All posts filed under: Essay

40th and Baring, Philadelphia, PA

Jordan Baumgarten

Jordan Baumgarten is a photographer and educator based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jordan received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA in Photography from the University of the Arts. Informed by his own lived experiences, his projects walk the line between documentary and personal narrative. His work touches on ideas of race, socioeconomics, dissonance, violence, love, loss, and fear within the urban environment. In 2013, he published his first monograph, Briar Patch, with Parts and Labor Books. Briar Patch Briar Patch is about the dissonance felt when your home is somewhere you don’t belong. The images explore a life and a relationship in the context of an at-times violent neighborhood, and the anxiety of that looming violence coming into the home. The dog who catches the car gets killed sometimes An essay written by Jordan Baumgarten introducing an upcoming body of work. Originally published on TIS Books.  My wife Anne and I have lived in the Kensington section of Philadelphia for the past couple years. When I first started making work in this neighborhood, I was …

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Mo Costello

Mo Costello is an artist currently living in Athens, Georgia where she serves as the Lamar Dodd Post-MFA Teaching Fellow at the University of Georgia. Today we share her series, Vitamins for Troubled Hearts, with an introductory correspondence between Mo Costello and Nich Hance McElroy. Vitamins for Troubled Hearts Mo Costello and Nich Hance McElroy, from The Ones We Love, Volume 1. I contacted Mo on the phone in early February. She’d been traveling under a self-imposed communication blackout, or doing something like traveling, or just taking a break from everything. I texted twice to reschedule our conversation, and when I finally spoke with her I could hear her footsteps on gravel. She spoke quickly and apologized for her shortness of breath; she was at a high elevation in Boulder, Colorado, walking and talking at the same time. Our conversation was peripatetic too — it wandered from personal biography, weather, geography, working habits, a brief genealogy of vehicles (“now I have a van”), a strawberry farm, the town in Oregon where her parents met, the particulars of …

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A Moveable Brunch

So there were these brothers some time ago, Phillip and Paul, and they had two tasks: find lunch, and clean the chicken coop. Phillip, the elder brother took it upon himself to fish and delegated the chicken coop duties to Paul. Paul, the good brother, agreed, since Phillip always had good luck when down at the fishing hole. After a few hours passed, Paul had that chicken coop clean enough to eat lunch right off the floor, and shortly thereafter, Phillip proudly marched back with a big smile and two trout; one large, one small. He handed the small trout to Paul, sat down on a rock, and dressed his lunch. Paul watched him gut the trout and threw his on the ground. “You know, if I were to have gone fishing and left you with the chicken coop, I’d ah’ given you the big fish and me the small fish!” Phillip looked up from his fish and said, “What are you kickin’ about? You got the small fish.” I wouldn’t say that we’re making …

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Joel Kuennen

Joel Kuennen has a background in English Literature, German, Critical Theory, and Anthropology. His work has spanned such diverse practices as critical and creative writing, painting, installation, metalsmithing and digital video manipulation. He received a MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in May, 2010. His thesis at the School of the Art Institute Chicago explored conditions of subjectivity as constructed through spatial relationships. He currently lives in Chicago, IL and is a Senior Editor at ArtSlant.com and was an editor and contributor to Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing through the Discipline, 2012. Joel was the featured writer in issue N.5. Today we share the essay contained within issue N.5 for your reading enjoyment. ___ The Surface of Everyday Life The artists in this issue share a common aesthetic lineage: Dada. A lineage that seems to present itself often in contemporary art, let alone photography – a contradiction which I shall address later. As a sociopolitical movement (for they were not only concerned with art but with …

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Jeremy Mohler

Jeremy Mohler is a writer living in Washington, DC. After receiving a B.A. degree from the Philip Merrill Collegel of Journalism at the University of Maryland, he has self-published essays and poems at www.jeremymohler.org. His essay on Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti is forthcoming in the next issue of The Johns Hopkins University literary journal The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review. Today we share his recent essay titled, An Illusion of Division. __ An Illusion of Division Photography is far too expansive and elusive of a concept and practice to talk about in dogmatic language. It is known most collectively as art; but it’s safe to say that a majority of photographers are simply, in their eyes, documenting experience, and communicating that experience in the bright complicated ball of protean stimulus that is the contemporary culture. Because when words fail us – as they often do – photos are for obvious reasons the more precise, “authentic” method of reaching each other. I quote the word because that a photograph can be authentic is pretty complicated, and amputated …