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photo-eye's Nudes/Human Form Newsletter features books that explore the human form in a variety of ways. Our first edition can be found here.

In 1970, photographer Tom Bianchi began traveling to New York when he discovered a thriving community of gay men in Fire Island. Documenting their camaraderie, intimate moments and sun-drenched summer days on the beach with his Polaroid SX-70 camera, Bianchi amassed an extensive collection of photographs from 1975-1983. The rich, warm tones of the Polaroid film help create an atmosphere characteristic of the 70s and early 80s. Young, tan and full of life, mustaches, trim torsos, and nude men fill the pages of Fire Island Pines. Bianchi's photographs illustrate that if you were a gay man in the New York area during the 70s and early 80s, Fire Island was the place to be.

Signed copies of Fire Island Pines arriving in about 2-3 weeks. Reserve your signed copy of Fire Island Pines here.

In a follow-up to the oversized limited edition book, this volume is more affordable, smaller in size (though still substantial) and now available in a hardbound trade edition. Gibson has been photographing the female form for decades. His impeccable compositions draw comparisons to the likes of Man Ray and Edward Weston, but his images are modernized by drawing influences from sculpture, fashion, and surrealism. Gibson's reverence for the female form is palpable as his attention to light and form take center stage, uniting black and white and color work in a seamless edit.

Order your copy of Nude here.

Nudity Today looks at the nude form in its many incarnations of photographic representation, from the documentary snapshot to fashion to pornography. This survey, edited by Jesse Pearson, explores the work of 20 to 30-year-old photographers taking on this historic subject in fresh, new ways. With the advent of social networks that allow images to be seen and exhibited on a global scale, photography is finding itself at a crossroads, employing new moods, ideologies and working practices not present in any other time in history. It is through this lens that we come to understand and appreciate the vast and varied work in Nudity Today - that finds a new generation of photographers with exciting, innovative ideas, emphatically documenting their lives with a laid-back attitude toward nudity and sexuality.

Order your copy of Nudity Today here.

For more information on the Nudes/Human Form newsletter or to sign up, click here.
Nomad Girl w/ Falcon, 2008 -- John Delaney

Currently on view at photo-eye Gallery is an exquisite exhibition of photographs by John Delaney from his Golden Eagle Nomads series. The photographs depict nomadic Kazakhs living in the valleys of Mongolia who hunt with golden eagles. We asked John Delaney to talk a little bit about his experience finding and photographing the Golden Eagle Nomads and the intimate moments he shared with the families he photographed on his expeditions in 1998 and 2008. -- Erin Azouz

We had just set up camp in a very desolate area when I encountered a very striking looking Eagle Rider. He was just passing through and stopped to check out our studio. I asked him to pose for a portrait but he very courteously refused. After sharing a meal with him he quietly mounted his horse, thanked us and rode off into the hills. Disappointed at an opportunity lost, I didn’t expect to ever see him again. 

Nomad girl with her family and John Delaney

Then towards the end of the day as the sun was sinking magic happened! He returned. It was one of those magical moments that every photographer dreams about. Leading the way, riding across the desolate landscape, was this beautiful girl princess riding with a falcon on he arm, straight out of storybook legend.

Her father and mother politely asked if I could possibly make a family portrait for them. Racing against the dimming light I quickly unpacked my gear and started shooting. After the family portrait I asked if I could take I could take a portrait of their daughter alone. She was poised and confident but never spoke a word.

After printing their portraits for them the family quietly rode off into the evening.

Son of Yuton - White Coat, 2008 and Yuton, 1998 -- John Delaney

On my return trip in 2008 I brought along 11x14 fiber prints from my previous trip in hopes of finding and giving them to my subjects. One day we saw a lone Eagle Rider in a white coat riding in the distance. We waved him over and convinced him to sit for a portrait. The special relationship and bond between this young nomad and his eagle was apparent.

Delaney's mobile studio
After the sitting I asked him to go though my prints in hopes that he might recognize and help me find some of the older riders. At one print he froze and tears came to his eyes. Ten years earlier I had photographed his father who had just passed away. This would be one of the only photographs that he had of him.

He stayed for dinner and we shared a bottle of vodka by the fire that night.

Over the course of the two expeditions, I took and gave out family portraits. It became a daily ritual that I enjoyed and cherished. I’ve include a few of those images. -- John Delaney

Family portraits by John Delaney

Read the photo-eye Blog interview with John Delaney here. Delaney also recently spoke at photo-eye Gallery about the series. Audio from that talk can be listened to here.

The exhibition continues through July 13th. For more information or to purchase a print please contact Anne Kelly at 505-988-5158 x121 or

photo-eye Staff Show 

Where: photo-eye Bookstore, 370 Garcia Street, Santa Fe, NM
When: Artist Reception, Friday, June 28th 5:00-7:00pm. Exhibit runs June 3rd-August 4th, 2013.
Contact: Melanie McWhorter
Phone: 505.988.5152 x 112

photo-eye is pleased to announce the artist reception for our annual Staff Show. Comprised of sculpture, collage, photography and mixed media, the photo-eye Staff Show contains work by Erin Azouz, Sarah Bradley, Daniel Fuller, Anne Kelly, Helen Maringer and Melanie McWhorter.

Erin Azouz brings to life several years worth of photographs taken with her iPhone through a set of tiny two-inch books and two framed pieces. Sarah Bradley's exquisite, large-scale masks depict animals such as a prairie dog, raven, cow and rabbit -- all large enough to be worn by an adult. Daniel Fuller's collages reference art history and explore the human form in whimsical, imaginary landscapes. Anne Kelly produces drawings featuring trees on wood with collage elements. Helen Maringer's photographs explore the human form, obscured by many layers of paint. Melanie McWhorter harnesses the book as a sculptural object, commenting on censorship by removing words from each page in a mixed-media installation.

Erin Azouz is a singer/songwriter, photographer and is the Newsletter Editor and Gallery Associate at photo-eye; Sarah Bradley is a writer, sculptor, costumer and Editor of photo-eye Blog and Magazine; Daniel Fuller is a musician and mixed artist and is photo-eye's Shipping Manager; Anne Kelly's interest in photography stemmed from her mother's passion at an early age. She is an artist and photo-eye Gallery's Associate Director; Helen Maringer is a recent photography graduate from the Santa Fe University of Art & Design and is an assistant at photo-eye; Melanie McWhorter has managed photo-eye's Book Division for over 15 years, is a regular contributor to photo-eye Magazine and is the co-founder of Finite Foto.
The photo-eye Bookstore is located at 370 Garcia Street, Santa Fe, NM and is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm. Saturday open by appointment.

Book Review The High & Lonesome Sound By John Cohen Reviewed by Christopher J. Johnson John Cohen's is a familiar name. Lead musician of the famous folk band The New Lost City Ramblers and photographer of fame, John Cohen is perhaps best known for his photographs of musicians like Bob Dylan and the Beat Poets. The High & Lonesome Sound shows a different side of his work, his documentary photographs of folk music icon Roscoe Holcomb.
The High & Lonesome Sound. Photographs by John Cohen.
Published by Steidl, 2012.
The High & Lonesome Sound
Reviewed by Christopher J. Johnson

The High & Lonesome Sound
Photographs by John Cohen
Steidl, 2012. Hardbound. 216 pp., 158 tritone illustrations, 11x9-1/2".

John Cohen's is a familiar name. Lead musician of the famous folk band The New Lost City Ramblers and photographer of fame, John Cohen is perhaps best known for his photographs of musicians like Bob Dylan and the Beat Poets. The High & Lonesome Sound shows a different side of his work, his documentary photographs of folk music icon Roscoe Holcomb.

Roscoe Holcomb was living in East Kentucky when Cohen discovered him. It was 1959 and Kentucky was, unlike most of America, in the grips of an economic depression. Holcomb had spent his life working regionally at hard labor jobs. In his own words, "I worked construction most all my life. I worked in the coalmines some… got my back broke… I was not much account after that." This blasé attitude is a strange trademark of Holcomb's. Despite the beauty of his signing and the mastery of his banjo playing, in his words and in Cohen's photos Holcomb retains a tacit down to earth mien.

The High & Lonesome Sound, by John Cohen. Published by Steidl, 2012.

The High & Lonesome Sound explores more than just Holcomb's musical talent and legacy; it is an in depth look into the late fifties in Eastern Kentucky. Towns like Defiance, Neon, Viper, Sodom, and Low Gap are documented by Cohen's camera. What we see is a region mired in poverty that is, despite all, buoyed up by music. Entire families share with Cohen their gift for folk music and many photographs are given over to this topic. Another theme is labor. Cohen makes us privy to the hard toiling life of coal miners. These photographs are unexpected and well outside of convention. Some workers have strangely angelic faces, others play tunes on the banjo and all seem uniquely happy. Happy? Well, free of misery. The workers in these photos share simple lives, brotherhood and, of course, the music that binds them to one another.

The High & Lonesome Sound, by John Cohen. Published by Steidl, 2012.

Workers in the fields, crowds gathered around town centers (for none other than folk music legend Bill Monroe) and churches also figure heavily in this book. The photographs are evocative of Walker Evans' famous pictures of the American Great Depression, but Cohen, (perhaps he brings the best out in people) doesn't capture too many frowns. Desperation would seem to be a qualifying feature of these photos, but it isn't. The labor is plain, the living hard, but also made plain is that these are photographs of people who get a lot out of life, out of their country lives and families.

The High & Lonesome Sound, by John Cohen. Published by Steidl, 2012.

But Roscoe Holcomb is the star of this book. Roscoe Holcomb with his nondescript working clothes and William Burroughs-esque face. Holcomb with his thick glasses and thinning hair. Playing his banjo before church congregations and tuning his guitar in his living room amongst all his children. Holcomb has a bearing and a face that are magnetic. His presence in these photographs is almost ghostly as if he was the culmination of the idea of a type of man. Roscoe Holcomb seems to embody the Appalachians, folk music and a tough life.

The High & Lonesome Sound, by John Cohen. Published by Steidl, 2012.

The book itself is incredibly well crafted. Steidl is never a publisher to disappoint. From the binding of the book to the quality of the photographs Steidl has little competition. Supplemental to this volume is a DVD containing two films by John Cohen about Roscoe Holcomb and one CD of Holcomb's music. The book has plentiful and illuminating texts from letters by Holcomb to John Cohen, quotes from the musician and ephemera from his life and times.—CHRISTOPHER J. JOHNSON

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photo-eye was fortunate to host an artist talk and book signing for John Cohen on The High & Lonesome Sound. Audio from that talk can be heard here.

CHRISTOPHER J. JOHNSON is originally from Madison Wisconsin. He came to Santa Fe in 2002 and graduated from the College of Santa Fe majoring in English with an emphasis in poetry. He is an arts writer for the Weekly Alibi in Albuquerque.
As The Crow Flies -- Tom Chambers

We are happy to release a new portfolio of work from Tom Chambers titled Animal Visions. Chambers continues his tradition of creating compelling and mysterious visual narratives with his camera -- but his new work gives animals a more prominent role in each frame, interacting with human subjects in surprising, unexpected ways. A young girl steps into a room to find a lioness lounging on a sofa. A woman holds up a mirror for a peacock to gaze at its own reflection. An elephant gently scoops up a young girl with its trunk.

Edge of A Dream -- Tom Chambers

The dream-like scenes are bathed in painterly light, making the interactions between human and animal feel meaningful and sacred. The wild animals become a symbol for an untamed, uncivilized ethos and represent the capricious nature that resides within us all.

The element of danger is a tool Chambers employs to create tension, but that tension is always resolved within the frame, juxtaposed with the softness of a girl's dress, her body language, or the way the animal playfully interacts with her. These are dangerous animals that clearly pose no threat to their human counterparts.

Burn to Shine -- Tom Chambers

Giving the animals a central role in the photographs is a shift for Chambers. Drawing a metaphor between the young subjects on the brink of adulthood and the unbridled spirit of the wild animals pictured with them, the photographs in Animal Visions are both personal and universal. These photographs invite us to delve into the dark waters of our own subconscious. While we're there, we relish the beauty of the unknown. --Erin Azouz

Late for Dinner -- Tom Chambers

"I had a lot of fun creating my new series Animal Visions, photographing animals in zoos and farms. In Late for Dinner, the young girl is racing to a mystery shrouded town or aerie, perhaps guided by the flock of birds flying overhead. I photographed the town Civita di Bagnoregio, a 2500 year old Etruscan village in central Italy. In another image Burn to Shine, a young woman protected by a herd of deer (or protecting the deer), is finding her way through the dark. In this series I hope to convey the appreciation that I hold for animals, whether furry, feathered, or scaled." --Tom Chambers

The photo-eye Editions limited edition portfolio Dreaming in Reverse/ Soñando Hacia Atrás, can be viewed here

Tom Chambers spoke to photo-eye's Anne Kelly about his work on the occasion of his 2011 exhibition  at photo-eye. Read the interview here.

For more information about Tom Chambers' photography please contact the gallery by email or by phone 505-988-5152 x202
In video #26 of our In-Print Photobook series, Erin Azouz shares with us Means of Reproduction self published by Svjetlana Tepavcevic.

photo-eye In-Print Photobook Video #26: Means of Reproduction by Svjetlana Tepavcevic

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Le Journal de la Photographie published today an interview with photo-eye's Founder and Director Rixon Reed. Interviewed by Elizabeth Avedon, Reed discusses his background in photography, the origins of photo-eye and photo-eye's newest project, Art Photo Index. Read the interview here.
Disquiet. Photographs by Amani Willet.
Published by Damiani Factory, 2013.
Reviewed by Tom Leininger

Photographs by Amani Willett.
Damiani Factory, 2013. Hardbound. 128 pp., illustrated throughout, 6-1/2x9-1/2".

Amani Willett's new book Disquiet frames the changing life of the photographer around the recent turmoil of the Occupy Wall Street movement, seeing a mirror-like metaphor in American society. This book offers a deep dive into those dark times of life when one wonders if everything is crumbling. Action is taking place outside of these photographs. The pictures are fascinating hints at the uneven moments of life.

The book chronicles the recent times of a first time father and how this monumental change throws the world out of focus. "To take a photograph is to assert control," Marvin Heifernan writes in his eloquent essay at the end of the book. Control in life remains elusive; the act of picture making allows for an illusion of it. Control is off in the distance and outside the frame.

Disquiet, by Amani Willett. Published by Damiani Factory, 2013.
Disquiet, by Amani Willett. Published by Damiani Factory, 2013.

Shadows override the images that travel from interiors to meditative empty landscapes. Willett uses an idea of home in this book; not the idealized nostalgic notion, but the present tense loaded question of what home is. Factor in the idea of family, and it becomes a challenge to keep sentimentality at bay. Fortunately, sentimentality does not live in the shadows. The disquiet of life lurks there and in the nighttime. This is a relatable story told in dark fragments.

Disquiet, by Amani Willett. Published by Damiani Factory, 2013.
Disquiet, by Amani Willett. Published by Damiani Factory, 2013.

The physical book is sized for an intimate reading experience and the photographs are finely reproduced on heavy paper, which lends a feeling of gravitas to the story. Image titles are included at the end to help with the flow of the story and give added generational information. Without the titles a narrative emerges, but the context of who or where brings clarity. Willett’s warm color palette marks the start of day or the last embers of hope, which eventually fade into the darkness of insomnia or the times at night when the disquiet is the loudest. When life is pervaded by disquiet the only respite comes in snatches, in places where silence is offered up in buckets.—TOM LEININGER

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TOM LEININGER is a photographer and educator based in North Texas. More of his work can be found on his website.
It's a Matter of Perspective, Mr President, 2007 -- Lydia Panas
An exhibition of work by Lydia Panas entitled After Sargent is currently on view on at The Print Center in Philadelphia. This portrait series was inspired by the John Singer Sargent painting Four Daughters of Edward Darley Boit. The exhibition is opening through July 27th. Panas' Mark of Abel series was recently published in a book from Kehrer Verlag and can be seen here. Read Faye Robson's review of the book here. photo-eye also interviewed Panas about the series on the occasion of the launch of her Photographer's Showcase portfolio. The interview can be read here. View The Mark of Abel on the Photographer's Showcase.

Promethei Terra, Trona, California -- Mitch Dobrowner
Mitch Dobrowner was recently been interviewed on CNN Photos blog. The post features a selection of Dobrowner’s recent storm images and in the interview Dobrowner discusses his background in photography and how he got started shooting storms. Dobrowner’s storm images are also the focus of a new monograph from Aperture, which is due out early this fall. Preorder a copy here. Dobrowner has commented on his storm images several times on photo-eye Blog. You can read his statements here and here. See Dobrowner's work at photo-eye Gallery.

Erasures: Untitled 04.09, 2004 -- Rita Maas

Congratulations to Photographer’s Showcase artist Rita Maas who has just completed a MFA in Visual Art from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. Her thesis exhibition opens on June 24th in the Main Gallery with a reception on Saturday June 29th from 8-10pm. Maas has two portfolios on the Photographer's Showcase, At Home, Looking Outward is a series of atmospheric triptychs of windows through the seasons and Various Still Lives; Silent Stills, Erasures & Centered Piece, a series of beautiful and delicate still lifes. See Maas' images on the Photographer's Showcase.

Means of Reproduction no. 2011 -- Svjetlana Tepavcevic

Six prints from Svjetlana Tepavcevic’s Means of Reproduction portfolio have recently been acquired by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta as the first winner of the Atlanta Photography Group’s first grant towards acquisition. Images from the Means of Reproduction series can also be seen in the new issue of Communication Arts Photography Annual in the editorial category. Tepavcevic has also recently produced an exhibition catalogue of her Means of Reproduction series, which can be ordered here. Tepavcevic's work can be seen in photo-eye Gallery through July 13th, and can always be viewed on the Photographer's Showcase.

Aqueduct, 2009 -- Michael Levin

New color work from Michael Levin will be featured in the Hasselblad publication VICTOR, and oversized book featuring work from 12 international photographers. More information on the book can be found here. Hasselbald TV is also featuring a wonderful video featuring Levin photographing in Japan. Watch it here. Leven recently spoke to Anne Kelly on photo-eye Blog on his recent body of work Continuum on photo-eye Blog. Read the interview here. See Levin's work online at photo-eye Gallery.

For more information or to purchase a print please contact Anne Kelly at 505-988-5158 x121 or
Means of Reproduction no. 807 -- Svjetlana Tepavcevic

Currently on exhibition at photo-eye Gallery is a selection of work from Svjetlana Tepavcevic’s series Means of Reproduction. Tepavcevic makes color portraits of seeds and seed pods with an interest in their transformative power. Historically many images that have been made of seeds or botanicals were created for scientific purposes, like the cyanotype photograms made by botanist Anna Atkins first published in book format in 1883 (Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions). Tepavcevic’s images can be appreciated on a scientific level, but their creation is not so much driven by science alone. Tepavcevic’s images are inspired by her wonder and fascination with the natural world. Often times when she finds her subjects she has no idea what they are — even well into the image making process. I believe that the artists' fascination can been seen in each image that she captures — a reminder to the viewer just how beautiful and complex our natural world is. Perhaps it was that same type of fascination that lead Anna Atkins to Botany. In celebration of the Means of Reproduction exhibition, I have asked her to share a little bit more about her work. -- Anne Kelly
Means of Reproduction no. 406 -- Svjetlana Tepavcevic
Anne Kelly:     How were you first introduced to medium of photography?

Svjetlana Tepavcevic:     I never owned any kind of camera until the fall of 2006, when I took my first photography class. Growing up in the former Yugoslavia, I didn’t have access to a lot of visual art other than movies. When I came to the U.S., after having lived through the siege of Sarajevo and disintegration of my homeland in the bloody war, I studied communication because I needed to understand why human beings behave so brutally, why propaganda works. Art is a form of communication, and it can be socially conscious and used for political purposes. I found myself taking art history courses. And going to museums became a regular habit.

At UCLA, I discovered great avant-garde films from the 1920s, Walter Ruttmann’s Berlin: Symphony of a City and Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera. Expressive and experimental, they are still fascinating. I studied Leni Riefenstahl’s “wonderful, horrible” films (to borrow from the title of Ray Müller’s film). Being mesmerized by all these great black-and-white films must have left an indelible imprint on my mind, even though I wasn’t consciously aware of it.

I was also intrigued by still photography. I saw a Henri Cartier-Bresson retrospective in Berlin just a month before he died in 2004, and a couple of great Helmut Newton exhibitions. And many others in Los Angeles. When I finally had an opportunity, I signed up for a traditional darkroom class. For me, photography was synonymous with black-and-white expression. I bought my first camera, Pentax K-1000, and some black-and-white film. I researched different instructors at UCLA Extension. One of them stood out. It turned out she printed for some of photography’s great artists. Since that class, I have learned so much and have been consumed with making work.

Means of Reproduction no. 627 and no. 701 (diptych) -- Svjetlana Tepavcevic

AK:     Who are you influences?

ST:     I find the issue of influences a complex one. Everything that surrounds us, where we are from and where we live, influences us in some ways. But there is also that the inner voice that determines what you respond to, and how and what you express when you create your own art. It’s mysterious and many times I am surprised by it. Where does that voice come from? I don’t really know.

Art we engage with surely has an impact in some way. I love many art forms other than photography. I was incredibly moved by Zarina’s exhibition Paper Like Skin. Zarina is an Indian-born printmaker and sculptor whose work deals with identity, exile, loss. I realized I was especially attracted to small desert pods I had because they are cocoons, they represent shelter, a place that is home. As I was making my cocoon images, I wanted to crawl inside them. I also wanted them to become large sculptures, big and actual physical spaces. Engaging with Zarina’s exquisite, tactile artworks made me see this more clearly.

Marah Macrocarpus pod from 4/13; outer
shell opens up and inner part, which has
four seed chambers, is exposed.

AK:     Tell us about when you found the first seed pod that inspired this project.

ST:     The first one I found, in June 2009, is cocoon-like inner part of a seed pod. I didn’t know what it was then. It was damaged and weathered by time, but still stunning, intricately constructed and delicate. The plant is called Marah Macrocarpus or wild cucumber. I saw it frequently in my hikes in Los Angeles. The seed pod, when fresh and whole, is green and appears like a cross between a porcupine and a small cannon ball. The plant is native to Southern California. It looks like it’s strangling trees and shrubs. After finding this one, I began to pay attention to other seeds and seed pods. They are so wondrous and I was so unaware and ignorant of them.

Means of Reproduction no. 615 -- Svjetlana Tepavcevic

AK:     You describe your images as portraits – please talk about this.

ST:     I love portraiture. Great portraits have a sense of mystery and presence, you can engage with them many times. When it became clear to me that Means of Reproduction was becoming a project, I started thinking about what I am doing. I thought of Karl Blossfeldt’s work. But I didn’t think my primary aim was to show stunning design alone. I want to imbue each subject with a sense of individuality and mysterious presence. I thought of Irving Penn’s great portraits and stunning platinum palladium prints, of Richard Avedon’s large portrait prints that stopped me in my tracks when I first saw them, of Martin Schoeller’s surreal face close-up portraits. Seeds and their vessels are usually very small and come in large numbers. Isolating and enlarging an individual one abstracts it and makes it appear surreal. The project falls into still-life genre, but I keep thinking they are portraits.

AK:     You start by selecting seeds and seed pods that interest you --- sometime you are not sure what your subject is until after it has been scanned — please talk about this.

ST:     When I find them, I am not concerned with what they are. I must be attracted to them for their symbolic quality. I didn’t know what most of them were until being asked to identify them for publication last fall. I actually didn’t intend to reveal what they are. Isn’t it amazing, these things are all around us and we are mostly unaware of them? We ignore the complexities of the natural world. Identifying them has opened a new way of thinking and learning, which is always exciting. Now I try to identify each plant right away. I think it doesn’t take away from their mystery.

Means of Reproduction no. 1192 -- Svjetlana Tepavcevic

AK:     You had mentioned during your talk that you do not seek out your subjects, they must cross your path naturally --- however many of the seeds you find are not originally from the habitat that you find them in. Anything you would you would like to add about that?

ST:     The first astonishing seed pod I found presented itself to me without my looking for it. I thought about that and set it as a rule for the project. It’s about being aware of the world around me. The exception is that I accept gifts from a couple close friends.

I am finding out that plants are migrants too, probably in large part due to our own migrations. We have altered our environment significantly. For example, Means of Reproduction no. 804 is Ailanthus Altissima or tree of heaven. It got the small seed branch in my image in L.A. from a tree that was cut down. Ailanthus Altissima is deciduous and native to China and Taiwan. According to the U.S. Dept of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, it is distributed throughout the U.S. and listed in four states as a “noxious” weed. I found a branch with dried seeds from the same type of tree on the grounds of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu house.

Means of Reproduction no. 804 -- Svjetlana Tepavcevic

AK:     Tell us about your process.

ST:     The physical print is the most important expression of the image for me. I work hard on printmaking. Time in a very important element in my work. My process feels like that of an excavation. It’s a very instinctual, I listen to the inner voice. I also allow time to have its say. I make a print, and come back to it a few months later. Then I see it anew and know right away whether it stands or if it needs more work. I think I am never done. There is always something to improve, to change, to make better.

AK:     What is next?

ST:     I will be developing this project into a book.

Svjetlana Tepavcevic has also recently produced an exhibition catalogue of her Means of Reproduction series. See page spreads from the book or purchase it here. See Tepavcevic's work, including her The Sea Inside series, here.

The exhibition continues through July 13th. For more information or to purchase a print please contact Anne Kelly at 505-988-5158 x121 or
The Way Home. Photographs by Tom Hunter.
Published by Hatje Cantz, 2012.
The Way Home
Reviewed by Faye Robson

The Way Home
Photographs by Tom Hunter.
Hatje Cantz, 2012. Hardbound. np, 9-3/4x11-3/4".

Writing of his 25-year odyssey through photography – most of whose paths have lead through and towards his home, the London Borough of Hackney – Tom Hunter stresses the uniquely diverse and multiple character of his favorite subject and locale. As Hunter puts it: "Hackney is veneered with traces of a bygone era of grandeur, interwoven with people washed ashore, mixed-up cultures and architecture, worlds within worlds." It is a good place to start when discussing The Way Home, as this fascination with place-as-palimpsest is key to Hunter's subtle handling of themes such as urban poverty, industrial history, and marginal or mobile communities; it also, however, throws up the limitations of the slightly unfocussed edit presented here and of this book as object.
Glenmorangie 110 -- Ernie Button

We are pleased to debut another selection of images from Ernie Button’s Vanishing Spirits series. Between his Vanishing Spirits and Cerealism portfolios, Button has received a lot of attention on the internet recently, appearing internationally on blogs in such notable places as NPR, Colossal, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Boing Boing, Wired and many, many more. Button's colorful images have a wide appeal, but what makes them intriguing is the way they capture the imagination. Looking into the delicate lines and saturated colors, the mind easily wanders to distant planets and alien landscapes. The question immediately arises – what are we looking at? And the answer is equally fascinating: we are gazing into the light, nearly unnoticeable film left in the bottom of a glass of Scotch Whisky. Button's images allow us to see beauty in the world that is so easily overlooked. When what we see in the images merge with the consciousness of what we are actually looking at, we are reminded of how often the very small and very large resemble each other; the magnificence of the universe collapses into itself. We asked Button to tell us a little bit more about the series and his practice as a photographer.

Aberlour A'bunadh 122 -- Ernie Button
photo-eye:     How did the Vanishing Spirits series get started?

Ernie Button:     I feel fortunate that I stumbled onto this phenomenon. I am a fan of observing my world and the things that are happening around me; noticing the smaller details that may be ignored or overlooked. The idea for this project occurred while putting a used Scotch glass into the dishwasher. I noted a film on the bottom of a glass and when I inspected closer, I noted these fine, lacy lines filling the bottom. What I found through some experimentation is that these patterns and images that you see can be created with the small amount of Single-Malt Scotch left in a glass after most of it has been consumed. The alcohol dries and leaves the sediment in various patterns. It’s a little like snowflakes in that every time the Scotch dries, the glass yields different patterns and results. I have used different color lights to add color to the bottom of the glass, creating the illusion of landscape, terrestrial or extraterrestrial. Some of the images reference the celestial, as if the image was taken of space; something that the Hubble telescope may have taken or an image taken from space looking down on Earth. The circular image references a drinking glass, typically a circle, and what the consumer might see if they were to look at the bottom of the glass after the scotch has dried. A technical note about this project. The ‘Specimen’ images are labeled with the exact years aged of that particular Scotch brand. Otherwise, the images were titled with the specific Scotch brand that the rings were created with but the number is a 3 digit number that has nothing to do with the age of the scotch. Merely a number to help differentiate between images. I have my wife to thank for this project. She came from a Scotch drinking family so I was introduced and came to know Scotch Whisky because of her.

Glenrothes 111 & Glenmorangie Sonnalta 125 -- Ernie Button

pe:     I imagine that the delicate nature of these lines could present some challenges when photographing. What techniques do you use to bring out the details in the glasses? Does this series require a special set up or lighting?

EB:     About a decade ago, I worked on a collaborative project with a painter friend of mine. She had collected agates for years (rocks with inclusions in them like moss, sticks, etc.) and she saw “landscapes” them. We talked and agreed to try a photography project with them where I would take different colored lights and gels to add life to these rocks. When I saw the Scotch phenomenon, I had that knowledge of how I shot the agates which I could easily apply to this project. The challenge became which glass to use and how to get the most out of the bottom of the glass. Each glass has a different interior surface and exterior surface so if there are scratches on the outside of the glass, that will impact the final image. If the interior surface is not level or uneven in any way, that will impact how the images dries. The lines of Scotch are so thin, they have very little depth to them. To get them to really stand out, it requires subtle movements of the lights. I use a significant number of different flashlights and desktop lights to layer multiple colors and strength of light beams onto the surface.

pe:     The Boing Boing article on your work talked a bit about fluid dynamics, specifically about coffee rings. Do you know anything about the science of what's causing whisky to form these lines?

Glengoyne 117 -- Ernie Button
EB:     I find it infinitely fascinating that a seemingly clear liquid could leave a residue &/or pattern with such clarity and rhythm after the liquid is gone. I contacted Dr. Peter Yunker who wrote an article on the Suppression of the Coffee-Ring Effect by Shape-Dependent Capillary Interactions out of sheer curiosity and the desire to seek an understanding of why and how these patterns were being created. After exchanging emails with Dr. Yunker, what he found with the coffee ring effect did not specifically relate to what I was seeing. So off to Google I went and plugged in Art, Fluid Mechanics and Harvard; Dr. Howard A. Stone ended up being the second entry to Google’s search. He is currently the head researcher at Princeton University's Complex Fluids Group. He has been very helpful and gracious enough to entertain my questions. Dr. Stone (along with Dr. Shmuylovich and Dr. Shen) had written a paper entitled Surface Morphology of Drying Latex Films: Multiple Ring Formation that was published in Langmuir 2002. Research has shown that aqueous films tend to form ring-like patterns as they dry. This is because evaporation occurs more quickly at the edges of a liquid, thus drawing particles in the liquid outward. In a recent NPR article about the Vanishing Spirits portfolio stated that "these particles, which give the liquor its flavor and color, are present in 'very, very small quantities and can create an imprint of what the [whisky] was doing when it was trying to evaporate'... Inspired by Button's artwork, Stone is now conducting research with two of his postdocs, Ian Jacobi and Eujin Um, to further investigate the properties of dried whisky residues. In particular, they are looking into why different types of whisky produce subtly different patterns."

pe:     I love that each piece is titled after the whisky that was in the glass. Do different whiskys leave different types of marks? Is there anything you can do to manipulate how the lines will form?

EB:     After experimenting for a while with the rings in the glass, I started to question if there would be a difference in the way a 12 year old Scotch dries compared with a 15, an 18 or a 21 (same brand). (Before readers start panicking about wasted Scotch, it only takes 1 or 2 drops of liquid to coat the bottom of a glass to make these rings. So, it really is a thin residue that is creating these. If a person can still see the amber color of the Scotch in the glass, they’ve left too much.) There may be a difference at the microscopic level but I didn’t notice any significant difference in younger vs. older whisky. Which was disappointing because I was really hoping that there would be a noticeable difference when compared side-by-side. The rings occur with whiskies other than Scotch as well e.g. Jack Daniels. However I recently picked up a small sample size bottle of the new Jim Beam Ghost Whiskey which is a white / clear whiskey and it did not produce the same ring pattern. So the rings may have something to do with the aging process and what is soaked up through the casks. I had a Cognac maker contact me wanting me to make these images from his Cognac and unfortunately it did not work which may be that Cognac is a grape-based product. I can’t manipulate the lines but I do manipulate the shape of the sample by moving the glass, using different glasses that have different curved surfaces, etc.

Ardbeg 124 & Glenfiddich 125 -- Ernie Button

pe:     You have two series on the Photographer's Showcase, both of which transform something small and ordinary, something often overlooked or taken for granted, into magnificent scenes. You seem to have a wonderful attention to detail -- does photography change the way you see ordinary life?

EB:     It does keep me constantly wondering and considering if what I’m looking at would make a good image or an interesting project. When photography became something that I did on a consistent basis, it helped my put a frame around things that I saw, ideas that I had pondered before I found photography. It allowed me to put my thoughts and vision into a tangible form instead of just something that I observed that was interesting. I find myself often looking at objects for the best angle, the best lighting, interesting shapes, etc.

pe:     Looking at the full scope of your work on your website shows that you are equally comfortable photographing while traveling and making photos in the controlled environment of the studio. Can you talk about these two very different sides of your photographic practice? Do you have a preference and are the two linked?

Dalwhinnie 125 -- Ernie Button
EB:     To answer the second question first, I don’t have a preference. I get just as much enjoyment setting up a pyramid of Cheerios or fiddling with the lighting set-up to get just the right glow on a Scotch ring as I do walking around a new city snapping images with my Holga. I’ve taken pictures and been interested in photography since my teenage years. But until my wife went to grad school to get her MFA in fine art painting, I really didn’t know that there was this whole world devoted to the making and creation as well as exhibition of art. The art world fascinated me and I wanted to be a part of it, even in a very small way. I took some classes at a local community college to give me a foundation in the basics of photography. After that, I was off and running. In general, I shoot a lot of photographs and tend to bounce between projects. If I feel I’ve reached a point of stagnation in a project, I will work on something else to get a fresh perspective. With the Cerealism project, I took a 4 year break to work on other projects and came back to it in 2012. With Vanishing Spirits, the first image I successfully made was around 2007.

Travel and studio photography are obviously different subject matters but the thought process for me is roughly the same. When I was a youngster, I spent a lot of time working on jigsaw puzzles. The concentration, the thought organization, the shape / visual problem solving; it all worked for me. So being able to work in a studio with a diorama set-up that has challenges or problems to overcome is comfortable for me as an adult. In looking at a lot of my travel images, many of them are very much still-life images as if I created them in studio, just at human scale. If I had the time and the means to create scale models, the travel images I take would very likely be the dioramas I create. The beautiful thing about photographing when I travel is that it gets me out of the studio, out of a comfort zone and pushes me to try images I would not normally try. For instance, I don’t take very many images of people. Many of my travel images reference people but don’t have people in them. But in my many travels to China, it’s hard to avoid taking an image of a person. Most of my images from China have done a good job of eliminating people from the final image (no photoshop, just lots of waiting for the right moment). However with the sheer number of people in China, I began to experiment with the use of people in my images in an effort to enhance the image.

The Balvenie 140 -- Ernie Button

View the new images from Button's Vanishing Spirits series
Button's previous work on the Photographer's Showcase can be seen here

For more information on Button's work, please contact photo-eye Gallery Associate Director Anne Kelly by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202