Saturday, December 24, 2011

Limitations in Your Photography

There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.
- Ernst Haas

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Art Is Like Masturbation

Art is like masturbation. It is selfish and introverted and done for you and you alone. Design is like sex. There is someone else involved, their needs are just as important as your own, and if everything goes right, both parties are happy in the end.
- Colin Wright

It's an interesting take... Yes? No? Overly simplified?

Thursday, December 01, 2011


It's late Thursday evening, and I just got done helping set up work for the CVA Holiday Sale.

Here are a few "in progress" photos from tonight of the work going up:

Work in the main gallery

The "nook" as I was nearly finished hanging work

Some work for the silent auction

More silent auction work

Jewelry and knick-knacks

Lots of work to still be hung / sorted

I seriously need to purchase some of these

Some of "the crew" discussing the game-plan at the end of the night

I was given a hilariously small tool-belt-apron-thing
(it was made for a toddler - I could barely fit my head through it...)

There's SERIOUSLY a lot of work that I'd like to purchase! There's a lot of great and INEXPENSIVE art to buy!

CVA Gallery
173 Western Avenue North
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102

Holiday Art Sale Preview Party:
Friday, December 2, 5 - 8 p.m.
General Admission: $30.00 at the door (online registration closed)

Holiday Art Sale:
Saturday, December 3, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday, December 4, 12 – 4 p.m.

Click here for more info

My family will be at the sale sometime Friday evening, so stop by and say "hi" and purchase some great art!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

10 Lessons for Young Photographers and Designers

To my students: take note of these lessons from Wieden+Kennedy’s Executive Creative Director, John C Jay:

1. Be authentic. The most powerful asset you have is your individuality, what makes you unique. It’s time to stop listening to others on what you should do.

2. Work harder than anyone else and you will always benefit from the effort.

3. Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture. Life is visceral.

4. Constantly improve your craft. Make things with your hands. Innovation in thinking is not enough.

5. Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to learn just how much you don’t know.

6. Being original is still king, especially in this tech-driven, group-grope world.

7. Try not to work for stupid people or you’ll soon become one of them.

8. Instinct and intuition are all-powerful. Learn to trust them.

9. The Golden Rule actually works. Do good.

10. If all else fails, No. 2 is the greatest competitive advantage of any career.

Listen. To. This.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Computer Program Knows "Good vs Bad" Photographs

Xerox research labs just developed a program that supposedly can spot a "good" or a "bad" photograph. It's called the "Aesthetic Image Search Program," and it is "trying to learn what makes an image special, and makes photo enthusiasts mark it as high quality."

The software has different themes, like beaches, portraits, skies or flowers. The algorithm uses different parameters to evaluate the photos according to that subject matter.

Below is what it came up with in the category of "birds" and "portraits."

Does this software work? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Early "Mechanical" Light Meter


At first glance this is just a small rectangular plate, about 13 x 8 cm, covered with dense scribbles, with seven pointers fixed to its frame. Then you realize that the pointers are not fixed, but can slide on the frame… and then you note that they are somehow interconnected -- moving any of the small ones will move the larger one this way or that. Strange.

Kaufmann’s Posographe is nothing less than an analog mechanical computer for calculating six-variable functions. Specifically, it computes the exposure time (Temps de Pose) for taking photographs indoors or out (depending on which side you use). The input variables are set up on the six small pointers; the large pointer then gives you the correct time. The variables are very detailed, yet endearingly colloquial. For outdoors, they include the setting -- with values like “Snowy scene”, “Greenery with expanse of water”, or “Very narrow old street”; the state of the sky -- including “Cloudy and somber”, “Blue with white clouds”, or “Purest blue”; The month of the year and hour of the day; the illumination of the subject; and of course the aperture (f-number).

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Corinne Vionnet on 20x200

Corinne Vionnet just had a print go up for sale on 20x200, and I'm trilled! Who is Corinne and what is 20x200? Let me explain.

I posted about some of Corinne's photos here on my blog back in March. They're a successful version of something I was trying to do with my childhood memories. Her photos are beautiful and have a great conceptual edge. Mine version of this idea that I tried 4 years ago looked like hot crap.

20x200 is a site where you can buy prints from small editions of different artists' work. Here's a bit from David from 20x200:

20x200 is an online art retailer, and our goal is to make art affordable and accesible to everyone. Our limited editions start at $20, and since we split all revenues 50/50 with our artists, our collectors are true patrons through their purchases.

They usually offer 8"x10" editions of 100 for $10, 11"x14" editions of 500 for $50, and 16"x20" editions of 20 for $200 (many artists have larger prints available as well).

Corinne Vionnet just had this image go up on 20x200:

Zipping through 20x200, I found other familiar up-and-coming artists that I've admired for a while.

Like Todd McLellan:

Old Typewriter

And Jenny Odell:

144 Empty Parking Lots

As well as work by Carlo Van de Roer, Rachel Papo (who I met in New Mexico), Keith Taylor, Brian Ulrich, and Karolina Karlic (a friend from my time in grad school).

So check out Corinne Vionnet on 20x200 and order your prints before they're all sold out. Here's the direct link to Corinne Vionnet's print on 20x200. Happy art buying!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

...looking for people to do their job without pay...


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Appearance on "Things Organized Neatly"

Do you know about this site? I'm obsessed with it. It fulfills some sort of OCD need for me. I submitted a photo about 2 months ago, and just a few days ago, I saw that it "made the cut" and was featured on Things Organized Neatly. Here's a screenshot with all of the likes and reblogs at the bottom:

CLICK HERE to go to my entry on Things Organized Neatly.

Well, I can check THAT off my bucket list...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sister Corita Kent's Rules

From "Weekend America:"

When you think about pop art and counter culture, in all likelihood, you don't immediately think of a convent in Los Angeles in the 1960s. Sister Corita Kent was a nun at the Immaculate Heart Convent in Los Angeles, as well as a teacher in the art department at the Immaculate Heart College. She was also an artist whose screen prints garnered world-wide attention. At one point she was on the cover of Newsweek. But she was also criticized by conservative Catholics, including the archbishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese. Sister Corita Kent left the convent at the height of her fame but continued to live a fascinating life....

Here are Sister Kent's famous rules:

1. Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.

2. General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher, pull everything out of your fellow students.

3. General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.

4. Consider everything an experiment.

5. Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

6. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.

7. THE ONLY RULE IS WORK. If you work it will lead to something. It's the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.

8. Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. They're different processes.

9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.

10. "We’re breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities." - John Cage.

Helpful hints: Always be around. Come or go to everything always. Go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully often. Save everything, it might come in handy later.

Dear students: today's lesson? This. All of this.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

File Under "I Want:" The Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera

Direct link:

Friday, October 07, 2011

Opening of the New Photo Labs at CVA

Last night was the "Grand Opening Celebration" for the new CVA Photo Lab. (BTW, if you aren't a fan of the CVA Photo Lab on Facebook, become one now!) There were a lot of people there, and I was able to chat with some old and new "photo friends."

Here are some photos from last night:

Goodies (many of them were made by members of our own photo faculty)

The "loungy" area directly outside of the B&W lab - notice
the magnetic wall used for instant critique space!

Faculty, staff, and students starting to file-in to the new studio

Ann Ledy (the president of CVA in the red glasses) thanking those who made
the new labs possible - there were a LOT of people who did a LOT of work!

Students getting ready to present thank you gift baskets
to Shawn, Grant, John, and I. Thanks students!

Some of my work-study lab assistants found the extra food once everyone had left...

My gift basket from the students

Probably the most random gift basket I've ever received... Thanks photo students (and Emma!)

Thanks to EVERYONE who showed up in support of the Photo Program last night! What a fun time!

I'll have some pretty dramatic "before-and-after" photos of the photo lab spaces posted in the next week or 2. Check back for those and become a fan of the CVA Photo Lab on Facebook!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Photo Area Open House

Stop by and check out the new photo labs at CVA! We have a new B&W lab, Color lab, film processing area, Digital Darkroom, and check-out area. That's a completely brand new photo department!

Here are 2 photos from the months past. This first photo shows the B&W lab full of boxes from the beginning of Sept:

And this photo shows the lab as it's getting ready to open a week later:

Stop by Thursday evening and check out our new space! See you there!

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Fitness for Photographers"

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has a class named "Fitness for Photographers." Here's the description from their site:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Camera

The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
- Dorothea Lange

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Camera Stickers

Their site says: "Three (3) sheets of awesome pixelated camera stickers based on iconic cameras ranging from vintage twin-lens reflex cameras to the latest DSLRs!"

I just ordered a few sheets of these from the PetaPixel Store. Can't wait until they come in!

Monday, September 12, 2011

How To Feel Miserable as an Artist

This sort of pairs well with my last post:

Friday, September 09, 2011

33 Ways to Stay Creative

I don't know where this list came from, and I don't know that I see the importance of #8 or #9, but otherwise it's a good list of things to keep in mind:

Friday, September 02, 2011

My New Job

It's been too long... I don't know if my love of history first drove me to CVA, or if my years living and going to school in a historical neighborhood of St. Paul turned me into a history buff.

If you look through the pages of the Summer 2011 "Manse" (the newsletter for friends of the College of Visual Arts), you'll find this little announcement:

So I figure now is a good time to announce that I've been hired at CVA as a full time Assistant Professor in Photography and Foundation, and I'm the new Photo Lab Tech for the new darkrooms and digital photo lab. As I glance down the schedule for the beginning of the semester meetings, it's apparent that I also now have the longest title of any professor at CVA. :)

Ellen and I went to grad school together at MCAD, and we are both thrilled to be the 10th and 11th full-time professors at this small school made up mostly of dedicated, highly successful, working adjunct professors.

If you don't know much about the College of Visual Arts, here's a quick blurb from their website:

The College of Visual Arts is a private, accredited, four-year college of art and design offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fine arts, graphic design, illustration, interdisciplinary art and design studies, and photography. The fine arts degree offers concentrations in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. The interdisciplinary art and design studies degree offers a concentration in fashion.

Founded in 1924, the college is located in the thriving urban residential areas of historic Summit Avenue and Ramsey Hill in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

And if you're wondering what makes CVA so special, here are 2 short stories that will start to give you a bit of a idea. (These stories are what I've heard - I'm sorry if some of the small details are incorrect, but this is what I believe to be true.)

Story #1:

There was a fire one night this past summer (just a few months ago) at a small apartment building where a number of CVA students live. (With a student body of under 250 students, there's no dorm at CVA, but there's a "housing coordinator" who helps students find a place to live in one of many apartment buildings nearby [and they can get paired with other CVA students if they want to have roommates].) No one was injured in the fire, so don't worry. But the building was deemed unlivable until repairs were made.

It just so happens that the main security guard for CVA lives just across the road from this apartment building, and he knew many CVA students lived there. He came out to help, and he called the head of the physical plant (the head maintenance man) at CVA, and they both were there in the middle of the night with a truck helping students and making sure everyone had a place to go.

In the morning (less than 12 hours later), all of the displaced students showed up at CVA to find Target giftcards and grocery giftcards from the College waiting for them. And CVA put them up in a hotel for a week until they could make other living arrangements for the rest of the summer.

CVA didn't have to do anything - the students were living on their own in an off-campus apartment building. But that's not the way people at CVA work.

In a separate story, take a look at this great TV and TV stand in the new student lounge at CVA:

Story #2:

This 46" flat-screen TV was purchased by the 2 maintenance men at CVA with THEIR OWN MONEY as a gift to the students. And the TV stand was built by one of the sculpture studio techs ON HIS OWN TIME so the TV would have a place to live.

Many schools have the facilities that CVA has. Many schools have the accreditation that CVA has. Many schools have the history that CVA has. But it's the PEOPLE that make CVA so special.

I'm excited that CVA has allowed me the opportunity to share my talents with their students full time. I will do my best to live up to the high standards that the College has come to expect from everyone who walks through its doors.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Things Organized Neatly

I never get sick of Things Organized Neatly:

Canon Digital Camera


Art Supplies (because a new semester is about to begin)

Morton Bros Piano

Preparing to ship a batch of prints

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Photo from a New Exhibition Space

So the CVA Faculty Exhibition that I mentioned in my last post is hung and ready to open in it's new (temporary) space. Here's a quick photo I snapped of some of the work in the show at the Blair Arcade:

Thursday, September 8
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Temporary Gallery Location
Blair Arcade East
165 Western Avenue North, Suite 10
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Come check it out! The new student lounge has been turned into a gallery while the Western Building is finishing up it's remodel. What a good way to show off the new CVA student lounge!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Upcoming CVA Show

It's "Back to School" time, so that means the Faculty Show is coming up at CVA.

Here is some info on the show. Note that the gallery is in a temporary location in the new "student lounge" as the Western Building is still under construction.

Thursday, September 8
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Concurrent with Juana Berrio: Inhabitants in a Parallel Universe and Convocation

Temporary Gallery Location
Blair Arcade East
165 Western Avenue North, Suite 10
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Gallery Hours
Wednesday and Friday 12:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Thursday 12:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Image Credit: John DuFresne

Stop by to see what new photo from my time at Stouts Island I printed for the show. See you there!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'll have to try this sometime...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aperture Shirt

Too bad this shirt is sold out. I'd wear this. A lot.

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