F-Stop Magazine has featured two of my photos in the group exhibit of their 50th issue, Optimism. The first is of a kite being flown in front of the government building in Zibo, Shandong, China. The other is of a Spring Festival lantern being released on the beach in Sanya, Hainan, China. It was fun to see how the other contributors interpreted the theme.
In other news, after about six months of it sitting in my garage, I’ve finally gotten my second-hand Epson 7600 up and running. The prints are amazing. Next steps are to find a loupe somewhere, align the print head, find double-sided paper I’m happy with, and learn how to bind books. Lots to do, but busy is good.
Better late than never, right? I originally intended to get this finished by the end of July, four months ago. Things happen though, like a promotion, needing to replace all the insulation in the attic, and Frank’s surgery (he’s fine now, thankfully).
This is the third book I’ve made with Blurb, and the first of four I’ll be doing with projects from Mexico.
122 pages, 50 photos, as well as anecdotes from friends Robert Nation, Omar Covarrubias, Daniel Beltrán, Pancho Olvera, Antonio Salgado, and Lisa Langley.
I splurged this time and got a copy with Mohawk’s premium 140# paper. I’m excited to see the difference.
I’ve been lucky enough to have one of my photos chosen for the latest theme, “Eat at Your Own Risk,” which shows strange foods from around the world. The photo was one of the first that I took in China–Amanda and I were invited to attend a wedding shortly after arriving, and this fish was one of the dishes. We later learned that since eating fish eyes is good luck, it’s a sign of affection to pluck one out with your chopsticks and offer it to your significant other.
Not surprisingly, over a quarter of the photos in the showcase are from China. My students proudly told me on more than one occasion, “We Chinese eat anything with legs that is not a table, and anything with wings that is not a plane.” This may be an exaggeration, but not by much.
Fish eyes are pretty tame compared to some of the things we ate–scorpions, snake, cocoons, duck heads, donkey, and fox (we were told that it was mutton, but that’s a story for another day). By far the worst, though–and I’m pretty sure Amanda would agree with this–were sea cucumbers. If you ever have a chance to eat this “delicacy,” don’t do it. You won’t like it. I promise.
Anyway. I’m very happy to be a part of Pictory, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Over the past two years, I’ve made two books with Blurb–China in June of 2009 and Zibo in June of 2010. I’m currently wrapping up work on a third–Los Vochos–which will feature fifty photos of Volkswagen Beetles taken in Puerto Vallarta. The book will also include anecdotes from friends in Mexico that have owned Vochos. A few snippets:
“When I went to Guatemala, I was stopped at a military checkpoint. They questioned me about why I had a CB radio in the car, and asked if I was going to contact any guerrilla members. Finally, they destroyed the radio and let me go.”
“In retrospect, our luck was amazing. We were literally coasting down the hill into the next valley on fumes when we rolled, engine sputtering, into a gas station, a little two-pump place without a light or other sign of life. We had no choice but to put on our ski parkas and gloves and hats and sit in the car with the hope that someone would arrive.”
“I loved my Vocho–my mother-in-law couldn’t fit into it!”
From the its beginning in Mexico in 1954 until the last one ever built rolled off the assembly line in Puebla in 2003 (while being serenaded by mariachis), the Vocho became a symbol of Mexico. Even today, it remains a familiar part of the Mexican landscape.
For our part, Amanda and I owned a white 2000 Vocho in Mexico, and I’ve never had such a love/hate relationship with a car. I’ve also never had so many stories tied to a car–a theme that you hear over and over from Vocho owners, and something that kept me interested in this project for two years.
No matter what you think about the Vocho, you have to admit that it has personality. When you’re driving one, you know it’s a Vocho. Things like the sound of the motor and the smell (that mixture of plastic and oil) are unique.
I’m aiming for a release of the book by the end of July.