José Iriarte and I go way back, and it's been with great pleasure that I've watched his writing career start to take off over the past few years. He's had short stories appear in a number of publications, including Motherboard, Strange Horizons, and Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, and what I particularly love about his stories is that how he uses genre and genre elements to put a new perspective on or provide a means of entry into more familiar emotions and experiences. José and I talked about a few of his recent stories for the show, and then for the second segment we talked about online communities and the function of public "shaming."
Esmé Weijun Wang's debut novel The Border of Paradise is one of my favorite books so far this year. A multigenerational epic centered on an interracial family, the Nowaks, this book touches on so many profound topics, from mental illness to intergenerational trauma to culture clash to the very question of what it means to be a family, all done in stunningly beautiful prose. Esmé and I had a great conversation about her book in the first segment, and in the second segment we chatted about our favorite social media platform: Twitter.
(Conversation recorded July 19, 2016.)
- Esmé Weijun Wang
- Esmé Weijun Wang - The Border of Paradise
- Esmé Weijun Wang - With Love and Squalor (e-letter)
- Heather Havrilesky - Ask Polly
- Get Bullish Conference
- Esmé Weijun Wang - “You Are Not Lazy”
- Esmé Weijun Wang - “I’m Chronically Ill and Afraid of Being Lazy” (elle.com)
- Esmé Weijun Wang - “Why My Novel Uses Untranslated Chinese” (lithub.com)
- Junot Díaz - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
In his lecture at the 2014 Medium Festival of Photography, photographer Kurt Simonson said that the common thread running through his work is the idea of longing; whether through family or friendship or community, the desire for connection is something we all feel, and that feeling is something he examines in his work. For this episode Kurt and I talked about his 2015 book The Northwoods Journals, an intimate, powerful, and sometimes funny look at the family and place that shaped him. For the second segment Kurt chose community as his topic, particularly the photographic community that he and I are a part of.
(Recorded July 15, 2016)
This week, our very first poetry episode with Ohio poet Hannah Stephenson! I first started reading Hannah's blog, The Storialist, a year or so ago, and although most of the poems she posts there are short, they really invite you to spend some time with them. For this week's show, Hannah and I had a great talk about her 2013 book In the Kettle, the Shriek, and the thought process behind her poems.
(Recorded June 28, 2016)
Tucson-based photographer Ken Rosenthal's work has always stuck in my mind for both its striking visual style and the way that he uses images to represent and explore his internal emotional and psychological state. Whether he's looking at landscapes or family members or familiar objects, his photographs resonate because they represent the personal. We talked about several bodies of work, including his recent series The Forest and a work in progress called Days On the Mountain. For the second segment, Ken and I talked about change, and how when it comes in our personal lives it can spur us to new heights in our work.
(Recorded June 22, 2016)
Aline Smithson may well be the busiest person in photography. Not only is she a brilliant artist in her own right, she is also the editor of one of the top photo blogs in the world, Lenscratch, where she posts new material every single day. On top of that, she teaches workshops around the country, gives lectures at photo festivals internationally, participates as a portfolio reviewer, juries all manner of photo competitions, and still manages to exhibit and make her own work. It's astonishing that one person can do as much as she does, and yet there she is, day in and day out, doing it.
In this episode I was pleased to talk with her about her recent book Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography, which spans nearly twenty years of her photographic career. And for the second segment, we had a great conversation about the rising role of women as gatekeepers and curators in the artistic community.
(Recorded June 14, 2016)
- Aline Smithson
- Aline Smithson - Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography
- Blake Andrews - Shoot first, ask questions later
- Aline Smithson - The Lonesome Doll
- Aline Smithson - Hollywood at Home
- Aline Smithson - Revisiting Beauty
- Six Shooters: A Photographic Conversation
- Ashly Stohl
- Bootsy Holler
- Nancy Baron
- Center for Fine Art Photography
- Strange Fire Collective
- What does a female artist have to do to get a major solo show?
- Lenscratch Student Prize, First Place: Lauren Kelly
- The Hunting Ground
- Jon Krakauer - Missoula
- People v. Turner
- 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
Amanda Dahlgren was one of the first friends I made in the San Diego photography community, and I always look forward to a chance to talk with her. Amanda's work combines a strong sense of formal composition with an inquisitive mind, and we had a great conversation about her work, as well as about the benefits of going through art school and the value of community. Building community is something that is important to Amanda, and in the second segment we talked about her work with Open Show and the Society for Photographic Education.
(Recorded June 7, 2016)
- Amanda Dahlgren
- Amanda Dahlgren - Pre-Abandoned
- Amanda Dahlgren - Not My Daughter (NSFW)
- Medium Festival of Photography
- Museum of Photographic Arts
- San Diego Art Institute
- Open Show San Diego #1
- Beauty and the Beast: The Animal in Photography
- Jonas Yip
- Richard Prince
- Doug Rickard
- PetaPixel: Botched Steve McCurry Print Leads to Photoshop Scandal
- Teju Cole: A Too-Perfect Picture
- Bruce Gilden
- Irving Penn: Ethnographic Studies
- Meghan Daum: Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House
- The Poetry Gods
- Society for Photographic Education
- Brenda Biondo
- Stephen Strom
- John DuBois
- The Artist Odyssey
If there's a recurring theme that runs through photographer Jennifer McClure's work, it's about connection, the presence or absence of it. We talked about her ongoing portrait series of singles in New York, and that led to a rich discussion about working with portrait subjects, finding your own style, and self-acceptance. For the second segment, we started off with the topic of what our end goals are as artists, and that quickly branched out to fallow periods and how we deal with them, self-care, community, and the representation of women among photographers.
- Jennifer McClure
- Jennifer McClure - Singles
- Maggie Steber
- Jennifer McClure - You Who Never Arrived
- Hanya Yanagihara - A Little Life
- Jennifer McClure - A Certain Distance
- Jennifer McClure - Lullaby a Broken Song
- Lisa M. Robinson
- Susan A. Barnett - Not In Your Face
- Esmé Weijun Wang
- Women's Photo Alliance
- Anastasia Taylor-Lind - How a Lack of Representation Is Hurting Photojournalism
- West Austin Studio Tour
- The Elevated Selfie
- LightBox Photographic Gallery
- Griffin Museum of Photography
Carrie Elizabeth Thompson is a photographer whose work I've been following for several years. Her work is rich in storytelling, and I was drawn in by its complexity and emotional honesty. We recorded our conversation the day after Prince died, and of course that was on both of our minds as we started talking. But as we talked about her work one idea we kept coming back to was the idea of sharing, and how being open lets other people feel like it's OK for them to be open as well. For the second segment, Carrie and I talked about love, and particularly about where love goes after it's gone.
I met San Diego artist Pastilla in March at the MAS Attack event at the San Diego Art Institute, and after talking with her for a few minutes I knew that I wanted to continue the conversation. We started off talking about the piece of hers that had moved me so much when we first met, "La Metamorfosis de Kafka F2," about the story behind its creation, the frustration and tension in the piece itself. For Pastilla, the act of creating art functions like meditation, and we talked about her background in photography as well as the idea of accessibility. For the second segment, she chose as her topic the ways in which an artist can engage with and impact her community, which led to a discussion of stereotypes and stories.
Carolina Montejo is a San Diego-based photographer and writer whose work looks very futuristic, but don't be fooled: it's all about the contemporary. Carolina and I had a fascinating talk about the inspiration behind her in-progress series "Era: Fragments of an Evolving Landscape," covering everything from her visual technique, her combination of text and image, and the influence of Jorge Luis Borges.
- Carolina Montejo
- Carolina Montejo - Era: Fragments of an Evolving Landscape
- Carolina Montejo - Technical Recreations
- Medium Festival of Photography
- Drew Nikonowicz
- William J. Mitchell - The Reconfigured Eye
- Todd Walker - Digital Images 1982-98
- John Pfahl - Permutations on the Picturesque
- Caspar David Friedrich
- Robert Rauschenberg
- Jackson Pollack
- Jorge Luis Borges
- Julio Cortázar
- Jorge Luis Borges - Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
- Luigi Serafini - Codex Seraphinianus
Photographer Andi Schreiber was one of the first people whose work inspired me to try to make meaningful photographs, myself. Andi's bold, vibrant work is a reflection of her life, looking at family and raising her two sons, and more recently looking at herself and how things are changing for her as she enters middle age. In our wide-ranging conversation we discussed parenting, growing and aging, the ways that each of us came to our work, the importance of connecting with both audiences and other artists, as well as sexual identity and how it's informed by both our stage of life and the way other people interact with us. For the second segment, Andi and I dug into a bunch of artists who inspire our practice.
- Andi Schreiber
- NPR: When Is It OK To Profit From Cooking Other Cultures' Food?
- LPV Show - Episode 3.13: Shannon Taggart
- Pretty, Please
- Elizabeth Fleming
- Jessica Backhaus
- Elinor Carucci
- Internet love not colorblind, study says
- Race and Attraction, 2009-2014
- Phil Toledano
- Martine Fougeron
- Diane Arbus
- Henri Cartier-Bresson
- Alex Cretey Systermans
- Larry Fink
- Kathy Shorr: SHOT (Lenscratch)
- Mark Cohen
- American Suburb X
- Nancy Borowick
- Melanie Walker
- Celeste Ng
- Lin-Manuel Miranda's Twitter
- Jo Ann Callis
- Samantha Geballe
- Pictures from Home (Larry Sultan)
- Andi's Twitter
Daniel Abraham has written or co-written over twenty novels, among them some of my favorite recent science fiction and fantasy series. You may know him as one of the creators of the popular SyFy show The Expanse, but most recently he's just finished up his excellent series The Dagger and the Coin, the last installment of which—The Spider's War—came out in March. In our conversation, Daniel and I talked about many of the ideas and characters from his books, as well as what it's like to collaborate with another writer, and the process of adapting a story for television. In the second segment, Daniel started us off with a discussion of Johan Huizinga's book Homo Ludens, and its central concept of play behavior being the root of all human culture. From there we branched out to everything from the idea of money as a form of ritual magic to the competing narratives playing out in contemporary American society. It's heady stuff, but I had a blast talking to him.
- Daniel Abraham
- The Long Price Quartet
- MLN Hanover
- The Expanse (books)
- The Dagger and the Coin
- Daniel Abraham: The Two Tolkiens
- Medici Money (Tim Parks)
- Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey)
- Babylon 5
- The Diary of a Man in Despair (Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen)
- The Queen's Gambit (Walter Tevis)
- The Expanse (show)
- Le Ton Beau de Marot (Douglas Hofstadter)
- Homo Ludens (Johan Huizinga)
The images from Claire A. Warden's series Mimesis are visually striking and delightfully inscrutable. Like most viewers, I was immediately grabbed by them when I first saw them, but it wasn't until I talked with Claire and read her artist's statement that I really understood what she was trying to say with these pictures. Having that experience, though, really deepened my appreciation for the work. This week, Claire and I talked about her unique process and the reason why it's so important that this series exist in the context of photography. In the second segment, we discussed race and being and immigrant, and how that affects the way one's identity forms.
I first saw TML Dunn's work last month at the opening of the "Energy: Made in Form" exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery, and his work stopped me dead in my tracks. Visiting his studio later and getting to see the breadth of his work was great fun, and we sat down and had a conversation about his work and process. For the second segment, Matt was interested in talking about art education and why it's such an important (but sadly neglected) part of school curricula.
I've known Bryan Ida for a long time, which makes sense because we're family. But that's not the reason that he's one of my favorite living painters. Bryan's work uses bold colors and geometric forms to suggest the urban landscape, and his layered paintings function as a sort of personal archaeology, delving into memory and emotion. We had a great conversation about how his creative expression has changed over the time I've known him, and how his unique process developed. In the second segment, Bryan chose community as his topic, and we talked about everything from the LA art scene to everyone's first community: family.
Jeffery Saddoris is a painter and amateur photographer, and the host of several popular photography podcasts. I’ve been a longtime listener to his shows and am happy to have him as a guest on KTCO. We talked a lot about Jeffery’s background and how he came to photography and writing about the arts, as well as about the community he’s helped to build with his listeners. For the second segment we talked about a recent photograph of Mark Zuckerberg at the Mobile World Congress, and what the future of human interaction might look like.
Robert Jackson Bennett is one of my favorite contemporary fantasy authors. His Divine Cities series—so far comprising the novels City of Stairs and City of Blades—is unlike anything I can recall seeing before, combining urban and epic fantasy with noir thriller to tell a story of adventure and politics and dead gods, redemption and sacrifice. In this week's episode we talked about the series, as well as about genre expectations, writing diversely, naming fantasy characters, and his highly entertaining Twitter presence. In the second segment, Robert's topic was generational differences, though as we went through it we ended up touching on everything from city planning to Fox News.
Samantha Geballe's photographs made a deep impression on me when I first saw them back in 2014. Her fearless series of self-portraits are some of the most intense, honest portrayals of an artist's inner life I've seen, documenting her emotional journey from obesity through gastric bypass surgery toward self-acceptance. In this week's episode we talked about her work, about honesty and fear, and about the importance of connection and being heard. Samantha's discussion topic, which we talked about in the second half of the show, was benefit of the doubt.
Photographer Drew Nikonowicz ruffled a few feathers at the 2015 Medium Festival of Photography with his series This World and Others Like It, but far from being put off by a divided audience, Drew looked at it as an opportunity to have a conversation. In this week's episode we talked about his work, photographic manipulations, and photographic truth. In the second segment we talked about video games, and how online and gaming experiences can be just as real and meaningful as those in "real life."
- Drew Nikonowicz
- This World and Others Like It
- Drew Nikonowicz: 2015 Portfolio Prize Winner
- Drew Nikonowicz: Lenscratch Student Prize 1st Place
- Drew Nikonowicz's Lecture at the 2015 Medium Festival of Photography San Diego
- René Magritte - The Treachery of Images
- Chris Engman
- Maggie Taylor
- Taryn Simon - TED: Photographs of secret sites
- Drew's Twitter
- Drew's Tumblr