Word On The Street...

Sifting through a back log of negatives from the street. Here’s a few choice frames from the past couple months… More on the way…

#0713_29 - Muni Train, San Francisco

#0714_15A - Market Street, San Francisco

#0714_35A - Market Street, San Francisco.

#0714_07A - Castro Street, San Francisco.

#0715_02A - Market Street, San Francisco.

#0715_21A - Market Street, San Francisco

Signs and Other Grievances...

I’ve had a little project on the back burner for awhile now that I was calling ‘Signs’ but Lee Friedlander stole my title… can’t really compete with that. Drop me a line if you’ve got a good title you’re willing to part with.

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Posted a few images to Instagram on a whim, haven’t really kept up with it at all. Promptly lost a bunch of followers. #blessedbythealgorithm

Slowing catching up on film and scans and editing. Have a few other projects in the works that I’m picking at. Watch for the signs project soon, or whatever I end up calling it. Seriously though, if you’ve got a good title…

July, July...

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If I make a photograph and don’t share it on the internet, does it really exist?

While I continue to create new images, circumstances have kept me from the scanning of, editing and sharing of said photographs in digital form. Does that make the work any less relevant? Do we now base success solely on likes, presence, reach, and the ability to game ‘the algorithm?’

As someone who has shared the vast majority of his work online in digital form, this is something I think about a great deal, especially when it no longer becomes viable, interesting, or even entertaining…

The internet no longer seems to be the place for me, or my work, or for anyone pursuing a labor of love for that matter. Unless blessed by the algorithm, or enhanced by a marketing team, or backed by some juggernaut of the media industry, independent creators seem to toil away in obscurity the way we always have. Gone are the days of the weblog of the prolific artist, the unregulated world of tumblr, or even the simple chronological feed of Facebook or Instagram.

I see less and less draw to sharing work online, beyond a simple record, or to augment a ‘brick and mortar’ project. My photographs have always been rooted in the analog, the tactile, the three dimensional object. I will of course continue to share work here, though my interest lies largely in the printed image.

Not bitter, just realistic. I leave you with a recent image of the catalyst for this rant.

Thomas, 8 months old - 2019.

June Update...

Knee deep in re-writing curriculum, summer travels and 8 month old boy management, with little time to scan or print or post. I have a few things I’m picking at on the back burner, still in search of linear feet for a 35 piece show, looking to start work on a short series I’ve been developing…

#0140_35A - From the series   Midnight   ,  2012

#0140_35A - From the series Midnight, 2012

For now, a small gallery update, from a little book project I put together some years ago entitled Midnight. Have a look in the gallery archive.

http://josephszymanski.com/midnight

#0183_01 - From the series   Midnight   ,  2012

#0183_01 - From the series Midnight, 2012

#0416_17 - From the series   Midnight   ,  2012

#0416_17 - From the series Midnight, 2012

StartUp Art Fair Post-Mortem...

Been completely MIA for the last week or so following the StartUp Art Fair. It was a ton of work and ton of prep and a serious grind for three straight days, but it was a riot for sure. Thanks to everyone that came out, met a ton of cool folks. Ran into Jason Andrescavage who was exhibiting with BAPC, we’ve kinda been internet stalking each others work for years but had never met. All in all it was a fun event, here’s a few snaps from my room, though it doesn’t quite do it justice…

Also did a goofy little Facebook live interview with Ray Beldner the event promoter… which is mildly entertaining given that I’d already had a couple cocktails…

Here’s the link if the embed doesn’t work: https://www.facebook.com/startupartfair/videos/2631681840239822/

StartUp Art Fair, April 26th-28th...

Hanging work for the StartUp Art Fair tomorrow…. I’ll be on the top floor in room 325 with roughly 30 pieces on display. Opening night is Friday, April 26th, 7pm at the Hotel Del Sol. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. With over 60 artist’s participating it should be a hell of an event…

#0705_09A - Lost Hills, Ca. 2019 - From the series “Unwritten Notes”

Unwritten Notes... April 26th - 28th

Prints are done, dropped off at the framer, out of my hands at this point. Two weeks left before the StartUp Art Fair kicks off. I’ll on the top floor of the Hotel Del Sol, room 325. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Opening night is going to be a bit of a party, with music, drinks and food... Friday the 26th, 7-10pm.

#0585_20 - Death Valley,2017

Come by, dig some art, have a drink… Follow the link for more info…

https://www.startupartfair.com/san-francisco/overview/

Eva Luna

Way behind on posts, tons happening, taking part in the 5th annual StartUp Art Fair in San Francisco at the end of April. In the mean time, shot with the lovely Eva Luna way the hell back in September, I think? Either way, here’s a few quick picks, may end up printing a few of these in the next couple weeks… Check out Eva’s work at https://www.instagram.com/earthy.eva/

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StartUp Art Fair San Francisco - April 26th-28th

I’ve been accepted into the 2019 StartUp Art Fair at the Hotel Del Sol in San Francisco, running from April 26th to the 28th. The fair will host over 60 contemporary artists from California to Hawaii, New York to Colorado, Missouri, Maine, and as far away as Switzerland.

What this essentially translates to is, I have less than 60 days to edit, print, mat, frame and hang what amounts to a small solo exhibition. Queue nervous breakdown…

I’m putting a small project together, loosely entitled “Unwritten Notes” that draws from photographs during time spent on the road. Comprised of work covering a span of nearly 15 years, the photographs deal with distance, isolation, personal history, the allure of disappearing and the occasional nod to the overly romanticized notion of the American road trip.

#0250_23A - “Unwritten Notes” The Salton Sea, California 2013

This is the first time in a long while I’ll be showing any amount of my own work. It’ll be fun, and a ton of work to be sure. I’ll be posting some process stuff, behind the scenes, works in progress, etc. Tickets are already on sale, go grab some, it should be a great event with a ton of good work…

Friday April 26th, Saturday the 27th, and Sunday the 28th, at the Hotel Del Sol, 3100 Webster Street in San Francisco, stay tune for more info.

#0172_05 “Unwritten Notes” West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California 2010

Israel / Palestine 2002

Too many years ago when I was too young and too stupid and thought I knew everything I found myself in Jerusalem at the tail end of the second Palestinian Intifada. I look back on this work now with mixed emotions, seems like another lifetime, one that hardly resembles where I am now. Maybe one day I’ll make it back and pick up where I left off. Maybe I won’t. Either way, here’s what’s left, for what it’s worth. / View More…

#iwb_m03 / Bab Huttah Neighborhood, The Old City, Jerusalem, 2002

#iwb_a05 / Azza Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine, 2002

#iwb_m07 / Outside Bethlehem, Palestine, 2002

Word On The Street / Gallery Updates

Been sifting through a bunch of work, both new and old, breaking things up into smaller more manageable pieces… Starting with the Word On The Street gallery I’m breaking it up by year and moving older work to an archive page, where I’ll be posting more galleries from years past. I’ll be rolling out more work shortly, in the meantime, a few highlights from the street in 2018…

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Keira Grant, Take #2

Horrifically behind on literally everything. New posts coming soon, working on some updates to my site as well, new work, old work, bits and pieces… In the mean time, a rather random take from a shoot with Keira Grant way back in August, enjoy…

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#0670_23A Venus With Fly Trap

#0670_24A Venus With Fly Trap

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Signs

Back home, things have slowed down considerably, or at least my alcohol intake has tapered off considerably. Florida is just plain strange. More on this later.

Been thinking a lot about prints lately, tangible objects, 3 dimensional things you can hold. I haven’t printed nearly enough of my own work save for the occasional one off and the odd digital proof. Contemplating putting a small zine together of recent work, concerning signs, bundled with a darkroom print in a limited run.

Happy 2019... This will be the year of prints…

Eleven Years Later...

About eleven years ago I took a part time gig at the Academy of Art University as a lab tech on the night shift. Not the most glamorous of positions to say the least, but I was flat broke and coming off a very long very disastrous and entirely tragic endeavour with a group of photographers that turned out to be a half million dollar con job. Honestly I was just trying to keep from getting evicted at that point.

Final prints submitted by Ian Chen

Final prints submitted by Ian Chen

I lab teched for a few semesters, eventually moved up to full time, supervised the lab at night for a bit, started running the pool of camera equipment and the small studio in the New Media department. The director knew my background was in photography and offered me a class, and things just sort of snow balled from there. I started teaching more, did some workshops, re-wrote the class once or twice, and somehow a decade went by. This past Friday I taught my last class as a full time employee of the Academy of Art University. I am officially unemployed. 

Final prints submitted by Ashley Davies

Final prints submitted by Ashley Davies

I'll continue to teach and do workshops going forward but only on a part time basis. My days of fixing cameras and lights and projectors and asking people if they turned it off and turned it back on again are over.  I'm looking forward to spending less time in front of a screen and more time in a classroom for sure. Teaching was always the part of my time there that I enjoyed the most, and I'd like to do more of it in the future if I can. It's been quite a ride to say the least, I've worked with some amazing people, and seen a lot of folks come and go. If you'd have told me when I started that I'd spend a decade there I'd have said you're crazy, but such is life, and so it goes.

I'm in Florida at the moment, with family for the holidays, enjoying some long awaited down time with my wife and the new baby, looking forward to a quiet Christmas and a low key New Year. Turning the page on one chapter and ready to start another...  

Dear Tumblr...

Like most platforms, it was only a matter of time. It lasted longer than most.

Tumblr’s decision to ban all NSFW content on December 17th is not simply ludicrous, it’s the last nail in the coffin. Why it feels strangely synonymous with opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, I can’t really say. Perhaps it was simply the last best place, to borrow a phrase. I do know it’s all we had left.

I wonder Tumblr, will you ban hate and bigotry as not safe for work? Will you ban Terry Richardson for his brand of exploitation? Will ban the Kardashians in various states of undress? How about Miley Cyrus?

As of this evening, they have not.

What I do know is that “fine art nude” currently produces no search results, where as “White Power” returns thousands of posts.

Apparently violence and racial propaganda, among other things, are still safe for work.

Will you erase entirely what so many have created? Will you destroy creative work that you consider morally dubious while condoning the voices of intolerance?

Will you return my personal information and browsing history when you inevitably decide to erase my feed?

Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo, was quoted after acquiring Tumblr “We promise not to screw it up.”

You had one job.

We’ve built these 9 headed hydras. We show up, we create our content, we deliver it for free, we publish, we push, we link, we share. They take it all, and give us the “privilege.” It’s the ultimate case of work on spec. Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, we drive these platforms. But let’s be honest, it’s not about the user, it’s about profitability. It’s about ad revenue. It’s about corporate advertisers being more afraid of sex than they are of racism. This is about app stores. This is about stock price.

This is about censorship. This is about legislating taste.

I’ve discovered, followed, met and interacted with some truly talented individuals on Tumblr. I’ve been exposed to creatives of all types, genres and disciplines that I would have never stumbled upon had it not been for this platform. I’ve shared a great deal of my own work in the process, and found it overwhelmingly fulfilling more often than not.

But it was just a matter of time.

God Speed Tumblr, it was fun while it lasted.

Word On The Street

Sometimes I’m worried where San Francisco is heading. Sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I’m worried one day all the weirdos will be gone. Sometimes I’m worried we’re just completely failing the ones who are left.

#0664_33 Powell Station

#0663_36 Market Street

#0663_16 Mission Street

#0672_22 Market Street

#0672_06 Mission Street

#0672_01 New Montgomery Street

#0672_19 New Montgomery Street