While looking at A New History of Photography's Facebook group page today I saw a post by Polly Gaillard announcing her latest blog post "When the House is Burning Down; Photography and Memory. I checked it out and thought it was a great read plus there is a lot of other good content on her site, worth the visit.
My High School graduation gift was a Pentax K-1000, the standard starter camera for my generation. When I left to attend ASU my grandmother gave me her Nikon F which she had purchased during a trip to Japan. Based on that gift I became a Nikon photographer. I own Canon point & shoot cameras, Fuji Cameras, a Mamiya 7II, a Leica, plus other cameras but my DSLR world is Nikon.
My Nikon D5300 just wore out, literally no more auto modes, and I had to make the decision on how to replace it. I have been wanting a D5 to replace my D3 but I was hesitant based on the price and size (too many people flip out when you photograph with a pro body). As timing would have it the D500 was recently release and I was able to get a kit from Samy's Camera this past weekend. The initial images are impressive. The ISO capabilities are insane, 10 FPS are awesome, and ergonomically the camera is comfortable to use. My initial observation is it has all the features I was looking for in the D5. I did notice the D500 seems to eat up battery power but I hear Nikon is addressing that and will introduce new batteries soon. Nikon also still needs to get their SnapBridge App for iPhones released so you can upload images straight to your phone from the camera.
Some initial test images from the last two nights:
I had the opportunity last night to attend a private reception at the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University which was very impressive. Mark and Janet Hilbert began collecting California Scene paintings in 1992 and the collection has grown to over 1,000 pieces. As the collection grew Mark and Janet decided they wanted to find a means to preserve and share their collection. They eventually developed a relationship with Chapman University in Orange, California and helped to build the Hilbert Museum of California Art. Earlier this year the Museum opened in a beautiful new temporary building at 167 North Atchison Street in Orange. The Museum will eventually move north several blocks to a large old Orange packing warehouse that the University owns which will be a larger space with other venues. Last night's reception was for members of the Pacific Club.
I found it very interesting to listen to Mark describe his collection. It was fascinating to see what made him gravitate towards different pieces and how passionate he and his wife are about the collection. He definitely is a good steward for the work, almost like a proud adoptive parent. I know I always want people who obtain my work to share my passion for the image & print as I do.
I have long enjoyed the work of Millard Sheets and other California Scene painters. I think partially because the paintings often are similar to photographs, I usually like the subject matter (often they are of grittier scenes which I know I gravitate towards), they document my parents' generation which I enjoy, and I know a big part is that I appreciate the skill these artist had. Sheets is my favorite of the group and I have to say I have not seen a watercolor like his San Dimas Train Station before. How Sheets was able to capture the lighting in watercolor is just amazing. I have limited painting experience but enough to know what he was able to do with his brush is not an easy thing.
Chapman's President Jim Doti was also at the event last night and it was great to see how excited and supportive he was about the Hilbert Museum and art in general as it relates to education. Gordon T. McClelland did a very nice job curating this exhibition and I can easily say the trip up to the museum was well worth it. The museum is literally right across from the Metrolink / Amtrak station so easy to get to from San Diego and Los Angeles. Old town Orange is right there and great restaurants like Felix's are an easy walk.
New additions to my library: "The Open Road" by David Campany (2014 Aperture) and "Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles" by Metropolis Books 2015.Read More
I have used Nik software plugins for a few years, I particularly like the Silver Efex Pro and use it for most of my Black and White digital images. I have found it to be easy to use and a good way for me to create digital images that are similar to my silver gelatin prints from negatives. Google bought Nik a while back and this past March they made the Nik software plugins free to everyone. Works with PS, Lightroom, & Elements.
Here is the link to download the plug ins: https://www.google.com/nikcollection
I first met Jon in 1988 when I had a one game credential at Dodger Stadium, he was pretty new there and got tasked to oversee that I was in the right photo well. He has been the Dodgers Official Photographer ever since.
A lot of Jon's work is press like just because of the needs of his employer but he also has the freedom to be creative and he does an outstanding job looking for new ways to approach his subject matter. I love the fact he looks for different angles to photograph the game and isn't afraid to try and use different lighting for powerful images. It's not all "Art" but a good photograph is a good photograph and I like his images.
William Fuller's book "The City" which is currently posted on Kickstarter....
The way it works is that you find a project that interests you by browsing the Kickstarter or Indiegogo website. You learn about the project and review the levels at which you can support it. You get some type of perk depending on how much money you pledge, which may include a copy of a book once published, a special print or artwork, or even a thanks on the artist's website.
You only pay if the project gets fully funded.
Check out William Fuller's book project, and look at other artists who are asking for your financial support, on these great websites.
And then do your part to support the arts. It doesn't have to be a lot - every little bit helps.
The arts need you.
I just found out that two of my photographs have been included in the University of New Mexico Art Museum's upcoming exhibition: Necessary Force: Art in the Police State.
Both prints are from their permanent collection and were acquired 20 years ago. I did not participate in the curation of the exhibition and I am slightly cautious about the tone of the exhibition, hopefully nothing will be taken out of context. But I am very honored to have the work exhibited at UNM and with works by people like Danny Lyon and Larry Clark. I have thought my images would pair well with their images for some time.Read More
I found out a couple months ago that the University of New Mexico Art Museum was going to use this photograph of Agent Lee Baroni for their brochure announcing an upcoming exhibition. I knew they had this print in their permanent collection but I knew nothing of the exhibition. Over this past weekend the curator contacted me and I learned the exhibition was Necessary Force - Art in the Police State opening this coming Friday.
I then read the description of the exhibition on the announcement:
The exhibition Necessary Force: Art in the Police State addresses the systemic forces in our history and our society that continue the violation of civil rights in this country through a range of issues, including police brutality, surveillance and imprisonment, poverty, gun violence, racial profiling, as well as the power of collective protest and collective healing. The exhibition includes seminal photographs documenting the civil rights movement from the museum’s own collection. In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will host a diverse program of public events with the participation of artists, scholars, law enforcement and local organizations to discuss some of the foremost civil rights issues facing our communities and nation today.
I immediately became concerned because I didn't want my images being taken out of context. My photographs of the Pasadena Police Department document a very diverse and professional agency, during the height of the rock cocaine era in Southern California, doing an outstanding job trying to protect their community from a deadly combination of gangs and drugs. I didn't witness Police brutality, or racial profiling, or civil rights violations. The outrage I witnessed was the effect the drug dealers and gangs had on the law abiding population in northwest area of the city. The description of the exhibition seems like it is not positive towards law enforcement and our criminal justice system and that it may champion modern day anti-police activists, things I do not agree with.
I sent Kymberly Pinder, the Co-Curator and Museum Interim Director, a message with the following description of the above image because I know without any explanation some viewers might find Agent Baroni's actions inappropriate:
I know one of the prints in this exhibition is of Agent Lee Baroni using a carotid hold to subdue a man under the influence of PCP who attacked our Police car. It's too bad the full story of the Baroni image won't be known to most viewers, many will probably take the image out of context. The suspect was under the influence of PCP which most people have no idea how powerful the drug really is. The suspect was walking down the middle of this quiet residential street screaming when we came up on him. Lee stopped the patrol car and asked him if he was alright. The guy suddenly turned and bolted towards a yard. He dove on to the ivy in the front yard and started ripping it up while screaming incoherently. We couldn't get through on the radio to call for additional units because of radio traffic related to another incident. The suspect then got up and attacked the driver side of the Police car preventing Lee from getting out. I got out my side of the unit and sort of acted like a rodeo clown to get the guy to come at me so Lee could get out of the car. The suspect would not comply with any directions and eventually came at Lee. Lee tried pepper spray which did nothing, then he delivered one baton blow to the guys arm when he swung on Lee. Surprisingly the suspect dropped to the ground after that (most people under the influence of PCP are oblivious to pain and many are extremely violent). Lee quickly applied the carotid hold which caused the guy to pass out, I put the camera down, and we both quickly pinned the guy to the ground and handcuffed him before he came back around. We didn't have Tasers back then or stun bags or any other less lethal options. Lee handled the incident perfectly, and actually put himself at risk to get the guy in custody safely. The only injuries the suspect had was a bruise on his arm from the baton strike and a scuff from getting pinned down while we cuffed him. PCP influence was one of the scariest things I ever saw. I remember one case where Officers were trying to arrest a man who sold PCP to an undercover officer. They tried to control him by pinning him to the ground to handcuff him and the suspect did a push up and raised the entire pile of officers, his strength was amazing. Unfortunately most viewers will see this image and not have a clue about all the facts, its too bad.
Kymberly Pinder immediately responded and assured me the description of the image on file would accompany it in the exhibition and that both my photographs were chosen to highlight the issues of drug use not Police misconduct. I was satisfied with our conversation but I still do not know what the tone of the exhibition will be.
I thought it was important that I author this post and put it out there for anyone who might have seen the image and wanted to learn more about it. To make clear there is no misunderstanding, this photograph is of a Street Cop putting his life on the line taking on an extremely violent suspect and getting him to custody, and eventually medical treatment, in the safest manner possible. It is not Police brutality it is a Cop doing his job protecting his community with sound tactics.
849 N. Summit was one of the busiest locations for Rock Cocaine and PCP sales in Pasadena during the 1980's. This image shows Officers Phlunte Riddle and Naum Ware looking for a suspect who sold rock to another undercover officer during a buy bust operation and then fled. The photograph does not need as much explanation as the other print in the Necessary Force exhibition but it is worth noting some things. With the current scrutiny of law enforcement over racial issues, this photograph documents the fact that Pasadena Police Department was very diversified 30 years ago, as were many other agencies. In fact Phlunte went on to become the department's first black female lieutenant. It also shows that black officers were involved with trying to improve the conditions in the areas of the city with a predominantly black population. While Naum Ware was at Pasadena PD he conducted over 1,000 hand to hand buys on the street, he was amazing. He put himself in harms way so many times, he was able to disguise himself and blend in like no one else I knew. His ability to change his appearance even allowed him to purchase drugs from the same suspect on more than one occasion which is almost unheard of.
In 1986 Mary Ellen Mark's "Mother Teresa and Calcutta" photographs were exhibited at Northlight Gallery at ASU where I was a student. To the best of my memory I was on the gallery staff that semester as part of my studies there at ASU. The prints were, and are amazing and we were lucky to have her come lecture in conjunction with the opening. Documentary Photography lost one of its great photographers when she passed away on May 25th at the age of 75. I know I am late getting this post up, the last few months have been a battle, but I wanted to make sure I put it out there how much I enjoyed her work. I am sure her images helped me grow as a photographer and her impact on the medium will continueon for years and years. It is always sad to lose someone so important but I am thankful she was able to accomplish so much and influence so many.
I received a message today from Zane at WhoIsHostingThis.com about their visual guide to launching a successful photography blog and asking to share it on my site. Another potential resource for photographers the link is below and also on my links page now.
Flipboard highlighted an interesting read on Leica's blog about Street Photography yesterday:
I also found Knut's website which is extensive, just starting to work through it but it looks like another great resource for those who enjoy Street Photography:
Kari Osep, a student enrolled in Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, just used one of my photographs from my ASU days in an interview feature she did with Chicago Bears Chairman, and fellow Sun Devil, George McCaskey. Great view!
Bouncing around the web today and found this from last month , wanted to share it.
The Guardian's Art Critic Jonathan Jones wrote an article blasting the $6.5 Million dollar price tag paid for a Peter Lik photograph recently (Jimmy Kimmel also took a shot at the sale as well, classic video if you can find it). I agree, this sale seems insane. For me Lik is photography's version of Thomas Kinkaide. He has great technical skill and he is a master businessman. The issue here is not about Lik (you can look at Lik's site and draw your own opinion) but about the comments Jones makes about Photography not being Art. Not all photography is art but some is. Just as some painting isn't artistic. Anyways Sean O'Hagan wrote a great response to Jones' comments and I encourage you to read both articles. Good exchange and always good to mull over these questions every once in a while anyways. I would also suggest following Sean O'Hagan's features, he has great insight on the medium.
While monitoring some on-line activity I came across this Amazon review of my Santa Anita book which I really appreciated. Even though it was a small press run, I still have some copies of the book available for sale.
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 notonly 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."
Bill Jay - History of Photography Professor at Arizona State University wrote: "...Muybridge was the pioneer: Valentine the progenitor. It is fanciful (but fun)to speculate on Muybridge's reaction to these images made over 100 years later...Muybridge would probably be jealous" -- Publisher Comments