Category: PORTRAITS

5 DAYS LEFT // PRESENTING ANITA STO

5 DAYS UNTIL THE ARTISTS OF THE INVISIBLE DOG SHOW. Up until Saturday, I will be highlighting two portraits per day. I will also be including the text for each image, which right now you can only find in the casebound book. During the show, you can buy THE ARTISTS OF THE INVISIBLE DOG BOOK with all 31 portraits and text about each one. For now, presenting Anita Sto.

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BYUN // A LAYER OF #1L


And the artist series rolls on. In July, I photographed artist Chong Gon Byun in his apartment and art studio. Both spaces are meticulously layered with books, sculptures and peculiar finds that he has accumulated from trips. The sheer depth and unique nature of his collection reveal decades of dedication and disciplined curation. As described by the Invisible Dog, Byun “gives found and discarded objects new meaning by using them to create sculptures and assemblages that explore the clash between post-industrial civilization and the present consumerist culture.” Many of the pieces have been modified in whimsical or quirky ways (check out poor Marilyn Monroe tied to the front of a vintage fan below). For a photographer, the shoot was both a dream and a curse; that is, while it is clearly an amazing space to capture, it is simply overwhelming.

> To see his work, come see Byun’s solo show, A LAYER OF THE #1L, from 9/17-11/06 at The Invisible Dog. I was thrilled to let him use my portrait of him for his promotional card.

Born in Korea, Byun has lived in Brooklyn for over 25 years. I asked him where he would move if he had the chance. He said it was just not possible. Can you imagine relocating every single object in his apartment? Besides a two foot pathway that runs from the front to the back of the apartment, every single square inch of space on the floor, wall and ceiling is completely filled. And he knows exactly where everything is.

Have a look at a few of the images from my shoot with Byun. Also, below my images, check out the video of his Brooklyn apartment. The video is produced and directed by Ben Wu and David Usui. Through carefully considered vignettes and intriguing pans, it beautifully captures a very complex space in a simple and elegant manner.

BYUN’S APT


MEDITATION















 

BYUN


 

/// This video below is produced and directed by Ben Wu and David Usui of Lost & Found Films (lostfoundfilms.com).

BYUN from thismustbetheplace on Vimeo.

ASTRONAUT

As an ongoing project, I am photographing the artists at The Invisible Dog. So far, it has been a curious mix of painters, sculptors, illustrators and jewelry makers. In my most recent shoot, I had the opportunity to shoot Juan Alfaro, an ‘astronaut’ who is probably better known as a talented carpenter, welder and craftsman of fine furniture. Fascinated with space exploration, Juan designed and created an astronaut’s suit out of padded moving blankets and adapted/patinated plumbing parts. This art piece was featured at Whitney Hunter’s group show Work/Space this past February (shown in the first image). Below is a behind-the-scenes recap of the shoot, including the final image at the bottom. Huge credit goes to Juan for allowing us to dangle him from his ceiling in a modified harness in 98F degree heat while we pumped in fog with the windows closed.













 

FINAL IMAGE

INFERNO

After shooting Juan ‘the astronaut’ this weekend, I worked on a shoot entitled Inferno. My two wonderful models were great sports to put up with a smoke storm for a few hours in 96F heat. It would be hard to disagree that the shoot was anything but a convincing inferno – the Brooklyn Fire Department showed up with 2 trucks and 20 men! They were of course relieved to find that a neighbor’s call turned out to only be a fog machine. I heard later that one fireman, in particular, was disappointed that he couldn’t join the shoot. But after the trucks left and the smoke settled (literally), we were left with the images below.

A FAIR WARNING FOR THOSE IN THE BUILDING







THE FINAL IMAGES



“LIVE FREE OR DIE”

PICTURE STORIES 1 –

Naturally, people have varying responses to my work. Some see entire stories played out. This is the first of a series of short stories written by Samuel Walcott. This image is pulled from my Commuter series.

Text by Samuel Walcott

“Live free or die. These four words are the motto of New Hampshire. They appear on most license plates, printed above the numbers. As a boy of eight or ten, I read those words. Words, I thought, that were courageous, just, inspiring.

I remember sitting in the spindly topmost branches of a maple tree, staring out over hills full of tawny fields and dark pine woods, thinking about those words. Freedom and liberty, to me, meant independence. They meant relying on no one but myself. When I grew up, I swore, I would build my house and hunt my food and I would not need anyone to help me. Then, I would be free.

And, of course, now that I am older, I buy my food in the grocery store. I live in an apartment. I have not broken free, in any true sense of the word. And I see that the words freedom and liberty have been taken from me. Used by what Joseph Conrad called “fanatical lovers of Liberty … Liberty with a capital ‘L’ … Liberty that means nothing precise. Liberty in whose name crimes are committed.”

That four word motto has become a hollow echo, a dying vestige of something that once was real.”