LBM Shirts at Walker Art Center’s first Local Artist T-Shirt Mart

Just in time for spring, the Walker Art Center presents its first Local Artist T-Shirt Mart from 11 am–5 pm Saturday, April 17, in Cargill Lounge. The latest t-shirt designs for adults and children by locally based artists ranging from design collective Burlesque of North America to Little Brown Mushroom books will be on sale. Proceeds from all sales support the Walker’s artistic and educational programs. This event is part of MNFashion Week, April 16–25, 2010. For more information:

First Book: Bill Hunt

I have been going around to photographers asking them one question: “What was the first photo book that you can remember buying or seeing that really had a strong affect on you?”

Alec was able to ask the gallerist Bill Hunt the same question. Here is Bill’s response:

‘I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing.’

The first book I remember caring about is Duane Michals “Real Dreams”  (Addison House 1976).  It is still magical.  The sequences have a theatrical and spiritual center.  I must have gone through a couple of dozen copies because I kept giving them to friends.  It seemed to communicate in a way that I felt but couldn’t articulate myself.

When I met Duane I actually bent down and kissed the hem of his pants, an act that took both of us considerably by surprise.  It did make an impression.  He is truly a master of many things, and we have some history together.

He did a very a special holiday card to benefit Photographers + Friends Against AIDS (“Merry Christ Mouse” leaving what seemed to be a very questionable – vaguely scatological – gift near the Christmas tree).  I can be a fairly emphatic and direct speaker, but was totally left in Duane’s wake at a speaking engagement with him at the Savannah College of Art and Design where he dramatically and hysterically insisted that the students take themselves and their careers seriously and not settle into any sort of complacency.  Recently he came to my gallery to look at Paolo Ventura’s “Winter Stories”, and it struck me as the most powerful endorsement a contemporary artist working with fantasy could receive.  Further Duane bought a piece and said it was the first photograph he had ever purchased.

I love Duane.  So much of my considerable passion for photography can be traced back to “Real Dreams” and his unparalleled ability to take you into his imagination.

A further note, I think that I bought all those copies of “Real Dreams” at A Photographer’s Place, the late lamented bookstore on Mercer St. owned by Harvey Zucker.  Anyone over a certain age truly cut their teeth on books in that store.  You could spend hours in there browsing and buying.  He and the staff were wellsprings of information about photographers and books.  Also you always ran into or got introduced to people there.  It was a real hangout. Amazon does not provide nearly the same experience.

And that’s the story of my first photo book.

WM Hunt

First Book: Todd Hido

I have been going around to photographers asking them one question: “What was the first photo book that you can remember buying or seeing that really had a strong affect on you?” Here is Todd Hido’s response:

I remember it clearly. It was 1986, my first year of college. A teacher of mine showed us Emmet Gowin’s Photographs. It spoke to me in a 1000 different ways. I saw the image where he has the curtains tied open to the hanging light in the center of the room. Edith awaits, leaning on the bed. Completely surreal. You know instantly things are not exactly as they appear to be—that there is some force of quiet strangeness taking over. It feels almost sinister. After meeting Emmet years later, I bet that darkness was not what he saw. But that was just it—that is what I saw.

From that day I realized that you can take simple, ordinary, everyday things and make something out of them. You can make a statement by using what is right in front of you. It was a powerful lesson that stayed with me: you can use your room, your home, your neighborhood, your family to make art. (This point was further reinforced for me by seeing a show called The Pleasures & Terrors of Domestic Comfort at MOMA in New York, and ultimately by becoming a student and friend of Larry Sultan’s, who drove that lesson all the way home for me…)

Gowin’s Photographs also taught me how powerful a heavy dose of emotion can be—his work is so tender and sincere. The story of this book continued as my path blindly lead me to the Museum School in Boston. It turned out that one of my favorite teachers ever, Virginia Behan, was a neighbor of Gowin’s.  Also, another one of my great teachers, Jim Dow, had been classmates with Emmet at RISD.  Dow, Behan, and a third professor of mine, Elaine O’Neil, invited him to visit our school many times. Here I was meeting the person whose work had affected me so much! It really was very lucky for that to happen.

Over my years at the Museum School there were several encounters with Emmet.  He was so open and shared so much of his process with us. I remember one day he had us over to his home and we got to see where he made his prints. It was a darkroom made in an extra room of his home. It was so simple. Nothing fancy. Seeing these things, these small things like where one of the best printers in the history of the medium did his thing—with a set-up that wasn’t really all that special—was invaluable.  It demystifies the process; it makes you think, “hey—this is not unattainable—maybe I could do this too?”

Todd Hido

First Book: Mark Power

I have been going around to photographers asking them one question: “What was the first photo book that you can remember buying or seeing that really had a strong affect on you?” Here is Mark Power’s response:

A Day Off – Tony Ray-Jones (Thames and Hudson 1974)

In 1984 i was living in a small terraced house in Brighton, with the town’s porn cinema to the immediate left, and the son of Max Bygraves, a popular British entertainer of the time (, to the right. When Max came to visit Max jnr, he would often park his grey Rolls Royce conspicuously outside our front door, since neither me nor my housemates owned a car. Much of my time was spent trying to woo a woman called Moira, without success.

I had recently returned to England after a couple of years travelling in South East Asia. I’d become interested in photography while I was away, turning my back on my sketchbook and pencils. I built a makeshift darkroom in the basement of the house (and once almost terminally electrocuted myself while moving a two-bar electric fire following a flood, but that’s another story). In order to fund my new hobby I secured a job as a part time night porter at the Waldorf Hotel in London, some 90 minutes away. I got used to surviving on five nights sleep a week, and very professional in the art of getting good tips.

I had taken my humble portfolio around a few newspapers, looking for work. Then, one Saturday morning, I had a call from the Observer picture desk, asking me to go to nearby Bexhill-on-Sea to photograph a beached whale. A friend kindly whisked me over there on the back of his motorbike. At the beach I surmised that the only way to make a decent picture was to wade into the sea, upto and beyond chest level, so I could to snap the beast bathed in full sun with a backdrop of inquisitive onlookers.

It was November, and very cold. I climbed awkwardly back on Jay’s bike and we sped off to London to deliver the film, the evidence of my brave but foolish exploits. I felt like a block of ice when we arrived.

The next day I wandered along to the newsagents and there was my picture, across five columns of the front page. My first ever photographic assignment, and I had pride of place in the best of our Sunday papers. I was terribly excited. But sadly Moira was not as impressed as I’d hoped she’d be.

On the other side of the porn cinema lived a writer, Ainslie Ellis. Every week he wrote a column for the British Journal of Photography, and saw enough merit in my dead whale story to write an article. He invited me round for lunch to ‘interview me’ before sending me home clutching a copy of a book he thought I’d enjoy: A Day Off by Tony Ray-Jones. Ainslie had written the accompanying essay which he encouraged me to read, but more importantly he told me to look hard at the pictures, and learn.

Back at home I was mesmerised. I didn’t know photography could be like this… chaotic, critical, clever, funny, ironic, and beautifully framed on page after page, picture after picture. In the essay I read that Tony had passed away at just 31, cruelly taken by leukaemia.

Intent on putting an end to my time wasting I left the Waldorf to try to become a real photographer. Years later, while photographing The Shipping Forecast I found myself in Ramsgate, the scene of perhaps his most iconic (and my personal favourite) picture. I set out on a quest to find the exact spot where the great man had once stood to push his button. That was easy enough, but in reality, and in colour, and in the quiet of a British seaside town in February it lacked all the wonderfully organised chaos of the original. It was a strangely sad and poignant moment.

Sometimes, during the four years I spent making The Shipping Forecast I would allow myself a congratulatory pat on the back and think: “I think Tony would have liked that picture“. That might seem arrogant, but it’s why I feel comfortable referring to someone I never met in such a familiar way; through his pictures, which I still look at and enjoy every bit as much today as I did then, I feel we became friends.

His work might look a little old fashioned these days, and the idea of photographing ‘events’ is now rather passe. But I have come to better understand my country through Tony’s pictures, which is the best compliment I can pay.

Mark Power. 14th March 2010.

T-shirt problem FIXED

For those of you who tried to order a LBM T-shirt or Lost Boy Mountain zine before 3 p.m. today, we were having issues with our orders. Your order most likely did not go through. Please check your pay-pal and re-order these items you will not be double charged, but please check your pay-pal account to be sure. sorry for the problems and inconvenience!

If you have any problems or questions, please feel free to contact LBM at:

First Book: Brian Ulrich

I have been going around to photographers asking them one question:

What was the first photo book that you can remember buying or seeing that really had a strong affect on you?

Here is Brian Ulrich’s response:

“In my early disastrous days as a  graphic design student, I recall wandering into the photography classroom. Sitting upon one of the long cardboard covered tables was a copy of ‘An American Visionary: Ralph Eugene Meatyard’. Simply out of curiosity or boredom I picked it up, and began leafing through the pages but then immediately slowed. Here were all this strange photographs made for some unknown reason; kids in masks, ghostly figures in forgotten southern landscapes, aggressive camera experiments (who has the balls today to open the shutter and kick the tripod legs out from underneath them?). The photographs had a profound aura, mystique and atmosphere. I was transfixed by the fact that this man had spent so much of his time and formed his entire life and family around making these odd pictures… for what reason?

Luckily some of those answers existed in the preface by a curator named Barbara Tannenbaum. I decided then that I was going to have to find out who this woman was, even if just to thank her for making this book so it would lay upon a table for me to discover.”

First Book: Ben Huff

I have been going around to photographers asking them one question:

What was the first photo book that you can remember buying or seeing that really had a strong effect on you?

Here is Ben Huff’s response:

The Flame of Recognition, Edward Weston. I received this book, my first photo book,  from a coworker of my wife’s when I was just starting out. He knew something that I didn’t. I was naive, and my photographic vocabulary so limited – that book set me on my head. It redefined, for me, what photography could be. Shells, peppers, nude lovers, gas masks, Point Lobos, dead pelicans, trees, portraits – the portrait of Tina! The images, and words, were startling to me – gave more every time, and lingered long after I put the book down. The range of images within that book, teamed with Weston’s own words, which I would learn are from The Daybooks, spoke to a dedication and artistic evolution that intoxicated me. It encouraged me to keep looking – to see what else was out there.”

First Book: Eric William Carroll

I have been going around to photographers asking them one question:

What was the first photo book that you can remember buying or seeing that really had a strong affect on you?

Here is Eric William Carroll’s answer:

“The first photo book I can remember having a lasting  impact on me would have to be my family’s photo album. I imagine my thrill upon its initial discovery was largely narcissistic, but the album played a major role in how I came to understand my identity, my past, and the formation of my earliest memories. The album itself is as thick as a phone book. The front cover is baby-duck yellow and says ‘Family Album’ in an embellished font, complete with photographs of some generic family enjoying an autumn picnic. Its thick adhesive pages were once a creamy white but have since gone yellowish-brown, a prime example of non-archival storage. The album starts right off with my birth and goes until I am about four or five years old. I think I noticed the album when I was around six, and revisited its contents once a week, experiencing what I can only imagine was a twisted sense of false nostalgia. Yes, I was six, reminiscing about the ‘good ‘ol days’. I kept looking through the album until it was memorized and I still don’t understand why I was so obsessed with it. Any way, no book of photography has affected or moved me in a similar way since. If I was to pick a commercially available photo book: Chronologies by Richard Misrach.”