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Archive for the ‘Our Team’ Category

Pause, to Begin catalogues

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Order up a copy online at Booksmart Studio. Stay tuned for our partnership with photo-eye.


Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Ethan and I opened the first Pause, to Begin exhibition last Friday, January 2, 2009 at Booksmart Studio in Rochester, New York. It was an enormous success, and we were pleased with the turn out and response.

It was great to see many new and old faces. We both had the pleasure of meeting Tony Bannon, Director of the George Eastman House, whom commented on the high quality of work being shown.

Thank you to Andy Super, Gallery Manager at Booksmart Studio for all the work he did in bringing the exhibition together, and thank you to Eric Kunsman, our publisher at Booksmart Studio, for continuing to support and believe in our project.

Thank you to all our girlfriends and friends who willingly (I swear!) gave up their time to hang the exhibition: Katie, Hannah, and Eric.

Thank you to Shannon Johnstone and Sonja Thomsen. Shannon flew in from North Carolina and Sonja flew in from Milwaukee. It was wonderful to see and catch up with you both. We had a blast.

And a special thank you to my parents for making the drive all the way from Syracuse in a snowstorm AND staying the entire 3 hours. That’s love.

A few pictures from opening night…

Sonja made some pics and a post, too. 






On the left is myself talking to Shannon and on the right is Ethan talking to Sonja.

Limited Edition Print Sale – Help Africa and A River Blue

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

In January 2009 I leave Maine for Alebtong, Uganda, where I will spend two months volunteering and photographing for A River Blue, a non-profit arts empowerment project for the children of internally-displaced persons in Northern Uganda.

I will be using my large format camera to photograph the people and landscape for a traveling exhibition and book that will be used to raise funds for A River Blue. Details will be announced in the spring/summer of 2009.

To raise funds for the trip, I am offering a selection of my limited edition prints at substantially reduced prices.

Please visit to support my trip, A River Blue, and Africa.

Thank you!

2008 Pause, to Begin Multimedia Teaser

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Interviews with Brea Souders and Hin Chua

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Although we’ve been quiet on the blog, we’re going strong with Pause, to Begin and will have a selection of major updates to announce during the coming weeks.

This week Ethan is assisting our wonderful juror and fantastic photographer, Cig Harvey, at the Maine Media Workshops. As well, I am assisting one of our phenomenal advisors, John Paul Caponigro, during his Print II workshop class.

During the coming weekend, Ethan and I will be speaking via Skype with two Pause, to Begin selected photographers, Brea Souders and Hin Chua. Hin lives in London and Brea was ill while we were on the road, so we’re looking forward to catching up!


© Brea Souders


© Hin Chua

I have been listening to “Heartbeats” by the Knife over and over. I recommend you do, too.

Day 31: New York, New York – Tenants Harbor, Maine

Friday, June 13th, 2008

May 31, 2008

It is hard to believe we have been on the road for a month. Everything has passed us by so quickly and I look forward to taking the coming weeks and months to digest it all. Rather than elaborate on the trip at this moment, I will share a note that I received in the mail from my father.



Timothy Briner made the above photograph of Ethan and I while in California. We are big fans of it as it reminds of us of the Nixon sister photographs.


Nicholas Nixon, Brown Sisters, Gelatin Silver Print, 1975, Yossi Milo Gallery

Press: Pause, to Begin in American Photo On Campus

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

We are pleased to announce that American Photo On Campus has published an article about Pause, to Begin in their March 2008 issue, and that it was given to all attendees of the Society for Photographic Education conference in Denver this past week.

American Photo On Campus is also widely distributed to over 300 colleges and universities, and reaches an enthusiastic, young audience. We could not be more thankful to both Russell Hart, Editor of American Photo On Campus, and Joyce Tenneson, our advisor, for making this happen.



Beautiful Spring Break

Monday, March 17th, 2008

In an effort to honor the annual college break that many of my friends still have, I decided to take my own spring break for the past two weeks. That may be why you have seen very little blogging.

Another reason is that many of these still-in-school friends decided that Maine is a popular spring break destination. I’m not sure how Maine became as popular as Florida among my friends, but I was happy to have the visitors. The conversations that ensued with them will be the stimulus for my blogging over the next few weeks. If there is anything that I miss about being in school it may be the photo/art conversations that can be had at a moments notice.

The first post I would like to make is in honor of last week’s visitor Rick Williamson (he has no website). We discussed at length the expectation of beauty in photography.

Before I get to anything about beauty, here is an anything-but-beautiful (and I think hilarious) photograph of Rick on the cover of RIT’s on campus magazine Reporter. The photo is taken by Tom Schirmacher.


Okay, on to the beautiful stuff…

Rick and I were noticing that nearly every portrait of someone under 40 makes them look beautiful. Perhaps this is simply the beauty of youth, but I don’t think so.

As a young male who looks at an awful lot of photographs, I often notice that I see images of beautiful women before I notice portraits of unattractive women.  I began trying to look for unattractive women in art photography today, and I discovered that it is incredibly difficult to find any of it.  I believe that the same problem exists for finding portraits of unattractive men as well.

I began to discuss the consequences of seeing an overwhelming majority of only attractive people in photographs with Rick.  We came to the general conclusion that we are conditioned to want to see beauty before ugliness. It is as if it is natural to turn our cameras towards beautiful people. Maybe as photographers as a whole we are not as subjective as we would like to be when it come to photographing people.

It is interesting to mention that if we take people out of the frame altogether photographers seem to have no difficulties to point their cameras to some injustice; some “ugly” event or thing. When I mention injustice I am thinking of Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of nickel tailings and quarries and the harmed landscape in general. I am not thinking about war or combat photography at all in any part of this discussion on beauty. I am really looking at art photography specifically.

Below is one of Burtynsky’s photographs of nickel tailings titled Nickel Tailing No. 31.


To get back to the beauty in portraits and specifically in the subjects in the portraits. I think of Rineke Dijkstra’s portraits and many of the subjects are awkward and young, but because of the seem exposed to the lens and their youthfulness there is also an attractiveness about them. They are not sexy, but they are attractive standing there in the swimsuits looking at us at a young age. To me this is also similar to Hellen Van Meene’s portraits. Her subjects are young and awkward as well, but they too command attention in the frame with both presence and emotional frailty.

I am curious to better understand why we photograph the people we do. There are many people who only photograph those with whom they are close. There are others who only photograph strangers. What is the criteria for them to make a portrait of their subject? A photographer may not say beauty initially, but I am beginning to believe that for the most part beauty enters into the equation somewhere. It may be an unconscious thought, but I believe that most photographers are drawn to photograph people that are beautiful in some way, even if it is not instantly recognizable.

The other aspect of this that fascinates me a lot is when I see a portrait and my gut reaction is that I don’t like it, and I begin to elaborate why and inevitably the subject’s poor appearance comes up. I found myself saying in a conversation with Rick that I thought the photographer should have looked for different light to make their subject look more attractive. I guess this means it might just be me who thinks that people are always beautiful in successful portraits today because I may be overlooking images because the person does not appear beautiful.

This leads me to one more point, are the best art portraits in photography today made of average looking people that have been photographed in such a unique clever way that they appear more beautiful than they would walking down the street? Is it just that photographers, when looking through the camera, are trying to make things beautiful to the extent that the photograph comes out looking more aesthetically pleasing than the person is normally?

I remember in my photo classes being taught how to do studio portrait lighting, and learning what makes people look better and worse. Because of this education do I just want to make all photographs fit into this mold of what good portraits look like? This all goes back to how we have been conditioned to look at photographs.

Since photographing beauty might come from simply having a camera in front of our eyes and looking at people in such a way that makes them more attractive.  Looking through a camera instead of just our plain eyeballs is a totally different experience, one that can remove you from the actual event of seeing.

That happens to be a perfect segway into this video of an excerpt from This American Life animated by Chris Ware, recently seen at MakingRoom.

“People act different if they are behind a camera, even if the camera isn’t real.”
“Yeah, you’re overtaken, you do things that you ordinarily wouldn’t.”

I’m pretty sure that all of this dealing with looking through cameras and beauty is related.

p.s. a recent This American Lifeepisode about testosterone is really interesting, I recommend listening to it at

p.p.s. Happy Birthday Sean, and Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
(Last year for spring break we saw this, and it was beautiful).

Photographs that fade over time…

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Most color photographs from decades ago have faded to a form that does not resemble the original color palate. These photographs still resemble their original form, but they are also clearly not the same. Old photographs tend to evoke a sense of memory or nostalgia, and it seems that people relate faded color to such a feeling. Photographs spawn memories from either their subject matter, the moment that was photographed, or the act of creating the photograph. You can read some different thoughts about photographing to remember here.

The advent of digital photography seemed to also coincide with the end of the inevitable fading of photographs. Here is this pristine medium that I can get rid of dust, save in the most loss-less file format, and have the exact way I photoshopped it until I die. That was until I was looking at Matt Bagwell’s digital diary. Matt is an important part of the PTB team as our Web Developer, so you might assume that he is good at building website code, but I was really impressed when I saw his own digital diary today.


As Matt says on the digital diary page:

Here are some digitally preserved memories (click to examine). They still have a tendency to fade over time, though.

To me, those two sentences make his impressive code more poignant and fascinating. I am curious to see how quickly they fade and disappear. It also wonderfully interesting to see someone create a digital replication of time passing by in such a clever manner. Congrats Bagwell.

You can check out Matt Bagwell’s main website here.

And, in case you were wondering, Matt did not tell me about this, I learned about it from Mat Thorne. As a general rule, I don’t usually post about our team or ourselves on this blog except to remind you of deadlines or give you some news about Pause, to Begin. This seemed like a perfect exception. Enjoy.