Picture of the Day

So I asked them, “Can I photograph your barn?” And they said yes.  Good times outside Bardstown, Kaintuck.  © Susana Raab 2007

My old Kentucky Home

Midway, London, Kentucky 2005 © Susana Raab

Midway, London, Kentucky 2005 © Susana Raab

Blog will most likely be silent as I head to Kentucky on assignment juggling formats whilst swilling mint juleps and flat-footing at the Bill Monroe homestead .

And a big shout-out to my friend, Shen Wei, who was this close to getting a MacArthur genius grant!

Veronica Lukasova Exhibit at Czech Embassy

Dear friend and talented photog Veronica Lukasova will be exhibiting her Holga panoramics at the Czech embassy. Catch it on the East Coast before it moves to San Francisco.

On Thursday, October 4, from 7–9 pm, at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, award-winning Czech photographer Veronika Lukasova opens her Holga panorama exhibition OCCURRENCES which delves into her memories of growing up in the Czech Republic, discovering New York City, and the nuances of everyday life. She began experimenting with the panoramic format in 2005. She says, “Every impression and memory of a place is different, distorted by a time that inevitably passes despite our best efforts. The singular image can hardly express my personal impression as life itself is multilayered, repetitive, juxtaposed, and chaotic.” Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers such as The Washington Post Magazine and the New York Times, as well as in solo and group exhibitions in the Czech Republic and the United States. Reception follows the opening.

To make a reservation, please call 202.274.9100, ext. 167.
The Embassy of the Czech Republic is located at 3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008.

Get your portrait taken for a worthy cause this weekend

Subject: Photo Marathon ‘07, Old Town Alexandria, September 30th

Dearest friends:

It’s that time of year again! We’re going to be staging yet another installment of Photo Marathon, our annual day of photographic giving, at the Old Town studio on Sunday, September 30. I’ll be taking portraits from 9:00 in the morning until 7:00 in the evening without a break. (Not as impressive as Houdini dangling from a high-rise, I know.) And as always, every cent we raise will go to a worthy cause. This year we’ve designated the college funds for the children of two soldiers killed in Iraq.

Here’s how it works and here’s how you can help:

This year we’re going to be helping four young children:

In addition to his regular duties, Capt. Brian Freeman spent the last months of his life trying to obtain a visa for a young Iraqi boy who desperately needed heart surgery in America. The day that visa came through, Capt. Freeman was kidnapped and executed. He leaves behind a wife, Charlotte, and two children, Gunnar, 3, and Ingrid, 14 months. Similarly, Capt. Christopher Petty was en route to a school renovation project in January, 2006 when his convoy was attacked. Capt. Petty leaves behind his wife, Deb, and two wonderful boys, Owen and Oliver, all whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and photographing. You can read more about Capt. Freeman and Capt. Petty on my blog, where I’ve also included external links about these two brave men. The address is http://www.mattmendelsohn.net/2007/08/save-date-for-photo-marathon-07.html

We’re going to salute Capt. Freeman and Capt. Petty’s commitment to children in faraway lands by helping their own children right here at home. One can only guess at what a college education might cost in 15 years. So let’s ensure that Owen and Oliver and Ingrid and Gunnar have no worries when those college days roll around. Here’s how you can help:

If you can make it to Old Town on Sunday, September 30, drop by the studio. It’s at 600 Madison Street in Alexandria, Virginia 22314, literally on top of the Royal restaurant. Look for the black side door. Starting at 9:00 I’ll be shooting portraits as fast as I can. Leave the ties and sport coats at home–these will be relaxed portraits. In the past I’ve shot people and their dogs, children, mothers and daughters, etc. Anything goes, though I do ask you all to keep the number of people in a single image to no more than four. (This is not a hard and fast rule. We’ll accommodate everyone.)

In order to take part in Photo Marathon you’ll need to make a donation of $250 (more is great!) to the college funds of the Freeman and Petty children. We’ll have people on hand to tell you which fund to make the check out to. (We’re going be very unscientific and just alternate.) There are no time slots needed–just show up and have a good time. We’ll provided coffee and snacks. I’ll shoot a cool portrait and you’ll receive a beautiful signed and dated 11 x 14 print. See? Easy as pie. (The fine print: This is charity event, not a substitute for a one-on-one portrait session with me. We’re going to go as fast as we need to. And you’ll get a cool, funky portrait, so I probably wouldn’t come thinking you’ll knock off your Christmas card photo!)

If you can’t make it to Old Town on the 30th you can still help. Please mail a check made payable to either the Brian Freeman Memorial Fund or the Oliver and Owen Petty College Fund and send it to:

Matt Mendelsohn
3823 N. Chesterbrook Road
Arlington, Virginia 22207

If you’re making a donation but not attending, any amount is acceptable and greatly appreciated.

I hope to see you in Old Town on the 30th! And one last request: We don’t spent a cent on advertising on Photo Marathon. It’s all word of mouth. So please forward this message to anyone you know has a big heart.

Thanks so much,


Matt Mendelsohn Photography

703-795-8659 (cell)
703-241-2020 (office)

Turn your crib into a camera

I’m a big fan of less is more. I was photographing a client the other day and he had a Louis Vitton bag and was obviously very pleased with it, now my philosophy with logos (Susana Raab photography stickers aside) is that if you want me to walk around like a jackass advertising your product, than you should be paying me. When I showed the bag no respect, he insisted, “But this is great quality!” Well I’ve got a genuine cowhide bag I got in an alley in San Miguel de Allende that is pure quality, one of a kind, and it neither sports that ridiculous logo, nor the ginormous price tag. My point is that you can do more with less, and it is the job of advertisers and marketers to make us feel inferior if we are not sporting the latest insignia on our purse, a twin-set to the giant invisible L on our foreheads. So where am I going here? Well, let’s just say you don’t agree with me, and you’ve spent all your coin on your latest designer purchase which will lift you from the depths of your existential malaise for about an hour. Then you realize you want to photograph but no money now for that 5d?: well the camera obscura is your answer – the glass ain’t fast, but the price is right – for the price of a blackout curtain (which could be free depending on your preference in roadside motels). Here’s a link I discovered in a how to.

And here’s an example of a master of the medium. You can see more of his work here.


I love this guys work, he’s done this all around the world, and this is one photographer I won’t tire hearing about ad nauseum. Do ya’ hear that Corcoran????

Henri Dauman: A photographer of whom you may unaware


Was at the Photo Review‘s annual garden party near Lancaster, PA a couple weeks ago. It was a low-key affair in the country with a marvelous spread, great South African wine, informal portfolio viewings of passionate and talented artists, and accompanied by the sounds of a great jazz band. I was admiring a selection of black and white monographs printed by a publishing company on display, and was joined by a dapper man of a certain age, French in dress in accent, i.e. nattily dressed and well-spoken. I looked through about twenty monographs, more often than not, black and white photographs of predictable landscapes by famous names, and finally, i could restrain myself no longer. I looked at the man and said, “But there’s nothing really surprising in any of this is there?” And he replied, “No, you’re right, there isn’t.” It just seemed such a shame to have such beautiful reproduction and then have the same material, more or less, reproduced over and over again. And while there is certainly a place for this type of work (restaurant walls, living room walls, in the collection of any collector with no imagination), it just seemed like complete redundancy.

So we began a conversation and it turned out that Henri Dauman was a photojournalist from back in the heyday of pj. He covered and made famous photographs of famous people for the usual suspects: Life, The New York Times, Town and Country, but the pictures which speak to me most are his everyday scenes, like Long Island teenagers or sunbathers on a deck, New Yorkers crowding on a roof top. It’s a shame that online his work represented by miniscule pictures on his website, where one cannot bask in the full glory of 11×14 fiber, but such is life.

He helped save Brassai’s collection from obscurity, befriending his fellow Parisian and helping to catalogue the work. And what struck me the most about him, was that unlike many with a few years to their back and more magazine covers under their belt, he did not feel the need to impress his superiority or achievements on us, nor did he wallow in the bitterness that confounds regarding the state of the industry – the death of photojournalism etc. etc. Henri was clearly living in the present and savoring meeting new people, appreciative that they might be familiar with his work, but more interested in conversations directed elsewhere. He was someone who I knew instantly I would enjoy spending time with, not someone who wanted to cultivate a sycophantic following, but a man interested in something besides himself and his legacy. It didn’t hurt that he was a charming flirt as well.


Openings and Should See

DC is alive again, it’s cooling down and the galleries are in full swing. Here are some openings tonight you should definitely try and stop by. Boxed wine and all = good times.


Hemphill Fine Arts: Journal Book One by Renee Stout. Stout’s autobiographical mixed-media collages are intriguing and beautiful. 1515 14th St NW Opening Saturday 15th.

Adamson Gallery: Not quite basket weaving. Art World Darling Chuck Close exhibits tapestry pieces made from daguerrotypes using a customized digital loom. This exhibit should have something for everyone: old school, new school, and Those-of-You-Who-Have-a-Subscription-to-People-Magazine. 1515 14th Street Opening Sat 15th from 6.30-8 pm

Randall Scott Gallery: Fellow PhotoEspana alum Nathan Baker exhibits his lush large scale photographs entitled Rupture. 1326 14th St NW. Opening Sat 15th 6-9 pm.

A little further afield and not opening tonight but open during the day on Saturday are E. Brady Robinson’s travel photographs at Flashpoint Gallery. 916 G St NW open from 12-6 Tues-Sat. Curated by Chan Chao.

And for the old school lovers in all of us, the incomparable Kathleen Ewing is showing August Sander among others at her new location at 1767 P Street. Open Tues-Sat 11-5 pm.

OH, almost forgot, I would totally be remiss not to mention the sleeper Sunday night opening at the R Street Gallery of buddy Tom Wolff and Tracey Friedlander’s portraits. Check them out at 2108 R St NW. 5-7 pm on the 16th.

Hope to see you afield tonight.