Sunday, September 4, 2011

On my way home

Moscow and Portfolio Review Russia have been a fantastic experience.

Details about my time here will be posted in a few days

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

On my way

On my way to Moscow.
Follow me on twitter (@FractionMag) to get updates from Portfolio Review Russia

Thursday, August 25, 2011

ThinkTank Photo Camera Bag Giveaway

The simplest contest ever! 
All you need to do is follow Fraction on Twitter.
On Thursday September 15, ONE winner will be randomly selected to win a Think Tank Photo Speed Racer v2 camera bag. 

The retail price is $179.75

Read the specs here.

So, go on over to twitter and follow Fraction.

The fine print: Fraction will pay shipping to all US addresses.  If the winner lives outside the US, the winner will be required to pay all shipping costs

Friday, August 19, 2011

Archaeology and the Shape of Time

If you live in New Mexico, you will want to see this show

ARCHAEOLOGY and the Shape of Time
Photographs by Richard Benson and Edward Ranney
An exhibition and limited edition book
Where: The Fisher Press
Address: 307 Camino Alire, Santa Fe, NM, 87501
When: Opening reception Friday, August 26th from 5 to 8pm
The exhibition runs from August 26th to September 27th
Gallery hours 11am to 5pm Wednesday through Saturday for the first two weeks of the show's run and by appointment only thereafter

Opening Reception: August 26, 5 to 8pm

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Help Ken Rosenthal produce a catalog

Ken Rosenthal, who was featured in Issue 8, has a Kickstarter project that is worthy of your time, consideration and donation.

Straight Outta Suburbia

Who are you taking pictures for?
You can't be taking pictures on the property.
Are you working security for the mall?
I'm chief of security.
Well, then I'm gone.
Appreciate it.

Thus went my recent conversation with a suburban police officer at a local mall.

I had been driving the access road that rings an upscale outdoor mall, camera on the passenger seat and left elbow (aka camera sandbag) on my windowsill. The mall buildings sit at the property’s periphery and face toward its center, so my vista was loading docks and steel entry doors. The photographic pickings were slim even for someone like myself, strangely obsessed with banal suburbia. At this tony mall, even the dumpster areas are tidily free of consumerism’s interesting detritus.

As I paused to chimp my meager photographic haul, I sensed movement in my left peripheral vision. I looked up as a police car moved smartly toward me from somewhere between my six- and my nine-o’clock. It pulled alongside and then angled into my lane as if to block my “escape”. It was a controlled but aggressive move, designed to intimidate. It got my attention.

The trim, immaculately-uniformed and -mustachioed officer walked briskly around the rear of the car towards my opened window, and we had our polite exchange of words. Given that he was armed, and I was technically trespassing on private property, I had no standing on which to refuse cooperation. I have no doubt that, had I chosen to be obstreperous, he would have arrested me on the spot. And there were no witnesses in sight to back me, had he also chosen to embellish the story to my disadvantage en route to jail.

Only as I drove away replaying the encounter did the oddness of several things strike me. This was the first time I’ve been accosted by a uniformed police officer while photographing on public-space private property. One wonders, is it the policy of his department to allow its officers to wear their uniforms and sidearms, and drive taxpayer-provided patrol cars, on moonlighting jobs? And was he actually off-duty from his day job? Yeah, I'm cynical.

But most strange was his question. Who are you taking pictures for? Not the usual question, what are you taking pictures of? or, why are you taking pictures? His working assumption seemed to be that I was photographing at someone else's behest, for nefarious purposes.

I freely admit that photographing mall loading docks from a car window must seem pretty odd to the average non-photographer. Why would anyone do this for amusement or other innocent reason? Terrorist plotting mayhem? Maybe, but Google Earth and the mall website have better information for terrorist-planning purposes than I could gather with my camera. Thief plotting a burglary? The cop surely knows that the vast majority of business theft is perpetrated by employees, and shoplifting is relatively risk-free. Business owners mostly fear embarrassment and litigation, so I suspect that was his main concern.

Anyone who photographs publicly has similar stories of the suspicion or even hostility our innocent, perfectly-legal activity sometimes arouses. Child-kidnapping mass hysteria is impervious to comprehension of its actual minute rarity; but stoking this fear sure fills airtime. And people out in public increasingly believe they're entitled to some zone of privacy that the law doesn't grant them --- often the same people whose kids run wild in complete disregard of the space of others.

Some of this public wariness is no doubt post-9/11 "security" paranoia. That's at least understandable, if vastly overblown. But there also seems to have been some kind of shift in public perception over the years since I started photographing. Public photography with "professional" cameras seems to raise people's hackles in a way I don't recall in years past. I'm not sure what to make of this.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On my way

At the airport headed to San Francisco for the Fraction show at Rayko Photo.

It opens Thursday night from 6-8pm

Hope to see you there

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spiderman uses a rangefinder

Just noticed that Netflix added the animated Spiderman series from 1967 to it's line up.  I grew up with this and I'm quite excited.

In the intro, Spidey uses a camera.  Apparently it is a rangefinder, possibly a Leica.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Support Fraction!

Want to help support @FractionMag without doing anything special? 
Simply use this link when shopping on Amazon

That's it.  No need to send money or buy something specific.


Friday, July 15, 2011

The SNF-fles

Social networking is a sterile digital shooting gallery, where the product is free, every byte is lipid-soluble, and the molecules mate with your limbic receptors like chocolate-covered heroin in hot melted butter. But its inevitable downside is social-networking fatigue. Every fashionable affliction needs a support group and an onomatopoeic acronym; ergo, SNF--- like the sniffles. So hand me a tissue, and take one for yourself.

As you flit like a dragonfly from post to hyperlink to feed to page to stream to group, looking for the next particle of information you can’t afford to miss --- or important connection you have to make for your career’s sake --- social-networking becomes the deep-brain electrode whose stim-switch needs relentless hammering just to keep withdrawal at bay.

When I started photographing seriously again a few years back, Someone told me that Everyone Needs To Have a [Insert Social Network name] Presence In Order To Succeed. Well, I took Someone at her word, and pretty soon I was using regularly. I can’t recall whether Facebook was the gateway, or Twitter; but soon they were joined by a blog or two, a portfolio website, a Flickr stream, a Tumblr [?site --- is Tumblr a noun or an adjective, and can it ever be a verb?], and probably a few others I’ve left out. The means have became the end. But at least I’m part of...something. Aren’t I? Yes; the Legion of the Tired and Stressed, that's what.

So I was already weary when I caught wind of Google Plus. This --- in case you’ve been trapped on queue without wi-fi down at the DMV --- is the latest cyborg sent to aspirate our brains through hollow proboscides, mine our data, and leave behind our lifeless humanoid pelts like the molted shells of cicadas. Contemplating yet another Social Network, I felt even more like the junkie trying to stay clean while running a needle-strewn gantlet cordoned by dealers trying to entice him back into the life.

Obviously one can overdo the social-networking-as-narcotic metaphor; I spend less time than many banging away at it, trying to enjoy its undoubted benefits while minimizing its harms. But lately, as I find my available time pressed upon from all sides, I’ve had to choose more carefully how to spend the little I have. Social-networking's attractions have begun to pale compared to its real-world cognates: being with friends and family, and getting out and making decent photographic work --- as opposed to talking about making it.

Where does that leave me and Google Plus? After a bit of tinkering with it, I pronounce it Promising. I can see it consolidating or even replacing many of the other social-networking tools I use. I’ll keep trying it, and checking in with the others. But I really do want to take a step back and think about how much virtual connecting is too much; and whether the real, messy, person-to-person kind wouldn’t be far more congenial to a meaningful existence in the physical world.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fraction Show at Rayko

Dirt Road by Antone Dolezal

Fraction is very proud to announce it's first photography show, 
Fraction Magazine : Three Years in the Making at the Rayko Gallery in San Francisco CA.
This RayKo exhibition is curated by David Bram, the founder and editor of Fraction, and features images from the past 28 issues of the magazine.
The following photographers are featured in the show:
Karen Kuehn, Polly Chandler, Samuel Portera, Norman Mauskopf, Allison V Smith, Kirk Gittings, Michael Sebastian, Michael Itkoff, Ken Rosenthal, David Ondrik, David Maisel, Phil Toledano, Liz Kuball, Susan Hayre Thelwell, Emily Shur, Hollis Bennett, Geoffrey Ellis, David Taylor, Tabitha Soren, David Rochkind, Eliot Dudik, Kerry Mansfield, Kathleen Robbins, Meg Griffiths, Susan Burnstine, Antone Dolezal, Jesse Burke, Clay Lipsky, Tricia Lawless Murray, Josef Jacques
Reception: Thursday, August 11th from 6-8p
Exhibition: August 11th – September 18th
Address: 428 Third Street San Francisco, CA 94107

Thank you to Ann Jastrab and everyone at Rayko for the fantastic opportunity!