Category Archives: meta

Reader’s Block

For a variety of personal reasons (health, mental health, family, dayjob, etc.), I’ve pretty much dropped out of the blogosphere, and in particular the photoblogosphere, over the last several months. This happens sometimes with me. It probably won’t stop happening.

Things in my life have eased up a little, and I’m trying to get back in touch with the photo world. I posted something new here for the first time in forever, and I’m catching up on some fraction of the stuff that’s been clogging my Newsblur and Instapaper accounts.

As I started going through these feeds, I was initially feeling super guilty about not having tried to keep up. I mean, even though I legitimately was not able to write anything meaningful during that time period, I didn’t ever stop reading — so why wasn’t I reading about photography? I was reading plenty of stuff that is less important to me.

As I read further, I began to observe a surge of anxiety and mental fatigue. So I tried to follow closely what was happening in my mind as I read, and I came back with a very minor, but useful, epiphany:

Twitter and Tumblr

Hairy Beast is on twitter at @hairycritter and on Tumblr at

We haven’t pinned down exactly how we’re going to use those accounts, but here’s the game plan for now:

  • We’re using the tumblr account to reblog content, which will then be copied over to using IFTTT. We’re not planning to use the tumblr to post new content indendependant of the wordpress blog at We love tumblr, but one of the lessons of 1/125 is that tumblr can be a maddening place to publish, organize, and maintain content.
  • The twitter account isn’t currently doing too much. I’ve got it set in IFTTT to tweet with links to new posts (for those who for prefer following a twitter account to using RSS).

  1. No, we couldn’t get @hairybeast or We also don’t have, and I cannot recommend googling “Hairy Beast” unless you’re a hirsute dude enthsusiast. A sensible blogger would probably have chosen a different name. 
John Baldessari, Wrong.

Greetings from @vossbrink

A quick introduction post since while @kukkurovaca is sort of driving this blog, part of the point here is that @kalli and I will be going in whatever direction we feel like as well. For my part, I tend to try and write about photography by referencing how it fits in with history in general as well as non-photographic art media.

I love seeing museum exhibitions where photography, paintings, sculpture, etc. are in the same room, in conversation with each other. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually seen this.  Which means I’m always on the lookout to post anything which can do this—e.g. comparing Duchamp’s Fountain to Weston’s Excusado and realizing how much they had in common (beyond just subject matter) in exploring the forms and textures of the mechanical age.

The same goes with history. @kukkurovaca and I are both constantly annoyed by how so many of the same arguments about photography come up over and over again without any awareness of how similar things have been written decades or centuries ago. We’ll both be trying to add some of that historical perspective here., even if it means referencing Baldessari’s Wrong over and over and over again.

Most of my big posts here will be crossposts from NJWV and, as a result, contain a number of links to previous material I’ve written there. I will have smaller Hairy Beast-specific posts. I may also have more personal photography posts on NJWV—plus all the other random non-photography stuff I write about—which will not appear here.

Welcome to Hairy Beast

What’s a Hairy Beast?

Hairy Beast is named after one of my favorite photography quotations, from an interview with John Szarkowski:

I am not especially interested in anonymous photography, or pictorialist photography, or avant-garde photography, or in straight, crooked or any other subspecific category of photography; I am interested in the entire, indivisible, hairy beast—because in the real world, where photographs are made, these subspecies, or races, interbreed shamelessly and continually.—John Szarkowski

I can’t promise to demonstrate that breadth of taste. It’s an aspiration, not an identification. I want to see photography that way: a mongrel beast, an uncarved block. Highbrow, lowbrow, unibrow.1

For Hairy Beast, we’re planning a shift in style or…really, pacing. For 1/125, we wrote mostly pretty in-depth material—not necessarily in length so much as subjectively. I left a lot of myself on the page whenever I sat down to write a post for 1/125. That was the point, and I’m really proud of what Karl and I put out there for 1/125, but that’s a hard kind of writing to do on a consistent basis for folks with unrelated full-time jobs.

I don’t want to stop doing that kind of writing, but I want to be more inclusive of smaller and lighter material. So, there may be long stretches where nothing big gets posted to Hairy Beast, but the plan is that those won’t have to be periods of total blog-death like they were on 1/125.

Who’s here?

We are @kalli and @kukkurovaca (me), formerly of 1/125, and @vossbrink, concurrently of njwv.

Where the #$!? have I been

As you may be aware, I’ve largely withdrawn from photography for several months now. There are a variety of reasons for this—my health, both mental and physical, has been difficult, and I’ve been working a lot of overtime, and there have been other pressing demands on my time, attention, and emotional reserves. So, I’ve basically been off of Tumblr and Flickr, and I’ve done almost no blogging related to photography.

I’m trying to get to a place where I can transition back to being productive in these areas.2 I’m not totally there yet, and because of that, I had been putting off Hairy Beast for…well, for a good while.

But apparently it’s time3 to talk about Minor White on the internet, as @vossbrink and @kalli made sure to let me know. : )

And rather than find some other place to jam my obligatory posts about this, it seemed a sensible occasion/excuse to go ahead and soft launch the beast.

What to Expect

Who knows. We’ve got a smidgen of substantive content ready to go for you—I’ve written a couple things about Minor White, and in case you don’t already read vossbrink’s blog,4 he’s going to cross-post some stuff here, starting with the delightful Miscegeny! Miscegeny! No escaping that for me!.

After that, we’ll see what happens. I don’t have a bunch of longform content banked like I should, and I haven’t set up any kind of routine schedule. And the next couple of months are going to be hellish for me in every aspect of real life, so…should be entertaining!

Oh, by the way, we’ve been having some trouble with our database server. So, don’t be surprised if the blog goes down for half an hour every couple of days. We’re working on having our host move us to a different one.

A Note on the Theme

We’re using the WordPress default theme du jour, Twenty Fourteen. The way it works is that the most recent “featured” content is displayed in a grid at the top. We’re using that for longer/more in-depth material. Smaller posts, and featured content that has aged out of the grid, appears below in the regular WordPress blog feed.

  1. No, this is not to say I will be acting as site mascot. 
  2. Pretty weird to think of Flickr groups and Tumblr as the productivity that’s missing from my life. 
  3. Well, it was time like a month ago. Whatever. 
  4. Which you obviously should, as it is great.