Charles Lane

If you have been following my blog over the past few years, you've probably noticed that I started a publishing company called Charles Lane Press. A lot of people ask me why it's called that, and the reason is simple: Charles Lane is the unique little New York City alley that I have lived on for the past 13 years.

This alley, in the Far West Village of Manhattan, was photographed in 1938 by Berenice Abbot, and though the buildings on the Lane have all been spruced up and tricked out in the past decades, the paving stones are still there and are some of the oldest paving stones in Manhattan.

The stones of Charles Lane were first laid after the Revolutionary War and is one of the only streets in lower Manhattan that was never paved over. If you are an urban archaeologist, you probably know that most of the paving stones in lower Manhattan are of the Belgian Block variety, laid in the 1800s. Well, Charles Lane's are long, thin rectangles from the 1700s!

So if you're ever in the Far West Village, check out our charming little street.



If you are lucky you get old

Freya Najade brought her photographic stories about the elderly to my attention recently. It's a solid body of work and a subject that I think is both challenging to photograph and often neglected. Have a look here.



I was always puzzled that Lynn Davis photographed icebergs in black and white. Though black and white is primarily what she shoots and her prints are always beautiful - I always found them boring. I am extremely drawn to that rich, intense, vivid, dreamlike blue color that is so unique to polar ice and to desaturate it felt like a jibe to mother nature. Though I do not think she intended to offend and that she herself must have had honest and pure artistic intentions, those photographs do not work for me. That's not to say that artists need give in to every gorgeous spectacle that nature has to offer when interpreting them - but come on - that blue! I then discovered the Broken Line by Olaf Otto Becker and was delighted to see someone photograph icebergs the way I preferred them - in color! Becker's photographs are quite formally composed and are very methodically presented in a voluminous book by Hatje Cantz. It's a very nice book. I recently discovered the work of Fabiano Busdraghi and was transfixed by the image below. I know there are many other photographers drawn to the mystique and beauty of icebergs and perhaps they are like images from Cuba - so easily made into striking photographs (but who doesn't want to be transported to Havana either?) I do imagine the cold makes for shooting icebergs quite challenging and I certainly would be interested in hearing what those challenges are. Now I'm waiting for Ryan McGinley and his crew of lovelies to show up in the polar blue...
images top to bottom: © Lynn Davis, Olaf Otto Becker, Fabiano Busdraghi, and Camille Seaman ( who was brought to my attention since my initial posting.)



I've long been a fan of music from West Africa - in particular Nigerian Afro Beat and the music I hear from Mali and Senegal - so it was a no-brainer when I read a very favorable review of the Broadway show Fela - conceived and directed by master dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones that I would go to see it. I found reasonably priced tickets online through Theatermania (they are a fantastic resource for reduced priced theater tickets). I saw the show this past Wednesday and I was totally blown away. Throughout the play my emotions were highly charged by this beautiful spectacle of song and dance. It looked at times like a Malick Sidibe photograph come to life. I couldn't say enough great things about Fela - so if you get the chance go before it is gone. I also came away from the experience having learned about the life story and struggles of an amazing musician who previously I had known very little about.

and the real Fela Kuti...


January's 19th Century Photograph

David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, David Octavius Hill, Robert Adamson The Gowan: Margaret and Mary McCandlishca. 1845photographsalt print from a calotype negative on paper10 1/2 in. x 14 5/8 in. (26.7 cm x 37.2 cm)Collection SFMOMAAgnes E. Meyer and Elise Stern Haas Fund


Haiti Earthquake

If you can help by donating to the earthquake relief effort in Haiti - Please do!  There is a good list of effective NGO's working in Haiti posted here. These disasters are so horribly sad and it seems especially upsetting given that Haiti has had a rather unfair share of misery throughout it's troubled history.


Cruising with Chad States

I saw Chad States the other night and he told me that he had updated his project Cruising. As an out gay man for the better part of my life this terrain is not exactly unfamiliar to me. So with a little bit of posteriori knowledge I went looking. And what I found was a strong visual depiction of what that experience can feel like. I think it succeeds so well in respecting the privacy of the participants. Which I know is an ethical question that Chad struggled with and I believe he solved it quite thoughtfully and still was able to show us something. The work leaves you with a sense of mystery surrounding these anonymous encounters and the erotic communing in nature is highlighted beautifully by Chad's sharp eye.

Good video (and song)...

Lessons Learned

MATT AND KIM | MySpace Music Videos

Found this on The 10 Most NSFW Music Videos Of 2009 - Listomania - Stereogum which I just spent an enjoyable hour watching. This Massive Attack video was pretty interesting.


Harry Dubin's staged Portraits

I came across a  great post on meta-filter today about a local NYC Grocer and an early owner of a television set, Harry Dubin. While researching a book on television, writer Jeff Kisseloff came across an article in the New Yorker from 1947 about the television habits of Mr. Dubin and his family. Jeff tracked down Harry and that is when Harry showed him his portfolio titled Dubin at work. Harry Dubin created a portfolio of himself assuming the role of various blue collar workers. This was a fabulous discovery and the work is not only a great historical document of old New York but also an important piece of socially concerned art. You can read more of the story here and visit the writer's blog here.


Check out Romka Magazine. It's an interesting and fun assortment of work put together as a pdf in a magazine like format. It makes me anticipate what's coming down the pipeline regarding all the content to be developed for the forthcoming I-slate.


EYE Ohashi

I discovered  a Japanese photobook at Dashwood last year of the most dreamlike and atmospheric photographs - all involving bubbles. It is called Unchained and is a real treasure. There is also some other interesting work on the photographer's website.