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.