“After all the talk about amputating ears and public whippings, the Code of Hammurabi pauses to consider the plight of the intern. Well, not exactly—but that ancient litany of 282 laws, inscribed on diorite some 3700 years ago, did enjoin the master craftsmen of Babylon to pass on their trade and treat their apprentices fairly. Four millennia later, these are the basic rights that interns are still fighting for.”—Ross Perlin, Of Apprentices and Interns
Over the past year, Free Cooper Union has issued demands of the Board of Trustees to affirm their commitment to free education, provide increased transparency, and implement more democratic decision-making structures; as well as calling for the resignation of Jamshed Bharucha through school-wide and community-wide Votes of No Confidence. Despite our progress, every advance has been undermined:
The Board is seeking to implement a drastic new Code of Conductwhich will remove the judiciary process from the hands of students and effectively allow the administration to quell all dissent.
It is fully within the Board’s purview to repeal tuition at Wednesday’s meeting. If they decide not to, we will demand nothing further of the Board, but something of each other: that we stop our work until we can rejoin the college as active participants in its governance. We are the Cooper Union and it is up to us to rally around and protect our institution.
as some of you know i run a few regional art blogs here on tumblr. they’ve been inactive for several months (apart from dim with beauty, which only has a week and a half left of posts in the queue) and i’d made promises to continue posting at a later date but as time has gone on i don’t think that’s a promise i can keep….
Nate Burbeck, I just want to say thank you for the blogging projects you’ve committed to for so long. They served many of us a lot of inspiration and a lot of content for our own blogs, I’d say! We considered a huge amount of people from your blogs for our upcoming issue on American photography. We’ll be sure to credit you somehow in the book.
I want to point all of our readers towards the archives of the blogs linked above. They are truly awesome. But, umm, since we found some of our issue 3 photographers through it, I suppose I should say spoiler alert?
Hi there. Over the past 5 years I’ve made high six figures creating reality television. There is one big problem with this article:
It isn’t about reality television.
It pretends to be about the people who want to be on Reality Television, but is actually about journalists pretending they want to be on Reality Television so that they can write scholarly, posturing articles about Reality Television. Wanna see the most honest quote in the whole thing? Here it is:
In the audition room there are eight couples sitting around a conference table. The casting producer, a surprisingly normal-looking woman named Donna, tells us that the show will be a cross between Survivor, The Amazing Race, and The Hunger Games. “Minus the whole killing each other part,” I joke. Donna does not laugh. No one laughs, except me. I laugh at all of my own jokes for the next hour.
Donna has heard this joke approximately seven times an hour for four days. She made it herself when one of her colleagues called her up to see if she was interested in casting a new show. The makeup of the show was not the first question asked; it probably wasn’t even the fifth. The first question was the production company (because we all have stories), the next question was the timeframe (because we all have lives), the next question was the locations (because we all hate travel) and the next question was the rate (because we do not do this out of love).
The other seven couples did not laugh, either, because they were not being ironic. They know they aren’t killing people. They also know (actually, perceive, and that incorrectly) that this is their one shot at greatness, that what happens next will define the rest of their lives, that this is their chance to be snatched out of ignominy into a glorious world where people will fawn over them for everything they do.
Donna is not at all interested in disavowing them of this notion because what they need more than anything is genuine human behavior. Little secret about reality television - everyone behind the camera is absolutely as 100% pro as if they were shooting a Pacino film. The difference is the chuckleheads in front of the camera. If you need scripted, hire actors. They’re less trouble and by the time you’re rolling something like this, the cost is a wash.
It’s easy to say that “Reality TV is fake” but it’s also easy to say “wedding videos are fake.” Did what you see on screen happen? Yes. Did the person saying those lines actually say those lines? Yes. Is there other context? Of course. Did other things happen? Absolutely. But we’re not shooting a documentary. You know that. We know that. We’re here to assemble 41 minutes of “greatest hits” out of a week’s worth of footage. And the more fake you play, the less of that footage we can use.
Because really, we are shooting a documentary, it just happens to be a documentary on something that isn’t interesting without a whole lot of post-production finesse. Would we rather be shooting amur leopards? Fuck yeah. But not enough people watch that to keep us all in our mortgages. Honey Boo Boo?
The ugly reality of creating reality television is that the people you see are product. They are chosen for their innate ability to entertain idiots. I had a show once where I was covering three people talking about Kant and existentialism. We were waved off to go do something else. I mentioned to the story producer that we were actually covering something interesting. He replied “we’re covering something completely over the head of 99% of the population of the Midwest.”
He was right, of course. That episode, minus its philosophical discussion, was watched by more people than live in New Zealand.
When you sign up to be in front of the camera in reality TV, you are saying “I surrender my image to people who wish to monetize it in exchange for passing fame.” If you find something troubling or ironic about that, you are not for us. Much like the author of this article.
We had a conversation once between two of our victims in which one person commiserated with another because she was not being given real food, she was being required to suffer physical degradation, and was experiencing some pretty dire social stigma at the same time. The other person said
"Are you kidding me? This is the highlight of my life! As soon as I’m done here I go back to where I was, and no one will remember me. I am absolutely on top of the world right now."
It’s a hell of a mindset. But the more you believe it, the more true it becomes.
"Sadly, I think that in our post-modern, theory-inflected climate, the very notion that self-representation can be authentic and sincere—can in fact be an essential goal of poetry—seems to a lot of people a little passé. I find it maddening when students in graduate workshops write obscurely not for any abiding aesthetic reason, but for mere self-protection. The workshop never gets beyond the rather pointless exercise of trying to figure out the poem’s dramatic situation, and when you finally ask the poet to say something about her work, the answer goes something like, “Well, I didn’t want to tell it like it actually happened because that would seem too ‘confessional.’” And so “confessional” has become an unjustly pejorative word like “liberal” or “community organizer,” so vastly out of fashion that it seems like it’s never going to rise again." —David Wojahn
The talented Ryan Pflugerposted a portrait of the talented Eric Helgas yesterday. Eric assisted me once and then the New Yorker started hiring him to take photographs, and that was the end of his modeling career. While it is exciting to see him get published, we will never forget how nicely his skin reflects light.
From Shop Class To Shipyard: Oregon's Plan For Industrial Interns
Manufacturers in Oregon want to hire high school students. But they don’t want the kinds of high school students that colleges are after — the kind who have amazing test scores and will spend hours perfecting essays. They want teenagers who want to paint, weld and work with their hands. The hope is that those teens will turn into enthusiastic workers in an industry where the current workforce is headed toward retirement.
Carl Gunhouse lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and received his MFA from Yale University in 2003.
You write about the reaction of politics on life as being, “once-monumental shifts” that take place, only in the end the shift seems less monumental and more self-evident. Can this be said the same for your photographs?
I certainly felt that way making the pictures. At the time, it felt very important that each turn in policy was going to have huge impact on how we lived, but like most things, after a while you forget, and abandoned gas stations go from making a telling statement about gas prices to just being old gas stations. When the work started, it was coming from a place of alarm and anger. As the project came to an end, it felt like things were always this way. In the moment, the way you see the old gas station was more important than the gas station itself. But that’s the magic of photography, turning the everyday into something more meaningful, if only for a short period of time.
I’m really into Don/Dean, a blog that features a photographer every Sunday. Their questions are nice, irregular in that way that they don’t bore the audience, and smart in that the photographer can answer creatively. We were thinking of relaunching the interview site in a style like this, but Don/Dean does it so well I think I can hang up that hat for good now.
Carl Gunhouse's interview is the one we reblogged because he's in our third issue and he's really damn good. He also maintains a fantastic blog of his own, Searching for the Light.
Come by and say hello tonight from 6 - 9 at The Newsstand (Metroplitan / Lormier stop). Having a little show / book launch (edition of 100 published by AllDayEveryDay). Will also have prints / test prints / and all my proof thumbnails for sale. Below is a chit chat with AllDay’s Jackie Linton…