I recently came across some photographs shot by photographer Thomas Michael Alleman on medium-format, black & white negative stock with Holga toy cameras. Sunshine & Noir is his book-length series of urban landscapes of Los Angeles and New York. I love these photos because they capture the underbelly of LA, the grit beneath the glitter.
"Sometimes my eye catches sight of a scene or object that seems “quintessentially LA”---or, writ larger, something about which you might simply say, “Yes, life’s like that!”---and I’ll make that photograph in the most straightforward, unmediated way I know, so that the viewer is confronted with the very basic fact of that situation. Most often, of course, “the thing itself” doesn’t yield much visual value, except as evidence that’s banal and unremarkable. But almost any object or scene can become a metaphor for something else---a stand-in for another object, or for a state-of-mind or a point-of-view. A child at play can put us in mind of an abstract generality like “innocence”, but one might also detect “greed” in certain games; a child might resemble a dancer in motion, or a drunk. Since these metaphors and similes (and visual puns) are part of a cultural construct---an ardent capitalist might see a neon dollar sign as a metaphor for great prosperity and health, while an avowed anarchist or socialist might curse the symbol’s power to enslave or sicken people---it’s helpful to have a quiver-ful of cultural references when striding into the social landscape. The more references one has in mind, the wider one can cast their visual net. As I wander a single block in Hollywood, I might encounter a hundred separate metaphors, similes and puns." - Thomas Alleman
The above is an excerpt from an amazing interview with Thomas Alleman by Lisa Hunter. You can read the rest of the interview on her blog howyoubuyart.
PETER PETER PUMPKIN EATER
Not all pumpkin pies are created equal. Most of us are used to the same old pie made from the recipe printed on the label of Libby's canned pumpkin. But how about a rich, sultry twist on the traditional pumpkin pie? I found just that on blisstree with Marye Audet's Pumpkin Pie Noir, so called not only for its intense color but for its dark and sticky caramelized filling. Her recipe calls for fresh pumpkin, roasted down until you're left with only its very essence. Mmmm... it just sounds so decadent.
Pumpkin Pie Noir
1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
1 cup of roasted, caramelized, sieved pumpkin (*recipe below)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp bourbon
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and browned to dark brown
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
candied ginger and confectioners sugar for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Add ingredients in order and beat well.
- Pour into pie shell and bake 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 375° F and continue to bake another 30 minutes, or until inserted knife comes out clean.
- Allow to cool and serve with garnish.
Pumpkin Roasting Instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Remove the stem from the pumpkin with a sharp knife.
- Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and as much of the stringy strands as possible.
- Place pumpkin on a cookie sheet flesh side up and roast for approximately 2 hours, depending on size of pumpkin. Be sure to check it often to make sure it's being caramelized and not charcoaled, although there will be some blackening specifically around the edges.
- Remove pumpkin from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the blackened parts. Scoop the flesh into a ricer or food mill. A food processor will give you a slightly different texture so mash by hand if you don't own a food mill.