Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Photographing Family" - in Too Much Chocolate

LA Based Photographer, writer and curator Aline Smithson has curated a very moving piece for "Too Much Chocolate Magazine", titled "Photographing Family".

The piece includes work by myself, along with the very brilliant Phillip Toledano, Doug DuBois, Elizabeth Flemming, Jack Radcliffe, Timothy Archibald, Tierney Gearon, and Dona Schwartz.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Austin "SunFlowers" Project in "GOOD MAGAZINE"

Last week, I had the good fortune to find myself down in Austin. It wasn't too hot, the place I was staying had a pool, and I was working with the sublimely gifted public art duo "Harries/Heder Collaborative".

Never mind that they're my soon-to-be in-laws, their work is always visionary, smart and, in this case, lights up at night.

"SunFlowers", 15, 12' tall solar "flowers" that feed back into the grid by day and glow like alien flowers at night, had it's debut last week, and "GOOD Magazine" published a great little feature on the installation, featuring pix by yours truly, today.

Here are a few more from the shoot:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"SKIP" Goes into Second Printing & A "Thank You" to This Community

"A small, good thing...", someone once said. Last week, SKIP went into it's second printing over at Perceval Press. For those of you who have been asking for copies, they are now again available through Perceval and through David Newsom Photography.

Also, a word to those who've been keeping tabs on the story of my dad and his common-law wife, Jean: My family and I wanted to thank you for your support, good vibes and salient thoughts. Navigating elder-care is a dirty secret in our culture, and most families are hit with all it's awesome responsibilities like a tsunami. Our personal story, while difficult, often surreal, and heavy with grace, is not unusual, and it has caused me to ponder the power, or lack thereof, of these cyber communities. So, as we go forward, I'll be posting images, stories and words, as well as useful links, because I have to believe that this technology is actually working, that it is up to something more than providing cheap entertainment and the best deals on new stuff.

Stay tuned...

In the meantime, keep a good thought for dad and Jean and all the other folks who've been master of their lives - decade after decade - and are now contending with the process of handing power over to strangers, the next generation, and the unknown. It's not for sissies.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Night on The Indian River

Behind my dad's condo here in Vero Beach runs the Indian River. By day, the Indian River is a superhighway for both humans and wildlife. At night, however, it's as tranquil as a monastery. After a long day spent dealing with our family situation, I wandered out through the jungle to an old dock and experimented with some time exposures using the D700. These were shot looking west, toward the mainland. Each shot was about 8 minutes, at ISO 200.

I suspect the process was more profound than the results. As I was shooting, a mother Barred owl took her 2 chicks out for hunting lessons, "hooting" back and forth from the telephone line beside the dock, and a large pod of porpoise passed by, their exhales echoing across the water, so clear in the still night they sounded like they were whispering in my ear.

Technically, the D700 did an OK job. I found a lot of "hot" pixels, which may be a result of long time exposures on the Nikon sensor. Also, I got more barrel distortion with this Nikon 17-35/ 2.8 lens than I would have liked. I'll have to look into that. But, you know, spiritually, it was a complete success.


Monday, May 25, 2009

My sister and I answered an SOS from my dad about a month ago. His wife of 16 years was struggling with memory issues and he needed help getting from Florida back up to their house in New Jersey. He sounded anxious. We got to Vero Beach, Florida 3 weeks ago...

Jean Baker & "Buck" Newsom 5/2009

Vero Beach, Florida lies along a narrow strip of land, flanked on one side by the Atlantic ocean, and on the other, by the Indian River. Once a vital, teeming estuary for fish, birds and copious other wildlife, it has since surrendered much of it's wilderness to gated communities harboring well-heeled snowbirds. But, to paraphrase William McDonough, whenever Nature is given a chance to take root, it does so magnificently. The trees surrounding my dad and step mom's condo here in the Sea Oaks gated community chatter with life. Tree frogs, geckos, green anoles, crested anoles, song-birds, butterflies, cicadas all trade shifts, keeping the racket up 24/7. Literally next door, a 300 acre reserve is as vibrant today as it was 200 years ago. Florida panthers, chimeras from a wilder time, cross paths with hikers, barred owls stare down from daytime roosts awaiting night hunts, and shy gopher tortoises dive down burrows, trying to avoid the locals, who eat them.

Into the Reserve 5/2009

A short boat ride on the Indian River brings you face to face with manatees, porpoise, mullet leaping to avoid becoming meals for Redfish, flocks of black and white Ibis, herons fishing from every low branch and pairs of Osprey warily circling nests. Most of this is only of passing interest to my dad and his gal, two Snowbirds who've made Florida their winter retreat for 15 years. Yes, they're older now, both dealing with their own varieties of mental illness, but even in their younger days they were always pretty content focusing on tennis, sitting pool-side, and having dinners across the highway at the club.

Jean Baker

"Buck" Newsom 5/2009

My sister, Ginny, and I showed up here 3 weeks ago, thinking we were going to be moving them up to New Jersey for summer. But 5 nights ago, my dad, who'd been struggling to keep everything together suffered a major emotional breakdown, and had to be hospitalized. He's home now, but his mental health careens wildly from one moment to the next. Jean struggles to pitch in, but her Alzheimer's makes the process complicated- a non-stop "Groundhog Day" in which her reality needs to be constantly updated, and the decline of her mate puzzles her.

Jean, the night dad stayed in the hospital

Anyway, in the rare moments when I can shoot, I do. While I haven't bothered to chronicle the wildlife, I have been using the time to record the late night vigils between my sister, Jean and myself as we've had to get dad into and out of hospitals, do the delicate dance with medications, and find our way through this time of family crisis and connection.

Ginny & Beer.

"Buck" Newsom.

Also, in an odd twist, it turns out one of my best friends from high school lives 10 miles up the road, where the land is so narrow you could almost heave a rock from the ocean to the river. Matty has been a livesaver, picking us up on the river, taking us out in the boat, providing us a glimpse of the teeming wilderness carrying on around us while we humans work through our little dramas.

Ginny and Matty, on the Indian River, somewhere near Vero Beach

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Art of Relating- A Benefit for the Relational Center of Los Angeles

Save the date, folks-

I'm very proud to be one of 7 artists to be featured in the benefit for the "Relational Center", a non-profit mental health center dedicated to serving minorities and underserved communities in Los Angeles.

May 2, 2009.
6pm to 10 pm
Melrose Lightspace
7600 Melrose Ave (@ Curson)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

SKIP Collaboration- "To Hear From There"

So, a little while back, I got an inquiry from a woman named Holly Christie about one of my pieces, "Blue Truck". Turns out she'd been looking over Perceval Press' web site, and she'd come across my book SKIP.

Anyway, she liked it, bought it, and we struck up a dialogue. As fate would have it, Ms. Christie is a singer/songwriter. One year later, thanks to the seemingly infinite generosity of the folks at Perceval Press, Ms. Christie has released a small collection of beautifully produced songs, inspired by SKIP, titled, "To Hear From There".

It's kind of amazing. Most times, we put these things out there and they're met with silence, sometimes a nod. But, man, when they inspire others to take the painstaking journey that, say, producing an EP requires, well, you've gotta feel good.

So, check it out, Holly Christie's TO HEAR FROM THERE- SONGS FOR THE BOOK SKIP.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Night Crawling...

When I read Toby Barlow's hip and vicious first novel, SHARP TEETH, I fell in love with his version of LA as much as his bloody werewolf/love saga. The LA of SHARP TEETH is more the stuff of literary collisions than pop horror. Part Chandler, Chavez Ravine and Mike Davis. It's an LA of unpopulated streets, lost neighborhoods and dry brush bordering cracked concrete. A shadowy stage for the violent doings of the book's feral gangs. So, I began to shoot pictures in pursuit of this LA. We did a show together, last April, over at Lost&Found Gallery in Hollywood, which got the ball rolling...

...Since then, I've begun a tour of the LA that carries on indifferent, perhaps even hostile to, the self-obsessed culture jockeying for exposure under the "HOLLYWOOD" sign. The whole venture smacks of a very particular kind of voyeurism, and often finds me standing in pitch black alleys at 3 am, waiting for something to resolve, standing on rooftops staring into windows or listening outside hulking factory walls as steam rises overhead. It's a journey of uncertain destination, but the LA that I'm finding on these late night sojourns is beautiful to me, a Hopper-esque universe of desolation, history and hallucinatory luminosity.

In his series of gorgeous silver gelatin prints, NIGHT WALK, Henry Wessel explores a sleeping LA of bungalows and Tim Burton shadows. So I suppose one could call this work the LA of Lycanthopes (and other altered-states) and late-shifts.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

David Newsom Photography @ RoseArk Gallery

RoseArk Presents: FOUNTAINHEAD

David Newsom
Cass Bird
Brantley Gutierrez
Sye Williams

Show Closes April 15th
1111 W. Crescent Heights Blvd
West Hollywood, CA