"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Thursday, October 30, 2014

take me out to the ballgame

What a wild and whacky two months it's been. As soon as summer ended, just as Eddie and I returned to Kansas City, we were whisked off to a Royal's game by our close friends G and R. We hadn't really been huge fans since the 80's and early 90's, when we had season's tickets and loved everything about the Royals. The player's strike in 1994-95 completely turned us off to major league baseball and all its trappings. But we'd been in deep. If we were out of town, we listened to the games on the radio. Both our kids had thrown out first pitches and sung the national anthem with their classmates for several years when they came out on top raising money for the MS Read-a-thon. I'd had the opportunity to photograph George Brett up close and personal. Eddie and Sluggerrrr were good buds. We had a collection of signed baseballs. We had a souvenir section of the old astro-turf that used to carpet the stadium.

I was even at Game 7 of the 1985 World Series.

Dear Baseball: I'm sorry I went away. But, guess what? I'm baaaaaaack!

I remember asking R. on our way to Kaufman Stadium on August 31st, "So, who are the key players this year?" That's how far removed I'd gotten. That was two wild and wonderful months ago. Now I can tell you every back story of every player, I am the proud owner of a Royals sweatshirt, I have my own rally rag, I cancel stuff so I can watch games on TV, I even shelled out the big bucks to attend two of the post season games, including GAME 7 of the WORLD SERIES!

Mary Jo and I didn't decide to go until late in the afternoon. We're both pretty spontaneous crazy, so when the ticket prices started to drop (around the same time the fabulous Joyce DiDonato was warming up her vocal chords for the national anthem), we pulled the trigger. Miraculously, we got to our nosebleed seats just in time to the see the boys in blue bat in the bottom of the first.

The Royals lost, as you know by now. But, I don't think anyone really lost in all of this. Our town has become the City of Love (please, please, can this feeling last!!?). Everyone seems happy and optimistic. Around town you see royal blue water in all of our fountains, royal blue ribbons tied around our trees, royal blue lights on our houses and offices. There's a feeling of camaraderie and pride. There's this feeling we can do anything if we just believe. And I don't think that feeling is limited to Kansas City. The feel-good post season Royals managed to charm their way into hearts all across the country.

I'm not sure how I'll fill the void now. I've watched a lot of baseball these past two months. I'll probably go into some sort of withdrawal, along with the rest of the folks in Kansas City. But here's the cool thing…

Spring is only a few months away!

Hos, Salvi, Moose, Nori, Gordo, Holly, Country Breakfast, Esci, Cain and all the rest of you scrappy, determined, fun-loving, beautiful, genuine, amazing boys in blue: you got me. Thanks.

PS - Coming home, we shared a cab with two Giants fans. They said KC had the friendliest people they'd ever met. They even paid our fare!

PPS - I owe my San Francisco brother a bottle of barbecue sauce. He wants to know if it'll make a nice garnish for his Rice-a-Roni.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

open for business as always

image from the book i'm hoping to get published

My recent "Store Closing" post has led to phone calls asking what camera equipment I'm selling, emails wishing me a happy retirement and request by blog readers not to hang it all up yet.

I'm not going anywhere. Just closing up my studio space at the Livestock Exchange Building.

I'm actually working harder than ever before. I'm busy with current self-assigned projects, grant and fellowship applications, a new book I'm trying t get published, a film for which I'm doing production stills, the new Operation Breakthrough video, even a few on-location commissioned portraits. Never a dull moment around here.

So, don't bid me farewell quite yet!!! Sorry for any confusion.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

ctt fundraiser coming up soon

Please join us in Kansas City at Hamburger Mary's this Tuesday from 7:30 - 9:30 PM. Mary's is located at 101 Southwest Boulevard.

We'll have great prizes - all from Uganda - for your winning bingo cards, a 50/50 raffle and lots of fun. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

change is in the air

For  a variety of reasons, I am closing my studio in the Livestock Exchange Building on November 30th.  I will continue doing portraits on location.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

if you've been wanting a studio portrait by me, you should probably book it now.

there are some nice pieces of furniture in the studio that will have to find new homes.

i will offer framed pastel drawings and a select group of framed photographs for sale at a reduced price.

i have many frames/glass also available for sale.

copies of my books convergence and kutuuka will be available for 50% off.

one soft box and stand will be for sale.

If you would like to contact me regarding any of the above, please do so at gbfeinstein[at]gmail[dot]com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

on the street

Here are some more street pictures I made in New York.

Monday, October 20, 2014


I've just spent the most fabulous weekend in NY, putting memorable and meaningful final touches on the celebration of my 60th birthday - with the help of seven close girlfriends.

I took some time to see the Ray K. Metzker and Saul Leiter exhibitions, both of which really inspired my street shooting. Though I spent most of the time laughing, eating, talking, confiding, drinking, walking, seeing shows and laughing and eating and drinking some more, I did make a few pictures.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

rooting for the royals

Our town is giddy. Everyone everywhere is in love with each other. It's a party. Last night Eddie and I went to the game. It was a blast.

No one can believe the Royals have come this far. The post-season magic is making us all feel like there is hope in the world. Believe in yourself! Dream big! Work hard and you'll succeed! Be nice and respectful and you'll gain many friends! Teamwork is the key! Shake off the bumps in the road! Love one another! Put your ego away and work wonders together!

I love that baseball can make people feel this way. Lord knows we can all use a dose of optimism, joy and fun these days.

It's so cool that America seems to have caught on to the scrappy, wide-eyed, playful, determined and tremendously talented guys that make up the Kansas City Royals.

In honor of the team, I'm posting a portrait I recently made of little Theo, a very young but very devoted Royals fan. His parents grandparents and great grandparents are all baseball nuts. He already watches the game highlights in the morning before he heads off to pre-school, and he sings "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (inserting "Royals" at just the right place, even though he lives in Cardinal territory) with glee.

Go Blue!

Monday, October 13, 2014

ray k. metzker

The world lost one its greatest photographers last week. Ray K. Metzker died at the age of 83. For those of you who had the opportunity to see the gorgeous Metzker exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 2011, I trust you fell in love with his work then - if you hadn’t already been a fan. Metzker’s talk in Kansas City was, at it turned out, his last major public appearance.
Keith F. Davis, curator of that sweeping survey of Metzker’s work (the show also traveled to the Getty in LA and the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle), had this to say then about the work, the man and NAMA's collection of prints:
“Metzker’s photographs strike a unique balance between formal brilliance, optical innovation, and a deep human regard for the objective world. Ray Metzker is one of the most dedicated, innovative, and influential American photographers of the last half-century. His work is at once varied in approach and rigorously unified in creative sensibility: he is interested in both the reality of the world and in the inventive potential of the photographic process itself. Thanks to a 2009 gift from the Hall Family Foundation, the Nelson-Atkins now has the largest institutional holding of Metzker’s work (92 prints) in the country.”
“Ray had a relentless pursuit of personal growth as an artist,” long-time dealer Laurence Miller said of the photographer, whose career spanned six decades. “It didn't take him long to realize a single-frame image is not as interesting as a multi-frame image. He kept exploring and pushing.
“Over the years, the graphic qualities of his work became more emotional. Where black and white images were about light and shadow [in his early work], in his later work they became more about light and darkness as a spiritual thing. The pictures became richer and richer.”
Metzker used a variety of in-camera and darkroom techniques to create his work, including multiple exposures, superimposition and juxtaposition of negatives, and solarization.
He was born in Milwaukee in 1931. After earning a degree at Beloit, he attended the Institute of Design in Chicago from 1956 to 1959. There, he studied under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, among others.
“What Callahan and Siskind gave to Ray was the belief that you could pursue a lifetime of making pictures, that it was worth doing, rather than being a journalist, or fashion photographer, or commercial photographer as most others did,” Miller said. “Ray chose to live a humble life and make pictures. His work wasn't on the cover of Vogue. He didn't need to scream out, I'm great. He did it very quietly.”
After graduating from the Institute of Design, Metzker spent about two years in Europe before settling in Philadelphia in 1962. In his earliest work, he photographed unaware pedestrians in unassuming urban landscapes, concerning himself with the interplay of light, shadow and graphical elements.
From the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s, he created several ground-breaking bodies of work, including his Composites series, using entire rolls of film to creating single images that could be read in various ways; and his “Pictus Interruptus” series, for which he held objects in front of his camera lens to partially obscure the scene, creating abstract images that juxtaposed in-focus and out-of-focus elements.
During the last three decades of his career, Metzker returned to photographing cityscapes, particularly in Philadelphia, making poetic images that incorporated the vocabulary and technique he had honed over the years.

Ray was an extremely gentle and caring human being who possessed very little ego,” Miller said last week. “He really cared about the average person. His subjects were just ordinary people like you and me. There was no fashion, no models, and it was just about the everyday world. I think that reveals a lot about him. He had a great sense of humor, but he still took things very seriously.”
"He discovered things you'd never notice, never expect - the pattern on something or some cubbyhole," said his wife, the photographer Ruth Thorne-Thomsen. "And the world would never be the same again."

Ms. Thorne-Thomsen would occasionally walk with her husband through Center City, into South Philadelphia, all over the city.
"He would squint, leave one eye open, and then look at his watch," she recalled. "That was so he'd know what time of day it was."
What emerged from his darkroom - Mr. Metzker never used digital technology - "was rich, endlessly rich," she said. "Everything was to be mined, a treasure to be mined."

[some excerpts from an article in PDN were used in this post]