28 May 2008
Those of you who know me well know that I won't rest on these laurels for any length of time, and, for y'all, here's a glimpse of what's coming:
24 May 2008
I know what you're thinking. This can't be the same Max Cooper that posted “Specializing in Custom portraits of babies.” Yes, it is. Like a post-Cliff Metallica album, the new website is what sells.
For those of you worried about my artistic integrity: DarkTopo isn't going anywhere, and the new site isn't that bad. There's no music, no flash animation, and no scripty text. There's only one baby.
I just got tired of handing out business cards and hoping clients got to the wedding photos before they got to Mr. Pink neutering himself with a potato gun. Still, I've had to swallow a good deal of pride. In an effort to regain some of it, here's the backstage low-down on the bio, which I think is always the most absurd part of a photographer's website.
“Max Cooper distills the essence of the people and places in front of his camera.”
The dirty secret of the bio is that Max Cooper wrote this about himself. Of course he did, who else is going to do it? He's still waiting on the Wikipedia entry his students keep promising him.
“His wedding photography is more journalistic than pictorial, concentrating on an honest rendering, rather than post-processing effects.”
. . . unless your in-laws are ugly. Then it's Gaussian Blur time.
“In politics, Cooper photographs issues and personalities from both sides of the aisle, adhering strictly to the ethics of photojournalism.”
I removed a mole from Rev. Birdsong's face. I'm sorry! I didn't really even mean to do it. There I was with the clone stamp, and one thing led to another. But after all these months of preaching to my students that the only good photo is an honest photo, I feel pretty bad.
So, to keep my conscience quiet, I'm going to track him down and remove the mole for real. Now that's integrity.
“His portraiture seeks a balance of authenticity and aesthetics”
I can't tell you how long I deliberated between 'seeks' and 'strikes'. Chuck Norris doesn't go hunting, because hunting implies the possibility of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.
“drawing its inspiration from the candor and vitality of the subject. “
This is absolutely true, and as much as I've bitched and moaned about the same pictures of babies on everybody's website, the young couple and their baby had at least as much candor and vitality as Cpt. Destructo with that rock. Furthermore, I liked that baby, which is really rare for me.
But I still can't believe I have a baby on my website.
“Cooper's focus on honest photography began in 2000.”
I shot my first wedding in the summer of '00. I was paid in guns.
“Cooper received a BA in Art, with a concentration in photography, from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.”
"Yes, Mr. Cooper, we really admire your work, and we'd love to see it in the pages of National Geographic. However, before publication, there is one issue that we mustn’t overlook: can you make a vegetable-shaped tea pot out of clay?"
"Uh . . .?"
"Surely you're aware of the importance of ceramics in photographic fieldwork."
"Well, I, uh . . ."
"Mr. Cooper, when a Geographic photographer finds himself facing a half ton hippo on the banks of the Nile, a ceramic teapot may mean the difference between capturing or losing the moment. You DID enjoy your ceramics class, didn't you?
“ . . ."
"Hippos know, Mr. Cooper. They can size you up in a moment. And if they find your ceramics skills lacking, all the photography experience in the world won't stop a thousand pounds of charging hippoflesh."
"But my resumé . . ."
"This interview is over, Mr. Cooper. Come back when you can make a teapot."
“His images have appeared in newspapers and journals across western North Carolina...”
Take that, Eugene Smith.
“and was the recipient of UNCA's Ryan Patrick Jones Excellence in Photography award.“
And I can hold an easel open with my head while focusing the Leitz with one hand, rocking a developing tray with the other, and checking the grain with a loupe I had permanently installed in my eye, all while 18 hippies over-develop pictures of their naked girlfriends and listen to reggae in the unventilated closet the University called a darkroom.
“Cooper's art and documentary work centers on the region’s deep faith, strong rural roots, and increasingly developed industrial topography.”
... and his own inner demons. And roadkill.
“and the private collection of Phil Mechanic Studios.”
One print in an office in the basement, and I'm crazy proud of it.
“Cooper lives in Asheville with his” smoking hot and incredibly patient “wife, Jessica.”
22 May 2008
"This legislation would provide compensation in the case of infringement, unless the work was used without commercial advantage or by a non-profit or educational purpose, or if the infringer ceases use of the work after being notified of the infringement."
What?? Non-profit or educational purpose? Is that like the UNCA professors who'd write their own textbook and then require their students to buy it? Don't non-profits already have enough of a tax break without giving them license to steal?
I don't care about anybody's good cause or textbook racket. Keep your looting hands off my photos.
20 May 2008
17 May 2008
12 May 2008
During the primary, I shot my 10,000th frame on the D200. It's actually quite a bit more than that, because for the first few months I owned it I didn't use the sequential filing. So I'm probably up to around 12,500 now. This is what a 10,000th frame looks like:
Not so great. Mumpower was taking phone calls from voters at other precincts.
I offered my students extra credit if they'd take a self-portrait in the voting booth. Little did I know that photographs in a polling place are against state law. Dag, yo.
I keep taking a picture of this place without really knowing why:
I just emailed The Bard some photos of his awesome paintings, so he now has no excuse for not posting.
And Bard, if you want to see some really badass painting, check out "Africa: Portraits of Power" exhibit at the YMI Cultural Center. Like Frazetta, but more spiritual. These paintings were the backdrop for the GOP debate, which was a really interesting juxtaposition.
This weekend I reformatted my computer five times. The first time was great, and I got all my software installed, and let things sit until Sunday. Then I started having issues. No right-click, menus wouldn't work, etc. I decided to wipe it and start over, thinking maybe the partition hadn't been completely cleaned out.
When I started the new format, things went downhill quickly. I was seeing new menus I'd never seen before, and XP kept trying to load its recovery console, rather than do a clean install. After a few hours, I swallowed my pride and called SMAN.
We hit the same problems, and banged our heads into the wall for another hour. Then I realized some business cards I'd stuck in my keyboard were pressing the F10 button. Problem solved. D'oh.
You know it's a good day when you start drinking margaritas at 11:30. A.M.
Saturday I got up at the crack of eight and went to the District to shoot. I was not early enough, but luckily it had rained all night and the sky was still dramatic.
08 May 2008
The Illustrator's Partnership of America has some great information on why this bill is a bad idea. They also provide an easy way to express your opposition to the bill:
Contact the House Judiciary Committee
I'm not a hard-liner about copyrights, but intellectual property is, plain and simple, property. The bill basically says "finders keepers," but allows the finder great liberty. Kind of like how someone might "find" my camera gear in the back of my car, after they broke out my window.
The idea that I must register my images with a private, third party organization to be protected sounds like certain other protection schemes I've heard of. Nothing more than a mobster's racket.
Please do what you can.
07 May 2008
So I was up all night working on my pictures of US Congressional candidate Carl Mumpower, who won last night's GOP primary. I shot somewhere around a thousand frames yesterday, and sent a link to his campaign manager at 1:50 a.m. I was proud of my diligence, until I got a email back at 1:54, and then an email from Mumpower himself at 5:38. These people don't sleep.
Apparently, neither do I. My plan was to come home after class and crash, but then I just laid there, thinking about how there was probably some newspaper editor that wanted to use my image on page A-1 and needed a high-res file RIGHT NOW. Ok, that's a lie. I never actually laid down. But that's ok, because there was an editor who need a file, and RIGHT NOW was exactly when he needed it.
So as long as I was editing, I figured I might as well sort through the other 999 or so images I shot, one of which ended up on the front page of buncombegop.org.
Consequently, at quarter to four this afternoon, I was weaving through the house and suddenly the couch demanded my rapt attention. There it was, all soft and horizontal. My brain was so addled from sleeplessness that I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen a couch so comfortable looking. I covered up with a mil-surp camo jacket and fell fast asleep.
For about fifteen minutes.
Suddenly, from somewhere off in the distance, I heard the thump of footsteps on the porch. “Awesome,” I thought, “it's my wife coming home from work. She'll probably cover me up with something even better than this mil-surp jacket.” But then there's a knock on the door.
Clearly, the situation called for me to open my eyes. The thing that was standing at the door was decidedly less shapely than my wife. I might even go so far as to say its shape was spikey. To make matters worse, it was a he, and he was still knocking. Even after seeing me curled up on my couch in a fetal position twitching and drooling, shrouded in camo and bleary hallucinations, he was still knocking.
There on my door stood a
man male person with checkered shorts, eye makeup, and hair shaped into 18-inch spikes. He was out of breath, and holding a half-full wine bottle. “There must be some sort of emergency,” I thought. “This poor fellow’s car must have broken down on the way to Alice Cooper’s retirement dinner.”
So I stand up and plod over to the door, and, against my better judgment, open it.
“Hey man, I’m running for a grant to start a small business, and I was hoping you’d vote for me.”
“My name’s Kalvin, and I’m running for a grant.”
“I don’t think you run for grants.”
“Well, I’m running for one.”
“What kind of business do you want to start?”
“An indie record store.”
“Oh, ok. I’ll be right back.”
I lock the door, and go into the office and check my email. The editor has emailed me back; my photo of Mumpower will be on the cover of this week’s Asheville Tribune. I check the news. Democrats are whispering to Clinton that she should get while the gettin’s good. I brush my teeth. Then I plod back out to the living room. The guy is still sitting on my porch. Sigh.
“Ok, so what kind of grant are you running for?”
“I already told you, do you want me to start over?”
“Ok, I’m running for a grant to start a business. If enough people in the neighborhood vote for me, I can start an indie record store.”
“How do I vote for you?”
“You have to place an order before you can fill out a questionnaire.”
“An order for what?”
“Magazines and stuff.”
He hands me some literature. It’s laminated, which is probably good, because he is very sweaty. There’s a cut out picture of him with his name underneath: Kalvin. Yes, with a K. He does not have the spikes in the picture. The literature says the “grant” is for $15,000.
Kalvin has propped his feet up on my porch railing, and is leaning back in my chair, balancing his half-full bottle of wine on his knee. “You know, man,” he says, “there are some real characters that live on your street.” I bet.
“Kalvin,” I say, “I’m really poor.”
“You look pretty old to be a college student.”
Thanks, motherfu.. “I’m not a college student, I’m a college professor.”
“You don’t look like a professor.”
You don’t look like a human being. “I can’t afford to order any magazines.”
“Aw, come on, man, there’s magazines for poor people, too.”
Get the hell off my porch. “Good luck to you.”
06 May 2008
Been shooting since 8 a.m. A brief time out to empty the memory cards, then back to headquarters to get pictures of the (victory?) party tonight. Did I just say headquarters? Yes, I did. That's what happens when you hang out with politicos all day.
05 May 2008
Finally, I've got a foothold on the Eastern front. I don't know who you are, anonymous Portugueseman, but I know you're spreading the DarkTopo philosophy through those narrow cobble-stone streets. Now all I have to do is sit back and let the euros roll in.
Tomorrow is primary day here in NC. I plan on shooting about 12 hours straight. The GOP has taken an interest in my work from last week's debate so I'll probably be following candidates around as they kiss hands and shake babies. The circus only comes to town every four years.
The Bard and Cpt. Hook and I saw this in Ingles. Jasper Johns is the highest selling American artist. I should at least get a MOMA show for photos like that.