Our final visiting artist for 2014 was the amazing Texas based photographer and all around great human Bryan Schutmaat. He got onto my radar sometime in 2013 when I got an excited call from my friend David Simonton asking me if I knew about Grays the Mountain Sends, Bryan's wonderful series of the American West. I didn't but you have to pay attention when David gets that animated! It didn't take me long to get excited too. Apparently other people got the memo before I did as he had recently won the Aperture Portfolio Prize, The CENTER (Sante Fe) Prize, the Daylight Photo Award, and had lit up the photo blogs.
I contacted him about purchasing a print of my favorite image in the series (Derek) and asked him if he would come to the residency and I was thrilled that he accepted.
His limited edition book of the series on Silas Finch sold out before it was released and had already popped up on resale sites. He said when he came he would be working on the second edition of the book (only slightly modified from the first) and a companion side-car publication called Islands of the Blest. The latter is a wonderful compilation of public domain photographs of the American West by a wide range of photographers over a 100 year period.
It was fascinating to see Bryan in action. It is such a treat to be able to get a back stage tour of an artist's process. We were able to connect him to the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Special Collection Library at Duke University for his research for Blest. Lisa McCarty, our former Cassilhaus intern, is now the curator there. He found a good amount of material for the book in the archive.
David and Bryan geeking out on negatives.
Bryan gave a talk when he was here and we had a great crowd.
Just before he left I was shooting pictures of Bryan with my iPhone and it went it to this weird white out mode but I like what I got.
About 3 months after Bryan left, Ellen and I were headed to LA with a stop in Dallas and just as we walk off the plane who do we see but Bryan coming toward us looking exhausted and headed back to Austin after a whirlwind world tour shooting a bunch of images including one of the covers for Time's Person of the Year issue about the Ebola Fighters.
What are the chances? We managed to squeeze in a dinner and catch up between flights. Small wonderful world.
It's always a toss up on who has the most fun during these residencies, Ellen and I or the artist. Thanks for everything Bryan.