Thrift Opens Friday

Dear Diary,
Friday is my first show of the Thrift store pictures and the first at Rhona Hoffman Gallery. I’m a little nervous diary… it’s my hometown and if the show sucks i’ll have to hear about it all the time. I think it looks good. I’m hoping other people will too and that the world will be a happier place because of it.
December 1, 2006 – January 6, 2007
Opening reception, Friday, December 1st, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
118 North Peoria Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607


  1. Posted November 29, 2006 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    beauty! i’ll be in the Chicago area for the holidays- your show just made the top of my ‘to do’ list! hope opening night goes well for you.

  2. BiLLS
    Posted November 29, 2006 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Thrift rocks !
    best stuff yet even
    totaly new old stuff

  3. Posted November 30, 2006 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Well that’s good news Brian, I’ll likely get to Chicago to see this one 🙂 – Kay

  4. Posted November 30, 2006 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Ben and Kay, if you’re in town pls. email. Would love to meet up.

  5. Posted December 1, 2006 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Sometimes I wish I could make Chicago my second home, so I could hang out with cool people like Brian. I envy Sybil.

  6. Posted December 2, 2006 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Ahhh! dope. I’d kill to be in Chicago right now to see it, but I’ll have to deal with the confines of good ole cold and windy NYC for now. good luck


  7. Posted December 2, 2006 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    good luck with the show. As I mentioned earlier, these photos are very strong. So many photographers before you have attempted to produce work based around thrift and yard sales, and for the most part failed. Aside of the big prints in the show, this work can easily translate into book form.

  8. Posted December 2, 2006 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    great to see you last night!
    great new show!
    so happy for you!

  9. Posted December 2, 2006 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    hey brian. just stumbled upon your site via a friend here in socal. good luck with the show, and thanks for the “photographer’s rights” PDF that i found way back in your archives.

    i like what you’re doing as well.

    over and out.


  10. Posted December 2, 2006 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    whoa. had to comment again after looking at more of your stuff. really into it.

    question for you though: are you getting releases from all the people in the “retail” series?

    this question comes from a guy who usually brings the cam to the grocery store, but im often dissuaded by the old stinkeye, you know. just got a nasty one a couple weeks ago, and i was just taking pictures of meat, cans, things like that.

    seriously, i’d like to hear how you’re pulling off what you’re doing, if you dont mind sharing.


  11. Posted December 3, 2006 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks again all for the kind comments. They show went fantastic and for the moment I’m feeling it doesn’t suck 😉 Looking forward to getting out and making new pictures.
    Ryan, you can read a bit about the how in this interview on the mocp site:

  12. Posted December 3, 2006 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    thanks for the link.

    im still unclear about the legalities/issues of reproducing and selling photographs of the people in those stores. i am assuming that you have to get a release from these people after you take their photo?

    this is one of the major reasons why i avoid putting people in many photos…out of a somewhat paranoid fear of getting sued by someone. hehe. it was better 10 years ago when i wanted to be brett weston and just walked around taking pics of rocks and trees. hehe.

    anyways, sorry for the somewhat redundant round of questions, and thanks for the info.

    i’ll check out your work in SD this month. looking forward to that.

  13. Posted December 3, 2006 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Ryan, I myself feel it’s a dangerous thing to censor oneself from making certain pictures because of things like this.
    As long as your work it not used for commercial purposes you’re fine. In most of the Copia pictures it would be impossible to get a formal release. Even with a release you can still get sued. What is going to hold up in court is another thing.
    Photographer Philip Lorca DiCorcia recently was sued for this reason but the case was ruled in DiCorcia’s favor.

  14. Posted December 3, 2006 at 6:08 pm | Permalink


    Thanks for the input. I have this one project that I have been working on for the past couple of years is photographing zoos and how people behave while visiting them, etc. As you said about your Copia work, trying to get a formal release just isn’t going to happen. I try to obscure people’s faces as much as possible, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. I also try to obscure locations as much as possible too.

    I tried getting permission from the zoo, but was basically shut down by someone in the PR department. The whole project is somewhat critical of zoos in general–the history and philosophy of them–so getting permission is a little dicey.

    I have a good amount of work from this, but it’s basically on the shelf right now because I’m not sure what I’m legally allowed to do with it. It was all shot on private property, of course.

    Seeing a lot of what you’re doing is getting me thinking about some of that work again, since you’re working in similar commercial/corporate environments that aren’t exactly open to being photographed or examined in this way. Besides the zoo, I tend to gravitate toward this kind thing, and often get a little tangled in these kinds of questions as well. It has been a stumbling block on more than one occasion.

    Funny how much trouble one little camera can stir up, huh?

    Anyway, thanks for the renewed motivation. Since you’re getting work of this nature out there without being slapped with a lawsuit, there might be hope for me as well…

  15. Posted December 3, 2006 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    If we were to avoid specific faces, logo’s and signs in photographs all of the history of photography would be bunk! You can only do so much, use common sense, be respectful and keep your fingers crossed. We live in strange times where lawsuits and suspicion of photography in general is quite extreme. Make the pictures the best you can in these circumstances and hope for the best.
    I did discover the identity of the couple in Copia #6. They are a close friends grandparents. I sent them a print and they simply thought the whole thing funny. People often are a lot more understanding than one expects.

  16. Posted December 4, 2006 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Damn are you right about the history of photography: imagine if Walker Evans, D.Lange, Ralph Steiner–or anyone else for that matter–had been worried avoided faces, logos,and signs in their pics… photography as a medium would have been bunk indeed.

    There you have it.

    I’ll do what I must and then, as you say, hope for the best, despite the strange times we live in. Thanks again for the input.

    Hopefully you don’t mind but I linked up to you on my site.


Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.