Archive for March, 2013

Finding and Loving


Please don’t forget to check out my iPhone blog.

With every new medium, I have found, there is a new way of finding things to look at. When I got my iPhone, I fell in love with Vancouver ever more deeply.

“Photos: America in Color from 1939-1943”

The Faro Caudill family eating dinner in their dugout. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The Faro Caudill family eating dinner in their dugout. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

I saw this enchanting exhibit at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, a couple of years ago. The Denver Post has a marvelous online gallery of these rare colour images, taken by photographers of the Farm Security Administration [FSA]/Office of War Information. From the Albright Knox Gallery’s notes on the show:

“No one knows exactly how many frames they shot in color, but only 1,615 survive. Until recently, most of these images had not been seen since they were initially processed by Kodak’s lab in Rochester well over half a century ago. Kodachrome, the most stable fine-grain color film ever made, was introduced as 16mm movie film in 1935. During the following three years it became available in canisters for 35mm cameras and in sheets for medium- and large-format cameras. By late 1939, the processing was as good as the film, and some … FSA photographers began experimenting with it. They continued their work after the FSA project was absorbed by the Office of War Information (OWI) in 1942, through its dissolution in 1944. All of the project’s surviving color images are now available as high-resolution scans from the Library of Congress. …

“Color photography would not find a firm base in the art world until the exhibition of works by William Eggleston (American, born 1939) at The Museum of Modern Art in 1976, but, as the images in this exhibition demonstrate, the path was marked decades before by [the] FSA team. Their assignment was to document what America looked like during and at the end of the Great Depression; in the process, they discovered new ways the camera lens could see and represent the world.”

It’s hard to believe, today, that collectors turned up their nose at colour photography for most of the twentieth century.

(h/t to Lincoln Clarkes for providing the Denver Post online-gallery link on his FB page)

Teaching I would do for free …

*Marking* is where I earn my millions.

The current marking marathon: 270 documents. (120 done so far …) Expected date of completion: next week sometime. (This would be a dreadfully painful experience without my outlandishly expensive Aeron Chair.)

God Bless Printers

Fleener Cartoon

When I was in book and magazine publishing, nobody – not even the crossest author or the most bedeviled editor – could intimidate me the way printers could (and did). They seemed to know everything.

I finally visited a printer for the first time back in 2007, when I was sponsoring the first edition of the T-Bodies calendar. The salesman at Hemlock Printing in Burnaby gave me a tour of the very grand premises. I was overwhelmed: All these stacks of books, cards, calendars, and reports; the gigantic presses; the futuristic computer stations; the impeccable cleanliness mixed with the perfumes of ink and paper. I left in tears, feeling as though I had been baptized in a cathedral made for muses.

Last month wonderful comic-book artist Mary Fleener published this cartoon in The Encinitas Coast News, to honour a local printer who had been serving their community for 42 years. This afternoon on Facebook she announced that the printer had passed away today: “Even though I already posted this cartoon, I am going to again in remembrance of Mark Anderson. I probably went to his store several times a week since 1984, and every single mini comic I did was printed there, as well as zines, postcards and thousands and thousands of copies…they were the only place I could find the kind of ink I liked, and it was just like going to a country store, and everybody knew your name. Such a loss for the community of Encinitas. My sincere condolences to his family. We will all miss him.”

“Be My Shadow”


In 2002 I helped my friend Kat Kosiancic produce her beautifully humane documentary “Be My Junkie Shadow.” Kat interviewed seven women who lived and worked in Vancouver’s downtown eastside neighborhood. Four of these women have since died, most recently Nicole C., shown above in a 1998 photo by Lincoln Clarkes from his epic “Heroines” series.

The phrase that became the title of Kat’s documentary came from Nicole, in an unsentimental and uncompromising exchange with Kat that you can read in full here. Below is an image of Nicole from the documentary.


Peace be with you.