John McWhinnie was one of the good ones, and I was lucky enough to consider him a friend and mentor. I met him when I was working at a restaurant when I was in high school, eventually leading to work at GHB and a relationship that I still hold close to my heart. I could write volumes about what John means to me, personally, professionally and artistically. Hell, I even have a tattoo that is partially inspired by a conversation we had about a Ruscha painting when I was 21. Instead I offer you this interview. There will never be another one quite like him. You will be missed.
John McWhinnie is a rare book dealer, publisher, and a true fan of far-out counter cultures and ephemera.
This is an interview and some photos i did with John for a magazine that went out of business before it was published. Enjoy. !!!
PS-How did you get started in the rare book game? What do you like about it and what do you find challenging or frustrating about it?
JM- I got into rare books through the back door that most rare book dealers secretly enter: book collecting and academia. I was finishing my doctorate and found that I had become increasingly bored with my job as an adjunct professor. I was also on a fellowship that, while generous by academic standards, left me strapped for cash. I decided to sell parts of my book collection, a collection I had assembled through assiduous cultivation of a whole range of miscreants: from flea market dealers to upscale book dealers across the country.
My collection was well catalogued and ready to sell. Years before I had spent a stint at the rare book and manuscript library at Columbia University. It was while cataloguing the letters of Tennessee Wiliams, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, among others, that I realized that most text-book history is a crock of shit; that real history lies embedded in the actual historical documents I was reading and cataloguing. I remember one particluar moment I had while cataloguing an early draft of Tennessee Williams Streetcar.
If you are in NYC tonight please join me for the opening of this show I have work in. The opening is tonight, December 8th, from 5-8pm and the show will be up through January 3rd.
I wrote this post in September for the Dossier Journal blog. Joel Sternfeld was my photo teacher in college and I was thrilled to hear him talk about his work while actually on the High Line. Also take a moment to visit the Friends of the High Line website to learn about the (mostly free!) programs they offer and news about the future of the West Side Rail Yards.
Oh hello. I just returned to New York after going on tour with Hank 3 for a minute to take photos. I’m posting an iPhone photo for now, but talk to me in a week or two after I work my way through a mountain of negatives to see some shots from the road (they are AMAZING). Be sure to check out his website (www.hank3.com) for upcoming tour dates- its really not a show to be missed.
Well hello there. My blog has been a little neglected recently, but that is because I have been tending to a few projects in the works (including a show in December!). As the temperature drops I will start chipping away on the fraggle of unedited film that has taken over my studio. I did feel that the images I took today were too important to just add to the pile (and also break my rule of keeping my opinions to myself). Today was was the SlutWalk in NYC, a rally that has made its way around the world and around the news. We should never judge intentions by appearance, and how one dresses does not equal consent. A cloud of political unrest has fallen over NYC, most publicly with Occupy Wall Street, but there was something particularly powerful about the message of this rally. This goes beyond the government and the economy. Yes, a flawed system will ultimately perpetuate flawed behavior, but when it comes to the issue so many people gathered in Union Square today over the solution is simple and starts with the individual. Respect each other. Love one another. Never assume you know what someone wants. Never assume you know what someone is thinking. Never be too proud to recognize when you are in the wrong. To all the protesters out there fighting the “man”- the change we want will only come if we start working as a team. It’s time to stop fighting and start taking care of each other. There is hope. We just all need to work from a place of love and strength to change those filled with hate.
NOWNESS just posted some of my recent images of Hank 3 on their site with an interview with the man himself. The concept behind the shoot was to explore the stage clothes of three generations of Hank Williams’. Check out a few images showcasing everything from the suits to the goat skull masks that have been worn by Hank Williams Sr, Hank Williams Jr, and Hank Williams III. Love the post and pass it along! On a personal note, thank you to all who helped make the shoot possible. It may be only me that shows up to take the pictures, but I have a whole team of dog watching, gear lending, honky tonk recommending folks supporting my projects. A tip of the cowboy hat to you. Most importantly, love and gratitude to Hank 3 for welcoming me into his home and giving me access to some of the most amazing articles of clothing I have ever seen. His new albums are available on his website and iTunes.
By Robin Finn. Photos by Tara Israel.
Words by Robin Finn. Photographs by Tara Israel
Went down to Nashville over the weekend to shoot Hank Williams III at the Haunted Ranch. Photos are staying under my hat for now but stay tuned for a real treat featuring some spectacular shots capturing 3 generations of Williams family stage clothing (from Hank Sr’s suits to Hank III’s goat mask!). Also check out his site for upcoming tour dates and news- I got to hear some of the tracks he is releasing in September and it is not to be missed.
Article by Susan Stellin. Photos by Tara Israel
Article by Noah Rosenberg. Photos by Tara Israel.