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Books Interview: Kevin Russ Christopher J Johnson, photo-eye Bookstore manager, interviewed Kevin Russ about his most recent zine, Summer Trails with Kevin Russ, the hiking life and his inspirations.

Summer Trails with Kevin Russ By  Kevin Russ. Self-published, 2017.

Kevin Russ is a photographer unlike most of the ones we look at and consider here at photo-eye. One might say that he is a trails photographer, hiking being the principle mode for his inspiration and the place from which a great deal of his photography issues from. Christopher J Johnson, photo-eye Bookstore manager, interviewed Kevin about his most recent zine, Summer Trails with Kevin Russ, the hiking life and his inspirations.

The Western States By  Kevin Russ. VSCO Artist Initiative, 2016.

Christopher J Johnson: Where are you today Kevin?

Kevin Russ: I'm in central California, Rio Grande.

CJJ: You obviously are outdoors a lot, hiking along the way taking these pictures; so as a photographer and given this context, how would you describe yourself?

KR: That's a good question... I would say that I am a traveler and photographer, though I guess I don't try to… well, I guess that any artist wouldn't want to be put into a box like that... though that's how I make most of my living – off of photos – though I'm trying other things, like my book [Summer Trails with Kevin Russ], I mean it is all my photos, but I learned a lot of things in the process. I did it pretty much all myself. I'm just always trying to expand my art and my skills

CJJ: Given the nature of your work there's a lot of nature photography and a lot of it, as I said, you've taken along your hikes and journeys and such... I guess my question would be, how did you come to saying, this is how I want to create my photographic work as opposed to, you know, photographing something like a march or doing portraiture photography; what is it about being outdoors, taking photographs in that environment that really appeals to you and keeps you going.

KR: First of all, the reason I'm doing nature and not – well, other things – is that I get the most inspiration out of nature versus portraits, cityscapes – any of that. I just feel the most when I'm in nature. I enjoy creating a work that can have a timeless look to it and, well with nature it's just possible to do that.

Summer Trails with Kevin Russ By  Kevin Russ. Self-published, 2017.

CJJ: Certainly true... and you do have that look, in fact, Summer Trails reminded me a little bit of, your know, some National Geographic volumes you might pick up from the late sixties and through the seventies...

KR: Cool!

CJJ: Yeah, well then the postcards have a little bit of an antique feeling to them; it's interesting that you say that it's a kind of timelessness that nature provides whether its a David Caspar Friedrich painting or one of your photographs. Now that being said, I imagine that you admire some nature photographers, though maybe not... Who are some of those photographers or artists that are influences for you or, failing that, what brought you to want to view nature and capture it in your art?

KR: One of the main guys is Ray Atkeson, he was Pacific Northwest based and made a lot of photobooks that I've found in thrift stores. I don't know, I get so much out of his work or nature photo work in general that is not current. I'm not sure what it is about current landscape photographers, but I just don't get the same feeling that I do when I'm looking at something from the eighties or earlier... Ray Atkinson is the main one, but actually – you know what – more that any photographers it would be landscape painters. Specifically the ones from the Hudson River School over in New York, guys like Thomas Cole and Albert [Bresont?], he did Sierra paintings...

CJJ: Frederick Edwin Church?

KR: Yeah! That type of work, I actually get more inspiration from that than photographs.

Summer Trails with Kevin Russ By  Kevin Russ. Self-published, 2017.
CJJ: You know it's interesting that you say that because, you know, John Ruskin has a famous – I believe it was a lecture – but essay on landscape, it's mostly about J.W. Turner, but he says that landscape painting puts nature and what is human into scale so that – in a Turner painting for example – you might have a tiny little figure running from a volcano and this is, you know, to heighten the power of nature over people, so to speak – or humankind or whatever – and I wonder if that is something that appeals to you that I feel, and I often, myself, think about this, that current photography, landscape photographers, don't seem concerned about at all. It seems that is [current landscape photography] tends to be about framing or minimalism, whereas, in a lot of the Ray Atkinson photographs for example – especially the black-and-white work – he features people or, even more so, people at sport – skiing and etc – while in his color work, when you get figures in there, they are at a much smaller scale and it impresses upon you the majesty, the size, the grandeur – whatever thesaurus word you want to throw in there and I wonder if this is something that appeals to you... That's a lot of words I just said...

KR: Possibly, but I see that a lot on Instagram or in other photographic works, there's a figure in there for scale because I think it makes the viewer feel more connected – it seems like a trend. To me ially want to capture; animals in nature?

The Western States By  Kevin Russ. VSCO Artist Initiative, 2016.
CJJ: Fair enough. Let me ask you too, a lot of my favorite pictures of yours have animals in them and I wonder, first of all, how do you get so close to these animals and maybe, I don't now, it is you zooming in on them and, furthermore, given that your books – the one's I've seen – don't have people, but do have animals in them – what is your connection to nature when we move outside of the landscape and into other pieces of it, like animals and such... Do you include them for variety or are they something you especially want to capture; animals in nature?

KR: In those photographs, to answer the first part, I am as close as it seems. Most of my work with animals is from 2012-13 or maybe 14, when I was exclusively shooting with an iPhone, so there was no zoom really. In certain situations, for certain animals, I would spend hours at a distance letting them go about their normal business and not, you know, trying to change any of their behavior – although they knew I was there – until I was able to get close enough to take a photo with my phone. Then there's a handful of animals, because I did so much driving back then, that I found near the roadside that would get fairly close... As far as my relationship with animals and nature, they are kind of where I felt the most inspiration because, you know, I hadn't seen a lot of wildlife at that close of a range that I just felt inspired by that because it was new and fresh. That's why I shared so much of that stuff. That's actually behind the reason that I share anything, because it is what inspires me most at the time. With the current little zine, Summer Trails, I didn't see animals, but I didn't feel what I felt a few years ago, I was more into the plain landscapes, so that's what I tried to capture. That's what I shared.

The Western States By  Kevin Russ. VSCO Artist Initiative, 2016.

CJJ: Well it sounds like your answer is that you are evolving. Speaking of evolution, you mentioned the use of the iPhone and it's my belief that you used the iPhone exclusively for Western States [KR: Yeah...], but in the newer work there's a photograph of you on the back of the book taken by “a passing hiker” and you have a regular camera with you, so my question is are you moving away from the use of the iPhone, are you using both? What's your preference today?

KR: I am not moving away from the iPhone, but I've had a proper camera – in 2014 I started shooting film, um, and that is, film cameras, what I've added. I had a digital SLR in 2010 or 11 and then I went I Phone only and then I added film after that. I'm shooting everything now, basically, on both cameras just because the phone I can share instantly on Instagram – that kind of stuff – unfortunately I have to kinda keep up with it as it helps my business and things, so I shoot click and share what I'm doing, but the film work – a lot of that doesn't get shared, but when it does... well, it was really cool – so with Summer Trails, none of the photos had been shared. So the first time I shared them was through printed work, which is something I haven't done before. It's such a contrast to how my work had been shared in the past.

Summer Trails with Kevin Russ By  Kevin Russ. Self-published, 2017.

CJJ: So in 2016 two of the books that ended up being selected for the short list for the Paris-Aperture Prize for first book, and one of them did win, were Libyan Sugar and Astres Noirs – the thing about them both is that their content was entirely shot on phone and something that I hear every now and then is that it is a totally different process using your phone than using your camera and even questioning whether or not, and this might not be the place for the discussion of why, an iPhone photo would count as a photographic print-type photo, as a fine art photo. I that something we should all be getting used to, as I feel that maybe it is, or is it something that lends itself to everyone just taking photographs and blurring the line between fine art photography and amateur photography in general.

KR: I have no issues with people using an iPhone, you know art isn't for everyone – for me an iPhone image can bring back – let me roll back a little bit, basically when I'm shooting what I'm trying to do is bring back the feelings that I had when I was in that situation [the moment of taking the picture], so an iPhone can work and a film camera can work, but I get different feelings from both of them. The tool behind the work is not what equals fine art. I'm not a big art guy as far as knowing what people call fine art, how do things become fine art – does it just happen from people calling it that? Let's say a fine art curator is looking at a photograph and can tell if it's shot from a phone or not, I guess it would be up to them whether or not that was fine art in their opinion.

CJJ: I think that that's a fine answer; you told me that you're approaching from an authentic place and using the tool that's best for the moment and you're not distinguishing if this is an iPhone moment or a film moment.

KR: A lot of people have discovered their own thing with photography because of, you know, cell phone cameras and I think that that is good!

CJJ: I want to ask just two more questions: The first one, I think, is pretty simple – which is, tell us just a little bit about the VSCO app that you used for Western States.

KR: That is one of my favorite apps, still the only one I use. Way back in 2012 when they launched the app I had been using an App called PhotoForge, it is kinda like a mini Photoshop, but anyways I would use this thing and try and edit my photos in a similar way, but then they came out with this app [VSCO] which had a preset that was very similar to what I was already doing by hand so it just sped things up so much! Then they released their second app. It looks really good to me.

Summer Trails with Kevin Russ By  Kevin Russ. Self-published, 2017.

CJJ: Great! So my final question, the one I ask anyone I'm interviewing, is what in 2017 is coming up for you that is furthering your photographic career?

KR: I'll be doing more international travel. Last year I did a little, but I'm heading down to New Zealand for about 6 weeks to do a lot of hiking. That zine, Summer Trails, is still with me – I'm trying to get more of that summer hiking, so I got a bunch of backpacking trips lined up for down there. Still more of that nature, the only thing that is partly different is that I have transitioned with this zine, I've learned a lot from the zine, and that has inspired me to do more things like it. So I get a lot of inspiration from old photographic products like you might find in thrift or antique stores, so I'm taking inspiration from those. I just want to make more things that I want to see my work in and hopefully, people will like them. I'm most inspired not by fine art, but I get more of my day-to-day motivation by seeing my own work in that form [antique-style postcards, photobooks etc] and I'm just going to continue that. So forms of old film work that I see, I'm just going to try and take that inspiration for my own work.

photo-eye Gallery 2017 Art Palm Springs Recap Last weekend, February 16–19th photo-eye Gallery participated in the 6th annual Art Palm Springs.

Last weekend, February 16–19th coinciding with Palm Springs Modernism Week, photo-eye Gallery participated in the 6th annual Art Palm Springs. This prestigious fine art fair is set in Palm Springs, California, which is known as an international travel destination. Held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, Art Palm Springs featured more than 60 galleries from around the world, including great representation from Santa Fe’s Railyard Arts District, and showcased artworks crafted in all mediums as well as artist talks and events.

The fair kicked off on Thursday night with a WSJ and VIP tour followed by an opening night preview and ran through Sunday afternoon. photo-eye is proud to have had three of our artworks included in this year's new Art Palm Springs SELECTS, which highlights pieces chosen by noted curators, designers, and critics. Images by Julie Blackmon, Mitch Dobrowner, and Michael Kenna were among the artworks singled out for recognition by industry professionals.

Below is a sampling of the work exhibited in our photo-eye booth. If you missed Art Palm Springs — photo-eye Bookstore will be at AIPAD next month! Please contact us for more information.

Rope Swing, 2016  © Julie Blackmon | Archival Pigment Print, 28 x 22", Ed. of 10, $4,000

Gannet © Kate Breakey | Pigment Print on Glass w/24 kt Gold Leaf, 11.5 x 11.5", Edition of 20, $1,700

Lightning Strikes, 2016 © Mitch Dobrowner | Archival Pigment Print, 20 x 30", Ed. of 40, $2,500

Kussharo Lake Tree, Study 12, Kotan, Hokkaido, Japan, 2008 ©Michael Kenna | Gelatin-Silver Print, 8 x 8", $2,500

The menagerie ©Maggie Taylor | Archival Pigment Print, 8 x 8", Ed. of 15, $1,500

Element II ©Chaco Terada | Pigment Ink on Silk, 10 x 7", Unique, $1,200

Green Bedroom (Morning), 2013 ©Richard Tuschman | Archival Pigment Print, 24 x 18", Ed. of 9, $2,500

Stage Stills (4), 2016 ©Jo Whaley | Archival Pigment Print, 23 x 33", Ed. of 10, $2,400

Western Screech Owl #1, Espanola, NM, 2011 ©Brad Wilson | Archival Pigment Print, 20 x 29", Ed. of 15, $1,500

Prices are current at the time of posting and are subject to change.
  Please inquire for up-to-date information.

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Forrest Soper Forrest Soper selects Islands of the Blest edited by Bryan Schutmaat and Ashlyn Davis as Book of the Week.
Islands of the Blest
Edited by Bryan Schutmaat and Ashlyn DavisSilas Finch, 2016.
Forrest Soper selects Islands of the Blest edited by Bryan Schutmaat and Ashlyn Davis from Silas Finch as Book of the Week.

"Now in its second edition, Islands of the Blest is a collaborative project between Bryan Schutmaat and Ashlyn Davis. Composed of 44 images sourced from publicly accessible digital archives, this publication paints a picture of the American West as it evolved over a 100-year period. Accompanied by a poem from by Michael McGriff, the images in this book tell a story about hardship, memory, loss, perseverance, and the passage of time.

I grew up right below a small mining town nestled in the mountains of Colorado. Because of this, many of the images in this book are familiar to me. Monolithic peaks tower over glacial lakes. Miners pan for gold in streams, when they aren’t working underground. Hundreds of pine trees thrive in abundance despite the rugged terrain — only to be felled by avalanches, forest fires, or the blow of an axe. A land where nature meets industry, as railroads plow through the dramatic landscape to connect disparate towns. To me, this book speaks of my home and to the land where my heart will always lie.

Others, not jaded by past memories, will see something quite remarkable. While many photographers have tackled the daunting task of painting a picture of the American West, few have been able to create such a concise and yet comprehensive look at its evolution. As the book progresses, the untouched wilderness slowly transforms into towns, and eventually cities, as a great frontier slowly becomes less daunting.

With a near-perfect edit, this book can only be described as poetic. Islands of the Blest is a quiet reflection rather than a straightforward document. Like a melancholic novella about a past lover, this book is as intimate as it is mysterious. Schutmaat and Davis craft a stunning lyrical lament through beautiful imagery and near perfect sequencing. Despite its subtlety, Islands of the Blest remains incredibly impactful and is sure to be recognized as one of the classic photobooks on the mythos of the American West." — Forrest Soper

Purchase Book

Islands of the BlestEdited by Bryan Schutmaat and Ashlyn DavisSilas Finch, 2016.

Islands of the BlestEdited by Bryan Schutmaat and Ashlyn DavisSilas Finch, 2016.

Forrest Soper
 is a photographer and artist based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. A graduate of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, he also has previously worked at Bostick & Sullivan. Forrest is the Editor of photo-eye Blog.

photo-eye Gallery Interview – Karen Kuehn: Maverick Camera Associate Lucas Shaffer spoke with Karen Kuehn about the incredible start to her photographic career, what it was like to craft Maverick Camera, and what's next from her. photo-eye's Maverick Camera exhibition Opening, Artist Reception, and Book Signing is this Saturday, Feb. 25th from 3–5pm.

Cher – © Karen Kuehn

The story of Karen Kuehn's early career is fascinating. Raised in the Californian suburb of Los Alamitos Kuehn volleyed between Art School and Ranging in Glacier National Park during her early 20's before landing a coveted internship with National Geographic in Washington DC in the mid-1980's. By 1985 Karen hits New York City and an incendiary scene lit by the energy of punk rock, Interview Magazine, and Andy Warhol's The Factory, among a myriad of other factors, and grabbed gigs at The New York Times Magazine, Saturday Night Live, and Spy Magazine during her 16 years in the city.

Kuehn's 2016 monograph, Maverick Camera, is primarily centered around her time in NYC. The monograph is a memoir of sorts filled where touching recollections and reflections pertaining to the images are interspersed throughout the book's progression. The Bookstore Project Space Exhibition of the same name, Maverick Camera, features 13 celebrity portraits from the late 80's and early 90's including Cher, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Elvira, and David Byrne. 

Associate Lucas Shaffer spoke with Karen Kuehn about the incredible start to her photographic career, what it was like to craft Maverick Camera, and what's next from her. photo-eye's Maverick Camera exhibition Opening, Artist Reception, and Book Signing is this Saturday, Feb. 25th from 3–5pm.

David Byrne • 1991 • NYC • Request Music Magazine – © Karen Kuehn

Lucas Shaffer:      Tell me how you got started and where your interest in photography came from.

Karen Kuehn:      Let’s see. My interest kind of stemmed from my step-father who had a camera, and he was always shooting, and we're all part of his subjects. My Grandfather, too. He would have little Instamatics. When we would go to Yosemite, he would always give me my own little camera.
When I transferred to junior college to take classes they had a photo class. I took a class at Cypress College in California and John Sexton, who was Ansel Adams first assistant, was one of the teachers there. The faculty liked that I was applying ideas to the technical aspect of the zone system photography.

LS:      Where were you living at this time? Were you still living at home, or already on your own?

KK:      I was living at home in Los Alamitos, California. It was like a Doris Day bedroom community. It still is the quintessential suburban neighborhood.

At one point, I turned my bedroom into a darkroom, and I don't know why my parents let me do that, but I put plastic over the beds, and I had my darkroom enlarger on my desk. I would develop everything on my bed because there was no table in there. Then, I would rinse it in the bathtub, which was right around the corner from the bedroom.

About age 20 through 25, I worked for the park service. I was part-time, Seasonal Ranger, and decided that "I don't just want to be a seasonal ranger. I wanted to be a back-country ranger because I really felt akin to horses, I wanted to be in the back-country, I wanted to hike and fish and camp. That's the way we grew up, camping.

LS:      What park were you rangering for? Was it different parks? Was it all in California?

KK:      I went to Yosemite because that's where I kind of spent a lot of my childhood, so I started there and eventually transferred to Glacier NPS. It was awesome. I loved my life. I had no intention of going to New York City, ever. That was not part of my personal plan, having lived in a cabin and hiked a lot of my life and camped, so the last place in mind as a young woman is to live in New York City if you're an outdoors girl, you know?

LS:      How did that take place then? How did that transition happen?

KK:      It was sort of a basic and logical process of getting one’s education. I begged my parents to pay for me to go to art school. I wanted to go to Cal Arts and would have gone the fine art route if it was a little less expensive, but the cost was enormous. I ended up going to Art Center.

Thank You's, 1st Dollar, and Photographic Credentials from Karen Kuehn's National Geographic Internship. Feature in the background is from Kuehn's first assignment covering the Mountain Men of Kluane National Park. 

LS:      It sounds like, even at junior college, you stumbled into an amazing pedigree with John Sexton.

KK:      I did just stumble into Cypress College to do the general education program and the photography classes hooked me. John didn't really put me under his wing. He had a lot of people. He's an absolute, perfect instructor. I think what he does best is teach.

I went through that whole process of learning the zone system and then getting a BA in photography. I was graduating, and I thought, "I'll just go back to the park's service." Then, my classmates were all like, "You've been there, done that. You need to go on and get on with your career."

So I applied for an internship at Rolling Stone and National Geographic. I saw myself at both places. National Geographic called me and awarded one of their coveted internships. Rich Clarkson was stepping into that position, so he's really the person who gave me that opportunity with Tom Kennedy, who was The Assistant Director of Photography.

I went out there for three months, two days after I graduated from school.

LS:      How did your parents feel about the internship?

KK:      That was the moment that validated paying for art school – they're like, "Oh, my God. She is going to be a photographer." We went out and celebrated at my mom's favorite restaurant. Two days later, I'm in D.C. as an intern.

Images of Karen Kuehn, and an excerpt of her personal journal from her early days in New York City. 

LS:       Wow, that is a big change; what was it like?

KK:      I had three months at National Geographic, and when winter came I was like, “Where am I going?" people at Nat Geo said, "You have to go to New York." I said, "Can you keep me here a little longer?" And they did. They let me there another three months. Then I made all these connects and used that internship to walk me into offices.

I arrived in New York with a backpack, a sleeping bag, very little gear, cowboy boots and high heels, a leather mini skirt, and jeans. I really didn't have a lot, but I had 1,000 bucks in my pocket. It wasn't easy. It wasn't really where I saw myself, but I had an amazing journey.

I originally saw myself doing fine art projects and installations, but I needed to have money and sustain myself. Nobody was giving me a trust fund, you know?

LS:      Did you just start freelancing while you were in New York or did you work for an agency?

KK:      For the first year, I just went knocking on doors. New York Magazine was my first job and Nan Goldin was my assignment. That's in that book. It's the first picture in the book. I was fresh off the turnip truck looking like a real farm girl and Nan was lower-east side heroin chic. I had no idea. I was a foreign object to her, and she was a foreign object to me.

Nan Goldin • 1985 • NYC • New York Magazine – © Karen Kuehn

LS:      That’s an incredible first assignment – you show up in New York City, and here's quintessential New York City photographer Nan Goldin, and you're photographing her.

KK:      Yeah. That's kind of how everything happened. Every week I would go out, I would get a call. "Hey, can you go photograph this band, or this person, or project?" I stumbled through it; I figured it out.

I like people, so it was fun relating to another person; I wasn't really a nature photographer. I would welcome that now, but it wasn't really what I went after. I kind of had this connection with people. I can figure out people quickly.

LS:      Looking through the portraits in Maverick Camera, it seems like you connect with your subjects. What is it like to build rapport and that kind of connection with your subjects so quickly, especially when they're celebrities?

KK:      I think it's like ... It's like cooking to me. You have to have all the ingredients in front of you to create something. For me, I always research everybody I photograph.

It's also important to allow them to be part of that process, whereas, I know a lot of photographers just document somebody. I think about the details. I like telling a story. I like it to be accurate. I like to co-create it with a person so I'm always trying to run ideas by them.

Bill Murray • 1989 • NYC • New York Times Sunday Magazine © Karen Kuehn

LS:      How did Maverick Camera the book come about, and as you were working on it, what was it like putting it together – to go through, 25 years of pictures?

KK:      It came about because of a friend of mine Larry Mitchell, a guitar player. He's always like, "Why don't you have a book out? You should have had a book out years ago." I just didn't play that game. Larry finally prodded me enough and in 2009, I started pulling images. As I pulled it together, and it became like nine books – I have 25 oak wooden file cabinets full of negatives from my career in New York City.

I just started pulling and separating everything. "Here's the Saturday Night Live book. Here's the musician book. Here's the writer book."... "Here's the pregnant book." There were 50 pregnant women shots. After a while, I started to zero in like, “I think I just want to talk about my New York years because I don't think everybody gets to go to New York." I think what happened to me and how I made it kind of work was really a pretty amazing experience.

LS:      The way your career began sounds almost storybook.

KK:      ... It was storybook. I look at Maverick Camera, and I'm like, "I don't even know that person now." That's a whole other person. I'm glad I am who I am now. That book and all those experiences got me to this point.

Sean Penn • 1987 • NYC • Saturday Night Live – © Karen Kuehn

LS:      Can you talk a little bit about that? What was it like for you when you were putting that book together – was it complicated to look at your past?

KK:      Yeah. I mean … I'm a task master, and this comes from my mother.

My son and I both agree that we're a lot like Grandma. We just go get it done. I'm a big fan of making a list, manifest, go down that list, achieve what you need to do, grow and move forward. My whole life has gone that way. I just started pulling images. I made this journal, and I wrote about each image.

LS:       How long did it take you from start to finish. The project started in 2009 and the book was published in 2016, so that's what? Seven years?

KK:       Yes, 2009, and in between, I published five other books about Burning Man.

LS:       When you started putting the final edit together, how did the reflections start? Had you decided early on to write about each photograph or did that decision come out of the editing process?

KK:      I just had my list of pictures and I was saying, "Wow, I hope I can remember all this accurately enough." I thought, "Well, I better do this now because I probably won't in another ten years. So, I wrote.

Excerpt from Maverick Camera with an image of Spike Lee and recollection about the experience. 

LS:      To be consistently creative and execute those ideas under tight time constraints is pretty special.

KK:      Well, it's a ... Why else are we here? To me, it's all just in the pot. Everything inspires me. I probably work outside so much just to relax my brain, otherwise, my brain is just on all the time, I need nature. I prim roses like Edward Scissorhands. I'm in there.

LS:      Why did you end up leaving New York?

KK:      I need the smell of grass. I need green all around me. I need roses. I wanted my kid to grow up somewhere besides a library or a pool hall.

I just wanted to be outside, and we achieved that. Was it a career move? I don't know. Maybe in ten years, it will be when I get to another level, but for me, it was a healthy move on a lot of levels.

Maverick Camera is a big chapter in my life, definitely... it’s 16 years of my life, and flying by the seat of my pants. I wasn't really living in the past or in the future. I was so in the moment. The phone rings, "Hey, do you want to go to Maine and do a story on Camden." And you go.

Steve Martin • 1987 • NYC • SNL – © Karen Kuehn

LS:      What’s next for you?

KK:      I probably could have marketed my career bigger with my name over the years, but I didn't. I think my ego has stayed intact and humble, but I want the work out there. I have other projects to do. I have projects that I want to do that are about animals. I need people to be more aware of animals and their energy and that their sentient beings.

I'm in the local 600 Union. I'm doing promotional and still shooting on films because that's what's happening in New Mexico. At the same time, I also have artistic ideas that I want to make happen in the next ten years. Every day is anew and the phone rings and I go. Always something to do and create.

– photo-eye

Karen Kuehn's Maverick Camera is on view at photo-eye Bookstore Project Space through April 29th, 2017. Karen will be on hand to sign copies of her monograph from 3–5pm Saturday, February 25th during the exhibition opening.

14 x 14-inch Archival Pigment Prints from the exhibition are available for purchase for $500, and Silver-Gelatin prints are available starting at $1500. Signed copies of the Maverick Camera book are available to order for $100.

For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Lucas Shaffer at 505-988-5152 x 114 or

Purchase a SIGNED copy of Maverick Camera

Book Review Message from the Exterior By Karen Jenkins Reviewed by Karen Jenkins “Ruwedel has a keen eye for the potential in absence. He has long honed in on the faded traces of human presence and intervention in the landscape, manifesting the humble remains of our aspirations and disappointments. "
Message from the ExteriorBy Mark Ruwedel. Mack, 2016.
Message from the Exterior
Reviewed by Karen Jenkins

Message from the Exterior.
Photographs by Mark Ruwedel.
Mack, London, England, 2016. 184 pp., 6½x9¼".  

photo-eye Gallery Now Representing Maggie Taylor photo-eye Gallery is thrilled to announce Maggie Taylor as our newest represented artist. Taylor constructs what she terms “dreamlike worlds inhabited by everyday objects.”

Cloud caster, 2013 – © Maggie Taylor
photo-eye Gallery is thrilled to announce Maggie Taylor as our newest represented artist.  Taylor constructs what she terms “dreamlike worlds inhabited by everyday objects.” An early adopter, Maggie Taylor has been utilizing digital technology to build her evocative and elaborate photomontages for more than 20 years. These whimsical narratives often begin as pastel background drawings with additional components such as 19th Century photographs, drawings, vintage toys, seashells, feathers, and taxidermy scanned and meticulously arranged over time to complete the scene. Working instinctively, Taylor crafts a surreal alternate reality rife with curious peculiarities and rich in symbolism.
"I work very spontaneously and intuitively, trying to come up with images that have a resonance and a somewhat mysterious narrative content. There is no one meaning for any of the images, rather they exist as a kind of visual riddle or open-ended poem, meant to be both playful and provocative. " – Maggie Taylor
Poet's house, 2015 – © Maggie Taylor
photo-eye is pleased to debut an online portfolio today including 20 works by Taylor in her signature style. We are also excited to announce that many of these pieces will be available to view in person at photo-eye Gallery’s booth during Art Palm Springs 2017.

Limited edition archival pigment prints are available:

8 x 8 inches
Edition of 15

15 x 15 inches
Edition of 15

22 x 22 inches
Edition of 10

36 x 36 inches
Edition of 9 or 5

For more information, and to purchase prints by Maggie Taylor, please contact Gallery Staff at 505-988-5152 x 202 or

A tale begun in other days, 2016 – © Maggie Taylor

photo-eye Bookstore Project Space Bookstore Project Space Exhibition – Karen Kuehn: Maverick Camera photo-eye welcomes Karen Kuehn to our Bookstore Project Space for an Exhibition Opening and Book Signing from 3 – 5pm on Saturday, February 25th.

Maverick Camera

Saturday, February 25th, 2017 3–5pm

photo-eye Bookstore Project Space
376 Garcia Street
Suite A
Santa Fe, NM 87501
505-988-5152 x 201


photo-eye welcomes Karen Kuehn to our Bookstore Project Space for an Exhibition Opening and Book Signing from 3 – 5pm on Saturday, February 25th. Kuehn will be present to sign copies of her latest monograph Maverick Camera, a collection of color and black-and-white photographs released in 2016 by FARMHOUSE Girl Productions. A selection of works by Kuehn from Maverick Camera will be on view in the Bookstore Project Space through Saturday, April 29th, 2017.


Maverick Camera is a collection of Karen Kuehn’s work primarily centered on her time as a professional photographer in New York City. Previously a Ranger for the US park service in Montana, Kuehn arrived in NYC in the late 1980’s just as The Factory, Interview Magazine, and Punk Rock were exploding on the scene. Maverick Camera is a memoir of sorts, where personal recollections and anecdotes mix with images lending an intimacy to the book while giving readers insight as to how a particular model or experience affected Kuehn. Karen’s beliefs, desires, and interests are delineated in her poetic text but also illustrated in her images, as Reid Callanan of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops states:

“…Karen is one of my favorite portrait photographers because her portraits express an unwavering belief in the goodness of people. Her portraits reveal as much about her worldview as they do about the person sitting, standing, leaning or jumping in front of her lens.” 

The Bookstore Project Space exhibition includes black-and-white celebrity portraits from Kuehn’s time working in New York City, including Bill Murray, Brian Eno, Cher, The B-52’s, James Taylor, Robin Williams, and Tom Hanks among others.

Cher, 1989 – © Karen Kuehn

Tom Hanks, Saturday Night Live, 1987 – © Karen Kuehn


Karen Kuehn is a photographer with a knack for seeing with a unique point of view. The past 25 years and her images have appeared in Vanity Fair, Time, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, People, The New York Times, National Geographic, and numerous other publications. In her personal projects, she is committed to documenting and preserving aspects of Americans, viewing each as an individual. Karen lives and works on a small farm in Peralta, New Mexico.
For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Lucas Shaffer at 505-988-5152 x 114 or

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christopher J Johnson Christopher J Johnson selects Lost Territories Wordbook Designed by Ania Nałęcka-Milach as Book of the Week.
Lost Territories Wordbook.  
Designed by Ania Ania Nałęcka-Milach. 
Sputnik Photos, 2016.
Christopher J Johnson selects Lost Territories Wordbook Designed by Ania Nałęcka-Milach from Sputnik Photos as Book of the Week.

"Sputnik Photos has shown over and over again their dedication to a sense of place, to the onus, “what does it mean to belong to or to be from a place.” Specifically Russia and the Former Russian states or affected regions of what had been the USSR.

Wordbook presents about one hundred very brief narratives on subjects that relate to the former USSR; the subjects are disparate, but hinge on a sort of Joe Brainardesque, “I remember…” set-up in that the idea is how things have changed, what was and doesn’t exist anymore or still exists, but as a more shadowy presence than its former life of importance in the USSR. The topics range from Russian manufactured cigarettes, the Holodomor, apartment balconies and Eastern European camera models to Leninism and Soviet Bookshops.

The narratives are provided by twenty-one different authors writing in Russian, Ukrainian and Polish (all translated into English) who had lived, often as young people or children, during the collapse of the Soviet Union and are, so it seems, now fully mature and advanced in their writing careers. A total of twenty pictures accompany the texts from Sputnik’s official collective of: Andrej Balco, Jan Brykczynski, Andrei Liankevich, Michal Luczak, Rafal Milach, Adam Panczuk and Agnieszka Rayss (all photographers familiar to the readers of photo-eye’s blog).

The result of the presentation style is something like reading Svetlana Alexievich’s books (photobook bibliophiles will recognize her as the author of the text featured in 7 Rooms), there are a variety of voices and concerns, but all are centered on a single theme and all are also intimate explorations of their subject.

Wordbook is a wonderful companion to the work that the collective has put out so far. In fact, I might go as far as to say that it is the most essential volume as it takes as its subject the voices of those that these photographers have captured again and again in their images. — Christopher J Johnson

Purchase Book

Lost Territories WordbookDesigned by Ania Ania Nałęcka-Milach. Sputnik Photos, 2016.
Lost Territories WordbookDesigned by Ania Ania Nałęcka-Milach. Sputnik Photos, 2016.

Christopher J Johnson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a resident writer for the Meow Wolf art collective. His first book of poetry, &luckier, has been released by the University of Colorado. He is Manager of photo-eye’s Book Division.