Tag Archives: photography

Road Trip with Kevin Russ

23 Aug

I stumbled down the rabbit hole of the Internet into some incredible road-trip photography by Kevin Russ, via Miss Moss. Looking at his photographs of grazing buffalo and wild horses that can’t be broken is like looking into the great American West of the past—and yet his photographs were taken with an iphone.

Kevin Russ’ photographs, wild and natural, rustic and warm, capture a moment that could be any moment in time. Massive mountains and deep gorges speak to the untamed beauty of the American landscape—the type of view that makes you pull over on the side of the road, speechless. You feel small. Not insignificant, but no longer the center of the universe. Your perch in the corner office becomes a little less important. Your eyes readjust. You begin to see.

The photographs have such a timeless quality to them even though there are signs of modern-day life in some of them. There are no people in the photographs that Miss Moss featured, and yet the contemporary traveler is present. There’s the lone yellow school bus traveling in the distance. Mundane-looking cars parked by a corral. The camper on the side of the road. A pastoral home, with what appears to be a kerosene lamp. Teepees. Yellow stripes dashing down grey pavement.

What’s interesting about the absence of people in the photographs is that Russ is actually an amazing portrait photographer. I liked his road-trip work so much that I did a bit of digging around on the Internet and found more of his photos on CameraLuv. He shoots hipsters with envy-inducing haircuts in front of abandoned tires, layers of newspapers, beat-up vans, and industrial fences. Is it any surprise he’s based in Portland?

So then I found his Flickr page and discovered he’s done photography for Radiant, a publication that has published my writing.

I want to languish all day on his Tumblr.

Seeing Kevin Russ’ photography makes me kind of wonder what it would’ve been like if iphones were around when the poets and writers of the Beat Generation were crisscrossing the United States. Allen Ginsberg was the itinerant photographer of the group, capturing hipster friends Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, and the like on their travels.

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Eloping on the Road

5 Jul

I have so many friends right now who either just got married or are in the process of planning their weddings. There’s so much to consider: venues, wedding cake ganache, narrowing down the guest list, who sits next to whom, DIYing centerpieces, the dress.

Eloping sounds better and better….  And what better way than eloping on the road?!

Green Wedding Shoes featured a couple who got married on the road. Their wedding photos feature retro suitcases, maps, and the classic hand-out-the-window shot.

Did you know that when Jack Kerouac, the author of On the Road, got married he was quite the opposite of being on the road? He’d been arrested as a material witness of a murder. His dad was so upset he refused to post bail. But his girlfriend, Edie Parker, came from a wealthy family. She said she’d post bail—on one condition: that Kerouac agreed to marry her. You can read the whole story in Burning Furiously Beautiful.

Happy 86th Birthday, Allen Ginsberg!

3 Jun


 

“Poetry is not an expression of the party line.

It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.”

~Allen Ginsberg

 

Today would’ve been Allen Ginsberg’s 86th birthday.  In celebration, here are a couple of links:::

2012 Howl Festival

Howl (the film starring James Franco); clip of the section on how to write poetry

Allen Ginsberg reading part 1 of Howl

The flowering dogwood at St. Mark’s is blooming for Ginsberg’s birthday

“when did you forget you were a flower?” ~ Sunflower Sutra (one of my favorite poems — It’s beautiful. It’s true. It makes me tear up.)

Ginsberg’s Karma (documentary on Ginsberg’s time in India; produced by Ram Devineni and hosted by Bob Holman)

Ginsberg’s photography

Vomit Express (Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan)

Howl on the list of banned books

Ginsberg’s hometown of Paterson, NJ

Clip: Coffee and Portraiture and the Associations We Make

27 Dec

Associations are revealing.  This morning, as I was drinking a cup of horrid office coffee, my brain leapt from the specific brand and flavor of coffee my mom drank when I was growing up to a seemingly unrelated bit of biographical information about a photographer I’d researched while working on a blog post on his efforts to Save the Whales.  The photographer is Louie Psihoyos, the film director of The Cove, the Oscar Award-winning feature documentary that uncovers the horrifying mass slaughter of dolphins.  Psihoyos is from the Midwest, as is my mom (he was born in Iowa, my mom in Minnesota), and his immigrant parent came from the Peloponnesus, the same region of Greece my dad grew up in and where both of my parents now live.  That wasn’t the association I made this morning, though.  Instead, I was recalling that I myself had recently taken a photograph of my coffeemaker and a bag of hazelnut Eight O’Clock Coffee, while photographing some other food in my kitchen, and that I always associate hazelnut Eight O’Clock Coffee with my mom.  From there, I remembered I’d recently read about a photographer who’d photographed people with their possessions.  At first I didn’t even remember that the photographer was Psihoyos.  As I started to write the blog post about how I associate coffee with my mom, I kept thinking about the significance of Psihoyos photographing people with their possessions and what the objects we’re associated with impart about our identity.

Read the rest of the article on Burnside Writers Collective.

Clip: “Industry Tales: The Tall Tales of a Russian Illusionist” in Resource’s Summer ’11 Issue

21 Jul

A couple months back I had the opportunity to meet and interview a legendary photographer in his studio.  It was such a fun and inspiring day.  I mean, this photographer had shot all sorts of famous people — jazz musicians, a president, Allen Ginsberg — and had incredible and hilarious stories to share about his photography adventures.

My editor at Resource Magazine asked me to fictionalize an account of the photographer’s craziest day on the job.  You can read the result in the summer 2011 issue of Resource Magazine, on newsstands now!  It’s called “Industry Tales: The Tall Tales of a Russian Illusionist” (page 18).  If you can guess who the photographer is (hint: he really is Russian), comment below!

You can’t read the article online (sorry!) but if you look real hard you can view a photo of me on the contributor’s page.

Hope you’ll check out Resource not just for my article alone.  It’s a great photo mag.  What I love about Resource is the way it breaks the mold for photography magazines.  It’s so much more than a technical how-to photo magazine.  It’s a lifestyle photography magazine, meaning Resource features cool restaurants to take clients, photographer profiles, and intriguing events and stories that a photographer might be interested in shooting.

Spring Break ’11 Recap: I Got Sick

7 Apr

It’s been go, go, go for the past few months.  When spring break came around, I was so excited for the opportunity relax and have some fun.  I imagined I’d read in the Egyptian room at the Met.  I’d buy fresh veggies at the Union Square greenmarket.  I’d invite friends over for dinner.

Instead, I got sick.  I guess my body knew it could finally take a rest from the manic pace I normally put it through.

Before I got sick, though, I did have some fun.

I went with my sister and my friends Rachel and Fred to the FXB Speed-Networking for a Good Cause event at Sidebar, where I met some really cool people.  FXB, which has been around for twenty years, works to support children affected by poverty and AIDS.  They organize a lot of fun fundraising events for young professionals.

Afterward we met up with our photographer friend Annie and Carly, who was visiting from out of town.  We went to an amazing Japanese restaurant.  I seriously could not get enough of the green beans and corn.

The next day I spring cleaned my apartment. Woot!  Then my friend came over and we ate pizza and chocolate and watched Paper Heart and The Virgin Suicides (which is of course based on the book by Greek-American author Jeffrey Eugenides).

That kick-off weekend I also hopped on the bus and headed over to New Jersey, to have lunch with a friend.  I hadn’t seen her for a few months so we had one of those really good, drawn-out lunches and talked about everything.  So therapeutic.

Monday I met up with a friend and fellow Scripps alumna who works at MoMA.  We had lunch and then she gave me a tour of the Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography exhibit.  I learned so much more from what she told me than if I had been there by myself.  It was such an inspiring and monumental exhibit.

Then I went to the New York Society for Ethical Culture to hear what all the hoopla was about over Rob Bell and his new book.

By Tuesday I was sick and spent the rest of the time watching films like The Runaways on Netflix and reading Lydia DavisThe End of the Story.