Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stranded in the Art Institute with William Eggleston

These are some pics I took--mostly with my Digital Harinezumi 2--when I went to see William Eggleston at the Art Institute of Chicago:


And here's video of him signing my book:

For more of my photography, go here.

You can check out Eggleston's work here.

And you can watch Eggleston's Stranded in Canton below:

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Artist's Statement

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Some people have been asking questions about my work recently, so I thought I'd post my artist's statement:

Much of my work seeks to document the culture of gay strip clubs nationwide. My interest stems from how the clubs function, for many gay men, as safe spaces to express their desires. I embarked on this project in 2006 as a way to provide a visual record of these clubs, which—because of their insular and controversial nature—often go undocumented.

In my photographs, I try to capture the array of emotions on display at the clubs—the longing and sometimes boredom of the customers; the aggressive way the strippers present themselves onstage in contrast to the vulnerability they show behind-the-scenes. These moods speak, not only to the specifics of gay strip clubs, but also to the universal experiences of desiring and being desired.

In terms of medium, I enjoy working within the tradition of the photobook, which, as Martin Parr and Gerry Badger write in The Photobook: A History, “has a specific character distinct from the photographic print.” I view my work in this way for three main reasons. One, the narrative nature of a book suits my project, which essentially reflects a journey. Two, the printed format links my work to the pulp paperbacks and physique periodicals of the ‘50s and ‘60s, which represented some of the first mass-produced examples of homoerotic imagery. And, lastly, I’m drawn to the photobook because I’m strongly influenced by the are-bure-boke (grainy, blurry, out-of-focus) aesthetic of such Japanese photobook makers as Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Keizo Kitajima. This style lends itself to conveying the often dark, shadowy nature of the clubs and also the hazy, dream-like nature of desire itself.

My aesthetic choices are in the service of showing how the activities at the strips clubs reflect two fundamental ideas about modern sexuality: how sexuality, on one level, is about the simple human desire for connection, but also how sexuality—in our age of celebrity sex tapes, do-it-yourself porn, and “Girls Gone Wild”—has become a performative, public spectacle that is at times liberating and profoundly terrifying.