Outside of LA, the Silver Fire is burning.

•August 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment
a smoldering mountainside, Reuters/David McNew

a smoldering mountainside, Reuters/David McNew

8 Days

•August 7, 2013 • 2 Comments
Venetia Dearden

Venetia Dearden

I just discovered Venetia Dearden’s work. Based in the UK, she spent 8 days in the American West, and the resulting series of photographs is spectacular, dreamy, magical. The way she uses light in her photographs!! Very cinematic. You can see the entire series here.

Another book about Mauerpark…

•July 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Thomas Henk Henkel / Junius Verlag

Thomas Henk Henkel / Junius Verlag

I guess I’m not so original! It turns out someone else has made a book about Mauerpark’s flea market. Thomas Henk Henkel’s Treasure Hunters focuses on portraits of visitors and the treasures they find at Berlin’s Mauerpark.

A new photography book published in Germany focuses the lens on modern-day treasure hunters at the flea market and their booty. Photographer Thomas Henk Henkel first came up with the idea after he and his son rented a stand to unload a bunch of stuff they no longer needed.

Henkel says he was trying to sell toys, but couldn’t stop thinking about all of the fascinating people flooding the market. “It was like holding up a mirror to the world,” he says. He then decided to exchange mental images for real ones and created a book dedicated to the visitors.

Here’s a link to the article on Der Spiegel’s site. You can read about my book on Mauerpark’s flea market here.

Hemingway’s principle of the iceberg

•July 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment
photo of Hemingway by Man Ray

photo of Hemingway by Man Ray

There’s a wonderful interview with Ernest Hemingway up on the Paris Review’s site. There are so many gems in this interview, but this passage stood out to me the most:

If a writer stops observing he is finished. But he does not have to observe consciously nor think how it will be useful. Perhaps that would be true at the beginning. But later everything he sees goes into the great reserve of things he knows or has seen. If it is any use to know it, I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows. Anything you know you can eliminate and it only strengthens your iceberg. It is the part that doesn’t show. If a writer omits something because he does not know it then there is a hole in the story.

Berlin, Second Hand (Part II)

•June 29, 2013 • 1 Comment
Berlin, Second Hand (front & back cover)

Berlin, Second Hand (front & back cover)

I’ve created a separate “buy now” option for buyers overseas. Shipping costs a wee bit more for those of you outside the US, but now you can just press a button instead of emailing me about the details. Easy, right? If you click on the “buy now” button below, it will take you to a new page where you can use your PayPal account to buy the book.

Buy Now Button

If you’re in the US, you can buy the book here.

Gentrification of the mind

•June 27, 2013 • 1 Comment

Over at Bookslut, there are a few brilliant posts related to the gentrification of cities like New York, Paris and Berlin. I should have known. Bookslut has all the answers. This is exactly what my book (Berlin, Second Hand) is about. I think Berlin’s gentrification is particularly sad because Berlin was, at one point, renowned for its tolerance, its cantankerous anti-establishment stance and its creative atmosphere. These ingredients combined with cheap rents allowed people to, as Bookslut’s Jessa Crispin puts it, “live radical, exciting, David Bowie kinds of lives. (Not so much the drug addled state, more to do with the philosophical embodiments of his outfits.).” The way rents are going up in Berlin, this kind of freedom is slowly becoming extinct. It’s funny, but after I got my book back from the printer, it hit me: Today’s Berlin is sort of a watered down, second hand version of what the city once was. I didn’t think of this when I originally chose a title for the book. Funny how that works.

Anyway, cities once challenged people and offered a refuge from the homogenized suburbs, but wealth is changing that. People want their organic lattes and this means mom & pop businesses get elbowed out. Expensive rents mean one must join the rat race. I like to think of it as a hamster running on a wheel. (I mean, what if we all just stepped off the wheel?) But gentrification touches on deeper issues, like creative thinking, challenging the status quo, independent thought and the tyranny of hipness. It’s about 21st century feudalism where the majority of us are serfs and the 1% are the landlords. Okay, I’ll stop ranting.

Here is an excerpt from Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind. A little food for thought, my dear Sloggers:

“There is something inherently stupid about gentrified thinking. It’s a dumbing down and smoothing over of what people are actually like. It’s a social position rooted in received wisdom, with aesthetics blindly selected from the presorted offerings of marketing and without information or awareness about the structures that create its own delusional sense of infallibility. Gentrified thinking is like the bourgeois version of Christian fundamentalism, a huge, unconscious conspiracy of homogeneous patterns with no awareness about its own freakishness. The gentrification mentality is rooted in the belief that obedience to consumer identity over recognition of lived experience is actually normal, neutral, and value free…

Ignoring the reality that our cities cannot produce liberating ideas for the future from a place of homogeneity keeps us from being truthful about our inherent responsibilities to each other. For in the end, all this self-deception and replacing, this prioritizing and marginalizing, this smoothing over and pushing out, all of this profoundly affects how we think. That then creates what we think we feel.”

For some reason this brings to mind Shepard Fairey’s OBEY t-shirts. There is kind of a mindless, pack mentality to today’s cities. We’re all being spoon-fed by our technology.

Artist’s Books & Cookies. What else do you really need?

•June 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

If you’re in Los Angeles, don’t miss the 2nd annual ForYourArt’s Artist’s Books and Cookies event at Ooga Booga this Sunday, June 30th. It’s a one-day exhibition of artist books. And the cookies are there to encourage people to hang out for a while.  What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! You can even catch a glimpse of my book while you’re there.

356 S. Mission Road in LA.

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