Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Swan Song

Looks like the end is fast approaching. Got the Artist Talk written and practiced (mostly), images ready(ish) for installation and thesis ready for defense (I Believe). All in all, seems like I'm getting near the end, ready or not.

I have been spending alot of time planning exactly what it is I am going to install next week, and have the whole thing mapped out in my head. I made small mock ups and played around with different set ups before finally figuring out what is going to be the strongest. Know the nature of the beast that is the group show, however, I have left a little bit of wiggle room for some restructuring that may need to be done when I actually see where in the gallery I am going to be. Creating something that has both the malleability to be flexible in a pinch while still retaining that strength of its concepts has proven an interesting undertaking. I've worked alot on this with my mentor Shellburne Thurber, and feel pretty confident about what I am walking in with.

Now that I actually have the final prints in hand, and can see that I am happy with them individually, I am beginning to see the installation take shape as a whole as well.

It's been interesting seeing all of this come together, and will be interesting to see how much changes even still. I've learned that nothing (and I mean nothing) ever goes quite the way I plan it. As a result I am trying to prepare myself for anything. Should be interesting...

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Devil & Me

So, the thesis is finished. For better or worse, it has officially been submitted.

I have been focusing on getting my installation together, and making some new work that I haven't had time to do. Here's an example.

This has been one hell of a semester (in more ways than one) and now it is time to actually get back to some studio work. Made this far, just keep going.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seven Years

I have actually been meaning to post to this for quite a while, I swear. It has been an insanely hectic month or so, and I'm coming up on the last draft of my thesis. It seems to be going well, but it does take more time, thought and energy than I had initially anticipated.

The whole experience has been one hell of a process in which I have trudged uphill, closer to ultimately understanding what the hell it is that I have been doing for the last two years. Truth of the matter is that I don't always think ahead, or know what I'm doing in advance. More often than not, in fact, I work from a more guttural place, and slowly understand what I've done only as subsequent years follow. This whole program has forced alot of growth into a short period of time, and has really made me come to terms with who I am as an artist, and why it is that I am doing just what it is that I am doing.

I've begun to consider what the Graduate Exhibition will look like, and it is starting to take shape in my brain. I don't think I will have a single image, or even a few, but really more of an installation that encompasses alot of what I have done throughout the course of this program. Working with my mentor, the amazing Shellburne Thurber, we are starting to construct something that will encompass not just what I have done, but will also reference the scope of what I have been doing, referencing the experience of memory and passage of time as well.

I will have more images to come, but they will be but a few and far between. There's still alot of work to do, and nothing is set in stone as of yet.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Electric Worry

So, I have been amazingly remiss in posting as of late. Apologies. Being wrapped up in alot of the writing, I didn't realize how much time had actually passed since my last post.

To Update:
I have been plugging away with writing, research and studio work. When one overwhelms or dead ends, I switch to another. This rotation is what has kept me going. I looked outside the other day, and apparently the summer ended when I wasn't paying attention. Oh well.

Off to another meeting with my mentor to discuss the studio work I have been doing. That is interesting in and of itself, I have been spending alot of time photographing, but have very little final product to show as of yet. That also informs, to a certain extent, my lack of posting. Check back in the next week or so, and some of what I have been working on should be done enough to post. In the meantime, here's a teaser to hold you over.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Should Have Known

So, as I lay in bed last night at two in the morning listening to the song this post is named for (all of my posts are actually named for songs somehow related to what's going on in my life/work - music is a big part of what I do), and I began considering all of the many varied aspects of the things happening right now some things occurred to me.

As I am writing more, things are becoming clearer. The deeper into this I get, and more I continue down the road, I am understanding what all of this has been about. In so many ways, from different angles and through different methods, I have been dealing with the concept of home for some time now. Wondering what it is, how we find it, how we make it when it can't be found and so on.

It seems to me that home isn't either external or internal, but a marriage of the two; a balancing act between the world we see and experience and the way we interpolate/internalize those external forces.

The desire for home and community, a place to belong - however one may define that for themselves - is central to the way we live our lives. I have begun to research this more, and am digging into the meat of alot of it. SO much of home has to do with memory, both collective and individual.

The subject matter I choose, the way I present/approach it, all serves these questions and desires to understand what home is. What does it mean to have a home? What does it mean to be displaced from that home? What happens when you remain but your home fails you, or is stripped away from under you, piece by piece?

An individual makes home, constructs experience. It is in all of us, and executed in ways both grand and subtle. Sometimes unnoticed, sometimes painfully obvious; We all want home - whatever that means.

Friday, July 8, 2011


If there was no tomorrow, would you remain the same?

The semester has officially started. Met with my mentor, started writing my thesis and shot more work. This is going to be rough. I know the answers I'm looking for are going to unfold as I jointly write and shoot more. I am not going into this thesis semester in ideal shape, and I'm certainly not going by the book here. I have to just kind of make it up as I go, and balance all of the intricate parts and pieces, paying attention to whatever needs it most at the moment. Though bruised and a little battered, I'm far from down and out. Keep checking in, this should be interesting to see unfold.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Word Forward

Another Residency down. This is it my friends, do or die.

I've begun doing research for my thesis, and have found a couple pretty furtive articles already. I also set up my first mentor meting for next Tuesday, and look forward to working with the Amazing Shellburne Thurber again.

This is going to be a tricky one. I have a decent amount of ground to cover in the studio and on paper. I need to remember to breathe, clear my head and power through. As a kind person told me as I was on my way out of AIB this past Sunday - get all of the junk out of your head that you don't need, and keep just enough terror to stay motivated.

Here goes nothing...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Leaving Eureka

So, Ernie's is a different sort of place. So many different people come together here that may never have met otherwise, and interact in ways that wouldn't happen outside of here.

People come and go, and we see some grow from children, get married and then bring their own children in later.

We have seen regulars come and go, and have new groups that rotate in when the older ones move on. We have our favorites, and the ones that make you groan when they come through the door. Each and every one of them, though, has their part to play.

Each person, in their own way, contributes something to the experience that is Ernie's, and each person has a unique view and experience of this place as well. Without people, no place; without this place, no people. At least not blended together in the way they are here.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Figuring out what works and what does not. What is stronger and which I will pursue. I certainly need some external crit at this point, as I have been doing quite a bit of self editing.

Here are a few examples of some much newer imagery that is somewhat different, and I find to be very interesting.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thumbing My Way

In showing Ernie's, I have been trying to capture both the public and the private. I want to show the sides that we see that the general public does not, in addition to showing the more public sides as well.
From external shots of the backdoor, to the square of stainless steel in front of the grill where I can most often be found standing, there are many aspects of the restaurant that people don't usually see. These unknown scenes are as much a part of what makes this whole little world what it is as the public side of things. Each, however, could not exist without the other.

The balance that is created is important to me. Whether the space is full of people on a busy Saturday morning, or empty and quite late that same night, it is all pertinent to understanding what Ernie's really is. Places like this are much less common than they once were, and may very well be on there way toward extinction. In that sense, I feel that there is an immediacy in this work that exists in even the most silent of images.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On the Mend

I am still exploring multiple facets of what makes Ernie's all that it is. The individual stories that go along with many of the people are fascinating, but but much more so when framed within the context of the restaurant as a whole.

There are not very many places left like this one, where people actually know your name and see you on a daily basis. The connections that exist here are pretty unique, and we often times see groups of people interacting that most likely would not do so otherwise.

Everything is important to this project, and the images need to reflect that. I want to treat the portraits of our customers with the same magnitude importance as a still life of a bucket and mop forgotten in the basement. In truth, Ernie's could not exist without every person and object playing their own individual part, and each has a story to tell.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All Secrets Known

So for anyone who may have been wondering where I have been or what I've been up to, get ready for some answers. Early this semester I met with my mentor, Tim Davis, and things changed.

I realized that the project I had been working on was not going to pan out the way I wanted, and that circumstances in my life were not going to allow me to pursue it with the dedication that it would require to complete it to satisfaction. As a result, I was burned out on it. When meeting with Tim, he looked through some of my older images (Group 1 stuff people), and found an interesting spark. In a few random images I had already begun to get at something I hadn't even realized was there.

So I shifted gears. Big Time.

I have subsequently spent this semester essentially scrapping what I had done last semester and beginning a new project to follow through into my thesis. I have a dedicated blog for just Tim and I (and recently a few other select individuals) and have been working feverishly there.

I won't lie, I've been very stressed all semester, but I have no doubt that I have done the right thing.


I Present to you my new body of work. It revolves around the Breakfast and Lunch place in which I have worked for the last Ten years - Ernie's Lunch (many refer to it as a diner, though technically it is not). It is a small family owned establishment in my hometown of Melrose, and is a place unlike any other I have found.
Places like Ernie's have fallen off in recent years, with many small business folding and unable to survive. Only through tireless work and unyielding commitment can something like Ernie's exist in this current world.
This work is a document of the world that is Ernie's lunch. The people, the spaces, the feelings and interactions. I am currently photographing any and everything that makes Ernie's what it is, and seeing what will emerge as the strongest vein.
I decided to keep this project largely to myself until I knew it was going to turn into something, and I now have no doubt that my choice to change my work completely was the right choice to make. Thanks to the few who knew what I was up to - Trusty Sully Evan and Ian.
(And yes, if you are wondering, this is all 35mm B&W film).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Audience of One

I used to walk to work after school three days a week. I'd go there and do the dishes, clean up at the end of the day. My friends would sometimes ditch if we had a study at the end of the day, but I stayed. I figured if I got to work an hour early, people would probably notice.

As I got older, and went to college, I still worked there. I commuted to school, so some days I would drive to work after my last class to work for a while. As I got older though, I graduated from dishes to cooking, so I did the cook clean up. This means cooking bacon and cleaning the grill.

I hate cooking bacon.

Everyone does.

It's the one thing that most of us who cook there would rather do anything else than have to be subjected to that. At first it's cool to see so much bacon. After a while that wanes, and you tire of it. Eventually you come to despise it, and you don't even see bacon as food. Once that phase passes, you make your peace with it, and realize there are things in life worse than having to cook bacon.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Long Road

Working where I do is interesting. It's a small, family owned breakfast and lunch place. I've worked there since I became old enough to work.

The family that owns the restaurant is close to mine, so close that they themselves have become family to me.

When I called for a job, I had just become old enough to work, and knew just where I wanted to be. I picked up the phone, dialed the number, and waited for my response.

My Aunt picked up the phone, and I told her I was old enough now, and if there were any openings that I would like a job. She laughed and said that was a good joke, then hung up the phone. I was on the other end, just blinking in disbelief.

It was April 1st, and She thought it was an April Fool's day prank being played by one of the other employees. I called back and got everything straightened out, then had a pretty good laugh. I've been there ever since.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Where I went to High School was strange. It was connected to the Middle School, and set back from the street. There was no real direct way in or out, by car or on foot.

After I graduated, I still drove by everyday during my commute to college. I had heard the Middle School may be closing, with a new one to be built in its place. I figured they were only rumors.

One day I drove by on my way to class, and the Middle School was there. When I returned that evening it was gone. Nothing left, only rubble. In a little under six hours.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

No Way to Know

New places, new scenes. Stepping outside of places that have already been explored thoroughly, these are outside the neighborhood. Outside the city. These are new.

New ground, new scenes. Memories still exist, as do ideas of gentrification and decay, but these are different. These memories are not specific, not mine.

New buildings, new scenes. What memories we have as people are not contained to one life, person or place. They spill over into others spaces, internal and external, and become part of the collective unconscious. It is a beginning.

Friday, February 4, 2011

No Milk Today

So, I used to have a backyard. It was set in the tow yard that is behind my house, and it was about six feet higher than the rest of the yard.

There was a big tree in it. I came home one day and the tree was gone. I figured "Well, I guess if it was dangerous then it's better to cut it down than have it fall on the house." Whatever.

The next day I came home, and the backyard was gone. I went in the house and asked my mother who had taken the backyard, and she didn't seem to know.

Come to find out, the landlord needed more space for his tow yard, so he cut off my backyard to make more spaces for cars. He ended up renting it to a landscaping and masonry company, and that is where all of the construction looking debris comes from.

The company would gear up for a big job, and flood the yard with things like large stones, manure and palettes of bricks - all of the masonry and landscaping materials one would expect to see in a stockyard - piled around my house. The yard would then empty out as they used the materials for their jobs.

As the economy has started to fail, the tide has slowed to a stop. Instead of waves that roll in and roll out, it has become a sort of graveyard in which everything is just sitting, stagnating. It is no longer a sign of any sort of growth or even change. Its just sort of entropy hell.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Looking in View

Another semester starting, and a little less time to do what I want. I'm afraid of locking up, and starting to feel like I'm slogging in mud. Over the coming months, the format of this blog is going to expand to incorporate more text, as I will be including some of the written portions that lurk behind my photography.

There are some ideas that I have in relation to memory and my link to it through my photographic work. I will be posting the results of some of my trial and error recollections of the places I will be photographing, and delving deeper into why I am actually in the specific places I choose.

By doing this, I will expand the context my work exists in, and also frame the images I am making in a more intentional way. As the semester progresses, I hope that these memetic recollections continue to expand hand in hand with my images.