A Postcard From Rochester
Last May, five Magnum photographers (Paolo Pellegrin, Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, Mikhael Subotzky and myself) and the writer Ginger Strand, set out from San Antonio, Texas in an RV named Uncle Jackson. Two weeks later we arrived in Oakland, California. The project was entitled Postcards From America.
The project was a thrilling experiment. There were mistakes and mishaps, of course, but there were also some wonderful and unexpected successes. In my mind, our greatest success was the pop-up show we had at the Starline Social Club in Oakland. Assembled in less than two days, we papered the walls with pictures. We also had two long tables with thousands of 4×6 drugstore prints:
The morning after the show, most of these prints were gone. This wasn’t something we’d anticipated. But we were happy. We were able to share the work we’d just made in a way that was both immediate and physical. In a world of digital downloads, the live show becomes more meaningful. As one friend said afterward, the ‘decisive experience’ is now as meaningful as the ‘decisive moment.’
With that in mind, we began planning a new project for this year: House of Pictures:
Ten Magnum photographers will be working in Rochester. Two of these photographers have already gotten started. A couple weeks ago, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Jim Goldberg picked up Uncle Jackson in Oakland and began driving to Rochester. You can see some pictures from their trip here.
On their way, Alessandra and Jim picked me up in Minnesota. Later today we’ll be joining Bruce Gilden, Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Larry Towell, Alex Webb, and Donovan Wylie in Rochester. For two weeks we’ll be living together and working together.
A couple of public programs have already been planned. There will also be a number of informal interactions and installations. For instance, we’ll be doing something at the public market on Saturday, April 21. But a lot of this is still up in the air. We’re making it up as we go along.
As with Postcards From America, we want you to join us in this experiment. We’ll announce details through social media, so it’s a good idea to follow us on our Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook pages. You can also post your pictures of Rochester to our Flickr group and tag them “Rochester”.
It is going to be a wild couple of weeks. Stay tuned…