Bookmakers I Like: Luc Heasley

Behold the latest installment of the ongoing series “Bookmakers I Like.” This particular vignette features long time friend Luc Heasley who makes his living with his hands. He also uses wood, glue, a pencil, a few different saws and a variety of other things I can’t describe or understand. Luc and I are working on a project together and unbeknownst to me he made a Blurb book, which happens to be the criteria for me doing a film about you. Well, actually, his girlfriend made the book, but he benefits by default.
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His work ranges from what appears to be the simple(to my entirely untrained eye.) to the complex and sophisticated. All I know for sure is that when I look at what Luc makes I know I could never match it even if I knew what I was doing, but I don’t, which settles that point once and for all. Now, I did make a bookshelf in shop class in 1984, something I still have, but there isn’t a real right angle on the entire thing. It’s a miracle it works at all, and this little unsightly beast was enough to steer me away from using my hands. (Yes, a variety of jokes would apply here.)

As we get further and further into the “Digital Age” I, and apparently many, many others, have a growing appreciation for all things made my hand, all things crafted and sans computer assistance. I also have great appreciation for things that last, and both of these loves are covered with the artifacts that Luc is creating and ultimately leaving behind. Will an invading army find my digital files? Will the archeologists of the future sort the rubble of what was once Santa Fe and unearth my laptop? Maybe, but I really hope not. I’d hate to bore future people. But what they will find, I’m guessing, is the kind of stuff that Luc is creating.
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Personally, I took one look at what he was making and immediately began scheming to see how I could collaborate with him. We’ve come up with two projects.

Stay tuned Smogranch reader, stay tuned.

Clarification

I want to clarify something, based on the messages and emails I received in the last day.

I am still making work. My work isn’t really straight photography like it was before, but the work I’m creating now, in many ways, is better. This is just my opinion, but I think the work is not only better it’s more interesting. Photography is a PART of what I’m doing but not the primary focus. I’m doing this for a variety of reasons, but primarily I’m doing this because I want to. Remember, I was a photographer for roughly twenty years, and I really felt like I had done it long enough. I don’t want to be a photographer any longer. I don’t want to make pictures for other people, and I don’t want to do assignments. This week I was contacted by a German company and a US based company to do assignments and I passed both of them along to friends. Absolutely nothing wrong with either of these inquiries, it’s just that I don’t have the heart to do it any longer. On a similar note, several of my portrait clients call and email each year asking for me to return to the saddle, but I can’t do that either. I miss the kids I grew to know, but I can’t go down that road again.

Also remember I came up during a time when photography was viewed and treated in a very different way than it is today. In some ways I feel like I caught the tail end of “what once was,” and how things are being viewing and handled today don’t feel the same to me. I want no part of it. I know other people who love it and think that things are better today than ever before, so whatever makes you happy is what you should do.

After making 170 publications with Blurb I finally feel like I’m starting to understand what is possible, and frankly I haven’t scratched the surface. NOT being a photographer has given me all the advantages because I have total freedom and am under no industry restrictions, restrictions which are frankly holding back so many talented people. I’m branching out in my little Blurb world, branching out to illustrators, designers, artists, street artists and anyone else who isn’t afraid to take risks and break with the traditional world. Photographers, sadly, are rarely in this space. I find most pros have limited grasp of what a platform like Blurb really is, and most are waiting to get a traditional book deal, even when that means ten to fifty thousand dollars out of their own pocket. Think this is rare, think again. It is the norm. Again, I love traditional publishing, buy traditional books all the time, but this is ONE path, not the only path, and certain people understand that and others do not.

I am a VERY fortunate individual. I get to work with creative people, make projects and get to continue to explore the world. I have art materials on my fingers, film in a truly strange assortment of cameras, paper in my journal and a desire to help other folks figure out what it is they are visually searching for. Things are good.

My advice for today is do something you don’t know how to do.

Hong Kong Day One

After fifteen hours and twenty-six minutes in the air, or perhaps a bit more, I’m officially in Hong Kong. At the moment, as you can see by this first image, I’m not quite in Hong Kong, but still on the edges near the airport where we will be camped for the next few days.

It’s been fifteen years since I’ve been here, and I realize I don’t remember a thing.

Like I expected I would, I woke first at 1:30AM, then again at 3AM, 4AM, 5AM and then finally decided to go have a look around before I lost my mind. Not much open in these parts at that time, but I made what I could. Our hotel is in the Cathay City area of the airport, which is basically an entire area comprised solely of Cathay Pacific…stuff. Offices, flight simulation, hotel, etc. Tells you the size of the operation. Lots of concrete and a blue/yellow haze of early morning fog.

What’s interesting is the minute you step outside the hotel you begin to feel the climate, which is a blend of just a hint of cool with the smell and sound of the tropics. Bird calls, mountain tops and industry all saddled up right next to one another.

FAST FORWARD TWELVE HOURS

Okay, back in my room and this WordPress blog is not feeling well. I can only post one image per post for some reason. And, I know as much about writing code as I do about how to compete in a chainsaw cutting contest which happens to be what is on the television in my room. When did lumberjacking become so popular in Asia? Really? Is this our best export? Please Asia, don’t think Americans run around with chainsaw dreams. But wait, do professional chainsaw competitors have groupies? Man, I don’t even want to think about that….

Anyhow, back to the point at hand, Hong Kong. In short, if you haven’t been here, it’s an international city. It’s more European than American, so think London not New York. Londoners are a rare breed, uncompromising in their view of Mother London, but they are quick to offer praise to the Pearl that is Hong Kong.

As for me, yet to really dive in. That happens tomorrow when the “competition” part of my trip begins and ends, at least in the physical sense. My plan you ask??? I don’t have one. In essence my plan was to not plan. I’ve found in the past, on remote, foreign outings, my plan was usually tossed out minutes after setting food in country, and the most interesting things I found, and brought back, were those found through human connection and from my soles walking the streets.

Now, before me, sits a horrid tangle of cables, all plugged into the same borrowed power strip. I’ve got two phones charging, one in Chinese, a computer, two camera batteries and just for the heck of it I might plug in the hair dryer just to see what happens. Hey, it’s not my hotel!

Okay, I was going to keep writing but the lumberjacking contest on TV now has two women log rolling and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite so amazing. I must go.

New Website

Putting my feet up at Machu Picchu.

In the past few weeks, thanks to many others, my following on this site has grown by leaps and bounds. To those of you who linked out to me(Zack and many others), or wrote about me, I wanted to say “thank you.”

I needed to bring something to your attention. This site, in its current form, as you have probably noticed, is a bit wonky. That is because me NEW site is running in the background and will be released in the coming weeks.

I’ve also not been posting nearly as much due to this same situation. I have interviews, posts and stories coming up that I don’t really want to post until the new site is up and running.

Speaking of the new site…the goal was to create something that provided more of a community for us, us meaning you and me. I get many comments, emails, etc, which are great, but also time consuming and slightly wonky to reply to. The new site is a combination blog, image database and community center.

Looking at the future, my site will continue to be about photography, but I also know there is too much going on in the world to only write about photography(Politics, art, writing, bikes, etc). The current method of success with blogs, sites, etc, is to focus solely on ONE thing, topic, etc, but I just can’t do it. Perhaps is my journalism background, need to record everything or my active imagination, not sure. For those of you ONLY looking for photo related things…sorry. For me this intergoogle thing is about my life, not just my work.

I’ve also got a new magazine coming out(Get your work ready to submit), as well as a journal companion book to go with the magazine. I’m also planning on doing a little teaching in the future, not much, just a little, which is something I’ve been getting some requests for. But, much more detail about this stuff when the new baby has been hatched.

The Look

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This is what a typical “set” looks like on Flickr, and for some reason, I really like it. Simple clean, etc.

I have never liked thumbnails, but when you can see them all as a page, I like it. What I don’t like is the Flickr navigation with one image at a time, at full size.

Wish there was a better way.