Post # 600: Happy Holidays

This here blawwg began four years ago this week. When I see posts elsewhere of this self-referential nature (“Sorry I haven’t been posting lately, blahblahblah…”) they always seem to have a built-in half-life. They go stale. is my solution to this. It’s my fbf Kenny Drew, Jr. playing Monk’s Christmas tune and a Blue Monk-ish SCICTT. Production values are perfect; enjoy.

Gary Stochl


Bob Thall: “Compare my career to Stochl’s experience as a photographer. I had wonderful teachers who were sophisticated and supportive. I studied with many other young photographers who became friends, competitors, and resources. I’ve received grants, fellowships, and commissions that supported my work. Curators, dealers, editors, and publishers have been generous with their long-term interest in my photography and provided opportunities for exhibitions and publications. Critics and collectors have provided me with feedback and support…I’ve been lucky and yet, I admit, at times I’ve found it difficult to keep working ambitiously as a photographer. It’s hard to keep going for decades upon decades. I’ve sometimes gotten lazy, confused, or discouraged. Despite my good luck and advantages, I’ve never found it easy.



“Gary Stochl had none of the kind of support and encouragement I had: no teachers, no exhibitions until his first show in Fall 2003, no community of like minded photographers, no dealer, no sales, no commissions, no publications, no reviews, no grants, and no job in the field. Nothing. Absolutely nothing for almost forty years. And yet he’s consistently worked with astounding dedication, self-discipline, and ambition…Like all great stories, this one holds some lessons. Gary Stochl’s long journey should re-teach us the importance of devotion, perseverance, and personal vision. His story suggests that many of us should care a bit less about our careers and reputations and a bit more about our work.”


W. o’ W.: Bob Thall


“Any attempt to describe a place is a complicated balancing act for a photographer. First are concerns of fairness, objectivity, and documentary completeness. If one goes too far in the direction of documentation, however, the project becomes an assemblage of new visual facts, the photographs mere illustrations in a catalog of items. Doing this type of work, one tries to create photographs that have integrity, beauty, and resonance as new objects, not just as records. Too much concern with form, though, risks losing the photograph’s connection with the real world. Furthermore, one wants to communicate personal insights. This type of photography, like all art, is most engaging as a statement of opinion, bias, and belief. On the other hand, the photographer must be concerned that too much of his or her opinion does not cause the viewer to suspect that the photographs are unreliable; that the photographer has stacked the deck.


“These contradictory concerns, even the very terms ‘art’ and ‘documentary,’ can drive a photographer to distraction. Over many years, I’ve learned to fight this confusion and get down to productive work by thinking of my job in a simple, reductive way. I select a place and spend as much time as possible there–even years–walking and driving and looking for photographs. Initially, it’s a haphazard way to come to know an area, but slowly the place reveals itself and I begin to understand what I find most interesting and important. I then try to make pictures, straightforward and factual–looking photographs that distill and exaggerate those aspects.”


Albino Pachyderm; Hoodies, Schmoodies.

(A lot was shot by Photo Devoto alumnus Corey Nguyen.)











Dermal Aspects Of Emulsion

“We spend billons on skin care each year and know much about it. Why not consider film the same way?”

W. o’ W.: Jerry Seinfeld

(From this coming weekend’s NYT magazine):

“If I don’t do a set in two weeks, I feel it. I read an article a few years ago that said when you practice a sport a lot, you literally become a broadband: the nerve pathway in your brain contains a lot more information. As soon as you stop practicing, the pathway begins shrinking back down. Reading that changed my life. I used to wonder, Why am I doing these sets, getting on a stage? Don’t I know how to do this already? The answer is no. You must keep doing it. The broadband starts to narrow the moment you stop.”


What If You Found $200.00?


…or so; just, y’know, on the floor, or on a sidewalk somewhere. I’m talking about the surprise of realizing that one has some money that isn’t earmarked for film, or groceries, or darkroom chemicals, or home repair, 0r photo paper; cash in the category of lottery winnings. I don’t obsess over wardrobe or wine… (but, apparently, I admire alliteration).

I would install an illegally loud horn that exceeds a reasonable decibel level for my unprepossessing automobile  (not unlike the Huge School’s fire alarm).

I would wear this device on my ear, which saves the previous thirty seconds:

I’d stock up on some tres elegante photo paper:

I’d consider a long lens for the 8×10, around 600mm or so (equiv to portrait length on a 35mm film camera), but really, how much use would it see. Rental?


The Gift Must Always Move

Here’s a clever accessory for the screen on your inferior no-film camera: 


Hear me now and believe me later: nothing says “I heart you” quite like the little Hama and/or generic camera screw, at the same site.


Books, books, books; us Murkins’ is carrazy for Top Ten lists:

The last I checked, there were only 14 remaining of the following fun second camera:

Fujifilm INSTAX 210 Instant Photo Camera Kit with 5 Twin Pack of INSTAX Film

Lastly for now, treat yourself to some forties/fifties holiday froth: “The Lemon Drop Kid,” starring Leslie Townes “Bob” Hope!


W. o’ W.: Susan Sontag

“In the journal, I do not just express myself more openly than I could do to any person; I create myself.”


A One-Person, Self-Contained System

“When you are twenty years old and the photography instructor begins lecturing on form versus content, or that a photograph cannot tell a story, or that there are no rules of composition, or that things are changed when you photograph them, or that a photographic print is an interpretation of the world by a camera, or that he didn’t develop his film for months or years after he shot it; things can get philosophical and confusing pretty quickly… After seeing Garry shoot on the streets for the first time, I instantly realized that his print critique used the exact same technique as his shooting: confront, judge, capture and comment.) No one could size up a print in 1/500 like Garry.’