Check Out (and use!)the New Forum Pages!
Featured Poem of the month
With my sister it was always Tetris.
I was a better Mario, stomping others.
School nights air-pocketing coins, we’d get rich
safe in our den’s warp-world brick, yet risk
lay in bullies. Their taunts hovered.
My sister, always protecting the boy bad at Tetris
from the bus stop on. What was I to do, get ripped?
It’s not like you’d ask for sanction via their mothers.
School nights: air pockets, coin resistance met with
sofa cushions. In my lap, the family pet, dish
of Oven Fry crumbs as a snack to sate the druthers.
With my sister it was always River Phoenix and Tetris,
his Jimmy Reardon appeal. How could I closet? Bet this
is some boy you know, neighbors wondering about brothers,
school nights pocketing an air kiss. The next day I’d get hit
by Kyle, Shane, or Dan; no haven on their movie set, pris-
tine the bell’s dismissal. At home, conciliatory pixels gathered.
With my sister it was always Tetris,
school nights forgetting torn pockets, the phrases
bullies coined to get rich.
Jon Riccio is a PhD candidate and composition instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers. He received his MFA from the University of Arizona.
John Sevigny, "Paparazzi to the Iconic Unknown", joins us to talk about his art of penetrating photography. He is a Miami native who has lived on the US-Mexico border for four years during the worst of the drug war in Northern Mexico. More recently Central America has been both his home and his canvas. We asked him about how he gets the power into his images and even what drives him.
BTS: You said, in a previous interview: "I don’t think of people as addicts, prostitutes or members of gangs. I just think about them as human beings."
I see that in your work. How do you make that happen?
JS: I was talking to my brother about this just the other day. He's a wildlife photographer and all-around animal expert. He said people ask him how he managed to get a picture of, for example, a hawk flying off with a snake in its claws. He said it's simple. You get up at 5 am every day and look for hawks flying away with snakes. In my case, I walk around constantly. I talk to people, listen to them even more, and lean on empathy rather than sympathy. Which is to say in my own case and that of my brother it comes down to basic, fundamental obvious things.
It shows up in the work because I'm not interested in pictures in which a first world photographer looks down at a wide-eyed, sad, Asian or African kid with an empty bowl of rice. My gaze, to use a pretentious word is horizontal, not vertical. So I spend a lot of time talking, walking, and sometimes drinking with people I meet on the street, in bars, in churches, wherever. I know the names of people I photographed a decade ago. Many photographers think in terms of the subject - some big, singular, monolithic thing they photograph. I've never seen people that way. People are all different, have different life stories, and different tales to tell.