Monday, October 10, 2011

slipereypete - 3/19/11

Following the success of the photo shoot with Seattle-ite Kzoo, I ventured into unknown territory. Kzoo was the only boarder on I had met whose photo I would take for this project. slipereypete was the second shoot on that day.

The northwest side of Seattle is highly residential, and very hilly. Lots of up and down in the car with photo equipment in the back. I found the place reasonably well - in that I only drove past it once - and made my way up.

The environment was something like an upscale bachelor pad: the olive green leather sofa, stack of art books, and intricately carved coffee table contrasted nicely with the giant flatscreen television and folding table stacked to the brim with records. We listened to Yellow Ostrich's The Mistress* as we chatted. NCAA tournament basketball and the Vancouver Whitecaps MLS debut game were switched between on the television.

slipereypete's apartment afforded great views of the city as well as great light. Our conversation was lively and insightful, and our best conversation points focused on the board and its structure and communal nature.

"Life is usually convex," slipereypete said towards the end of our meeting. "People tend to travel in different directions, doing different things, going to different places. UFCK is concave: people all collect in one place."

A large presence in's soccer thread - and naturally a huge Sounders supporter - meeting slipereypete was a great shoot in the sense that it gave me consolation in knowing other people thought of the social experience of a website like in the same way I was. There's something to it besides people all talking to one another.

"Everyone else on UFCK cares about all of the stuff you like that no one else gives a shit about," he said. That's the community that I had really plunged myself into.

But I never got around to asking him where his screen name came from.

* The lead singer behind Yellow Ostrich - Alex - also posts regularly on They're moving up in the world these days, opening shows for Ra Ra Riot and making appearances on NPR and the like. Unfortunately, Alex and his bandmates were on a very different travel schedule from mine during the project, and I wasn't able to line up a photo shoot with them. Check them out anyway and buy Yellow Mistress on super-cool yellow vinyl

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kzoo - 3/19/11

This is where it all started. The UFCK Photo Project got underway with one of only three boarders I had previously met. It was a cool, March Seattle day. I'm driving around residential neighborhoods with eighty pounds of photo equipment in the trunk of my car, my school has given me money to work on this project, and I have no idea how it's going to go.

I first met Kzoo back in November of 2009, when I was in Seattle for an SPE Northwest regional conference. I told him I was going to be in town, and we stopped somewhere in the Capital Hill district to grab a drink. He had a cold. He called me "Matt." It was a little weird. But our Michigan connection kept the awkward silences to a minimum.

I parked my car near Kzoo's place and he came out to the sidewalk and offered to help carry my gear.

The place was arranged in such a way as to make photographing anything with a view camera and lights a complicated mess. But I powered through. Even when I discovered that I had traveled five and a half hours from home without power cables for my lights, Kzoo found an extra computer cable that worked just fine.

The art on the walls was done by relatives of Kzoo's absent roommate. Kzoo moved the couch pillows "for a better look." He wore his narwhal shirt. He put on music: Magnolia Electric Company's self-titled final album. After the needle passed through side two, he threw on Neil Young's "Everyone Knows This is Nowhere."

Kzoo was personable and just talkative enough to not interfere with my setup. As it was my first shoot, the entire process took much longer than later shoots that happened in August.

Pictured here is an instant proof from the shoot. The exterior window behind him made the lighting awkward, though this far removed from March, the exact details of the shoot escape my memory. I know the strobe is somewhere off to the right, aimed through this translucent Japanese-style screen thing.

Kzoo is one of the guys from the board that would probably get along with anyone, whether they were invading his space to take his picture, or meeting up at Linda's* for a beer.

* This may not actually be the place we went. But it's close. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

[text] Project Website [/text]

Ok, finally.

There are some parts of this that aren't complete. I still have to write the essay I've been promising myself for the last six weeks. The webpages still show titles as "text" and nothing more. (Thanks, iWeb!) But I can't sit on the whole shebang when only small portions aren't fully realized.

So, here it is: the UFCK Photo Project website, in all its glory. Replete with photos. And links. And essays. Essays about life on the Internet. About being friends with strangers. About technological marvels. About getting drunk and passing out at a State Champion show. There's plenty missing, from the photo of the "SWEENEY" license plate I took while driving through Virginia to the slobber from the dog that tried to eat my tripod.

But when someone asks me what I was up to this summer, it was this. From a proposal for the project compiled last November to the first shots this past March, the circle has been large, interesting, and rewarding as it's come around again.

Proposals for exhibitions are now in the works. More later.

(And, if you didn't click on the link above, you can get to the site by following the link here.)