Monday, December 31, 2007


Compound art/book/event review, LA Record, November 2007

by Cheryl Dunn

i have a tendency to glaze over street photography, but Ms. Dunn does some really interesting work.
Especially cool are her photos of professional boxers in Atlantic City

Cheryl Dunn write-up in LA Record



Talking to New York photographer Cheryl Dunn at her Los Angeles book release party, hosted by the Fairfax district’s Family Bookstore Sunday evening, helped me realize why I think photographers are interesting (I am a photographer, but that doesn’t supersede the point): Photographers, even though they function visually, are basically thinkers. In the case of street photographer Cheryl Dunn, who runs in the same artistic and social circles as Chris Johanson and Margaret Kilgallen, little abstracts of life are identified, composed, and frozen on film, consequently forcing a meditation on seemingly unimportant details that would have otherwise evanesced like so much dust. What sets Dunn apart from other urban photographers, apparent in her new photo book Some Kinda Vocation, is that her process of deciding which details to embrace is informed by her romantic notions involving regular people attempting to do something, whether that something is writing on walls, playing the banjo, supporting a political candidate, or defeating an athletic opponent. One of the most striking images in the book is of boxer Merqui Sosa, mid-fight in Atlantic City, 1991. Sosa’s face is bloody, swollen, and dripping with sweat. His left eye, the only one he can see out of, doesn’t harbor the ferocious concentration of a determined fighter, but a look of resigned fear. This photograph, and the social commentaries that can be assigned to it (brutality, desperation, class struggle), directly plays into the irony of the book’s title, which Dunn elaborates on in her foreword: “The idea of a vocation is sold to people as this great opportunity—but it’s used to designate a career or a school that you go to if you have no opportunities and no money.”

What sealed the deal with my affection for Dunn was what she signed in my copy of the book. After talking briefly, as all photographers currently do, about the besiegement of film-based photography by the evil digital monsters in the evil digital world, I confessed that I do use a digital SLR for editorial and journalistic assignments. She took the book from me and asked what I wanted her to write, and a friend of hers said, “Write what you had for breakfast.” When I returned home and opened up the book, I looked on the inside cover and it read: “What you had for breakfast. That is not what I wanted to write. Shoot Film is what I wanted to write. Cheryl Dunn.” A true romantic. (RK)


not dunn looking said...

has anyone heard of the movie beautiful losers? i know cheryl dunn is featured in it but i want to know when it's coming to ny. maybe i'm an idiot but i can't find the release date on the website. someone please check it out and help me! it's i even bought the movie poster at but i want to see the movie!

rena said...

on the wesbsite the only upcoming screening for NY was this:
3/26 Screening for AIGA-NY members @ Bumble and Bumble, NY NY 6:30 PM

other than that, they have contact info on there, maybe you can email them.