Saturday, June 30, 2012

LOOK3 2013

LOOK3 (2013):  June 13,14,15 
2014 will be the year - (3 on / 1 off)

 "Alex Webb enjoys Lynn Johnson's opening @ Look3" (c) george elsasser
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the 2012 event in fact I cherish it, focus is generally photojournalism with some fine art photographers represented. Remember labels are limiting, I enjoyed all the work and discovered much I was unaware of.  Alex Webb was the headliner for 2012, Gilles Peress and Martin Parr were there in 2009.

I got there late Wednesday evening (Th, Fri, Sat event) left for other places Sunday night and still could have used another day to see all the exhibitions to my liking. So next year I will go at least one day earlier minimum (the Galleries are closed on Mondays) so I can look more while relaxed. David Doubilet the underwater master spoke on Wednesday evening about 7pm. I utilized the dorm deal to save a chunk of money on hotels (very clean each day) small beds but I love photos more than perfect beds.  It seems to be part of the workshop programs that start on the Sunday prior to Festival. 

Another Festival clearly in my sights is Photolucida and is focused on all but maybe a little more tilt to fine art photography. Mike Davis who lived in Portland, OR brought this to my attention while viewing my dummy book.

I was unaware but discovered Donald Weber won Critical Mass an off shoot of Photolucida in 2006 along with 2 others. One of them Camille Seaman (showed at LOOK3 2012) I will blog about in the future. Critical Mass published his book on Chernobyl. Donald and Mike where both editors who viewed my work and many others' work at LOOK3 2012. All you ambitious photographers Critical Mass deadline is 7-16-12.

donald weber book cover (c) donald weber

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Love my dummy

4-8-13 update:  Well as sands shift and people's words in poem and song (not released or sung and told on back porches) move from story to story, my work morphs from shape to shape in my woodshed. What is a woodshed (used in jazz circles as wood-shedding) to me?  The woodshed is a place (a very magic place I experienced as a child) that my grandfather worked in.  Out of it came wonderful things made of wood, not high craftsmanship but oh-so soulfully made with love and creativity.

I was blessed enough to have crossed the Atlantic with him and my family when I was 14 yrs old. He had fought in the US Marines in WWI and wanted to see Germany as a civilian in peace time. His last name Elsasser (German) came from Alsace (French) or "Elsass" (German).  He had told my aunt years before, the last thing he wanted to do before passing was to see Germany again.  As life can be, he died (right next to me) on a plane going from Germany to England. I am amazed as life plays so much like fiction.  I love the line in "Jungleland" that Springsteen wrote "The poets down here don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be."  Indeed, I thought I heard Philip Glass on American Masters say to the effect "there is a river underground where the music is and I just have to listen."  I have been thinking about doing a book about my grandfather for a while now,so maybe that river is more clear to me now. It will be interesting for me to balance a plan with my intuition as I tend to work best in non premeditated ways.

"woman looking west from coastal Morocco", (c) george elsasser

I finally got to cross the Atlantic again in March 2013 to visit Matisse and one of many other artists' favorite places to visit. There will be a quiz.

So what about "Tips and Tales" did I digress (lose discipline) or just claim "a stream of confusion" writing style?  I will just have to shoot from the hip if there will be anything here to read, real writing is not my job at this time.  Well "Tips & Tales" has morphed into something called "Break, Enter, Hunt, Gather".  I really wish I had a dummy to bring to Photolucida done, but I do not. I am very pleased with it thus far.  This does not mean as a title, book or body of work I have tossed "Tips & Tales" to the hounds, I have not.

8-15-12 update:  Join me on the back-stretch of a hair pulling, mentally taxing, spiritually rewarding August sweatshop. If you like me are still tweaking your first book this is an excellent opportunity. I have been continuing work on mine but here is a perfect reason to bring it to its next stage of finalization. 9-10-12 Deadline (I will have to check to see if I can send in my Dummy book's updated version or will have to send the first dummy).
Either way, a great chance for people to get their work under important eye balls.  "First books eligible for entry include those produced via print-on-demand." See all details here- Aperture

"window & curtain", (c) george elsasser

I thought it might be fun to loosely document my progress and changes on the book, above is a roughed in copy of the front cover I am playing with. Also if you missed the post LOOK3 (editors & my dummy book) . Here are more recent notes and photos for the book. 

The book will be longer and hardbound, here is the current dummy showing all pages.

LOOK3  is what has pushed me harder on this project, I am hoping to get a real publisher interested and there is a ton of good work out there, so I want to bring my design to a more innovative place that engages the viewer in a different way than photo books have in the past.

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Photo Book review site

Ben Krewinkel has just started brand new site:

"onphotobooks website" Ben Krewinkel


LOOK3 (book signings 4 favs)

LOOK3 (books)

all images included below are copyright of the individual photographers

Note - Get books through Photo-Eye Books (because they have been serving the creative photo community since late 70s) if possible.  So check to see if they have the book your looking for.

If they have it but you still need to do Amazon, use the their link at the bottom of the book's page on Photo-Eye.

They will get something on the deal and you will still be supporting our passion by helping them. Trust me they have been around since around 1979 and have grown into an integral part of our community. 

I was able to visit their gallery and bookstore a month back, wonderful people and a great place, surely a staple in a small like minded community driven by passion first check em out.

(update 11-2-12)
Gee wish I had bought the Bazan book in June when I could have, it and Webb's latest book are sold out and very expensive now.

I am not sure all of the following were sold at the festival but I certainly learned of them there.

Where Children Sleep - James Mollison
Published by Chris Boot who is currently with Aperture

Loved this book, profound and powerful, see for yourself.

slide show
James Mollison

Fish-Work: The Bering Sea - Corey Arnold

(update 7-1-12) Not mentioned before but there were certainly more than 4 books I liked, Suffering of Light - Alex Webb was certainly one of them.


(orginal post)

Here is a list of some of the books I enjoyed at LOOK3.  Being on sabbatical to do my own work and living pretty lean for a few yrs. now I usually rely heavily on the library and just visits to the book store to look but these are indeed some fascinating books and some are hard to find. So I broke my rule. There were many great books there but these stood out to me and particularly because I was unfamiliar with these people's work.

1-Wonderland (A FAIRY TALE OF THE SOVIET MONOLITH), Jason Eskenazi

book review 
I concur with the review (although I enjoyed it being small) and bought a signed copy, despite no budget for books. Jason was very interesting even after this book was published he worked in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a guard.
npr interview 
conversation with jason eskenazi 

2-Viviane Sassen: Parasomnia 

I loved it want it will buy when able. 

amazon notes-Saturated with color and boldly composed, Viviane Sassen's photographs straddle the boundaries of fashion, art, and documentary photography. This monograph by the award-winning Dutch-born photographer Viviane Sassen features photographs from throughout West and East Africa. Sassen's overriding theme is parasomnia, a sleep disorder involving strange movements, behaviors, emotions, and dreams. The otherworldly feel of these photographs, involving both human and inanimate subjects, aptly conveys an altered-consciousness point of view-one that is at home in the pages of a fashion magazine, newspaper, or a modern art gallery. Indeed, Sassen's images have appeared in all three venues to wide acclaim. Sassen's photographic series is engaging and thrillingly beautiful, filled with shadow and ambiguity, and it offers a challenge to the viewers to come up with their own narrative. 

3- Afronauts, Cristina DeMiddel - book is just out now!



From the photographer: 
In 1964, still living the dream of their recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program that would put the first African person on the moon catching up the USA and the Soviet Union in the space race. 
Only a few optimists supported the project by Edward Makuka, the school teacher in charge of presenting the ambitious program and getting its necessary funding. But the financial aid never came, as the United Nations declined their support, and one of the astronauts, a 16 year old girl, got pregnant and had to quit. 
That is how the heroic initiative turned into an exotic episode of the African history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger.                            
“Afronauts” is based on the documentation of an impossible dream that only lives in the pictures. I start from a real fact that took place 50 years ago and rebuild the documents adapting them to my personal imagery.                                                                           

Cuba Bazan, Ernesto Bazan

Ernesto is a kind and gentle spirit, glad I discovered him and his work at LOOK3, the work below speaks easily for itself.
Wonderful stuff, wish I could have bought about 15-20 books at the event.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

LOOK3 (editors & my dummy book)

"image of giraffe on santa monica pier" (c) george elsasser

After my visit to LOOK3 I want to push the design of my book "Tips and Tales" farther. I am mostly pleased with its edit and sequencing but after LOOK3 things have changed a little.  Here is a complete look at the book: "Tips & Tales"

After meeting with some incredible editors National Geographic Magazine senior editor Pamela Chen ,  independent Michael Davis,  and from VII Photo Donald Weber I feel encouraged to push the overall design. I needed to take it to the event and give people in the know a look. I am happy with the images and the flow of the sequencing as they were for the most part. Which is a very good thing.

Donald Weber opened my head up to new possibilities in photo book design, and said my book was like "A demented (American) fairytale".  Yes I agree.

"image of forgotten homer simpson doll in snow" (c) george elsasser
Homer is not in the book but I certainly enjoy tipping my hat to the strange things I find, sometimes the ironies astound me. This is certainly part of my aesthetic at times.

Pam Chen mentioned working in locational notes to help show the implied underlying narrative is nationwide not localized.

Finally Michael Davis was extremely helpful in identifying some tendencies in my work I am some what obliquely aware of, that I need pay attention to. It is hard to describe Michael other than extremely supportive, sensitive and generous. I highly recommend people consider working with him. Thanks Michael also for mentioning PhotoLucida to me, people if you are of the fine art ilk for lack of a better term it should not be missed.

All three person's integrity came right to the forefront in my brief time with them. Each were very supportive and helpful, each enjoyed the images and felt most of them had a strong voice. I will try to add more later when I check my notes, so remember these are my recollections.

Being a fine art photographer I did not know what to expect, (but what I received was excellent insight into what my work was about) because the editors backgrounds are mostly focused on journalistic photography.  I am glad I kept an open mind and showed them my work.  One of the greatest things in photography in the last I guess 10-15 yrs. is all the lines are blurred and cross fertilization is ram-pit.  Labels can keep people from looking at different work that is not in their specific arena, which is narrow minded and elitist.

I am grateful I got to meet specifically each of you cause I had no idea who to show the work to and just let the univern.  Thanks so much!
I have been a little out of touch with the photo book as I have been studying mostly painters since 1996 or so.  After LOOK3 and a good look at the many Aperture books (all on view at LOOK3) I have missed, not to mention the 25+ books at the event published in all manors and displayed. I have been brought up to speed.  Editing for me fortunately is not time dependent as it is in journalism so my images have plenty of time to sit still and I can see if they still have a strong voice very much later.  This is very important in editing my work so that the romance of lots of effort can fade well into the past and not effect my choices.  Being to too emotionally close to images can be problematic.

LOOK3 incidentally is a fantastic photography festival be there in 2013 or wait for 2015. It is three years on one year off.  It does have a fine art focus in addition to it's journalistic roots, its first year guest was none other than shadowy figure Joel-Peter Witkin

This year they had Camille Seaman
(a very sensitive and spiritual woman I had the great pleasure to speak with at length) among others.  More on LOOK3 later, this is keeping me from my camera work. No wonder I posted nothing in 2011.

Monday, June 11, 2012

LOOK3 (general)

"image of dragon", (c) george elsasser

 image (c) george elsasser

On the Road, I am not with Yoda or Carlos Castaneda but I am certainly enlightened.  Finally a post, more when I get home to my studio.
I am out in the wonderful Shenandoah Valley, just spent 4 days in Charlottesville, VA at LOOK3  - fantastic do not miss these if you are a serious photographer living in the Mid Atlantic (A MUST).  No mistake this is the real deal about photography not cameras. Yes all parts of US, even some Europe and Asia people show up for this fine festival, but Mid Atlantic people missing as I have in the past is a bad idea. Loved all of it especially being with so many like minded people was very powerful.
For now just wanted to thank the many people I met, and post a link for anybody that might want to view my dummy book "Tips & Tales"

A massive thank you to the tireless efforts of the many people who put together this enormous labor of love. Get on the LOOK3 email list now - be ready for 2013.