Guest Photographer: Anthony Maddaloni, Scenes From Austin TX

I've been properly jealous of Anthony Maddaloni's film skillz for awhile, and so it is with the greatest pleasure that I now present you with a wee taste of his awesome photographs so that we may all be jealous together. After spending some time transfixed by his blog, I chose this selection of images because together they capture something so authentically Austin. For out-of-towners our city motto is "Keep Austin Weird", and this city is always up for a celebration. We celebrate music, hot sauce, Day of the Dead, kites, spring time, Eeyore's birthday, books, film (the movie kind), art, bikes, the full moon, and so so much more. Give us a reason and we'll be there with beer and ridiculous outfits.

When I wrote to Anthony about featuring his work, I mentioned that his images reminded me a little of photographs taken by Diane Arbus (who I [& Austin too] recently became obsessed with because she was awesome and crazy). It's not just his frequent use of flash and high contrast, or that he uses square frames, but like Arbus, Anthony has the ability to make camera aware portraits feel candid. Though in many instances his subjects are looking dead on at the camera, their expressions are genuine. They seduce you into the image and make you want to know more. However, where Arbus' images are frequently dark and even shocking, Anthony's pictures feel like a celebration. Instead of presenting us with a collection of freaks, he parades before us a series of iconic characters, and he wants you to see how wonderful they are.

Incase you're not jealous enough yet, I should probably also tell you that Anthony runs the pearl street darkroom co-op, where he teaches workshops and gives private lessons , AND he's the photographer for the Harry Ransom Center....
One more thing: I remember the first time I saw an iPhone picture taken with the hipstamatic app. I confess that I actually thought it was taken with a Holga using real film. When I found out that it was an iPhone app, and after these kinds of pictures began frequently infiltrating my facebook feed, I viewed it with total and complete hostility. "This is bullshit!" I told myself, "just a trend or phase that's gonna look so cheesy and dumb in a few years" (imagine me shaking my fist here). It's true that my feelings about this come out of a place of deep insecurity: what's the point in knowing how to shoot film if a freaking camera phone can do the exact same thing and post it to your facebook page in 30 seconds? Especially now that the vintage retro look is so "in" these days in both commercial and art photography? "What about my skills?" I wondered. "What about my job?" When I first saw Anthony's camera phone blog Austin Color I was forced to reevaluate. Dude pushes this medium to the max and some of his pictures are quite frankly gorgeous... there's just no denying it. I'm not going to say that I'm now entirely at peace with with the direction that camera phones are headed in, but after looking at Anthony's work I no longer view them with scorn, I now just view them with fear. Maddaloni done schooled me, y'all. Still, I love his film work more. I mean, just look below...

*All images are ©Anthony Maddaloni. The first three images were taken with a holga, and the last two were taken with a Zeiss 6x6. Anthony always uses either t-max or tri-x 400 speed film, 'cause he's classy like that.


Juliet Morgan said...

Lauren, YAY!!!! You did an awesome job writing about Anthony!

I especially loved this: "Anthony's pictures feel like a celebration. Instead of presenting us with a collection of freaks, he parades before us a series of iconic characters, and he wants you to see how wonderful they are."

I would only add that as wonderful a photographer that he is, he is also a TRULY gifted photography teacher! He LOVES to teach and share his knowledge of photography so, anyone who is interested in taking lessons, I would HIGHLY recommend him!

Lauren said...

Thanks Juliet! I also wish that I was staying in Austin so I could take lessons from Anthony. He's so enthusiastic and nice, and I'm sure that he's an awesome teacher.

I should add that your i phone pics also fill me with fear... you are very talented, and I can't wait see more of your film work.

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