Unbinding the Book

A few short months ago I was involved in the creation of a truly inspiring project. The idea, redefine the book and redefine who can author can be. A partnership with Uk creative studio Jotta, an open call for submissions, A LOT of work done by a team of people, both in the United States and the UK, and the plan began to take form. The process continues as I write this.

The final showdown will come in the form of an exhibition at White Chapel in London. I will not be there, but others from Blurb will, and the Jotta team will be in attendance as well. What is the point of all this? Simple. Improvise, adapt, overcome, inspire and share. Yes, I’m stealing the first part of that from the Marine Corps, but it rings true here as well.
James Cuddy and Roma Levin, UK designers and artists.
When this entire program started we held events in London, New York and San Francisco, and basically invited a range of brilliant artists/speakers to show us what they do and why they do it. Audiences were stunned that Blurb would do something like this. To pay for a series of events that were to inspire people to stop thinking like the clock reads 1975 and begin to see the idea of a book in new ways.

This is one of the reasons why I love working for this company. We do stuff like this. “Don’t think…FEEEEEEL,” is what Bruce Lee said. I totally agree. One of the biggest mistakes I see photographers making is creating books they think they are supposed to make and not those they might WANT to make. Something different. Something strange. Something that causes a viewer to pause and consider. This is a GOOD thing especially in an age when “bite size” is the description is the term used to describe our attention span.

As you will see, the folks who are contributing here are artists. This was not a photography book program, this was about redefining something that has an integral and storied place in the history of our species. The contributors work with language, imagery, motion, sound and light. In short, they have come up with some incredible pieces.

I’ve included links to several of the stories written about this project, in a variety of languages, so pick your poison. I’ve also included several portraits I made of the speakers who presented at the launch events. Stay tuned for this material to be released on the Unbinding the Book site.





Blurb – Unbinding the Book from jotta on Vimeo.

Indie Author Book Fest

Hey Everyone,

Hot off the presses. Blurb is throwing down an indie author book fest. And soon. Here is the link. I will be there as well, doing whatever it is that I’m supposed to do. Speaking probably. And loitering around the Blurb compound. I plan on shooting a few portraits and recording a few interviews. Come talk to me, or just come and say hello.

Blurb Indie Book Fest
Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PDT)
Brooklyn, NY

On September 21st, we will be hosting the first ever Blurb Book Fest for indie authors at the Makeshift Society in Brooklyn.
Start the day with a relaxed author breakfast followed by a series of top-notch workshops, speakers and panels. Up for discussion are topics ranging from publishing in installments, navigating the world of book reviews, building blocks of a successful book launch, and much more.
In the afternoon we will host an indie author fair where we invite our current Blurb authors to showcase and sell their books. It’s a chance to meet current and future fans—plus other authors and artists who are self-publishing with Blurb.

Please let us know how you’d like to participate…There’s no need to RSVP just to attend the Marketplace—it’s open to the public—but you will let us know if you want to sell. Authors are required to supply their own Blurb books to sell.

1) Breakfast + Author Workshop + Indie Book Fair (and I have a Blurb book to sell)
2) Breakfast + Author Workshop only
3) Indie Book Fair (and I have a Blurb book to sell)

We’ll review applications for the marketplace on a first come first serve basis, as space is limited. You’ll need to bring at least 5 copies of your book to sell.
Event Details:
Where: Makeshift Society Brooklyn, 55 Hope St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
When: Sunday, September 21st
9-10am: Author Breakfast
10am-1pm: Speaking Program and Workshops
1pm-2pm: Author Lunch & Networking
2pm-5pm: Indie Book Fair



Near and Fargo: New Mexico 20140907

Some don’t make it back. I smelled this poor little guy before I saw him. Coyotes and cars don’t play well. I was climbing slowly, rising sun in my face when the whiff of death became apparent. Only the sound of my breathing as I stopped to make this little tribute.
The road continued to climb for several miles then topped out with a view of a small mountain village. The road turned to dirt and the mobile had no signal. Keep pedaling. A low road along a dried up river but the soil was damp with recent rains, a small column of dirt spraying up from the front wheel. Switchbacks began and were loose, dry and laden with washboard. Up and up and up. Small sprocket, looking down between my legs at the rear ring, never wanting to surrender to the low gear. A photo, ya, that’s it. Reason to stop.
At roads end was a gate blocking my movement, but oh what a gate it was. It is claimed that 75% of all Fortune 500 CEO’s have property in or near Santa Fe, and this baby looked like one such compound. Every trip out here I find a new paradise..owned by someone else.
There was no choice but to retrace my step. Miles of downhill back to Two Trails and then I drop south into the high desert. Miles of downhill tarmac, nice shoulder, no shoulder, glass, debris, etc. And then single track along the rails all the way back to town. The trails changes to improved trail and I realize I’d ridden five difference surfaces on this little gem. Right at forty, perfect, solitary miles. RIP Mr.Coyote

Book Subscription Newsletter


Dear Smogranch Reader:

Testing something here…..and I’m hoping you will play along. I’m thinking of starting a quarterly publication, a magazine I’m guessing, and am attempting to figure out not only how many people are interested but also the best way to communicate with those people. The idea is when I hit “Publish” you will all be notified of the arrival of said publication. Not that you have to actually buy the damn thing, although that would be nice, but at least you will know about the happening. In the future I will offer one-hundred print copies, but there will be an opened ended number of digital copies available. So, if you are so inclined, sign up and take the ride. Like I said, this is an ongoing test. I was hesitant to do this, but I think this ability is critical for anyone seriously wanting to independently publish, something I find myself wanting to encourage. Also working on a way to “spiff” one of the hundred people, randomly of course, but I’ve got some ideas.
photo 2
Here is your mission if you choose to accept it. The test magazine is here. I never intended to go public with this, which is ironic considering the title and content. Shot with Leica, and Hasselblad, and shot on location in Utah, California, New York and the United Kingdom, “Whistleblower” is a look at the terminology of modern warfare hidden in the language of everyday life. This is a mere twenty-pages and is only a first taste of the project. Subsequent magazines will be a higher page count with more content.



As for now, I’m only going to offer this as Ebook. When it’s done, sometime in 2055, I’ll offer the print version. Thanks people.

Songlines of Family

The torch was passed. Long ago. She to me, and so on. “I’m done.” “Now it’s your turn” she said walking away.

Life gets in the way, nearly every single day, and before long the calendar reads a foreign date and the wind of winter blows the short grass flat. How can it be? So soon.

When I return now I return with a new, lesser vigor than before. I realize now how little time we have. Soon we, and I, and they will be gone. So why bother? Does there have to be a reason at the end of the rainbow?
Older now, face making stages and “I can’t be bothered” looks. Expected. And yet I still soldier on because within the mess and blown opportunities are a few moments that feel like they need to be saved. But for who?

Will they take the torch or will it have already burned hot and then out? Time. Passage. I move in and out of their lives, mostly out, but have these little things to cling to. Moments I will never see again, or experience, but now with these I can remember in detail. I’m not an every moment guy. I don’t believe in that. I pick and choose when I shoot, and the rest of the time the camera is away, lost like I never had it in the first place. Most importantly out of mind. Otherwise life is always filtered and you forget to actually be somewhere, with someone, at a specific time.
With camera to eye I miss the male Painted Bunting perched on the link fence, one eye open for larger birds and the other on the feral cats circling at his feet, waiting for the right hesitation. The Rufus hummingbird battles with the Broad Tail. The doe licks the fawn near the edges of the property, silent, backlit tongue. Mom talks to my right, tries to edge in with politics but I can’t go there. Ever. Religion too. Nope. My religion is the light I so patiently wait for, the light that fills me with apprehension when it’s right and I have nothing in front of me other than the light itself. At that point there is only appreciation.
These images make me sad. Perhaps I’ve not yet learned to just be with them. Be happy I have them, and that I was the one who made them, but I can’t help thinking of them as fleeting. Soon there will be fewer pieces of the puzzle. Others will come but they will never be the same.

Mom wears a shirt with a photograph I made of her years before, fishing, as the Medicine Stick hands in the her hand. Dirt roads, dust and the alluring protection of cloud cover. Before long the layer will burn off and we will be left with only ourselves and that which surrounds us.