Happening Soon in Bushwick…


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BOS_Exhibition_2015This 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!

Recording Change in the Photo Field


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Photographer Dianora Niccolini

Photographer Dianora Niccolini

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.


Intimate Images in B&W by John Milisenda

©John Milisenda

©John Milisenda

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.

Women By Women, As We Are


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CK_WAN_28I 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.


Sold! At the Atlantic Gallery


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Red_Compote_Window_112I 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.

The Many Talents of Bushwick


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Mumford's Law Poster

Mumford’s Law Poster

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.

Many Roads to Here: The Art of Kyle Mumford

*So what are the 6 hot neighborhoods that came before Bushwick? Who the heck cares!



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©C Kirkpatrick

©C Kirkpatrick

Took some pictures this morning. If I go early, the building is dark and has a late night feel, so you lose track of what’s going on outside. It’s like a dark corner of your mind where strange things happen.

The little doggies next door stopped by and had a look and a sniff. Not too interesting in the smell department, though last week I busted a tomato (in a plastic bag), and Bubba got all excited. Owner less so.

So it goes.

Books Abound


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A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick, Meryl MeislerIt’s been a very bookish year. In the spring, Meryl Meisler came calling. First I was asked to edit a piece for her book A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick. Then I was asked to contribute the introduction, then edit another piece. There was a quick turnaround for Meryl and everyone involved (including yours truly). Everyone was so busy churning stuff out they didn’t have time to think about what it all meant.

Her show of these historic Bushwick/disco images opened at the Black Box Gallery during Bushwick Open Studios 2014. There were parties, celebrations and fun, then the media storm hit. There were articles in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Oui Magazine (I think that one’s a little racy), and The New Yorker (more sedate), where yours truly was quoted. I also had the privilege of writing about her for the Arts in Bushwick blog.

In September we participated in the Brooklyn Book Festival, Meryl as herself, me with my newly formed org, the New York Book Society. We had a great day (it didn’t rain), made new friends and contacts, and got high on the fumes of literature and culture. It was fun. The thing that impressed me most were the independents: individual poets, authors, small presses and enterprises that represent literature and books. Very refreshing, what America is all about.

I also support the efforts of Authors United, the group of 1,000 plus writers that has banded together to protest Amazon’s tactics of sanctioning individual authors in their price dispute with publisher Hachette. No one is going to roll back the digital onslaught (thank God, because I am a digital girl), but many people would like to see the collisions handled in a kinder, better way, especially in the field of books. Books are special. They are the key to education, learning and self-improvement. They uplift and console us; they make us who we are–as individuals, as a species.

So if you are in favor of a diverse book environment, please follow us on Twitter at FansAuthUnited, or like us on Facebook (okay, I need to update) or trace the thread of the story at FriendsOfAuthorsUnited.org (has links to various stories, and yes, needs to be updated too).

Till we chat again, happy reading! Because books count.

One of My Photos in PDN Magazine!


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I’m thrilled to have one of my images, Train Coming, selected for a PhotoServe Ad in PDN Magazine! PDN (Photo District News) is the industry bible, and it is a great honor.

CK_PhotoServe_Ad_10_1000pxDid you see me there in the lower left corner? Yeah!


My Photo Used in Album Cover Art


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I’m delighted to have one of my photographs used in the cover art for Aaron Paul’s new album, designed by Reginald Todd:

Aaron_Paul_Cover_500Here’s the story. It was a beautiful day out–bright sun, not too hot. I was going to the TV studio to take pictures of Ron B on the set of his show. Singer/songwriter Aaron Paul was going to appear, and showed up in a worn black leather vest with a bunch of colorful braids around his wrist. There was something just right about the look. The leather was faded just enough to be cool, the bands added a touch of color, and Aaron, being Aaron, had enough natural style to carry the whole thing off. Anybody else would have looked like they were trying too hard and seemed silly.

There have been some unusual guests on Ron’s show. One time a tall performer came in off the street wearing a white cape with antelope skulls attached to his shoulders. He was very nice and reminded us all of a slightly pale Elvis, but you don’t often see that look on the same block with John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Law enforcement folks don’t dress like that. Flashy to them is a big important-looking hat.

Back to Aaron and the vest. I thought it was a great look for him. We had done a shoot in July out in East Williamsburg and he had showed up looking like the epitome of an urban hipster. He had a cocky hat, horn-rimmed sunglasses, crisp shirt and vest. We started out on the train tracks that run across Morgan Avenue, then ventured out over the rickety (okay, in my mind it was rickety) bridge over the polluted waters of Newtown Creek. The bridge was see-through. It was made of crisscrossed metal grating, with a railing that seemed awfully open to me. Aaron wanted to go into the train yard and take a picture on the engine car, but they waved us off.

We survived. We didn’t get run over and we didn’t fall in. It was a fun shoot, and we got some great shots, but the pictures seemed a little clean. I thought Aaron had darker stuff in him, so while on break at the studio, we stepped out onto 59th Street and went up the block to a white wall that looked like a great open background.

Aaron_59th_St_315wWe took some pictures there, then went up the block and grabbed some shots in front of an iron fence, then in front of a chain fence. The whole thing took about 15 minutes, but it had a good feel. Sometimes that happens. You put in long hours on a project, you sweat it, then you do something else twice as good in half the time. Maybe the first go was practice, sort of a dry run.

Aaron_59th_St_205wLater, as I was leaving the studio, I said, “don’t pick anything for the cover till I send you these.” I sent contacts the next day, and a shot was chosen. I wasn’t quite sure why they chose the one they did, but the designer had a vision for it and did a good job. Here is the image they used:

Aaron_59th_St_6-5_x4_202Can you trace the sequence? The performer, the look, the clothes, the photographer who remembered the fence and the sun on the wall–a chain of unexpected happy accidents on an ordinary day.

As Emerson said, chance favors the prepared mind…and the very well-dressed.

All photographs ©Catherine Kirkpatrick, Album cover art @Reginald Todd