The studio got really messy. It gave me the willies, then I realized it might be fun to photograph and I relaxed. If management complains, I can always say everything was set up a shoot. They’re pretty cool about stuff. One time there were cow haunches in the dumpster across the street by the film stage. I saw them being stuffed in and felt like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. I took pictures, but got mostly screen. Turns out it was for a black smithing show. Now who would ever think something like that would be shot in New York? Go figure. But hey, it’s Brooklyn, you never know….
It’s been a long time, but I’ve been busy. Lotta things going on. But over the past few months I’ve made new work. These are on paper and range from quite small to pieces that are 6-7 feet across:
One of the medium-sized ones was recently in a show and sold! (Yay–no return shipping costs!)
It’s always hard to figure out what we should be doing. When I’m writing, I think I should be doing visual art, and when I’m doing visual art, I think I should be writing. Such is life, I suppose.
– Catherine Kirkpatrick
Back in the studio futzing. Every time I go, I take between 100 to 300 images, each slightly different. A little to the left, a little to the right, a tad closer, a little further back, adjusting so that one comes out right. I tell myself to go faster, to change it up sooner instead of harping on one setup sixty different ways for sixty different minutes, but it doesn’t work.I go right back to doing a multitude of variations, learning as I process what works and what doesn’t. (Sometimes it’s hard to tell).
Which makes me nervous when I send work off to the printer. Did I pick the absolute right one? Is it worth spending x dollars on this image? I want to get it right.Which is why the next time I go back to the studio, it’s 100 to 300 shots, a little to the left, a little to the right…
– Catherine Kirkpatrick
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 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!
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.
A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick, Amazon, Authors United, Brooklyn Book Festival, catherine kirkpatrick, catherinekirkpatrick.org, Doug Preston, Friends of Authors United, Hachette, Meryl Meisler, Photospire.org
It’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.