The weather is getting cooler, the studio now endurable for photography. It’s a lovely place, but in the summer too hot for moving around. And photography involves moving around. Began some painted still life pics, and did some pictures of the dolls. One is very formal, like doing scales; the other darker and deeply psychological. What does this say about me? A little scared to know. Anyway….
I recently had the honor of speaking with Leslie Granda-Hill about her work with the Wounded Warrior Project. Leslie is an incredibly talented photographer with a really big heart. In a world full of users and paparazzi looking for a “gotcha” shots and a buck, Leslie actually cares about the people she photographs. You can feel this in the work. She has a show called Familia Oaxaca opening tonight at Umbrella Arts in Manhattan, and I hope you will stop by. The work and Leslie Granda-Hill are worth it.
If you want to learn about her work with wounded veterans, please take a look at the PWP blog article: Body & Soul: Leslie Granda-Hill Photographs Veterans of Recent Wars.
– Catherine Kirkpatrick
Meryl Meisler’s new book is out and it’s great! It was an honor to write the introduction and also to be quoted by the New Yorker! Incredibly, this is a repeat: A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick was featured, the intro quoted by the same publication last year. It doesn’t get too much better.
Meryl Meisler is a dear friend and great creative enabler. She has a unique talent for identifying what people do well and providing opportunities for them to strut their stuff. Her book launches have featured poets, writers, drag stars, visual artists, and The Naked Man, who really, truly goes around naked. Known as the “Legendary Bushwick Photographer,” she has attained celebrity status in Brooklyn. She is the best, as all of her many friends will agree.
Just about everyone in Bushwick is still recovering from Open Studios. Yes, it was back in June, but it was an incredibly busy time. For me, there was writing and editing for Meryl’s book, articles for AiB, and of course, prep for Open Studios itself. In our (very unique) building, one person swept up a quart of dust from the hall. Saw it with my own eyes. There wasn’t quite that much inside our studio, but there were some whirly jigs floating around. We had some very interesting visitors. Heard Chris Rock was over on Bogart Street.
When it was over, I went fishing for a while, but am getting back into gear. More soon.
I don’t love everybody. Most people think I’m pretty mild, but there have been some epic fights in the past. They will not be mentioned here. But there are a some things and people I’m enthusiastic about.
A year ago, by accident, I wound up sharing a studio in Bushwick. Okay, technically “East Williamsburg,” but still part of the official map of Bushwick Open Studios, the arts festival that takes place at the end of May, or early June (when L Train shutdowns wreak havoc in our lives). It’s overseen by the nonprofit Arts in Bushwick organization. I got introduced to their blog team by my friend, Meryl Meisler, a celebrity because of the epic photographs she took here in the 1980’s, before artists arrived and the gentrification process began. If she puts in a good word for you, it really helps.
I wrote an article about her first book (a second is on the way), stayed on in the studio, and am now in the 2015 AIB Benefit Exhibition called Making History. You can view the show online or at the Storefront Ten Eyck Gallery this Friday or Saturday from 1:00 – 6:00, or Sunday till 4:00, when the benefit auction begins.
I was delighted and honored to be asked to write an article about the show (“Chasing History“) by one of the organizers, Cibele Vieira, who is also a terrific photographer. Big shout out also to writers/editors Willow Goldstein and Veronica Dakota. I’m not a “people person,” or an organization girl, but these folks really rock. They have drive, get stuff done, but are also open and cool. They bring an artist’s sensibility and understanding to everything they do, and are a joy to work with.
The show is really about a living art history moment, a special community that reaches out to its own and gives back in many ways.
Am I getting mellow? Not really. Just telling it like it is which happens once in a while. Hie thee to Bushwick!
This Sunday, April 19th, a fabulous show of Bushwick artists will open at gallery Store Front Ten Eyck (at 324 Ten Eyck Street). Sponsored by the great organization Arts In Bushwick, it will culminate in a raffle on May 10th. This is a wonderful opportunity to see artists in their natural habitat, and to purchase some great art at reasonable prices. A very talented group, a very friendly group, in a neighborhood that Vogue named the 7th hottest in the world!
I’m very honored to be among their number, and that my friend, Meryl Meisler, is the limited edition artist. She’s had a wonderful year, with her first book A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick garnering favorable reviews around the world. Her second book is due out this summer.
Tickets for the art raffle go on sale April 19th, and I believe increase as the raffle grows near. So get in early. Bushwick Open Studios will take place all over this neighborhood June 5th-7th. Hope to see you there!
I am very honored to be featured on the blog of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research. I’ve attended their talks and presentations off and on for several years, and always leave inspired. The projects are widely varied, concern populations all over the world, and are always conducted by people passionate about what they do. There is always a tremendous amount of respect–in the room and in the field. If you think academics are dull and dry, you would be wrong. These people are smart and funny. One time there was a lecture about documenting the miners of Harlan County, Kentucky, a study conducted by an Italian. He had gone to the area, gotten an introduction to a local, and was welcomed because he didn’t make a fuss over the mess in her house. At the end of the presentation someone played a banjo. I say no more.
For the past few years, I’ve been blogging about the experiences of women in photography. It started with a trip to the PWP archives, but my curiosity grew beyond the organization, to include the sweeping changes in the field over the past forty years, technological and artistic. I hope to continue this, recording the memories of people who have experienced this change, and to learn more about the many causes of disruption. I am always interested in photo stories, so if you have any you want to share, please let me know.
I know John Milisenda through incredible photographer (and wonderful human being) Flo Flo. His subtle B&W prints of the train yards of Pennsylvania, the streets of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1950s, and of his family, particularly his developmentally disabled brother Dennis, speak in quiet poetry. This short narrated slide show of this work was first shown on a TV show I produced at the MNN network, and was posted on the blog of Professional Women Photographers. The images are beautiful and subtle. As you watch, remember that at the time these were taken–the 1960s, 70s and 80s–B&W film and gelatin silver prints were the technology used by most serious photographers. As you look at magazines and visit galleries today, think about how things have changed: many prints are large-scale and often in vibrant color on a multitude of surfaces as new technologies have permitted. Slide show direct: Dennis, by John Milisenda. Blog post with background on John.
I am delighted to be part of the guest artist installation We, Au Natural at Soho Photo Gallery. Organized by Professional Women Photographers, it is comprised of 122 8×8″ square images by women photographers who take an unvarnished look at women’s bodies. Usually images of women in ads, videos and film are Photoshopped, idealized, and unrealistic. There is a hunger among women, as with all people everywhere, to be accepted for who and what they are. I felt this accutely growing up, and imagine it is even tougher for girls today as images splash in on everything from all directions. It takes a long time to “woman up” (not a pejorative!) and take control of your life. Believe me, I know. Sometimes it takes years to say, “this is who I am, take it or leave it.” And really mean it, be prepared to walk away. The world puts a lot of pressures on us. It takes a lot of guts to say “no,” and walk another, often very lonely road.
But at the end of the day, at the end of your life, you have to own up to some things, and who you are, who you have made yourself to be, what you have become do matter. Intent matters, as does the will to keep walking, even if you have to make the road by doing so. Artists don’t walk beaten paths. But they walk good ones, and should be proud.
FYI, “Legendary Bushwick Photographer” (I didn’t make that one up!) and buddy Meryl Meisler is also in the installation.
The exhibition is at Soho Photo Gallery, 15 White Street, and will run though January 31st. It can be viewed from Wednesday to Sunday 1:00 to 6 PM, and by appointment.
I was delighted to learn that one of my pieces, Still Life, Brooklyn, recently sold at the Atlantic Gallery in Chelsea. I’ve been working on this series for a while. They started off as a way to understand and learn about light, then became about arranging compositions and color, then got darker, which is what I wanted them to be all along. A way to talk about how art traditions of the past intersect with making art the present time.
Working in an old industrial building gives me access to a number of micro environments filled with clouded windows, layers and layers of peeling paint, stained wood and crumbling brick. It is a photographer’s paradise. I feel I never walk the same way twice, and am constantly inspired. So much in fact, that I am way behind on processing all the photographs I’ve taken.
I usually go very early when the light is just coming up over the rooftops of Brooklyn, and there is a sense of quiet peace before the day begins. Though I don’t spend that much time there, like an actor stepping on stage for a performance, I feel very focused, in the moment, and alive. A total creative high.
Another photographer approached me for a print trade of this image, which is great because while it’s wonderful to acquire someone’s work, it’s even better to really understand the circumstances of the piece, and how it fits into the rest of their ouevre.
I will also be included in an installation, We Au Natural, opening January 6th at Manhattan’s Soho Photo Gallery. Stop by if you have a chance.
I’m delighted to have an article on the very talented Kyle Mumford published by Arts in Bushwick. I am really a fan of these folks. They organize the huge Bushwick Open Studios event every year, run numerous community activities, and publish a classy blog that showcases the art and creative ferment of the area (recently named the 7th hottest neighborhood in the world by Vogue Magazine*). So it’s an honor. Special shout out to Willow Goldstein and Veronica Dakota, the smart, creative, really-great-at-handling-people ladies who make the blog what it is.
*So what are the 6 hot neighborhoods that came before Bushwick? Who the heck cares!