01 December 2008

New Website

It's still being updated slowly, as I add new galleries of older work... but change has finally come to my website.


I am looking forward to discovering, and recovering, some old lost gems, like this photo of a dear old Irish woman at a crappy arcade in Ballybunion, Ireland, in 2003. She's the oracle, and she promises change.

19 November 2008

"Fanatically Yours"- NYC exhibit photos

Here's a few photos from the gallery opening in New York on November 6th.

More NYC shots to follow...

22 October 2008

"Fanatically Yours" exhibit in New York- opens Nov. 7 at NYCAMS Gallery

I'm excited to have two pieces showing in New York next month, and since I'm flying out there for it, I'd love to see you at the opening if you happen to be in the area that night... (well, you never know when people are wandering through New York).

"Fanatically Yours" is an exhibition of 7 artists, including yours truly, curated by Josie Browne, the director of the Max Protetch Gallery in Chelsea. The exhibit, however, will be at the NYCAMS gallery- 44 West 28th St, 7th floor.

The opening is at 6pm on Friday night, Nov. 7th, but the show will remain open through Nov. 28th. Let me know if you might be coming!

02 September 2008

Silence, Solitude, and Swearing.

I was invited to give the devotion at the faculty meeting for the School of Arts and Sciences today, because of my experiences last summer at the English L’Abri. The text of the devotion follows below:


I went to L’abri with a somewhat specific set of questions, and as I found out happens to many people during their time there, I soon discovered that those questions simply opened up into much larger questions… and it became clear that none of them would really be answered. but as one of my favorite songs by my favorite band, Over the Rhine, reminds us, “we need questions, forget about the answers…”

In my 2nd or 3rd day at l’abri, my mentor invited me to join a reading group that was going through Henri Nouwen’s “Reaching Out.” As a huge fan of Nouwen, I was familiar with this book, but had never read it. Turns out it was exactly what God wanted me to read while I was there, and it prompted exactly the right set of questions for me, even if they would be questions without answers.

If you have not read it, the book talks about three movements of the spiritual life: from loneliness to solitude, from hostility to hospitality, and from illusion to prayer. It was the first movement, from loneliness to solitude, which was a critical theme for this time in my life… after all, I was about to turn 30 as a single man. For the first week of my time at L’Abri, I spent a lot of my time reading about my questions, studying about my questions… before it became clear that in order to struggle with my loneliness I needed to be alone and stop filling the time with seemingly healthy distractions like reading and studying. And for the first time in my life, I actually did desire to be alone, because it was a beautiful place to be alone… The 17th century manor house sits on a large patch of land, with many quiet fields surrounding it. My favorite place to spend time was inside the small chapel beside the sunken garden, which had been converted from a stable house warming room.

Three hours of the day at L’Abri are set aside for study, so for three hours at a time, I would sit in places like that chapel, journaling, praying, listening, and generally struggling with the attempt to have solitude… something that is awful difficult to find if you are as good at distractions, busyness, laziness, and sleeping as I am. I didn’t know what I was expecting… some kind of voice-from-heaven experience… I don’t know. A little bird, a busy little wren, did keep me company every time I was in there, however. And I did hear from God, but I have no idea how to talk about it because a cynical kid of my generation is still too afraid to use trite words that sound like Christianese.

But one day, when journaling some hard questions and angry frustrations, God responded. I would read from my journal from those days, but I swear a lot when I’m talking to God. I think he’s okay with it, he’s never stopped me from it and I figure he knows it’s going through my mind anyway. He does want us to be vulnerable after all, and sitting there in that space for 3 hours a day, I felt the vulnerability of His Presence. And that’s when I heard the words that were clearly not from my internal monologue: “have courage, I can sustain you.”

I wish I could say that an amazing peace descended upon me… I wish I could say that I learned how to be still and make the time for solitude every day. But the reality is much more human than that. I have struggled with this experience ever since. But in those hours in the chapel in the garden, I was reminded of the need to listen… to be still… to listen for questions, or answers, or neither… I learned that what some call the silence of God is really a wonderfully frustrating mystery to experience.

I had brought a book of poetry with me to L’abri that summer entitled “God’s Silence” by Franz Wright. So I’ll close by reading my favorite poem as a prayer and a reminder to us. So listen and pray with me:

Introduction, by Franz Wright (2nd half):
I am here to learn
to bear
the beams of love,
what else

through the leaves, I am here to endure the
bells tolling

Like you a guest, a ghost

Everything will be forgotten

And either I am too alone
or I am not
alone enough
to make each moment

(No one bats 1.000, friend
no one
bats .500)

And I heave heard God's silence like the sun
and sought to change

I'm just going to listen to the silence

till the Silence

30 August 2008

Self Portraits

Since both Photo 2 and Photo 3 are working on self-portrait warm ups, I thought I'd send along this link that Allison Oh brought to my attention:

Self Portraits
- from someone at University of Maryland, I wish I could attribute authorship but I didn't see any information.

Great breakdown of approaches to self portraiture as signature, as projection, as self-study, as fantasy, as narrative, and as metaphor.

17 July 2008

“On The Road” – Soth and Friedlander

(a free Third Thursdays event at Minneapolis Institute of Art)...

I just had my rear kicked and handed to me on a beautiful silver gelatin platter… I feel simultaneously inspired and depressed after walking through the massive (!!) Lee Friedlander retrospective at the MIA… hundreds of prints (too many? There was no way to spend enough time), 8 rooms full of his early jazz color portraits, classic self portraits, street photos, nature work, “work” work (people at work…)… so much work… but I must say, Friedlander often gets pegged in my photo classes as “the quirky snapshot street guy” but this retrospective gives you a much deeper insight into the amount of compositional skill and technical mastery Friedlander has. His prints are flawless and incredibly rich… and rather than seeing his style as “accidental,” I am now pretty convinced it’s just a confidence in his eye and his voice that allows him so much freedom to look “quirky” and casual.

And as if that show alone isn’t enough to make you cry, in the room next door is a collection of 26 massive prints from Alec Soth’s “Sleeping by the Mississippi.” The MIA is the first museum to purchase the series as a body of work, and it’s appropriate, considering that Soth used to work at the museum during the time that he went on his multiple Mississippi travels, before his rocket to fame in 2004.

(Trivia note-- he worked in the Prints collection… in fact, he worked there at the same time that I was working there, in 1999, when I worked with the summer kids programs… shame that I didn’t get a chance to meet him then… not that either of us would’ve had a reason to run into each other… )

click here to learn more and to check out some videos on the MIA website about Soth's working method.... it's always cool to see a photographer at work.

Having just finished a 2nd version/edition of my Northwoods Journals book, I am made all the more aware of the influence both of these photographers have had on my work… and I’m all the more intimidated and humbled by their work.

10 July 2008

"Hey Hot Shot" winners

Jen Bekman gallery in New York, a great place to keep an eye on emerging photographers, just announced the winners of this year's "Hey Hot Shot!" competition (which I recommend to everyone to enter next time it rolls around)

Juliane Eirich - my favorite... immediate haunting memories of my Minnesota childhood nights come to mind... From the series "Snownight:"

Derek Henderson - from "I Go Down to the River to Pray:"

Kate Orne - stunning lighting... from "Brothels and Fundamentalism:"


Colleen Plumb

Roc Herms Pont

Visit the "Hey Hot Shot!" site to see more.

04 July 2008

101 Photoshop Tips in 5 Minutes by Deke. Hilarious.

If you've ever sat through one of my digital classes, or had to watch any kind of photoshop dvd demo, you'll appreciate this.

30 June 2008

Corey Arnold

I have to thank my friend Leah Dankertson (roughhewnlog.blogspot.com) for introducing me (reintroducing me? this guy seems familiar) to Corey Arnold's work... a fisherman/photographer:

These first few ones are from the "Human Animals" series:

And a couple from "Arcticness":

okay, postscript... I know why he's familiar. He went to high school with Natalie Anderson. Cool.

09 June 2008

Ezekiel Namukangula

This is Ezekiel Namukangula, my Ugandan "son."

He's 12, and in grade P4 at Namirembe Primary School in Kampala, Uganda, where he recently became the sanitation prefect. He's originally from a tiny rural village called Belmeze, and he's a relative of a man at my church, Sam Sebabe. Sam and his wife Ruth are responsible for 50+ children in their extended family who have become orphans due to AIDS. Through a refreshingly grassroots effort at our church, I'm able to send him support every month that I know goes 100% toward his school, clothing, and medical needs. In return, I get amazing letters that quote scripture and make me cry.

I will finally get to meet him in January when a group of us will head out there to take care of various needs such as non-profit organization business, the building of a new house, and photo/video documentary (that's me).

thanks to Louie Huesmann for the photos.

31 May 2008

Life would be better as a musical.

I have always wanted life to be this way... breaking out into random 80's power ballads...

yes, this is how I'm spending my summer so far and I love it.

29 May 2008

Justin's Holiday in Cambodia

For those who are interested, you can follow Justin Craft's adventures in Thailand and Cambodia via his blog... "Holiday in Cambodia"

21 May 2008

"Grace is Where I Live" John Leax

re-reading one of my favorite books, John Leax's collection of essays... though writing as a poet, it speaks well to all artists...

from "Holiness and Craft:"

As I write, the poem I am writing is always in the future. When I have finished writing, it is behind me. It is in the past. Only as I am writing it, as it is in the process of becoming, is it in the present. And only as it is in the present, is it my concern. Compare this to salvation. Salvation is a process occurring in all three tenses. It is future because it will not be complete until Christ returns. It is past because Christ accomplished it on the cross. It is present as I give myself to Christ. Here, as in the writing of a poem, my concern is with the present action. What is past is related to the present only as the present brings its meaning into being. What is future is related to the present only as it is imagined and desired in the present-- that is, as it is part of the present.
Holiness and craft come together at this point: the moment of the poem is also the moment of salvation. Both occur in the present. I make my way as a poet and as a Christian by giving attention to being in Christ and in doing in him the work before me. Quoting Thomas Merton, "it is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God."
While hoeing his garden, Saint Francis was approached by a villager who had his own idea about how a saint should spend his time. The villager demanded of Francis, "What would you be doing if you knew the Lord would return this afternoon?" Francis replied, "I would be hoeing my garden." I think this is the meaning of "Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself," (Matthew 6:34).

from "Stewardship and Witness:"

Language is the soil in which the message grows. Poets care about the message, but they must first be stewards of language. The message is like a seed. It must fall into the ground and die before it can be born into a poem.
Just as the sacrifice of soil for the crop of one year is ultimately destructive, so the sacrifice of language to the demands of the message is destructive. Like so many other things in life, we must give up even our truth to keep it. Any other course will use up the soil in which we nurture it and guarantee that the future will be impoverished.
Just as I serve the soil so that my garden will remain fertile and grow good crops, when I write I serve the language so it can bear the message I've learned. Curiously, as I seek to make stewardship my concern, my vision clears, and I speak more precisely the presence of Christ in my world.

From "Story, Place, and Marriage:"

A sentimental attachment to place is, like a sentimental love, stupid and useless- a hindrance to genuine relationship. A sense of place is not sentimental: it is practical and necessary. The mistake is to consider place provincially. While a sense of place is based on local knowledge, it is not limited to local knowledge, it includes a range of places.
...What is one caught in the forced mobility of our urban culture to do? The answer, I believe, lies in story.
...though I may be out of my place, beyond the limits of my local knowledge, I am not out of my story... "

18 April 2008

Web Galleries of new work

So my website is embarrassingly oudated, and I can't be bothered to update it anytime soon... in the meantime, I've finally figured out (with the help of resident html genius Jeff Rau) how to put web galleries of my work here on my blog, via Flickr slideshows. Nice trick Jeff, thanks.

So look to the right. You should see the first one there, for my Northwoods Journals series. More to follow... eventually...

Printable Pinhole Camera Designs

A new twist in making your own pinhole camera:

click here to download/print the designs

15 April 2008

"Making Art as if the World Mattered"

“Vision that responds to the cries of the world and is truly engaged with what it sees is not the same as the disembodied eye that observes and reports, that objectifies and enframes. The ability to enter into another’s emotions, to share another’s plight, to make their conditions our own, characterizes art in the partnership mode. You cannot exactly define it as self-expression—it is more like relational dynamics. Once a relationship is given greater priority, art embodies more aliveness and collaboration, a dimension excluded from the solitary, essentially logocentric discourses of modernity. Partnership demands a willingness to conceive of art in more living terms. ‘Compassion is the rooting of vision in the world, and in the whole of being,’ states David Michael Levin. It is a way of seeing others as par of ourselves. When art is rooted in the responsive heart, rather than the disembodied eye, it may even come to be seen, not as the solitary process it has been since the Renaissance, but as something we do with others.”

From Suzi Gablik's “The Re-enchantment of Art,” pg. 106.

02 April 2008

morning thoughts

"Art is neither safe nor predictable; it requires, and rewards, a deep engagement of our imaginative facilities."

"Art, like religious faith in general and prayer in particular, has the power to help us transcend the fragmented society we inhabit... the intuitive language of the imagination is so vital. Reaching deep into our collective thoughts and memories, great art sneaks past our shallow prejudices and brittle opinions to remind us of the complexity and mystery of human existence. The imagination calls us to leave our personalities behind and to temporarily inhabit another's experience, looking at the world with new eyes. Art invites us to meet the Other-- whether that be our neighbor or the infinite otherness of God-- and to achieve a new wholeness of spirit."
--Gregory Wolfe, editor of Image journal

"Redemption comes in many shapes, with many kinds of pain."
--Dolly Parton (yes, seriously. Give her songs another chance if you haven't already.)

28 March 2008

Sacred space, place, and time... Portland meals.

Surely the time we get to spend with friends who live far away is sacred time... physical, shared, embodied time with them is rare... I can't often see my friends in Portland, London, Minnesota, Orlando, Denmark, Denver, or fill in the place for yourself... so those times are a gift when they occur, and it seems to me that something about that time and place creates a sacred space.

Meals. The shared table... the conversations... the pleasant and comfortable silences... the amazing Borsch home-cooked by Julia, the "laughing and riding and cornholing... (except Buster)"... I'm beginning to think that there is nothing I enjoy more fully than meals with good friends. At its best, this sacred space allows for a shared presence... being... to be together... to be known and to share that knowing presence.


Portland was full of this, and I'm grateful for each meal... for both the pure enjoyment of the food but also for the time shared at those tables with Tom, Adam, Tim, Adrian, and Reuben... the borsch at Julia's cart, the coffee and red velvet muffin at Crema, the toffee cupcakes at St Cupcake, the Rwandan coffee at Stumptown (which I tried and failed to brew on my own today), the all-too-rushed meal of kelp, ribs, and dumplings at Biwa, the snakebites over pipes at the Horse Brass, the meat platter at Two Brothers Serbian food (Ayvar!), the black molasses bread and watergames at Otis Cafe, the extremely fresh crab and cod in Newport, and of course, the schnitzel, spaetzel, wurst, and steins brought to us by our sciatic-nerve suffering waitress, Sarah, at Gustav's German bar. I hope she got the massage she needed.

19 February 2008

New Work, New Exhibit- "Through a Glass Dimly"

"Through a Glass Dimly," the 5th and final Biola Art Alumni exhibition, opens Tuesday, 2/26.

The artist reception will be from 7-9pm, though the exhibit will be open through March 20th if you're not able to make it. (and remember, March 14-15th is our alumni reunion weekend and our major symposium "On The Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art"- see an older post about this). The show also features new work from Jonathan Anderson, Natalie Anderson, Tony Caltabiano, Jon Puls, Brandi Nuse-Villegas and a host of other alumni and friends that I can't think of right now.

Visit the BiolArt website for further details

I am very excited to finally exhibit some new pieces-- they are part of a "new" body of work that I've been developing slowly-- one piece (the first one shown below) has been around for a few years, but the other two have been printed for the first time... and all of them will be making their debut as finished, framed pieces (I built the custom frames myself, which I must say, I'm quite proud of.)

I don't know what to say yet about these pieces. They come to me slowly. I can't force them, they arrive like surprises/gifts. That's why there's only 3 and it's been 3 years since the first one. They're untitled so far. Something about tension... something about the search for the sacred in the contemporary... something about "standing in a circle of quiet, waiting for the world to turn..."

15 February 2008


In honor of Sydney Van Orden who is spending this weekend at the English L'Abri, and in honor of the annual L'Abri conference that is being held in Minnesota (England AND Minnesota shout outs!)...

I checked out the English L'Abri website and found that they had put up galleries of my pictures. So not to toot my own horn, but I'm honored and excited to see them- check it out

English L'Abri-photo page

13 February 2008

They make for a wonderful distraction.

A little more Flight of the Conchords for you:

(if you haven't been initiated yet, you really must watch their HBO show- now on dvd- and/or get some of their songs on itunes)

09 February 2008

Goodbye Polaroids.

Read this link if you want to ruin your day:

BBC News- Polaroids

From the article:

"The firm was founded in 1937, making polarised lenses for the science world, introducing its first instant camera in 1948. Polaroid peaked in popularity in 1991 when its sales - mainly instant cameras and film - hit close to $3bn.

However it failed to embrace the digital photography revolution and went bankrupt in 2001, before being bought, four years later by a Minnesota-based consumer products firm, Petters Group Worldwide. "

Let's hear it for the Minnesotans who tried to save the day! Good effort boys. But, the good news:

"It says there is enough film in stock to last until 2009, and it hopes to sell licensing rights to another firm to continue supplying enthusiasts who still use their Polaroid cameras."

02 February 2008

Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down

Just because I'm having a cup now, and because I agree that all of the world's problems might just be solved by having a nice cup of tea and a sit down, here's a link I'd like to share:

http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/ or, the facebook group of the same name

So it's not the most clever or artsy site, in fact, it's pretty awful, but, it's got links to the British Tea Council and my favorite feature: Biscuit of the Week.

This week's biscuit: Encores

From the site: It's the year end and we thought it would be nice to round out 2007 with some biscuits that we can all go out buy in the UK, as opposed to something exotic from foreign shores. Having said that these are those French biscuits we mentioned a while back in our news section LU's re-branded range of classics for the UK market, Encore, which includes their flagship Petit Ecolier. And seeing that team NCOTAASD has spent quite a bit of time in France this year we thought we would bring you a few highlights of our exploits in the land of the Petit Beurre in the manner of a special festive season BOTW.

I honestly don't know what half of that means. But I have had Encores, and they are delicious.