Saturday, June 12, 2010

Andy and Praveen send off/Summer Cult BBQ

This year’s Cult BBQ to kick off the summer did double duty.

First, it was a great excuse to get together on a gorgeous night on Graeme and Misha’s deck downtown to sample great eats: from sausage, to halibut to mussels to scallops—not to mention all the accompaniments, solid and liquid.

Second, it gave us all a chance to wish a fond “buon viaggio” to Praveen and Andy, who were about to embark on a cross-country adventure that will see Andy spending he summer as an outdoor tour photographer in Alaska—and start Praveen on an odyssey of discovery that will take him ‘round the world.

They will travel to the west coast together in Andy’s way cool converted van, staying with friends all along the way. Then they will part ways for their separate adventures, promising to keep us all up to date with photos and e-mails.

Tentative plans already are in the works for a Cult welcome back BBQ in mid-September, to coincide with Andy’s return to DC and with Frank and Judy’s return from Maine (a brief stopover for them as they prepare to lead their first-ever Photo Workshop in Umbria Italy the following month.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mirror to the World 2010 - Bigger and Bolder

Friday March 19th saw the opening of the 2nd annual Mirror to the World photography show at Glen Echo PhotoWorks.

Image: Seawall Shops, Galveston Island (2008) by Timothy Hyde.

From the distant night markets of Seoul to the inner sanctuary of a child's ballet class, Mirror to the World lived up to its name in what was one of PhotoWork's busiest opening nights ever. This years show, curated once again by Frank Van Riper, featured the dazzling work of 8 cult photographers in an even bigger and bolder display than last year.

The invitational show filled both rooms at PhotoWorks and was notable for its larger prints. "I wanted the show to grab people as soon as they walked in," Frank said, "so I told all participants this time: 'no prints smaller than 11x14.''"

No problem for Tim Hyde and Josh Yospyn, whose huge prints--from Tim's dramatic "Repossession" series and Josh's RennFest coverage--dominated the PW computer lab.
Rounding out the coverage there were Praveen Mantena's evocative images from a desert rite of passage , Frank Turner's cinematic portrait take on his neighbor Zilda and Jonathan Zuck's aforementioned images from street markets in Seoul Korea.

The main teaching room featured three disparate, yet remarkable, picture stories--again each anchored by text: Sonia Suter's gorgeous take on her daughter's ballet class, Mark Silva's beautiful bxw essay on a Russian Orthodox church's preparations for Easter and Sean Bowie's dynamic depiction of skate parks in Baltimore--and the young people who give them life.

As the March 19th opening wound down, Erica Wissolik caught on video the happy chaos as Frank and Judy made the now-traditional group portrait of the exhibiting photographers. And one week later, thanks to Wee Frank's contacts with Italian television, Big Frank recorded a commentary on the show--in Italian--for the Italian cable arts program "Artisticamente." The segment is to be aired once Wee Frank records his own voiceover video tour of the exhibit--also in Italian--and produces a seven minute video that will give the Cult its first-ever international exposure.

Finally check out some of the press that 'Mirror' has been getting:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Studio Portraits at A-Salon

That noise you heard in Takoma Park on Sunday, Jan 17th was from all the creative energy unleashed when cultees convened at the newly refurbished (and open-to-the-public) photo studio at A-Salon for a four-hour marathon of studio portraiture.

Frank, Mark, Paul, Steve and Jonathan tested their portrait chops with amazing results. (The studio is the combined work of A-Salon members, including Frank and Judy, who have joined with other shooters at the artists' cooperative to spruce up a great shooting space--including a big white cyc--that had been left vacant and crowded with old gear after the death of the previous tenant. The idea now is to make the space available to all for a low hourly rate--$15/hr for A-Salon members; $25/hr for non-members, regardless of how many use the space during the session.)

Mark did some wonderful stuff using gels to change the color of the cyc (a really easy way to do away with rolls of seamless), Jonathan created other-worldly pix of Mark emerging from a pool of milk (or at least that was the effect he created beautifully), Paul channeled his inner Platon using his cool beauty dish, Steve learned innovative ways to use his softbox to light large groups with only one light, and Frank recorded the entire process like the documentarian he is. The really wonderful thing about the session was how everyone bounced ideas off each other, leading to more and better pictures. It truly was a "salon" experience.

Stay tuned; this is a great facility and one that is available to us at Frank and Judy's member rate.

Monday, June 15, 2009

FVRBBQ - Summer 2009 Kick Off

Quesada Street, Washington DC was the venue for the first and hopefully 'annual' FVRBBQ for the Cult. The weather was perfect for a late afternoon BBQ on the deck and beautiful garden of Lord and Lady Flash. On the menu was extra picante chorizo, asian peanut noodles, smokey potato salad (amongst other delights) and plenty of cold beers to wash it all down.

It was a top night for food and banter as well as the 'world premier' of the Bill's Mirror to the World featurette video which he brought along for viewing. Check it out here:

Mirror To The World trailer from Bill Putnam on Vimeo.

Of course being a bunch of geeks with cameras there was plenty of quality chat about who had the biggest sensor but more importantly there are an abundance of cameras and shooting some of it from the cult leader himself - here are a few select pics (© Frank Van Riper) :

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mirror to the World 2009

The first show from Suds and Silver/the Cult of Frank Van Riper was a HUGE success. I think I can speak for everyone and say that we certainly made 'our leader' proud. Frank did a wonderful job organizing, editing, printing, curating - the list goes on.

photo courtesy Frank Van Riper

photo courtesy Steve Goldenberg

There was a great turn at Glen Echo PhotoWorks. I estimated around 70 people turned up and from what I heard - everyone seemed to enjoy themselves as well as the great work on the walls.

photo courtesy Steve Goldenberg

I hope it won't be too long before we have another one.

Also! I propose we meet up next week 3/19? for a post-show analysis/celebration.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The first Cult Show

“Mirror to the World—Documentary Photography 2009”

Photoworks exhibition to feature the work of not-yet-famous photographers who have studied at, or been influenced by, the Glen Echo Park documentary photography program

Dates: March 7- April 12, 2009

Curator: Frank Van Riper

PhotoWorks at Glen Echo Park presents an exhibition of documentary photography by a group of young photographers who have tried to show more than the surface of their everyday world.

Curated by nationally acclaimed documentary photographer, author and writer Frank Van Riper, “Mirror to the World—Documentary Photography 2009” will offer a series of mini-picture stories covering diverse topics, including a firehose baptism, the controlled pre-dawn chaos of one of Washington’s largest wholesale food markets, and a 24-hour stakeout on 14th Street to record the faces of scores of passersby.

Said Van Riper: “I invited my best students over the years, as well as members of the informal photo collective that they formed with me, to contribute their finest work. It was a pleasure to curate a show that is as fascinating as it is diverse.”

Frank Van Riper has taught at PhotoWorks for the past five years. He is the author of the Pulitzer-nominated book Down East Maine/A World Apart, and co-author (with his wife and partner Judith Goodman) of the just-published book Serenissima: Venice in Winter. An award winning former political writer, Van Riper currently is the photography columnist of the Washington Post. (Photo: Madonna of the Penny Candy, © Frank Van Riper)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kicking off ’09 in Frothy Style

The first S&S get-together of the New Year was a 6-person nacho, burger and beer affair at The Saloon January 2nd, in which several members outlined plans for documenting the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Chris and Matt converse in Vulcan sign language © Frank Van Riper

[Unfortunately, Dan--or Senor Dan to his Mexican colleagues--the impetus for this fun meetup--had to cancel at the last minute. Wouldn’t you know, his in-laws wanted to have dinner with him that night. Sigh.]

But we soldiered on through a vale of beers, er, tears.

  • Matt said he plans to make inaugural panos as close as he can, using the 35mm pano converter for his medium format Mamiya 7.
  • Holly has signed on as a volunteer for the Obama campaign and plans to shoot her day as it unfolds.
  • Erica said she will load both her film cameras (one color, one black and white) and walk from her downtown apartment, capturing the faces of people on the historic day.
  • Frank, who has covered more inaugurals than he cares to remember, said he would stay home with his lovely wife Judy and watch everything on the telly. BUT he is looking forward to seeing everyone’s take, with an eye toward doing a column on “The inauguration through the eyes of not-yet-famous photographers.”

So if any other S&S-ers want to take part, go for it.

Remember too:

Erica is hosting an informal inaugural party at her place on Jan. 20th from about 5pm on. Sounds like a good place to scope one’s digital take from the day.

Erica in Italian 'Vogue' mode © Frank Van Riper

On totally unrelated matters, Frank described some of the more mundane aspects of commercial photography, including a recent family portrait commission featuring six humans and five, count ‘em five, rambunctious pugs. But the pugs, bless them, stood stock still once Judy held a bowl of shredded chicken slightly out of camera range.

Smile for the Chicken © Frank Van Riper

On another family portrait job—this one involving 16 humans of all ages at the home of the grandparents—the fun really started when the grandfather asked for “a few shots” of his collection of toy lead soldiers.

The valuable collection, featuring literally thousands of the 3” lead figures in all manner of battle dress and posture, would have been at home in the Royal War Museum. The few shots turned into a few dozen, but it was a gas, especially when granddad happily forked over an extra $150 for the snaps.

That's Lawrence of Arabia on the right; Omar Sharif on left © Frank Van Riper

Those attending: Erica, Chris, Matt, Holly, Andy & Frank.