Tim Soter… blog.

I'm much better in person.

Self-portrait, 2011-2015 (possibly longer)

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“Fumetti” book preview.

Just a few pages from the book.  CLICK ‘EM to see them bigger.

This book is 12 x 12″ Hardcover, printed on #100 weight matte paper.  Because the printing is so fantastic and the paper weight so heavy, each page looks like a bound print.

Some text from the book:

“Fumetti” is an Italian word (literally “little puffs of smoke” in reference to speech balloons), which refers to all comics. In English, the term refers specifically to photo novels or photographic comics, a genre of comics illustrated with photographs rather than drawings. In the past I have considered figuring out a way to bridge the gap between comics and photography.

This book project combines two loves of mine – vintage comic books and 4×6 photo prints. Friend Arthur Tress was visiting one day and asked what personal projects I was working on. I was frustrated at that point and creatively blocked. Arthur calmly offered, “what if you just did something with your photos and your comic book collection which you obviously really like?” He picked up some 4×6 photos and placed them squarely in the middle of the covers, saying that I could play around and find some associations within the two images. That was enough.

I went on to spend a few enjoyable days matching prints with cover imagery, carefully taping them down and scanning them. The photos came from “The Ship Escaped,” a project where, for a ten year period, I shot strange, dark and often comical images with an Olympus Stylus Epic point-and-shoot camera. Then I culled down a decade of photos into a tight edit of just sixty images. As for the covers, I still have every comic book I’ve ever bought or that’s been given to me. In nineteen seventy-six I was five years old when a downstairs neighbor was moving out. He asked me if I wanted his comic books, a very large cardboard box overflowing with hero comics from DC and Marvel published in the previous seven or eight years – well-worn Mad magazines were also included. I was shaking with excitement and unable to speak as I accepted! I remember some slightly older neighborhood kids came around asking. “Timmy, can I have this one?”- taking advantage of this a boy unable to say “no” to older kids who now seemed to admire him. I still remember bitterly the exact titles they left with.

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“TIM! GO AWAY!” preview

Just a few pages from the book.  CLICK ‘EM to see them bigger.

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Coney Island, today.

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The short films of Duane Michals.

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I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with Duane Michals on a series of short films this year, as of this writing eight strong and growing.  This is the first time Duane has collaborated and it’s wonderful to be able to help bring some really unique ideas to life.  On the last piece, shot almost entirely in my apartment I was the Director of Photography.

Now, if you know me you know what a huge fan I am and it was a funny seeing Duane on my sofa reading my photo books with my cat Rocco circling his legs.  He’s a tremendously generous artist and person and I’m glad that I’ve created my own alternative grad school by learning from him.  Plus I saved $66,000 in student loans.

I’ll let you know as soon as he plans to screen them.

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Eyes on the street.

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Swedish midsummer, NYC.

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Midsummer is an occasion of large gatherings.  Swedes like the world to be well-ordered, so Midsummer Eve is always a Friday between 19 and 25 June. People often begin the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the maypole, which is a key component in the celebrations.  The maypole is raised in an open spot and traditional ring-dances ensue, to the delight of the children and some of the adults.  On their way home, girls and young women are supposed to pick seven different species of flowers and lay them under their pillows. At night, their future husbands appear to them in a dream.

Legend has it that the night before Midsummer’s Day is a magical time for love.

Learn more…

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A typical Midsummer menu features different kinds of pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, sour cream and chives.  (Those were eaten earlier on, pictured here are homemade chocolate balls, strawberries, deviled eggs and … swedish fish.)

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Arthur Tress book… ForTress.

Just started laying out the next photo biography, this one on my friend, mentor and master photographer, Arthur Tress.  After shooting for five years it’s exciting to be finally work with these images, they were shot with the book in mind.

Here’s just a little preview.

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Harry Houdini’s grave.

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I had a note on my fridge for over a year that simple read “Harry Houdini’s tomb.” I had read somewhere that he was buried in Queens and made a note for future Tim to go and visit and take some photos.  I had played the part of Houdini as an elementary school kid, choosing him for a biography assignment – I slid a long needle through a balloon without popping it as I talked about his life.  Maybe that wasn’t exactly Houdini’s routine but the balloon didn’t pop and the teacher seemed impressed.  So for some reason this past Sunday as the note caught my eye and I realized I had no plans, this seemed to be the day for the visit.

I mapped out a bike route and arrived at 3:20pm (after researching that the cemetery closed at 4:30pm.)  His grave was visible from the road.  I could see his clean and well-maintained white bust as I entered the gates.  The site was also very near the caretaker’s shed and one of the men obviously didn’t notice me as he came out to relieve himself on a headstone (“head” stone.) Upon seeing me he zipped up midstream.  I went on with what I was there for, taking some pictures and observing.  Previous guests had left decks of cards, that had been weathered, as well as small vials containing special ingredients for what I’m not exactly sure.

After only a few minutes a restless caretaker (a different guy) called out, “Hey, how long you gonna be?”

“Ten minutes?”  I guessed.

He sighed.  “OK, you lock up OK?”  He pantomimed “locking up.”

I agreed, repeating his words back to him and was left alone.

When I was finished I pulled the gates together and saw my funny task – pulling a chain around the gate and snapping closed a classic padlock.

On Houdini’s graveyard.

It couldn’t have ended better.

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This is literally 50 feet from his grave. Unexplained but appropriate.

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A Day with Duane.

I spent the day with Duane Michals making a little movie and some sequenced stills.  I think you can see the joy here.

Literally nothing more that I would rather be doing with my life.

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