Previews from Spirits - 15 years of photographs

These five pictures appear in my forthcoming book Spirits - 15 years of photographs, which you can pre-order here.I have no memory of taking the photograph of the dresses below but something tells me it was in Xela, Guatemala.

The entire contents of the book are a closely guarded secret. Not even the NSA knows. Not even SNOWDEN knows. But I am planning a leak to Assange. As a PR stunt. A burst of outrage on my part will follow.

The picture of the snowy railroad tracks was taken in Chicago; the wife of the miner who died in a 1968 accident (top), in Barroteran, Coahuila. The balloon-and-silicon picture below comes from the series Ladies' Bar, made in Guadalajara. The comfy chair picture comes from Peoria, Illinois and the pier shot from Puerto de la Libertad, El Salvador. 

Unlike the previous book, which had a distinct feel to it that spanned across all the photographs, this is going to be an eclectic group of pictures from many times and many places.

They say you're supposed to mention the title of a product at least three times in an ad. So. To reserve a copy of Spirits - 15 years of photographs, go to the bottom of the previous post and use PayPal. 

No more previews after this one, folks. You'll have to wait for the book. Thanks to those of you who have already placed orders. And thanks to those of you who are thinking about it, and particularly those who are reaching for their wallets. We love you most of all. 


New book: Spirits - 15 years of photographs by John Sevigny

We are taking pre-orders for my second book, Spirits - 15 years of photographs. The soft-cover volume will contain at least 35 high-quality duotone images printed in offset on sturdy paper. As the title suggests, Spirits will contain photographs from as far back as 15 years ago along with quite a few new pictures. There will be some old favorites that haven't been exhibited for years, a few things that have never been seen anywhere, and some real surprises.

Closed, the book measures 8 x 8 inches. Those of you who bought my 2010 book, El Muerto Pare el Santo, know that its image quality rivals that of monochrome photography books created by most major publishing houses. This unique edition is designed by Guillermo Medina, the top-notch designer from Veracruz, Mexico and a wonderful photographer himself.

Quantities will be limited so we suggest reserving yours soon using Paypal (link at the bottom of page). We expect to ship the books in late summer. 

To make this pre-sale more interesting we're offering packages that include museum quality photographic prints taken from the book. You can pay quickly with Paypal. If Paypal acts doesn't cooperate, write to jmmsevigny@gmail.com with your order. 

Here's the package menu. Shipping is included on all orders.

* $25 dollars: a signed copy of the book Spirits: 15 years of photographs

* $48 dollars: a signed copy of Spirits and signed 6x8-inch print

* $150 dollars: a signed copy of Spirits and two signed prints of different images (6x8 and 11x14 inches)

* $250 dollars: a signed copy of Spirits, prints of three different images (6x8, 11x14, and 16x20 inches) and your name listed on the Thank You page in the front of the book

Click for other options




El Salvador elections, 2014

Salvadorans go back to the polls Sunday to pick a mayor and a bunch of lawmakers. If last year's presidential elections are any indicator, this should prove to be another circus of uninformed people choosing incompetent leaders, as is the case in every country on earth. It is probably impossible for anyone, anywhere to make an informed decision about a thing they know nothing about, because all the ugliness on all sides has been carefully, painstakingly hidden from them. Democracy seems like a failed experiment but don't ask me to come up with a better alternative. Don't ask me to vote, either. I still want my two Obama votes back. As Johnny Rotten said, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"


Couple, Espinazo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

I don't know what year I took this picture but it was at least 10 years ago. A lovely, wonderful couple.

For those who like to read ...

... and I hope that's all of you, I've posted something new and real over at Medium.

It's called Feeding time and it's about a woman, booze, drug dealers, threats of violence, and disappointment. H

How can you go wrong?

I have three other pieces at Medium that are well-worth reading.

If you'd like to read something completely different, check out this essay, On Canvas, Authority Unleashed: Caravaggio’s Taking of Christ.

Wishing all of you a great week.

- js


Early Post-War Mexico

Highly Recommended

If you're in Chicago, or going to be visiting, go see this exhibition of paintings by my greatly talented friend Eulalio Fabie de Silva and Oscar Luis Martinez. Seeing digital images of art on the internet does not even compare to seeing it in real life and Eulalio's work has to be seen in person to be appreciated. The opening reception is 6-10 p.m. March 13, 2015.


"... For they know not what they do."

Jesus said that when they were about to strap him to the cross and drive in the nails. As that was happening, his Roman executioners were selling off his clothes to the poor. It's a story Vincent Van Gogh, who was a wandering preacher before he was a painter, knew very well.

The muppets whose job it is to bring people in to New York museums recently came to the sad conclusion that Starry Night, Van Gogh's most famous painting, needed a little change in external context to liven it up. So they brought in their charismatic advisor, Cookie Monster.

Poor Vincent, who suffered more than any other artist I can think of to create a sublime art that would be taken seriously - fighting against mental illness, poverty, family rejection and a market that didn't care whether he lived or died - would not have thought much of this shameless attempt to sell overpriced museum tickets.

According to one media report on The Muppets Take the Manhattan Art Scene (which included the Guggenheim and the MOMA):

"The reactions of people to a real-life Sesame Street resident might be the only thing more intriguing than the museum's Modern art pieces.Some bounce in uncontrollable delight, calling the encounter with both the Muppet (sic) and the man behind the Muppet (longtime Muppeteer David Rudman "life-changing."

Yes. The reactions of children and stupid people to Cookie Monster were more intriguing, according to that writer, than the sum effect of the MOMA's collection which includes works by Mondrian, Matisse, Monet, Warhol, Picasso, Newman, Cezanne and Joseph Beuys. You have to feel bad for MOMA's curators. After spending nearly a century acquiring the most important work of the 20th and 21st Centuries, all their efforts have been eclipsed by a puppet.

Van Gogh wanted his work to be contemplated deeply, without distraction. He hoped to bring tranquility to troubled souls.

As the painter wrote to his brother Theo in the 1889 letter in which he first discussed Starry Night, "I only wish that someone could prove to us something calming which comforted us, so that we stopped feeling guilty or unhappy and that we could go forward without losing ourselves in the solitude or nothingness, and without having to fear every step, or to nervously calculate the harm we may unintentionally be doing to others."

That was Van Gogh's mission. Always. Until, less than a year after painting Starry Night, and in a fit of despair provoked by a terrible mental illness, poverty, and loneliness, he shot himself in a cornfield and died slowly over 48 grueling hours. I wonder if Cookie Monster can convey that part of the story - which is all too common in art.