Mathilda EberhardUntitled (2012)

This is the fourth time I’ve featured Eberhard’s images.

I can’t lie: I am really rather fond of her work. Not all of it is good but there’s never any question as its veracity.

Mathilda Eberhard is always going to show a raw slice of her truth.

I feel as if this manifests in her work in a atypical and anti-photographic way. I am not at all sure how to say it without resorting to nebulous abstractions, so I’ll draw a metaphor: it’s as if image making is not unlike sewing. The thread pierces the fabric passes under it before piercing the fabric again to reappear. The tradition of image making emphasizes the importance of tracing the thread along the surface; and as an image maker you want to offer as vivid a glimpse of the thread as possible. It’s like Eberhard flips over the seam and then focuses on the absence of the thread–an inverted experience of negative time, a focus on the indecisive moment instead of the decisive one.

Personally, I am all about the leaning in brought by narrative tension–I want to know the story. There is no way to extrapolate any sort of story beyond something archetypally human–and therefore seemingly quotidian, mundane.

The thing is: I find myself investing far more into her work than I do with the majority of ‘narrative’ imagery. Perhaps, I have–in my own work–been looking for something in decisive moments that belongs only to the indecisive ones.

Mike BrodieUntitled Frame from A Period of Juvenile Prosperity (200X)

Brodie was born in Arizona circa 1985.

Next we hear from him, it’s 2002. He’s 17 and now lives in Pensacola, FL.

He gets it in his head to visit a friend in Mobile and hops a train–as luck would have it–headed in the opposite direction. He ends up in Jacksonville, FL.

After bumming around for a few days, he catches the same train home.

“[The experience] sparked something and Brodie began to wander across the U.S. by any means that were free – walking, hitchhiking and train hopping.”

In 2004, Brodie found a Polaroid camera stuffed behind a car seat. Sans any formal training, Brodie criss-crossed the States using the camera to document his travels. .

In an effort to stay in contact the transient communities he came into with, Brodie shared his images on various websites; becoming known as The Polaroid Kidd.

When Polaroid discontinued the stock his camera used, he switched to a sturdy camera of 1980’s vintage.

On the subject of his process, he’s said:

Sometimes I take a train the wrong way or… whatever happens a photo will come out of it, so it doesn’t really matter where I end up.

Unwilling to be chewed up by the pressures and expectations of the art market, in 2008 Brodie ceased making photographs.

He graduated from the Nashville Auto Diesel College (NADC) in 2012 and now works out of his silver ‘93 Dodge a mobile diesel mechanic.

A Period of Juvenile Prosperity was published in early 2013 by Twin Palms.

(Note: there are two biographies for Brodie–his publisher’s version and his personal website’s. Both feature a wealth of information but are bogged down by choppy, artless prose; the versions are riddled with contradictions. The preceding text is not original; All I did was to reconcile the information contained in both versions in order to present it with as few changes to the original language as possible. I repeat: the preceding text is not original.)



Source: as best as I can tell these six images were likely gathered and arranged by fulme. (The top-center image seems to predate this assemblage.)

In theory, I am a proponent of bricolage.

However, if you are working digitally, there is very little that isn’t at hand for you to use. To me this muddies the already precarious distinction between ‘formal’ collage and MacGyver free association.

I don’t know how to illustrate it except to point to another image that was making the Tumblr rounds back in early October. It’s a really solid idea but the execution is lame brained–half a grapefruit on a white background super-imposed over what looks like the legs of a model wearing a white one-piece American Apparel swimsuit.

On the other hand, the six images above were carefully selected. The similarity in tonal range and luminosity is striking. Further, the arrangement serves to activate the images in different ways, promoting interplay, building and relieving tension by means of line, color, echoing of shape, conceptual mirror, etc.

Highly astute work deserving of recognition.

Ana MendietaBlood Sign #2 1974

Mendieta genius is indisputable but I have no goddamn clue what-so-fucking-ever of how to approach it.

A lot of ink has been spilled about her performance of gender, her concern with identity politics. Yeah. Check. Got it. I see that too. But what about the questions of medium in her work: photographs of sculptures, performance as sculpture, photography of performance as sculpture, the inherently ephemeral nature of performance rendered repeatable via video.

It’s all a complete mindfuck to me–but not alienating more a fascinating puzzle I can’t tear myself away from no matter how little progress I make.

Mendieta only cracked for me in the last week as a result of ‘discovering’ her ‘Untitled (Rape Scene).

***Trigger Warning***

I recommend read the Tate’s comments on the work first as they describe the images and you can decide from there whether or not you actually want to view them.

I am not ready to talk about the images. That will take months, if not years. But something clicked for me about Mendieta’s work: the zen-like focus of her execution counter-balanced by randomization– the way the paint on her hands smears unevenly, the muddy lighting at the scene of the crime–utilizes her own body as a fulcrum to not only balance multifarious and otherwise dichotomous elements but to enact great violence upon innocence that offers the required blood sacrifice without perpetuating any further harm.


‘And in this vision

the present is also revealed as a ruin.’

(Hal Foster)


by Traci Lynn Matlock

June 20th & July 9th, 2013


More often than not, articulating what’s going on in my head is like trying to fit an iceberg through the eye of a needle.

It’s like I see 300 images compressed into three seconds and I have to recall every bit of it with eidetic specificity. 

With this image what I can remember runs something like: ugh, multiple exposures; and, must Art always be goddamn sexist, there’s what, centuries worth of images featuring featuring women as essentialized, sexual objects but how many images can you think of where a female bodied individual is portrayed as a someone with a vital inner life independent of what a man thinks of her or the audacity to—clutch the pearls—depict menstruation; and, what would Szarkowski’s reductive Mirrors and Windows make of this?

The enormity of seeing the original thought surface, the marvel of its intricate perfection is all but lost.

My recall is sometimes astounding. I live for those moments.

During the remainder of the time, its like guessing at the original picture based on nothing more than a handful of puzzle pieces.

Occasionally, the pieces lead to more pieces. Given enough time, I can confidently point to an approximation of that first notion. Most of the time though, I can’t.

At which point I am left with the choice of giving up or trying to say something that manages to make sense of the pieces I have and hopefully points however glancing toward what I want to say.

Stories, I have learned, are a valuable tool in this process. Telling a story doesn’t always turn up more fragments. But it frequently triggers additional moments of astonishing clarity.

It doesn’t feel like there is a connection but I feel compelled to talk about how I discovered Matlock’s work.

Usually, I attribute my motivation to buy my first 35mm SLR to encountering her work. But that’s personal mythology; not the truth.

At the time, I was in film school studying cinematography. The summer between my junior and senior year was the first time I was not scheduled to shoot anything for anyone else and couldn’t afford to shoot anything of my own. So despite knowing nothing—less than nothing: fuck all—about still photography, I snagged a Nikon 8008s with a 50mm f1.4 lens. The salesman had to help me load the first roll of film.

The first handful of rolls turned out better than I had any right to expect. And after being prodded by my ‘adopted’ sister, I put some of my stuff up on Flickr. (This was back in the days of the simpler, more elegant interface and with it the now long gone pervasive sense of community.)

Part of me relished nominal attention my photos received. I likely would have bored of it, if it hadn’t been for the Explore feature.

After about six months of shooting, I hit my first plateau. The magic was far from gone but the process had begun to feel like work. It was that dead man’s land between Thanksgiving and Xmas and in combination with my frustration with my photographs, extremely loneliness and handful of other mitigating circumstances, created a perfect storm during which I stumbled onto Matlock and Ashley MacLean’s collaborative work under the moniker tetheredtothesun.

I remember distinctly that this was the first image I saw. Seeing it produced a feeling identical to the moment of surfacing, of mental clarity. Only, the three second time limit had been lifted. I could sit and stare; wonder at it all. Dwell there for a time.

I cannot understand how everything in my life since then has hinged on the flipping of that switch. I still don’t completely understand it. But it opened my eyes to the fact that the work I was making ran contrary to what I longed to create. Further, it lacked willingness to be vulnerable to others.

It’s not especially clear but the original thought I wanted to write about here was a bit of an extended metaphor. Something to do with the way parents track their child’s growth with pencil marks on a door frame. So much of my own creative development lines up in my mind with photographs Ms. Matlock has either helped to make or made herself. (I will write a goddamn dissertation of a post if I ever manage to track down her photo of Smashley titled something ‘a well-explored room’,.)

I don’t get her multiple exposure work. It doesn’t move me in the same way as her more candid images.

Matlock was recently interviewed by The Photographic Journal. Reading it I was reminded of how influential her work has been in my development as a photographer. It’s simultaneously thrilling and unnerving.