Recent Book Reviews

It has been a long time since I have updated this space. I have cut down on a fair amount of blogging because of my teaching, and book reviewing. I did a post about a blog of mine that notably died last year. I thought I would do a massive book review post.

I consider myself lucky that I am able write photo book reviews for Here are some links to the previously unmentioned reviews. I am just glad that Tony does not seem to mind putting up with me.

Notes from a Quiet Life by Robert Benjamin

From Uncertain to Blue by Keith Carter

Ask The Cat by Satoru Toma

Topographie by Andreas Gehrke

Permanent Error by Pieter Hugo

The Idea of North by Birthe Piontek

Gerard Fieret (1924-2009) by Gerard Fieret

Silent Aftermath of Space by Caleb Cain Marcus

LA Day, LA Night by Michael Light

What Can We Believe Where? by Robert Adams

Made in Belarus by Philippe Herbet

Road Ends in Water by Eliot Dudik

Slow Burn by Renee Jacobs

Oculi by The Oculi Photography Group

100 Flowers by Louis Porter

Stonefactory by Olaf Jarlbro

Tokyo Untitled by Renato D’Agostin

Rugby by Daniel D’Ottavio



Back on tumblr

A friend asked the other day if I was on tumblr. I said that I had been, but was not any longer. When I saw this post from Cary Conover today I decided to jump back into the tumblr fray. After a little research I realized that I have an account, so I got this thing in order. It can be found here. Now the question looms, what will end up that and how often?  We will see is the firmest answer I can give at the moment. Family, teaching and some picture making are the priorities at the moment. I just know what when I have a place to put the occasional mobile phone picture, I tend to feel more creative which feeds off of itself.

On view at RayKo


Photo by vdonovan2000 @ flickr

My photo “One Man Seven Women” (upper right) is on display at the RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco as part of the (Por)trait Revealed juried show. I had the pleasure of being reviewed by Ann Jastrab, the gallery director at RayKo, at Review Santa Fe this year. Before going to RSF I had talked with her on the phone when I had a piece in a show there last year. When I saw she was reviewing this year, I was happy to be reviewed by her. Ann offered frank and honest advice, which I always appreciate it, and sometimes hard to come by. If you have happen to be in Bay Area between now and early September, stop by and see the show, since I can’t.

Review Santa Fe

Setting up for the public viewing

I have been back from Review Santa Fe for a couple of weeks now. I had been planning on writing a long entry on what learned, who I met, what I ate (the food in Santa Fe is the best), who reviewed my work, etc. I had read some other blog posts like this one and this one. I have not posted anything because I am still processing what happened and what was said about my work. One that was clear from the get go was the Center did a great job putting this all together.

The open road

When I got there I realized that many people came from a lot farther away than I did. That is when it hit me that this weekend was more than just another trip to Santa Fe. The level of work I saw was humbling.

Some of the other photographers participating in the review I met:

I had the chance to spend some time with some other people too.

One of the first things I did when I got to Santa Fe was to go by photo-eye. I have been writing some book reviews for them so it was good to say hello and spend a little money. It was there that I bumped into Dewi Lewis and others. I was also able to pick up the next few books I will be reviewing. I am not sure if I could live within 100 miles of photo-eye without going broke.

I managed to also eat a few good meals during the weekend.

Breakfast at Tecolote.

Sheepherders Breakfast and a Pancake at Tecolote

Polsole with Red and Green Chili (Christmas style) at the Plaza Cafe

Allsup’s Beef and Bean Burrito outside of Santa Rosa, New Mexico

What do I take away from Review Santa Fe? The real work starts now. I am confident that the decisions about how I work, and the kind of work I am making is on the right track. Being myself is the key to success. It is up to me to keep in touch with those that reviewed my work and those that I met. Taking a voice recorder and recording the reviews helps, no matter how painful it is to hear my own voice. I always need to double check that my prints are in order before a review. Always. It is good to take packets. I need to process and think about what happened. All of this stuff is hard for a reason. The pictures are what matter. Moving up to a Mamiya 7II sounds good, but I am sticking with what I have for now.

Stephen Crowley had the quote of the weekend for me. As we were walking to dinner he asked me how the reviews went. I said good. “Good is all I ever get out of you. At least you are laughing,” he said.

Getting things in order around here

I have added a couple of galleries tonight. Sale Day is the work that was selected for Review Santa Fe. In Passing is up on the walls of the Project Room at 500X in Dallas. All of the work on this site is mine. I made it and own. That feels good saying that after working for a long time and not owning my work. Kenneth Jarecke has been writing about this on his blog here and here.

I again want to give Dalton Rooney a shout-out for designing this WordPress template. Updating and customizing this site is super easy and it can be seen mobile devices, which is oh so important these days. I have needed to update this site for a little while, I finally got it done and it was a breeze.

Printing my work is up next as I prepare for Review Santa Fe. I picked up my paper from Red River Paper today. I will keep you posted.

Emptied the bag and other news

It has been a bit of a whirlwind weekend here in North Texas. I found out Friday night that would be buying photo equipment at Fort Worth Camera on Saturday, which I thought would give me the opportunity to lighten my load a bit. A little later on I took this thought a step further and decided to let go of all of my Canon lens and SLR camera bodies, both film and digital. Now is the time for a change. It was not a lot, a few cords, two bodies and three lenses. This was the equipment I used to start my Sidelines project in graduate school and before that every day at the Journal and Courier in Indiana. This was a drastic step, but necessary. It was time to let go of the past. I have not been actively trying to freelance, so this gear was collecting dust in my Domke bag. It was easier to do than I thought. All but my flash and some compact flash cards are gone.

Since graduate school, my notion of what photography is has changed. It does not just mean journalism. Some of those trapping were hanging around and needed to be cut. Doing this was taking another step toward the photographer I want to be. My Leica M6 is my camera of choice. I have also have a Canon G10, an older point and shoot and Flip video camera. A solid kit, that fits into my new Domke bag.

The camera does not matter, as long as I am willing to pick it up and make a picture. The simpler things are the better. Less gets in my way.

In addition to the gear simplification, I consolidated my blogs into this place. No more commenting on the state of photography for me. I will leave that to the those who are better at it than I am. This is where I will share my news and random photographs that do not fit anywhere else.

Speaking of news, I also found out Friday night that I made it into Review Santa Fe. That news came after I decided to simplify things, so I feel like I am on the right track.

Drop me a line if you need a bag, pouch or memory card, I have some extras lying around.