Eat The Darkness

by matthew ratajczak

Archive for May 2008

“I Have No Ethics”

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“I’m known for taking pictures very close, and the older I get, the closer I get.”  BG

Any Bruce Gilden fans out there? If you know his work and have always wondered who this man is and how he gets those up-close, flashed, confrontational street photographs, check out this short video from WNYC’s Street Shots series of Gilden being interviewed as he works his magic on the streets of Manhattan.

For a broader look at his work over the years, check out his portfolio on the Magnum Photos site or buy one of his books

Thanks for the video link Romain!


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May 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

And when I get that feeling, I want “SPIRITUAL” healing

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Seance Room

I took a little road trip last Saturday with friends Deborah and Alex. I guess you could say it was a spiritual journey of sorts. OK, not really, but we did spend the day at the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Cassadaga, Fla.

The camp is a 114-year-old spiritualist community populated with healers, mediums and other spiritually-minded people. One of, if not the largest, community of spiritualists in the country and possibly the world, the camp is the “oldest active religious community in the southeastern United States.”

Founded by George Colby and his spirit guide “Seneca,” the small community rests on 57-acres and has about 55 residents. There’s a spiritualist church, several homes where most of the mediums and healers work from, a haunted hotel and a bookstore that almost leveled me when I walked in due to the overpowering smell of incense.

The four of us took the $15 tour at 1:00 p.m., led by the Rev. Ben Cox, and learned about the historic community and what it is they actually believe in and practice. He told us about some crazy phenomena in the town. But best of all, he took us into a bona fide seance room (lit by a single red light bulb to better see the ectoplasm, duh), closed the door, sat down at the table, and proceeded to tell us all some ridiculous fucking stories about tables and objects that slide, vibrate and levitate, and people emitting the vaporous, and sometimes solid, ectoplasm that takes on the shape of the spirits former selves. Crazy shit. Interesting. A little creepy. But interesting nonetheless.

Deborah spent too much money on an hour-long reading with two different mediums while Alex and I walked around town exploring and making photographs. She seemed to think it was worth it. We all had fun and that’s all that really matters.

So if you’re really into this kind of stuff or are just curious, Cassadaga is the place to go. Or if you live in Florida and are simply looking for an alternative to the beach, make the drive to central Florida and get your palm read or something.

All Photographs Copyright (c) 2008 Matthew Ratajczak All Rights Reserved

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May 27, 2008 at 12:39 AM

World Press Photo interviews

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A couple more popular blogs, here, and here, have already posted something about this. But in case you haven’t seen World Press Photo’s award interviews, a selection of video interviews with photographers talking about their prize-winning photographs, check it out here. It’s definitely worth it.

I haven’t viewed them all, but so far, the interview with Platon talking about his portrait session with Vladimir Putin, Brent Stirton discussing his image of a dead mountain gorilla being carried away in the Congo, Erika Larsen talking about her child hunter images, Tim Clayton and his land diving essay and Pieter ten Hoopen talking about his project in Kitezh, Russia, have been very interesting. I’m sure most of the others are quite good as well, I just haven’t gotten to them yet. Enjoy.

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May 20, 2008 at 11:33 PM


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One of my best friends, Romain Blanquart, a staff photographer at the Detroit Free Press, has self-published his first photography book titled One. The photographs, all made with a point-and-shoot camera, were created during a recent vacation to China with his parents and wife.


These photographs were never intended to be published as a book or any other cohesive project. He was on vacation! Nonetheless, Romain came back with a striking set of personal images that not only focus on the Chinese individual, evoking feelings of loneliness, introspection and solitude in a country of one billion, three hundred million, but in my opinion also reflect on the photographer’s own loneliness and solitude. The Chinese individual is the One, as is the photographer.

To make things even sweeter, the book was one of 22 selected for judging in the photography book category at New York Photo Festival 2008. He didn’t win (congrats to Amy Stein), but Romain said it was just an honor to be included with such a talented group.

You can order the book from his website very soon, hopefully in June, in both hard cover and soft cover with your choice of one of six 8X10 prints. Check it out here.

All Photographs Copyright (c) 2008 Romain Blanquart All Rights Reserved

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May 19, 2008 at 12:45 PM

I’m Bored: Groundbreaking

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May 16, 2008 at 2:29 PM

Posted in Photography

Convergence Part 2

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Copyright (c) 2008 Matthew Ratajczak All Rights Reserved

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May 13, 2008 at 12:42 AM

I Like to Share

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Here’s a few blog postings I’ve come across recently that I think are worth sharing. The first, Dangerous Times, is from a favorite of mine, photographer Jonathan Saunders. His blog I Like To Tell Stories is always an interesting place to visit.

The second one is an interview with Sydney Morning Herald photographer Tim Clayton on the Raw Take blog. Check it out here. Make sure you read the joke at the end of the interview.

And the third is a posting by fine art photographer Cara Phillips. She offers her own perspective on her life as a photographer. What she has to share can apply to not just those in the microcosm of the fine art world, but anyone trying to make sense of their creative life. See it here on her Ground Glass blog.


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May 12, 2008 at 5:51 PM