30 May 2006

Esta noche

"Esta Noche," a show of 33 new photos of mine, will be at the Rainbo Club, 1150 North Damen (at Division), in Chicago, from June 3-30. The opening reception is Wednesday 7 June, 6-9pm. Please drop by!

18 May 2006

I have dreams like this sometimes...

New portfolio at Sharkforum: "I have dreams like this sometimes...."

I ♥ criticism

IT'S LATE, AND A SUR LA TABLE shopping bag is close to tipping on the sidewalk, bursting with bright red photofinishing envelopes from almost seventy photographers. In precisely a week that bulk will burst across the walls of a nearby bar in the form of almost 2,000 photos taken in 24 hours with 27-exposure disposable cameras. I'd wanted to play, to participate in the structured serendipity, and the timing's neat, too, showing the same weekend as Wolfgang Tillman's elevated snapshot esthetic graces the MCA.

The project is by four women working as "Otonohana," a Japanese construction that can be translated as "Sound of Flower." The pair accepting final submissions in a Ukrainian Village bar are Jamie Kelter, 27, a photography producer, and Amy Spencer, 29, a media operations manager. (Another member, Mindy McNeil, is a designer, the other, Sarah Kohtala, an Americorps teacher.) Jamie, Amy and Mindy went to high school together, but "weren't friends or anything like that," Jamie says. She met Sarah on the plane from Chicago to Japan, where Otonohana was formed. "There were maybe three Westerners in this small city in Japan," Jamie says, "We were seen as 'crazy Western girls.' The first time we did this project, we gave people a camera, in a park, during cherry blossom season, with two hours to bring them back." (Of four more events, one was an edition of Chicago's own Fast Forward Film Festival.) Their motto? "I ♥ criticism." "Girls criticizing each other can be dangerous," says Amy. "But we wind up loving each other." Jamie adds.

"We're trying to be organized," Amy says, gesturing at envelopes and money and flyers and cell phones and spreadsheets and cigarettes and tumblers along the bar. There's a happy hint of Jager in the air. A quarter of the participants, ranging from Wicker Park to Wisconsin to Oregon (overnighted), from Pilsen to Portugal (hand-delivered) were strangers, "and fifty percent we had minimal connection with," Amy says. Using the anachronistic box cameras in a digital age means "it's a challenge for everyone, professionals and people who never take photos," Jamie says. "Half of these are probably crap," Amy shrugs, "and that's part of the beauty of it."

Their goal, Amy continues, was to "bring the passionate observer into participating without any pretension, getting [everyday] people involved in a creative element." Amy adds that it's tough "to convince club owners and bands that it's not something pretensions, it's public involvement and participation. Having fun, actually. Why is an art scene more about being cool than having fun?" she wonders. The appealing prospect for me is the semi-randomness: the upcoming exhibit could be toy store or garbage heap. "It's sensory overload," Jamie says, "not like a gallery show where you're critiquing it, it'll be like, 'What a lot of photos!'"

Jamie knows it's "idealistic," but the pair were enthused after "people dropped their cameras off, talking about their day, they'd done this little art project." Spencer says they'd say, "'I ran out of ideas with five pictures left, and then I came up with five more ideas and wish I'd had more film.'" Kelter says, "People take so many photos and they never have them all in their hand." Something that can go on the refrigerator instead of the Internet? "Tangibility," Amy says, nodding. "The idea behind it is not about criticism, but participation. People in Chicago are lackadaisical in a lot of ways, but they proved us wrong today." "Otonohana: Snapshots" is at 8pm Sunday, 21 May, at Darkroom, 2210 W. Chicago, with live music and deejays. [Appeared in a different form in Newcity, 18 May 2006.]

15 May 2006

A Photo Show Waiting To Happen

Disposable cameras shot in 24 hours by 65 photographers will become a photo show comprising over 1,600 photos next Sunday night: details at Otonohana




12 May 2006


I do not know this animal. He seems nice. I posted a photograph about the 2005 closing night of a gallery named "buddY" and now Google Image Search has convinced dozens of browsers from around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, Estonia and Portland, Oregon, that they will get information on this pooch instead of a time-lapse photograph of a Chicago rooftop by night. (Mr. Dog is actually from a veterinary clinic in Minnesota.) For good luck: Here, buddY, buddY, buddY! Here, buddY!

10 May 2006

Directions: a portfolio

New portfolio at Sharkforum: "Directions."

05 May 2006

03 May 2006

"Moving Day"

I have a new portfolio at Sharkforum, called "Moving Day."

Breaking color