I Take Pictures: 2015 Output Review

Flickr is an essential place for my documentary life. Here’s a look at what I’ve posted there in the last year.

Trips

I track my trips in pictures. I went on 19 trips this year, which added to my overall total of 130 trips documented in this collection. My trips are broadly broken down into travel to conferences (TreeFort/ HackFort in Boise was a huge highlight), my work on the boards of the Sunlight Foundation (yay for NYC and Aspen) and Voqal (Albuquerque and Denver ftw), as well as a mega-fambly trip to London and Paris and some smaller family stuff as well. Also: annual Austin pilgrimage.

I posted 3,450 images from these trips. Literally only God knows how many I shot in order to get it down to that number— maybe 15,000?

Street Battle of the Bands, Boise

Art

Documentation isn’t just for making the conduct of my life more considered and effective— I also do it as my art. I took photos at Lincoln Marsh six times this year. I took the exact same photos as I have 42 times over the last six years, in an attempt to document how an Illinois natural areas changes through the seasons.

I did a number of other projects. I captured a photo of every flower entered in the Wyandot County Fair contest this year, I did a photo essay on the August 2015 City of Chicago Budget Hearing at Malcolm X College, documented a meticulously painted Fun House, captured the unveiling of an honorary street sign, as well as the politicians of the 2015 Bud Billiken Parade and the Frank Lloyd Wright Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, MI. I took dozens of portraits of youth and opening day of the 606. I documented the work of a hula hoop artist in Las Vegas, the Chihuly exhibit at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL.

I caught a few minutes of a protest in front of City Hall and the financial district. I answered the question, “what did the Geneva Spur Near Reed Keppler Park look like in December 2015?“, even though maybe nobody asked me.

Lincoln Marsh at Dusk, Early Spring, March 2015

Fam

Family-wise, I was happy to document baseball seasons. To me, these aren’t just pics of my kids (though that is definitely a big part of it). I do this to try to capture what it was like to be 15 in 2015 and playing baseball in the summer in North America. What does it look like, feel like. What kind of light poles and bulbs did they have? What were the uniforms made of? What kind of typography do they use for lettering? Did it rain? What was the impact of that? What was the name of the preschool next to the field?

And yes, the personal. How tall was my son on his confirmation day? It’s important to get every configuration, and a pic with his mother, so she can have that, forever. So we can remember the Director of Religious Education, because she is wonderful and helped my babies grow.

Caleb, Mrs. Brennan, and CXO

Work

At work, I’m proud of my part in the PACER postcard campaign with my fellow documentarian, Carl Malamud. I hosted the Madonna Scholars for a Saturday of learning, Youth-Led Tech style. I did a lot of CUTGroup pics, but by the end of the year we hired a new professional to do that for us— bringing the next one up. I caught meetups, conferences, and events.

Madonna Scholars

I love to capture what happened, archive it for all to see, and share it. More to come!

Language Used in Scoring Cattle

tl;dr:

Here’s a video I made of a cattle show judge, capturing the language he used to score:

This September I finally made it to the Wyandot County Fair in Ohio. Shawn-Laree’s mother was born and raised on Fort Royal Farm in Cary, Ohio, and this is the county fair that has been central to their family for generations. Here’s a photo essay I did on the farm a while back:

Fort Royal Farm

And here’s a video essay:

Fourth of July 2013 at Fort Royal Farm, Carey, Ohio from Daniel X. O’Neil on Vimeo.

Continue reading “Language Used in Scoring Cattle”

Full Circle on an Art Show at The Cultural Center

I was going through my computer, managing all of the video I’ve collected over the last few months, and I realized that I had a pretty nifty round trip experience with the Chicago Cultural Center.

A few months back, I was walking through the first floor and saw they were setting up a new show with some interesting configurations, so I shot a quick video:

The other day, I was back there with the family, and we saw the brilliant shows they had installed.

One was all about spiders:

CXO at an art installation at the Cultural Center

SL at an art installation at the Cultural Center

CXO at an art installation at the Cultural Center

DXO at an art installation at the Cultural Center

Another about photography and space:

Art installation at the Cultural Center

CXO at an art installation at the Cultural Center

And another about designing and building:

Caleb and CXO designing walls at an art installation at the Cultural Center

Caleb designing walls at an art installation at the Cultural Center

And here’s the little cubbies you can see them constructing in the beginning of the film:

SL at an art installation at the Cultural Center

DXO at an art installation at the Cultural Center

All hail the Cultural Center.

New Video: Shuttlecocks + Revolving Cocks: Mashup of a Great Kansas City Sculpture and an Industrial Band Singing a Rod Stewart Cover.

Earlier this year I took a trip to Kansas City (and wrote about it here). I didn’t get around to writing about the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which is really stunningly good.  I have a huge cache of pics from the trip here, including images I took in and around the museum.

One of the best pieces is outside the museum itself— “Shuttlecocks”, by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen. Here’s how the artists describe it:

Aluminum and fiber-reinforced plastic; painted with polyurethane enamel
Four shuttlecocks, each 17 ft. 11 in. (5. 5 m) high x 15 ft. 1 in. (4.6 m) crown diameter and 4 ft. (1.2 m) nose cone diameter, sited in different positions on the grounds of the museum

Amazing. I took a bunch of photos of the installation and did nothing with them until this week.

Shuttlecocks @ Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art | Kansas City, MO

I had to clean out my computer (of raw video, mainly), because it was getting down to zero space. One of the video projects I had in iMovie was one about this piece.

“Shuttlecock” is an odd word. Compound. British, in a Fawlty Towers sort of way. Funny, in a juvenile way. So when I was thinking about how to present it in video, the natural thought was to double down on the language and mash it up with the Revolting Cocks.

Anyone in Chicago in the late 80s (or anyone in the industrial/ noise scene) knows and loves the Revolting Cocks.

So here’s my mashup of two great artists


A mashup of a great sculpture and an industrial band singing a Rod Stewart cover.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine Remains a Thing

When I first heard Tuesday of the Pray 4 Rose shrine beneath the Kennedy Expressway on Fullerton Avenue, my first thought was that people must have turned the Virgin Mary Salt Stain shrine into one for our man Rose.

So yesterday when I went to document the shrine, I went straight to the northeast corner, at the crash scene investigation site, to take a look. To my surprise, it wasn’t there, and the original shrine to the Virgin Mary remained.

As I noted nearly a decade ago, I believe whole-heartedly that this is a place where the Virgin Mary appeared in a salt stain. Why the hell wouldn’t I believe that? It’s easy.

Here’s pics of the place, as of yesterday.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine, Emergency Parking Only. Many shades of browns and tans. Water jugs and a broom.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine, Emergency Parking Only. Many shades of browns and tans. Water jugs and a broom.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. A decade of visitors have left their marks, making this a sort of pass-on poem of epic proportions, with government cleaning supplies as a staccato harmony.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine in black + white. A decade of visitors have left their marks, making this a sort of pass-on poem of epic proportions, with government cleaning supplies as a staccato harmony.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. All caps reminiscence.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine detail. All caps reminiscence.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. Deep hues, boxes,, wall dance, and lime.  Anne Sexton kept right on going on.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. Deep hues, boxes, wall dance, and lime. Anne Sexton kept right on going on.

We have holy places everywhere, if we want them.