bysinclair

Photography in 2013

Graffiti, nosebleeds, blood in general, drugs, skateboarding, webcams, skinny jeans, ripped jeans, cut off jeans, no jeans, no clothes, no appetite, no fat, no muscle, no expression, moody girls, moody boys, cop cars full of friends, webcams all alone, Instagram ironically, badly drawn Simpsons characters, crap food, stolen beer, overpriced flats, expensive lenses, cheap film, film is dead, don’t look at history, don’t care about caring, photography is not about photography except that it is, there’s no point in trying because those that do die young, catchphrases, long titles like ‘Nobody knew I was here except you and all your friends’, assemblage, deconstruct, words we never should have been taught, words we make up, girls all made up, girls with armpit hair, beards, vernacular, small market big brands, DIY, remember Kodak?, 90’s tshirts, 70’s cameras, colour casts, hard copy back ups, blown up, photocopied, reblogged, crowd sourced, cloud storage, mobile apps, whatever wave feminism, male gaze, sculpture, self-shot, self imposed, imposed meanings, hidden meanings, overexposed people, poorly exposed images, Vice magazine and all its irony, zines, books, great big shows, free wine, orange juice please, the physicality of the object, flash, nobody wants to write anymore, house parties and the lack there of, feeling like you’re 40, remembering you’re 23, floors that have been slept on twice since swept, undergraduate, under-qualified, no-pay internships, good exposure, two years waiting experience required, namedropping, next big thing, next in line, no money, all love.

#shoutout to @dashdaauthor for being a #cameo in @jaearedastar #MusicVideo! #StayTuned for more! Visit www.jaearedastar.com for upcoming news on #Jaeare ’s #MiniMovie! #instamusic #instamovie #music #dreamcometrue #bysinclair #jaearesvideoshoot #ignation #fight #scene #camera #director #producer #film #tagsforlikes #likesfortags

Alex Catt is a terrific portrait photographer. But he also does landscape shots quite well. And sometimes he does like a combination of both and that works too. His life must be really horrible because that’s the only fair way I can be okay with him having that much talent.

“I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more.”

RIP Maurice Sendak [June 10th 1928 - May 8th 2012]

No long story as to how I feel especially connected to “Where The Wild Things Are”. It was everyone’s favourite book as a kid, and that’s why, even though he was 83 years old, this passing hurts so much.

Goodbye Mr. Sendak.

Public and Private Perceptions of Meaning

DIGITALFAUN 2009-2014

By Alex Sinclair

* * *

Lately, I’ve been busy. I may actually be in one of the most promising and fruitful periods of my short professional career to date. I have been chipping away at a lot of projects and avenues for months in the hopes that they lead to something bigger, something concrete. And during those months, the perception of those around me may have been that I was doing nothing with my life. I’ve been trying. I really have. And it’s really difficult to deal with a current social standard where being jobless is the default position for someone my age yet, it’s also something looked down upon. I have been trying. I swear. 

I’ve been applying to jobs. Even jobs I don’t want. Mostly jobs I do want though. None of these are great big jobs where I cost a company lots of money in exchange for little work. Instead they’re modest, entry level positions at places where I think it might not totally suck to work at. And I’ve definitely been trying.

Keep reading

DigitalFaun turned four years old today!

The above photo, by the extremely talented Harry Mitchell, was my first post on the site. As far as first posts go, I’m pretty happy with that. It’s clear that while my knowledge and understanding of contemporary photography has changed, my taste in image makers has not. 

Since the site’s inception, there has always been a struggle to match interesting content with valuable critical insight and as such the process of running DigitalFaun has been a lot slower than a lot of other image-heavy photography sites. This will be the first year in which I actually won’t be in college while working on the site so there’s a possibility that even if things don’t get churned out any faster, at least there should be a greater consistency to the site’s output.

Thanks for sticking with me while I learned (and continue to learn) the fundamentals of what makes this medium so interesting. 

Alex

 

For Maxi

Yesterday I made the most heartbreaking phone call I’ve ever had to make. I called the vet and made an appointment to put our beloved dog Maxi to sleep. 

Maxi jumped into my Mom’s car eleven years ago as a stray. She stopped at a petrol station and when she opened the door, he came running over and jumped in. I guess you could say he chose us. At the time, I was only 12 years old and obsessed with all things car related but knew that everyone else wouldn’t let me name him after a car so I had to be clever. Rallying was my favourite aspect of motorsport so I thought through my head for the most minor reference I could imagine. Subaru would clearly be caught out straight away, even if it would have been an awesome name. I decided to go for Maxi because of how nice the Peugeot 306 Maxi looked as a rally car but also because I doubted anyone would ever put it together. It also related to the name of the petrol station, Maxol, which would have been too industrial sounding for him. So we all agreed, Maxi it was. Then ten days later, he went missing.

We never really figured out how he escaped, but we think he jumped over the back wall. For a little guy, he could always massively out-jump my expectations. He could clearly get to the kitchen counter from the ground, as evidenced by the day he stole a box of meringues and crumbled them all over the back garden. It looked like it a blizzard hit. Anyway, when we found him, I put up posters around town saying I had found a dog. Once he went missing, I took down those posters and put up missing dog ones. I was devastated. I wandered the streets trying to find him by chance. I even had several phone calls from people who had found similar dogs to the description on the poster (there was no photo as we hadn’t had him that long). None proved successful until a man said he found a dog trapped in his shed. He said he’d bring him by my house to check if it was Maxi. When I saw him walking up the street with Maxi in tow, I almost broke down crying. For a 12 year old, it was a huge moment. I hooked my lead to his collar as the man took off his and before I could even say thank you, the man was gone. No name, nothing. I’m really grateful to what that man gave to kid Alex that day.

Since then, Maxi has filled my life with joy. There isn’t a day that’s gone by when I haven’t smiled at his little face. He’s my little Maxi. He’s been there for me when nobody else has. He’s always been a member of our family and I sincerely hope he understood that we were the lucky ones here, that his presence in our house has been nothing but a blessing. There have been times when I’ve gotten angry at him, but that was just for doing things dogs do, like chewing my Subaru World Rally Team hat or an unending stream of barks when anybody even goes near the postbox. I know that little ruff is going to be sorely missed as time goes by. I know I’m gonna regret not finding my clothes covered in tiny hairs. I’m gonna wish he’d push open my door and then leave immediately because didn’t like when doors were closed. Maxi was a dog that wanted to be included. He was the essence of a stray dog that found a home and it showed in how comfortable he was here.

Tomorrow, at 6.30pm, we have an appointment with the vet to put him to sleep. This week I’ve fed him everything he wanted, including steak dinners every night. He likes them rare if anyone’s taking notes. I figured feeding him like this can do him no harm now. I’ll do anything to see the little guy happy. He’s been in a lot of pain lately and he’s not been himself. He can’t walk far and he has lost control of himself a bit. His body is failing him and I can’t bear to see him in pain. It fell to me to make the phonecall to the vet and I felt so horrible right after. I couldn’t look at him for a couple hours. Not without feeling I’d let him down but today, I’m coming to grips with what a good life he’s had, and how the pain is creeping in. I made the right choice and I know I’ll second guess that in the days to come, but I did. I did what was best for him. George didn’t want to see Lenny go, but he also didn’t want those men to get him. We do what we have to do to not see those we love suffer. 

Maxi, I love you so much. I won’t let you go the whole time we’re there. I promise. I won’t let you die alone. I won’t let you die a stray. 

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Building Blocks for Still Life: Everything is Anything Else

The current style of still-life images which employs mostly brightly coloured backgrounds for fruit, mirrors and various stripped down household goods has spread rapidly due to a postmovial practice which encourages and instructs the viewer towards engaging with work on disposable social media platforms. The problem with this strategy is that the volume of copycat creators that occupy an online space is innumerable and, as such, any process which gains attention inevitably leads itself to its own dilution. 

The basic concepts behind art systems constitute that you have to be different, but not so different that there isn’t a place for you to branch out from. If you’re too different right from the outset, your work appears as a disconnect. It appears without foundation and as something outlandish. Not that I’m a genius who understands the intricacies of the progression of art history but the ideologies that underpin any art movement is the intrinsic ability to build on, adapt or construct in opposition to something which has already been established.

Everything is Anything Else is a body of work by Jason Lukas, Zachary Norman and Aaron Hegert which embodies the in-vogue styles of imagery which populate the blogosphere on a daily basis with one exception; they’re ready to take a step further. I won’t say they have already taken that step as this is still very young work. The collective trio’s first foray into the world of public display occurs this Saturday at a gallery in Cincinnati and we’ll see how successful the translation from screen to space is but the groundwork for advancing an already-stale medium of photography is in place. 

I think that comes down to how the group informs itself. The three artists work from a manifesto, their site provides a selection of readings and even a feed of directional imagery in which the viewer can trace the group’s influences. Even on first visit to the site, you get a sense that EIAE is clear in its intentions. What is normally a very vague and unreferential form of photography, is transformed into a systematic look at vulnerability within the practice. The current style of still life is aimed at folding photography in on itself, with complex photoshop layering and ubiquitous subject matter, it’s always been a bit of a puzzle but EIAE loses none of that mystery while installing an over-arcing sense of order. The hap-hazard superfluousness that inhabits a lot of the trendy equivalents has been replaced by a distilled mediated process of addressing the photographic condition. 

It’s too soon to make a judgement call on the group’s work itself. It would be crazy to jump into declaring this a turning point in the medium. Maybe EIAE is the group's branch on which to grow from, maybe it’s not but one thing’s for sure Lukas, Zachary and Hegert are a few of the more melodic birds whistling in a very busy tree. 

 

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Everything is Anything Else opens at Third Party Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio on August 3rd and can be found online at everythingisae.tumblr.com

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There’s a few photographers on my radar right now and one that demands a lot of attention is Fletcher Chancey. I think he’s one of the few photographers whose work is better suited to a stream-of-consciousness blog than a more traditional series based website. That said, each of them are worth your time. He rules.

Fletcher Chancey’s Tumblr / Site

Welcome to DigitalFaun.me!

That’s right, I finally got myself a proper domain name. 

I also have a more-professional-looking-less-annoyingly-long email address now so any thing referenced to my old email on here will be changed to alex[at]digitalfaun[dot]me as soon as possible. 

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A N   I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   J O H N N Y   D E   G U Z M A N

By Alex Sinclair

DISCLAIMER: I’ve been to Chicago twice in my life. Both times I never set foot outside of airport property. I say “property” rather than “terminal” because while I was there during a layover on my way home from a New Orleans wedding, I was really sick and regularly alternated between navigating the ice rain outside and the bleach-blonde tiles of the bathroom.

* * *

I met him at the corner of Walton and Michigan. He wore a plain black t-shirt, narrow jeans and his shoes look black too, but matte black, like charcoal. He had just finished work and we were meeting up to talk about David.

This was my first time meeting Johnny, and I’d never met David, the subject of his latest photo-series, À Tout Le Monde. I only had a couple of hours in town before I had to run back to O'Hare and catch a flight to see my cousins in Louisiana. We didn’t have long but I think that may have helped the matter. With complicated issues such as these, it’s almost better to be forced into confronting them. Address the subject. Get the answers. Understand things a little better.

Keep reading

Photojojo, makers of all things “That’s kinda cool I guess but wow that’s expensive”, posted a tutorial on how to use your old 35mm negatives to make neat bows for your gifts. I rarely understand the reasoning behind some of the stuff that company bring out but this is a new low. 

Actual quote from the tutorial:

Upcycling is everywhere, and this is a crafty, simple, and creative way to take all of those negatives that might otherwise sit in a closet or on a shelf for years and put them to use!

Please, just please, do not do this. I can’t think of an easier way to show everyone you know nothing about photography than to use negatives as decoration on Christmas presents. Idiots.

FLICKR POOL SATURDAYS!
(Top 10 of the Year Edition)

#1 Jeremy O'Sullivan

When I started this feature a year ago, I never thought I’d see the volume of quality submitted that I’ve been so lucky to come across. Several people featured in the pool have become regular sights on this site over that time. Several more have become genuine artists I aspire to. In the few cases mentioned here today though, there have been images which stand out as examples of the photographic active thoroughly understanding the medium. Whether it’s navigating the landscape or the subtleties of car leather, there is a profound enlightenment of what it means to take a truly remarkable picture. These are images which I felt needed to be celebrated, images which didn’t deserve to be just another block of pixels disregarded in the vastness that is the ever increasing capacity of Flickr.com. 

And that brings us to this shot by Jeremy O'Sullivan. I knew when I was making this list that I’d end up with this image at the top. There isn’t an image in the entirety of what I’ve seen submitted in the past year that stands alongside this. It’s power extends far beyond the boundaries of even what’s been featured as a whole on DigitalFaun. It holds it’s own against the best of the best. 

What makes it so effective is it’s basic understanding of shape. This isn’t an image that’s going to wow you with detail or texture but it never needed to. It’s a study of our interpretation of shape and form. It gives you mountains, yet none are recognisable. You get a sunset colour palette, yet that’s not the strongest colour. It’s portrait with no person. The sheer reliability on codes of connotation is brave and praiseworthy. An emphasis is placed on the viewer’s familiarity of a postcard definition of what is worth photographing. The sunset, the portrait, the postcard, the snapshot, these are all concepts that have been unpacked, deconstructed and rebuilt with a tacit understanding of what makes a photograph effective. This is an image as complex in theory as it is simple in construction. This is an image that elevates the game of other artists which view it. It’s one that pushes the viewer to think beyond their normal ways of seeing. For all this, and so much more, it’s the clear cut selection as best image for this feature. 

Previously:
#2 Dale Rothenberg
#3 Colleen Barnett
#4 Leo Berne
#5 Chelsee Ivan
#6 Axel Stevens
#7 H J Smith
#8 Megan Tilley
#9 Johnny De Guzman
#10 Carlos Garza 

Submit to the DF Flickr Pool to maybe see your shots here next week!

It quite frequently happens that you’re just treading water for quite a long time. Nothing really dramatic seems to be happening. … And then suddenly everything seems to lock together in a different way. It’s like a crystallization point where you can’t detect any single element having changed. There’s a proverb that says that the fruit takes a long time to ripen, but it falls suddenly … And that seems to be the process.
—  Brian Eno on the creative process from an interview on the99percent.com.