the evenings, and where all the empty overgrown lots were too, in the late ’50s and early ’60s. I wasn’t photographing then, much, but if I were… If I were. Perhaps the appeal is that it looks like raw subject matter, waiting for us to create order out of chaos. demonstrates how John Divola gave form to a deteriorating situation, building a sense of time into the portfolio.

It’s the built-in appearance of the passage of time that pricks our interest to begin with. Here’s a painting currently on display at the Hyde Park Art Center, one of many by Andy Paczos, that may or may not resemble a photographic sensibility to some of us.


Often the impulse is to record what is disappearing, as in the case of St. Richard Nickel. His documentation of Louis Sullivan’s architecture drove him to make cymbal-crashes such as this, the procenium arch of the Garrick Theatre:

I’m fortunate never to have had an errant nail puncture my sole (how emo of me; how poetic), and I would never recommend that anyone visit places like these for picture-making. I know it goes on, though; asa a cautionary tale, here is where Richard Nickel died, in the trading room of the Stock Exchange.

For those who must, check out this book:

Where do you stand on these locations as subject matter? Have you had, um, adventures in these places? Share, please.

Senior Teach Day


He called each class to order on (or before) time, took attendance, assisted with printing, benevolently granted rest room trips… everything except grow a beard. Ryan was D. for our annual Senior Teach Day.




“Something Else,” 10/15/80

These are my notes from Ray K. Metzker’s lecture at Columbia College:

“10/15/80-Ray’s Lecture, ‘Something Else,’ in the horrible new auditorium: Some current perceivable trends are characterized by the electronic media making older, slower processes look outmoded and unwieldy; a constant flow of information turning folks into junkies; need for instant gratification and shortening of attention spans caused by the above. There is a predominance of shallow formalism and nihilistic modernism. One can choose, or not (Ray does) to believe in more – humanism, a spiritual life, whatever –  which informs good work. Talk like this can sound awfully pretentious before showing one’s work, but it’s important to put everything on the line, to test the work and the artist. Ray admits to influences by, or at least a great interest in, Matisse, and sculptor Robert Hudson.”

aNOTHer Transmission from 1988

“Dr. D- As I sit here rereading/relooking at Beaumont Newhall’s History of Photography I am pleasantly reminded that I know how to see. This is a deeply visceral knowledge that can’t be entirely taught and can never be taken away. It is a thing that opens worlds to me that are closed to most. It is a complex skill that came about under your …  Read Moretutelage at the age when I was ready for it/ could learn it/ was bright enough to battle against it. You took intuition and ground it into a way to perceive the world. Twenty years on, after many attempts to bury it alive… it breathes life into my being. Unkillable.

So now, after many years and thousands of photographs, I thank you.

And a word to the cherubs in D’s present care… be steadfast, rebellious and mindful of the Old Man’s words and wisdom… it will serve you well in more ways than you presently know.”

ICCI’s Big Night

A big night, indeed. Folks from far-flung districts found the school; new friends were made; everyone was interested in everything; lemonade and coffee were served; Alex Costis played bass, swimmingly; certificates were presented and (short) speeches were delivered; folks saw the other two concurrent photography exhibits as well, and nobody went home unhappy. (Oh, and I forgot to plug the blog.)













Most pix by Mrs. D.


Everyone is welcome to come to the Interstate Creative Camerawork Invitational’s big reception on the evening of the 5th, Thursday, at 7:00. There will be music, recognitions, (probably) a beverage AND the vaunted HGFOS.* You will also see the assortment of work by the accepted members of next year’s AP class, and featured artist Jim Root in the Clair Smith Gallery. What’s not to like? If you’re on the Fo-Do field trip earlier in the day (cloudy, high 60 F.) in the fresh air, be sure not to sit down, however briefly when you get home, and you’ll be able to make it.
*Hot Guys From Other Schools