Kids First

Posted on September 1st, 2013

My friend Corey Abell is finishing up his debut album Rainwater Youth, and about to set out on tour across Canada. I’m immensely proud of him, and honoured he chose me to shoot his portrait.

flight club

Posted on July 27th, 2013

From a test roll I shot with an Adox 6×9 folder belonging to my grandfather. The camera was pulled out of his attic in Switzerland a couple years ago, and until recently I was under the impression it didn’t work. As you can see, by the standard definition I guess that’s true, but with a little maintenance I think it will produce some interesting results. I’m going to visit him in Switzerland next week, where I haven’t been in over a decade. It will be cool to see him again, and I’m glad I realized the camera works in time to shoot this roll.

 

Raised By Wolves

Posted on March 13th, 2013

Raised By Wolves is Jim Goldberg’s classic documentary book about teen runaways living on the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Goldberg tells the story of Dave, Echo and a group of “curb-hugging rolling souls” through a raw scrapbook of photos, video stills, personal items and conversations interspersed with his emotionally honest narration.

This type of documentary work—combining words and visuals, with the author submerging into the story—can be intense, but it’s the best. One of the most striking spreads in Raised By Wolves consists of the contact sheets from two rolls of film. The first few frames show a TV broadcasting the flag raising on Iwo Jima, then it briefly switches to a test pattern before displaying nothing but static. Taped between the rows of photos is a single typewritten thread, many of the words crossed out or written over, describing a series of unpublished photos. The buried pain seeps off the page, and Goldberg ends with: “I hid these pictures for years”

Raised By Wolves is out of print, with available copies ranging from $250 to $800, but I was able to locate one for free through an Interlibrary loan (ILL!). If you’d like to see more, this short film brings the story to life, and an extensive series of Goldberg’s photos are available on Magnum’s site.

 

Jim: Do I begin with tweekers or normal suburban kids? Right now [the book is] on abuse and neglect. But I don’t want to make this a straight documentary. I don’t think normal kids are that normal.

Echo: Look, you have this Cosby-type show that people think is going on. Then you have this horrible family, where people think abused kids come from. And then you have this stuff in the middle, which is where most people are. I’m trying to think of how you can get to the middle part of it. Show little parts of the perfect family, and then show the horrible nightmare. Maybe use it as a basis. So people will be more open to seeing the problems with the average kid. There’s a kind of despair that kills that little innocence that kids are supposed to have.

 

“The problem you are going to face, I think, is trying to bridge the gap between ‘society’ and the kids whose problems you portray. Very few people can cross that bridge, because they are uncomfortable with the fact that these kids are products of themselves. They would rather classify them and give them names like ‘victims of abuse, drug addicts, runaways, criminals, and mentally ill.’ They don’t want to respect them for the people that they are. Kids, all kids, are sick of people trying to change them. So many people try to become a part of these kids’ lives, and then turn them into whatever they think they should be.

I have never known you to do that. You showed us as we are, and let us tell the story ourselves. Kids are only going to listen if society first lets them speak with their own voices, without ‘editing.’ Make sure that your work tells the true stories. Show people that they are not the only ones who matter, and that they don’t have the right to classify kids into neat boxes, because that will not make them go away. Instead, it will make their numbers grow.”

– Letter from Echo to Jim, his wife Susan and their young daughter Ruby Sophia

 

These kids find their greatest human need, which is the need for love and affection, met out on the streets with a peer group that will love and accept them. They become greater than a family. You know, they would rather live in filth and hunger with a group that will accept them than they would with a family that will meet all their physical needs, yet inflict on them emotional pain and torment.

– Preacher Hilton

El Capitan

Posted on March 2nd, 2013

 

 

This morning I was a little over my camera, but then I found these old shots of Lakai and felt much better. Salute Margot & Rich.