Friday, May 4, 2012

Monday, half and half

     As I've said 80,000 times, it's hard now that the Workshops are two hours shorter...especially hard on the last it's probably a good idea to divide the class in half...and show half the work from 2-3:30 and the other until 5...I'll be there at 1 so if you're early and want to put up work, that would be great...   Please think about how you want to sequence the work...

We won't have a huge amount of time to talk about the work, so what's important is that each of you talk about what you wanted to do, think you did, might have wanted to do more of, are pleased with, disappointed with, etc...                

It went fast, I must say...   and I assume the semester went especially fast for those of your who are graduating....    

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why did I give up?

     I can't now imagine why I gave up blogging since I was very clear that this was going to be my primary way of communicating. And, when you think about it, it's not all that difficult to look up a blog!!!!
    So, here we are, one week to go...and two people will present work tomorrow...I think..and then everyone will present next week which will be a big crowd of work that won't have enough space to be seen nicely. Which is why it's good that Ashley wants to put it up tomorrow.....
    As you know, you needed to have a notebook or a blog...      and that the work is due on the last day of class...and that many of you are graduating...huge congratulations go your way...  And many good wishes..

     I'm sorry that our renegade exhibit didn't happen. I did give friends 25 copies of a one-page fold different cities...175 small books, and got 6 responses, most from Buffalo where a friend basically handed them to friends at different events. That definitely enhances the chances for response. One was found in Wellfleet..
    And I finished 100 4x6 drawings with text from "Bread & Roses: Mills, Migrants and the Struggle for the American Dream" that will be included in an exhibit at the Essex Art Center for the centennial celebration... And did a number of interviews of Lawrence residents or people connected with Lawrence that I still have to edit...


Thursday, March 29, 2012


I had lunch with Margaret yesterday and found out that she had everyone's e-mail addresses and sent e-mails twice a week as reminders.  So, I will get  your e-mail addresses on Monday...

And also I found out that she had small groups every week, each student having at least 6 digital or black and white prints each week. I'd prefer 10. So we'll start that Monday........and continue on the next Monday. I used to have small groups all the time, but the fact that folks hadn't been doing digital work prints had stopped me...but now that you're doing that, we'll start small groups.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just to reassure you....

I want to say that don't give myself any credit if you produce really interesting projects.

During a critique I might remind someone, as I reminded Carrie, that I prodded her to  do something more with her Arizona photographs --- but I did that only because some of you clearly don't like my nagging and I want to prove that it's possible to live through my telling you, "This isn't enough, no, not enough work," and come up with a really interesting solution...  

And I won't really kill myself if you don't come up with a really interesting final project or if you stop working on a really interesting project to focus on shadows or if you don't commit yourself to two clear ideas and stop fussing around. No, I'm not going to to that, no matter how much I enjoy trying to tease you into action.

I do suffer for a couple of hours during grading. I hate to give grades and would prefer that this was the sort of school where no grades were given. But it isn't. So, I suffer briefly. But, unfortunately I do have to give grades. And unfortunately some folks don't do enough work for a B. So, I suffer a bit.

But you are adults and can make your own choices.

And you might decide to go to Boston College, tomorrow, Thursday, at 10:15, to hear three important war photographers the Murray Function Room, 4th floor in the Yawkey Center.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zoe Strauss Introduction

I'm assuming that each of you will read the Xerox copy of the introduction that Zoe Strauss wrote about the I95 project to accompany her mammoth book and the huge show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

You might borrow a copy and return it after a few days....or read it in class. (WHICH LEADS ME TO THE FACT THAT YOU MUST HAVE WORK TO DO IN CLASS, ALL CLASS...and not forget some important gadget or whatever, please, or leave class early. It ends at 5.)

We'll discuss her writing next week. I admire this piece and am particularly interested in your take on why she conceived of this enterprise as taking ten years. I imagine that's a hard concept for students in a university who are taking 4 or 5 subjects, at least one of which is a studio course, and taking 20 rolls of film or 500 digital pictures a semester.      I, on the other hand, find it a remarkable and refreshing way of planning a long-term adventure.

And I'm interested in what categories you might chose to photograph if you were to start on such a would you think that out.

And I'm interested in your general ideas/reactions/thought.....about what she wrote, her "everything," the additions she thought necessary for the final project, the difference between and the definitions of the intuitive and the intellectual decisions she has been constantly making.

I had originally hoped you would read her blog, but that's not really necessary since so much was about the show. However, she had a good entry with a photo of herself in a hoodie and a discussion of whether she, a small, 41-year-old-white=woman would have been shot by George Zimmerman if she'd been walking through the enclave where he was a Neighborhood Watch captain carrying a gun!

I hope I don't need to say that if you have chosen to work in the darkroom, you are buying your 20 rolls of 36 exposure film, developing it, cutting it down, making contacts, choosing what to print......making a work print, looking at it with other work prints and then making final prints of what you've chosen.      THAT IS MUCH, MUCH, MUCH MORE TIME CONSUMING than taking digital photographs...

so if you're working with digital, you have to take many, many, many more images...and use many, many more in your project. You have not gotten your hands wet, so to speak, and had a far easier time of it, in so far as taking interesting, insightful photographs can ever be easy.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera when I was walking the dogs past a stick structure someone made in a park near Target, sticks bent in half to create the illusion of a roof. Here it is after a wind storm.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Just to remind you that lab hours should be noted in the lab book each week. And that they are different from the hoursyou are expected to spend each week taking photographs...that's equivalent to what you'd spend reading or writing if this were a course that required that. Therefore, your projects must reflect many hours of time spent on photographing. Any idea, no matter how interesting, that could be completed (but for the printing) in a couple of hours just doesn't represent enough work for a whole project....

I see my role as that of an Australian sheepdog, nipping at your heels, to keep you on track toward doing enough interesting work to produce a project that will at least receive a grade of B. Beyond that, my goal is to push you to take risks, stretch yourself, try something difficult and  really think about what you want to say with your images.

You will might think, oh, she's putting up all these hoops that we have to jump through, and that's true. That's the nature of this endeavor. My goal is for everyone to at least get that demanding B. I'm not always successful, but I try very hard. 

If you received a grade lower than B, you're more than welcome to resubmit more work. I haven't graded some projects because there wasn't enough or because I think you've just started a semester long project. 

Goats are often comforting for Thoroughbred horses, keeping them company, and calming then in the stalls. This particular goat also acted as a guard dog, immediately noticing if anyone strange was walking down the shed row and butting them.

Hopefully you will have read the earlier post and that you will have had a good, productive vacation.

Oh, one more thing, some of you have had real trouble in printing because the image on the screen is so different from what is produced by the printing. It would be alright to bring your laptop and show your images on the screen....that means you'll have to get to class early so Kevin can be sure that the right connector is available.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Yesterday morning, I went out to the 8th Pole, in the barn area of Suffolks Downs, to do an interview with Adam Ragussea of WBUR about this recently published book...

and so I was very pleased to see all the work you folks put up.

Just a few words before vacation...and as you move on to continue your projects or to start a new one or ones...

It's fine to be working on two visual tracks. For instance, Andrea put up very clean, nicely composed, quite visually simple images of the signs that she's beset by during her time in Boston...and she put up much more complex images about the visual clutter she finds...she's chosen to work on the more difficult project...and may, or may not, be able to incorporate the simple photographs (maybe as visual chapter headings.) But that doesn't matter...she had many camera struggles, did a lot of work in a short time when she finally could, printed quite a few images and is clearly thinking about and working on what interests her -- the more cluttered, noisy images.

If you're working in the darkroom, make fast work prints (not perfected prints) so that you have a group...then put them up and look at them, make decisions about the most effective, interesting images, and the direction you'll take in your next roll of film. Do the final prints much later on because they take much more time.

The whole point of doing projects (a project, three projects) is investing in them...picking a topic that's difficult, that involves coordinating successfully with your subjects or spending a lot of time walking around, hunting them up, looking at the results and going back out for more. Projects take time. Any set of images that could be done in an afternoon isn't a project...though you might do a set of images in an afternoon and then pick the best and add those to the next set of images done in the morninng...and so on...  

So, please think investment -- the complexity of your idea and the time you're spending on working with it. And please think about risk -- moving out of what you can do comfortably     Or taking what you can do comfortably up another notch.  And if you've taken the Workshop before, remember that you're also taking that experience forward, pushing up another notch, doing something more difficult.

In grading, I will put more emphasis on your most developed project. So, if you had trouble starting or grasping the concept of extended projects in which the images support each other to develop a visual idea/thought, don't worry.

And if you're showing your work after the break, don't worry.
If you had a hard time achieving what you know you want, and it takes another week AFTER the break, don't worry. It's more important that you have really struggled to get a set of photographs that you care about.
And if you want to add more to what you have already shown, feel free to do it.