Creative: First Blurb Layflat Sample

Fellow Passengers,

Blurb now has layflat. You asked for it. Here it is. Now go forth and prosper, or better yet, do a test book and see how this new format fits your visual, tangible world. That’s what I did. Those of you who know me know I make a lot of test books, so what you are looking at here is a comparison between my Wyoming book in both standard-style and layflat.

Technical notes:

20-110 pages
100#, double thick, 148 GSM paper

Layflat is another arrow in your book quiver. That’s it. Is it for everything? No. It’s a unique little offering that makes me think marketing collateral, portfolio or the perfect way of showcasing panoramic images. Or, if you are like me and are known to purposely put key elements of your images dead center in the gutter then this format is calling you. Layflat is more costly, but again, this isn’t designed for all encompassing, self-publishing style projects and sales but rather a specialty product that fits a very specific bill. It lays flat and it looks GOOOOD. Mission accomplished.

As you will see, one image has both the standard book and the layflat open to the same page and you will see the difference in how the book handles. Plus, you can hold this book with one hand and easily read the entire spread, something to consider when most humans have their phone in their hand the bulk of their waking hours. (Yes, I’ve seen people try to look at book while on IG.) There is also a significant difference in thickness. The cover is a slightly different texture as well. You lose nothing in the gutter.

I really like what Blurb is doing. That might sound strange. I work for Blurb, full time, so yes, I SHOULD like what Blurb is doing, but because I’m so awesome I often think of myself as another person, someone pure and stoic who tames animals for a living and ALWAYS does the right thing. When I’m this person I see layflat, magazine, trade, photo, Amazon, Ingram, custom books, bespoke options, offset runs, etc. and I just wonder would I could do given the right amount of time. The tools are there. The good version of me thinks about a book of Fuji, digital files because he hasn’t done a book like that. He thinks about continuing his magazine series ESSAY and he thinks about a collaborative, custom offset book run with some of his equally stoic friends. And then he finds 128 episodes of Miami Vice online and he knows he will stop everything and attend to this magical find.

On a serious note, layflat is a good option and the perfect fit for specific projects. I would start small, like a 7×7, and test out what works best for you. Any questions hit me up in the comments below.


Creative: The Sickness Returns

Yes I own a tripod. Yes I have blue laces. Deal with it.

A funny thing happened the other day. I was up north exploring, scouting, looking for images and suddenly I felt like I wanted to make good photographs again. This might sound strange. Why would I go out and not want to make good images? Well, for the past seven years I really haven’t cared whether what I shot was good, bad, indifferent. I was just going through the motions. I’d shoot things that caught my eye but I never looked at those images like I did prior to 2010 when my life was consumed by making the best images I could possibly make. From 1988 to 2010 photography ruled my life. I was consumed by it. Each day was a hunt, each period of good light was an opportunity to be exploited at the highest level. And then it stopped.

Post 2010 image making became a sidekick to the rest of my life, even how my brain was working. Sunset and sunrise became about hiking, biking, fishing, exploring or just experiencing without the hassle of looking through a little box. This was also the time that things like Instagram EXPLODED and the number of images I would encounter expanded exponentially. I was happily on the outside looking in when the need or desire arose.

Now, like a switch has been flipped, I found myself thinking “Hmm, I wonder if I can even do this anymore?” (This question is very real when you find yourself lifting your glasses to even see the camera in focus, and using the diopter when you actually shoot and you realize “I’m old and starting to break down like a sick Wildabeast.”) And the style of image I want to make is VERY different than what I was making before. I’m not sure I’ll ever have time to do a long-term project again. I’m not sure I even WANT to do a long term project again because I know what that entails and I know I’ll be in the middle of it thinking “You know, I’d rather be hiking right now.”

So my approach now will be different. Lone images, I guess. Random. But perhaps more technical than before. I’ve never been a nature photographer, not even close, but I kinda find myself thinking “Well, I’m out there all the time, in the wilds, why not make something good while I’m at it.” I have a camera that does 99% more than I’ve ever done with it. I wonder about time lapse. I wonder about shooting 4k motion. I wonder about having an 80-200 equivalent again and wondering how I would look at those style images differently than I did before. I wonder about still life images. I wonder about conceptual work. Just noodling, but it sure feels like the sickness has returned. God help us all.


Adventure: New Mexico Training (Road, Dirt, Singletrack)

Mr. No Shoulders waiting for me to bunny hop him/her.

I screwed up. One trail for miles thinking it will connect with another. It doesn’t. So I backtrack the ten uphill miles to town, find the right trail and begin the ride southeast to Galisteo Basin. Lots and lots of critters on the trail which is developed near town then turns to singletrack and finally to just open land. My bike has no suspension but feels great and is smoother than you would expect. It’s like riding a road bike across mountain terrain. I come across lots of people with dogs but only two or three other bikers over the entire 38 miles. I’m feeling super strong for some reason. Entire distance on half a bottle and no food. Not even a Gu shot, but I do give one to the snake thinking the caffeine will give him/her a leg up on the day’s kill, and I secretly want it to get hooked on human food so I can then exploit it at a later date like a deer that hangs out at the gates of national park, strung out on pixie sticks and Gatorade, willing to pose for pictures or eliminate other animals for nothing more than a bag of Skittles. Soon I’m out of time and retrace my route back to the house. Later I eat a mound of Mexican food and never get full.

(PS: The snake shown was the SMALL one. Later I almost ran over a five foot long beast that could have easily drilled me, but it’s cold and they are moving slow, laying out perpendicular to the trail, so impossible to miss. Not angry, just cold.)


Creative: New Mexico Scouting

Scouting for what?

Hmm. Roads for cycling. Hikes. Photographs. New friends. Adventure. The arch enemy of boredom.(I can’t remember being bored in my entire adult life.) I know what you are thinking. “Man, Milnor is full of shit.” You are correct, but not about this. Driving home last night I came upon stopped traffic on the only real road from Taos back to Santa Fe, at least at the point I was. A fatality accident. Four miles of traffic. Took me 4.5 HOURS. Inch forward, power down truck, wait. Start truck. Inch forward. Power down. FOUR hours and I never got bored. I just thought. About the people around me. About the land. About everything. Then I made it home and drank a two liter bottle of grain alcohol and played Russian Roulette.

I went north. Then west and then back north again before looping east and south. Four lane to two lane to one lane to dirt to path to trail to rock and debris. One five mile section took one hour to drive. Bone jarring but so damn beautiful. Open meadows at 8000 feet, surrounded by mountains and the only human I saw was a dude in camo with a rifle on this rig. He helped me with directions. The human Mapquest of the Carson National Forrest. Thank you whoever you are.

Speaking of whoever you are. I love chance encounters, and frankly I spend more of my time searching them out. I don’t mean chance encounters in darkened theaters with strangers and baby oil I just mean being friendly and saying “Hello, who are you and why are you here?” In this case I didn’t have to because this guy and his father did. A chance meeting at a coffeeshop in Taos. Quite a “kid.”(Anyone younger than my 48 years gets this classification.) A chance to learn about each other, our business and to simply admire the near perfection of New Mexico in October. Jesus it has been SO nice.

My goal for the day was reached. Push the button a few times. Scout some new Earth and see land without humans. By the way, these images are of the Rio Grande del Norte area which is one of the areas that dipshit Ryan Zinke, now under investigation, has proposed changes. This guy is the worst, and like most of the gangsters in this admin, has trouble speaking the truth.


Adventure: The History of MR Angus

As many of you know, I spend part of my childhood on a ranch in Wyoming. I recently traveled there to see old friends and attempt to make a project. My dad’s ranch partner, Juan Reyes, called me yesterday and told me about a film that was done about Juan, his family, the ranch, etc. “You should watch it because I talk about your dad,” he said. Juan came to the states as a refugee from Cuba then ended up with a family in Washington state. He and my parents met in the mid 1970’s in Wyoming, and this is how our little story begins. I wanted to share the link to this for anyone wanting a little background on how an American ranching family comes about.

Juan was, in many ways, as important to my childhood as my father was. I was both terrified of Juan and also in awe of him. He dipped Skoal, smoked Winstons and could weld, fix fence, ride horses, move cows and do just about anything else that was required. He taught me to a variety of things including some EPIC curse words that I still deploy today when the need arises.

My parents in Wyoming, mid 70’s.My wife now wears the belt buckle my dad is wearing and I recently lost that vest and it’s killing me.


Adventure: New Mexico Training

I’m a cycling God. You should know this by now.

I’m lying. Average at best.

Today was fun because I was unprepared. Now, a temperature of 39 might be balmy to you but not to me. I had no gloves and that was the real rub. My hands were like stumps of rotting veal. Pounding them on the bars to attempt to find feeling but no luck. Remember, I’m starting at 39 then riding UP in elevation and then down into draws and small canyons which are a lot colder than 39. Having said that it was so nice to ride in a new season, and ride where there is less oxygen and less degrees. I had on every article of clothing I could find. Overalls, sweatpants, a monotard, a three piece business suit with one of those pocket snot rags, golfing shoes and one of those giant foam hats you get at the football game. I was still cold. But damnit I kept riding, and so should you.


Read: A Town Like Alice

I’m not telling you to go get this book. A Town Like Alice was first published in 1950, and subsequently reprinted many, many times, but it’s written in a very 1950’s way. You may or may not like this. Either way, what intrigued me about this book was that there was a nonfiction story from WWII which ended up fueling Shute’s desire to write this book. THAT story was fascinating and became the first half of this book, which I enjoyed more than the second half even though the second half deals with remote Australian Outback, one of my all time favorite places. People love this book, so it’s worth a look. The book that really got me fired up about Shute is “On the Beach,” so maybe you double down and do both?


Creative: Dan Winters at Art Center

I swear that is Matrix code above his head.

Dan Winters.

Photographer. Yet calling him this, or giving him this title, comes up short. Yes, he’s a photographer and one of the best, most important working today but he is SO much more. A typical conversation with Dan might cover topics like aviation, fabrication, chemical composition of household items, electricity, darkroom process, space, celebrity, technology, bee keeping and maybe you end with a full twisting dismount of WWII Medal of Honor winners. He’s not normal, but he’s reflective of what I see as the future of photography. The days of the one-trick-pony button pusher are over. You have to be WAY more interesting and way more involved in humanity to formulate a real career. And you must be adaptable.

I rarely go to lectures anymore, especially photography lectures, and I rarely go out. I’d rather stay at home, read, write, mangle the guitar, contemplate how awesome I am or just avoid a devolving general population, but when my wife said “Dan is coming to Art Center,” I said “Get in the car.” (And I knew I’d get to see the crew at Art Center who are peeps I really enjoy.) Dan also does books, as you can see by these images. Good books. His last “Road to Seeing,” is 700 pages and one of the best damn books on photography you will ever find. And it’s about WAY more than the photographer. This book haunts me. When I got this book I couldn’t open it because I knew it would crush my nuts so to speak. Have you ever had a bad oyster and then urgently needed to use the bathroom. The book kinda made me feel like that, in a good way. URGENT yet terrified by the thought of NOT doing it. Pacing around, sweat on brow, talking to myself, “Oh man, oh man, oh man, am I going to make it?” How many books do this to you?

He’s a dad, a husband, a committed friend to his friends and he’s funny, which goes SO FAR in my book. He probably has an ego but I’ve not yet encountered that force field, which I can tell you is a very rare thing when it comes to people at his level. If you get a chance to hear him speak make sure you take the time and get it done.


Read: Homo Deus

Just go get it.

Get this book. I haven’t read Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens, which came out a few years ago but I’m glad I found Homo Deus. This book brings up so many things, ideas, concepts and contemplation fodder I’m not entirely sure where to start. This book delves into the idea that humans have spent much of the past dealing with solutions to famine, plague and war, but now what we have made such major inroads what does the future hold? Well, all I can say is Harari’s presents a range of things that will have you taking mental and physical action. What action? I’ll leave that to you. The future is/could be a very strange thing. Will man become God? Will data and technology rule leaving “basic” humans as items that are no longer relevant or needed? (Hopefully yes so I can get some sleep.) Get it, read it.

I loved this one line. “Today having power means knowing what to ignore.” Read this post from today’s Guardian. I’ve been writing about this very thing for four years. Four years ago people told me I was “anti-technology,” “a luddite,” or “too egotistical” because I didn’t want to share my entire life online. No joke. And these guys in the article are the guys who BUILT this shit. The part about designing for maximum addiction is what I’ve been saying all along. I’m not lumping the tech world with the pharma world in terms of evil.


Creative: Nate Matos Zines

Yes, yes, yes, I’ve written about Nate Matos many times, but he’s the only Nate I know so I’m going to keep going until he is dead. And, he’s really, really good. He keeps MAKING THINGS. This new series is classic Matos. Cool, simple, clean and cohesive. The reflections of a compulsive collector of images. Nate seemingly just dreams things up and then goes and does them. No pretense. No massive ego. No need to wave flags of following. He just does it. Ahhhh, so refreshing.

Here is a dose of reality and explanation from Nate.

An Arizona Motel:
Littered throughout the American Southwest live housing that has seen a unique form of gentrification. Towns that once offered state routes as a main street, letting passers by choose to stop for the night have been bypassed with freeways just outside of town. Left alone, motels have been repurposed to tourist attractions, abandoned, or used for storage.
‘An Airzona Motel’ is a short photo essay of one of these structures. Sitting behind a simple fence has rooms filled not with people, but instead paint cans and hardware of all types.

Color Theory:
Each cover in the ‘Color Theory’ series is screen printed, leading to variations in ink and consistency a direct correlation with the varied familiarity found within. This first print run is only 15 copies of each publication. This is a project I’ve been working on for some time, and I feel is the next iteration of my earlier exploration into the repetitive and monotonous themes I first established in my 2016 series ‘Blandscapes’. Similarly, after the first printing it is an open release with no established end date or limit to quantity of publications. I do know there is a third and potentially fourth release planned beyond these first two.

Various Shades of:
The first release in my ‘Color Theory’ series of publications; ‘Various Shades of [brown]’ is an exploration of the warmth of brown hues found within the man-made landscapes of California and the American Southwest.

In the Middle:
The second release in my ‘Color Theory’ series, ‘[green] In the Middle’ looks at the contrasting environments of trees and other plants living within urban environments.

20 Images 1.44mb IBM Formatted:
A series I first presented on at the (now closed) Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon. This limited publication is part of a mixed medium interactive photographic exhibit.

For this project, I created a taxonomy allowing me to categorize a collection of nearly 1,000 photographs. Each image divided into primary and secondary annotations and stored on an individual floppy disk. As the disks are labeled with the contents, they are then re-photographed for the collection shown in this publication. The series of images published are all that is presented to the viewer unless they are able to see the series in person. Doing so allows them to interact with the disks, selecting images they want to see, and loading them into the viewing cart.

This series was built as a way to bring the viewer into the photographic process. By forcing them to touch and imprint their personal choices into the images they see, the photographs are no longer disposable images flashing before them online but a part of them.

You can see my prototype display in the video here:

If I had to describe the category of photographer that Nate belongs to I would say “outsider.” I say this with fondness not as a barb. What I find interesting today is that vast majority of work I see, great work, is being done NOT by industry people who are locked in to the way things “have to be done,” but “outsiders” who just do what it is they want to do. I’m even seeing people who used to be entrenched in the idea of what the photo-industry was 20-years-ago who now realize that world is gone and they are branching out. Opening up photo cafes, becoming lens based artists instead of straight photographers or joining NGO’s as staff and NOT as contract photographers. I’ve never spoken to Nate about this, so he might entirely disagree, but he’s not here right now and it’s my site. So there.

If you don’t read his site you should start.