Tag Archives: works in progress

High and Low: Jim Goldberg’s Works in Process

Although a photographers process is integral to his/her work, it is often a carefully guarded secret. Most photographers tend to keep the development of their work to themselves, sometimes choosing to seek counsel only from a small circle of trusted friends.

It comes as a surprise, then, to find Magnum photographer Jim Goldbergs reworked sketches, videos and maquettes of his groundbreaking books openly shared online.

For Goldberga photographer whose approach has always been eclectic, evolving, and utilizing other mediums, including textthe very act of sharing these works in progress is an important and formative part of the final product.

Goldberg talked to LightBox about the process of revisiting, sharing and republishing two of his groundbreaking works. Rich and Poor (1977-85) juxtaposes two economic classes through intimate environmental portraits and personal statements written on the prints by the subjects, while Raised by Wolves (1985-95) documents the lives of homeless runaways in San Francisco and Los Angeles through photographs, text, drawings and interviews.

Being a teacher for so long, Ive realized that so much of what you teach students is about learning to respect the importance of process. Watching students grow is interestingand them observing my process helps them see that its not that mysterious of a thing to do. In order to figure this artmaking stuff out, its trial and error and experimentation, and takes some time and hard thinking. Putting work out in many forms and stages is an extension of how I see things. I feel the art process is best served when it invites comments and constructive criticism from people. Its a strategic gesture, too, because the feedback I receive helps me move forward with my ideas, which is what process is aboutto craft and evolve something.

Rich and Poor

I was invited by Steidl to republish Rich and Poor. Up to this point my archive was mostly analog. proveedor factura electrnica . Revisiting Rich and Poor meant that it was time to start digitizing my older work. I started by going through all of my contact sheets and re-editing. My studio ended up scanning a lot of images that were never printed in the original book, which in turn gave me a way to experience my old work with a beginners mind. This got me excited about seeing things I had passed over years before during my original edit. When I originally made the work, I was getting so much positive feedback about how I was using images with text that the stand-alone images fell by the wayside. Or perhaps back then I didnt have the courage to include images that functioned simply as straight photographs.

Revisiting the archive excited me on many levels. The freshness of my youth particularly resonated with me, but it also gave me thirty years of distance to look back at these images. Aside from the overall nostalgic patina, I feel like I was looking at these images with a critical distance for the first time. Im now able to separate my own impulses with the overarching history/context of what was happening in the 70s and 80s.

I also wanted to conceptually tie the past in with the present and so decided to revisit a few of the original subjects and map where they are today. I plan to include this in the new Rich and Poor edition via a small insert of contemporary imagery.

Raised by Wolves

Raised by Wolves has been out of print for some time, which has made it expensive and difficult to findso people are constantly asking me for it. Its also been almost 20 years since the book was published, so I felt it would be a good time to put it back on the table as something to look at again, as well as digitize.

Raised by Wolves was a good ten years of working with the kids; collecting ephemera;and making the exhibition and the book.

Still when it came time for the book and exhibition to be produced, and all the deadlines were mounting, aesthetic choices had to be made quickly as to what would be included and what was to go back into boxes. So there was a lot that hasnt been looked at since.

My studio manager and I started brainstorming on strategies to get the work out there again, and we decided that the best way would be to make something to put up on my website.

So we took a new intern to the studiowho happened to be a production whizzand had him organize and digitize everything. I gave him some guidance and checked in with him often on we had had discovered on that particular day, but for the most part gave him free reign as to what could be explored and organized.

Based on what I was witnessing on the streets, I knew that I needed to record what I was experiencing in ways that just couldnt be done with the camera alone. I have, since the beginning of my career, used text, video, audio, Polaroids, found objects, and ephemera. With Raised by Wolves it was my first attempt to incorporate all these various approaches into one project.

Raised by Wolves,video by Jim Goldberg

The children in Raised by Wolves were living hard liveslives that were leading to nowhere. So now, when I reheard a recording that the intern (Brandon) had found in some box, and I heard the voice of lets say Tweeky Dave, well that added something that would extend to the viewers experience of the project.

Its always good to find things that you havent found before. Im not doing it because I have nothing else to do or because Im old and I may as well go back into my archive. Im going back into my archive with purposeto see what I can reinvent. Im still vibrant and making new work. directory submission . The making of the new work guides how the old work looks.

Beyond Rich and Poor and Raised by Wolves, Goldberg is revisiting and re-imagining other projects from his archive. A previously unpublished series titled Coming and Going is being reworked as a series of Japanese small books. Goldberg is also reevaluating and reworking Open See, the project for which he was given the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award in 2007 and the Duestche Borse Award in 2011. Goldberg plans a new edition that will be more expansive than the original, one that will further explain the complexities of the situationof immigration, being a refugee and being trafficked in a place and time. Working roughs for the proposed book and multimedia sketches for the project again are available online. Goldberg says of his process Its always good to find things that you havent found before and Im going back into my archive with purposeto see what I can reinvent. Im still vibrant and making new work. The making of the new work guides how the old work looks.

Photographer/Artist Jim Goldberg is a member of Magnum Photos and Professor of Art at the California College of Arts and Crafts. He Lives in San Francisco.

matteo armellini – simon

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Matteo Armellini

Simon / Story of a softgunner

play this essay

In these years of virtual reality,
 where children have stopped playing war in the courtyard
 and do it in front of the computer instead,
 there are those who don’t want to miss the adrenalin on the skin.
 Weekly, groups of fans of military tactics come in lost places.
 Wearing uniforms and with weapons in hand, they simulate real battles, 
sometimes recreating episodes of real wars.
 Of course they do it with “toy” guns, rifles that shoot plastic pellets.

What drives these people playing war, at a time when we are bombarded 
with pictures of pain and suffering associated with conflicts?

How could it be that one could confuse the images of a game with images of a real war?

This is the world of SOFTAIR.

The protagonist of this project is 
Simon, aka Sergeant Ramirez, 24th Marines Expeditionary Unit. 
Simon is a young, precarious, man born in the Dominican Republic. Now he lives in Rome in the multi-ethnic neighborhood of San Lorenzo, where
 young people from all over the world live a reality 
made of short-term project contracts and dreams of quick profits.

Softair is a chance at integration. Playing war shares intense emotions with unknown people.
 Despite the fiction, the atmosphere is true and sincere, as are the relationships established between participants.
 Friendship, envy, hate, submission, admiration and loyalty all come to play.

With this long-term project, I am examining in depth 
the concepts of social and sociability, conflicts,
 deviations, and definition of roles, especially in places of male aggregation.


Matteo Armellini was raised in Rome where he currently lives.
 He studied Sociology at La Sapienza University of Rome and Photography and Visual Arts at European Institute of Design. 
In 2008 he started travelling as freelance photographer through Europe, Asia and South America, focusing on social issues and subcultures.
 His pictures have been published in many magazine, such as The Big Issue Australia, The Times, Aftonbladet, Vice International, The Trip, Fotografijos ratas, Freak and Kult Magazine.

Related links

Matteo Armellini

Exquisite discourse. Poet meets graphic artist meets type designer, and the consequence is …

A graphic artist and a typeface designer, working blind to each other, design two-word typographic postcards illustrating a poet’s turn of phrase, writes Hamish Thompson. There were many serendipities, say Sarah Maxey and Kris Sowersby. The process used to create the twenty typographic postcards in the Sentimental Journey set is reminiscent of the game of drawing creatures in a relay (also known a ‘Consequences’ or ‘Exquisite Corpse’) with the part you’ve added folded over so the next person can’t see what you’ve done. The results that I recall were mostly absurd, sometimes hilarious.

Turn that process over to poet Kate Camp, graphic artist Maxey and typeface designer Sowersby, and the result is quite extraordinary. From the title page: ‘Kate chose twenty phrases of two words, and splitting them, she shipped half to Sarah and half to Kris. Sarah and Kris worked independently on their respective words, only revealing them to each other at the end of the project. No changes have been made to them since.’ The postcards are sold as a limited edition set. As Sarah Maxey says: ‘There’s one to suit any occasion. Although I haven’t had reason to send out “Screw you”. Yet.’



Hamish Thompson: Were there any particular sources of inspiration used?
SM ‘Some were immediate responses to the word, like ‘ahoy’ or ‘leaf’. Some were unrelated flights of fancy.’
KS ‘I mined my specimen books for quite a few of them, even re-creating Excoffon’s terrific Calypso [see cover of Eye 79] for “freshly”. Some are continuations of logotypes I’ve done; others are works-in-progress.’


What about techniques and materials?
SM ‘I used florist’s wire on a couple, and an old eraser. Otherwise good old ink and pencil on paper.’
KS ‘I used the Brushes app on the iPad to make “just” and “muchly”. It was rather enjoyable to spontaneously finger-paint! Most of my normal work is highly structured & considered— typically drawn with Bézier curves on the computer.’



What was your reaction when you saw them together?
SM ‘I was delighted, there seemed to be many serendipities. There’s only one that I really hate and regret. Which just so happens to be one of Kris’s favourites. That tickles.’
KS ‘I was rapt! It was a great surprise to see them in pairs. There were so many happy coincidences.’


Kate Camp is a poet, and her first collection, Unfamiliar Legends of the Stars, won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry at the 1999 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. She is currently in Rajasthan.

Sarah Maxey is a graphic artist based in Wellington, New Zealand. Recent commissions include typographical drawings for clients including The New York Times and City Gallery Wellington.

Kris Sowersby started the Klim Type Foundry in 2005 and is based in Wellington. Sowersby’s work has included projects with Christian Schwartz, Erik Spiekermann, Chester Jenkins, House Industries and Pentagram. Read Mark Thomson’s Reputations interview with Kris in Eye 79, out any day now.


You can buy Sentimental Journey here.


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.


margaret bryant – the dangers of drunk dialing


Margaret Bryant

The Dangers of Drunk Dialing

This was taken as an expression of frustration with the telephone company, who had taken five days and three service calls to fix a problem with the line.  But it is more about the trouble one can get into when intoxicated, how one can become tied up and strangled with their own words.


Artist, mother, poet, misfit in middle America.  She is new to photography; has been about a year since she started playing around with it.  She considers herself an artist using photography as a medium more than she considers herself a photographer.  She’s had no training whatsoever and thinks that has been of benefit to her.  It’s easier to break the rules if you don’t know what they are in the first place, and it’s good to break the rules.

Related links

Margaret Bryant

lea meilandt – the maguires

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Lea Meilandt

The Maguires

play this essay

The number of poor families in the United States is growing rapidly these years. Unemployment and expensive housing makes it almost impossible for families all over the country to make ends meet and create a stable and safe everyday life.

The Maguire family from Boston is one of those families. They know what it is like to lose everything. For nearly a year Katie, Bill and their five kids lived in a shelter, after Bill lost his job and the family could no longer afford the expensive housing in the city. Now aided by the state of Massachusetts, the Maguires live in a small house in Medford, just outside Boston. But the family’s financial situation is still far from good. Bill’s new job barely pays for rent and food, and day care, with its extremely high cost, is out of the question. This means that Katie has to stay home all day with the kids, unable to work. The vulnerability of the economic situation has enormous impact on the Maguires. Katie and Bill are exhausted, they worry about loosing the house and they both suffer from low self esteem and anxiety. There is very little energy left for the children. Keeping the family happy and healthy seems an insurmountable challenge.

Portraying the Maguires is an ongoing project; the aim is to document the life of the family as it evolves over the years.
The project won a second prize in Danish POY and a third place in Winephoto 2010.


Lea Meilandt was born in Denmark in 1982. She studied photojournalism at the Danish School of Journalism and graduated in 2009. Since then she has worked as a freelance photographer based in Copenhagen – primarily working with long term projects on social issues.

Related links

Lea Meilandt

sara katz – the man behind the curtain

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Sara Katz

The Man Behind the Curtain

play this essay

When I was growing up, and my dad got into any sort of argument with my mom over something banal (the most common cause being a joke deemed too off-color, annoying, childish, etc.), I would say something in his defense or just affirm my approval by laughing. Even though this argument never actually placated my mom, he would turn to me every time and say, in a tone of voice that suggested this unconditionally proved he was beyond reproof, “See, she thinks I’m funny.” And when my mom gave her follow-up disapproving grunt, he would add with a smirk, “You just don’t understand me. Sara and I understand each other though.” And it was true, we did understand each other. But then I got older, and the more I actually learned about my dad, the more that childhood idolatry faded (like it does with most people at some point). My dad was not the immaculate wizard that I once thought he was. Yet as the bluntness of these pictures suggest, I am still extremely close to my dad. His willingness to participate in this project had no conditions, except his affirmation of my mom’s firm demand for “no naked photographs.” As if they had to ask.

While part of this project is photojournalistic in nature, a documentation of a day in the life of 60-year-old David Alexander Katz, the other half is about my own experience of what it is like to go home when home has lost its authority. As an only child who spent the vast majority of her first five years within five hundred feet of her house (and after that, evenly split between school), it perhaps took me longer than most to realize that the vocabulary, lifestyle, and values of my family were not universal. Now, to return home is to feel like a well-informed guest. I am still in the know. I am well schooled in the lingo and rituals, and yet I have also gained the outsider’s critical eye for detail. Parts of my dad that never seemed interesting or unique (i.e. worth photographing) now appear like new discoveries.

If there was a challenging aspect to this project it was that, while away from home I was confident in the idea, but after being home for a bit to shoot it became difficult to see the point. As my dad put it after he took in the work for the first time, “I dunno Sara, I’m proud, but it just looks like a bunch of pictures to me.” At times I’ve felt the same way.


Sara Katz was born in Baltimore in 1985, graduated from Bard College in 2007, and currently resides primarily in Brooklyn.

Related links

Sara Katz

brandan gomez – things that never happened

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Brandan Gomez

Things That Never Happened

play this essay

These are the images of what never happened, but should have. They express what really moves the world: desires, deep desires that start forming in your early years, and crystallize inside your chest when you begin to understand the world that surrounds you. Because what never happened is not real, it has never been photographed- because it doesn’t exist. It has just emerged from the collective subconscious into a medium format black and white negative.

So the author is lucky to have received these images.

It all happened in a very small coastal village in the North of Portugal called Costa Nova. This place has special light because it has the Atlantic Ocean on the west and a water channel on the east. The piece of land is five kilometers long and two hundred meters wide. There is always some mist floating in the air and water acts like a mirror; light reflects in every object and somehow blinds you enough to see what has never happened.

The essay will grow with the chance to return to Costa Nova and see the light again.


Brandán Gómez is a photographer. He is based in Santiago de Compostela, a religious pilgrimage center in the north west of Spain. He has also worked in Madrid and Torino. The first approach into photography was before he can remember, watching his father work in the family black and white lab as a very small child.

He has been producing photographs for more than ten years, although he has made his living directing others for advertising projects. As a photographer he has made several collective exhibitions. His work has been published in regional magazines and specialized online media.

Related links

Brandan Gomez

michael christopher brown – libya

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Michael Christopher Brown


play this essay

Since arriving ten days ago, I have tried to understand the situation here in Libya. People swap facts, predictions and rumors, the news feeds me information, but the complexity of the conflict makes it impossible to fully comprehend. Once a picture is taken or a word is written it is already old news. There seems to be no way to catch up, as the database of history is filed before it is processed. And as a result I have become more confused. But I can attest to one reality, shown in these photographs. They form a loose record of my experience during the war in Libya.

Around midnight we piled into a tiny car and drove for 7 hours, from Cairo to the eastern border of Libya. A wide eyed nicely dressed Egyptian city man, our driver with slick black greasy hair, persuaded military officer after officer standing beside tanks that he had foreigners and therefore special privilege to pierce the curfew barriers and drive west, as if in a high-speed chase on empty highways, past the beautiful night city of Cairo and into a deep desert countryside as cigarette smoke escaped out the window. Somewhere sometime we passed the pyramids, not too longer after a pit stop with a McDonald’s and a shopkeeper selling ‘StarFuck’ ashtrays shaped as green coffee cups. The jetlagged dreams of 3 packed in a backseat took us elsewhere as the sun rose over the Mediterranean just beyond the sand dunes. The barren desert, looking left to nowhere looking right to the sea. The towns were simple shacks and here and there and rare were men in long robes without faces standing still. Wearing white robes and black robes, with camels near the sandy highway.

Would Libya be different? Would it be a different world? Something told us so. Something would be there for us. Danger, excitement, importance, freedom, death. Perhaps all. Smoking cigarettes. We arrived beyond Salloum where lines of trucks and cars waited for those leaving Libya. Arms in the air, Egyptians and Chinese and Indonesians crossing to somewhere safe. We moving in the opposite direction, elated. Then more journalists, then some we knew. On the other side more people piled up. A hall full of Indonesians, laying about as if dead so I exchanged my Egyptian money with their Libyan, using a rate in their favor and losing $100 in the process. Something to do. Then we walked the 1000 yards or so to the Libyan gate, guarded by men in plainclothes and rebels.

A man in dark sunglasses glanced suspiciously at us. They inspected our passports, we filled out a quick form and walked to Libya, to a road bordered on both sides by tall cement walls. Two Libyans of about 25 offered to take us to their hometown of Benghazi. We jumped into the van, looking a lot like my Jinbei in China. The concrete walls, looking like blast walls, surrounded trucks and cars wedged together in a narrow dusty strip with men wrapped in scarves holding automatics and eying the interior of our ride suspiciously. They were young men, these rebels, with old men in the background watching. No uniforms, like bandits, they were among the opposition who had recently wrested eastern Libya from Gaddafi. They nodded heads with our driver, who sped up, then sped up again, passing cars and whizzing past a littered landscape of wrecked automobiles and buildings and into an emptier desert than Egypt’s.

Faster faster our driver outsped his buddies in the other van, and his eyes faster than anything existing in the desert that day or anytime before. His eyes beyond the horizon, beyond what was happening in the country. All the fighting could not reach the (what was it in his eyes?) it in his eyes. A few windy turns but not many, the highway whisked through abandoned (after coming from china everything looked abandoned) tiny sand towns with few buildings, all small and plain and square or rectangular against the pastel landscape. But mostly phone lines, empty phone lines carrying messages to the west and we were messengers to the west. Driving faster now our drivers eyes not leaving the road. Faulty communication. I know little Arabic and him the word ‘smoking.’ One stop at a road café we ate tuna sandwiches and photographed a man and his gun. Our drivers buddies caught up and we raced each other down the road, the landscape turning from sand to rock then greenery. It began to rain. We made Benghazi by nightfall and arrived at the African hotel. The first night spent in a real bed in Africa, with dirty sheets and one cockroach.


Raised in Washington State, Michael moved to New York and began working as a freelance photographer in 2006. His clients include GEO, Time, National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian, Fortune, The Atlantic and ESPN The Magazine, among others.

Related links

Michael Christopher Brown