Jason Landry: Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography
“Jason Landry deftly describes the photographic journey from the inside out with his perceptive, humorous, and poignant essays on the people, events, and photographs that have shaped his life. His astute observations and reflections are at once meaningful and insightful and will shed a new light on what the world looks like to someone who lives a true photographic career.”~ Aline Smithson, editor, LENSCRATCH
I’m just going to come out and say it. BUY THIS BOOK. Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography is a result of the literary efforts of gallerist, photographer, collector, and educator Jason Landry. He has written an irreverent and insightful book about his journey in the photography world, from a variety of perspectives. It’s not the normal fare: it has humorous essays on what it’s like to be reviewer, poignant essays on having a mentor, interviews with such artists as Vik Muniz, Leonard Nimoy, William Wegman and Harold Feinstein. Instant Connections is not meant to be a critical theory primer on photography––it’s a compilation of events and adventures told through Jason’s personal experiences and connections.
Published by Doolittle Press, the book has 300 pages of dozens of essays, articles, and interviews with give photographers an inside look of all things photography. The book is reasonably priced, a great tool for teaching and learning, and great for a holiday gift. And even better for Jason is if we place our orders this week as, let’s face it, a dream to be on the NY Times best seller list, something books on photography never seem to achieve.
“Part memoir, part philosophical reflection, part insider tell-all, this entertaining collection of interviews and reminiscences provides a fresh look on the sublime absurdity of the photo world. Irreverent and unpretentious, Landry offers a unique window on the people and things that make photography what it is, offering unexpected answers to timeless questions.”~ Phillip Prodger, Curator of Photography, Peabody Essex Museum
Sharing a few clips from the book:
from the Interview with Leonard Nimoy
JL: If you were advising a young photographer today, what would your words of wisdom be?
LN: Stop worrying about the nature, design or qualifications of your equipment. Master your equipment so you know how to get the shot you want, but above all, search for the reason to be taking pictures. Why are you taking pictures? Why do we shoot pictures? I
say the same thing to actors who want to develop a career as an actor. You must master your craft and then put it aside and concentrate on the more difficult aspect of the work. What is it that you want to do with that craft? What do you want to express? What do you want to explore? What do you want to find out? What do you want to present to people? Those are the issues that you have to search for.
from the essay Who’s In Your Top Five?
I think when you are a student of any subject; you are always looking for validation from your teachers. You may have some idea of how well you did based on the grades that are listed on your transcript at the end of the school year, but even those don’t always paint an accurate picture. It’s a whole different feeling when it comes verbally to you in a private one on one conversation. What they say about you doesn’t have to be long: one simple sentence is like a masterpiece. It’s more powerful than any “A” on a transcript, and I believe the feeling you get from hearing praise directly from someone whom you truly admire stays with you longer and propels you forward.
from the essay Claim Your Moment
People go through various stages in their lifetime—events that show up as markers or barriers that are meant to be passed or conquered before getting to that next level, you know—before they find their true calling. These barriers are like chapters or stages in a video game, the more you master the game, the closer you are to the prize—or finishing the conquest. Each step, each stage, each chapter is a test that you must pass before you find your true path, true goal, true purpose in life.
Like a chick breaking out of its shell and taking its first step into the world, you need to chip away at the small stuff around the edges until your moment is there, right in front of you for the taking. Once you’re free from the confines of the shell, a great big world is in front of you. Go out and conquer it. Experiment with what captures your attention. Try different things. Sometimes your “thing” won’t be the first thing that you are good at—it often times will sneak up on you when you least expect it. Who knows, your “thing” might just be the next big TED talk. As JR was spray-painting his name around Paris do you think that he knew that one day he would be the 2011 TED Prize winner?
Claim your moment. As Anonymous once said: There is no better time than right now.
from the essay It’s A Roller Coaster With Various Exit Ramps
As I said to someone recently, there are no perfect life plan formulas. It’s a roller
coaster with various exit ramps! Embrace every single opportunity as if it were your last. Don’t let something you opted not to try become a regret! I have very little regrets in life.
Jason Landry’s writing is irreverent, witty and as sharp as his eye for good photography. Hilarious rants of an art dealer trotting the globe in search of the remarkable and reveling in the mundane.~ Jim Casper, editor, LensCulture