from the archive

Summer in the city.

I made this panorama at Coney Island in the summer of 1992.


The Large Format Portrait-ICP Summer 2010

Congrats to all my students for doing a great job.
From top to bottom:
David Alves
Wilson Yap
Maria Waingarten
Lee Becker
Roger Generazzo
Rodolfo Miranda


Papo & Dezorae, Bethlehem, PA. May 31, 2010

I've been trying to hold this one back, but I can't help but post this captivating portrait from Bethlehem.


another hero

If you get the chance to watch the Rachel Maddow show from July 6 & 7, she reported live from Afghanistan. I think this has to be about the best television anchoring I have seen over the course of this nine year old war. Rachel Maddow is a bit chirpy and occasional comes off to some people as sanctimonious, but I think she is a fantastic anchor and interviewer. She asks smart, thoughtful, and often challenging questions to her guests while treating them with respect. The reporting that she has done on the Gulf Oil Spill and now in Afghanistan should win this girl a Peabody. To top it off she is an out loud, and proud mixologist (she also happens to be lesbian).


Allen Mullins - Walking for the Troops

This past Memorial Day, Seth & I were driving along the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area and appropriately enough came across this young man walking along the highway with an American Flag sticking out of his backpack. This iconic image was so appropriate to the day that I had to stop and ask to make his portrait. What I learned is that this was no ordinary backpacker, but a man with a mission. Allen Mullins was on his way by foot to Albany, New York. Allen is determined to walk to all the state capitals in the lower 48 over the next three years to raise awareness for the way the government is treating our veterans returning from Americas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was fortunate to catch Allen on a day when he wasn't wearing his superman suit. This is Allen's second walk for the troops, his first walk carried him 5000 miles across the south and east. Allen seemed tired and hungry to me. In a way, like the fragile and fractured troops for which he is walking...
Happy 4th of July.

When we met Allen he was hoping to find a McDonald's nearby. It was actually much further up the road than he anticipated, but I didn't want to break it to him. Watching this YouTube video of him, you get the sense that this must be what Allen subsists on for his fuel.


Un Rêve Americain

If you happen to be in the south of France this summer, hop on over to Montpellier to see what promises to be a great show curated by the transit/collectif photographique. I am showing 24 images (mostly from Figure and Ground), and they are to be displayed in a beautiful beaux arts pavillion amongst a larger group of French and American photographers.

Outerland meets Deutschland

Presumably, the portrait on page one of "Outerland" is the photographer herself: a young woman with brunette hair wearing a turquoise science fiction costume of the 1950s. Presumably it is also the photographer who appears in the following pictures again and again in a kind of white space suit: a scientist wandering through eerily empty landscapes, meticulously collecting the data of nowhere. Occasionally, she evokes the pensive, decorative figures of a Caspar David Friedrich painting, only there is no romance here. For the landscapes in the large, new photography book by Allison Davies invite the viewer not to quiet contemplation, but to terror. The photographer has found topographies of wasteland in Iceland and New Mexico, Chile, and Colorado... probably. There is no text in this book. No word on the artist. No information on the parts of the world in which she was traveling. The word "Maybe" shimmers like a watermark on every page. You might think a space probe had radioed the pictures to Earth, they seem so extraterrestrial. Sometimes narrow tracks pass through brown sand and black ash, as if from the tires of a robot vehicle.
The story Allison Davies tells us in Outerland is derived from those end-time allegories that have supplied modern American art with dramatic material for novels, movies, and ballads sad and cruel. It may well be a story fueled by fear of weapons of mass destruction after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Or a meditation on an impending climate catastrophe. But Outerland goes deeper. It asks the question: On the first day after the end of mankind, what will remain?
The chief motive for the journey in Davies' new cycle of photographs is to seek what is coming. And so, despite subliminal feelings of forlornness, curiosity and wonder that suffuse Outerland, there is work to be done. Like the conquering expeditionary photographs of the nineteenth century, we are in alien terrain, free of history, culture and memories. In characteristic style, Davies keeps to spare, sober documentation of vistas bereft of pleasing composition. They do not invite the viewer to feel good. Rather, they espouse a delicate approach to these new lands, and a warning to scan them cautiously. It is indeed a double-bladed invitation. Though there is great danger here in this threatening and inhospitable wasteland - offering scarcely a sign or an omen for the traveler - it may be more fragile than it first appears. What Allison Davies has given us with Outerland is nothing less than an instruction manual for the care and handling of the universe.
by Freddy Langer, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 1, 2010

Buy the book here.