Last couple days have been busy ones. Still busy, really.
I got the news that when I make the move to DC in just over a week, I’ll have a job to go to, which is nice. The process of settling in will have an effect on my photo work, to be sure. It’s going to take some time to get acclimated to the area, and even more time to find a new group of models to work with.
No big deal really.
Leaving Bloomington, I realize there were some amazing times with amazing models here. This is the place where my talent was developed, and where I helped to develop talents. I’ve loved, laughed and created beautiful images for some or all to see.
The crowning achievement would have to have been getting my work displayed in the Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show, and actually coming away with Gallery Viewer’s Choice. Honestly, for someone who does this for the sheer fun of it, there can be no better honor.
Now it’s a bit premature to write an elegy for my time here, but this is what has been on my mind, and it helps to remind me of the journey ahead and the good times to come. In the meantime, enjoy the above piece, shot a few years ago, during one of my earliest shoots.
Brings back memories.
And we’re back.
The last few days have been spent in the Washington DC Metro area. An amazing place, to be sure, with a collection of people, places and things that have to be seen to believed. Considered by outsiders to be a place where it’s all politics all the time, there’s truly more than meets the eye for the uninitiated.
From Adam’s Morgan to Dupont Circle, there are delights for everyone, but more importantly, plenty of photo galleries that display some of the finest shots from some of the best photographers on the globe. In less than a month, PopLifePhotography will be relocating to DC, and I couldn’t be more excited. Just having a chance to get out and see that there is a thriving community of art, especially photography, makes the decision to relocate even better.
Indiana has been home for pretty much all my life, but the time to move is now, and it makes me feel good to know that there are some fantastic places display my work and appreciate the work of others. In my short amount of investigating, one place caught my interest, and seems like the perfect place to have some work displayed.
MOCA DC, located on 1054 31st St NW, is a venue designed “for artists who otherwise would have a hard time showing their work.” For a low yearly membership fee, photographers have the freedom to have their work featured in a number of shows, as well as studio services and other amenities that are meant to foster collaboration and a sense of belonging between artists, which is remarkable in and of itself.
They’re also known as one of the most nude-friendly galleries in the District, so that is always a plus for fellow nude photographers.
I think I will be debuting the above piece, titled “Temptress” at MOCA in July. A small piece I constructed last year, I was waiting to see how “Obscenity” would do at the Kinsey Juried Art Show. Just this past Thursday, while in DC, I found out just how well it actually did.
In an early morning email sent from the Institute, I was informed that “Obscenity”, featuring the lovely London Andrews, won the 2011 Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show’s Gallery Visitor’s Choice Award. The votes were taken from museum patrons during the opening night reception on May 20. I hadn’t heard anything, so I figured I hadn’t won, so to hear it weeks later was an amazing and humbling surprise. While I thought I had a nice piece on my hands, to have it voted by the viewing public as their favorite, well…to me, that’s better than winning Best In Show, but hey, I’ll take praise where I can get it.
Provided that the piece doesn’t sell while at the Grunwald Gallery of Art (formerly SoFA Gallery), I will take that piece on the road and see if I can’t get it displayed in other shows, including ones held by MOCA DC.
In the meantime, there’s lots to do, including some last minute photoshoots before its Moving Day.
One of the things you’ll learn as a reader of this blog is that the titles are only loosely related to the subject matter that follows…sort of a way to keep you on your toes, even if it comes off as slightly confusing.
The opening reception for the 2011 Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show went well, with an amazing number of people showing up from all over. The two hours went by much faster than I thought they would, which I suppose is a side-effect of getting caught up in the moment. A good number of people showed up specifically to see “Obscenity”, which made me feel pretty good.
As a follow up to last Friday’s post, I found it both strange and humorous to get interviewed for television and public radio about my piece, because once getting a real look at all the other pieces and seeing the obvious hard work that went into the creation of them, I truly felt like I didn’t belong there since it took less than an hour to create and submit “Obscenity”, which I openly admitted to my interviewers, which elicited equal reactions of shock and humor from them.
Now that, I could completely enjoy.
As for the competition, of course I didn’t win Best of Show, nor did I ever expect to. As I had said from the beginning, being selected was honor enough. The winner of Best of Show was, however, a photo. Titled “Olympia [After Manet]” by Niki Grangruth and her “Muse” James Kinser (pictured). It was a nice enough photo, not my favorite (promise those are not sour grapes talking), but as compared to many of the other works on display, I suppose the judges could have picked far, far worse.
I want to thank each and everyone who showed up for the reception, and for those of you who voiced your support and congratulations. Now that my art gallery cherry has been broken, I think I will do more gallery pieces, but not until after the move to the DC area has taken place. It was good to get this one out of my system, and I think I’ll prepare something for next year’s show as well.
The 2011 Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show continues from now until July 30, 2011 at the Indiana University SoFA Gallery (Soon to be renamed the Grunwald Gallery of Art).
As I was thinking about content for this week, I’ve decided to do a bit of an overview of models I love. Some I’ve worked with, others I have yet to work with, but each day this week, starting tomorrow, I’ll be featuring a model who I think just exemplifies everything that a photographer wants in front of their camera. Some you will know, others you’ll be introduced to, but they are amazing all the same.
First up is a model who’s career I actually helped to begin by doing her first photoshoot. Known as Hollis Ireland, this lithe ginger beauty was one of the most amazing and raw talents I have ever worked with. She has gone on to even greater things, such as having print work in magazines and being featured at conventions and other shows.
So until tomorrow…
So here it is. “Obscenity”.
On the morning of such a great achievement, prestigious event or whatever you want to call it, I’m forced to sit back and wonder, am I an artist? Why did I do this piece? Was it for adoration? Was it for money? (The answer there is a resounding no) I guess I wanted to do it just to see if it could be done. Certainly it brings into question what it is that I’m trying to accomplish with PopLifePhotography.
Guess my attitude is like that of Don Davis, legendary gun shop owner who famously says, “I don’t want to make money, folks, I just LOVE to sell guns.”
I do love photography. I love creating images, but I as I formally enter the so-called art world, I find it funny just how little I think I would fit into the art world. I mean in my off time, I play video games, not sit in coffee shops. I may subscribe to V magazine, but they sit on my coffee table next to an autographed baseball.
I suppose that when it comes down to it, an artist can be anyone, do anything. At the end of the day, it’s about what you produce, not the pretentiousness that comes along with it. I don’t suppose you have to dress like a hipster in order to be regarded as an artist.
Having said that, I have to admit that I find myself nervous about going to the reception tonight. I’m entering a world that I’ve ever been out on the periphery of. How does one act? I mean I’ve seen plenty of gallery opening in the pages of Vogue or some other fashion or culture mag. But those were big time to dos replete with rock stars and actors.
Now to be sure, the Kinsey show isn’t small potatoes, but I think it caters to a slightly different crowd. For those of you unfamiliar with the world-famous Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, they have worked tirelessly in advancing sexual health and knowledge everywhere. As part of that endeavor, the Institute started the Juried Art Show. From the Web site:
The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show premiered in 2006 at the Kinsey Institute Gallery. For the first two years, the emphasis was on erotic art, but beginning in 2008, the parameters of the competition were expanded to include artworks addressing gender issues, sexuality, reproduction, sexual politics, romantic relationships, and the human figure.
Ever since the first show, I had talked up sending in a print for competition, and every year I completely spaced out and didn’t go for it. Looking at the galleries for each year, I never thought I had a reasonable chance; thinking back on it, I don’t think I really had anything to offer, much less have something that would be worthy of competing. This year, however, I was determined to make it happen.
Only problem was, I didn’t have anything ready.
Once I decided to actually enter, the biggest obstacle I faced was to actually have something worth showing. I needed to come up with more than just a photo, I needed to do what people in art are always supposed to do, make a statement. What a pretentious way to approach such a thing, but what do I know? I’m just a guy who likes to take pictures of boobs and play video games.
Funny thing was, it was while I was playing a video game that it hit me. I realized I could just create something from existing photos. I had planned on doing some fresh photo shoot, in the hopes that I could get that special image and then from there, voila! Art.
With a day job and general laziness, I knew that any shoot I would throw together would be haphazard at best, so I went into my archives. What could I use as a blank canvas to design on/over? I realized I had an entire folder of photos of London Andrews that I could use, so why not use some? I began pouring over the folder until I saw something that stuck out to me. And then the final concept hit me: Why not create a pop art image? Maybe something that I’d like to see on a t-shirt or something. And from that, “Obscenity” was born.
The concept for the piece came from the idea that the nude image is natural, but when slapped with a label such as obscene, whether it is or not, the way in which the viewer looks at it changes. Yeah…that’s the ticket. It looked good in my mind, so all I had to do was make it a reality. After a few minutes with Photoshop, I had the image you see above. Being a guy with a background in Marketing, I decided to test the image with friends, co-workers (yeah, I know) and acquaintances. Feedback was pretty positive, and so I decided to run with it.
That’s right, I created a work of art through focus groups and Photoshop. And it was selected by a panel jury for inclusion in an Art Show.
Of course I feel like a bit of a swindler. But am I? I mean it exists, so it has to be art, right? Wow…I’m becoming one of them. Oh well, I’m just honored to be a part of the whole deal. Friends, both long-lost and recent are coming to the SoFA Gallery to see me in my moment, and part of me just wants to see who’ll show up. This convenient con I’ve created has actually paid off, and yes, I know it’s not really a con, but it certainly feels like it.
Which kind of makes it a little exciting.
Upon further thought, I realize that I’m not the first of my kind, not really. No, I’m Mr. Brainwash (well, outside of the fact that none of this was created by Banksy, but you get my point…or at least I hope you do.) or maybe just a good old fashioned anti-artist.
Wish me luck. Pictures and other foolishness from the event next week. Have a great weekend, and again, thanks to everyone whose visits have made the first week on this blog a successful one.
Well, not to sit here and say that the previous three days here at the blog were spectacular, but in many ways they were. The blog here at PopLifePhotography has been for the most part, an experiment of sorts just to see if it were capable of developing and creating good, solid content for readers to well…read. And enjoy, of course.
So to have a week that has been as successful with readers, new readers and a fair amount of feedback has been humbling to say the least. In all honesty, this is still a work in progress. Where there should be a plan in terms of content, there really isn’t one, at least not yet. For a student of journalism, to approach something like this without an editorial calendar, or any sense of structure is a bit jarring.
But then I’ve always flown by the seat of my pants in some ways.
Nonetheless, I wanted to take this opportunity on this cloudy Thursday to thank each and every one of you who have stopped by, subscribed or otherwise complimented what we’ve been able to do here in this short amount of time. I expected to be speaking to an empty room of sorts for a little while, and already, I have developed, cultivated an audience that matters.
And that audience is you. Wonderful, gracious you. So thanks.
In other news…
So today’s picture is that of the lovely and wildly popular London Andrews. I shot this photo in October of last year, as she made her way through fair Bloomington. The shoot was designed as part of a cover story that would have been a part of the online edition of PopLife Magazine. A venture that has been oft delayed, and now finds its genesis within the lines of this blog.
Everything in pieces, I suppose.
The reason I’m sharing a shot of London today is for good reason, however. Tomorrow, May 20, 2011 is the kickoff for the 2011 Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show. A yearly showcase of talent from across the globe, this year’s show features works from more than 130 artists of different mediums and messages.
PopLifePhotography was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the artists from a pool of close to 700 applicants. The piece, which I will share on the blog tomorrow features the lovely torso of Ms. Andrews.
It’s truly an exciting time, and I am genuinely privileged to be a part of the festivities. It marks the first time any piece from PopLifePhotography has been selected for public viewing, and, I hope the first of more opportunities to come. I certainly don’t wish to be cryptic about the whole thing, because frankly, I want to share this honor with pretty much everyone I know, but I’ve decided to preview the whole thing tomorrow along with some insights into how this crazy thing came together and what it means to be an anti-artist.
You know, maybe today wasn’t so shabby after all. Leave me a comment or two and tell me what you think.