Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

East Bay neon — photo exhibit

ivy_roomIf you’ve ever driven on San Pablo Avenue in the East bay through Albany and El Cerrito, you’ve noticed a plethora of old neon signs on the bars, restaurants and stores (Pictured at left: the sign in front of the Ivy Room on San Pablo and Solano in nearby Albany.)

Courtesy Thomas Hawk — The work of five East Bay photographers appears in a show of pictures of East Bay neon signs at the Fingado Art Gallery in El Cerrito. The opening reception is Friday, July 10 from 7-9.

Places you’re not supposed to see

This morning I’m going to the SFMOMA to meet artist and writer Trevor Paglen and interview him.
        Update: Here’s the interview on
He may be best known because of his appearance several months ago on “The Colbert Report” talking about his short book about the unit patches worn by people working on secret military projects, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have To Be Destroyed By Me. He’s also the author of “Blank Spots on the Map,” a geographical approach to the black world of secret military projects, and co-author of Torture Taxi, about the Bush administration’s uncharted rendition air flights.

But he’s not just an author and academic — he’s a geography professor at UC Berkeley — but a photographer whose work is hanging at both SFMOMA and the Altman Siegel Gallery in SF. His photographs, many of which use what he calls “Limit Telephotography” or the practice of taking very long range telephoto pictures, peek into places you’re not supposed to see:

Trevor Paglen: Large Hangars and Fuel Storage/Tonopah Test Range, NV/Distance ~18 miles/10:44 am

Trevor Paglen: Large Hangars and Fuel Storage/Tonopah Test Range, NV/Distance ~18 miles/10:44 am

… and pick out needles — secret surveillance satellites — in the haystack of the night sky.

Photog’s SFMOMA confrontation and aftermath

Local photographer Thomas Hawk blogged 10 days ago about a confrontation he had at SF’s Museum of Modern Art with Director of Visitor Relations Simon Blint. After spotting Hawk taking pictures from a museum balcony and arguing with the photographer — who is well known for his strenuous defense of his right to photograph in public places — Blint had Hawk 86’d, asserting his duty to defend the museum’s employees from harrassment.

The incident became widely known after BoingBoing blogged about it. Last Thursday the incident was analyzed at 10 Zen Monkeys, which tracked down and interviewed a security guard involved in a 2006 confrontation with Hawk. The 10 Zen Monkeys post, by author “Destiny” (for that matter, “Thomas Hawk” is also a pen name), depicts Hawk as a hothead who used profanity in the 2006 incident, which ended with the security guard being fired by his employers. Hawk also recently called for a boycott of Hyatt hotels after security personnel in one of them forbade him to take pictures in the hotel lobby. And Violet Blue blogged about another 2006 incident here on SF Metblog.

Clearly he doesn’t shrink from confrontation. While I tend to admire loudmouthed people who call attention to the abuses of authority, I also think the tactic can be self-limiting. What looks heroic in the short run can, after many repetitions, wind up looking merely quixotic at best, and at worst become an exercise in Ralph Nader-type egotism. But as technology makes ever-more-intrusive inroads on privacy and organizations become more secretive, I’ll come down on Hawk’s side — especially when he’s attacking institutions and not just individuals.

Overheard at SF MOMA

Man Ray and Lee Miller
The Lee Miller exhibition at the SF Museum of Modern Art, which was due to open July 1, has opened early, and I toured it today. Beautiful stuff, with material from her career as a mid-1920s fashion model through her work in Europe and Egypt in the 1930s, her wartime work in the 1940s, and her postwar slowdown.

Overheard at the exhibit:

One woman to another:
      “I never hear of something… and then it’s everywhere.”

A couple standing before a Miller portrait of her mentor and lover Man Ray (pictured above, though not the picture they were looking at):
      Her: “He was no cutie.”
      Him: “Well, that’s why you become an artist.”

The exhibit remains through Sept. 14.

High-Def SF

SF Moon Panorama
Looking for a nice view of The City? Hi-Def San Francisco, a project of CloudView Photography, has some great views!

Not only is there a live view of the SF skyline, there are some stunning HD panoramas, a live map of ships in the Bay and more. My favorite is the mesmerizing HD time lapse of The City as viewed from Sausalito, available in 480p, 720p, and even 1080p(!) so you can fill your screen with a superb view of SF.

Travel by train


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