A few outtakes from my two days in Gustavus, Alaska this summer, with Dan and his family.
this past July, I was fortunate to spend a couple days with my good friend, Dan, at his family’s Inn in Gustavus for Modern Farmer magazine. So cool to see Dan doing his thing - in this case, harvesting beach asparagus for dinner that evening. Issue on newsstands now. #thegustavusinn #modernfarmer #modernfarmermagazine
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” - Ansel Adams (via B&H)
Every semester I start my photo classes with a questionnaire. I want to learn more about the students, and I’m always hoping for a gleam in their eye when they hit on something they love. I ask them who their favorite authors is, and book. Their favorite movie, and actor, and director. What is their favorite style of music? Favorite record? Do they play? Do they read poetry? Who’s their favorite painter? And, of course, their favorite photographer - who inspires them?
The thing that always surprises me, other than the fact that most kids don’t read books anymore, is that some of them struggle to name a photographer. What? When pressed, many undoubtedly say - Ansel Adams. They know the name, and sometimes they know the pictures. For many, he is the beginning and the end.
I used to get really frustrated with this. Now, I see it as an opportunity, and I love nothing more than seeing a kid sit up in their chair and be amazed by the work of a photographer they’ve never seen. At the end of the semester, if they still love Ansel Adams, fine, but I’m going to give them every opportunity to move on.
And, next semester, I’m going to lead with this quote. Thanks, Ansel.
There was a Fresh Air episode this week - Tuesday, I think, with Alexander Payne. I haven’t seen Nebraska yet, and the interview brought up some original thought, but the thing that stuck me this week was as conversation about the Descendants. Terry Gross played the opening monologue, spoken by George Clooney’s character, over images of typical Hawaii prettiness…
My friends on the mainland think that just because i live in hawaii i live in paradise.
like a permanent vacation.
we’re all just out here, sipping Mai Tais
shaking our hips and catching waves.
are they insane?
do they think we’re immune to life.
how can they possibly think our families are less screwed up
our cancers less fatal
our heartaches less painful
hell, i haven’t been on a surfboard in fifteen years.
for the last twenty three days, i’ve been living in a paradise of IVs and urine bags and tracheal tubes
Paradise can go fuck itself.
I struggle with this notion in Alaska. This morning, as I fed the beast and posted, yet another (albeit tongue in cheek) sunrise photo on instagram, I said to myself (mostly joking) maybe this place, Juneau, is too fucking pretty.
Then the mail came. I’ve been working lately on a new project. After abandoning more than a few, the past several months, I’ve found something, a place, people, who are holding my interest. I fought it for a while, even though I was interested, because on the surface it seemed too romantic - pretty.
Then, today, film arrived. On this film I found darkness with the softness. Cold with the warmth. Dirt. Struggle. Life. Only one good photo, maybe. But, dammit, one is enough. One is enough to start. To push through the pretty to find some beauty.
the internet just got a little better - Time & Space (formally tiny vices).
I’m so damn happy to share this morning that I’ll be traveling to Syracuse in April for a Light Work residency!
"The camera is the least important element in photography"
- Julius Shulman from Visual Acoustics
I was looking through the Fall 2012 DAP catalog this morning, for something unrelated, and found the above photos on facing pages. I’m a sucker for visual connections like this.
From American Prospects by Joel Sternfeld (L) and A New American Picture by Doug Rickard (R)
Matt C., 2013