Saturday, October 22, 2011

Victoria and Howie

These two have been inseparable since day one. They are two of a kind. They play ball together, they swim together... they might as well be connected at the waist. I never met two others that were meant to be together more than Victoria and Howie.

Victoria and Howie on Aubergine, Jersey City, NJ, 2007?, Juliana Beasley

This photo was taken shortly after I found Howie abandoned and tied up under a bench in our neighborhood park. He was still just a pupster

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Victoria On Aubergine

Victoria on Aubergine, Jersey City, NJ, 2007?. Juliana Beasley

Photo of the week. Must take more photos of Victoria.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gabriella Gomez-Mont Must Carry The Torch for Mexico in 2012!

Gabriella Gomez-Mont 

Hi All!

I have just received some incredible news and felt the importance of sharing it with you. My friend Gabriella Gomez-Mont, a cultural inspiration and leader has been nominated to carry the torch for Mexico in London in 2012 Olympic Games!

I think this is wonderful. We need more people involved in the arts and who support the arts to be visible in the mainstream. We need to get our cause out there. Something simple here about Gabriella. I have a larger bio at bottom of post.

Gabriella Gomez-Mont is a cultural promoter, writer, filmmaker and TED Senior Fellow. She is simply someone 
who cares about the arts and has provided guidance and support to other artists including myself for many years. She gives opportunities to artists that otherwise could not afford to participate in art projects. This is just the basics for now.

I am asking you to vote for for Gabriella. And ASAP! Below, you can read why we need to vote for her as artists and art lovers. But, first let's not waste our time. We only have till 11pm EST to get our vote out there.

It is incredibly simple. You just click on the link.

Voting requires no registration, it is only two easy steps (less than30 seconds) and it seems one can vote 

from other countries as well.

In fact, you can even vote several times if you do so from a different IP or both your phone and a laptop 

for example. 

Pass the word around! Thanks!!!

Now, about Gabriella Gomez-Mont!

Gabriella Gomez-Mont is a cultural promoter, writer, filmmaker and TED Senior Fellow. She has received various recognitions and awards for her work in various fields, as well as helping promote creative excellence in Mexico.
In the year 2000 she received a year-long grant at Fabrica, the creative laboratory and art center based in Italy. In the year 2001 she worked in the editorial department of the Aperture Photography Foundation, in New York. In 2002 Gabriella returned to Mexico after receiving the Jóvenes Creadores grant that the Mexican government gives to young artists, and then, in 2003, one of six grants given by Teratoma (a group composed of many renowned artist, art historians, critics, anthropologists, etc., based in Mexico) for an intensive and exclusive year-long course dealing with curating contemporary art and critical theory imparted by important figures of the national and international cultural arena.
As a visual artist Gabriella has been part of exhibitions in Europe, Japan, the USA and Mexico; and her work has been published in various magazines and books such as “From Chaos To Order and Back” by Electa. She has also done creative work for companies such as MTV International, Nike, Benetton and the WWF.
As a writer, she has collaborated with national and international publications such as Colors (Italy), Step Inside Design (New York), Contemporary (UK), Eye (UK), Acido Surtido (Argentina), -ism (Holand), Luna Cornea (Mexico), Fahrenheit (Mexico), Travesias (Mexico), Código Postal (Mexico), etc. She is also part of the editorial board of Replicante and Fahrenheit magazine, and Gabriella was also associate editor of the Colors Issue on Mexican Telenovelas (Soap Operas) and guest editor for a world-wide Vice Magazine special issue on Mexico City. She has also worked as a producer for editorial projects for The New York Times, Culture & Travel, Vogue Homme, Colors Magazine and visiting international artists.
In the year 2004 she founded Tóxico: Cultura Contemporanea and Cine Abierto (dedicated to promoting independent cinema). In that same year Gabriella co-founded Laboratorio Curatorial 060, an experimental collective made up of artists, philosophers, art historians and architects that are interested in questioning the ideas that define and contain contemporary cultural practices. LC 060 has created projects for many of Mexico´s most important cultural institutions such as the Carrillo Gil Contemporary Art Museum, Art & Idea, CANAIA, etc. LC 060´s latest (and running) project has earned both national and international grants for it´s production (such as the Prince Claus Fund from Holland, and FONCA from Mexico ) and was recently awarded first place in the BEST ART PRACTICE AWARD, a coveted international prize given by the Italian government for the best experimental curatorial project of the last 5 years.
In May 2009 she was selected as one of 25 international TED Fellows 2009, and is now also a TED Senior Fellow 2010-2013.
And she is now filming her first feature-length documentary with the support of the FOPROCINE national cinema grant.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Writing, Writing, Not Writing. Just Start.

The Operating Theater
No good can come of this. Photograph, Lauren Simonutti.

OK, I did say full disclosure in the form of self-portraits and writing. I said that in my last post. And I am not delivering this week or at least not yet. Instead of looking inwards. I am looking outside of myself and not necessarily with any objectivity.

Self-portraits... Now, that feels a lot more challenging and daunting than taking photographs of someone sitting in front of me. Just me alone with my camera. Vulnerable performer or liar fool.

Who will I be? Solitude, reflection, no distractions. Just me talking to my camera. My soliloquy, my silence, my boredom, my melancholy and mania. An inescapable meditation.

How do those self-portrait photographers do it? If you are not presenting yourself as someone other than yourself, how do you be yourself with yourself and present yourself as yourself? Do I seem shallow here? Or maybe just in some mild form of a demented state about who I am and what this person "Juliana" does alone?

I have surely done my time alone. Probably far more than most people I know. But, somehow when I do not share the stage with the other actors, I am a little bewildered. I am lost without someone holding up that mirror that reflects and shines an interdependent relationship of shared personalities.

Sure, I know what I do when I am alone. Probably too much staring at the walls. But, my concern in the process and the product is that it will only be a caricature of myself. I can only imagine myself positioning my body and contorting my face in front of the camera while counting down the seconds before the self-timer sets off the shutter.

This gives me a whole new respect for photographers whom have sat alone with the camera. I'm thinking in particular of the photographer Lauren Simonutti's body of work. I learned about her recently when I found out about her precious edition of hand made books called "No Such Thing As Silence". I would love to write more about her but if you really want to read a great blog interview with her and get the inside story, you must go to Colin Pantall's Blog (which by the way is eclectic, well-written and just one of my favorite blogs.) A good read and yes, inspiring.

I will say one thing: this book comes with feathers and bells attached.

Right now, for me, the starting is the hardest part.

So, return to the external. Last week, I entered new territory. I photographed all weekend and did not take my Rollei TLR with me. No, film. No, big bracket with big flash. No, 30 rolls of 120 film. I put my Canon 5D and flash in a bag filled with batteries and memory cards. So, light and carefree. So, modern!

Yes, I actually spent the weekend as an analog traitor. I shot digital and I loved it. I felt naughty and cheap and very very bad. I felt like a junkie and an explorer on a new adventure... so many gigs of storage, so many clicks of the shutter... and never ever never enough images.

I woke up on Saturday around 11am.  Before sitting up in bed, I had rationalized all the reasons of why I should not gather my lightweight equipment and take a two hour commute by subway out to the Rockaways. The best reason I could come up with-- but it would suffice-- was that it was already too late in the day.

By 3:30pm, I waiting in the local Target for my 4X6" print order to be ready for pick up. I wanted to arrive with photographs to give to my friends. When I got on the Path train in Jersey City headed to WTC where I transfer to the A train out to Queens, it was close to 4pm. I had missed most of the good light.

Diana and Mikey were throwing a birthday party for one of their tenant's little boy who lived in their bungalows. I knew the mother Gabby since before she even became pregnant with little Angelo. I remember the first time I met her four or five years ago. She was sitting on a beat up bed, texting and far away on her cell phone while her friends laughed and partied in a small room in a boarding house near the beach. She looked like a 14 year old kid even though she probably was 18. Her face was angelic.

I looked for Gabby for years. I wanted to photograph her again. I had heard from someone in the neighborhood that she had gotten pregnant and had a baby boy.

"Angelo and Gabby", Rockaways, NYC, 9/11. Juliana Beasley

I didn't find her until recently when I learned she rented and lived with her son in one of the bungalows. No matter who I asked or where I looked I could not find her. I should have known that the past often  catches up to the present.  Chance meetings and reunions happen in their own time... the Rockaways does not work on a schedule and the time table that most people apply to their lives does not exist here. Therefore, when you work in chaos, you have to adopt the rules of chaos... there just aren't any rules.

I found Gabby and Angelo, one day by chance when I was invited to one of my friend's daughter's birthday party in July. There she was just sitting on the porch outside of the bungalow, baby blue paint chipping off the facade. She was smoking a cigarette. She still looked like a kid. Time compressed and I felt like I had never lost her.

I finally arrived in the Rockaways, however, late I was. And it's never ever a disappointment however late or early I show up. Sure there are unpleasant days out there but I always meet someone new or learn something that had alluded me for years. I always feel enlightened on my 2 hour trip back to Jersey contemplating a day out in the Rockaways while I sit on the subway eating a bag of Cheetos under a florescent lights.

Oh, Nicole's Cha Cha shoes. Yes, you can find her out there in the neighborhood where she lives in a bungalow with her husband. They are newly weds. Close to 9pm, she was putting herself together for a night out working as a female impersonator in a club somewhere in Manhattan. We walked out the door together. She pulled up her hot pink spandex top and exposed a little cleavage.

"Be careful on the subway platform, " I said as we parted.

"Don't worry, honey. Don't let anyone fuck with me because I will fuck you up."

"Nicole's Cha Cha Heels",  Rockaways, NYC, 9/11. Juliana Beasley

The party was winding down when I arrived. I took some portraits. The sun went down and the partygoers began to disperse. I walked a couple blocks over to my new favorite pub in the neighborhood and befriended the bartender, Sharon. I finally met my Rockaway's kindred spirit. Years of traveling out to the peninsula and finally, I met someone who really got me. And I got her. We knew all the same people. She is boisterous, tough, and a great storyteller. She can "man" her bar and kindly discipline the most difficult of irate drunk customers into submission. I look forward to our next meeting.

You gotta' "ring them bells".