January 11, 2013
One and a-two

Today I was giving my photo classes their new assignment, “Two-fer” - basically instead of looking for *a* subject, look for two subjects and try to create relationships, contrast, or juxtaposition between them. I pulled some of my own pictures to give them ideas, turns out I do the two-fer thing myself more than I realized. Some are more obvious than others, and we talked about playing with the two components either roughly in the same visual plane (side by side), or using them more as layers (front to back).

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One (non-)example was a picture from my book The Waiting Room - Photographs from Belarus. I had gotten on a trolleybus in Minsk with a friend and quickly made this shot of a girl standing at the rear:

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I felt at the time like I got the shot, and she didn’t seem to mind or maybe didn’t know I took it. But my inner photo nag wanted more, as it tends to. I remember how I thought - like I’m asking my students to think - ok, good, that’s one nice element, but how do I add another, relate her to something else, some kind of contrast… maybe to an older person on the bus for example. So I quickly moved back a bit, trying for that two-fer. Found the older guy like I wanted in the seats but, alas, my friend happened to be standing there in the middle (to my friend AK, it’s ok :))), you couldn’t have known!). It’s not a bad picture, but not the simple duality that I wanted.

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The scene changed a moment later anyway. So the two-fer didn’t quite work out, but the first one made my book in the end.

I hope this is helpful to anyone looking for ways to mix up their compositions. One subject is ok, but think about going for two!

March 16, 2011
The press/VIP night for FotoDC’s big FLASH exhibit is tomorrow (Thurs) night, with the public opening Friday night in Crystal City, VA. Click here for more info.
There was a panel of five jurors from the top tier of the DC photo world - a short selection from my Belarus series (including the above pic from Minsk in 2009) was chosen by Philip Brookman, chief curator at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Which is obviously exciting, though my one complaint was that each person submitting work only had eight minutes with their chosen curator, about enough time for how-you-doing and a quick slideshow before an official hoverer moved in to break things up. Brookman is certainly someone I would’ve liked to get into more of a conversation with.
But I nitpick. It’s great how FotoweekDC has become the year-round FotoDC, pulling together all kinds of cool events like this. Kudos to founder Theo Adamstein and crew, working hard to put the DC photo scene on the international map.

The press/VIP night for FotoDC’s big FLASH exhibit is tomorrow (Thurs) night, with the public opening Friday night in Crystal City, VA. Click here for more info.

There was a panel of five jurors from the top tier of the DC photo world - a short selection from my Belarus series (including the above pic from Minsk in 2009) was chosen by Philip Brookman, chief curator at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Which is obviously exciting, though my one complaint was that each person submitting work only had eight minutes with their chosen curator, about enough time for how-you-doing and a quick slideshow before an official hoverer moved in to break things up. Brookman is certainly someone I would’ve liked to get into more of a conversation with.

But I nitpick. It’s great how FotoweekDC has become the year-round FotoDC, pulling together all kinds of cool events like this. Kudos to founder Theo Adamstein and crew, working hard to put the DC photo scene on the international map.

February 19, 2010
"If you have visions, if you have a goal - then you’d better hurry up. It’s up to you. You make the choice to act; you can’t blame anyone else if you don’t."

— Swedish photographer Anders Petersen, interviewed in current issue of Aperture magazine

October 2, 2009
East

Sunday night photos at Marvin this weekend, starting at 8pm! I’ll be showing a slideshow of my Eastern Europe work from the last ten years, running on a 15-minute loop. A print catalog of select images is available online (see sidebar), I’ll have free copies with me for the first twenty people who ask.

October 2, 2009
"Develop your sensibilities, then learn how to make them visual."

— Viktor Kolar, Prague, 1998

October 20, 2008

New work from Romania, made during an international art symposium near Timisoara (in the west, near the Hungary border). Click on the little fullscreen icon at bottom right for best viewing.

February 1, 2008
In early February we’re heading to Senegal to see my wife’s family. When I went in 2001, it was my first time in Africa. As a photographer, all I really wanted was to bring back a sense of Dakar as a city, that old chestnut ‘everyday life’. It seemed not just interesting but fair - Africa always seems to get represented by its extremes.While thinking about what and how to shoot this time around, I’ve been going through my past stuff and scanning a few new sleepers. I decided to make a little portfolio book to give as a gift, to show the family in Dakar what I had been trying to do. I wanted them to know that something came of their patience with my incessant shooting - and my usual worrying about shooting.I like the way it came out, so I’ve decided to try an informal (and nonprofit) experiment in self-publishing. The Dakar portfolio (8x6” bound, softcover, 25 images) is available to buy online - at basic cost. I’d just like it to exist in the world.Click here or on the image above to browse the book at mypublisher.com. You will need to create a username and password if you place an order, but it’s painless.It works out to about 21 bucks with US shipping. But until February 6th, they’re offering a 2-for-1 discount if you use code VAL241.Hope you enjoy a sense of discovery, as I did. If you get the book, let me know and I’ll email a short text I wrote, cobbled together from the journal I kept during the trip (I wanted this book to be just photos).

In early February we’re heading to Senegal to see my wife’s family. When I went in 2001, it was my first time in Africa. As a photographer, all I really wanted was to bring back a sense of Dakar as a city, that old chestnut ‘everyday life’. It seemed not just interesting but fair - Africa always seems to get represented by its extremes.

While thinking about what and how to shoot this time around, I’ve been going through my past stuff and scanning a few new sleepers. I decided to make a little portfolio book to give as a gift, to show the family in Dakar what I had been trying to do. I wanted them to know that something came of their patience with my incessant shooting - and my usual worrying about shooting.

I like the way it came out, so I’ve decided to try an informal (and nonprofit) experiment in self-publishing. The Dakar portfolio (8x6” bound, softcover, 25 images) is available to buy online - at basic cost. I’d just like it to exist in the world.

Click here or on the image above to browse the book at mypublisher.com. You will need to create a username and password if you place an order, but it’s painless.

It works out to about 21 bucks with US shipping. But until February 6th, they’re offering a 2-for-1 discount if you use code VAL241.

Hope you enjoy a sense of discovery, as I did. If you get the book, let me know and I’ll email a short text I wrote, cobbled together from the journal I kept during the trip (I wanted this book to be just photos).