Friday, May 18, 2007

Lily’s Fiber Portfolio

Here are some pictures of Lily and Brittani, and Lily’s fibers portfolio.



posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 3:10 pm  

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Desoto, April 2007

Pictures from a Desoto show back in April.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 8:37 am  

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Here are the rolleicord snaps from the first part of my trip up north last break, visiting rin and dad in Northampton.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 3:04 pm  

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Forsyth Polaroids

I was just told they want an image for the SCAD catalog next year. I’m really excited about being properly exploited for once.
Did I tell you guys about the latest image of CMYK? The gallery show at the sentient bean? The international award from that competition in france?
I suppose it’s all on my resume (except for the upcoming Digital Media Club juried show, that’ll be going on next week, so if you’re in town you should check it out.)

I posted seven more galleries on facebook (some so my editor can go through them and pick a couple pics).

By the way, make my funk the p funk, I wants to get funked up.

Here are some polaroids from various days in Forsyth park.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 7:33 am  

Monday, May 14, 2007

Matt and Kim at the Pink Palace

Matt and Kim were great, as usual. Wonderful people and a wonderful show.
It was moved to the pink palace, and got hot.

So hot.

Dana says this is the best photo I’ve ever taken.

More coming at a later date and I’ll post em on facebook when I can.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 7:18 am  

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sex in Modern Photography as Examined by Terry Richardson and Nan Goldin

This is a teabag on the ground.

Here is an essay I wrote for class. I was limited to 5-7 pages, which I found very frustrating.
The subject was open.
I’m young and probably very wrong about many things. Maybe one of you will read it.

Sex in Modern Photography as Examined by
Terry Richardson and Nan Goldin

Sex in art is nothing new. There is a long and respectable tradition stretching from Paleolithic cave paintings to Picasso (Clottes, Page 4; Goetz). It is no surprise, therefore, that sex is a popular subject in photography. Two of the most well known, critically acclaimed, and sometimes reviled photographers who currently deal with sex in their work are Nan Goldin and Terry Richardson (“Biography”; Hanson 1). They come from similar backgrounds, with troubled childhoods, drug use, and unconventional lifestyles (Hanson 1; “Goldin, Nan”; Mazur). Both artists have been said to have a snapshot aesthetic, shoot with simple cameras, and have done their recent work in color (O’Hagan; “Biography”; Nelson 1; Hanson 1; Mazur). They take photographs of people having sex (Goldin, Playground; Richardson, Terryworld.). However, their work is extremely different.

Nan Goldin left her home at 13 years of age in 1966 (“Goldin, Nan”). Her sister’s suicide in 1965 strongly affected her (“Biography”). Feeling unhappy with her family and childhood, she substituted friends for blood relatives, creating a foster family she could call her own (“Biography”). She took up photography early in her life, around 1971, while a student at the alternative education school called Satya Community School (“Goldin, Nan”; “Biography”). Her first published photos, in 1973, were black and white documentary photographs from a drag club, The Other Side, eventually published in a book by the same name (“Goldin, Nan”; Goldin, Other Side; “Biography”).

Starting in 1974, Goldin attended the Boston School of Fine Arts, where her work went in the direction she is most well known for, directly document her own life in color (“Goldin, Nan”; “Biography”). In an interview, she says first shot color film accidentally, thinking the roll in her camera was black and white (Mazur). She was involved in heavy drug use, sexual activity, even a victim of physical violence, and documented all of this in vivid color transparencies of herself and the people in her life (“Goldin, Nan”; “Biography”; Mazur). Her work was shown through art shows and photographic slide shows set to music (“Biography”). Through her life, Goldin shot obsessively, published books and received critical acclaim, all while continuing to abuse drugs and alcohol (“Biography”; Mazur). In 1988 she entered a detoxification clinic and continued to shoot, mostly self portraits (“Biography”).

Some of her most recent work is published in a large volume documenting the lives of many people she knows, mostly couples and families, as well as herself (Goldin, Playground). The volume, titled The Devil’s Playground, does not deal only with sex, in fact, many of the images are lovely natural light portraits or scenes from daily life and interactions. Some of the most striking images are of couples in the act of intercourse (Goldin, Playground).

Terry Richardson’s most recent book also contains images of sexual interaction (Richardson, Terryworld). Like Goldin, he had a less than conventional childhood (Horyn; Hanson 1). His father, Bob Richardson, then a successful fashion photographer, and his mother, a nightclub dancer, divorced in 1970 (Hanson 1). Terry, only 5 years old, moved around with his mother and new step father from New York, to Woodstock, to London, and finally settled in Hollywood (Hanson 1). Now 10 years old and living in Hollywood during the onset of Punk Rock, Terry was a maladjusted child (Hanson 1). His mother, hit by a truck on the way to pick him up from a therapist appointment, was comatose for a month and ended up with permanent brain damage (Hanson 1). By 11 years old, Richardson was living with his grandma on welfare, smoking weed and stealing pages from Penthouse (Hanson 1).

Similar to Goldin, he found a family outside his family, in the punk rock scene in Hollywood and later a smaller town in California, Ojaj (Hanson 1). He started injecting heroin and diving into sexual debauchery (Hanson 1). Involved in several bands that never really got off the ground, he continued his party heavy lifestyle until 1983, when a fight with his mother, ending in his arrest, prompted his move to Hollywood to pursue his “rock-star dreams” (Hanson 1).

Now on his own, even with low living expenses in his apartment he shared with two other people, he began working as a photographic assistant to support himself (Hanson 1). Tony Kent, who Richardson assisted for, taught him the basics of photography (Hanson 1). In 1989, Terry decided he could do it himself (Hanson 1). In his words, “I could do this. These guys suck and make lots of money…” (Hanson 1).

He started in a very different way than Nan Goldin, although later on he would become obsessed with capturing the “rarefied world inhabited by his peers and cohorts” (Hanson 1-2; Nelson 1). His first photographs were of actors and actresses he knew in Hollywood (Hanson 1). While Goldin was documenting her life, Richardson was trying to break into commercial fashion (“Biography”; Hanson 2).

His father, Bob Richardson, had surfaced in San Francisco after years after living a transient lifestyle, and convinced Terry he could mold him into a successful fashion photographer (Horyn; Hanson 2). They worked together for six months, and Terry learned a lot from him, while shooting for magazines such as Glamour, but eventually decided his father’s style was too stiff and old fashioned (Hanson 2). They ended their working relationship on less than amicable terms (Hanson 2).

Terry’s fashion work was always sexually charged and vulgar. His first fashion story he shot on his own was about “kids getting drunk and making out and pissing in the streets” (Hanson 2). It was also quickly acclaimed, winning him an award for best new fashion story of the year (Hanson 2). He did work for many top magazines in several countries (Hanson 2). Richardson kept pushing his boundaries, trying to slip raunchier things into mainstream publications, eventually getting nude himself to persuade models to strip down for the camera (Hanson 2; O’Hagan; Carter 3). He even started putting himself into his work, or having the models photograph him nude (Nelson 1; O’Hagan, Richardson, Son of Bob). He had galleries of this work and published in one of his most recent books, Terryworld, as well as an uncensored version much more explicitly sexual (O’Hagan; Richardson, Terryworld).

Richardson’s volume, similar in size to Goldin’s tome is more sexual all the way through (Richardson, Terryworld). There are a couple shots without some kind of erect or stimulated human organ, but almost every couple pages the viewer is greeted with a 10-inch phallus or semen covered breasts (Richardson, Terryworld). While there was at least one picture of a couple involved in sexual activity in Son of Bob, there are many in Terryworld, including at least two of Terry Richardson himself involved with younger girls (Richardson, Terryworld).

A page could be removed from both The Devil’s Playground and Terryworld and put side by side on a table and compared. At the simplest level, here are two photographs. Here are two photographs of two people having sex. They are both color. It’s possible that, depending on the photographs, the similarities end there. Probably neither photo would be allowed to be posted in an elementary school, but the emotions brought up by the photographs, the connotations of the work, even the emotions of the subjects in the images seem to be so different.

Although he says he had been inspired by Goldin’s work in the past, Richardson’s work is something else entirely (Hanson 2; Richardson, Terryworld). In Terryworld, there is a picture of Richardson holding a girl up, her legs spread, while he penetrates her. Both of them stare at the camera. The photograph is lit with on camera flash, has a slightly sickening color, and makes it easy to understand why his work is compared to 70’s porn in the promotional description of his own book (Richardson, Terryworld). It’s a stark contrast to Nan Goldin’s imagery.

If Richardson’s untitled work shows him “fucking” then Goldin’s photographs contrast immediately, even through their titles (Carter 11; Goldin, Playground). Her photographs are have names such as “Simon and Jessica making love” or “Bruno caressing Valerie’s face.” Her pictures are lit with natural light, often with warm evening or morning colors (Goldin, Playground.) According to Grundberg, a reviewer for the New York Times, these photos are more “conventionally beautiful” and “a far cry from the gritty, demimonde flavor of her best-known work, “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (Grundberg 1).

When looking at Goldin’s photographs one seems to be peeking in on an intimate moment between the subjects. They may have blurred movement or shadowed faces, but they are obviously involved in each other, almost unaware of the camera’s existence (Goldin, Playground). In Richardson’s work, the interaction is direct (Richardson, Terryworld). The subjects, and Terry himself, pose for the camera, extremely aware of it. They are performing, trying to push the limits of art and the viewers of the image (Richardson, Terryworld). This isn’t an intimate moment for them (McInnes 1). As Olivier Zahm says in “A Conversation Between Two Worlds,” Terry wants to know “Where can he take it today? What are the limits of the game?” (McInnes 1).

To him, it is a game (McInnes 1). His images are sometimes reminiscent of a high school jock boasting of his latest sexual accomplishments. One photograph in Terryworld shows a penis being held up to a ruler. Another shows a man, semen visible on his still erect penis, making a rock and roll hand gesture and smiling excitedly towards the camera, a naked transsexual barely visible and only partially in the frame far to the left (Richardson, Terryworld). The people in Goldin’s pictures are serious or at least emotionally involved in their actions (Goldin, Playground). They clench each other, softly caress, and the images of couples making love are accompanied by images of laughing with their children or them watching the sky on the edge of a pool (Goldin, Playground). Life is not just detached sexual encounters, with no reason or consequence to Goldin.
There are more pictures in Richardson’s book that push the idea of sex as a performance. One in particular is of two women kissing on a car, covered in soap. They’re watched by a crowd of men, standing on the side of the street. Women, and also men, to be fair, seem to be objectified often in Terry’s work. The first image in his book is a picture of semen covered breasts, nothing else visible in the frame (Richardson, Terryworld.) Media activist Jean Kilbourne notes “that women’s bodies are often dismembered into legs, breasts or thighs, reinforcing the message that women are objects rather than whole human beings.” (“Media Stereotyping”).

The majority of Goldin’s sex photographs include the entire bodies of both participants, and if they are close up they usually include at least one of the participants’ faces (Goldin, Playground). The photograph titled “Bruno caressing Valerie’s face” shows Bruno softly touching Valerie while he stares into her eyes. Neither of these people are just a pair of breasts, these are people and we can feel their emotion in the image (Goldin, Playground). To be fair, Richardson is totally aware of what he is doing with his images. He wants to make the viewer think about what sex means and he wants to demystify it, make it funny, make it entertaining (McInnes 2). That doesn’t make his work visibly pleasing. It’s crass, gritty, and disgusting, “the dirtiest shit you’ve ever seen” (McInnes 1).

Richardson’s images are a party, hook-ups, fuck buddies and used condoms (Richardson, Terryworld.). His is the snapshot aesthetic of amateur porn. Goldin’s photographs are romantic, touching, and emotionally charged (Goldin, Playground). She has said her work “originally came from the snapshot aesthetic… Snapshots are taken out of love and to remember people, places, and shared times.” (“Golding, Nan”). Her love of shared times shows through in her imagery, just as Richardson is dominated by his need for a new rush with every photograph (“Goldin, Nan”; O’Hagan).

Works Cited

“Biography of Nan Goldin.” Brain Juice Biographies. Accessed 11 May 2007.

Brockes, Emma. “It’s Art, but is it Porn?” The Guardian. 5 November 2002.,,830233,00.html

Carter, Lee. “Shooting Stars In Focus: Terry Richardson.” Hint Fashion Magazine
Online. Accessed 11 May 2007.

Clottes, Jean. “Paleolithic Cave Paintings And Rock Art In France.” Bradshaw
Foundation. Accessed 12 May 2007.

Goldin, Nan. The Other Side. Manchester, UK: Cornerhouse Publications, 1993.

Goldin, Nan. The Devil’s Playground. New York, New York: Phaidon Press, 2003.

“Goldin, Nan.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Accessed 11 May 2007

Goetz, Ronald. “The Passion of Picasso.” Religion-Online. Accessed 10 May 2007.
Originally published in Christian Century, October 1, 1980 pp. 906-909

Grundberg, Andy. “Photography.” The New York Times. 2003. The New YorkTimes
Online. Accessed 12 May 2007.

Hanson, Dian. “Welcome to Terryworld.” Terryworld. Berlin, Germany: Taschen, 2004.

Horyn, Cathy. “Bob Richardson; Fashion Photographer Emphasized Emotion.” New
York Times News Service/San Diego Union-Tribune. 18 December 2005. Accessed 11 May 2007.

Mazur, Adam and Paulina Skirgajllo-Krajewska. “Interview With Nan Goldin.”
Fototapeta. Accessed 10 May 2007.

McInnes, Gavin and Oliver Zahm. “A Conversation Between Two Worlds.” Terryworld.
Berlin, Germany: Taschen, 2004.

“Media Stereotyping: Sex and Relationships in the Media.” Media Awareness Network.
Accessed 10 May 2007.

Nelson, Arty. “It’s Terry’s World And You’re Just Afraid of It.” LA Weekly. 28 October
2004. LA Weekly Art&Books. Accessed 11 May 2007.

O’Hagan, Sean. “Good Clean Fun?” The Observer. 17 October 2004. Guardian
Unlimited. Accessed 11 May 2007.,11913,1327492,00.html

Richardson, Terry. Son of Bob. Tokyo, Japan: Little More, 2000.

Richardson, Terry. Terryworld. Berlin, Germany: Taschen, 2004.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 4:19 pm  

Friday, May 11, 2007

Here are some shots I took in studio
of kyle, sean, and cat
while waiting for people to exist in my world
for a not similar picture shoo

it is a different world
some under stand

this was really hard (preview many times, screw up many times)
It was a long night
I made a jetpack today

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 6:36 pm  

Friday, May 11, 2007


Silver Spray Paint
Duct Tape
Shiny Pants

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 7:48 am  

Friday, May 11, 2007

Zachariah and I went to the beach and shot some film on my rolleicord.
I cross processed it.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 4:50 am  

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Some quick snaps from scad radio, after drew called me last minute
(one of those two hour deadline type things)
to take some pictures for the magazine.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 7:21 pm  

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