Mr. Threadgill on Continuity

“You know, you don’t play for one week, your wife or your girlfriend knows; two weeks and you know; three weeks and everybody knows.

“I have friends who can do both. I can’t do both. I have to do one at a time. I write, and then I go to my instruments. I can’t keep up with the instruments if the writing becomes too demanding.

“I figured out a long time ago that going back for me is always a mistake . I mean on every level: personal life, everything – going backward does not work for me, it’s destructive.  All of my mistakes have been made going backwards.”

These are excerpts from a huge interview by Ethan Iverson. Dig it all at

Who’s your audience?

We are.

Not your parents, nor your siblings, nor your grandparents;

not your teachers, nor your dean or principal or counselor, nor your future college;

not your pastor, spiritual advisor, personal trainer;

not the government, nor some credit bureau, nor whoever is surveilling.

You, and we, are your audience: photographers.

Art Department Awawds

Mike Cygan is the AP 2-D Design Studio Student of the Year!

Molly Hendrickson is the Photography Student of the Year!

More to come…


I’ll say this once: acquire this book. It’s difficult to select a short & coherent portion to excerpt for our purposes here, but this’ll suffice:

“When I walk into the white room I am alone, but I am alone with my:











The last two—distractions and fears—are the dangerous ones… Let me tell you my five big fears:

  1. People will laugh at me.
  2. Someone has done it before.
  3. I have nothing to say.
  4. I will upset someone I love.
  5. Once, executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind.”

A Public Service: Links to Online Magazines

My preference runs to the experiences of gallery shows, monographs, and artists’ lectures; still, what a smooth way to investigate so many current portfolios (at least in this online format: see Brew a pot and take the phone off the hook. (almost too clever for its own good)

(Take the phone off the hook?)

“…there’s this treMENdous MESS… and it’s ALL REALLY THERE.”

Richard Feynman talks about light. Con gusto.

W. o’ W.: Ira Glass

Every PhotoDevoto/composermusician/writer/chef/dancer/architect/et alii should make a needlepoint sampler of this text.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone had told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. Most people who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you finish one piece. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just gotta fight your way through.”


Thanks, H.

W. o’ W.: Jean Renoir

“To the question ‘Is cinema an art?’ my answer is, ‘What does it matter?’ You can make films or you can cultivate a garden. Both have as much claim to be called art as a poem by Verlaine or a painting by Delacroix. If your film or your garden is a good one it means that as a practitioner of cinema or gardening you are entitled to consider yourself an artist. The pastry-cook who makes a good cake is an artist. The ploughman with an old-fashioned plough creates a work of art when he ploughs a furrow. Art is not a calling in itself but the way in which one exercises a calling, and also the way in which one performs any human activity. I will give you my definition of art: art is ‘making’. The art of poetry is the art of making poetry. The art of love is the art of making love.”

Catalog Preview

The second annual Actual Works catalog (or do you spell “catalogue?”) is… in the works. Here’s the preview: 

Annabel Perry, Caitie Dawson, Erin Dalton, Christina Buerosse, Hailey Anderson, Kristen Kuhn, Maggie Kramer, Molly Hendrickson, Mike Cygan.

College Board Countdown

Here is the text of last week’s handout. I hope the impromptu “skip day” doesn’t prove to be a spanner in the works for the absentees.

Friday, 4/29: Open lab. Give me work to shoot, finish preparing portfolio cases, decide which 5 pieces to ship. Milwaukee field trip head count.

Monday, 5/2: Desperation Darkroom. Bring a storage/transfer device, load pieces onto your account, and give me work to shoot.

Tuesday, 5/3: Bring a storage/transfer device, give me work to shoot for the last time, write a final draft of your Commentary, load and sequence work on your account.

Wednesday, 5/4: Bring a storage/transfer device, load and sequence work on your account, make a final edit of your Commentary, remove your work from the exhibit, label the 5 pieces to ship.

Thursday, 5/5: Load your Commentary onto your account, and load and sequence work on your account.

Friday, 5/6: You are field-tripped out beginning 5th hour. Appear at the library computer classroom no later than 12:00; we are scheduled to remain there until 4:00 (or until everyone has completed the online portfolio requirements and packed their work).