31 March 2008

Yola Monakhov - new author on The F Blog

My name is Yola Monakhov. I am a photographer working in both color and black-and-white film, mostly in large format, but in medium format, as well. I consider myself a traditional photographer, in that I follow the code of photographic investigation, never knowing beforehand how something should be pictured, but discovering meaning through the process of photography.

I was born in Russia and grew up in New York, where I immigrated as a child with my family. I completed my MFA in 2007 at Columbia University in New York, where, in 1998, I also received an MA in Italian Literature. In the intervening years, I worked as an editorial photographer primarily overseas and in crisis areas, and increasingly started devoting time to the pursuit of my own work. I am a contributing photographer to The New Yorker magazine and teach photography at Columbia University and at Mercer County Community College.

My latest project, of which I am including five images, is still very open. Since I have been teaching Photo 1, I have become deeply enamored with black and white film and its possibilities. I am photographing in uptown Manhattan, around where I live, and downtown, in the financial district, where I currently have a studio residency through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. For this work, I am focusing on architecture as landscape, and on portraiture, in the studio and in the streets.

Photos and text © Yola Monakhov

The F Blog sends good vibrations to you Yola. We are happy to have you here and we can´t wait to see more of your work!

William Schmidt on Kerouac's road (5) - in technicolour

My "Journey Around America" was both picaresque and picturesque. I was still young enough to cry when I left my girlfriend and to spend the night traveling in the front row of a Greyhound holding close to a girl I just met on the way to New Orleans. She gave me her address and told me to call visit when I came to Vancouver. Out of New Orleans, I met another girl who asked me to sit with her. I was going to Houston and she to Dallas. She offered to let me stay with her there, but the wife of a middle-aged Jewish couple (she kept screaming, "Look, Ira, he looks just like a blue-eyed Jesus") told me her sister was picking them up and I could spend the night with them. I said goodbye to the girl from Dallas and went to a rough cowboy bar near the bus station and had my first Lone Star beer. When the sister showed up, Ira said goodbye to me and I was left alone with some very big, unfriendly fellows.
Walking back to the bus station in the growing dusk, I was told to watch myself, that it was dangerous around there after dark and that I could be killed for my backpack and my boots. I looked into the shadows and in my young boy's imagination, I could see it happening. I decided to take the bus onto Denver at midnight. In the bus station, a sweet, nervous man struck up a conversation with me and told me he lived nearby, that I could come to his house, that he would play piano for me and I could shower. As badly as I needed to shower, I had to decline the offer.
Overnight to Denver. I was going to sleep in my tent in a campground and after touring the city that morning, I took a city bus to the edge of town. The campground was a desolate camper and trailer park where I was offered a plot by a drainage ditch. I sat up my tent, and lay down to rest, but I felt absurd, and so to Boulder, meeting a girl on the bus who said I could sleep on her balcony, and I did, poorly, the first night in my new down sleeping bag. She took me to breakfast and that night to a bar where they refused to serve Indians where I played pool and bought beer for Native Americans.

The west was different, and I was in love. Lonely roads hitching through Wyoming and Montanna, sleeping in a small, dingy room in Butte where I was offered a job as a bouncer in a cowboy bar. It must have been a joke. Buffalo, antelope, deer. On to Yellowstone where I rented a car with a psychologist from South Africa, a mathematician from China, a physicist from India, and a college student from the U.S. They thrilled me with their enthusiasm ("I want to see Old Faceful", cried the mathematician while the physicist flipped the through radio stations like a madman, irritating the psychologist who drove). When they left I camped and hiked along the Yellowstone river on the last day the park was open, scared and lost, sloshing through sloughs and crashing through tall grass, singing and clapping my hands to keep away the bears. Oregon where I fell asleep on the lawn of the University in Eugene, waking to a fellow playing guitar. Marijuana had been legalized, though the restaurants had signs that said, "No Smoking or Toking." A big, beefy guy offered to take the guitar player and me back to his house where we would make spaghetti and drink from a gallon jug of wine. In the morning, we made a big, lazy breakfast and he called in sick to work. Later, his wife drove me out to the highway. Vancouver. I went to see the girl from the first night on the bus, a month gone by, but she was not home. Lovely neighborhood. A hippie family picked me up and we ate together. They told me I must go to Vancouver Island and they drove me to the ferry station. We glided through cold water, piney islands, past Joni Mitchell's house someone said.

I met a girl who is going to cross the island to meet some friends. We would go together we decided. It was dark when we de- board. We met a diamond miner who took us to dinner and told us he had a room for the night; we could sleep on the floor. In the morning, we hitchhiked across the island, up winding roads through lovely wilderness, one Winnobega passing us again and again without picking us up, rides with loggers and fishermen, down toward the wild Pacific. The beach was littered with giant logs. We pitched a tent and made dinner. All about the beach, fires glowed. Communion.

The next day we went to a dock where a boat would come to take her to Cat Island. She asked me if I would like to go. Cat Island. Young and fearful, I said no. The boat arrived, she turned and waved. Later I learned from a local fisherman that Cat Island was a commune of artists and professors. Then I was alone, the way back much harder. I shared a room with three women in Seattle more worldly than I, who scare me wickedly.

Down the coast. California, hitchhiking in big sunlight, catching a ride with a fellow in an open van who picks up everyone he sees, a rolling party. In San Francisco I stay in Haight/ Ashbury in a big old Victorian house owned by a religious sect. At night I go to North Beach, to City Light Books, to jazz clubs, and walk those Beat streets. Hitching to Yosemite, I meet a girl. We get a ride in a semi driver taking a load of construction goods to the park. We set up my tent but that night it rains, filling the tent with water and mud.
Reno, Nevada, The Biggest Little City in America, where I gamble for the first time. Free drinks, I lose more money than I can afford. Sleep in a youth hostel on the outskirts of town. Sick for three days, burning fever, hallucinations. I go to hospital. Broke, I begin the last leg of my journey. New York City. I get off the bus at 42nd Street at noon. Suddenly, a cute girl takes my arm. "You want a date?" At first I am puzzled. "Twenty for me, five for the room." "You can't do that to hippies," I tell her, and with a laugh she is gone. Then all the money is gone.
Home. I must find a job. I am about to enter another world.
text and pictures by William Schmidt

Fast (furious)

Photo: Tiberio Fanti


Photographer: GC

Face to Face (109)

photographer: Dorota Oza Karecka

Trees (81)

photographer: Didier Derien


Photo: Jan Bernhardtz


Il Fumar uccide - Verona
Photo: Margareta Cortes

Fire escape

Photo: Rhonda Prince

Face to Face (108)

If I Were a Ghost
photo: Robert Padilla

Fish in the garden

Another Pesky Trout . . .

photo: jeanne wells

30 March 2008

Docu 08 - Bethlehem

Bethlehem, 15 February 2008
Photo: Alexandra Fransson

F wall

Photo: Walter Neiger

Face to face (107)

Meeting someone
Photo: Jan Bernhardtz

beginning with F:


You love the F blog projects don´t you? Well here is "the F collection" a fabulous and fancy new task for you F blog addicts out there.

F is fluorine, the sixth letter of the English alphabet,
the fourth tone in the scale of C major. F is also feminine, focal length, forte and function.

And here are some F words to help you get the machinery going: Fable fabric fabulous fabulously facade face face mask face off facial expression fallen false alarm false azalea false lily of the
Valley fatality fates father fatigue faultfinding fencing

fermentation field trip field work fierce fiesta fifties fifty-five fire escape fixed star fixture flag flirt float flood floor flower flute fire foamy focus focused foe fog folding chair folk art folk dance foreground foreign foreplay forest fountain four four o'clock fourteen fracture freely freestyle freeze french french canadian french fries frost frown frozen frozen dessert fruit fruit grower furnish furniture fury fuse futility future and fun!

Dr F
F is places like Fulham, Fairbanks, Frankfurt, Frejus and Finland. It is Fred Flintstone, Freud, Fiat, Ferrari, fairy tales and facts. F is for friends.

This project will run Forever. The project is multilingual. If you have F-photos in Polish, Spanish, Finnish, Turkish, Arabic, Japanese etc - please go ahead. Just add a translation into English.
Send your contributions to Gruppo F Inbox.

Dr F
The F Blog - unpretentious, unpredictable and unmatched!

Trees (80)

face to face (106)

postcard from: Będzin

photographer: Grzegorz Lizurek


Photo: Bengt Björkbom

Face to face (105)

Photo: Werner Heyckendorff

29 March 2008

invited guest: Jouko Leskelä (first part)

Alert on the street
Street photography is at the end of the day free snapping. In the abundance of possibilities the street photographer focuses his attention selectively. My own goal is to show images, where similar or mismatched people or elements of manmade environment reoccur or juxtapose with each other. My street pictures are unarranged situations. I don’t ask anyone to repeat anything I saw for a photograph.

The coordinates of street photography:
Street photography means freely composed unarranged photography in public places. The subject is mainly people and coincidences between them.The street photographer mostly photographs people he doesn’t know. A street photographer doesn’t hide but neither does he usually introduce himself or ask for permission. Interesting street images entail small meaningful detail, which the viewer has to read from the picture. Street photography is observation of life with a positive spirit. Over time, a long span street photography may gain a zeitgeist-like meaning of a documentaristic nature, often years after the work has ended.

Street photography differs from documentaristic photography with the fact that a documentarist usually works together with his subjects. He has been given permission to photograph. It has been possible to acquire permission because the subject includes a certain number of subjects, not for example the entire population of a city.

It differs also from photographic art, as the observations of the street snapper are not created for photography. The street photos rarely look estranged. The sign of life have not been isolated from their original scenes.

From photojournalism, or editorial photography, street photography differs by the subjects not being big or important events, news. The images might be taken around arranged events, but they remain observations “beside the point”.

Due to the fast rhythm of news, the main item in news photography is rarely a small detail. This is why street photography is not often published in papers.
Pictures and text © Jouko Leskelä
translation: Petronella Grönroos
invited by ulf fågelhammar
Please have a look at snapshot.fi where you will find Jouko along with other great photographers from Finland and elsewhere. The site is in English and Finnish.


Photo: Jan Bernhardtz


Photo: Mirko Caserta

Face to Face (103)

photographer: Dorota Oza Karecka

Face to Face (102)

fundao, pt

invited guest: Ben Huff

You Can´t See Denali From Here
My wife and i moved to Fairbanks, Alaska (sight unseen) in the summer of 2005. You Can't See Denali From Here was born from a need for me to come to terms with my surroundings. these images were a way for me to cut through the clutter, and find a more intimate relationship with the downtown area. Fairbanks holds very little of the quintessential Alaska- the one pictured in the brochures. it could be any town in the Midwest. at first i found it frustrating, misleading, but in time i grew to love it- not for what i expected it to be, but what it is. every walk, with my camera, from my apartment lead to a new level of understanding. these photos are a deliberate journey of seeking out that common thread of most small towns. finding that sweet spot of ambiguity, and also seeing character. /Ben Huff

I am glad to be able to show some of Ben´s pictures here. His blog huffphoto is one of the few blogs I find the time to read and it´s a joy to explore it. We will hopefully hear more from Ben in the coming months.
invited by ulf fågelhammar

All photos©Ben Huff