September 2008


John Guliak & Band

John Guliak & Band

John Guliak is represented by Mint Records.  The bio that follows was taken from his page on their website:  

John had been a part of the “Prairie Folk Scene” most of his musical career, and after a five-year stint living in Vancouver, home to Mint Records, he returned to the Prairies where he is continuing to created his richly compelling cracked-leather country.

John’s music comes from a unique place, both physical and psychological. Much like his debut album, The Black Monk7 Stories and 13 Songs reflects the poetic and political observations John has made while living in various locales across Canada. These experiences are portrayed through songs that lament the displacement of our rural populations to the inner cities of our major metropolitan areas while celebrating the cultures that persevere.


CLICK HERE FOR MP3: John Guliak – “Easy To Fail”


Other places to find John’s music are CBC Radio 3 and his page on My Space.

In this YouTube video, Quinn Jacobson demonstrates the proper technique for protecting a collodion emulsion with a varnish consisting of gum sandarac, alcohol and oil of lavender.  If you watched the Sally Mann video (two posts back), you saw her scraping a collodion emulsion from one of her glass plates in the field.  Perhaps an initial pour did not go well and she wanted to recoat the plate; or she was not completely satisfied with an image and wanted to start over.  Collodion can be easily removed from an unvarnished plate.  Left unprotected, the emulsion will eventually begin to peel off and may completely disintegrate.  Varnishing is simply a way of ensuring the archival quality of the plate.    


Flux Factory is a non-profit organization in Long Island City (Queens), which produces some very interesting collaborative projects.  Living Room is the latest and opens next week in locations across New York City.  From the press release:



Flux Factory has invited ten artists to transform strangers’ homes into sites for interactive works. Domestic or historic locations throughout New York City will become arenas for exploring what it means to inhabit a space, to make it one’s own. In conjunction with openhousenewyork, “Living Room” locations range from private living rooms to historical sites throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Explore a wall of secrets, a room-cum-optical-device, and go rooftop camping, and other exciting projects!

“Living Room” is a continuation of Flux Factory’s interest in the urban experience, in New York history, and in the overlap between private and public space. As a live/work collective, we are fascinated by what it means to make a space one’s own. While satisfying our voyeur desires, this project is also an opportunity for the public to peek into private sites normally off limits.

Works will be on view throughout the 6th Annual OHNY Weekend on October 4 & 5, 2008 from 11:00 – 6:00 unless otherwise noted.

A free, 20 person shuttle will leave the Center for Architecture on Saturday and Sunday at 12pm to transport visitors to the sites.
Please email to RSVP for the bus tour.

openhousenewyork is a non-profit organization celebrating New York City’s architecture and design, culminating in America’s largest event of its kind, the annual OHNY Weekend.

Participating Artists: Emily Clark, Rodney Dickson, Kim Holleman, Prem Krishnamurthy, John Monteith, Jo Q. Nelson, Trong Gia Nguyen, Douglas Paulson, Tattfoo Tan, Lauren Wilcox

Curated by Chen Tamir

For more info and to view artist maps, go to: Flux Factory


Emily Clark
Teacher’s Lounge at P35M–Manhattan High School
317 W. 52nd Street between 9th and 10th Aves, Hell’s Kitchen
In the mind of every kid in school is a secret place sparking rumors and gossip. Clark has turned the abandoned teacher’s lounge at P35M into a functioning one, playing on the tropes of its assumed uses: relaxation, anger, frustration, gossip, lunchtime, union meetings, refrigerators, and (at one time) smoking.

Rodney Dickson
Romper Room
Public Toilets, 2nd floor of the Crane Street Studios, 46-23 Crane Street, LIC, Queens
Romper Room evokes a torture chamber, in which victims are held hostage, tortured, interrogated, and often brutally killed. This work alludes also to methods of interrogation currently used by the US government in the War on Terror. The title was taken from a popular children’s’ TV program in Northern Ireland during the 1970s, which terrorists adopted as a name for a room in which they tortured and executed victims during the worst days of conflict in Ireland.

Prem Krishnamurthy
Berlin/New York
772 Washington Ave, Apt #2, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
This projected slide installation concerns doppelganger cities, parallel interiors, and the unreliability of travel narrative.

John Monteith
Hide and Go Seek
The Arsenal, 830 Fifth Ave/ E 64th St, New York (Entrance on Central Park)
Sat – Sun, 2:45 pm
Participants will play “Hide and Go Seek” as a way of exploring the Arsenal and experimenting in new social settings. To participate, please RSVP to John Monteith at

Jo Q. Nelson
38-09 43rd Ave 3rd Floor, Sunnyside, Queens
Softbox is a completely malleable space where rooms are on wheels and entire environments can be changed around. The flexibility of this live/work warehouse space is due to its role as a testing ground for sculptural and interior architecture projects by Nelson and visiting artists. Focused on “hosting,” Softbox is both a laboratory and a social space where interactive programming takes place including screenings and performances. This will be its inaugural open house.

Trong Gia Nguyen
“The DUMBO Debates”
(formerly known as “A View to a Thrill”)

Barrack Obama and John McCain spend a weekend together on a secret
roof deck Garden of Eden in DUMBO. They talk taboo politics, drink
Bloody Marys, eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and
leave all inhibitions behind.

Douglas Paulson
Urban Examination Initiative, Roofs Department
Locations TBA
Saturday night
This project is an open invitation to engage the city and OHNY from the outside. You are invited to join a group that will travel through sites by day, and camp on a rooftop by night. Participants are invited to join or leave at anytime. For more information and to RSVP to this urban adventure please RSVP to

Tattfoo Tan
Open Secret
393 17th Street #2A, Brooklyn
Open Secret is an intervention between the artist, Tattfoo Tan, a home owner, and the public. Open Secret investigates the junction between private and public by using invisible paint and black lights to reveal secrets in the privacy of a home.

Lauren Wilcox
An Instrument for Viewing the Contents of a Room
213 Montrose Apt 2 (2nd floor) Brooklyn, 11206 (Crossstreet Bushwick Ave.)
Sat 11 am – 6 pm, Sun 11 – 4pm
To paint perspective during the Renaissance artists used Alberti’s Grid, a device which projects a scene onto a flat screen. This installation is a version of that device, a box that captures a room’s elements, both actual and unseen, and translates them, inside, into objects both literal and abstract.

Kim Holleman
Trailer Park
Foley Square Sat and Sun: 10-8pm
This mobile living park, converted from a 14′ x 8′ x 7′ standard aluminum trailer, is an oasis surrounded by the bustling sights and sounds of the city.
“Living Room” is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and Queens Council on the Arts,
as well as generous support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

For further information:
Phone: 718-707-3362


Among wet plate photographers today, there is perhaps no greater lightning rod for aesthetic and technical debate than Sally Mann.  Purists in the medium will tell you that her work is not up to par and is terribly flawed.  Others will say that she is a true artist, who willingly sacrifices some technical precision for the sake of her personal expression – what Mann calls “transformative accidents” that occur on the surface of her plates.  Although in this video, Mann refers to the work of early wet plate photographers as perfect, I strongly disagree.  One need only look at peeling emulsions and comets (black specs due to contaminated chemistry) from plates made in the mid-1800s to assess that accidents have always been part of the process.  The collodion medium is fragile and inherently flawed.  Sally Mann uses the flaws to her advantage, which tips my hand that I think she is an artist.


Great Aunt Gertrude by Maureen Duncan (6 x 6 India Ink on Embossed Aluminum)

Great Aunt Gertrude by Maureen Duncan (6 x 6, India Ink on Embossed Aluminum)


Maureen Duncan, a classmate of mine from the Parsons MFA Photography program, has work in Strange Figurations, a group show on exhibit through September 27th at Limner Gallery in Hudson, NY.  I haven’t seen this show yet, but came across it in looking up galleries in the Hudson River valley.  Congrats, Maureen!


Greenfield Main

Greenfield Main


Since writing about Tennessee Twin last week, I’ve decided to make a music post a regular part of this blog each week. Another of my favorite bands – which I also discovered through CBC Radio 3 Podcast – is Greenfield Main based in Ottawa, Canada.  Their primary influences were originally gospel and rockabilly.  They are represented by Kelp Records who sum them up this way:  “…the band now makes two distinctive sounds, playing equal parts oldtime truckin’ redneck country, and autumnal porch Appalachia drenched in harmonies.”  


Click Here for MP3: Greenfield Main – “Red River Valley”



From The Kelp Records Website



Originally conceived as a country recording outlet for Rhume’s Jon Bartlett, Greenfield Main took on a life of its own shortly after the release of 2000’s Hunting Tips for Everyone. A band formed to play out the CD’s songs, and has evolved to include John Higney (Two Minute Miracles, Adam West), Rolf Klausener (The Acorn, Recoilers) and Jon Lomow (Recoilers). Hunting Tips for Everyone was chosen by Exclaim! magazine as the #9 record of 2001 in the category of Country/Folk/Blues, cementing the band’s reputation as a new northern country-rock force to be reckoned with.

October 2004 saw the release of Barnburners & Heartchurners, a somewhat darker and punchier entrée steeped in country, blues and rock tradition. It’s an oft-sordid affair that is able to switch gears from trucker filth (“Matilda”, “Wait on Me”) to porch folk (“Formaldehyde”, “Have Mercy”) with lots of stops in between, loaded with memories of Bartlett’s New Brunswick years, lost loved ones, and the Lord. It has also been received with accolades; Exclaim! picked it as the #7 Country/Folk/Blues record of 2004 and was the most played record on CKCU during the year.

Taking cues from Lee Hazlewood, Gram Parsons (particularly his work with the International Submarine Band), the Louvin Brothers and new traditionalists such as Gillian Welch, Greenfield Main have graduated from their comedic beginnings and have proven that their country roots are well-intended and not a novelty act. Live, the band now makes two distinctive sounds, playing equal parts oldtime truckin’ redneck country, and autumnal porch Appalachia drenched in harmonies.


Ambrotype by Bryan Hiott (2007)

Ambrotype by Bryan Hiott (2007)


This is a 1/2 plate ambrotype I made last fall in the Center For Alternative Photography Workshop, which was led by Eric Taubman and assisted by Keliy Anderston-Staley.  After shooting a few portraits, during the first day of the workshop, I moved outside and worked for a while.  

Visible on this ambrotype are what is known as “lines of pouring,” ridges that form as the collodion is flowed onto the plate and begins to dry.  As this was one of my first ambrotypes, I wasn’t in the habit of rocking the plate or tapping it gently as I poured off the excess collodion.  In later plates, I had the technique down and was able to avoid these lines forming.  Quinn Jacobson demonstrates proper pouring of collodion in the YouTube video below.

The Center for Alternative Photography has examples of images from their previous workshops on the alumnae gallery.  One of my images from Eric’s workshop is included on that page.


Historical Comparison of Glass Plate Lines of Flow



Above:  1865 view of Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Georgia (half of a glass-plate stereograph by Samuel Cooley).  Below:  detailed section of Cooley’s image with lines of flow from his plate plainly visible – similar to those on my CAP Workshop ambrotype.  The technical challenges of wet plate photography have not changed in the intervening 143 years.




Quinn Jacobson Demonstrates How To Flow A Plate





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