FAREWELL

 

Dear Shot From Guns readers,

 Everything has its place and in due time, all things run their natural course – Shot From Guns has reached the end of its time and will be retired as of today. I’ve had a fun time doing this blog for the past year and a half. I didn’t anticipate that things would even last this long and I’ve thought about retiring the blog several times. I’ve published 148 articles and roughly 25 interviews, however, this stream has finally run dry and it’s time to seek greener pastures.

I’d like to thank the people that followed Shot From Guns and checked the site on a daily/weekly basis. Nonetheless, I am not the only person reporting about the Atlanta music scene and music business. On the right hand sidebar under the blogroll, you will see links to lots of other great blogs with useful information pertaining to the Atlanta music and arts scene and all things music.  

Here are links to some of my favorite Shot From Guns interviews and articles:

Munehiro Narita – Crafting Music That Transcends Words

Artist Profile – Baroness

Read All About Him – Caural

Where Does Art Belong in a Capitalist Society?

Glimpse Into An Odd Future

Cedric Muhammad – the Rich, Righteous Teacher

Dosa Kim: A Visual Storyteller

How to Win a Grammy

Best Albums of 2010

Best Albums of 2009

 

Farewell young Turks, this ship has sailed

Lorikay Stone: In Focus and Exposed

Lorikay Stone is professional photographer and events coordinator. I met her through a mutual friend who wanted us to link together and discuss the upcoming Art Walk.  Lori’s vivacious and enthusiastic personality was very appealing to me and I knew she would be an interesting subject for an interview. Little did I know how talkative she is – her pictures truly are worth a thousand words.

How long have you been taking photos?

I’ve always taken pictures. I am fifth generation Kodak, my family started when Kodak started. My family wasn’t full of professional photographers, but my grandfather was an amazing photographer and he tested film. He had a beautiful eye for capturing moments.

When I attended high school I took some photography courses, I found as an artist I was messy, but I had a really good eye. Someone eventually asked if I would take some pictures of them and they would pay me, I was 18 or 19. I remember I then moved to Ft. Lauderdale because both of my grandparents fell ill and I enrolled in more photography courses. My grandpa gave me lots of feedback, technical feedback. I did lots of photography projects for him when I was younger.

What drew you to photography?

Mainly my family history and I had a good eye for it. What drew me to people photography is that I’m very social, I like people and I felt it was a way to give back. I recall a friend of mine wanted to collect a scrapbook of different locations nationwide and I figured it would be a good way to travel. Ironically, I actually met my ex-husband of fifteen years on that trip.

Have you always resided in Atlanta or are you from a different area?

I was born in upstate New York after my parents divorced and moved to Florida or what I like to call “South New York” (laughs). When I was 25, I took a trip nationwide and that was my attempt at discovering myself. I moved to Colorado Springs in 92 and worked for a professional photo lab. There I met some of the greatest photographers in the world and these were landscape photographers. I took what I learned from them and applied it to portraits.

When did you start shooting around the Atlanta area?

I moved here in 1999 and didn’t pick up my camera for a year. I wanted to change jobs and do something new; I actually became a travel agent. I vowed to not pick up a camera for a year and believe it or not a year to that day, a friend of mine asked for me to take a portrait.

I remember after 9/11, many photo agencies closed because the Internet started to change everything. These were older photo agencies and they couldn’t keep up with online transactions and processing. The Internet put a lot of these kinds of agencies out of business and I was able to pick up many of their clients. But I realized then that it’s very important to understand and be proficient in different levels of photography, in addition, almost everybody should have the opportunity to capture their family on film. You should pick your photographer like you pick your therapist, you need to be comfortable with that individual and the photographer needs to have the ability to bring that extra spark out of an individual or group of people.

You coordinate a major event called the Art Walk, give me some details about that.

It’s been going on for a couple years. The next one is May 14 at Studioplex and it will have everything to titillate your senses. We have chefs, poets, performance artists, skywalkers, yes even Luke (laughs).

There is a huge range of artists. Angie Wehunt will be there and she’s a folk artist, also Drea James a jewelry artist and Catherine Plate. Nabil Mousa will have some work there and he is from Syria, he concentrates on abstract paintings that support various gay rights movements worldwide.

Do you set up any other events around town?

Whenever I’m called to do it. I’m involved with Women in Focus and we do 3-4 gallery shows, I also have a Paris photography exhibit at the Stewart McLean gallery.

Let’s talk about influences. Who are some of your artistic influences?

I get the spiritual power of my art from a connection with God. I’m very spiritually and philosophy based, so I’m careful about how I throw around the word God. But to me God is a catch all term for something undefinable. I view God as the binding power of all things.

In terms of other influences, Nabil Mousa is one of my mentors and he taught me to be more free flowing and encouraged me to do more artwork in addition to my photography. He made me paint on top of my photographs and he’s always told me to be free and let things flow. That’s a very different form from how I shoot. In my photo studio, it’s about control, whether it be controlling lights, shade, the subject, but sitting with a paintbrush is really scary and hard to do.

Ansel Adams said, “Not everybody trusts paintings, but people believe photographs.”

I’ve often felt that most people categorize photography as more of documentation process and not an art. Would you define photography as a creative art or is it the opposite?

It is an art form. Art is making sense of things, reflecting beauty. I am in awe of photographers who walk down an ordinary street on an ordinary day and they see a shadow or reflection and capture that moment. An artist is someone who can capture from within. Those working with digital photography and film definitely need to have that skill. Bear in mind, Ansel Adams said that before digital photography (laughs). Coincidentally, I went to his exhibit in Cartersville and he had some very beautiful and artistic portraits of people.

Do you feel it’s necessary for people to obtain formal photography training or is it something one can learn on their own?

I struggle with that…but I’ve been shooting for 23 years. I’ve always had mentors and took the craft very seriously. Nowadays with digital photography it’s done two things. One, it has diluted the field, two, it has forced the people who are serious about their craft to take things to the next level.

I feel it’s important for people to consult an expert about photography because if you don’t know what to look for, it’s advantageous to find someone who does. I look at some photographers work and they have shoddy websites and layouts and it comes from a lack of training. People need to make sure the head shots and other things on their website look professional and well thought out. This is your first chance, your first impression, remember that.

 

To view Lorikay’s gallery and receive more details about the Art Walk, you can contact Lori via her site here

{Photos} ATL Bloggers Showcase @ Picaflor 3.18.2011

Featured Show of the Week

{Official Video} Qurious – “Aurora Borealis”

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A Glimpse Into An Odd Future

Lyrics about violence, raping under-aged women, swag and smoking copious amounts of cannabis – LA based rap/skate collective Odd Future is not exactly primed to perform at the next PTA convention. Nonetheless, this clique of teenage rappers has generated a lot of attention the past few months. They performed on Jimmy Fallon’s show, were recently featured on the cover of Billboard magazine and Odd Future captain Tyler the Creator signed a one album deal with XL records. Odd Future’s quick rise to fame is both bizarre and fascinating, eccentric and extravagant. However, there is one aspect of the group that I want to focus on and it’s summed up by Billboard writer Andrew Nosnitsky.

Nosnitsky says, “Some speculate that Odd Future will do to the polished hip-pop of Drake and B.o.B what Nirvana did to hair metal. The charisma, intelligence and sheer destructive impulse are definitely similar, spearheaded by hyper-creative music nerds who play the rebel role artfully. The members of Odd Future have of course yet to produce a “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and it’s unclear if that’s even their goal. Today’s media is perhaps too fragmented to even support such a big bang movement. Instead, Odd Future moves horizontally through word-of-mouth.”

This is the phenomena that I want to analyze. Years ago, Odd Future may have indeed sparked a big bang movement within the music industry. However, the current state of media and pop culture is definitely fragmented. I did a quick Google search on music consumption habits and discovered that 2008 was a watershed year for the music industry, many of the statistics I found were dated back to 2008 (However, I would like to include the most current data, if you have it feel free to leave it in the comments section of this article).

According to the data, the majority of music fans listen to music using a digital platform and over half of the music fans in America and the UK (65%), download illegally and this is coming from the reported statistics, not including individuals who did not participate in polls or poll participants who flat out lied. Personally I feel the number now is closer to three quarters of young music fans downloading illegally.

Moreover, according to ZDnet the majority of the people downloading are under the age of 24 and do so to “give in return to others.” Oddly enough, the actual price of the music being too expensive is one of the lowest ranking factors on a list of eight reasons as to why people upload music online. The top reason for why people do not upload is due to computer viruses, security/firewalls, and overall technical caveats that protect digital systems from being tampered with.

What is even more interesting is that the number of tracks legally purchased vs. the ones illegally purchased is almost half and half. In this particular scenario, I would say some of the poll participants definitely lied and these statistics may be skewed. However, these statistics do reveal much about music fans’ consumption habits and reveal a trend as to where these consumption habits are headed. Now how does all of this relate to Odd Future?

From a social perspective, big bang movements, specifically from pop culture and entertainment vantage point, are spearheaded by young people.  These movements start for a variety of reasons, but these movements cannot exist in environments deleterious to the foundation of the movement. Moreover, the drive behind a social movement is contingent upon the appeal of a charismatic and authoritative figure, but also once the movement gains success, it becomes trendy at which point it gains more followers. The hardest part of making a social movement stick is disseminating the actual knowledge that exists at the core of the movement.

In the current media environment, it is highly fragmented. When I look at groups like Odd Future, I wonder what makes them stick- how can the mainstream be informed of this phenomenon and is it possible for young music fans (the Odd Future target demographic) to reach a galvanizing opinion on this collective?

Those are tough questions and I don’t have all the data and ground level research, however, I would bank on this not happening now, but possibly in a few years. Odd Future’s rise to fame reminds me of a young Eminem in his rebellious and cantankerous Slim Shady years.

Eminem dissed every possible celebrity figure, said everything you’re not supposed to say on a record and he became a household name. No doubt, he had a mega press machine behind him courtesy of a major label and he came out in a time where the national media outlets were a bit more united across all borders, television, radio and the press appeared to be in sync when buzzing about new music acts. You could break an act on TRL, have them appear on the cover of Rolling Stone and play their latest hit single on a mainstream radio station all in the same week.

We have found similar alternatives; however, I feel the demographics are much more widespread now. It may be easy to sell Odd Future to the 15 and 16 year olds who read the hypebeast forums, but what about the more traditional media outlets like Rolling Stone or David Letterman’s late night show which may have a very wide target demographic of 18-49. One can even look at the sales of Tyler the Creator’s singles “Yonkers” and “Sandwitches,” both have collectively sold less than 25,000 digital units on iTunes. I feel it’s harder for a movement to produce energy across all entertainment mediums before addressing this question, how do you define the “average” music fan?

Now you could challenge this assertion and say what about pop stars like Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus?  Both of these music acts have managed to crossover from radio to television to film, their access and exposure amongst media outlets and age groups holds no boundaries. I would argue that these kinds of artists are manufactured to have the greatest possible appeal, yet their music is not created or steeped in the beliefs of starting a social movement or making a statement. Rather it’s about selling a fine crafted product, buying a Justin Bieber album is like buying a Coke, it’s not meant to challenge you, but leave you with a familiar and refreshing taste.

Music acts like Odd Future cannot be marketed as mere products, but they have to sold as a phenomenon that appeals to individuals in large societies who feel socially detached or insignificant. Moreover, they have to be exposed to people who feel that the industry is lacking in certain goods or resources. The overall discontent of both of these parties can generate a catalyst that springs forth into a social phenomenon, hence selling Odd Future as what appears to be a product, but is really a lucrative social movement.

I suspect that there is some sort of wizard behind the curtains acting as a source of funding and promotion for Odd Future. This source may have been present even prior to the release of Tyler the Creator’s stunning debut Bastard. I am curious as to how they will continue marketing this collective and what moves they plan to make in the next few months. Nonetheless, I’m going to be rooting for their Internet fame to manifest into real world success – SWAG.