The Month Before Trump, Harvey Benge

Exciting package from New Zealand, from the consistent, inquisitive photo eye of Harvey Benge. “The Month Before Trump”, self-published, 2017, edition of 50 (with 4×6 print). I really dig Harvey’s self-published works created in his own independent making. Always, he offerers up an existential, probing vision that navigates through the ominous nature of modern society, in city centers, delivering photographic juxtapositions and compositions that are enlightening and sometimes cinematically threatening. Here, Harvey is exploring the urban realms of San Francisco & New York City in the lead up to Trump’s election. Rightfully so, there’s a touch of the apocalyptic. Ultimately though, it’s entertaining and exciting color photography handled with austere attitude. Good stuff!

Harvey Benge, Trump, self-published, zine, The Month Before Trump, color photography, photobook

The Month Before Trump, Harvey Benge, © 2017

a musing from the rocking dock – Dashwood Books

Signed copies of a musing from the rocking dock are now available at Dashwood Books, NYC.

a musing from the rocking dock, Michael Ast, photobook, Dashwood Books

Look/Purchase

Calendar Feature – a musing from the rocking dock

Pleased to be featured in the Spain printing house La Imprenta’s 2017 “Hello Photography” calendar for the month of August.

Michael Ast, a musing from the rocking dock, August, Santa Barbara, Arroyo Beach

from “a musing from the rocking dock” (calendar / August) © La Imprenta, 2017

Squall, Spinnerstown

View from kitchen Window this morning . . . daylight savings time succeeded by 12 inches of hard snow.

squall, blizzard conditions, snowstorm, spruce, storm, windstorm, Spinnerstown, Michael Ast, flakes, flash

Squall / Spinnerstown © Michael Ast, 2017

Back to Printmaking

An 8-month hiatus from the printmaking studio was a bit too long. Happy to get back to etching plates.
This photo etching here, originally photographed in Costa da Caparica (Portugal) in the Fall, proved difficult in transposing to a plate. Rather than trash, I overpainted it with watercolor. Food for thought moving forward.

Michael Ast, Costa da Caparica, Portugal, photo etching, photopolymer, intaglio, printmaking, overpainting, watercolor, analog photography

Costa da Caparica (overpainted photo etching) © Michael Ast, 2017

27 Contexts by Mark Alice Durant (Saint Lucy Books)

I cannot put Mark Alice Durant’s book down. Evocative meditations and insight on photography that arrive poignantly in their telling through Durant’s intimate observation and acumen. The essays I’ve devoured so far, in one night, deliver their impact like a perfectly crafted short story. I looked up from the page at one point thinking “this is PG-13 Robert McCloskey!” Unlike the impersonal critical thinking too many books on art deliver, here we’re engaged with a trust and knowledge that entwines Durant’s immense smarts with a palpable curiosity that thrives on the personalities of great writing – courage, candor, humor, wonder, reasoning, with great sensitivity towards history and art. I’m trying not to devour it all in one sitting, but it’s proving difficult.

Mark Alice Durant, 27 Contexts, Saint Lucy Books, photography essays

The book can be ordered at Saint Lucy Books: “27 Contexts: an anecdotal history in photography”

Work Prints, Kinsey Series

Michael Ast, printing

Work Prints, Kinsey Series © Michael Ast, 2017

Walking at Dusk

Inherent sadness in the church bell tonight. Walking down Pond Road. Twilight in the puddles and the ravine on the dead leaves. Ambling along the mire, the crunch of stone and slush under my shoes, I stop to make a few pictures, pushing the ISO to a higher grain. Rain drops. Ice begins to patter the fence posts, the puddles, my jacket. Like mice feet scampering, the earth suddenly sounds like a snare drum concert roll, a soft symphonic dirge quivering in the dark from the pit. What is this sixth sense that stares back feral from the farm and field, where the late pumpkins rot? I reign it in. Seemingly befitting two days before this year’s end. I stand with it until dark in gratitude. To taste the failure of nature is utmost fortune. Turning back, it follows me home for a mile in the cold rain and veers off before turning down Dogwood, when the rain suddenly stops. Off. A fine pelting. I string the night walk onto my belt and hang my pants up to dry. December twenty nine.

Sintra, Portugal (Nov. 2016)

Michael Ast, Sintra, Portugal, doberman, overlook, wall

Sintra, Portugal (Nov. 2016 / © Michael Ast,)

Lisbon, Portugal (Nov. 2016)

Michael Ast, Lisbon, Portugal, Canon, Castelo de Sao. Jorge, Castel of Saint George, Moorish, moors, fortress, medieval, castle, Alfama district, Alfama

Lisbon, Portugal (Nov. 2016 / © Michael Ast,)