• The Secret Books
    The Secret Books
    by Jorge Luis Borges, Sean Kernan
  • Among Trees
    Among Trees
Teaching and Lecturing

Revisited landscapes

We did a calender project with the printer, John C. Otto. It sent us looking back between 1 and 15 years at photographs of the land, taken everywhere in the world. Here is one of my favorites, made in Arizona.Tree%20line%20AZ%20BL.jpg


The Great Books: A Cat Piano, and Singing Donkeys


Gaspar Schott (1608-1666) was a German Jesuit who studied the natural sciences. This is a page from his book on sound. Schott was known for his piety, which apparently excluded compassion for cats. This cat piano used a set of 'tuned' cats, which yowled when keys were pressed that drove spikes into their tails. The suggestion was that such a hilarious sight would lift the melancholy spirits of overburdened kings and rulers laugh and make them laugh.

Apparently donkeys needed no prodding, just some good direction and a little rehearsal time.


An outpouring from The Book of Fabulous Names

Not a book, actually, more like a small notepad. I keep it by the chair in which I sit reading the morning paper. And I pull it out every time I see a name in the news so fantastic that it  would challenge the  christening powers of Charles Dickens. All names guaranteed 100% Google-able.

Here are a few of the best: 

Lt. Col Wisdom Bleboo, African Union troop commander
BamBam Villanuova and Tony Digiosaflatte, two bank robbers who literally washed the money they had stolen
Poony Poon, music student
Ronnie Screwvala, Indian film producer
Paul Privateer, professor of media studies
Vinson Filyaw, kidnapper
Luscious Johnson (a man)
Schoolboy Friedkin, a boxer from the 30’s and 40's
Innocent Chigona, Zimbabwean Lawyer
Spirit Herzog-Bottom, 15 year-old resident of a California town
Travis Trim, murder suspect
Timo Wopp, German juggler
Dimple Gupta, lawyer and congressional aide

And a few from history:
Topham Beauclerk, friend of Samuel Johnson
Praisegod Barebones, preacher who lived near Samuel Pepys in London
And his brothers,
Christ-Came-Into-the-World-to-Save Barebones, and If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebones.

 Actually, the last two are a little doubtful, but they are cited in a 17th century reference, so as far as I'm concerned someone would have to prove that they did not live before I removed them.


An amazing look down at the floor at TBW\Chiat\Day


I was out in California last week, and when I visited the offices of the iconic agency TBW\Chiat\Day I saw this view from a catwalk that floats above the offices for the length of the building.  The work of any agency is extremely complex, bordering on chaotic, but from above I could actually see the way it all flowed through the building. There was  all  this stuff everywhere_layouts, finished work, schedules, coffee cups, coats, notes, phones, computers, family photos, and, in the Chiat\Day tradition, dogs curled up by desks. And it was all contained by the architecture that guided the flow.  You know this all happens, but how unique to actually see it laid out like a river, with every bit of flotsam visible.

Of course, this really needs a 60 inch print to work at its best, but you get the idea. There's a larger version at on the Sketchbook page.

I was in California to give a talk at the ASMP SB2 conference, an intensive program designed to give photographers ways to handle themselves in the world of work. My task was to remind them_and myself_about our roots in the artistic impulse and give ways to keep that alive.

While I was there I also did a workshop on the critique with some of the faculty at Art Center in Pasadena and another weekend workshop delving into the whole phenomenon of creativity with photographers from LA and elsewhere. 


Something new: A book from The Great Books











This really needs to be seen a about 24 inches wide, but there you are.