Last month I licensed five images from my Pasadena PD and Police Series to be used in the upcoming “Cross Colours Exhibition” at the California African American Museum here in Los Angeles. It is the second time so far the CAAM has shown my work and I trust this exhibition, which opens next week, will be as good as the last one.
With Robert Frank’s passing earlier this month I have read lots of tributes since and I have given some thought to how his work impacted my development as a photographer.
There is no doubt that The Americans was one of the most important things to happen to the medium, I remember Bill Jay talking about that fact when I was studying at ASU, listing it as one of the three most important things in establishing the medium in the art world. I have a copy of the book, have seen his prints, know the work well and I absolutely respect and like it. But I would never look to Frank and say he is the photographer whose work has impacted me most. I am a Winogrand fan, and I know Frank’s work impacted him, and so many others that impacted me so maybe, by proxy, Frank had a bigger impact on me than I realize.
I just read A.D. Coleman’s article on Robert Frank which has some fantastic insight. One thing that jumped out to me was the fact that Frank moved on from The Americans to film and other projects. He never did another photography series like The Americans. I think its interesting because when you look at photographers like Winogrand, Friedlander, or whomever you learn a lot by comparing their photographs over a long time period. You learn about the subject matter in greater detail (in most cases our society) and you learn about the photographer personally. It is obviously different with Frank because he leaves the documentary style of The Americans behind and moves on so there is still work that offers insight to the artist but you can not follow the change of society through his work.
For me, I experience life by photographing. Even if I don’t have a camera, visually I am constantly focusing on elements of my world and framing them in my mind. Sometimes it is actually hard not to that. I think there is a lot of value in doing long term series like most of my work. I love being able to compare things over say a 30 year span and hope that many of my series will go well beyond 50 years. It would be interesting to see Frank’s work if had continued over a long period of time, maybe it would have been too much for him. Maybe the great initial success of The Americans prevented that. Lots to consider, but I wanted to take a moment and remember an icon for his contribution to the medium.
Last year I licensed images for use in “Can We All Get Along?: The Segregation of John Muir High School” which is a 49 minute documentary film by Pablo Miralles, who graduated from Muir in 1982. The film explores the history of Pasadena’s schools which were desegregated by court order in 1970 (something I personally experienced as well having grown up in Pasadena at the same time).
The film is currently being well received and winning awards. Please follow the links below to discover more about this documentary film and its producer:
Amongst my arsenal of cameras I have a Nikon D850 and Nikon D500, both of which have dual card slots with one XQD and one SD card slot. I often warehouse my memory cards especially the inexpensive ones. The biggest reason is for a backup system in case I lose an external hard drive plus I foresee an advantage if I ever have to transfer old data its best to have the original source if I need it. I love that you can buy high quality SD cards which are inexpensive, plus I appreciate the fact that SD cards can be found almost anywhere. My XQD cards have performed well but they are expensive, and more times than not, hard to find. I often send my RAW files to the SD card slot, warehousing those, while using the XQD slot as my JPEG image backup. I have even gone with just an SD card when I couldn’t get a XQD card. So, when I the Nikon rep demoed the Nikon Z6 and Z7 for me, as soon as I noticed they only had XQD slots I wanted nothing to do those bodies based on that alone. At the time I knew Sony seemed to be the only one making XQD cards after Lexar went through their changes and I was wary Sony would discontinue the XQD cards because their cameras aren’t using them (apparently Delkin now has a line of XQD cards).
A couple days ago I got notice that B&H was accepting pre-orders on CFexpress Cards so I decided to educate myself more about the CFexpress card because I admit I hadn’t heard of it.
Basically the CFexpress Card is the same size as the XQD card with faster capabilities and they will replace the XQD card. I think cameras with XQD card slots will need a firmware update to be able to use the CFexpress cards but that should be simple. The great thing is SanDisk, Lexar Professional, and Pro Grade Digital (new company founded by former Lexar folks) are making the CFexpress cards so there will be competition and it looks like this card will become a standard platform for a while since it’s design allows for upgrades. Apparently this information has been coming out over the last year or two but its the first I had heard of it so I assume there are other photographers out there who also weren’t familiar with the CFexpress card so I am authoring this post.
related links you may find interesting.
Kishore Sawh of SLR Lounge
Last Saturday night I attended to the opening of the Brand 47 Works on Paper exhibition in Glendale, California. I know one of the artists in the exhibition, Richard Hutman, and I went to support his work.
I grew up in Pasadena, which is next to Glendale, but I was not familiar with the Brand Art Center before.
The Brand Library is the former home of one of Glendale’s founders L.C. Brand. He built the estate in 1904 and the property was gifted to the City of Glendale after his wife’s passing in 1945. Glendale converted the building to library in 1956 and added the Art Center in 1969. The Brand completed a two year remodeling project in 2014. It is a beautiful facility tucked away up by the mountains.
This was the 47th Annual National Juried Exhibition and it was curated by Alma Ruiz who is a former senior curator at MOCA Los Angeles.
I was impressed by a lot of the work that I saw there, especially since given the location of the venue I didn’t know what to expect. The gallery space is outstanding, its well designed, has excellent lighting, and has good flow to the layout. The only downside is the location is a little remote, you have to know about it, and its a ways from the center of the city.
Here are some of the works that caught my attention in the exhibition: (slide show, click on the image)
If you are in the area the exhibition is worth seeing and again I was really impressed by the space. Exhibitions Supervisor Shannon Currie Holmes is doing good things with this space.
As a photographer there is always value in looking at prints by the Masters in the history of photography. Especially prints such as these in this exhibition which truly all are Iconic images. Garry Winogrand is my favorite photographer, I take every chance I can to see his prints and I am glad he was included. Weston was such a master printer, for me seeing his work is a spiritual experience. I remember being at one of the first Photo LA events (around 1993?) and picking up a Weston print of a pepper which was sitting in an open bin with other prints (all were matted). At the time it was a $5,000 print, and it was so powerful to look at every detail of the image and realize Weston also did the same thing when he made this print. I liked both Weston prints in this exhibition and was again in awe of his printing with the Charis Wilson - Nude on Sand print. I recognized every image in this exhibition and appreciated all the information each accompanying title card had about the image. This exhibition was well curated and one thing I really liked was that everyone who saw the exhibition probably came away with some new knowledge about photography, I know I did. The images were somewhat eclectic but their stories were all so unique that they became very concise when displayed together.
Rich and Poor by Jim Goldberg 1978-1983 (printed 1984) 30 images
I was sitting in Bill Jay’s class at Arizona State University when I first saw Jim Goldberg’s series Rich and Poor. It was probably 1986 just after the series came out. It was powerful and to this day I still remember some of the saw there, most notably the photograph of Larry J. Benko and his son where Larry described himself to be too “rough” of a father for his son David who he called “Fragile”. Today, as I was then, I am amazed of how Jim Goldberg was first able to get people to pose for portraits in the privacy of their homes but then how he was able to get these people to open up so much and be completely transparent about their lives and their opinions of themselves. This series is a fantastic document, it powerful, and it truly is thought provoking. Combining text on prints is also not as simple as it seems. While at ASU I remember several classmates and a professor trying to produce bodies of work in that style, obviously emulating Goldberg’s work, and they didn’t work. The series Rich and Poor allows the viewer to seriously consider what really is valuable in life. I have had the book in my collection for a long time and seeing this has inspired me to revisit it. The images, and text, are truly powerful both individually and as a group. I thought the decision to display the prints on walls of a entry hallway for the museum was brilliant. The prints weren’t tucked back in a gallery room but they were right out there in the open for everyone who passed by to stop and see. Much like the people in the photographs who were allowing their own stories to be told, they were putting themselves out there for everyone to see. Once again another good photography exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago.
With Each Incentive is an installation at The Art Institute of Chicago on view now through April 26th, 2020. It is located on the Bluhm Family Terrace near the cafe and I saw it on my last visit. I definitely found it visually interesting, especially in contrast to the Chicago skyline. The architecture in Chicago is amazing so I could see this artwork in contrast to the beauty of the skyline just based on the simplicity of the concrete blocks and rebar compared to the skyscrapers. Then I read the artist statement about the work…
I didn’t see all that meaning which is attributed to the work in the statement when I was there and after reading, then contemplating, the description on line after, I still don’t see it. The statement makes some impressive claims how these artists are “aggressively tackling some of the most pressing issues of the day” and that this installation “contemplates how Chicago might be transformed by the current wave of Indigenous American refugees from Mexico and Central and South America.” I’m sorry but I don’t see it, and if anything interpreting the statement and applying it to the installation for me it feels like a negative statement against lower construction standards in Mexico and countries in Central and South America.
But here is the good thing about art, everyone can have their own opinion about things. If someone else were to feel every claim of the statement while experiencing this installation great. Also just because I don’t see the installation living up to everything billed in the statement, I still thought the contrast with the skyline was interesting. Everyone brings something different with them when they go to the museum and all experiences can not, or should, be equal.
The first thing which impressed me about the Frist is the building. I love Art Deco architecture and style. This building is beautiful and the people who designed the change over from a large functioning post office to a museum did a fantastic job. From retaining the original wood floors of the mail sorting rooms (2x4’s placed on their ends up for I assume durability and maybe cushion for the workers - photo below) in the galleries to making all modern improvements match the original building.
The location is great too. As it was we stayed next door at the Station Hotel which was originally the Louisville and Nashville Railroad’s passenger station. The station is also beautiful and the buildings compliment each other nicely. This might sound weird but I could almost feel the activity that went on here during the height of the rail passenger era in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
The featured current exhibition at the Frist was Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Like most people I always appreciate seeing Kahlo’s work and respect how important Mexican Modernism is to history of art. Others can speak to it better than I can so I will refer you to their statement about the exhibition, but I would like to say the curators at the Frisk did a wonderful job with their curation and presentation. I loved that they painted a room blue to highlight the work related to Frida’s “Blue House”. I also enjoyed all the photographs documenting their lives. I had no idea their were so many photographs of her ill and of her death. The exhibition closes September 2, if you are in the Nashville area it is worth taking the time to see it.
The exhibition “Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s” is ongoing until Spetember 29th. I really liked this exhibition and thought the connection between the works and what was going on in the world when these works were being created was fascinating. Makes total sense, just with my focus its something I had never thought deeply about it. Always good to learn and expand one’s mind. Another very well curated exhibition. I especially liked the timelines they added to the gallery wall, it really made the concepts easy to grasp.
I want to end by talking more about the Frist Museum itself. Here is their Vision and Mission statements:
The vision of the Frist Art Museum is to inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways.
The mission of the Frist Art Museum is to present and originate high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community outreach activities.
Simple and concise, and something they definitely achieve. I have come across too many artist and art related statements in my time that are either too grandiose or overstate the obvious. These statements nail it. The people who work, or volunteer, at the Frith are friendly and proud of their museum. The children’s interactive art area may very be the best I have seen in any Museum. I also love the fact they dedicated a downstairs hallway to be a community gallery. Local residents can share their creations and the space appears to also allow dialogue on current issues related to the city and the region.
I was impressed by the Frith and as well Nashville. I will get back there again and would love to get my work in the Frist one day.
Last month I went with my 19 year old son to Nashville so he could meet with a mentor I had arranged. We had never been to Nashville before, nor Tennessee, but I had heard it was a great place to visit so I looked forward to going. I always photograph when I travel, I photograph every day pretty much as it is, and I thought the Country Music aspect of the city would be interesting and that I could find things to photograph. We landed somewhat late and my son Yelped us to a Mexican restaurant down named Bakersfield. Here I found my first surprise about Nashville, they had a place to get good tacos.
I had done some research before the trip and knew about the Frist Museum , which I am going to cover in a separate blog post, but I had no idea what the rest of the art scene was like there. I was more than impressed by what I found there. There were a number of small galleries with interesting work, but I ddin’t see a whole lot of photography. While in one gallery I asked the owner about photography galleries and which galleries we should check out. She told us about 21c Museum Hotel and how close it was. We were so glad she did because it was one of the coolest and most unique spaces I have seen.
The 21c Museum Hotel Nashville is located in the historic Gray & Dudley Building and is exactly as it is billed, a hotel as well as a museum. The bottom two floors of the hotel are the gallery spaces, even tying in the bar to the gallery space, while the rooms are on the higher floors. Glass floors in the second floor hallway that reflect the skylights and the space below are interesting in their own right but the exhibition we saw was also fantastic.
The current exhibition Super Natural , was curated by Alice Gray Stites who is the Museum Director & Chief Curator, and runs until September. In the simplest of terms the exhibition basically addresses numerous environmental and technology issues of today. Various artists are included and I was told all work is part of the hotel owners’ private collection (Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson). The exhibition includes Chris Doyle’s “Waste Generation” video, photographs, mixed media, sculpture, and paintings which all work so well together. The most concise way to describe this exhibition here is to direct you to 21c’s own exhibition statement. The gallery below showcases the works I found most interesting:
Other takes on Nashville:
We saw a show at the Grand ole Opry and it was great. I found the history of a seeing a live radio show being performed to be very interesting and the music was good. I was surprised to find out how far away from downtown the Opry was and that it is connected to the The Opryland resort and shopping mall.
The history inside the Ernest Tubb record shop on Broadway is awesome. I had no idea about the history of the Midnite Jamboree and was incredible to think of all the icons of American music who have played in this small space over the last 72 years. It’s not that I am Country Music fan, I appreciate it, but I just love American History. If you visit Nashville you have to at least spend ten minutes walking around in here.
People there are very nice there and I mean all over town. Its not cheap to stay downtown. People party on Broadway every night of the week and I was impressed by a couple of folks I saw and how hard they went after it on a Tuesday night.
One final thing I learned is there are 8 other 21c Museum Hotels with three more coming which is fantastic if they are anything like the one in Nashville.
We went over to eat at the Bear Flag restaurant in the Pacific City mall in Huntington Beach early this month and I came across Ron Church’s surf photographs in the Pacific City Gallery space. I know I have seen his work before but never in an exhibition format. Ron was a pioneer in photographing surfing and underwater, but unfortunately he passed away from a brain tumor at only 39 years old in 1973. His images are fantastic documents of the iconic “Endless Days of Summer” era of the Southern California beach scene. I don’t know how long this work will be up but if you are in HB at Pacific City make a point to see it. There are also several catalogs of his work out which look very interesting, worth getting to his work.
I caught the Live Stream from Fraenkel Gallery for the opening of Lee Friedlander’s “Signs” Exhibition which is now showing until August 17th. Without a doubt one of the better Live Stream video’s I have seen lately. Whomever was filming it did a great job showing the entire exhibition as well as details of the prints. Almost felt like being there and walking through the gallery. Good to see Lee was there signing too. Probably will ad this book to my library as well, hopefully I can get up north to see the show before it comes down, looks fantastic. Below is the link to Fraenkel Gallery about the exhibition.
I recently stumbled across Lee Friedlander’s new book “The Mind and the Hand” completely by accident. I did a search on Amazon looking for new Garry Winogrand material and this book came up. The book looked interesting so I took a shot and ordered; $90 isn’t cheap but I always enjoy seeing Friedlander’s work. “The Mind and the Hand” definitely exceeded my expectations
The book is actually six 60 page softbound books in a slip case. Each book has between 25 and 34 of Friedlander’s photographs and documents a photography icon: William Eggleston, John Szarkowski, Richard Benson, William Christenberry, Walker Evans, and Garry Winogrand. Each book also has a brief lecture excerpt by the featured photographer which adds the right amount of information to deepen the viewers understanding of the individual.
I was familiar with a few of the photographs but not most. I would also say most of the images are snapshots. But these are wonderful snapshots and, in this context, they form a fantastic document of each featured photographer. These people were Friedlander’s friends and peers and many of the moments he photographed were very personal like Winogrand’s wedding. I love the images of these photographers out photographing. As a photographer I am always interested in how other photographers approach the medium and Friedlander’s photographs give a wonderful insight to six icons of photography.
The book was released in April by Eakins Press Foundation and was printed by Meridian Printing in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. The print quality is beautiful and I really like the intimate size of the book of 8.8” square. I think Katey Homans did a perfect job with the design and I am assuming that Lee Friedlander’s Archivist, Stephanie Prussin, edited the images. I am very happy with this purchase and would suggest it to anyone interested in documentary photography.
· Paperback: 240 pages
· Publisher: Eakins Press Foundation (April 23, 2019)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0871300796
· ISBN-13: 978-0871300799
· Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
Printer: Meridian Printing – East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Lee Friedlander Archivist: Stephanie Prussin
Design & Typography: Katey Homans
I got lucky and saw Fraenkel Gallery’s Instagram post about the PBS American Masters documentary on Garry Winogrand which aired last Thursday night.
Winogrand is my favorite photographer, I saw his 1988 retrospective at MoMA curated by Szarkowski, I saw SFMoMA’s 2015 retrospective, I saw the exhibition at Pier 24 gallery where they displayed prints of every image from his Women are Beautiful book on one massive wall, and I even attended Geoff Dyers's lecture last year at Getty for the release of his book on Winogrand.
I have seen several videos of interviews of Winogrand, have numerous books on his work, but I always want to learn more about him and his process. This PBS documentary is amazing. It has old interviews of Gary, lecture audio from Szarkowski speaking about Winogrand’s work, video shot by Winogrand, interviews of scholars, as well as interviews of his family and friends. Great insight in to the man. If you like Winogrand’s work, documentary photography, or just great images, you will enjoy this film.
Also, as a documentary photographer who photographs on the street, I particularly loved these following three quotes from the film about Street Photography :
“If we applied standard definitions of propriety and niceness to photographers working in the street we’d be left without a lot of the great pictures in the history of photography.”
Jeffrey Fraenkel – Gallerist
“I find it kind of intriguing because we allow the State to photograph us so relentlessly and yet people don’t seem as bothered by that as they do by someone who is clearly an artist.”
Michael Ernest Sweet – Photographer
“It’s an artistic process, you live within this process. So the questions of surveillance, political correctness, all of that stuff, it’s just totally irrelevant. Now perhaps that makes the few of us who even understand what I’m talking about right now are dinosaurs or insensitive ghouls or whatever…but who cares about that?”
Tod Papageorge – Photographer
I received notification recently that the six image I had submitted for the 12th Pollux Awards had received Honorable Mention in the Documentary and Reportage Series category. All images were from my Pasadena Police Department Series, the juror was Philip Brookman, consulting curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..
The images are displayed on line now at: https://www.thegalaawards.com/pollux-non-pro-2
I will also be participating in the Pollux Awards Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain in May of 2019. The exhibition will either be held at Gallery Valid Foto or Space Nau Bostik during the first two weeks of the month.
In 1991 I published my first book, Santa Anita. I stumbled on to photographing at the racetrack while searching for a place to photograph here in California with images like I found on the streets of New York and Chicago. You can find Street Photography in California, even Los Angeles now, but it is different because California is so spread out and everyone drives everywhere. The track has it all, people from all walks of life, right there in one place, and easy to move about them photographing, just like being in New York. I continue to photograph at Santa Anita, probably more as a personal retreat than actually working on a new project but that is fine, the process is what matters when photographing. Plus I have been able to photograph two Triple Crown winning horses the last few years by continuing to go out. Anyways in case you are wondering why I am writing a post about a project from 27 years ago today, its because I just was doing a Google Search on myself and came across a couple old reviews of the book which I don’t think I have shared before. Pretty accurate in my mind so I wanted to put do a post on them and thought it best to provide an introduction why I was.
Laura Rose of Equine Images Magazine wrote: "In his book Santa Anita, photographer William Karl Valentine captures the pulse of this California racetrack with his camera, The images, chosen from four years' worth of photographs, include everything your eye may pick up during a day at the track - from a classic stretch drive to a refreshing horse bath, from a grandstand littered with people and paper to a lost child in the safe grip of a track security officer." "But the photographs of the people of the track tell just as much of the story, and Valentine has captured them not as snapshot figures, but as friends...it's evident that not only does Valentine know the track, it knows him."
Mark Ratzky of the Daily Racing Form wrote: ""Santa Anita" is a must-see for any fan of this racetrack. The book contains 80 black and white pictures of just about every aspect of an afternoon at the foot of the beautiful San Gabriels, and really manages to capture a day at the races."
A review of the Sony RX100 VI camera by Photographer William Karl ValentineRead More
A review of Wayne Thiebaud’s 2018 exhibition at theJan Shrem & Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis.Read More
A quick review of Ave Pildas’s short run book “Street / People”Read More
William Karl Valentine’s review of Geoff Dyer’s book “The Street Photography of Garry Winogrand” and his March 23, 2018 lecture at the Getty celebrating the books release.Read More
Photographer William Karl Valentine examines the influences of how he developed his photographic vision or photographer’s eye.Read More