Bust Card

Photographer and attorney Bert Krages has written a clear overview of the legal issues that could arise on, say, a field trip. He offers it as a pdf, as does the American Civil Liberties Union provide their own broader version: the Bust Card. Read ’em and don’t weep: other nations are not so friendly to shooters of film & platers with pixels (see the last url, below). Here are excerpts from Krages’s pages:

“The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks. Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises but have no right to prohibit others from photographing their property from other locations.

“Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act nor can a business legitimately assert that taking a photograph of a subject in public view infringes on its trade secrets. On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations.

 “Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes.

“Absent a court order, private parties have no right to confiscate your film. Taking your film directly or indirectly by threatening to use force or call a law enforcement agency can constitute criminal offenses such as theft and coercion. You are under no obligation to explain the purpose of your photography nor do you have to disclose your identity except in states that require it upon request by a law enforcement officer.”

BTW, in the instance of the afore-imagined field trip, it’s a good idea to carry one’s student ID; Chicago has truancy officers.


bust card




Recent Ph.D. Documentation

Here are pieces from PhotoDevotos Brennan Zwieg, Erin Dalton, Emma Haney, “Bucktown” Katie Brown, Megan Crowley, Nate Zwieg, Olivia Kottke and Taylor Bertolotti.

As ever, comments are welcome.

Are you “a professional?”

“If you’re a professional, you contribute to the profession,” he replies. “There is an underlying attitude for support, a pouring back of interest and thought. Musicians teach master classes. Doctors do research, write papers, give time to charity. The artist is a professional.

“If the art gives the artist life, then the artist in turn should give the art life. There has been a lack of understanding of this concept in photography. But you just can’t live an independent, selfish existence. You lose on it.”

-Ansel Easton Adams

Where We’re Going

On April 15, taxes behind us, next year’s Varsity Photo class (and most of this year’s roster) will travel via rail to the City of Big Tripods to see original work on exhibit. These jpegs on your screen just don’t cut it; the original prints will be seen as they were intended to be seen.

Guillermo Srodek-Hart

Kevin Malella

Karen Savage

Eugene Richards

Jon Fjortoft

Marching to Victoriaville

Ten or fifteen years ago I began to get brochures in the mail from the Festival Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville (somewhere between Montreal and Quebec City); they must have profiled me as a likely attendee. It’s the wrong time of the year for a Huge School art teacher, so I hope the affair continues after I retire (like that’s gonna happen). Still, I know many of you would be interested in this annual festival of experimental and improvised music, which often includes jazz, so here are some highlights from this year’s schedule:

One hundred electronic Nabaztag bunnies in choir formation, lighting up, wiggling their ears, and playing back music following a sophisticated score inspired by Cage, Reich, Ligeti, and Nancarrow.

Montreal guitarist Sam Shalabi goes back to his Egyptian roots. Land of Kush is the large ensemble project where he rethinks Egyptian pop music in terms of experimental groove. Five singers and twenty musicians or so, with a blend of rock and Arab instruments.

Lydia Lunch, the queen of no-wave… sings/reads her sordid tales backed by the noise music of Strings of Consciousness’s Philippe Petit, who works with prepared sounds and turntable mistreatments.

Les Momies de Palerme, two young and mysterious ladies playing ghostly and ungraspable music – a blend of Gothic drone and ethereal songs.

Three Norwegians and a Frenchman… a gamelan-like soundworld.

Tanya Tagaq has reinvented traditional Inuit throat singing, turning it into something modern, experimental, and incredibly sensual… she delivers a performance where song meets improvisation, past meets present, and rock showmanship meets bold creativity.

Erick D’Orion: Six pianos from different eras are reacting to the impulses of unbalanced motors attached to their structures. The pianos transform into vibrating surfaces.

Composer and choirmaster Andre Pappathomas has enlisted the participation of local choirs to create a virtual choir of voices from Victoriaville. He met several singers and recorded them individually. These tracks have been assembled and orchestrated to compose “La vie mode d’emploi,” a never-heard-before sound installation set out right onto the bicycle trail, near the bandstand, where passers-by will be able to stroll around and, in some cases, recognize their own voices.

American free jazz legend Bill Dixon presents, for the first time ever on stage, his “Tapestries for Small Orchestra” project, an all-out exploration of the sonic capabilities of the trumpet. Music that is composed yet improvised, strictly laid out yet free, filled with people yet strangely open and roomy. (Includes Chicago trumpeter Rob Mazurek.)



Happy 96th, McKinley Morganfield!

W. o’ W.: Jaoquin Torres-Garcia


“Man believes that he evolves advancing toward intelligence.

I believe the opposite.

Man finds his place by moving toward consciousness.”