Friday, December 21, 2007

“16 Days In Red Wing”

Here’s the finished book!

I have 48 of them in my possession right now. I’ll have 12 more shortly, and I’ll make the final 40 when there’s enough demand. The edition (if you can add) is capped at 100 books. All books are signed and numbered by me. Right now, I’m selling them for $45, which is a steal! (Add $5 if you’d like me to ship it to you.)

Contact me if you are interested in purchasing a book: stevestenzelphotography @ or 763.913.2977.

Also, in case you missed it, I had another piece in the NY Times Magazine this past weekend. That makes 3 pieces in the last 4 months.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Two Big Things

#1: So, as far as I know, I’ll have another piece in the New York Times Magazine this Sunday. So check it out.

#2: My book is being bound! Last night, I laid out 48 books. The total edition will be 100, but I don’t have all of those done yet. It’s a good thing we have a dining room table with 4 leaves:

I should have these books back by Tuesday. So check back mid-week and see how everything turned out. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Check the NY Times on Sunday

I think I’ll be having another piece in the NY Times Magazine on Sunday. I’m not 100% sure. I think they’re going with it. Have a look, and try to find my name on an image in an article about sustainable farming practices.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Getting Closer...

So I met with my designer a few more times, and the book design is complete. I actually produced my first hard copy (bound and all) about a week and a half ago. There were some issues with the cover, but I can alter that when I do the final run.

Tomorrow, I plan to start some printing. Look what I brought home with me this morning:

That’s 39 boxes of paper. Nearly 2000 sheets. Lemme at em.

Give me 2 weeks, and I hope to have this book ready for sale. Check back shortly! Happy Winter!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In Progress...

I've been working with my designer, and doing a lot of work in my head, and I'm getting closer to having my Red Wing book ready for printing and binding.

Proof? Here's the InDesign file being tweaked (for the um-teenth time):

I'm hoping to have this book out in the next month. We'll see how it goes. Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New York Times Magazine: “What Every Child Needs”

This past weekend, The New York Times Magazine contained one of my images for a story about pre-school. Here’s how it appeared in the magazine:

They also used a nice detail of this image on the table of contents page. If you subscribe to the newspaper and your magazine is still laying around from this past weekend, have a look-see. Thanks!

Friday, October 26, 2007

New York Times Magazine THIS WEEKEND

So, it’s a go! Clinton, someone in the photo department of the Times who I hadn’t worked with before, took over for Stacey when she took a day off. I sent him that image (from the previous post) a week ago, and he told me a few days ago to send an invoice. My understanding of it is that it will be used in a photo essay about Preschool. It will be used in the story AS WELL as in the index page. We’ll have to see how it looks.

So go purchase a New York Times Newspaper this weekend and check out the magazine. Stay warm out there!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Times? Maybe?

I may be having another image in the NY Times Magazine sometime shortly. I received a call yesterday from Stacey Baker, and she liked one of my images but didn't want to use that one. So she asked what else I had like it. I scanned a handful of contact sheets and e-mailed them to her within the hour. They like this image:

But they don't know if they'll end up using it. It would be for a story/photo essay about pre-school. We'll see...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Found In My Mailbox At CVA

I pulled this new catalog out of my faculty mailbox at the College of Visual Arts today:

Guess why I'm pissed.

"Art AND Photography!?!" Like it's 2 different genres! What is photography, then? Arts ugly little brother? Visual barf? These things drive me nuts...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New York Times Magazine: “Universal Faith”

If anyone has the New York Times Magazine from August 26th (a week and a half ago), take a look at the first article on page 13. I was asked to provide an image for a report by Noah Feldman entitled “Universal Faith.” The tag line is “Religion can have a place in public school. It just can’t be for believers alone.”

I know this is late notice, but this project came up quickly. I wasn’t even sure when it was going to be published until I saw it myself. Here’s my image on the first page of the article:

I was contacted by Stacey Baker who works for the Times. I got to know her a little bit from when she worked with the Golden Light Awards in Maine a year and a half ago and I won the “Golden Light Award.” She actually bought a piece of mine. Now, she’s working at the Times, and knew that I had an image that could work for this article. So she gave me a ring. Funny how things work...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


(Note: This post appears on both of my blogs. For those of you reading from my Triathlon Blog, you need to know that I am a photographer and a college professor by day. For those of you reading from my Photo Blog, you need to know that I’m a triathlete, and that I’m training for an Ironman Triathlon in September [under 3 weeks - yikes!]. There are pieces of both artistic and physical ideas in here, and I thought it’d be best to have it on both blogs. The following are a few issues that have been floating around in my head for years.)

Chuck Close, the famous American painter, recently said the following during an interview with Charlie Rose: “Some people wait around to be inspired. The rest of us just get to work.”

What inspires people to lose weight? To start eating right? To share their vision through photography, painting, sculpture, etc.? To go back to school and continue their education? To run a marathon? To compete in a triathlon? Are they external forces? Or are they all internal influences?

Why is it that on my way to making photographs, I need to listen to certain music? What is it about Dave Alvin, Johnny Cash, and a few no-name folk bands that place me in the right mindset to make my photos? It’s music and photography: a purely audio medium and a purely visual medium (before you even bring it up, I know we could argue the truth of this statement all day). What happens in my head when I connect certain music with my photography? What causes this link to occur that makes me crave a certain kind of music before feeling ready to make photos?

The problem is not that I’m not making enough photographs, it’s that I’m not inspiring myself in the correct way that will make me WANT to make photographs.

Maybe inspiration comes from carrying an emotion, a feeling, a thought, or an idea in your subconscious and needing to expel it. It’s our way of dealing with being bombarded internally for too long. It could be that inspiration comes out of us as a way of dealing with some internal conflict, as a way of venting.

I watched a random video on a friend’s blog on July 17th of last year. I didn’t know what it was about. The only text that accompanied it was “Puts things right in perspective, no?” I didn’t know what to expect, and my curiosity got the best of me. So I clicked the play button. It turns out it was a 4 minute video about Team Hoyt, who are a father/son team who do Ironman Triathlons, marathons, and all other kinds of races and events - they have nearly completed 1000 races together. The son had complications during his birth, and was without oxygen for quite some time. Because of this, he can’t walk or talk. For the Ironman Triathlons, the father pulls his son in a raft for the 2.4 mile swim, sets him on a seat at the front of his bike for the 112 mile bike, and pushes him in a wheelchair for the 26 mile run. They do all of this to try to integrate the physically challenged into everyday life by making people more aware of the issues that the disabled face everyday. It moved me to tears the first time (quite a ways past tears, actually). I watched that video 5 times in the first few days after discovering it. It was inspiring all times except for the third time. The first, second, fourth, and fifth times, I cried my eyes out. I’m talking about bawling. Salty rivers running down my check. Puddles-on-the-floor weeping. Those times it really moved me. But why not the third time? What made that time different for me? Now, I’m not saying that crying equals inspiration, but it has moved me many times. Was I so moved because the first time I watched it I had just completed my first official Olympic Distance Triathlon 2 days before? That was probably part of it. Definitely part of it.

That video not only inspired me to want to compete in an Ironman Triathlon, but it also inspired me to be a better person. It made me want to get off the couch, turn off “Big Brother 8,” and go make some photos. Or go update my resume. Or go out for a long bike ride. Or take a French cooking class. That video stirred me on almost all levels.

In case you’re curious, here’s the video (the original has been removed, but this one is quite similar). If this doesn’t do something to you, you must be dead:

Here’s a big issue inside my head right now: Does one need to be open for inspiration in order for it to strike? Do we sometimes live our lives closed to possible inspiration without being aware of it?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I wish I could remember the exact moments: the moment that I knew I wanted to go to school for photography; the moment that I knew I wanted to marry Sarah; the moment that I knew I wanted to go back to school to get my Masters in photography; the moment that I made the crazy decision to sign up for Ironman WI. I wish I could remember what was going through my mind. I wish I could go back and feel the state of my body and soul when I had those revelations. Maybe that would give some insight into this little rant. The problem is, these thoughts and inspirations don’t hit me like a bolt of lightning. They slowly sneak up on me, hanging around until the time is right, much like a 45-year-old internet predator on MySpace. Inspiration doesn’t strike me instantly like a ton of bricks. Something may inspire me, and that seems to set off a chain reaction that may last a few days or a few months. After that, the inspiration has sunk in, and voilĂ , I have been inspired. I suppose you could say the manner in which I become inspired is a little uninspiring. Great...another hurdle...

When I see an exhibition of great photographs, I’m inspired to go out and make photos. But each time, I’m inspired to go make photos close to the same style of the photos that have just inspired me. After seeing the Diane Arbus show at the Walker, I wanted to go make photos of "freaks" and transvestites. While viewing an installation at the International Center of Photography in New York, I wanted to be a mixed media artist. While cheering on Sarah at all of her marathons, I’ve been inspired to train for a marathon (although I haven’t). Watching Sarah and all of her new blog friends compete in Ironman WI last year absolutely moved me to want to train for Ironman WI 2007. It always seems to go hand in hand: I see it, I’m inspired by it, and I want to do it myself. Is this a normal form of inspiration, simply wanting to copy something else? Is inspiration in league with imitation? Is there really that much difference between the two?

So why is it the Team Hoyt video inspires me on many levels? That video has (obviously) helped inspire me to train for my first IM triathlon (I’ve turned to this video a few times in the past months when I’ve wanted to quit training). But it’s more than that to me because of the father/son bond that is in the forefront of their story as well. And that idea that they are doing something for "the greater good" and not just for themselves. They inspire me on many levels because they are touching me on many levels.

I’m not trying to write a ground-breaking essay on this subject, and I would question anyone who has claimed to. These are just a few of my thoughts (many of them cheesy or corny), and I hope you’ll add your views. Do you have any insight? Thanks.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Faribault County Fair

About 2 weeks ago, I was able to get out to do some shooting. Nothing too spectacular, but here are some images to consider:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Show at the College of Visual Arts Gallery

Just a quick note that I’m in a show that’s opening this Friday evening, June 29th. There’s an alumni show at the College of Visual Arts Gallery in St. Paul. The opening runs from 6 pm – 10 pm, and I’ll be there for part of it. Which part? I don’t know. I’m a busy man.

Below is a tiny version of the postcard along with a tiny version of the image that I have in the show.

I’m on a “tiny things” kick right now. I'll get over it soon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm Back!

Hi all-

I don’t really know if anyone out there is still visiting this Blog anymore, but I want to let you know that I hope to be posting regularly again. The spring semester is over, and I turned in the last of my grades about a half hour ago! Now I can start making more work (maybe).

Here’s a rundown of the last few months events:

• I taught TOO MANY classes between CVA and MCAD this past semester. I only have 3 classes on the books for fall.

• My wife and I recently purchased a home in St. Paul in the Merriam Park neighborhood (I keep telling everyone that it’s in Mac/Groveland, but it’s Merriam Park). It’s 3 blocks from the famous Izzy’s Ice Cream Shop. We’re not fully moved in yet, but we hope to be soon. And I have a dedicated studio in the new place!! More on that to come...

• I’m currently training with my wife to complete an IronMan Triathlon this fall in Wisconsin. An IM is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. Training isn’t going that well. Check out my Triathlon Blog for more info (more than you’d want to know!).

• I’ve just started turning this IM training into a new photo project. Look for some images shortly.

• Just over a month ago, I had a scary incident where I passed out on the sidewalk after teaching a class at CVA. I woke up in the ER. You can read about that by clicking here. Scary.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Show at the Minnesota Center for Photography

I interrupt my photo blog spring hiatus to invite you to a show. “Photocentric 2007” opens this Saturday, March 31st at the Minnesota Center for Photography. The opening is from 6-9 pm, and I’ll be there for at least the first half of the event. The show runs through May.

Also, I just found out that one of my pieces in a show in Texas was awarded a “Purchase Award.” Super-duper! OK, back to our regularly scheduled blog-pause. I’ll be back by June.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Slowing Do..w...n....

There won’t be many new photos for a while. I’m deep in the thick of teaching 5 different classes, and it’s hard to find the time to think about making photos. I’m still working on submitting my work to shows and other self-promo such things; I just don’t have the time to be making new work.

So this blog will be taking a little hiatus. It should be back in the summer. Until then, you can check up on some athletic progress of mine. I’m training for an Ironman Triathlon in September (and I’m still figuring out how to turn it into a photo project). So, until this blog starts up again, take a moment to check out my Triathlon Blog.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Work Up Around the U.S.

If you are in the right neighborhoods around the US, stop in and see my work. I currently have work up in the Wellington B. Gray Gallery at the East Carolina University in Greenville, NC; and at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, TX.

I have 2 prints in the “5th Photographic Image Biennial” in North Carolina:

Mark Klett, photographer and writer, was the juror for the NC show. I'm a big fan, so I was thrilled to have him look at my work, and more thrilled to have him choose 2 pieces of mine for the show.

And I have 1 print in “Illuminance,” a biennial photography exhibit in Texas:

Let me know if you can see either of these shows. I won’t be able to, and I’m curious as to how my work looks in relation to the rest of the show. Thanks!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Teaching: The Great Equalizer

Last week, CVA held a faculty / staff mixer at the Town and Country Club along the Mississippi (oooohh...ritzy!). It was typical: there was the faculty member who couldn’t stay awake during the presentation, the staffer who maybe had a bit too much to drink, and the flirtatious couple who is married (but to other people who weren’t there).

OK, so maybe just one of those 3 are true.

Earlier that day, I was able to meet the new folks teaching in the Photo Department. CVA now has a GREAT mix of people teaching photo classes. William Clark and Terry Gydesen are co-teaching a “professional practices” style class. Students will get great instruction from someone in the fashion / studio photography life, and from some doing street / documentary photography. Also Melody Gilbert, who has produced some VERY interesting documentary films, is teaching a digital video class.

I was sitting across the table from some GREAT artists, but 2 of them had NEVER taught before, and it had been 4 years since the other had taught. They were asking me for advice; I was preparing materials to send to them; we discussed student issues that were bound to come up.

We were equals. It was amazing.

Here’s to a great Spring Semester.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What NOT to Wear

(To coincide with Mr. Blackwell’s list that has just come out for 2006)

I was beginning to feel a lot of self-pity because of the lack of new work I’ve created over the past few months. When I heard about a “Sportsmen’s Show” coming to the area, I thought I’d go check it out.

I had forgotten one of my cardinal rules to making photographs: “Always dress in the manner of those to be photographed.”

I stood out like a bloody, swollen, sore thumb. This was a Sportsmen’s Show. Sportsmen. Think olive drab. Carhartt beige. Camo jackets with matching pants, gloves, hat, and boots.

That was not me today.

I was wearing a striped lime green polo shirt, which was bad for 2 reasons: 1, I stood out too much; and 2, it’s not nearly my favorite shirt in the closet, so I wasn’t 100% comfortable in it.

I spent half the day there, but only used my camera once. It wasn’t a great day. I talked to a lot of people, but I forgot that I am not able to work as slowly as I was during my residency. Oops. Too many new friends, not enough work to show for it.

That makes 2 lessons learned today: wear the right clothes, and get out the damn camera.

This is all I’ve got.
Too cutesy, I know.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Portfolio Review at MCP

Near the beginning of December, I received an e-mail from Jes at the Minnesota Center for Photography (MCP). It read:

“Thanks for your interest in MCP and our exhibition program. We have many artists seeking spots on our walls, and far too few opportunities to serve them all. However, after an initial introduction to your work, I would like to get to know a bit more about you and your art in a half-hour print review session here at the Center. I can’t promise that anything will result from the meeting in the short- or long-term, other than some intuitive feedback and increased familiarity on both sides of the table—mine, with your photography, and yours, with MCP and my take on your work. It is these kinds of interactions, though, that for me build over time into more thoroughly considered senses of one’s art...” Blah, blah, blah...

I thought Jes (who I knew from the U of M) put in a good word for me, which led to a review. I didn’t send them anything, and I didn't express "interest in MCP and their exhibition program.” Regardless, I didn’t care how it was arranged; I was just happy to get some face-time in at MCP. So last night, I got all gussied up, and headed to Minneapolis with my portfolio.

Looking smug in the MCP restroom

When I walked in, I ran into Beth Lehman, who was a Post Bac student while I was a Grad student at MCAD. She’s volunteering there, and she renewed my membership. Then I had my meeting with George Slade, the artistic director at MCP. It turns out that I DID express "interest in MCP and their exhibition program.” He had a packet that I had sent to MCP early in 2003, before I started Grad school about 4 years ago. I think they were just getting to my name down the list of photographers that have sent them work! I was almost embarrassed by the work that I had sent 4 years ago - so much has changed.

George had some nice things to say about my work; he had a very poetic way about him. He recognized some of the work from other contest winnings, McKnight entries, etc. I think my work made a good impression, and it was great being able to spend a half hour with George. Thank you, George, for your time and for the feedback you offered me. I’m ready to hang in the Minnesota Projects Gallery whenever you need me!

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