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Tony | November 10, 2013

Following are two frames from each of the personal projects
I’ve shot since 2002. (Missing are frames from the smaller
side projects completed during this time.)

They look weird, to me, all stacked up like this, robbed of
the context they derive from being in an extended sequence
alongside their fellow-images from each project. Fotografy
can be funny like that; especially if you (like me) believe that
fotos are better tools of communication when they are part
of a larger whole.

I suppose, like all histories, this one here must be seen
knowing there’s always more to the story.

Laundromat, Borrego Springs, Califonia, 2002. (CALI)

Door and desert, Califonia, 2002. (CALI)

Desert Hot Springs, California, 2003. (THE DESERTS OUTSIDE OF LOS ANGELES)

Couple, Borrego Springs, California, 2003. (THE DESERTS OUTSIDE OF LOS ANGELES)

Dwayne and his niece, Pine Apple, Alabama, 2004. (DEEP SOUTH)

Carwash, Stateline, Mississippi, 2004. (DEEP SOUTH)

Larry and Garry Lipford, identical twins, Ohio, 2005. (OHIO)

Wall, Ohio, 2005. (OHIO)

Harmony, USER Night, 2007. (USER)

Jessica and Melissa, USER Night, 2007. (USER)

Dakota, USER Women, 2008. (USER)

Tracy, USER Women, 2008. (USER)

Containers, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 2008. (BESIDE THE PASSAIC)

Railyard, Passaic, New Jersey, 2008. (BESIDE THE PASSAIC)

Bo, USER Men, 2009. (USER)

Steve, USER Men, 2009. (USER)

Christmas Day, Helena, Arkansas, 2009. (CHRISTMAS IN THE DELTA)

Christmas Day, West Memphis, Arkansas, 2009. (CHRISTMAS IN THE DELTA)

Helena, USER 2010, 2010. (USER)

Sandy, USER 2010, 2010. (USER)

Jesse and his son, Jesse, East L.A. 2011. (ANGELENOS)

Russian Émigrés, Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles . 2011. (ANGELENOS)

Steph in her room, Ottawa, November, 2010. (LIVE THROUGH THIS)

Steph in her room, New Glasgow, June, 2011. (LIVE THROUGH THIS)

Special Event, Ottawa, 2013. (OFFICIAL OTTAWA)

Road block, Ottawa, 2013. (OFFICIAL OTTAWA)


Tony | November 3, 2013

Tanya Foote sits in her studio looking at a wall of photos, wondering. She gets up and
moves some of them around, looking for patterns, cohesion and sympatico amongst the
proof prints. (She’s a photographer who believes in photography as a gathering of data
and that that data can and should be organized into complex narrative sequences and
arcs.) She puts together a string of 4 that seem to resonate but is flummoxed when
she tries to add more images. A temporary setback, she knows. Look the other way,
don’t think too much, just be and act. See what happens. It’s a problem with a million
possible solutions, only some of those solutions are more correct that others. No hurry.


So she whips out her phone to see who has tweeted in the past 10 minutes. She sees
Lou Reed died. She knows Lou. Well . . . she doesn’t know him, she has listened to some
of his songs, the hits she guesses. For sure she knows what they sound like, or maybe
what they feel like. Or something. At any rate, she is weirdly affected and tweets OMG,
I luv Lou RIP.


Over on Fb Tanya sees all the other messages of love and affection for poor dead Lou.
Such an influence he was, everyone’s going to scroll thru their iPods, listen to Sweet
Jane and Walk on the Wild Side, if they have them. If not, well, there’s always YouTube,
isn’t there?

So that’s what Tanya does. YouTube, because she doesn’t actually own any Lou Reed.
(She briefly considers buying a song or two but doesn’t.) Kind of brings back some
memories. Younger days, drugs. She’s older now (of course) and doesn’t take so
many drugs as she used to. (She never was brave enough to try the hard stuff, not
like Lou.)

A little lost in nostalgia, she turns back to her wall of photos, moves some around
and a partial solution to a small part of the puzzle falls into place. And that’s good
enough for today. I wonder what’s on TV, she wonders.



Tony | October 27, 2013

Four-thirty in the afternoon Tanya Foote wakes up again. Her first thought is,
Fuck you. No, fuck you, and then her mind shifts to the fact that her nose is cold.
It’s near the end of October and outside is the drear late-afternoon, late-autumn
light that is so familiar in these northern climes. A wave of nausea washes over
Tanya but she gets up, for the second time today, anyway.


Yes, she gets up and wonders, Now what, and, seeing that there are dishes to be
done, briefly considers going back to bed. Instead she decides to just ignore them.

These days being what they are (these days), she picks up her phone and thumbs
in a few Tweets (not mentioning she just got up and there are dishes in the sink),
then she checks her Fb feed to make sure she isn’t somehow falling behind. But
she’s got nothing to post there so she watches some YouTube, sure she’ll find
something that’s original or amusing, something that will represent her, some-
thing she can share. Done. Plus, she likes a few things too, she’s still alive after


I wonder what’s for dinner, she wonders, making her way to the fridge. She opens
the door and hangs off it having a look. Nothing really. Well, something, but it takes
so much effort. Pots, pans, the application of heat, some stirring. Plus, there’s the
fact of the piled up dirty dishes; all of them. There’s that, too.

Tanya grabs her phone and make the call. (The first person she has talked to today.)
Vegetarian pie, easy on the cheese. She’s watching her figure, you see.

Okay, now that the necessities are taken care of she must somehow set about plying
her trade. She’s an artist; no one is going to tell her what to do, it’s all got to come
from inside. And next to outside, inside is the worst place there is.

She moves towards her studio.


to be continued . . .


Tony | October 20, 2013

After, last week, bemoaning the gear-fetish thing, I find myself this week
writing about gear. If you will remember, though, I also last week admitted
that I embrace my contradictions.

And, anyway, this is not a love/drool epistle to a camera. Rather some notes
on a thing or two I noticed about a tool.

I’ve been shooting Official Ottawa with my 4×5. And I have discovered that if
I shoot, for instance, 8 frames during an outing, I will scan and like, probably,
7 of them. (And I rarely shoot more than one frame of any particular subject,
except if I’m shooting a portrait, then I might shoot 2.)

I’m not sure if this high ratio of success to failure is because I put so much
effort into each one that I feel bound to like them, but I think not. I think that
the process of making more hard decisions on the ground means that the
actual data (or content, if you will) in each frame more approaches something
I actually mean to “say”. (And all this is not to say that, just because I like a
particular image, that I think it is successful, that it will end up in the final edit.)

Anyway, this past week Canadian Parliament reopened after a lengthy recess.
I thought I should go up and see what I could see, seeing as whatever was
happening might be germane to Official Ottawa. It also seemed like an event
that might be too crowded to cover with a view camera so I sort of copped out
and took my Mamiya 7. Ended up shooting 4 rolls, which translates to 40 fotos.


Too many fotos. Editing them reminded me of editing a digital shoot. And reminded
me of William Eggleston, who only ever shoots one frame of anything because, when
it comes to the edit he can’t decide which frame he might prefer if there is more than
one choice.


Now, I’m not saying any one approach is more correct that any other one. But for my
personal work, these days, I’m really enjoying shooting hardly any frames, making
most of the hard choices on the ground and living with that.

The images I finally scanned, from the opening of Parliament, Ottawa, October, 2013