In the mid-90’s, I got a sweet gig. The manager of the latin hip-hop group BOC (Barrio of Culture) approached me to take pictures of the band. They had scored a hit in the Carribean and needed photos for their next album, Pa Que Sepa. The sweet part was they would fly me down to the Dominican Republic where I would hang out with the band for a week while they finished up their album. I think we partied every night.
Being a hip-hop group, they asked that they look tough and menacing in the photos. This was no problem, but it became more and more comical as the week progressed as the band members were ultra sweet in reality. In one hilarious session, I had them stand on huge, stacked cement blocks. But one guy was afraid of heights, so his eyes were bugging out as he looked around from his perch. We all laughed at him, but when the time came to shoot, he composed himself, crossed his arms hip-hop-style and glared down at the camera threateningly.
I’ll post a few shots from that week in the DR. Here’s one of them:
Inspiration, and the lack thereof
This is the longest stretch I have gone in years without producing art – I haven’t shot an alley in months. I’ve been in a funk, lacking inspiration but also lacking good locations to shoot. The Bay Area is a black hole for the subject matter that moves me. There’s little urban decay out here, and when it does exist, it is usually fenced off with a big Do Not Enter sign, as though it is the Black Plague and must be avoided at all cost. This makes me want to pull my hair out.
Although I haven’t been shooting, I’m always sniffing around and following leads. I’ve found a couple of good spots recently (one in Oakland, the other in Berkeley), and will be going out next week to shoot (yay!).
Pam 4.20.09 / 7pm
I think the fences are really more of a problem than a lack of urban decay. There seem to be plenty of potential sites if you could only access them (e.g., Pier 70).
The Indianapolis Museum of Art has taken a great step forward in art education. If you’ve ever tried to find art videos on-line (in the form of artist interviews, documentaries, show reviews etc), you know it is frustrating at best. Not surprisingly, there aren’t hoards of people breaking down doors to see a visual artist discuss his work, and so videos of this nature tends to get buried.
The IMA has just launched artbabble.org, a new web site where these videos converge.
Their tag line is good too! “Its just the beginning: babble-on!”
Here’s a shot of mine from the early 90’s, give or take 5 years. It has no title, so I’ll just call it “Yum Yum”
Bouquets and Brickbats
Ok, this has nothing to do with anything… but I just wanted to throw in one little round of Bouquets and Brickbats.
The Bouquet goes to what I think is the happiest song ever written: Constellations by Jack Johnson, which I just got the chords to and have been playing (badly) on my guitar.
The Brickbat goes to the Berkeley Library for creating and hanging a big banner with a silly grammatical error. I walked past one of the branches recently and took a picture – then thought of all the bookish people at the library and beyond, involved in the gaff… probably many.
The Bay Area has several mothball fleets that to many are a terrible eyesore, but that to me, of course, are a beautiful sight. Mothball fleets are a little puzzling, however. They are essentially graveyards on water for old, decrepid merchant and military ships. The military statement is that they are a reserve fleet that can be made ready in a couple of months, in times of emergency. Others say they are too far gone to ever be activated again, but instead are floating cesspools that drop tons of toxic waste into the water (mainly in the form of chipped paint). Whatever the case, here are shots I took recently from the fleet at Suisan Bay (plus the same fleet from miles above).
Tatjana 4.6.09 / 11pm
I used to go look at those boats all the time as a kid.. *sigh* The good ol’ days. Nice shots!
That’s the train station I was telling you about.. the one that had that rave that I went to last year.. lol.
X4.10.09 / 10am
Randy Grant4.15.09 / 9pm
Alot of people are probably wondering how you took the last shot of the ships from above. I think it’s obvious that it was shot from either a hot air balloon or a dirigible.
X4.16.09 / 9am
It seems you are unaware of my superhuman ability to fly… also, I’m very good at lifting from Google
Tatjana 4.16.09 / 11pm
Google.. it gives you wiiinggss!