Writing Journal

Newsletter - August 2017

 
 

Hello!

A common question I get asked is "What kind of photographs do you take?" It's a simple question, the answer though is far from that. It would be easy enough to answer if I followed more traditional styles of photography (landscapes, portraits, nature, etc) — these people can understand. I start to run into problems (keeping an audience interested) when I use words like street photography, abstraction, conceptual ...

That question above has had me thinking about my own work for sometime, how do I define the images I make and myself as a photographer? There are pages and pages in my journal devoted to exploring this answer, with a fair swathe scribbled out. Rather than trying to pigeonhole myself into a traditional style I opted to look at my various projects and ask "What are they exploring?" This was (somewhat) easier to answer.

I was able to fit my work into three themes which I explore, whether this is an answer that will suffice, interest, or better create an image in someone's mind of the images I make I am unsure. At the least I hope it will allow for people to ask more questions (always ask questions, even when you find out the answer, keep digging). I even went as far as redesigning and reorganizing my website to reflect this new answer (you've probably noticed this already!).

"I explore themes around Surfaces, Spaces & Time."

Take a look at the revamped site and let me know what you think, or feel free to ask me anything related to it, I'm happy to answer!

Interesting things

  • I've chatted with a few people who talk about a "restlessness", a deep feeling that they should always be working on or doing something. Many of these people say they never feel relaxed and have guilt about being lazy.
     
  • Social media and digital platforms have connected photographers globally, it may have also killed the ability to tell a story beyond a single image
     
  • Campari has a unique taste, one I have described as "old dust on a window" - however, having tried a Negroni recently at a bar in Golden Gai in Shinjuku, I'm coming around to this unusual flavour (it helps that this drink has gin in it).
     
  • An interesting take on an architectural photography project - urban design failures.
     
  • Curious to learn more about my photography? Vincent included my photography in a video series he created about Painterly PhotographyWatch the entire series, it's really well done — you can watch the episode featuring my work below.
Kristopher Matheson is a Canadian photographer who lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. His work has a meditative and contemplative feel to it, as he often explores certain themes again and again, searching for new inspirations and directions. He has an amazing sense of balance in his compositions and choices of color and tonality that gives his work a painterly sensibility.

If you enjoyed this month's Newsletter the best way to support it is to pass it along to someone else who might like it, buy a print, or share it with everyone on your social media! Thanks for taking the time to read.

Kristopher

Newsletter - July 2017

 
 

Hello!

I enjoy reading (probably more so than I enjoy photography) and have a tendency to underline quotes that match who I am and how I think or feel. Since I have the habit of going back to re-read books I come across these underlined passages from time to time. Last month I decided to start writing down the quotes on 5x3 recipe cards; what I will do with these I don't really know yet. I figured here was a good place to share a little insight into what & how I think, and also give you something to consider.

Interesting things

  • I'm running out of bookshelf space, and thinking one day of having to move my books half way across to the globe back to Canada gives me pause in buying something new. This small periodical makes me second guess my book ban.
     
  • Any other science fiction or fantasy book nerds reading this? Here's an older reading list that I've had bookmarked for a while. Since summer is coming and I tend to do more reading this time of year let me know if there are any I should buy.
     
  • Shinjuku station, the busiest station in the world. A labyrinth of exits, entrances, train lines, shops and ... sight of 1969 counter culture movement in Japan. Wait what? Hard to believe it was the stage of anti-war concerts, demonstrations, rallies and hunger strikes.
     
  • An art campaign created to show the environmental benefits of walking.
     
  • How to make a woodblock print: "To make a print one needs paper, colour and blocks." A bit simplistic since you need to carve an image into a block of wood which requires special tools, long periods of time, and well SKILL. However it's a decent simplified introduction to the process.
     
  • "A few hours a week, Carole does my laundry and counts my pills and picks up after me. I look forward to her presence and feel relief when she leaves. Now and then, especially at night, solitude loses its soft power and loneliness takes over. I am grateful when solitude returns."
     
  • Kathleen Donohoe examines the landscape of memory, the style of the prints is what originally caught my eye, this also reminds me of my own (neglected) series involving memory.

Visual Review June 2017

Call this a monthly photo-journal, a selection of images that I took during June. Most of these images I took while walking around on my breaks from teaching, but a few of these images are for projects that are currently "In Progress".

Enjoy the photos, and I'd appreciate if you could take a moment to let me know what you think (good or bad). Thanks!

If you enjoyed this month's Newsletter the best way to support it is to pass it along to someone else who might like it. Thanks for taking the time to read.

If you'd like to have this Newsletter delivered to your inbox you can subscribe here.

Kristopher


Newsletter - June 2017

 
Self Portrait (Spring 2017)

Keep it simple (stupid)

Self Portrait (Spring 2017)

 

Hello!

I hope I am not alone with this problem. I have a backlog of tasks I want to accomplish, problem is when I sit down to do the work I get bogged down in details and distractions, and end up making my process too complicated. I've given the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) advice to many people, however I tend to forget it when it comes to my own work, so this past week I've been trying to follow it. The Newsletter is the first project that I plan on keeping simple going forward.

Here is a short list of things I found interesting that I wanted to share with you.

  • Anything worth doing or wishing for will require struggle, hardship and pain - and just like negative outcomes - will help determine the quality of your life. Mark Manson turns the question “What do you want out of life?” on its head.
     
each medium or technique offers an appeal of its own.... One jumps in and, if lucky, finds ways to proceed.
— Jasper Johns
  • There's an allure to creating monotypes - destruction in creation. I've been attempting to create monotypes, the process distills down to this: you destroy what you created to create something new. The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on Jasper Johns process of creating his monotypes.
     
  • Jon Wilkening got me to sit down with him for his podcast The Creative Bar - we discuss coffee, Scotch, photography, projects and process - give a listen and let us know what you think. 
     
  • In art you know what you like when you see it, just as you know when you detest something. Don't stop there,  now ask yourself "why?", you won't arrive at an answer with ease. Paul Klee suggested to analyze the most elementary components—line, form, and colour—to determine what makes an image successful or problematic.
     
  • When I visited my family in April, I made this bread with one change to the recipe: I used yeast that needed to be activated. The added time I had to wait for the yeast worked in my favour - rather than throwing everything into a bowl and making it quickly, this added step of waiting for the yeast to do its thing slowed me down and made me pay attention; something we all forget to do in our fast paced lives. And yes, it turned out perfectly
     
  • 10,000 hours of practice may make perfect, but it isn’t equal when it comes to creativity, which must be original, meaningful, and surprising. Fair warning: it’s a long read.
     
  • W. Eugene Smith made a lasting impact on photojournalism with his photo essays, here’s a look at Country Doctor, which helped to highlight the shortage of country doctors.
     
  • Rob Hudson is not your typical landscape photographer, he uses words and creates fiction in his photography series. This was one of the first of his series, Toward the Sun, that I came across.
     
  • A very short documentary about Ed Ruscha (roo-SHAY) who has had a very long career, “I hope people are inspired by Ed's very earnest approach to art-making and the reminder that ideas evolve and the best we can do is to follow our instincts and move with them.” — Felipe Lima (director)

That's it for this month, thanks for taking the time to read! If you enjoyed this Newsletter pass it along to someone else who might like it, or tell me what you thought.

If you'd like to have this Newsletter delivered to your inbox you can subscribe here.

Kristopher