Archive for February, 2009

liberty island



© Hee Jin Kang 2009

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smokin’ sean


3 things about this photo:

1. HD looks very painterly when photographed.
2. Sean Penn must be lyin’ cuz his pants look to be on fire.
3. The Charlie Rose Show must be breaking a law letting this guy smoke on set.

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Don’t you have that one friend who’s an artist and you sometimes wonder, how does this person pay her bills?  You’ve known her for several years, consider her a “friend” and not an acquaintance, you’ve been to her apartment, a small but nice space somewhere in Brooklyn probably, maybe she has an iPhone, a refined collection of art books, obscure DVDs and some decent furniture.  When you go to parties together, she usually turns up in Margiela, and when the conversation with strangers turns to “so what do you do for a living?”, your friend starts to answer and your ears prick up, you think, ooo maybe I’ll finally find out how she makes ends meet, but she replies “I’m an artist (or painter, or photographer, or whatever)” and you think, drat that doesn’t tell me anything really!

I know artists who have all sorts of different day jobs – they work at galleries, bars, clothing stores; they assist other artists or are personal assistants; they have real serious jobs as designers/editors/producers in museums, advertising agencies, magazines; they teach; they work in non-profit; they temp.  Some artists are embarrassed to utter the words “day job” while others are alright with it.

Holland Cotter’s piece in the NYTimes, “The Boom is Over. Long Live the Art!” inspired this post, in particular these lines:

It’s day-job time again in America, and that’s O.K. Artists have always had them — van Gogh the preacher, Pollock the busboy, Henry Darger the janitor — and will again. The trick is to try to make them an energy source, not a chore.

Did you hear that, people? It’s OK to have a day job!  Glad to hear it.

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mailing list

If you click on this link, you can be added to my newly updated mailing list, though I may have already subscribed you because I like you.


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The Red Wing project has been added to my website.  Rejoice!

Previous posts about this series:

no more worries
some background

republican eagle article
tractor then, tractor now

4×5 photographs
my first state fair
more 4×5 photos
more 35mm from state fair

These photographs were all taken in the summer of 2008, in Red Wing, Minnesota, the town where my parents met in the early 1970’s.  If I were a book, Red Wing, Minnesota would be my preface.
I went to Red Wing to explore the alternate reality of what my life could have been.  I photographed old friends of my parents but also took pictures of strangers. I photographed farmers, townspeople, and young artists, storefronts, farmland, vacant lots, and interior spaces. For me, photographing Red Wing is like breathing life into a faded snapshot.

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Folks!  Photog-extraordinaire Adam Bartos has a new book coming out – Yard Sale Photographs – so pre-order yours now before you miss out.

I know the work in this monograph very well and I must tell you, this book is a beauty!

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I was excited to read that Doug Dubois is coming out with a book this June,  All the Days and Nights (via Aperture’s blog).  I’ll be the first in line for it.  The book will showcase photographs from his Family Photos series, which I’ve long admired.

Here’s an excellent conversation with Doug Dubois and Alec Soth on Conscientious from October 2007.  Worth reading if you haven’t already.  I second what Alec said about the 1991 MoMA exhibition Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort.  It was also influential for me, though in catalogue form some years later.  I’m shocked you can still buy a copy of it online, I would have thought it was unavailable ages ago!

Doug was kind enough to let me post some of his photographs here.  We should start a fan club!





All photographs © Doug Dubois, Family Photos 1984-1992, 1999-2006

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