Sunday, May 25, 2014

Appropriation and/or Doctorin' the Moss (redux)

Will it ever end? We think not. Therefore, let us observe and slow down in order to consider the "news" from, amongst many worthy sources, a recent edition of the NYPost:

Hefner sues blog over Kate Moss Playboy pictures
Hugh Hefner won’t share Kate Moss without a fight.
Playboy Enterprises International on Wednesday slapped operators of the culture blog Black Book with a copyright suit in Manhattan federal court, alleging the blog reproduced images of the supermodel without consent.
The pictures used were art of Moss’ cover spread in Playboy’s 60th-anniversary special in December. (The apparent post in question appears to have since been taken down.)
The suit says Manhattan-based blog operator McCarthy LCC’s (sic) use of the photos was for “commercial” purposes, since it posts ads on the website.
Playboy wants $150,000 for each “infringed work.”
The suit comes four months after Playboy sued publishing giant Hearst, claiming its Harper’s Bazaar website reproduced some of Moss’ photos without permission.
Reps for McCarthy LLC could not be reached for comment.

I don't know why Rich just didn't ask iskm for comment!?!
"We here at will fight to gloriously share kate with you all. Unfortunately, due to the lack of advertising $s generated by this blog, oh and all of that 'fair use' stuff, we don't like our chances of being served a summons. That being said, we would like to offer iskm's service to Alas & Piggott (the generators of the original images in question), Playboy Enterprises International, McCarthy LLC and all of the readers of the NYPost,  in order to sue Mr. Calder for misleading and deceptive conduct. Specifically, we will work on your behalf against his false claim that said source pictures are in fact 'art'." 
Dear Hugh, Playboy Enterprises International and the good people at MCCarthy LLC, 
Can't we all just get along and share? There is enough kate to go around for all of us.

 Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Photographer Series #8: saulshotkatemoss

You’re lying on a psychiatrist's couch. As you tilt your head back, what do you see? Freud? Your mother? A rorschach like Matthu’s? The collage? Maybe just kate? I mean, she is everywhere and has infiltrated all other aspects of our consciousness, so why not? 
Columbus Circle, 2006 from Initial Intake
When faced with such a question, there is only one person to turn to, Saul Robbins. While Saul has exhibited and has published widely, he is best known for the series Initial Intake, which examined the empty chairs of Manhattan-based psychotherapy professionals from their clients’ perspective, referencing viewers perceptions, associations, and responses to this particular environment and the work that takes place there. In 2012, Robbins created How Can I Help? - An Artful Dialogue, inviting passersby to speak with himself and other artists about anything they wished, for free and in complete confidence, in a pop-up office/exhibition environment in Midtown Manhattan. Saul's immediate family is made up of psychotherapists and he has stated that "this work stems from the belief that long-term challenges can be resolved by examining patterns in personal and familial history".
As Saul is interested in the way people interact within their surroundings, and the psychological dynamics, particularly of intimacy, I thought he should become acquainted with, and closer to, kate.

iskm: Let's analyze you Saul! What prompted you to create Initial Intake
Saul Robbins (SR): Over the last decade my work has become increasingly motivated by personal experience and on multiple levels, references to loss and unity. With Initial Intake I observed and then photographed each chair from the client's vantage point so that I could best reference the perceptions, associations, and responses to this very private environment, and the work that takes place there.  

iskm: Why?
SR: For many, the role of the psychotherapist holds significant weight, and the importance given to him/her is one of profound influence in many of our lives. Viewers are encouraged to consider the inherent personality in each of these environments, and the place of power being held, quite literally, across from them, on a regular basis.

iskm: It is fascinating how many images of chairs you have gathered. It reminds me of the Walter Benjamin quote: "Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories." You once mentioned to me that you are also a collector of certain items ...
Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.
Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.
SR: I began collecting several small objects about 6 years ago when I noticed that a childhood game of twisting off apple stems was taking place consciously in relationship to my current project 'Where’s My Happy Ending?' and I saved those apple stems in an antique jar. I purchase the bottles at flea markets and tag sales, and a friend told me about an old dump in Queens where they float up through the mud from time to time.

iskm: So, how does this relate to your photography?

SR: About 3 years ago I started drawing and scratching into the 'Where's My Happy Ending?' prints which allowed me to better express myself emotionally and physically in relation to the series. The drawings are my immediate and visceral response to a very personal struggle in my life, which is the desire and struggles of my wife and I to start our family, with greater emphasis on mapping my own personal interior landscape rather than exploring the exterior one of 'Initial Intake'. Saving the remnants from the drawings memorializes these remains and the drawing process itself, attempting to retain a sense of wholeness and integrity within the context and subject of the series. I began scratching directly into Chromogenic paper and prints because I was dissatisfied with the way that Sharpie pens were settling on most of the photographs. The intentions of this practice are myriad: decorative, meditative, intentional, and metaphorical. The practice allows me to try and right what’s wrong in my universe rather than accepting or being limited to what is recorded on film and onto the paper. When I began scratching, saving the remnants was a natural extension of my interest in loss and unity; presenting each drawing with its jar of remnants also allows the images to retain the sense and quality of holistic integrity. 

iskm: And you used this framework for your kate image? 
SR: Yes. I shot and have now shredded all evidence of Kate Moss. She's now stuffed safely away in a small glass bottle in my living room. 
iskm: Wait, really? Let’s see it!
Kate, by Saul - the exclusive edition
SR: Here she is in my collection of some other shredded and collectible objects, in case you don't believe I am actually so obsessive. 

iskm: How did you find kate and explain to us what happened?
SR: I was at an event with my wife at the Soho Grand and saw this huge photograph above the bar. After I confirmed it was Kate. I made a picture with my wife’s mobile, printed it out at home and put it through our shredder, then put the remnants of that into the glass bottle. I then took a black & white photograph of the bottle to give kate a classic look.

iskm: How do you feel your approach to photography affected your submission to ishotkatemoss? 
SR: I don’t care much for star worship but relish the idea of capturing and “shredding" Kate, then bottling her up as a humorous way to play off ideas of branding, commodification, star culture, and ownership. Why should kate and her peers be the only ones to bottle a perfume for us to covet? If it weren’t for the fans, these stars would remain unknown, and I am interested in turning this equation on its head with my own exclusive brand of kate moss ... perhaps I should call it “Kate, by Saul - the exclusive edition".

iskm: I think that this image is one of the most distinctive submissions that we have added to the iskm collage. Finally, which photographer/s would you most want to most see involved in ishotkatemoss? 
SR: How about David Hammons, Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligon, Mickalene Thomas, Wangechi Mutu, or Clifford Owens? And, while he is no longer with us, how about Robert Heinecken? I’d love to see him take on iskm. 

iskm: Thanks Saul! 
SR: Thank you for inviting me to participate. 

Saul is currently part of an exhibition at NOPA. the New Orleans Photo Alliance, which runs until May 25th. For information about this, upcoming exhibitions and his work you can visit

And like Saul, and all psychiatrists in NY do ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Photographer Series #7: neilshotkatemoss

Neil Haddon is a fascinating visual artist who lives in Hobart, Australia. His art investigates “strategies of selective misappropriation and willful misinterpretation” in translating existing narratives into new pictorial form. He has re-evaluated methodologies associated with Minimalism and his recent research has focused on images taken from incidental stories in the news media and re-pictures these as ‘broken’ images, or images ‘freed’ from their original context. Um, I think that is a good portion of ... but as you’ll see Neil’s work is very very different from what you have viewed previously dear reader.
Left: A press image. Right: Haddon's After the burn, Mt Nelson (a new landscape emerges), 2013

Originally from the UK, via a six-year stint in Spain, Neil recently completed a residency at the Australia Council for the Arts Studio in NY. He teaches part-time at the Tasmanian College of the Arts and has had multiple exhibitions around the globe. In addition to being represented by a number of wonderful Australian galleries, he has work in the collection at the Museum of New & Old Art (MONA) in Hobart - one of the greatest spaces in the world, in our esteemed opinion - and this work was also included in the traveling MONA exhibition Theatre of The World at Le Maison Rouge in Paris late last year.

In other words, Neil gets around and given he had yet to meet kate, we made the introduction!

iskm: Before we get to kate, given the uniqueness of your art, can you explain your process from going from the source image to your final work?
Neil Haddon (NH): The images that I most often work with, mostly culled from the pages of the local newspapers wherever I happen to find myself, get put through a process of dis-entanglement. This is done by a combination of hand made sketches, work on paper, and digital manipulation on the computer. In essence the image is stripped of all recognizable detail until only the silhouette remains. This is then 'filled in' with an abstracted detail or detail that promotes a wholly new way of looking at the image and it's context. These images then serve as the basis for large-scale paintings.

iskm: How would you describe your photographic work? 
NH: Photography sits for me in a broad catch all category of my work that I call ‘Other Things’. This body of work is not painting (my main mode of production) and follows no discernible trajectory. This is a deliberate tactic that allows me to work with fluidity to produce many types of outcome for many kinds of audiences, from Facebook to gallery display. I should say, however, that photography and digital manipulation of images forms the bedrock for my painting practice.

iskm: How do you select your source image/s? 
NH: I look for a silhouette. That’s it. I am not interested in the detail as this will invariably be removed from the final image and replaced with ... something else.
Neil Haddon's I'll be your mirror, 2014
Neil's source image
iskm: What did you do to your chosen Kate Moss image and why? 
NH: I have occasionally tried my hand at portraiture. More accurately, a ‘not’ portraiture, that acknowledges the ultimately futile process of capturing the likeness of a visage and claiming that this image holds something of the identity of the sitter. The portrait series (and I'd include the Kate Moss here) are distinct because the Identity is somewhat known. However the image I submitted is most different in that has not been made into a painting. I decided not to use digital manipulation and the detail that you can see within the silhouette is the reflection in my studio window in NY of the exotic plants in the studio. The silhouette is a paper cut out stuck to the window. Of course what happens when you encounter this work 'in the flesh' is that you see your own visage in the place of Kate's. 

iskm: How do you feel your approach to photography/art making affected your submission to iskm? 
NH: My portrait sitters are usually absent from the final image. To date, I have made portraits of Timothy Walker (CEO & Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra), John Cauchi (former Attorney General of Tonga) and Catherine Walker (Deputy Director AUSAID). I know these people. It was time to try the process with someone that I didn’t know. The only distinction here is that I knew this image for ishotkatemoss would remain as a photograph.

iskm: Which photographer/s would you most want to most see involved in iskm?
NH: Paul Graham because I would be very interested to see how his socially engaged, rather beautiful, approach to photography would handle this. Oh, and I've just seen Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Getty in LA. I wonder what he would make of this? His re-photographs of Fox Talbots early negatives are astounding.

iskm: Thanks again Neil. We are so glad you were involved in the project!
NH: I enjoyed the opportunity to make a new work and it has sparked off some more ideas for me… who knows, you may see more in this vein in the future.

During 2015 there will be exhibitions of the work Neil produced in NY at Diane Tanzer Gallery and Projects, Melbourne and Bett Gallery, Hobart. More information can be found at, and much like Neil's journey, no matter where the art takes you ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Proudly Butchered

What a busy week it has been ...

1. Kate is featured on two new magazine covers that have been seen this week on the mean streets of NY.
Here are some fun submitted images:
A piece of kate, found on a table at SVA
2. iskm founder, Zev Jonas, attended an undergraduate class, titled Still-Life: Objects of Desire and Disgust, at the School of Visual Arts. As part of the final project each student was asked, under the auspices of an assignment titled "Transformation", to create images for So impressed by the results were we that a number of photographer-series blog entries will have to be dedicated to these talented artists.

3. The Butcher Girls of Love highlighted Cindy Hinant's work (from our April 26 post) and yours truly. Tell the Wolves I'm Home!

Wyburn's mini-chedder cracker kate
4. Oh, and speaking of being butchered, a pile of mini-chedder crackers has been turned into kate. "Why!?!" you ask. To that we say, "Why Not!!!" Well, apart from gross commercialization for a certain corporation that paid a Mr. Nathan Wyburn to do so ... 

Kate and a few other celebs were exhbited for one night in London recently.

"A few mouthfuls went missing as part of the creative process but I'm delighted with the end result" said Wyburn.

And just like Nathan - who has created many food inspired pieces, such as a chocolate jesus (which he stated that he made due to the over commercialization of Easter - assuming he wasn't paid by Hershey's to do this) ... 
Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

P.S. Given that I may never have a six degree moment to Tom ever again on this blog, let's all enjoy a real choccy jesus!!!

There ain't nothing better, suitable for this boy ...