"Night News" - an occasional missive from the darkness
"It is the same light
that graces the dawn,
blazes at noon,
and bows to the evening shadows.
"In truth, the light
never leaves us -
even in the darkest night."
-Dedication by Phyllis Zillhart, Pastor
St. Francis Lutheran Church, S.F. (1994)
"But you know,
the darkest hour
just before the dawn."
-"Long Time Gone" by David Crosby
1969 Guerilla Music
Hello to all of you from your returning West Coast Editor, Susan Nichols, with news feeds from our East Coast Editor, Lance Keimig. "It's summertime, and the livin' is . . . " - well, BUSY! We've got lots to cover, so let's just dive in!
The recent AlumNight event in San Francisco's Presidio - http://www.nps.gov/prsf/ - was a huge success. Eighteen attending (from all the different workshops offered in the past few years, I believe, plus some prospective participants and a few (card-carrying) fellow Nocturnes. This helps establish our presence in the Presidio, thru the aid of The Presidio Trust - http://www.presidiotrust.gov/ - and we will keep you all posted re: other events. So far, we plan to take a workshop there in October and hold another AlumNight in December. In East Coast news, Lance conducts a Full Moon Night Photography Workshop at the Ellison Center for the Arts July 14, 15, and 21 - http://www.duxburyart.org - and it looks like the week-long Cape Cod Workshop with Tim and Lance - http://www.capecod.net/ccpw/ - is moving forward nicely for Sept. 11-15. Also, Lance's second semester-long course in Night Photography at the New England School of Photography - http://www.nesop.com - started on June 22.
The Nocturnes have been invited to "Expo for the Artist, San Francisco 2000" - An Event for Art Services, Resources and Networking - http://www.artsandmedia.net/sfexpo/ - July 16 at CellSpace in San Francisco, along with craigslist.org, artistresource.org, ArtSpan and other arts organizations. A note here to all Nocturnes (and aspiring Nocturnes) - Tim will be back East during this event, and I would love to have some help setting up tables, greeting the curious, answering questions. If you'd like to volunteer (event is Sunday, July 16, from 10am to 4pm) please call me at 415-647-2390.
Last, and certainly not least - the finalized details about the two-week-long, West of Ireland Photography Workshop in April 2001 will be available on the site soon, and published in our next newsletter!
BOOKS AND ARTICLES NOTED
Lance mentions that LensWork #28 featured New York City nighttime architectural views by Catherine Steinman. He also points out that B/W magazine (Issue#8-August 2000) features work by Robert Vizzini (A "Nocturnes 2000" exhibitor - http://www.thenocturnes.com/2000.htm) as well as work by David Fokos, which he describes as "long exposure, waters' edge shots, reminiscent of Michael Kenna." And, speaking of Michael Kenna, "Night Work," the long awaited second book of his Night Photography to be published by Friends of Photography (with a conversation with the artist by Tim Baskerville as part of the introduction) should be out to bookstores in August. We've seen the mockup and it looks great! A large-size book, some work not published before. It should readily find its way into The Nocturnes Library. BTW, some of Robert Vizzini's work also appeared in the current issue of Blind Spot. As well as Aperture #158 (busy, aren't we, Robert?) - which is a fascinating exploration of "Photography and Time" and includes work by other nocturnal notables: OWLink, Sugimoto, Mark Klett, Tokihiro Sato. An article entitled "Persistence of Memory," about Shimon Attie's work with long exposures and projections, appeared in the June 2000 issue of Art in America.
And Zing.com publishes an article about The Nocturnes and the Workshop experiences of one of its editors in their online magazine, Zing World - http://www.zing.com/magazine/ - to be published July 19, 2000. Editor Steve Hanks is quite the enthusiast, and has supported The Nocturnes events all along, so please visit zing.com soon.
First of all, "Nocturnes 2000", our current online exhibit went live on the eve of the Summer Solstice (on time and within budget!) and will run through September 21. Featuring 123 works by 37 artists from the U.S., Germany, France, and Canada. Stop by - http://www.thenocturnes.com/2000.htm - and leave your comments about the show there are plenty of email 'stations' within the site to do so. We do value your feedback. The next scheduled show goes live on the Autumnal Equinox and is called, poetically: "It was a dark and stormy night . . . ". See - http://www.thenocturnes.com/darkandstormy.htm - for more info. June brought the current exhibit at The Fort Point Art Community Gallery (Boston, MA), "Night Becomes Us" featuring the work of Tim Baskerville, Peter Harris, Michael Parker, and Lance Keimig. It closes on July 7th. And Lance Keimig received "Best of Show" honors at the Festival on the Common (Cohasset, MA). Tim currently has a piece in the 72nd Annual Crocker-Kingsley Exhibition at the Crocker Museum (Sacramento, CA), thru August 10th.
Troy Paiva has pointed out that the Stanford Art Museum shows work by the revered O. Winston Link: "Trains that passed in the Night" from August 30 - November 12, 2000. The 75 photographs will surely include his more memorable night photographs of steam locomotives. As Tim would say: "Sounds like a field trip to me." Email us and let's try to pull something together for October?
One of Tim's pieces - the popular "North Tower, Detail" - fetched a good price at the recent auction for ArtSpan and Open Studios here in San Francisco on May 25th. Good price, for a good cause. Starting about the same time and continuing for a long run, Tim has 3 pieces in "Selections 2000," a juried exhibition of 20 San Francisco Open Studios Artists, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. According to Chief Curator Renny Pritkin, the show represents "a community of 'private investigators.'[Ed. note: Nocturnes Noir!] It is evidence of a swirling, eccentric, and iconoclastic art scene that is healthy and thriving." Couldn't have stated it better . . . He goes on to add that: "a show like Selections 2000 affords a curator the opportunity to see a sample of several hundred artists who, if under-recognized, certainly have talent, commitment, and training comparable to anyone's." There you have it. It just occurred to me - you could easily replace that comment for the mission statement for The Nocturnes (it's on the home page). Quite a compliment and a testament to all who live in the Bay Area. Support your local artists - Visit the Center soon - Show runs thru July 23rd. Be sure to see Ed Hamilton's beautiful b/w night images (also in Selections show) and Jessica Dunne's lonely oils of nocturnal scenes of the Ocean Beach area (downstairs, part of "Surf Trip" show).
Just across 3rd Street from the Center is the latest 'blockbuster' (actually a few 'mini-busters' in the same building), brought to you by SFMOMA. The Museum is hosting the Magritte Show (thru Sept 5), two Walker Evans offerings - "Walker Evans" and Walker Evans, Sources and Influence" - (thru Sept 12), and "Of the Moment," a group show from the permanent collection that includes 20 pieces by Bay Area Night Photographer/'househunter' Todd Hido (thru August 29). So what do Rene Magritte, Walker Evans, and Todd Hido have in common? Tim visited the Museum recently - here are some of his observations:
"First Floor . . .
It's all about surrealism, isn't it? As one of the most important art movements of the last century, its influences run throughout all aspects of our culture, our collective psyche. I had always been struck by the silent unnerving beauty contained in "Dominion of Light" (1952) a painting by Magritte. Upon viewing a second, larger piece with the same name, "Dominion of Light" (1961), the message became a little clearer, still. I was struck by the similarity of what we do as night photographers and the reality that Magritte (and all the Surrealists, and I suppose, all modern-day artists) was constructing. In the latter "Dominion of Light" the very bland and normal (at first view) scene, soon reveal what appears to be 'wrong' with the scene. Lights are on in the windows of the building, a street lamp burns in the middle foreground, and a clear blue sky (like you'd see at noon) with puffy cumulus clouds drift by overhead. It's not quite 'right' - Neither night nor day. Upon closer inspection, we see the lamp pole casting TWO shadows, in opposite directions, and no source for either is indicated in the painting. Hmmm, anyone who's taken one of our workshops should recognize the technique for bringing an 'edge' to your imagery. Other amazing similarities regarding time, space, solitude, and memory are evident also. Sounds like the Night Photographers Lexicon, no?
"2nd Floor . . .
Then, upstairs I view Todd Hido's haunting night photographs of tract homes in foggy Daly City. Surrealistic, indeed. I recall that quote by Paul Kantner (of Jefferson Airplane): "Basically you have San Francisco, and the rest of the world is like Daly City." [sic] But Todd has transformed these banal scenes into ones of mystery, of questioning. We wonder what goes on in there, do the residents know that they're being observed. Some images almost resemble crime scenes - another 'private investigator' hard at work in the cold night, perhaps. Or as a critic once wrote: "a private eye of domestic disarray" - of solitude, of the 'not quite right' moment.
"3rd Floor . . .
Such works by Walker Evans as "Torn Movie Poster" (1931) also reveal a surrealist sensibility, an avant garde approach to art making, of trying new avenues of expression. And his love of incorporating words and images is a technique Magritte and other surrealist utilized to great effect. They were all in effect, predicting the modern media age. Walker Evans (the self-described 'anti-Stieglitz') was much more of an innovator than is commonly acknowledged, partly because his work with the FSA (Farm Security Administration, 1935-38) became so well known and helped typecast him a bit, if you will.
"Out the Door . . .
So what does surrealism have to do with Night Photography? Just recall The Nocturnes Home page and the quote underneath that historic night image of Luna Park around the turn of the previous century (this is the interactive part of the newsletter - see http://www.thenocturnes.com) and see what you think.
"And More . . .
Anyway, I got so inspired (re-inspired?) by the Walker Evans show that afterward I went to one of my favorite bookstores (no, not Amazon - http://www.amazon.com - this time) and ran across a Bernd and Hilla Becher book of their trademark water towers, grain terminals, blast furnaces, etc, "Basic Forms" (the understated, almost existential aesthetic draws so much from Evans' work) and acquired it for The Nocturnes Library (ISBN 3-8238-1001-4). Found it in the Architecture Section, no less! Thus concludes my day at SFMOMA."
-That's quite a report, Tim!
OTHER LIBRARY NOTES
Recent Acquisitions: The Light of Ireland, Photographs by Ron Rosenstock. ISBN 0-615-11218-8
Le Notres Gardens. Photographs by Michael Kenna. 2nd Edition, ISBN 0-9630785-3-4
Seizing the Light, A History of Photography by Robert Hirsch. ISBN 0-697-14361-9
The Geography of Home, California's Poetry of Place. ISBN 1-890771-19-8
Expansions (2nd copy) by William Lesch. ISBN 4-8457-0667-9
AND RELATED NEWS
Michael Kenna delivers a lecture at Photo San Francisco, Saturday, July 29 at 4pm. The Golden Gate Room at Ft. Mason/Landmark Building 'A'. Cost is $5 per person and you can email - firstname.lastname@example.org - or visit - http://www.photosanfrancisco.net - for ticket info.
As always, this and past issues of "Night News" are accessible at http://www.thenocturnes.com/nitenews.htm
And in closing, I'd like to mention something that Todd Hido would surely agree with:
"... lets just be careful out there."
"It's been ages since you last visited . . . "