Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Robert Adams on Light

Could use a little of it today!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Some Free Advice ~ Mary Schmich on Wearing Sunscreen

This is one of my favorites...so much fun to find the music video...enjoy!

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
Oh, never mind.
You will not understand the power
and beauty of your youth until they've faded.
But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of
yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much
possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.
You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future.
Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as
trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things
that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that
blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts.
Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy.
Sometimes you're ahead,
sometimes you're behind.
The race is long and, in the end,
it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive.
Forget the insults.
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters.
Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know
what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at
22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some
of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees.
You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't.
Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't.
Maybe you'll divorce at 40,
maybe you'll dance the funky
chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself
too much, or berate yourself either.
Your choices are half chance.
So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body.
Use it every way you can.
Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it.
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions,
even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines.
They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents.
You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings.
They're your best link to your past and the people
most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,
but with a precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle,
because the older you get, the more you need the
people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it
makes you hard. Live in Northern California
once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths:
Prices will rise.
Politicians will philander.
You, too, will get old.
And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you
were young, prices were reasonable, politicians
were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund.
Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse.
But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the
time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy,
but be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia.
Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal,
wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Mary Schmich
( newspaper columnist with the Chicago Tribune )

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thank you Sally Mann

Looking for the mistakes as gifts...an excerpt from What Remains.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Everlasting Moments

Maria Heiskanen stars in "Everlasting Moments

Thanks to Larry Chait for bringing this movie to my attention, I would like to highly recommend it. It was a throughly satisfying film that I was sorry to see end. Winner of five prizes at Sweden's academy awards, including best picture, "Everlasting Moments" is a rich, intensely human story that deals with the mysteries of creativity and love and the pain and joy of relationships.The cinematography was exquisite and the acting supurb.It is about the transformation of a woman's life once she discovers the power of the camera and her struggle between being a mother and an artist, enduring the hardships of early twentieth century Sweden. The sepia toned scenes and golden light thru out the film was pure visual pleasure.

In a review in Cinematical, Kim Voynar stated "For the cinephile, discovering a new film by famed Swedish director Jan Troell (one of this year's Telluride tributees) is a lot like eating a perfectly made truffle after a lifetime of mass-produced candy bars. His latest effort, Everlasting Moments, was like that for me; it's that rare cinematic experience that you settle back, bite into, and then savor as the subtle richness of the film cleanses the palate and fills the soul." Read the full review here. If you have the opportunity, try to see it.

There is a scene in the film where the main character is asked to photograph a young girl who has just died, laying in her coffin. This reminded me immediately to the work of Todd Hochberg, who photographs parents and stillborn children, just after birth. His participation with the camera in the hospital helps parents with the bereavement and healing process. The work is very, very personal and he is the only one I know doing this kind of work. He has an exhibition that opens April 14th...the details are as follows:

"Moments Held"
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Medical Humanities & Bioethics Program
details are:
April 14, 2009 5:00 -7:30PM Opening Reception
May 5, 2009 4:00PM Bresnahan Colloquium - Gallery Talk with photographer
April 14, 2009 – May 17, 2009
Dollie’s Corner
Second floor of Galter Health Sciences Library
Ward Building
303 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Self Portraits ~ The Work of Jen Davis

Jen Davis graduated not too long ago from Columbia College's photography department in Chicago. I became familiar with her work thru the Catherine Edelman Gallery Chicago Project.
She then went on to pursue a graduate degree in photography at Yale.
Her work is so strong in her use of light, composition and self. They are quiet and hauntingly beautiful portraits.
© Jen Davis Untitled 11, 2005
© Jen Davis ~ Steve and I, 2006
© Jen Davis Untitled No.16, 2005
© Jen DavisFantasy No.1 2005

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yousuf Karsh Exhibition ~ Until April 26 at Art Institute of Chicago

Sir Winston Churchhill ~ 1941

If you haven't had an opportunity to see the Yousuf Karsh exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago yet, GET THERE!
It is FAB! I was blown out of the water with the power of his portraits. He photographed like Rembrandt painted. His use of light and composition are exquisite. He is famous for his portraits of famous celebrities and public figures. If you can't see the work in person, I just found this site, Curatorial.org with some of the images and a great essay by Chicago's David Travis, photography Curator.

Andy Warhol ~ 1979

From the Art Institute's press release....
"Yousuf Karsh’s lifelong ambition was to search for a form within a face, one that could become a symbol for a life that was meaningful and generally virtuous. “I speak with some experience when I say that I have rarely left the company of accomplished men and women without feeling that they had in them real sincerity, integrity—yes, and sometimes vanity of course—and always a sense of high purpose.” In his 60-year career, Karsh seldom wavered from this goal, even when fame and fortune came his way. Neither did he discard his trademark variations in lighting style that he perfected in the late 1940s while other fashions came and went. Unchanging, too, was his genius at capturing the revealing and ephemeral psychological expressions, those fleeting disclosures of character and purpose for which his famous sitters trusted him."

Frank Lloyd Wright ~ 1945

Bertrand Russell ~ 1949

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bill Kim and The Urban Belly

I had the privilege of having dinner at a new Chicago Restaurant, the Urban Belly (3053 N California Ave Chicago, IL 60618 - (773) 583-0500).
The chef, Bill Kim, said for 20 years he had a vision of opening his own restaurant, setting his own menu with his own hours and his own, trusted staff (which includes many family members). He kept pinching himself saying he has never been happier in his life. People try to pigeon hole him....it is fine dining, it is a noodle shop,...but it is Bill Kim's vision. He only offers 3 of his favorite foods on the meun; dumplings, noodles and rices and they are sensational. The food is to die for as is the setting. But mostly, what is the coolest is that Bill Kim is now living his dream and it emanates thru out the restaurant. He states on his website, "We All go through the process of evolving. In that process we seek out people who we can learn from along the way. Inspiration is personal. Some of us seek out knowledge and learn from the best to challenge our evolutionary process. I keep myself open to learning everything I can and apply some of that knowledge to my own style of cooking. Now, there is more meaning to life than just being a chef. Yes, you develop your cuisine but it's more than that for me, now it's an expression of who I am. That's what UrbanBelly is all about."

He closes at 9pm and it is a BYOB. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gushing Green, Like the Chicago River

photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
We, in Chicago, are in good company! (see blog post from March 17, 2009)

"So you’re wondering whose idea it was to make the White House fountains gush green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day?

First Lady Michelle Obama came up with it, inspired by the festivities in her hometown of Chicago, where the city marks the holiday by dyeing the river green, Obama administration officials said.

It is the first time the water in the White House fountains has been dyed. (President Obama was also feeling a bit nostalgic for his hometown celebrations on Tuesday, calling the St. Patrick’s Day parade on the south side of Chicago “one of the great events.”)..."

This article appeared in the New York Times written by Rachel L. Swarns on March 17th, 2009.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Promise of Spring

Isn't this just the best time of the year?!

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Patricks Day...Only In Chicago

I have lived in or next to the city of Chicago my whole life and have NEVER seen the Chicago River dyed green for Saint Patricks Day until this year (it has been going on for 43 years and by the way, these photographs of the river have not been altered at all...this was the true color of the river). It was quite a spectacle.
You could feel the excitement in the air. Everyone was smiling and wearing shades of "Irish" green. The idea to dye the river green came about by accident when a group of plumbers were using fluorescein dye to trace illegal substances that were polluting the river. They EPA eventually outlawed the use of fluorescein for this purpose, since it was proven to be harmful to the river. Now, 40 lbs of a vegetable dye is used to produce a carpet of green for 4-5 hours, claimed safe to the thousands of living organisms that find a habitat in the Chicago river.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

William Kentridge ~ Mine (1991)

There was a wonderful article today in the New York Times on a retrospective of South African's William Kentridge at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is known for his work that explores the effects of apartheid.
The NYT article reads..."He became famous for his own stop-motion animation technique, which he calls “Stone Age animation.” He makes a charcoal drawing, films it, alters it by adding or erasing marks, and then films the drawing again, repeating this procedure so that an entire scene can unfold, unscripted, on a single sheet of paper. In the process viewers can witness the elemental act of artistic creation: the transformation, say, of a female figure into an electric tower with a few simple lines. We also bear witness to the residue. Because he uses charcoal, Mr. Kentridge leaves behind traces when erasing part of a scene, a lesson in the impossibility of ever truly blotting out personal memory or national history."
It is an amazing process that is so potent. I was first introduced to this artist at Art Basel in Miami. I watched one of his films that has haunted me for years. After reading the NYT article I went to You Tube and was thrilled to find the film. Mine by William Kentridge

Thursday, March 12, 2009

On Wonder

I am at my best when creating, trying to "know" that which is unknown, which leaves me in a well of longing... Oh well...

International Women of Courage Award

Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton pose with the 7 award recipients.
Barack Obama yesterday announced the creation of a White House Council for Women and Girls. Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama presented the State Department's Award for International Women of Courage to "seven female activists from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Iraq, Malaysia, Niger, Russia and Uzbekistan who have fought to end discrimination and inequality."
I keep getting reminded of what an amazing country we live in.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Barack Obama's Election

I have been preparing a few images for a group show I will be in that focuses on the election night of Barack Obama at Grant Park in Chicago.
While going thru the images, I have selected some of my favorites from the campaign thru the inauguration.
What an exciting time it was.

Highland, Indiana Rally; October 31, 2008

Election NIght

Riding High; Grant Park, Chicago on Election Night

Michigan Avenue, Chicago on Election Night

You May Say I'm a Dreamer

Waiting for the Swearing In, Washington, DC

Morning of January 20, 2009 ~ Washington Monument before the Inauguration

Monday, March 09, 2009

More from Rilke

"Everything is gestation and bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own intelligence and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist's life. Being an artist means not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide."

Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, March 06, 2009


Flying by Anne Arden McDonald

This is one of my favorite images that is on the cover of Anne Arden McDonald's book, Installations and Self Portraits.
So evocative and joyful, a great distraction to the onslaught of dreary news.
Taking part in the creative process is a wonderful counterpoint to the times. It is thru the creative process that we become once again connected to our humanity and a state of grace.

"Art, in all its forms, feeds and nurtures the soul of a society; provokes thought and debate; causes critical thinking; and fosters understanding of things foreign to our own immediate world. In the end, arts plays a primary role in encouraging healthy tolerance of the diversity in any culture. And, in my opinion, that is something profoundly worthy of protecting..." Robert Redford

Chicago Art Scene

Susan Arinko courtesy Daniel Dorough for the Chicago Reader

I just learned from the Art Letter, written by Paul Klein that FlatFile Gallery is closing March 27th. I am so saddened to learn this. Susan Arinko championed so many artists' careers. The Chicago Reader has an article about it here. Thank you Susan for all you did for the Chicago Art scene.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Protesting the Winter

So I am out in Boston and attended a protest (don't be fooled by the bathing suits, it was 25 degrees outside)
of the cold weather...who could object???

Mother nature...we got socked with 15 inches of snow the next day.
Oh well, guess you have to take what comes.