About Jerard

Publisher, writer, photographer. Brand-minded storyteller and business-minded strategist. Jerard has spent most of his career building media vehicles that connect valuable audiences with some of the most well-known brands in the world. Before working with influencers like Chase Jarvis, he spent more than a decade working in the action/snow sports business as one of the primary creators of Freeskier magazine. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and 6 lb dog Ginger. Other passions: Skiing, travel, sailing, surfing, scuba diving, fishing, biking, poetry, beet salad and the occasional bowl full of gummy bears.
Author Archive | Jerard

Shocking Gunfight POV Footage from Afghanistan — “I’m hit, I’m hit.”

The age of context is upon us.

Last week we featured some POV footage of mind-blowing surfing action. It was fun, sporting and intentionally creative.

The clip above is on the the whole other side of the spectrum. It’s real, raw, and unnerving from the middle of an active battlefield. No doubt, it was not created with artistic purpose. But it captures the context and imagery of what it is like, visually, to be in war. Nerve-rattling and stressful.
Watch as this unknown US soldier places himself in harms way – presumably to to pull Taliban insurgent fire off his squad, pinned down above him, so they could get to safety. He is hit several times (reports suggest his body armor protected him from serious injury) and his exclamation, “Im hit, Im hit,” parks itself in your brain. The soldier’s actions might seem courageous and brave, but some are suggesting that he was reckless and moving into harms way without a plan for cover. I’m not a solider or an expert in fighting the Taliban, so I will leave that debate for others. I’m sure there will be no shortage of opinions.

The soldier is quoted:

“I got a hit a total of 4 times. My helmet cam died and i made it down the mountain on my own. I was also hit in the side of my helmet and my eye pro was shot off of my face.

A round struck the tube by my hand of the 203 grenade launcher which knocked it out of my hands. When I picked the rifle back up it was still functional but the grenade launcher tube had a nice sized 7.62 cal bullet hole in it and was rendered useless.”

This is an relatively new application of wearable cameras – and the footage from the battlefield is more ubiquitous than ever. There is ongoing footage from the war in Afghanistan HERE.

Via PetaPixel, Gawker

Creative Video Angles: Inspiring POV Surf Shots

The weekend is here my friends [almost].

I’m resolved to go do something fun. Something creative. Something active. The videos below inspire all three actions.

There has never been a more exciting time in the history to be a photographer. Technology in enabling accessibility (and usability) like never before. Hell, if you can imagine it, you can capture it. And you dont have to spend an arm and a leg to do it. Helmet cam footage, a long-time staple in action sports and adrenaline fueled photography, has helped millions share their stories and creative vision in extraordinary ways. And the quality of these little cameras is getting better all the time. Big leaps have been made in the last couple of years — and we assume there are more to come.

Have a great weekend.

Tribute to Apocalypse Now – Heart of Coppola

In honor of the 33rd anniversary of Apocalypse Now, film editor Brian Caroll put this mash up together. It’s a gem. Makes me want to go back and watch the movie and the epic documentary Hearts of Darkness around the making of the famously plagued and problematic – but ultimately brilliant film.

Coppola’s quotes, especially the one that Caroll ends the tribute with, are gold. Here are a few of my favorites:

“I want a character of a monumental nature, who is struggling with the extremities of his soul, and he is struggling with them on such a level, that you are in awe of it. And he is destroyed by them.”

“Nothing is so terrible as a pretentious movie. A movie that aspires for something really terrific and doesn’t pull it off is shit. Its scum. [That’s the] filmmaker’s greatest horror. Is to be pretentious.”

“The great hope is that people who wouldn’t normally make films will be making them. Suddenly, one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father’s camera and for once the so called professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever – and it will really become an art form.”

To see more of Brian Carroll’s work – head over to his Vimeo or YouTube channels.

Emerging Talent: Burning Man + Beyond – Darren Miller’s Performance Artists [as captured by one]

Each year thousands upon thousands of people streaming out of the Nevada desert from the annual gathering called Burning Man. A friend called the annual event, ‘the most significant counter culture gathering of our time.’ This friend is smarter than me in a plethora of ways. I respect his opinion as gold…and yet I still have never personally attended. The organizers state that, “Trying to describe Burning Man to someone who has not experienced Burning Man is like trying to describe a specific color to someone who is blind.” So I am no expert. What I do know is that close to 60,000 people are leaving Black Rock Desert right now and coming back into society all over the world brimming with creativity. That’s cool by me. If, like me, you’ve never been, you probably have a friend that comes back inspired and singing the praises of the experimental community that dances on the playa, drives around in mind-blowing works of art in a surreal Mad Max meets Alice-in-Wonderland landscape. Art for art’s sake at an astounding level.

Photographer Darren Miller has been going to Burning Man for the better part of a decade. He attends each year not just as photographer but also as a professional performance artist. Click through the image tabs above to see some of his joyful work PLUS his shots from last week’s Burning Man. He pays the bills shooting corporate events, commercial jobs and weddings. He often doubles as photographer & entertainment at weddings and events! But it is his personal work, the photography of fellow performance artists, that really lights him up with inspiration. Sometimes quite literally… since he’s been known to fire-dance. I caught up with Darren before he took off for the desert this year to find out about how his community plays into his photography, his influences and why he goes to Burning Man.

CJ: Tell me about Burning Man…
DM: Burning man is one of the largest art festivals in the world that is completely built and created by the sixty thousand participants. In the middle of the isolated and barren Nevada desert
the most colorful creative world comes to life for one week every year. It is radically expressive, and totally unhinged. It is amazing and the scale of the art projects, although worthy of the accolade, could not be held by any of the world’s largest museums. It is an experiment in spontaneous community building that is based on sharing and collaboration. This cauldron of creative expression catalyzes to the core the people who are called to go. When you arrive at the gate you are greeted the words Welcome Home. At that point the mystery of your week there begins to unfold. For me Burning Man is the ultimate coming together of my life as a photographer and performer. There’s a great quote from an essay on the website by Molly Steenson that sums it up: “You’re there to breathe art. Imagine an ice sculpture emitting glacial music — in the desert.”

The photographer captured during a performance (Photo: SergioGoes)

CJ: Can you describe the intersection of your work as a photographer and a performance artist?
DM: For me photography intersects with performance because the more expressive and entertaining I am, the more relaxed and natural the clients and subjects I am working with become. Photography is a circle between the photographer and the person being photographed. My playfulness and provocative excitement inspire playfulness in others and I find that the more performance-like energy I put into a shoot – the more unique and exciting the results are within my subjects. I push my subjects outside of their comfort zone. People are often surprised, in a good way, by the results. “I wasn’t so sure about that at first,” is not uncommon to hear. But the photos are totally unique and totally full of joy – and it seems to make an impact for people.

Darren at work (Photo: Karl Baba)

CJ: You work with professional performers all the time:fire-breathers, stilt-walkers, dancers, Cirque du Soleil kind of stuff. How do you find these people?
DM:I live in San Francisco which is basically one of the world’s meccas for creative performance and unique expression. It seems like everyone here has some expressive pursuit in their life. What is really wonderful is the collaboration in the performing community. There is a lot of encouragement between individuals and groups to support each other’s creative offerings. In my view the energy of this area is wildly creative, and I feel at home here. Many of my friends and our extended community are world-class performers and so I have a privilege of sharing worlds with them. When we do talk about collaborating on a photo project there is usually a high resonance in our conceptual thinking that inspires a collaboration to happen.

CJ:Given that you are a performance artist – do you try self-portraits?
Self portraits are really interesting to me because I am always evolving my sense of who I am and with that comes new ideas for how I express myself and the performance characters I am developing.
Recently I got a Go Pro camera and I can use it to take pictures of me doing activities a wide range of activities such as surfing, and underwater photography. This year at Burning Man with the giant puppets I have made, I am planning on attaching the Go Pro on the head of the puppet to take pictures from the puppets point of view, with people’s reactions and all.

The photographer on stilts

CJ: Your portfolio has studio work, but it seems there is a strong theme of human creativity juxtaposed with mind-blowing nature. What location do you prefer with your subjects?
DM: In my heart of hearts I am a man of the wilderness and I feel completely at ease in all sorts of environments within the natural world. I grew up on rivers and in the ocean and mountains and on many occasions have solo journeyed into isolated natural areas for days at a time. I never feel more complete in who I am than when I am in the wild. It is this love of the natural world and understanding of the awe and wonder that inspires me to want to photograph people in extreme conditions. What I find in the photograph that we make together is something remarkable. Each person is changed by the environment they are in and the raw natural world setting brings out the epic and heroic and the beautiful nature that is within each of us. Modern society has moved so far from having a daily connection with the natural world, that doing this portrait work in nature serves as a kind of recollection of that connection we have might have lost along the way.

The Man - Burning Man 2012 (Photo By Moze via Burning Man blog)

CJ: Who are your influences?
DM: Without seeming like I’m sucking up, and naming names, I am really inspired by the photographers like Chase Jarvis who are sharing their work with everyone openly from concept to creation – in the same way that the artists at Burning Man share their creativity in the interest of inspiring more people. This attitude and culture of sharing is definitely encouraging me to delve deeper into my own personal work and get it out there. The provocative wide open potential for image making gets me really exited. There are so many ideas I would like to make photographs of, and I am looking forward to sharing them and contributing as much as I can to inspire people to embrace their own creative potential.

To see more of Darren Miller’s work go here and here
All Photos in this post: Darren Miller

More info Burning Man here

Burning Man 2012 (Photo: Darren Miller)

Burning Man 2012 - The Man

Inspirational Photos by Neil Armstrong – Primary Photographer on the First Successful Manned Mission to the Moon

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Photo: Neil Armstrong/NASA

[First published shortly after Neil Armstong’s death in August 2012]
Neil Armstrong passed this weekend. I was sad to hear the news that the man who spoke those immortal words that inspired the world: “It’s a small step for [a] man, a giant leap for mankind,” had left us.

He was a hero to many. President Obama said of his passing, “Neil Armstrong was a hero not just of his time, but of all time. Thank you, Neil, for showing us the power of one small step.” His work inspired millions, not only with his famous landing on the moon, but with the photos he took while there. Click through some of the image tabs above to see some of Armstrong’s photos from the surface of the moon. Many are from a Life magazine feature that ran after the lunar landing.

As the primary photographer of that first successful manned lunar mission in 1969, Neil Armstrong, was responsible for some of the most iconic images of the modern age. As the photographer, contrary to popoular belief, Armstrong did not actually appear in many of the famous photos he took on the moon. Most of the iconic images we know of today – are of his lunar romping partner Buzz Aldrin. There is one well-known shot of him climbing into the Lunar Module “Eagle.” It was Armstrong who uttered the famous, “…the Eagle has landed,” to Houston when they touched down in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon’s surface.

The two men had special modified 70mm Hasselblad 500EL. According to Hasselblad, “This is a specially designed version of the motorized 500EL intended for use on the surface of the moon, where the first lunar pictures were taken on 20 July 1969 by Neil Armstrong. The camera is equipped with a specially designed Biogon lens with a focal length of 60 mm, with a polarization filter mounted on the lens. A glass plate (Reseau-Plate), provided with reference crosses which are recorded on the film during exposure, is in contact with the film, and these crosses can be seen on all the pictures taken on the moon from 1969 to 1972. The 12 HEDC cameras used on the surface of the moon were left there. Only the film magazines were brought back. They also had two 16mm data acquisition cameras and one 35mm close-up stereoscopic camera. Altogether, they took 232 color and 107 black and white photographs on the surface of the moon.”

As I read about Armstrong this weekend I grew to admire him even more. He was, in addition to being the first man to step foot on the moon, a brilliant engineer and a fearless test pilot. Neil Armstrong went to the moon first as an explorer for mankind, second as a scientist and engineer – but with intention or not – he came back a famous photographer. Here’s an inspirational quote that I think applies uniquely to creatives – about the uncertainties of success.

“The unknowns were rampant. There were just a thousand things to worry about.”

He was, of course, talking about landing a small flying man-made pod on the moon…without knowing or having tested if it could do so. And even more concerning – if it could take OFF again. Mind-blowing. But we’ve all felt that way about something. It puts things in perspective on what is possible.

This statement from Armstrong’s family is wonderful and the best way to honor him.
“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

RIP – Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012)

Perspective: Dive, Climb, Crawl, Dig and Fly Your Way to a Better Photos + Video

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Jerard here from Chase’s crew. One of the things I’ve noticed working on the CJ Team over the years is the serious lengths Chase will go to for a specific perspective. Almost nothing is off-limits if it enables him to be in position to get the shot. You’ve heard it before, “get on the ground,” or “get above the crowd.” Essentially, look for the angle that others don’t. But sometimes it might take more than simply kneeling down or getting up on a chair. Sometimes, on Chase’s team, we the need to get more creative. Click through some of the tabs above to see the creative perspectives I caught of Erik and Chase shooting from this past week.

On the shoot we just had in Capetown, Chase shot from the following perspectives:
_a rubber dingy (in a questionably big swell)
_a speed boat
_the deck of 114-foot sailboat
_60-feet off the deck tied to the mast
_a helicopter
_4x4 transport in the African bush
_ underwater… in a shark-cage.

But you dont always have to be in a helicopter or on a 100-foot sailboat. The fact is, it could be as simple a borrowed rubber dingy or motorboat (thanks to our friend Carel Stander in Cape Town for our chase boat angle on this job) that gives you the desired perspective. If you’re willing to get dirty, climb up high, get in the water, the mud, the sand or snow…the resulting shots are bound to be more unique.

Veteran NYTimes Photographer Arrested & Allegedly Beaten by NYPD [Interview]

You’ve probably heard about the New York Times photographer who was arrested and allegedly beaten by New York City police officers last Saturday night. There’s a lot of knee-jerk reaction going on out there on the internet about this story. We decided to take a look at it ourselves and go to one of the sources – the photographer himself – for more information. So far, the NYPD has not responded to phone calls and emails, directed in good faith at the Department of Public Information.

The photographer, Robert Stolarik, 43, who has worked regularly for The Times for more than a decade, is no stranger to intense photography situations. He has covered conflicts in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and South America, as well as general news here in the United States like the D.C. Sniper and Virginia Tech shootings. He was charged with obstructing government administration and with resisting arrest as he was taking photographs of a brewing street fight in New York that involved a teenage girl. Not exactly the civil war in Colombia (he covered that for the NYTimes too), but somehow things went sideways for Stolarik.

The incident was reported by the New York Times here:
“Mr. Stolarik was taking photographs of the arrest of a teenage girl about 10:30 p.m., when a police officer instructed him to stop. Mr. Stolarik explained that identified himself as a photographer for The New York Times and kept taking pictures. A second officer appeared, grabbed his camera and “slammed” it into his face, according to Stolarik. He said he asked for the officers’ badge numbers, and the officers then took his cameras and dragged him to the ground; he said that he was kicked in the back and that he received scrapes and bruises to his arms, legs and face.”

I tracked down Robert Stolarik this morning to ask him a few questions directly and get his side of the story. He sounded a bit tired and frustrated, but gave me an intelligent and lucid account of the events. He came off as a professional photographer, even forgiving, who has been in his fair share of tense situations. He was very quick to explain, and frame his situation as unique, and that our rights as photographers are not a free pass to “do whatever we want” when law enforcement or other officials are performing public service or otherwise doing their job. He has clearly experienced this firsthand many times as a veteran freelancer for The New York Times; however, the events of his arrest, and alleged beating, last Saturday night clearly took him by surprise and have left him shaken and appalled.

CJ: In your words, what happened?

RS: The arrest happened without warning. I was taking pictures of something that was really wasn’t anything shocking for them. There was no police line. Ive been doing this a long time and its frustrating. Im credentialed. They asked for the credential, I’m shooting, the next thing I know I’m in jail and my equipment is confiscated.

CJ: Do you feel your rights were violated?

RS: Of course, but you have to realize that each situation each different. Just because we have this constitutional right doesn’t give us a complete right to do whatever we feel like doing. This needs to be understood. You can’t just stand your ground, in the middle of a police scene, and say, “Its my right to shoot this.” You have to walk carefully every time you show up to a [police] scene. There’s a lot involved. These police officers are trying to do a job too. Everyone needs to understand that. I always try to respect that.

CJ: For the benefit of those photographers up in arms about your situation, can you explain what you mean by “respect”?

RS: You want to be respectful of the police officers space as well. We need to be conscious of our surroundings. Even as we’re protected by our constitutional rights – this is important [as photographers] to remember. However, in this case, there is no question that what I was doing was right. I’m never the one to say the picture is more important than everything else on the scene. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for “standing my ground”, and an officer is in the middle of doing his job and [because of interfering] and an officer gets injured as a result of what I chose to do. Just because I have the “right” do take photos. I would never do that. And that is kind of what the police are saying about me. That they have the “right” to charge me with obstruction of government administration. They are using that to say, ‘we can do whatever we want.’ It’s unfortunate because I’m the one who was totally abused. They fabricated these charges. And now it’s them standing their ground on the same kind of idea. I understand they want to protect their officers – but lets be reasonable. Im not saying that they are deliberately fabricating things – but this just didn’t happen. It’s absurd. And no one is trying to make it better. This is worst part of what they’re doing. No apology. They are just trying to cover their tracks. As an individual its frustrating. Forget being a member of the media or press. As a citizen it’s very frustrating. Its appalling to to my friends, its appalling to my family, its appalling to the next generation of journalists who are coming up to see that I’m not protected as a [NYPD] credentialed photographer who works for one of the largest newspapers in the world.

CJ: Is this an anomoly?
RS: Such an excessive force of violence, yes, it seems surprising. Im not blaming the force [NYPD] for this. I blame the individuals. And I blame the individuals who are willing go to bat for people who did the wrong thing. It’s upsetting. Im surprised by how extreme it was – but there does seem to be a tremendous amount of animosity toward us for being photographers. For the sake of being photographers. To be beaten up, like Im some guy who is a serious threat to their well-being is incredible. Its unbelievable. That’s the problem with this whole situation.

CJ: What would you like to see happen next?
RS: Im a freelancer at the Times. Ive been there 12 years. [The Times], my colleagues, editors and other reporters have been tremendously supportive. But my main concern is getting back to work. Drop the charges. Give me back my equipment. Even if it’s broken, I’d like the cards to finish the story I was working on. Maybe I can get my press credentials back. Let me go back to work. That’s my focus right now. Maybe I can get my cameras back when I feel better.


Blue Plate Special: the Proud Women of USA Diners and their Food

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Photo: Stephen Shaher

Jerard here from Chase’s crew. I love a good road trip. There’s nothing like the freedom and discovery of hitting the road with no real destination, no particular schedule and nothing but miles as your mission. I’ve driven the blue highways across the whole of America almost twenty times. Four times on a motorcycle. In all of those miles, there are some memories that fade into the blur of asphalt and double-yellow lines. But there other things that jump out with precise clarity. For whatever reason, food and the people who serve the food, are often among these memories. Places like the Hogs Breath Saloon, a watering hole somewhere between Kansas and Colorado. “Hog’s Breath is better than no breath!” BBQ beef on a kaiser and I can remember the way the waitress chewed her gum.

Hog’s Breath is better than no breath. -waitress between Kansas and Colorado

Swiss photographer Stephen Shaher took a massive road trip across America and created a fun project out of diner food and the characters who served it. The images feel real. You can smell the food and hear the voices of these waitresses. Design You Trust featured the work a while back (with the names and food order explained to boot) and while I dont think that Food&Wine magazine is going to be calling for any food photography from this project, the personality that comes through in these pairings of server and plates of diner cuisine is palpable. It makes me want to head back out on the road and find some hidden gems of Americana. Click through the tabs above to see Shaher’s series from his 2004 journey across the USA.

Time Capsule Photos: Five friends take same snapshot for 30 years

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John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Malony, John Dickson

30 years ago, a snapshot kicked of a lifelong friendship.

A group of guys inadvertently started a photo tradition by taking a snapshot of themselves as teenagers during a vacation in 1982. For three decades, they have returned to the same spot to take the same portrait every 5 years. They were 19 years old when the first photo was taken. In June of this year, as 48-year-olds, they took the 7th installment of the “Copco Lake” photo. Click through the tabs above to see the sequence.

It’s an extraordinary story with photography at its core. This tradition of creating a “time-capsule” photo has brought these friends back together for the majority of their lives. CCN‘s interview reports: “We plan on doing it or the rest of our lives, no matter what,” says Dickson. “Up until there’s one guy just sitting in the same pose! Even then, maybe someone will take a picture of an empty bench for us.”

The lapse of time between each photo and duration of the project is unique when compared to the constant frequency with which we capture and share our lives in the age of Facebook. The tradition of taking this photo kept these guys coming back to the same physical spot to hang out together for the last 30 years. It’s a refreshing photography project with the theme of friendship at its core.


To read the full story on CNN click here

To see the Lake Copco Tradition website click here

Fear & Loathing in Art & Business

Dollar Sign - 1981

Why do artists loathe business? Why does business fear art? Each side holding the other back for no good reason. Conventional thinking declares that real art is “pure” and free of commercial motivations – that business corrupts art. Conversely, business minds often seem to fear art because it’s perceived lack of a road map for mathematical “ROI.”

Total bs. The next time someone suggests that business has no place in art – or someone tells you that its a good idea to have a “backup” for your creative vision of making a living – recall the example of the most successful businessman in the history of art: Andy Warhol.

He famously said, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.” Warhol’s business was reportedly worth $700 Mil by the time of his death in 1987.

Warhol got his start selling product illustrations to advertisers and department stores. He was really good at it and achieved a high level of commercial success before he became a pop art icon by bending linear thoughts of consumerism into an artistic pretzel. He intentionally blurred the line between commerce and art. He was never afraid of business – he actually saw it as part of his art. And to that end – his art has proven to be very good business. In fact, according to the Economist his work accounted for 17% of all auction sales in 2010 for $313m. This was a 229% increase over 2009 sales and proved his art to be recession proof in a big way. The market for Warhol’s art has outperformed the Dow Jones growth in the past 25 years – by a long shot.

So is it a coincidence that the most successful businessman in the history of art actually saw the business itself as part of the art? Would he be surprised by this continued success and ROI for his collectors? Certainly not.

This post was inspired by Seth Godin’s blog post here via @goodchemist

Photos of Amazing Street Art

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Some Friday fun to inspire your weekend: Reinvent the mundane.

Im always impressed with how street artists can transform mundane objects into a fertile canvas. Visually rearranging everyday spaces that seem to serve a single function (like a crosswalk or drain), and remixing with an ingenuity that knocks function on its ass. This reinvention of a seemingly innocuous wall, either in a highly economical manner or with painstaking precision and effort, tilts our perspective. Surprise and delight indeed. Click through the above tabs to see some brilliant examples of what these talented artists can do.

To see a boatload more check out Next Web Design’s post here.
(All images via Next Web Design.)

Got Politics? Bring it to the Table!

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Do you talk politics at your table?

Left or right, red or blue, conservative or progressive – it is that time again. The Presidential election is upon us. For the next five months, leading up to November 6, 2012, political imagery will capture the attention of America and beyond.

The photography will be ubiquitous. And the films, ads, and speeches, will flood our airwaves, tvs and tablets. The pundits will express their impassioned points of view. Some people love it. But these days, many people seem to cringe at the very word: “politics.” Either way, this time period never fails to create some strong and iconic imagery. Click through some of the tabs above to see photos from the last nine presidential elections and beyond.

Everyone knows the saying, “Dont talk politics or religion at the dinner table.” The assumption being that it could lead to unpleasant conversation. Indeed people’s values are often rooted in beliefs that will not likely change…at least not before dessert is served. In fact, there is fear that these topics could create an uncomfortable situation. It’s just safer to talk about the weather, sports or the latest movie… and say, “Yup, that’s some crazy [rain, homerun, special effects]…please pass the sweet-potatoes.”

Talking Eyes Media, a non-profit founded by husband and wife Julie Winokur and award-winning photojournalist Ed Kashi, launched a Kickstarter campaign back in May to challenge this premise of keeping your mouth-shut-when-it-comes-to-politics. Their vision, “Bring it to the Table” was funded and they have taken the project on the road to invite people of all opinions to an open dialogue around poltics. The Bring it to the Table website explains:

Democracy is founded on robust dialogue, but somewhere along the line, politics replaced sex as the one thing in America we don’t discuss in mixed company – even amongst friends and family.
Bring it to the Table is a participatory online platform, community engagement campaign, and webisode series aimed at bridging political divides and elevating the national conversation. The project is for those who are tired of hyper-partisanship.

On the eve of America’s 236th birthday (July 4th for those of you tuning in from outside of USA) – what could be more patriotic than creating a more open dialogue?

You can help Bring it to the Table by donating here and check out their Tumblr here.

Shepard Fairey Installs 100-foot Mural

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Shepard Fairey has a new installation in London’s Pleasure Gardens. The 10-story mural is part of the London Pleasure Garden’s vision of emulating the 17th and 19th Century tradition of ‘communal spaces where people from all walks of life converged to listen to music, admire paintings, stroll, drink, flirt and immerse themselves in the culture.’ As the world’s attention turns to London for the 2012 Olympic Games (July 27-Aug 12) the longtime cultural capital of the world is hot showcase for these convergences of art, music, sport and media attention.

Head into your weekend with a quote from Fairey: “Art [and creativity] is really undervalued as a means of evolving culture. The more that [street art] is encouraged and there is a space that incubates it the better. As an artist, I always felt that museums and galleries were just too narrow a venue for my art – and art in general. The best art works like music, where music, when you really like it, you listen to the melody and the beat and then you pay attention to the lyrics and what the message is. It becomes a whole feeling and an idea bundled in one – visual art should work the same way.”

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