Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Portraits Found and Taken" wins a silver at the Paris Photo Prize.

Portraits Found and Taken is awarded a silver in the Paris Photo Prize. Tim's portrait work placed silver in the Book category and in the Portraiture category. Here is the press release:


WINNER OF PX3, Prix de la Photographie Paris



Tim McLaughlin of Canada was Awarded: Second Prize in category Book (People) for the entry entitled, " Portraits: Found and Taken ." The jury selected PX3 2014’s winners from thousands of photography entries from over 85 countries.

Px3 is juried by top international decision-makers in the photography industry: Carol Johnson, Curator of Photography of Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Gilles Raynaldy, Director of Purpose, Paris; Viviene Esders, Expert près la Cour d'Appel de Paris; Mark Heflin, Director of American Illustration + American Photography, New York; Sara Rumens, Lifestyle Photo Editor of Grazia Magazine, London; Françoise Paviot, Director of Galerie Françoise Paviot, Paris; Chrisitine Ollier, Art Director of Filles du Calvaire, Paris; Natalie Johnson, Features Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine, London; Natalie Belayche, Director of Visual Delight, Paris; Kenan Aktulun, VP/Creative Director of Digitas, New York; Chiara Mariani, Photo Editor of Corriere della Sera Magazine, Italy; Arnaud Adida, Director of Acte 2 Gallery/Agency, Paris; Jeannette Mariani, Director of 13 Sévigné Gallery, Paris; Bernard Utudjian, Director of Galerie Polaris, Paris; Agnès Voltz, Director of Chambre Avec Vues, Paris; and Alice Gabriner, World Picture Editor of Time Magazine, New York.

The "Prix de la Photographie Paris" (Px3) strives to promote the appreciation of photography, to discover emerging talent, and introduce photographers from around the world to the artistic community of Paris. Winning photographs from this competition are exhibited in a high-profile gallery in Paris and published in the high-quality, full-color Px3 Annual Book.

For Press Inquiries, Contact:

About the Winner:

Tim McLaughlin has a long-standing interest in photography and its relationship to character. He has been working to expand the ground of formalized portraiture: exploring our idea of what make a likeness and what makes a portrait.

He ives in Roberts Creek, BC, Canada.  Over twenty-five years he has been active in experimental radio, hypertext fiction, graphic design, writing and documentary film production. Many of these works can be found at Ampersand & Company.

In addition to Photography Tim McLaughlin is the editor of Image on Paper a collection of photobook reviews.

Contact Tim McLaughlin:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Book Thirty-Seven

Book Thirty-Seven
February 2006
Softcover Notebook
Kept while in Morocco
7.5" x 9.75" 112 pages. 


There are the poems
built with common words
built like the bricks that
make a mason delight
in the wet thut of stone
set upon mortar, the delight
of he that buildeth the house

and if one day I found you
living inside, I would call
upon you to abandon the
weather of thatch and window

There are secrets in travel, I say
there are night-trains which
must be boarded in darkness,
an ocean for every form of loss

There is a thief who encircles you
desirous and cunning
he will take all your gentle graces
and set them down before you
like common words.

Here is an index of books

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Julian Merrow-Smith

Julian Merrow-Smith, artist. Taken March 18, 2013.

On February 16, 2005, Julian Merrow-Smith painted an oyster. It was 12 x 14 centimetres, about the size of a postcard. A year and 362 small paintings later, an article about the painter and his project appeared in the New York Times. Six months after that Julian’s mailing list had grown from three to three thousand and each painting was selling even before it was dry.

Ruth Phillips Cherries from Cheveux's Orchard
Outside the red cottage where I live in Roberts Creek is an ageing fig tree. It is planted too close to the house. It is, in fact, planted directly under the power lines making constant pruning both necessary and dangerous, but is gives abundant and beautiful fruit. Each September if I can collect the figs before the birds and wasps get them I stew them into a ruby jam and deliver a jar to friends at Christmas.
In the spring of 2009 I began following Postcard from Provence and in the summer I bid on the painting of three figs. Each year my figs come and go but these three have remained true.

I wanted to meet Julian Merrow-Smith and his wife Ruth Phillips not just because he is a brilliant painter and she a professional cellist and skilled author. Although that would have been enough. I wanted to meet them because they seemed to have solved one of the great questions of our time: how to make a living through art while at the same time retainingo a measure of independence to live where and how you choose. When I first encountered Postcard from Provence. I thought it was the most clever idea I had seen in a long time. It seemed a stroke of genius. Take advantage of the internet as a visual medium that can easily be tied to online auctions. Make the paintings small enough to go easily through the post, add one very talented painter some hard work and some luck and “voila!” you had a mechanism by which you could live almost anywhere and make your living through your art.  

The Watercolour was small, warm, very much alive; mp tom the sense that the oranges looked like oranges; although they did. It was more that the pleasure Julian took in the paint and the oranges was somehow alive in the painting. There was a strong sense of analysis but also of revealing—in the subject and in the medium—that made it so different to anything I was doing then or have ever managed to do since. I think that this is something that defines the best of his work: an intellectual coolness and sensual warmth that is emulsified somehow in paintings which, and I don’t think this is a coincidence, are more often than not inspired by the pantry.

Introduction to the book Postcard from Provence by GJH
I set up my portable studio in their living room. Julian, I photographed before lunch, Ruth, after lunch. For my assistant I took my seventeen year old daughter Esmé. Julian remarked how different it was to be on the other side of the portrait process. Ruth played her cello. Even warming up it was magnificent.  As I worked on Ruth's portrait Julian left to begin his afternoon's painting. I felt very privileged to be invited into their world and tried hard not to make too big of a dent in their day.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book Thirty-Six

Book Thirty-Six
January 2006 - December 2007
Hardcover Sketchbook
Kept while in Roberts Creek and Vancouver
6" x 8.25" 168 pages. 

L. Cornelissen & Son Sketchbook 

I was once given some very good advice by an Irish friend. If I was going to visit London, I needed to see two important places. The British Museum, and just down the street from there, L. Cornelissen & Son artist supply shop, or, as it still says on the sign, "Artists' Colourmen." 

The shop is a marvel. Established in 1855 it opened its doors just one year before Wiliam Henry Perkin discovered the first synthetic dye. In the shop I purchased a small green sketchbook. To those who plot their life by and in books, this was about five years before Moleskien began to produce their wonderful but now ubiquitous sketchbooks. The Cornelissen book was an elegant, green colour that matched the paint on the walls of the store. Kind of a verdant, billiard-table shade. The name "L. Cornelissen & Son" was stamped in gold on the cover and I considered it a few steps above the spiral notebook I was carrying with me. The colour seemed to be a marker of something beyond the longevity of small bespoke colourmen in the English capital. A few years later when I watched an architect pull a similar green sketchbook from his satchel I knew exactly where he got it. We connected over the book and it occurred to me that there are some things which communicate in unexpected ways.

This is that book. I saved it for several years before I was brave enough to use it. 

The books used to be make by Cornelissen themselves. They had excellent, heavy, white paper in them, it was like a pot of heavy cream: rich and velvety. Not to be too opinionated, but the drawing paper of the Moleskiens is so thin you could spit through it, and if, on the other hand, you opt for the books with heavier paper, you don't really get enough pages in the book. The paper is OK, I guess, but it doesn't induce euphoria the way the Cornelissen book does. I decided to stock up on the Cornelissen books the next time I passed through London. And, just when I had sufficient capital to do so, I learned that Cornelissen no longer made the books themselves. 

They are still the same green colour. It's nice. But books are now made by Seawhite of Brighton. They are suppliers to art galleries (the National Portrait Gallery is a client) and they still have very good paper in them. Still, learning that the Cornelissen books had changed was a bit like getting the news that your parents had sold the family home and moved into an apartment. The change is inevitable and for reasons you can never clearly define, just a little bit sad.

More rants on specific sketchbooks:
Book Seventeen Ampad
Book Nineteen Claire Fontaine

Here is an index of books

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ruth Phillips

Ruth Phillips, cellist, writer. Taken March 18, 2013.

It was early spring 2008, a year after Lucien Chauvet’s death. Along the length of the house now ran four wooden boxes in which grew the beginnings of four varieties of tomato. There were aubergines. There were salad leaves, chard and rocket, turnips and beets. A Sicilian gourd reached upward with its first rampant tendrils. Potatoes were planned, naturally. Every square of growth was punctuated with an organic insect repellent or bee attractor such as rosemary or marigold, and the vegetables were arranged in happy families. Carrots that loved tomatoes, tomatoes that loved basil, radishes that loved mustard and redwort pigweed. Julian tapped a packet and three seeds plopped into his hand. He took a pencil and created an indent for them in a pot the size of an egg cup. He let the seeds drop. He placed earth on top of them, sprinkled fine sand over them, and watered them from a great height. Next, he transplanted a row of lettuces, gathering earth around the seedlings as lovingly as if he were tucking a child in to a bed. Then, looking as smitten with the yellow blooms as he ever had been with me, he picked four Lady Banks roses from the bush and walked them toward the studio.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Ferry Building Gallery

Solo show at the Ferry Building Gallery
Walk through ...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stephen Osborne

Stephen Osborne, publisher, writer, photographer. Taken February 21, 2013

I first met Stephen Osborne in his writing several years ago when, as a young man, freshly degreed from University and unable to find work in recession-weary Ontario, I packed everything I owned into my parent’s basement, decided to travel light and headed for the coast where I quickly found work with one of the largest, family-owned book-selling empires. West of Toronto this could only mean Duthie Books. The staff at the flagship store where I started were young, overeducated, underpaid, but, by and large, felt they had landed the best gig in town. They were working in an environment that was at the centre of all that was important – books. We were on in the inside, spending days where everyone else wanted to be. No doubt each had their own personal relationship to the romance of a meaningful life (regardless of whether this vision was based on, say, the intellectual smoke of Parisian cafés, a notion of the lone scriptwriter working at night and shilling books during the day, the nail-chewing novelist, or just the litterocentric polymath who knew that the members of the general public, the great unwashed, those who had not dedicated themselves to a life in books, could never pose a question of either title or author that could not be answered immediately, from the head) each felt that they were at the center of a culture that mattered and each felt fortunate that, as Duthies was itself a family of eccentrics, none of us were ever asked to make the McJob sacrifice and put who you were or who you wanted to be aside while you stacked the shelves and answered petulant queries from disgruntled businessmen who insisted that we carry some motivational guide or – the standing joke in the bookselling trade – dealt with that person who wanted to know if we had a book, but could provide nothing: no title, author, plot, or character – and had only an inkling of the colour of the cover. The great ship Duthie went down and now, sadly, has passed away forever. It has been replaced by box-store outlets staffed by booksellers who are forced to restrain their individuality, wear identical brand-building clothing, and at times, god help us, headsets. I refuse to give up the idea that they are all bibliophiles - but for them the era is over, they were born at the wrong time, arrived too late, and the bookstores they work at are quiet and meaningless, filled, not with straw, but with other things, things that are not books: minor home furnishings and giftwares. If I were to state clearly my own conviction, it would be that a bookstore was a place where ideas were bound up as objects and sold to a public that was hungry for ideas. It was an optimistic view, especially when you added some craft such as typography and design to the objects. It was a view that saw labouring with ideas as important, and held that the general public was, if not preoccupied with, at least interested in a culture of ideas and the vehicles that contained them.

It was here, in the early nineties, on the magazine stand of the 10th ave. Duthies that I first encountered the prose of Stephen Osborne. The writing was remarkable in a way that eluded me for a very long time. I subscribed to the magazine: Geist. Each time my issue arrived I saved it for a particular bus ride I took. On the bus I would begin with Mr. Osborne’s essay and read it through. What was he doing? I understood that in the mechanics of writing what drives the engine is plot: the mystery has its murder, the romance its attraction, the polemic its thesis – but Osborne’s dispatches contained none of these. And yet, I was moved along, and would often fold the magazine shut as I rode my bus, looking out the window, to contemplate what I had been reading, with a confident will to return to the dispatch. I had no idea who he was. For a long time I confused him with another writer I had seen perform in one of the literary events taking place at the Niagra: a tall man who often wore a wide brimmed hat and leather jacket. He was not that man.

As authors we are not always the best people to explain the motivation of our work. I could not say exactly why I felt so compelled to photograph him. I asked him one year - our schedules were off and so I left it. But it seemed important and so I contacted him again the following year.

He arrived for the shoot, which passed with more conversation than photography. No doubt we talked about bookstores and writers. His Vancouver preceded mine. When I told him I was working on a book of photography he was interested and offered advice. I would have saved myself considerable trouble if I had taken more of it. He was generous with his time, which surprised me - I knew of his various photographic and literary projects. I pressed my luck a little further and asked him to write the preface to the book I was working on. He agreed.

Books are like children - there are those who think it is unfair or unkind to bring more of them into this world. Maybe that is true. The book making process was more difficult than I ever imagined. But now, as I post this, the book is complete and ready (after a few false starts) to make its entry into the world. I'm thankful to have Stephen and his words in my book and pleased to be able to post his portrait here.

Stephen Osborne is the founding editor of Geist Magazine. He writes an essay for each issue and publishes photographs under the alias Mandelbrot. A number of his essays can be found in the collection Ice & Fire: Dispatches from the New World.

Portraits: Found and Taken is being launched next week (January 30th, 2014) at the Ferry Building Gallery.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Book Thirty-Five

Book Thirty-Five
January - March 2005
Handmade Book
Kept while in India
5.5" x 7.75" 150 pages. 

India can break your mind and shatter your past. For some it is a narcotic, the most subtle and addictive of drugs. It is vast enough that you can find in it whatever you might be seeking. And seekers love it. It is a cultural nuclear reactor that, due to the immensity of the population; the sheer weight of individuals, traditions, customs, religions, and beliefs; has gone critical. There is no controlling it and very little understanding it. After you have been there you will find that even the most crowded streets anywhere else seem empty. Everything. Everywhere. All the time. India.

I made this book out of leather, rivets, a discarded poster-board from the catholic school system detailing the saints and, among other things, a penny from 1905. When I first made it I wanted to carry it in a sack on a trip. I wanted to carry it so that it would wear away the edges, add to the patina and give it a worthy, lived-in quality. I wanted the cover to become like the skin of a man who has been travelling a very long time.

Look inside.

Here is an index of books.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cloe Aigner and Jocelyn Hallett

Cloe Aigner and Jocelyn Hallett, creatives, taken February 22, 2013

There is a strange math at work when you add a second subject. I find photographing more than one person at a time almost impossible. You might think the complexity simply doubles when you add a second person, but I find that is not the case. If, for example, you spend time and took forty pictures of a subject to get one that is suitable, it is not the case that you would need to take eighty photos to make an image of two people. It seems to me to be exponential. One hundred and sixty would be needed. By then both the photographer and the subjects are exhausted.

This session was a gas. I learned a lot from it, in particular about using lights in a small space with two people. Cloe and Jocelyn were great to work with and as two founders of Zen House Media they knew all about photo shoots - I think maybe that made them very tolerant ...