Monday, May 24, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
...in addition to photos of Homer, they also took a photo of our "Beware of Blog" sign.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
"There's No Shortage of Characters"
A couple of years ago, Jordan Witkov opened a gallery in Chicago, bought a bulldog, and started a blog. It turned out to be a successful symbiosis: Jordan's Internet project "Photos of People Taking Photos of My Dog" helped make him rich and famous.
Interviewer: Adelaida Sigida Photographer: Brian Sorg
Jordan Witkov, 30, blogger, gallery owner. Born in Chicago. Received his BFA at age 22 from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Managed several galleries in Chicago. Opened his own--360SEE--in 2008. Started his blog "Photos of People Taking Photos of My Dog" in 2009. Currently preparing a photo album based on his blog for publication.
Body of Article:
I knew Jordan Witkov from his blog, which consists entirely of photographs: a bulldog lies in a gallery's display window, passers-by take its picture. And at this same moment, gallery owner Jordan Witkov photographs the photographers. They look funny. Fat and skinny, white and yellow, they come up to the animal lying behind the glass with their cameras and cell phones, looking like they've never seen a dog before.
Jordan assures me that the bulldog's useful properties were revealed to him completely by accident.
"When I was little, our family had four dogs," Jordan tells me on Skype, "so it wasn't particularly surprising that my wife and I, one fine day, decided to go to the outskirts of Chicago to buy a puppy from a breeder. The fact that I was opening a gallery at that same time was just a coincidence."
There wasn't anyone at home to leave the dog with, and Jordan started bringing him to work.
"Little Homer paced back and forth for a long time, looking for the most comfortable spot, before finally ensconcing himself on the floor in front of the big window. And here began the strangest thing: people passing by started stopping and taking out cameras, most often just their cell phones. They would hang around Homer for half an hour, photographing him from different angles, until he would get fed up and simply walk off to the side. Then the idea for a new art project came to me: I decided to photograph the photographers and post the pictures on the Internet."
Jordan Witkov is 30. After finishing college, he worked as an art director, studied visual merchandising, and then he and his wife founded 360SEE, where he started selling fine art and design objects. (360SEE will be showing sneakers from Gabriel Dishaw until the end of May).
"So, do the people photographing your dog come inside to buy anything from you?"
"No, they usually don't come in. Or, for example, two girls came in yesterday, sat down on the floor, and started playing with Homer."
"And what did you say to them?"
"I didn't say anything. I hid in the corner and photographed them from there. They didn't see me."
"Aren't you afraid people will sue you for unauthorized picture-taking?"
"I always have an excuse: I didn't ask for your permission, but you didn't ask for my dog's permission, either. There's a link to the gallery on my blog. I've gotten more than one customer from that link."
"How do you spend your working day?"
"I'm at the gallery every day, including my days off. I lead conferences, watch the phone, surf the Internet. Sometimes I go out to meetings with artists, but more often, they come to me."
My conversation with Jordan was interrupted every five minutes. Homer just couldn't sit still. He was constantly jumping up and running out of the webcam's field of view, letting out a bloodcurdling bark. It seemed as if somewhere beyond the monitor's boundaries, he was trying to eat the gallery's visitors.
"What are you talking about? He's peaceable," a panting Jordan Witkov reassured me, dragging the indefatigable Homer back. "There's only one person he doesn't like: the mailman."
"So, that's the mailman coming by every five minutes?"
"No, it's workers. They're preparing the gallery for a new installation."
It turns out that Jordan Witkov recently came up with his next dog art project: he posted a request on the blog for passers-by to send him pictures of his dog. Jordan then distributed these pictures to photo artists, who put their own creative spin on them. An exhibition of these works will be mounted at the gallery soon. Profits from their sale will go to a fund to help animals.
Homer leapt from his place again and dashed off with a wild bark.
"He's mild-mannered, he's never bitten anyone. He really loves people. And they really love him. From the moment my blog appeared, I've had many requests to sell my dog."
"And you refused?"
"Of course! My standard reply is, "Everything in this gallery is for sale, except the dog." This animal has earned me more than a thousand dollars. And he's still working! Why would I sell him? And by the way, Homer doesn't just serve as advertising for the gallery--our bulldog breeder now has a waiting list for puppies."
At the end of last November, Homer put the fate of the blog in serious jeopardy: he suddenly decided not to be photographed anymore. "Homer has been avoiding windows for the past ten days," his distraught master reported on the site. Homer had decided to swap the window for a warm radiator. Then Jordan started giving weather forecasts: "We're expecting an unseasonably warm weekend. And there'll be lots of new pictures, I'm sure!" In the course of the year, Jordan posted about a hundred pictures.
"You know what the strangest part is? They don't just vanish, these characters passing by with their cameras. They reappear the next day, with their friends. And their friends bring their friends, and so on. What's in it for them? It's someone else's dog, the pictures aren't very good. They waste tons of time just to be able to show the pictures to their relatives that night after dinner. It's a mystery. But there's tons of new art projects to think up, based on that mystery."
Homer jumped up from his place again and dashed off to roar at someone.
"He's hunting for installers," chuckled Jordan. "Please don't think that I take this "art project" seriously. It's a joke. Just a joke. Although, on the other hand, the joke has turned out to be good P.R. I've often seen a person sitting or lying in a display window as a form of advertising. But a dog...that probably hasn't been done before. Although I couldn't swear to it. Well, that's it, so long, I'm off to the bank. But Homer will stay here, waiting by the window for his next photo session."
He left. And promised to return. To his blog, with new photos of amazed-looking people holding cell phone cameras.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
This iPho(ne)-tographer identified himself via email through the blog on 5.09.10. "This is me (Adam Singer - @AdamSinger) and my girlfriend: http://photosofpeopletakingphotosofmydog.blogspot.com/2010/05/0083-050810.html"
This is the first time that someone has submitted their photo of Homer to PoPTPoMD via their own blog.
See our correspondence and Adam's submitted photos taken with permission via his blog on 5.10.10.
...glad you enjoy our m(art)-keting project.
PhotosofPeopleTakingPhotosofMyDog is to 360SEE as mustaches were to Dali
Thursday, May 6, 2010
A feature on PoPTPoMD is to be included in the upcoming issue of Russia's F5 Magazine.
Of course I couldn't resist the opportunity to take photos of Brian taking photos of my dog (and me) ...and he kindly obliged.