Golden Silver Nuggets, from Lee Friedlander

…and from Richard Benson. Given the relative paucity of Friedlander’s statements, this is gold, Jerry, gold.

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Still Life, by Sally Mann

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…from Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs.

A Plethora of W. o’ W.: Mary Ellen Mark, 1940-2015

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…via Kyle Cassidy.

Small samples: talk to people. Don’t editorialize.

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https://kylecassidy.livejournal.com/810008.html

Re: J. & J.

Nourishment from Debra Brehmer.

Several people from yesterday’s Achievement Award event at MOWA asked if I’d post the acceptance speech I gave for Shimon and Lindemann’s award. It wasn’t really a speech, just a Top Ten list of what I’ve learned from being their friend and gallery dealer. It was actually a Top Seventeen.

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“What does it really mean to ‘achieve?’ With a nod to David Letterman’s top ten lists, here are my top 17 important life lessons I’ve been fortunate to absorb through my friendship and business relationship with J. Shimon and J. Lindemann.

1. I’ve learned from them firsthand that persistence and faith in your ideas and vision are the essential ingredients in an art career. They have had a 30 year career of steady, continuous work. It took 25 of those years for the market, museums, and collectors to fully respond.

2. Organization and professionalism, ‘taking care,’ paying attention to details, loving the details… in every aspect of any undertaking these have profound repercussions. It is not just good business practice. This care and focus that one applies to every task, from the large and conceptual to the cleaning the glass for the frames, shows up in multiple sparkling ways and sets the right tone for any serious endeavor. It means something. It shows you care. It is a strangely undervalued and concealed aspect of love.

3. Kindness can and should be at the core of our existence, often expressed in the simplest of means, which is the sincere use of ‘thank you.’ Of course you must really mean it, but it goes a long way. And I’ve also learned that toughness, exactitude, and high standards can indeed coexist with kindness.

4. They taught me to value the people in our lives, warts and all. To make them part of your family. To extend love to them. It will enrich their lives and your own.

5. They have taught me what living your life in the art world really means, at its most essential core: it means you have chosen to stay connected, to stay thoughtful and reflective, and that you will take on the large challenge of processing what you see and experience in life… slowing down your contact with where you are and what you are. Making art is a way of noticing and noting, of getting more out of life, via awareness.

6. They taught me to never undervalue the ‘familiar.’ I complain about how many times I’ve driven up Oakland Avenue to Pick ‘n Save over the past 20 years. It’s so easy not to value that, to be completely blind to the amount of content, information and weirdness in those seven blocks. The familiar becomes mundane only when we allow ourselves to become numb.

7. Stay connected to the handmade, the quiet time. Focus and process, sit at your desk and draw a picture or write about your day. And listen to music or make music.

8. Be sure to balance your life by getting out of the art world and into nature. Grow things. Connect with the earth. Feel and appreciate a sunny day on the farm. Applaud when it rains just enough. Celebrate when the apple tree blossoms.

9. J. and J. have reinforced my already instinctive desire to be aware of history. Take a long glance backward to fully understand where we are now. Be sure never to feel like we are somehow more special than what came before. Look at history to remind ourselves that we are part of a continuum. And that the history of humanity is actually very short. One Million Years is 3 Seconds: that was the title of a show they did at the Wristen at Lawrence University in 2008. It was about “four older Wisconsin men who avoided the homogeneity of American consumer culture.” We truly cannot understand anything about our current lives if we don’t think about history.

10. To value the ‘elders.’ This relates to number 9. With the fire and impetuousness of youth, we move fast, all the time. People who are old and settled, who have found certain comforts in where they are and how they have lived, are like engrossing novels. Find good friends from other generations, both younger and older.

11. Never trade old friends for what seems like new more powerful ones.

12. Know, as securely as possible, that the work you do, if done with earnest intention and thought, is its own reward, regardless of public recognition or sales.

13. Believe in the value of being human and try not to fear the pain.

14. Send handwritten postcards to friends and acquaintances, and not just for birthdays and holidays. Enrich your snail mail life while we still have this antiquated system of hand delivery. Marvel over it. It is so retrograde and so the opposite of how we do things today. Allow your own handwriting to be an intimate ‘hello.’

15. And related to Number 14, remember the notion of a ‘parlor,’ a place to sit, sip a drink, and converse with friends. A parlor, as defined in the dictionary is: a room for the reception and entertainment of visitors to one’s home; In Latin it is called a locutorium. ‘Locu’ meaning to talk. ‘Torium’ is a place. The civility of an unrushed conversation is a beautiful thing. I’ve had many with J. and J.

16. And almost last, and perhaps the most profound J. and J. inspiration of all is that wherever you are, is the place you are. Don’t waste your time wishing you were somewhere else or the conditions were somehow different. Accept the good and bad of the place and love it like an ugly puppy.

17. And last, the most simple but most important and difficult thing to remember: we won’t have each other forever. Not even in a photograph.”

Also from Ms. Brehmer: http://portraitsocietygallery.com/2015/05/24/wis-con-sin/

Q. o’ th’ D.: William Gass

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“So to the wretched writer I should like to say that there’s one body only whose request for your caresses is not vulgar, is not unchaste, untoward, or impolite: the body of your work itself; for you must remember that your attentions will not merely celebrate a beauty but create one; that yours is love that brings its own birth with it, just as Plato has declared, and that you should therefore give up the blue things of this world in favor of the words which say them: blue pencils, blue noses, blue movies, laws, blue legs and stockings, the language of birds, bees, and flowers as sung by longshoremen, that lead-like look the skin has when affected by cold, contusion, sickness, fear…chant and pray, since the day may begin badly, in a soggy light that moistens the soul before consciousness has cracked so every thought is damp as an anxious forehead, desire won’t spark, and the morning prick is limp…consequently speak and praise, for the fall of the spirit, descending like a diver toward the floor of the ocean, is marked by increasing darkness, green giving way to navy, then a hair-wide range of hues which come to rest, among snowing fish and plants as pale as paper, in a sightless night; and our lines are long when under water, loose and weedy, turning back upon themselves like the legs of a dying spider; we grow slack of feature in our melancholy, and the blue which marks the change is heavy, thick as ooze…so shout and celebrate before the shade conceals the window: blue bloods, balls, and bonnets, beards, coats, collars, chips, and cheese…while there is time and you are able, because when the blue has left the edges of its objects as if the world were bleached of it, when the wide blue eye has shut down for the season, when there’s nothing left but language…watered twilight, sour sea…don’t find yourself choir’d out of choir and chorus…sing and say…despite the belly ache and loneliness, new bumped fat and flaking skin and drunkenness and helpless rage, despite dumps, mopes, Mondays, sheets like dirty plates, tomorrow falling toward you like a tower, lie in wait for that miraculous moment when in your mouth teeth turn into dragons and you do against the odds what Demosthenes did by the Aegean: shape pebbles into syllables and make stones sound; thus cautioned and encouraged, commanded, warned, persist…even though the mattress where you mourn’s been tipped and those corners where the nickels roll slide open like a slot to swallow them, clocks slow, and there’s been perhaps a pouring rain, or factory smoke, an aging wind and winter air, and everything is gray.” –On Being Blue

A New Source for Photography Intelligence

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The “world’s best photography magazine” just got better by instituting a monthly column in its Sunday Magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/magazine/a-true-picture-of-black-skin.html?emc=edit_tnt_20150219&nlid=26827690&tntemail0=y&_r=1

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Why Should I Write? I’m A Photographer, Dammit.

Joerg Colberg tells you why.

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“Unless I told you you’re looking at my mother, I’d be foolish to assume you’d know that. Seen that way, photography actually is a very limited and problematic medium, which is, I’d argue, the only reason why it can be art: it looks like it is telling you a lot, but in reality, it isn’t.”

http://onwardphoto.org/blog/how-to-write-about-your-photographs-q-a-with-jorg-colberg/?utm_campaign=cs_howtowrite&utm_medium=forum&utm_source=large_format&hvid=2AZ6Uq

“Don’t approach writing about your photographs by making them first, and then getting to writing about them. That’s not a good idea. Instead, take photographs and write. Look at what you have, both in terms of pictures and of writing, and see what works. Constantly re-evaluate what you have.”

http://cphmag.com/how-to-write/