Category Archives: El Rito

El Rito Studio Tour October 5th and 6th.

Hope to see you there! Lots of great Artists on the Tour and a beautiful time to head up north!

Excellent Blog Post by Steve Immel

SUNDAY, AUGUST 25, 2019

Going nowhere fast

Link to Steve Immel’s Blog

Longhor, Texas,David Michael Kennedy 2006

Two weeks ago, Cris Pulos, Terry Thompson and I spent 2-1/2 amazing hours with renowned photographer David Michael Kennedy at his studio and home in the village of El Rito an hour or so southwest of Taos. I wish that Bill Davis, the other member of our monthly breakfast foursome, had been able to share the experience. He would have loved it. Our audience with the famed platinum-palladium printer was the result of Cris’s persistent efforts. I know there was a lot of back and forth to make it happen. It sure was worth the effort. Thanks, man.

Since I visited David’s studio in 2016, a visit during which I purchased a small framed platinum print of a longhorn steer, he has expanded his workplace and added one of the most impressive darkrooms any of us has seen. We had some serious studio envy.

The gallery space within his studio was as expansive as any in a major city and there were at least seventy framed photographs on the walls, each a masterpiece. If the test of great photographs made by a great photographer is that you know whose work it is from across the room, David Michael Kennedy passes with flying colors. Simply seeing that extraordinary display was worth the price of admission. That we sat in easy chairs and enjoyed two hours of wide-ranging talk about the state of photography today; David’s personal journey from the go-to rock and roll and album cover photographer in New York; his self-taught mastery of platinum-palladium printing; and a smattering of our long but modest careers was the bonus. He could not have been more engaging and open. He said we were always welcome and I intend to take him up on that.

Bob Dylan, 1985, David Michael Kennedy

Theories about the decline of fine art photography were an overarching theme as they always are when devoted photographers get together. In fact, no discussion among photographers is complete unless it eventually goes “there.” Name recognition notwithstanding each of the four of us were saddened by our star in the photographic galaxy, and that recognition and sales have been fleeting and heading toward nil.

On that subject David leaned in to say, “I’m confused.” He could have said “disappointed” or “disillusioned.” 

David told us about recent shows in Los Angeles and Manhattan. These were big time affairs attended by A-Listers. The well-heeled gallery owners flew him to both cities, put him up in four-star hotels, bought $4,000 dinners for eight at Michelin starred restaurants and he came away with a case of indigestion. In LA he sold exactly zero and in NYC “two small prints.” How does that work and what does it say about the viability of a self-supporting life as a fine art photographer when David  Michael Kennedy’s work doesn’t sell? It says, as I wrote in a letter to a floundering writer-photographer friend, that “fine art photography as a business proposition is a fool’s errand” and that “financial success is damn near impossible.” My friend captains a pilot boat in the frigid waters off Rockland, Maine in the middle of the night to make ends meet. Good thing he loves it.

David suggested that the art business in general is in the tank, that it’s broader than just photography. Millennials don’t buy art. They buy experiences. They’ll safari in Kenya or trek to Machu Picchu but won’t buy a $500 photograph. At least that’s my theory, a theory supported by the fact that photography workshops are moving off-shore and are more about new places, cultures and cuisines than learning skills.

And everybody is a photographer. Most folks think they can do what we’re doing after fifty years of practice. Everybody has a social media outlet for their work. Instant gratification is there for the taking. Even the compositionally impaired can grab a good image from time to time. It’s like golf. The occasional par keeps a hacker in the game.

David related a story. He was visiting his Taos gallery, since folded but that’s another story, and overheard a besotted young gentleman contemplating the purchase of one his prints. He knew that the youngster was in a new relationship with his girlfriend by the way he swaggered. David described the photograph as a classic Rio Grande Gorge vista. The dude debated whether to buy or not to buy until the girl told him, “You can do that, babe. You don’t have to buy it” Naturally, he decided that he could and another sale was buried in the graveyard of broken expectations. I asked DMK how he could hold his tongue. He shrugged.

On the plus side there was a modicum of comfort knowing we were in good company when a photographer of David’s stature was struggling to sell his work, too. I offered an analogy to the restaurant business and to the adage, “Misery loves company.” In my restaurant life I would commiserate with my competitors when sales were down. We’d complain to each other about how bad business was and I’d take heart. So, it isn’t just me.

But I countered the misery loves company excuse by saying that even when you and most of your peers are in a death spiral somebody else is kicking ass. Somebody is killing it when you’re dying. You have to figure what does work. I’m giving that advice to myself more than anybody else. My good friend John Farnsworth suggested that you need to identify what everybody else is doing and do the opposite. I’m not entirely sure about that angle. Maybe you just have do it differently and better. If they like it enough, they’ll buy it. However, that premise leads to the abyss of self-doubt if you’re not selling.

Ultimately, we identified digital photography and social media as the assassins of our beloved art form. It’s been made too easy and this is from a person who usually has no problem with fast or easy. And a dope who doesn’t know an f-stop from a traffic stop can reach an instant audience. David Michael Kennedy told us, “I hate easy.” Or more accurately he has a love hate relationship with easy. He hates himself for secretly liking speed and ease. The man spent fifteen years learning and mastering the painstaking platinum-palladium process. He’s one of the best in THE WORLD. But being a tried and true process guy, he just might like the journey as much as the destination. I do not suffer that malady.

He showed us a recent portrait made with his Sony 7 series digital camera albeit equipped with a Leica lens from a film camera. He boasted, “I don’t think you can tell that this is Palladium from a digital camera.” We could not. It looked like rest of his incredible work to us.

More on Alaska Positive

Call for submissions for Alaska Postive A biennial exhibition of Alaska photography

Now in its 49th year, Alaska Positive encourages photography as an art form in Alaska. The next call for entries for Alaska Positive will open September 3, 2019. Entries will be juried by nationally renowned photographer, David Michael Kennedy.

Guest juror David Michael Kennedy’s photographic career spans over 40 years. His works are held in museum collections including the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Institute. Kennedy’s career started in New York with commercial photography including iconic portraits of musicians, actors and artists. In 1986 he moved to New Mexico to focus on fine art photography. His name is synonymous with New Mexico landscapes. Kennedy’s images are materialized through the platinum/palladium printing technique, a pre-digital, by-hand process at which he is considered one of the best in the world.

In addition to receiving recognition for their work, photographers whose photos are selected for Alaska Positive 2019 will compete for several cash awards. Kennedy will bestow one Juror’s Choice award for $300, and two $150 Awards of Recognition. The awards are sponsored by the Friends of the Alaska State Libraries, Archives and Museum (FoSLAM). Kennedy will also select some photographs for Honorable Mention.

Alaska Positive will open at the Alaska State Museum on December 6, 2019 and run through February 15, 2020. The exhibition will then travel to museums throughout Alaska including the following:

  • Sheldon Jackson Museum: March – May, 2020
  • Wasilla Museum & Visitor Center: June – September, 2020
  • University of Alaska Museum of the North: October – November, 2020
  • Haines Sheldon Museum: mid-December – February, 2021
  • Cordova Historical Museum: March – mid-April, 2021
  • Valdez Museum: May – September, 2021

Exhibit dates are subject to change.

Call for submissions for Alaska Positive 2019 will open September 3, 2019 and close October 12, 2019 on CaFÉ, callforentry.org. For more information contact the Alaska State Museum curator of exhibitions by calling 907-465-4819 or e-mailing Jackie Manning

PhotoNexus 2019

Please see: https://binhammerphotographs.com/photonexus/
For the schudule and other information. It should be a great weekend! Hope to see you there!

The New Movie on the Studio and Gallery in El Rito, New Mexico

MA MutualART

https://www.mutualart.com

Very cool site! Your go-to source for art information, MutualArt offers access to auction prices, personalized updates, and data on over 300,000 Arists!

MORRISON HOTEL GALLERY TWO SHOW OPENING N.Y.C. AND L.A.

Rei and I hope to see you are the shows!

Americana Through the Lens of Nebraska and Tom Joad:

Morrison Hotel Gallery Announces New Springsteen Exhibit

PHOTOGRAPHS BY:

PAMELA SPRINGSTEEN AND DAVID MICHAEL KENNEDY

Opening reception in Los Angeles October 16th. 6-9pm
Morrison Hotel Gallery
Sunset Marquis
1200 Alta Loma Road || West Hollywood, CA 90069

Opening reception in New York City October 23rd. 6-8pm
Morrison Hotel Gallery
116 Prince Street || New York, NY 10012
212.941.8770

Pamela and David will be at both openings.

Morrison Hotel Gallery is once more celebrating the music of Bruce Springsteen with an exhibition opening in Los Angeles on October 16th and NYC on October 23rd. Titled From Nebraska to Tom Joad: Visions of the Heartland, the show will feature the extraordinary photography of David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen.

Last year, the gallery presented the work of photographer Frank Stefanko in honor of the release of his book, Bruce Springsteen: Further Up the Road. Held amidst the buzz created by Bruce’s ongoing successful run on Broadway, the upcoming exhibition will focus on two of The Boss’s most critically-acclaimed albums – Nebraska and Tom Joad.

Both albums were heralded for their stripped-down style, as well as their dark and somber themes. After failing to produce the same haunting effect with his E-Street Band that he had on the demos, Bruce recorded Nebraska by himself on a four-track cassette recorder. The result was an evocative folk-style album that showed the flip side of the American dream: desperate characters for whom life has gone off the tracks. The Ghost of Tom Joad once more displayed Bruce’s knack for acoustic storytelling, exploring the stories of immigrants and migrant workers searching for salvation never to be found.

The photo shoots for both of these albums were inspired by the music, and it is these photographs that will be on display in the Springsteen exhibit. Among the iconic photographs in this collection are the bleak, snow-swept landscape shot chosen for the Nebraska cover. The shot was taken by Kennedy, well-known for his breathtaking depictions of New Mexican culture and landscapes, through the windshield of a pickup truck while on a road trip. Andy Kline, one of the art directors at Columbia Records, happened to see a framed print of the shot hanging on the wall of Kennedy’s studio, thought it would be perfect for the album, and showed it to Bruce – who agreed. The pair also felt that Kennedy would be the ideal photographer to convey the album’s raw, stripped-down vibe, so they scheduled a shoot. A series of photos taken at Kennedy’s summer home in upstate New York became the legendary Nebraska sessions – with Bruce and Kennedy wandering the property and backroads to capture images that felt natural and true-to-life.

For the Tom Joad sessions, Pamela opted for shots taken in the Mojave Desert and run-down neighborhoods in L.A. Her imagery went hand-in-hand with the album’s stories of desolation and desperation. In her work with celebrities from Trent Reznor to Neil Young and Ice Cube, Pamela has spent years capturing candid behind-the-scenes photographs of larger-than-life screen and music icons. As Bruce’s sister, she had the opportunity to capture intimate portraits of him that are as quiet and introspective as the songs on these two critically-acclaimed albums.

“In keeping with Morrison Hotel Gallery’s tribute to Bruce Springsteen, we wanted to focus on a more Americana portrait of the Boss,” says Peter Blachley, co-owner of Morrison Hotel Gallery.  “No finer examples of this can be presented than the photography of David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen and their work with Bruce on Nebraska and Tom Joad.”

About David Michael Kennedy:

David Michael Kennedy’s body of work spans over 40 years and is held in both private and museum collections including The National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution and The Harwood Museum, among many others.

Leaving New York and commercial photography in 1986 he moved to the small village of El Rito, in the northern New Mexico mountains. His name became synonymous with New Mexican landscapes and culture including an important body of work focused on American Indian Ceremonial Dancers.

Kennedy’s images are materialized through the traditional analogue technique of Platinum/Palladium printing, of which he is widely considered to be one of the best in the world.

http://www.davidmichaelkennedy.com/

About Pamela Springsteen:

Pamela began her photography career over a decade ago, shooting for the motion picture and music industry. Her style has attracted a broad range of celebrities including Keith Richards, Neil Young, Tom Hanks, Ice Cube and Alan Jackson.

Her unique strength lies in her ability to create honest and intimate portraits in a comfortable and collaborative environment.

Pamela’s work has included directing music videos and recently her “Ghost of Tom Joad” images were exhibited at the Cranbrook Art Museum receiving national acclaim.

https://www.pamelaspringsteen.com/

About Morrison Hotel® Gallery:

Morrison Hotel® Gallery (MHG) was founded in 2001 by former record company executive Peter Blachley, music retail industry professional Richard Horowitz, and legendary music photographer Henry Diltz. In 2012, author, director and photographer Timothy White joined the team, launching an additional West Coast gallery at The Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood. In 2016, the gallery launched its third location at Mick Fleetwood’s General Store in Maui, Hawaii.

MHG is the world’s leading brand in fine art music photography representing over 125 of the world’s finest music photographers and their archives. Their vast catalog of photography encompasses jazz, blues, and rock imagery spanning several generations through to today’s contemporary music artists and now includes iconic photographs in the world of sports as well. MHG has a robust online presence, featuring over 100,000 images searchable by photographer, music artist, band or concert. www.morrisonhotelgallery.com

Morrison Hotel Gallery
116 Prince Street || New York, NY 10012
212.941.8770

Morrison Hotel Gallery
Sunset Marquis
1200 Alta Loma Road || West Hollywood, CA 90069

310.881.6025

Morrison Hotel Gallery

Fleetwood’s General Store

744 Front Street || Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

808.669.6425 (MICK)

Media Contact:

Kiva

The Press House

kiva@thepresshouse.com

  1. 804. 4675

2018 EL RITO STUDIO TOUR September 29th and 30th.

This year should be an exciting time to come to the tour. We have new artists showing their work and of course late September, early October is a wonderful time to visit Northern New Mexico. Rei and I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. The Tour is open 10am to 5pm both days and you can find a map and information on all the great Artist on the tour at:  https://www.elritoartassociation.org/studio-tour/

 

“Why” Podcast with Skip Cohen

Skip Cohen and I talk about the Ghost Dancer Photograph
see more about Skip at:

SkipCohenUniversity