moving day

•October 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve decided that I will not automatically redirect, since I find it annoying when I encounter it myself. Instead, I will just say give you the link to the new incarnation: Shooting Wide Open 2.0. This is the feed URL: This page will no longer be updated, but of course it will remain, unless WordPress begins to delete inactive blogs. All the old posts have been transferred, so content-wise, the new one is almost exactly the same as this one. I’ll have slightly more control though, so there will be more room for future improvements.

I’d like to squeeze in a few words on this blog and my website…

I am a student. I’ve refrained from putting much of my own work into this blog because it simply feels too incongrous to place the work of established photographers with amazing projects alongside my stuff, which is meager in comparison. I have a lot to learn and the obvious difference in caliber makes me hesitate. But I will not always be where I am. There will come a point in the near future where I am more proficient and experienced, and my site will reflect that when the time comes.

I blog because there’s some strange part of me that wants to, feels compelled to share as soon as I see something interesting, funny or novel. I blog about things that I’m excited about, and that covers a range that includes science and politics. I tried keeping the subject matter strictly to photography, but it goes against my omnivorous tastes and in the end, it is impossible if you’re the type of photographer, which I am, who considers photography to be a tool to communicate about real world issues. I feel like a fat person painfully tightening her belt. There will be a few non-photo posts, esp as I start working on my next project. Consider yourselves warned.

This is my ship and this is how I’m going to run it!

weekend silliness: Walk on the Wild Side

•October 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment


For some reason, this just cracks me up.

SF street art

•October 2, 2009 • 2 Comments

Simmons and Belonax

Remember that Art in Storefronts initiative? The chosen artists have been announced, and the most interesting to me is Simmons and Belonax’s “Everything is Okay” neon sign installation proposed for Central Market St, not the least because there is a mock-up photo.

There is also Market St poster plan for next year that includes some work by Bihn Danh. One can only hope daguerreotypes are involved, but maybe that’s asking too much for street posters. The project is described as:

The final series, by artist Bihn Danh, called The Wonderful Life of Gardening, will be installed from April 5 to July 1, 2010. This series incorporates photographic collaborations with San Francisco gardeners, including some of those who tend garden plots under the San Francisco Recreation and Park’s Community Garden Program.

There’s also a bit of strangeness brewing. As, I assume, a part of the SF Planning Dept’s plan to prettify the Mission (I heard about this in the Mission Dispatch, and it certainly explains the construction on Valencia St), the SF Arts Commission announced the winning proposal for a Valencia St installation as Michael Arcega‘s, but it was a close one between Arcega and Brian Goggin. Apparently one of the jurors on the deciding panel voted with a fraction, and when he was told he couldn’t, threw the deciding vote to Mike. I’m not really sure what was going on behind the scenes, but Goggin saw an opening, and with some mobilization he has won a revote. Not sure when it is happening since I only heard about this today, but if you’re a local, you might want to take a look at the two proposals and let Mary Chou (Mary.Chou [at] know if you, as a community member, have any views.

Personally, I think Mike’s proposal is a lot more functional and meaningful as a part of the daily activity of the community, though it looks like Goggin has more experience in street installation. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that he was the TA to one of my art classes a while ago and I am swayed by the fact that the work he showed us in class was very interesting. Not to mention he is a nice guy! So if you have thoughts, shoot off an email. Who knows if community messages will make a real difference, but it can’t hurt, especially since one of the main goals of all these projects is to build a few spots where it’s pleasant for people to hang out and to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

the surgeon general’s Photoshop warning

•September 28, 2009 • 1 Comment

A Move to Curb Digitally Altered Photos in Ads

The Liberal Democrats, the third-largest party in Britain, after Labor and the Conservatives, adopted Ms. Swinson’s proposal for a labeling system this month as part of their official platform. The party wants to ban altered photos entirely in ads aimed at children under 16.

On retouching, even Ms. Swinson acknowledged that “a little bit is necessary to make a good photo.” Under her proposal, all advertising photos would be rated, perhaps on a scale from 1 to 4, depending on the degree of retouching. A 1 might involve only altered lighting, for example, while a 4 might warn of digital cosmetic surgery, she said. And the label would have to include an explanation of the changes.

In France last week, Valerie Boyer, a lawmaker from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, introduced a similar bill in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament. She argued that altered images were undermining young women’s ability to control their own destinies. “These photos can lead people to believe in realities that, very often, do not exist,” she said.

In her quest to rid the media of misleading images, Ms. Boyer wants to go even further than the Liberal Democrats in Britain. Her bill would require warning labels on retouched photos published for editorial purposes as well as those in print ads. Violators could face fines of 37,500 euros, or almost $55,000, or up to 50 percent of the cost of an advertisement.

Wow. A part of me is relieved but geez, shouldn’t this be the stuff of educational campaigns and classroom demonstrations rather than banning photoshop in ads? It seems that slapping a disclaimer on an image is really missing the point anyway – you look at an image and whether you know it’s fake or not, it still has a certain psychological effect on you. The only healthy way out of this is to foster a less body-obsessed, beauty-worshipping culture. Of course, that’s also the hard way. I’m usually for regulation of this or that, but this is just a little strange.

(Thanks, Ethan!)

wood logs and weblogs

•September 21, 2009 • 1 Comment

These were in a gift shop at the Muir Woods. It reminds me of the logging operation smack in the middle of Redwoods state park. One of those “wait a minute…” moments. There’s a project in and of itself. Like Sawdust Mountain for CA. For some reason I hadn’t made the connection that Sawdust Mountain was about the area of Washington around Olympic National Park. I’d driven through there a couple of years ago and we kept a list of all the questions, trip-inspired and not, that we thought up and wanted to look up when we got back. One of them was certainly why there was a logging operation or a field of stumps every few miles in NP land.

Some blog bizness – a heads up that after a year, I’ve finally set up a respectable (or is it?) domain for myself and will be transfering this blog over at the beginning of October. I will let this blog sit quiet in the long run so old links stay functional, but on the 1st landing on this URL will automatically redirect you to the new site. I will probably turn that off after a week. What’s the proper web etiquette for this sort of thing?

back and ready to sally forth

•September 20, 2009 • 3 Comments

Ooo la la, Brian Ulrich’s new show opened at the Robert Koch Gallery a week or so ago. I wasn’t in the country to make it to the reception, but I’m looking forward to seeing photos other than the one above, which the one they’ve displayed in group shows, in person.

I am back! (Got through customs and realized that the US is now documenting all foreign visitors with fingerprint scans and headshots.) The new school year starts on Monday. I’ll have less time to blog, but maybe that’s just a golden opp. for higher quality posts. First up will be a few images from a some books I picked up at 798 Photo, which, by the way, has a great little back room where some photographers’ large print portfolios are laid out for visitors to flip through. I wanted to cart their entire store home with me, but alas, budget and space constraints foiled the plan.

Will Rogan

•September 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Will Rogan

He seems to be repped by Jack Hanley, but there’s nothing much on their artist pages.

weekend silliness: 4 muzzled Wolverines and 6 Nymphet Sisters

•September 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

File the following under: Things You Wish Would Appear Magically on Film:

The Circus-Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. The ground floor is full of gambling tables, like all the other casinos but the place is about four stories high, in the style of a circus tent, and all manner of strange County-Fair/Polish-Carnival madness is going on up in this space. Right above the gambling tables the Forty Flying Garazito Brothers are doing the high-wire trapeze act, along with four muzzled Wolverines and the Six Nymphet Sisters from San Diego.

So you’re down on the main floor playing blackjack, and the stakes getting high when suddenly you chance to look up, and there, right smack above your head is a half-naked fourteen-year-old girl being chased through the air by a snarling wolverine, which is suddenly locked in a death battle with two silver-painted Polacks who come swinging down from opposite balconies and meet in mid-air on the wolverine’s neck. Both Polacks seize the animal as they fall straight down toward the crap tables – but they bounce off the net, they separate and spring back toward the roof in three different directions, and just as they’re about to all again they are grabbed out of the air by three Korean kittens and trapezed off to one of the balconies.

Meanwhile, on all the upstairs balconies, the customers are being hustled by every conceivable kind of bizarre shock. Shoot the pasties off the nipples of a bull-dyke and win a cotton candy goat. Stand in front of this fantastic machine, my friend, and for just 99 cents your likeness will appear, two hundred feet tall, on a screen above downtown Las Vegas. Nintey-nine cents more for a voice message.

Jesus Christ. I could see myself lying in bed in the Mint Hotel, half-asleep and staring idly at the window, when suddenly a vicious Nazi drunkard appears two hundred feet tall in the midnight sky, screaming gibberish at the world: ‘Woodstock Uber Alles!‘

Who else but Hunter Thompson.

That seamless blend of imagery and the authorial message is something I envy in text. That ability to shfit scenes and perspectives without any discrete borders or shift in focus of the eye. There’s video, but text achieves the same effect without the specifics of real world color and settled composition, in some sweet spot of free association and directed imagination. But at the end of the day, it’s a flashy photograph that makes me feel in the world and wanting to touch everything.

Randall Museum

•September 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Randall Museum is a strange little place.

Hin Chua

•September 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hin Chua

I’ve been following Hin Chua’s work before I saw anything of the fine art photo world, so I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the middle photo offered as a Troika Editions print. Too bad the exchange rate cancels out the affordability. Else, I’d snatch it up!

Mike Reinders

•September 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Mike Reinders

I love the simplicity of his website, and I love his work. The statement is at the ends of the series.

Olivia Arthur

•September 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Olivia Arthur

Olivia Arthur is one of those photographers whose work I saw on the Magnum blog a while ago and didn’t pause too long at, but then I looked more carefully and though, what the hell was I thinking, it’s incredible! The second picture is actually a prison dining room. Knowing that changed the photo for me completely.

a story of stuff

•September 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“I have been through hundreds of towns and cities in every climate and against every kind of scenery, and of course they are all different, and the people have points of difference, but in some ways they are alike. American cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash, surrounded by piles of wrecked automobiles, and almost smothered with rubbish. Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons, bins, the so-called packaging we love so much. The mountains of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use. In this, if in no other way, we can see the wild and reckless exuberance of our production, and waste seems to be the index.”

– John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley

Two interesting videos about stuff. First, the Story of Stuff, “a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.” Aimed at kids, but what that really means is that everything is said very simply and directly. Definitely a liberal point of view. I’m of two minds about the political spin – if they had toned that down, maybe there’d be more of a chance it would be played in more classrooms.

Second, a TED Talk featuring Jan Chipcase, who talks about cellphones and calling cards being used (and importantly, reused) as a method of transfering and loaning money with interest. He makes the distinction between the stuff that we own, carry, and use. In developing countries, a whole industry has sprung up involved in fixing cellphones and other electronics. It’s pretty telling that when I take my cheap phone or shoes or printer to a repair shop and ask for it to be fixed, the repair guy inevitably asks me why I don’t just buy a new one. Well, isn’t it obvious? Because I already own this one!

On a positive note though, I did run into a branch of the Berkeley tool lending library. (There’s also a version in Oakland.) You need a tool, you borrow it from the library instead of buying it from Home Depot for one project and then letting it sit in the garage. This could work for some types of toys and sports equipment – instead of a garage sale or hand me downs, just donate to the local toy library. This would solve the problem of kids getting bored with toys a week after you’ve bought them, and you’d only buy them if the kids break them. It seems pretty obvious – to avoid having housefuls of stuff, just share some commonly used things within a community. Why should a library be limited to books and media? Sort of like Zipcar.

Slaves to the Visual

•September 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

You know when you start a blog and have a bunch of ideas for posts and it feels great? But then you starting slacking but still have new ideas and then it turns from feeling great to having a huge list of catalog of unfinished things that beseige your mind like an bunch of squatters? I’ve been sitting on so many ideas and drafts for so long that they have begun to rot beneath me like a tower of wilting cabbage. Excuse the ripe metaphor, er simile. If I don’t start tossing some out, I will slowly sink into this liquid rancidity and drown in a horrible but very vivid way.

I had written a somewhat whiny rant, but instead of inducting myself into the pissant hall of fame, I decided I’d do well to bow to older and wiser heads. Then lo and behold, I found a lovely little piece by Benjamin Weissman as I was digging through back issues of the Believer, 10 of which I’d purchased for $2 each years ago either out of love for McSweeney’s or to stoke some cheapskate bargain-hunting urge. It is a preface to a piece on ten LA artists, but he talks about how his relationship to art galleries has changed as he got older:

When I first went to galleries as a nineteen-year-old snotnose with my high-school surf pal Christopher Williams. We used to tear DeKooning labels off the walls of a swank West Hollywood gallery and reapply them to car windows or just bring them home and put them in our notebooks. The prank seemed justified.

Most of the galleries we visited back then reeked of bourgeois conservatism. They seemed antithetical to the seething impulses that were coursing through our feet, hands, noggins. Artworks spoke to us, they said, revolt, smash, peel labels off walls, and then, prove your own worth, go home and contribute to culture, don’t be a loser. After graduating from CalArts Chris and I started showing at various galleries and I found my way into writing fiction. As kooky fate would have it, Chris began showing at the very same gallery we had earlier vandalized.

As I got older I realized that galleries performed a remarkable service. They did the hellishly impossible: they sold art. And the gallerists, those well-coiffed characters who always seemed more like undertakers or the nervous leaders of a new but not very popular church, kept the walls painted white and the lights turned on.

little big people

•September 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Susan Anderson

A while ago Conscientious linked to Susan Anderson’s High Glitz project along with the trailer for a show (on The Learning Channel, of all places!) called Toddlers and Tiaras. I don’t know what’s more disturbing, that they are dressed in that get up or that they’re so obviously fake smiling.

I would really like a reblog option for WordPress. I feel rather silly linking to Conscientious. Everyone has seen it, but I want it! What to do…