Blog Index
This area does not yet contain any content.

Mid-Summer Summer Report


I've just arrived back in NYC after a week in Santa Barbara. Oliver and I were in the ocean every day, and I swam a 1000K race off East Beach. The Santa Barbara Swim Club swimmers are pretty intimidating, but I did just fine. Hot chocolate afterwards helped me warm up, as did seeing Oliver excited and waiting to hug me by the finish line. We helped mom with gardening, making fresh orange juice with oranges picked from her backyard tree, and a lot of cooking and hanging around. I brought my sketchbook, but I didn't do a lick of creative work. I think it was time for a break.

Above is my mom's shot of the swimmers heading out from the beach. 

Looking forward to seeing bay area photographer pal Johnna Arnold in August--I have plans to rope her into modeling for me once she's here. Johnna's exhibition catalogue features a great roundup of her freeway series In/Finite Potential, and an introductory essay by me. 



Kelly Levitates

Today was a very exciting day in the history of my art practice. It was my first day working with an artist's assistant, a very bright and capable person named Bethanie. I just got tired of making the same excuses about why I'm not doing anything with my other than simply producing it. Because I do want people to see my work, dammit.

I think this is going to be a very good investment in my work. At Adorama I tested out a digital camera I am interested in which was also very promising. I can't wait to shoot something with the Nikon D800--I'll be renting it later this month to try shooting with it. It will make my life so much easier if I can ditch the painful process of shooting, processing, proofing, then scanning and dusting and color correcting the files. Instead I can shoot, color correct, and print or post directly from the files. Also, it will give my photographs a sharper look which I hope I will like. 

Part of the work today involved adding some new images to the portfolios on this website like this one here I shot of Kelly before leaving NYC. I was happy to find this photo--I never posted it before because I didn't consider it done, I felt it still needed work. However, I like it a lot, so I hope you enjoy. I also added a donation button which kind of makes me laugh, but why not. Soon to come will be a way to purchase artist proof prints directly through the website. 


Shake on it


The above photo was taken a few weeks ago. The image was a double exposure of me shaking my own hand, but it doens't read like a double exposure. I does read as awkward in a way I find interesting. Yesterday Oliver left for California with my mom, and I'll be joining them for a holiday in about a week, but for now I have a little time to myself.

The fact that it has been nearly a year since my last blog post doesn't surprise me. A lot has happened, inlcuding a move back to NYC from California to a new job. My time in California was good in many ways, but as the solo parent of a 2nd grader balancing a host of freelance gigs inluding teqaching at CCA and writing for various deadline driven clients like CNN and Wired I didn't have much left over for making my own work. I did a little, here and there, and made a few good pictures, but all in all, the past year and a half have been low points in my productivity as an artist.

This July marks seven months that I've been back in Brooklyn. I am taking pictures again, and I have found an assistant who I think will help me handle some of the tasks that seem overwhelming. I am hoping to buy a digital camera in the next few months that will streamline the process for me. 


Firsts and Lasts--Ending Summer at Lake Siskiyou

My trip to Oregon and back had a number of firsts: first speeding ticket, first time meeting dad's new girlfriend, first vacation alone, first date date with a man who left an admiring note on my car after seeing me at the lake, first blog post to hit 1.5 million page views, first time using Moodshare to co-edit a photo shoot in real time, first long conversation with a family of deer, first time chased through the woods and stung by an angry yellow jacket, first swim in Lake Siskiyou, first time driving 1800 miles in three days.

All in all it has been an amazing summer. Oliver returns next Tuesday. My feelings are mixed--of course I am dying to see him, with every fiber of my being, but I am also feeling that I'm not done, and that I'm just getting started on everything!

I'm excited to be teaching again in the fall at CCA, it has been around 15 years or more since I've actually taught a class, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm bursting with ideas for pictures, and realize now that I can't keep giving over all my time to Ollie when he is here. I need to make sure that I get studio time no matter what. I can't wait until the summers to shoot--life is too short!

Above is another one of the photos made responding to Carolyn's river photo.



Photo Collaboration

August, 2013. Rebecca Horne

Carolyn Drake

I've been shooting, and it is making me happy. Johnna came by yesterday and patiently modeled for me on a series of hand and coat photos---she was stoic about wearing a scratchy wool coat on a warm day. Working also on the collaboration with Carolyn, using her women gathering water image as a starting point. I have this one here, and another that I like, but I am thinking that these images are too much in my own vocabulary, and not engaging directly with Carolyn's image enough.

I did make a drawing of her photograph, in order to dissect it and get inside of it. The process was illuminating, but I am not sure I can make the actual drawing visually interesting. I am wondering if I can do something to the actual image and re-photograph it. I've started a project space for us in Asana, as she is in Istanbul right now and we'll be doing this all online.

In other news, it looks like I will be teaching a class at CCA this fall---it is exciting to be thinking about teaching again. Writing projects continue, with more for Wired and the National Academy of Sciences. I'm so very glad I didn't go to LA this week as I had planned, it turns out that the Bay Area is not at all like NYC in the dead of August---people are in town and a lot is happening. Still looking forward to driving to Oregon this week, and taking a few days off with my dad.


In my Element

I had my first swim in the San Francisco Bay yesterday, starting from the Dolphin Club. After meeting up with writer/developer pal Michael Coren and a few of his friends, I got a tour of the venerable club, including the boat rooms--apparently the club is a place for both swimmers, sailors and rowers. I was happy to see that they have a little protected sandy beach that makes getting into the water easy. Up until the very last minute I was not sure if I would actually get into the water. I had been dreading it for days in advance. It turned out that the bay was warmer than I had expected, and that the peer pressure worked wonders. Before I knew it I was swimming joyfully around the buoy at the far side of the cove. Afterwards we warmed up with hot showers and sauna. Then a lunch of eggs and bacon.

I don't know what it is about these cold water swims, but they seem to be great for cure for all things, especially self-pity and whining. It was amazing to see the view of the city from the bay, and to be out in it. In the photo here, taken at the Dolphin Club, you can see the little entry beach behind us. Note the woman in the wetsuit--she was an exception. To make sure I get all the bad-ass points that might be coming my way, I feel compelled to note that we did not wear anything more than bathing suits, goggles and swim caps.


In Cahoots

After a week of feeling out of sorts, I have emerged into the sunlight again. One thing that has helped is that I am beginning a collaboration with Carolyn. This is something we've talked about before, but never actually started. It is the perfect moment for both of us as we are both basically between projects. Hers, as usual, a lot more impressive than mine--her gorgeous book Two Rivers, is finally out and my own copy sits next to my laptop here on my table.

Our collaboration will be a response to one of each other's photos. I picked one of two women gathering water from Two Rivers as my image to respond to. I started by making a drawing of the photograph shown here. It showed me where the points of contact were that interested me the most. I'm struggling with how to make the image a genuine response to Carolyn's photo rather than a more tangential starting point where my own vocabulary takes over. I shot three rolls already--and for me that is a lot. I had another shoot earlier this week that I wasn't happy with--but today I was in the zone. Nonetheless, I know I've got more to do on this one. I have to keep asking myself how to make the image a real response.

In other news, I had a wonderful time interviewing photographer Joseph Blum for my latest post on is 72 years old and thinks nothing of dangling from a harness hundreds of feet above the bay. His images and his story was inspiring, and I feel lucky to have heard it. His show The Bridge Builders, showcasing 15 years of work shooting on the eastern span of the bay brigde is up at SFAC until September.

Photo above courtesy Carolyn Drake


Double Shadow

I finally got back to shooting last week. Above is an iphone photo taken during a film shoot in my apartment in Berkeley. With Ollie gone it was so much easier to get it all done. This image wasn't what I started out to do, but I liked it anyway. I think it has to do with negative space. It's been four months since I've taken a photo--this image hopefully will break the spell. This year has been the slowest in my creative life since I started making art and that makes me feel like a jerk.

In other news, my first piece for Wired went up last week, on Richard Mosse's latest book and exhibition. I've just returned to Berkeley after a week in southern California where I saw a lot of friends and enjoyed feeling urban again. My trip included dreamy ocean swim in Santa Barbara, scenic running, a geology lecture, skinny dipping a lot of lounging poolside with different friends.