Photo Book: “All the Queens Men” by Katie Murray

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Sara Macel | No Comments
Photo by Katie Murray

“All the Queens Men” – Daylight Books, Photo by Katie Murray

Katie Murray is a Queens native and photographer / video artist / photo professor that I had the wonderful experience of meeting over cocktails at Noorman’s Kil in Williamsburg earlier this summer.  Katie and I are both publishing our first books this month with Daylight Books and taking part in a panel discussion this Saturday night at 6:00pm at Photoville in DUMBO Brooklyn. Our talk, moderated by Michael Itkoff and Taj Forer of Daylight Books, is titled “Family Matters” and will also feature Henry Jacobson and Sarah Christianson along with Katie and myself to discuss our new books and the different ways we all tackled themes of family and connection to the land in our work.  With her new book titled “All the Queens Men,” Katie Murray explores her Queens, NY neighborhood as a paradise lost in the decade following September 11th as seen through the eyes of the men who surround her and the streets on which they live.

SM: “All the Queens Men” is such a great title for a book about men and masculinity set in Queens, NY.  And I love how it also references your role as a woman who holds some authority over these men, in this case as the person taking their portrait.  How did that title come about and what made you decide to run the title only on the book cover with no image?

KM: From the onset of this project I knew I wanted to play off of the word Queens because I think it’s such an interesting word as it calls to mind that which is majestic or mythological. It is also a powerful word as it relates to women, and I always thought it was interesting to be a woman photographing men in a place named Queens. I began to think about these men and this place as a mythological kingdom albeit a fictitious one, but this idea altered the way in which I approached the subject matter and allowed me to play with fiction and non fiction and be free to make work that existed somewhere between the two. Additionally, All The Queens Men is a play on a line from the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. A line, which I think is filled with pathos and hints at one of the themes of the book.

In terms of the all text cover, it came about because after numerous tries, no one image from the book actually worked with the title, but the title worked by itself as a mysterious entrée into this world. There have been many all text cover photo books but the most well known or referential as it relates to my work is Walker Evans’ American Photographs-and with this also in mind I went with the all text cover.

"Daniel and Danny (Father and Son), Queens, NY 1999" Photo by: Katie Murray

“Daniel and Danny (Father and Son), Queens, NY 1999” Photo by: Katie Murray

SM: In the book’s beautiful essay by Maria Antonella Pelizzari, she quotes you as describing the landscape of Queens as “both tragic and beautiful” and how that reflects the duality in the men you photograph. The way you photograph these men is straightforward and shows their flaws but there’s a nurturing quality like you love them not in spite of those flaws but because of them.  How much of that would you attribute to being a mother of boys?  How much of it is being a Queens native yourself in feeling this kinship with your subjects?

KM: I would say that the nurturing aspect you are picking up on has more to do with being a Queens native than a mother of boys. I am by no means photographing the other.

My children were born in 2006 and 2009 well after the work was already in progress. That being said though, having children and becoming a parent did make me aware of the shifting roles that take place when one transitions from being a child to having a child, and this is an idea that is present in the book as it relates to the men.

SM: These photographs span from 1999 to 2013.  Obviously, the most significant cultural event that happened in New York during that time was September 11th.  Pelizzari goes on in her essay to speak about 9/11 and how that monumental trauma and loss acts as the backdrop to the story of this place and the men that inhabit it.  There was a photograph from 9/11 that I saw on your website.  Am I right that at a certain stage of the project this image was included in your edit?  What made you edit it out of the book?

KM: The picture you reference was made on September 11 2001, and while it was never in any of the many edits I wrestled with, it was a consideration. In the end I decided that it was too referential; it was a one to one relationship, one that swayed the ambiguous narrative in a direction that was inauthentic. The book is not about 9/11 per se but instead is a reflection on the residue of that traumatic event. I felt it was more powerful to speak about that event in symbolic terms rather than be so obvious, and thus the picture was edited out.

SM: Daniel is the subject of many of the photographs and acts almost as a protagonist to the series.  What is your relation to him and what were your experiences photographing him?  Did it change over the course of the project?

KM: I think the book has more than one protagonist, but if the book has a main protagonist than it would be Daniel. He is the father figure, and is also my father. Making portraits of people you are so connected to and intimate with is always challenging for countless reasons, but perhaps he appears so often in the book because it is always a pleasant experience photographing him. He has never refused to let me make a picture of him; he is always a willing participant and is difficult to work with only because I have to scold him to be serious. Portraits of my father/Daniel are made in-between fits of laughter on both our parts, and that has been consistent throughout.

"Daniel, Long Beach Island, NJ 2012" Photo by: Katie Murray

“Daniel, Long Beach Island, NJ 2012” Photo by: Katie Murray

SM: Towards the end of the book, there’s a spread I want to talk about.  On the left is a photograph of an uprooted tree on a suburban street. Because of the perspective of the image, the tree is almost as tall as the house and there is a dark shadow in the middle of the tree that creates the appearance of a cave. Accompanying this image is a photograph on the right titled “11 Boys, Queens, New York 2003” that depicts a group of teenage boys standing in a circle on gravel, many shirtless, with one blindfolded in the center and another boy behind swinging something toward him in what looks like some kind of hazing ritual. The overgrown grass and shrubs surrounding them give a “Lord of the Flies” vibe to the proceedings.  The fallen tree and the bullying amplify a feeling I get throughout the book of innocence lost. What is the story behind these images and what was your thought process in pairing them together?

KM: The ways in which images relate to each other and inform each other is one of the amazing things about being a photographer. Often times I would be making a picture while thinking about how it would relate to a previous image and how you can build upon ideas in multiple pictures. The entire book was edited with this thought in mind. So that you would have a book of images that tell a story, and then with more time spent, another deeper story would be revealed. So yes, one of the themes of the book is innocence lost. The pairing you describe is an uprooted tree and a fictitious rite of passage. In this pairing an act of violence has been experienced or is being experienced; so at its base level it’s about violence, but it’s also about not being grounded or rooted and the attempt to find meaning in a ritual that may or may not grant you a sense of belonging.

"Uprooted, Queens, NY, 2010" Photo by: Katie Murray

“Uprooted, Queens, NY 2010” Photo by: Katie Murray

"11 Boys, Queens, NY 2003" Photo by: Katie Murray

“11 Boys, Queens, NY 2003” Photo by: Katie Murray


SM: We are both publishing books with Daylight in the fall.  How did you come about working with them?

KM: I was fortunate enough to have applied to a book-publishing grant when one of the publishers at Daylight (Taj Forer) was a judge. As a result, Daylight reached out to me with interest in publishing my book, and the rest as they say is history.

SM: What was the best advice you received in preparing to publish your book?  What advice would you give to another artist who was embarking on their first publishing experience?

KM: The best advice I received was to make the book that I wanted to make, and to keep in mind that it will not be the only book I publish. I’m not sure if the second part of that will be true, but it was invaluable because it allowed for me to be free to take risks and to not be safe. (ie the text cover)It’s important to know what you want from the onset, to ensure that you’ll end up with the book that’s in your head.

SM: What are you working on these days?

KM: I’ve just completed a video piece entitled “Gazelle” that reflects upon the struggles one faces as an artist, mother, and wife. It is the first time that I appear in my work, and it’s also the first piece I’ve made that is humorous. “Gazelle” will be shown in October at The Photographer’s Gallery in London in a show entitled Home Truths: Motherhood and Photography curated by Susan Bright.

SM: You teach photography at Hunter, SVA, and Sarah Lawrence.  What is your philosophy on teaching photography and what words of wisdom do you try to impart on your students?

KM: Teaching photography is challenging especially since it is a common practice amongst my students in the sense that they are all using pictures in their daily lives with Facebook, Instagram, and the like, so my approach is to try to get them to realize the potential of the medium as a meaningful tool.

"88th Street, Queens, NY 2001" Photo by: Katie Murray

“88th Street, Queens, NY 2001” Photo by: Katie Murray

SM: As we say goodbye to summer and enter into fall, what’s your idea of a perfect late summer day?

KM: Enjoying a lazy morning with my husband and boys, and a late afternoon trip to Rockaway Beach where we hang out until the sun sets.

For more from Katie Murray and to pre-order her book “All the Queens Men,” please visit her website:

TONIGHT: 2011 CCNY Photo Benefit Auction

Posted by on Nov 7, 2011 in harlan erskine | No Comments

Big event tonight for the Camera Club. I haven’t been to the annual Auction before so I’m looking forward to seeing all the action. Many many great photographs (including the one below) will be available. Check out the press release and I hope to see you there.

Amy SteinCage, digital c-print, 20 x 16”, 2005

Join Us Tonight, Monday, November 7, 2011, 6 – 8pm

25 Central Park West (at 62nd Street)

Preview Works Here

Featuring work by emerging and established photographers, including :
Mariette Pathy Allen / Rachel Barrett / Jacqueline Bates / Matthew Baum / Michael Berkowitz / Per Billgren / Anita Blank / Timothy Briner / Jesse Burke / Eric William Carroll / Sean Carroll / James Casebere / Lindsey Castillo / Jesse Chan / Vincent Cianni / Annabel Clark / Margarida Correia / Megan Cump / Pradeep Dalal / Bobby Davidson / Allison Davies / Isaac Diggs / Maureen Drennan / Emile Hyperion Dubuisson / Mark Fernandes / Larry Fink / Lauren Fleishman / Martine Fougeron / Jona Frank / Fryd Frydendahl / Theresa Ganz / Anders Goldfarb / Curtis Hamilton / Jason Hanasik / Daniel Handal / Kara Hayden / Jeanne Hilary / Francine Hofstee / Henry Horenstein / Michi Jigarjian / Erica Leone / Sze Tsung Leong / David Levinthal / Sam Levinthal / Wayne Liu / Feng Lu / Ryan MacFarland / Jerome Mallmann / Chris McCaw / Jo Meer / Dana Miller / Azikiwe Mohammed / Paolo Morales / Keren Moscovitch / Laurel Nakadate / Katherine Newbegin / Lori Nix / Heather O’Brien / Brayden Olson / Alice O’Malley / Cara Phillips / Libby Pratt / Richard Renaldi / Mauro Restiffe / Saul Robbins / Caren Rosenblatt / Michael Schmelling / Tina Schula / Manjari Sharma / Aline Smithson / John Stanley / Chad States / Amy Stein / Joni Sternbach / Motohiro Takeda / Maureen Testa / Sally Tosti / William Wegman / Randy West / Grant Willing / Jessica Yatrofsky / Rona Yefman / Pinar Yolaçan / Arin Yoon

Benefit Committee:
Mariette Pathy Allen, Paul Amador, Brian Paul Clamp, Daniel Cooney, Michael Foley, Martine Fougeron, Susan Fulwiler, Françoise Girard, Tom Gitterman, Peter Hay Halpert, Henry Horenstein, David Knott, Michael Mazzeo, Lizanne Merrill, L. Parker Stephenson, Spencer Throckmorton, Sasha Wolf, and Alice Sachs Zimet.

$20 admission.
All proceeds go to The Camera Club of New York (CCNY), a non-profit 501(c)3 arts organization that has been nurturing talented photographers since 1884.

Catering provided by Moustache.

To see the donated works, please go to CCNY’s online auction preview.

CCNY wishes to thank 25CPW Gallery for their generosity in hosting this year’s auction.


For further inquires, contact CCNY at or by phone: 212-260-9927

Please visit us at

Openings and Events this week – November 1 – 6

Posted by on Nov 1, 2011 in harlan erskine | No Comments

Simen Johan, Untitled #159, From the series Until the Kingdom Comes, C-Print, 2010. Opening at Yossi Milo Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 3.


Tuesday, November 1

Performance: Jen DeNike “The Hostess Never Lies” curated by Anne Apparu
Vogt Gallery
526 W 26 street, suite 911, 11am-6pm

Lecture: “Surfland: Joni Sternbach”
Center for Alternative Photography
36 East 30th Street
RSVP to, 7-8:30pm

Photography: Peter Hujar “Influential Friends”
John McWhinnie @ Glenn Horowitz Bookseller
50 1/2 E 64 street, 6-8pm

Wednesday, November 2

Inge Morath “Bal D’Hiver”
Esopus Space
64 W 3 street, suite 210, 6-8pm

Gilles Larrain “Idols”
Steven Kasher Gallery
521 W 23 street, 6-8pm

Thursday, November 3

Performance: Matthew Stone “Anatomy of Immaterial Worlds”
The Hole
312 Bowery, 9pm

Heather Goodchild, Mike Bayne “Walking the Pattern (Goodchild) / Kingston Spring and Muffler (Bayne)” curated by Katharine Mulherin
Mulherin + Pollard
187 Chrystie street, 6-9pm

Chris Johanson, Haim Steinbach, Lawrence Weiner, Matthew Brannon, Odilon Redon, Todd Eberle, Will Cotton, William Wegman “Pop-Up Shop”
208 Forsyth Street, 6-8pm

“Cory Arcangel vs. Pierre Bismuth”
Cristina Lei Rodriguez “Through Excess and Ruin”
Team Gallery
83 Grand street, b/w wooster & greene, 6-8pm

Benefit: “Question Bridge: Black Males” a project by Chris Johnson and Hank Willis Thomas in collaboration with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair
Jack Shainman Gallery
513 W 20 street, RSVP to, 6-8pm

Claire Fontaine “Working Together”
Metro Pictures
519 W 24 street, 6-8pm

Jon Kessler, Mika Rottenberg “Seven”
Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery (Project)
534 West 24th st, Tenth avenue, 6-8pm

Zachari Logan “Tramua and Other Stories”
Daniel Cooney Fine Art
511 W 25 street, floor 5

Photography: Simen Johan
Yossi Milo Gallery
525 W 25 street, 6-8pm

Photography: Erwin Blumenfeld “Vintage Fashion”
Edwynn Houk Gallery
745 Fifth avenue, at w 57 street, 6-8pm

“The Mask and The Mirror” curated by Shirin Neshat
Leila Heller Gallery
39 East 78th street, floor 3, 6-8pm

Photography: Lori Waselchuk “Grace Before Dying”
Brooklyn, 111 Front street, floor 2, 6-8pm

Friday, November 4

Brock Enright
Kate Werble Gallery
83 Vandam street, at hudson street, 6-8pm

Eva Rothschild
303 Gallery
547 W 21 street, 6-8pm

Photography: “Incomparable Women of Style: Selections from the Rose Hartman Photography Archives, 1977 – 2011”
FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology
West 27 street at 7th avenue, Gladys Marcus Library

Panel Discussion: “Osteobiographies” with Eric Stover, the Monument Group, Thomas Keenan, and Eyal Weizman
Brooklyn, 300 Nevins street, 6-8pm

Saturday, November 5

“Lady Pink”
Woodward Gallery
133 Eldridge street, b/w broome & delancey, floor 5, 6-8pm

Performance: Joan Jonas, Rachel Mason, Shana Moulton “The Hostess Never Lies” curated by Anne Apparu
Vogt Gallery
526 W 26 street, suite 911, 4-6pm

Workshop: Daido Moriyama “Printing Show- TKY”
Aperture Foundation
547 W 27 street, floor 4, $75, noon-3pm & 5- 8pm

Sunday, November 6

Photography: Lucas Blalock “xyz”
Ramiken Crucible
389 Grand street, 6-9pm

Performance: Agathe Snow “The Hostess Never Lies” curated by Anne Apparu
Vogt Gallery
526 W 26 street, suite 911, 4:30pm

An early critique at the Camera Club of NY

Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in harlan erskine | One Comment

Last weekend, I looked through the Camera Club of New York‘s historical archives. They are safely kept in 18 boxes under Bryant park at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, also known as New York Public Library’s main building. I will return over the next few months to dig around and choose a few pieces from the archive for this blog.

One of the first pieces I ran across was a clipped article by Theodore Dreiser on the Camera Club from Ainslee’s Magazine.

Ainslee’s Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 3, October 1899

One of this images in the article is this one by Camera Club of NY member and the Club’s Vice President, Alfred Stieglitz.

Alfred Stieglitz, The Letter Box 1894

The article describes an early account of a photography critique (circa 1899)—not dissimilar to those of today. I love the details and the phrasing:

Very few photos are perfect, and the critical zeal of the camera masters is exacting far beyond the pale of humble human accomplishment.

And yet it occasionally serves to make an humble student of a self-opinionated and self-exaggerated individuality. A case in point is a now distinguished member who came from Brooklyn.

“I was fine in Brooklyn,” he remarked one time. “My experience there gave me a good opinion of my work. I began to make lantern slides and exercised my individual taste, with the result that my work was admired. Gradually I began to exhibit it more and more. I joined a local club whose fad was lantern slides and became a star member. Finally I gained such repute that I decided to come to New York and astonish them. I decided that I would quietly enter my plates for exhibition, and, in the vernacular, ‘sweep ’em off their feet.'”

“Well?” I inquired as he mused reflectively.

“Oh, I exhibited. They walked on me. One of my pictures made them laugh, and it was intended to be sad. There were twenty-seven objections made to another. My best one came off easy with three criticisms, and all valid. Oh, lord! I thought I would never get out alive.”

“Were they fair?”

“Yes; that was the bitter thing. I could realize that it was all kindly said and meant, and was good for me. After it was all over, one gentleman, who noted my crest-fallen state, came up and told me that my work was not bad. It was only the high standard of the club that laid it open to so much criticism. This was too much, and I went home in despair.”

“And yet you profited by it.”

“It was the best thing that could have happened. I began studying in earnest after that, merely to blot out my terrible defeat. In another year I exhibited again, and the whole set passed the ‘test’ audience with only a few suggestions.”

Below is a photograph from this article and possibly the room that this critique took place.

An Exhibition At the Camera Club.

Here are some pictures from some more recent critiques:

Ansel Adams – Conducting A Critique Session, Courtesy the Ansel Adams Gallery.


A recent critique at the Yale School of Art’s Photography Department. The panel: John Pilson making a point on the left, Lisa Kereszi, Shirin Neshat and Richard Prince. Image from this post by Photographer Davin Ellicson.


Openings and Events this week – October 19 – 23

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in harlan erskine | No Comments

Thursday, October 20

Alessandro Zuek Simonetti, Andrea Sonnenberg, Dave Potes, Lele Saveri, Lisa Weiss, Patrick Griffin, Yuri Shibuya
“The Inferno” curated by Hamburger Eyes + Ed. Varie
Ed. Varie
208 East 7th street, 7-10pm

Bill Jacobson

Bill Jacobson, “Into the Loving Nowhere (1989 till now)”
Julie Saul Gallery
535 West 22nd street, 6-8pm

Yvonne Venegas

Artist Talk: Yvonne Veneg at Camera Club of New York Lecture Series
SVA (Eastside Gallery)
209 East 23rd street, $5, 7-9pm

Saturday, October 22

Elinor Carucci, Emmanuelle having her hair cut, 2007

Chris Verene "Candi, Cody and Caity" 2005, Type-C Archival print, ed. of 6, with handwritten caption in oil by the artist.

Gillian Laub, Grandpa Helping Grandma Out, Mamaroneck, NY (2000) chromogenic print

Panel Discussion: “Family Matters” Elinor Carucci, Gillian Laub and Chris Verene moderated by Susan Bright
Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th street, floor 4, 4pm

Sunday, October 23

Walead Beshty, 'Travel Picture Sunset' (2006-08) Chromogenic print, 87 x 49 in.

Artist Talk: “Walead Beshty And Peter Eleey in conversation”
White Columns
320 West 13th street, 6pm