Sunday, September 28, 2008


19th century illustrations of Micro-Crustaceans at

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Walk in the Reinstein Woods

We went for a walk to day at the Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, which is in a suburb of Buffalo (specifically in Cheektowaga, the "Land of the Crab Apple"). I'd never been there before, largely because until recently you could only visit on a guided tour (not that I'm not interested in taking a tour). Now the there are a couple of trails open to the unguided public. I was planning on shooting insects and spiders, but once we got there I felt tired and I could only manage to shuffle around and shoot some standard nature stuff. It was a nice early Fall day.

This was my only insect photograph, a Blister Beetle of the genus Meloe (also known as an Oil Beetle), I found on the sidewalk entering the preserve.

More from the Archives

First, a correction: in looking up a few facts for this post I realized that the images I posted on Tuesday are from 1989 and not 1988.

As I wrote about in Tuesday's post, I have been scanning never-before-seen negatives from my Junior photo class. One of the interesting finds are these images of the damage done by Hurricane Hugo to Charleston, South Carolina, taken while the city was freakishly paralyzed by eight inches of snow. Hugo was the most damaging Hurricane to hit the US up to that time, later it would be surpassed by Andrew and Katrina. In December of 1989 my family drove down to our relatives' houses in Florida.
On the way we stopped to see my aunt and her family in Charleston and we ended up getting snowed in for an extra day. It is extremely unusual for South Carolina to get that kind of snow, of course the city doesn't have plows or even snow shovels. Hugo had come through in September and there was still property damage visible everywhere. What I like about these photos is that they look like they could be documenting Civil War damage.

Here is a real shot of post bombardment Charleston in 1865

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Japanese Matchbox Graphics

A friend just sent me this link to an amazing Flickr set of Japanese matchbox graphics from the 20s, 30s and 40s. I recommend viewing it as a slide show.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sophomore Photography Class 1988

The CEO of Montague Projects at 15

I recently realized that it was 20 years ago this month that I began the first and only photography class I would ever take (in retrospect I wish I had been a photo major in college, but, whatever). I still have all of the negatives I developed in the class (about 250 exposures), none of them are in good shape, they're covered in scratches and other marks. At one point I must have seen all of these on a contact sheet, but until I scanned them the other day I had never actually seen the full size images.

It's weird to open up a window to the past. The grainy 400 asa film and the damaged negs make the images seem even older and more distant than they are (click to enlarge the pix below to see what I mean). I took a lot of pictures of trees and buildings and other things which are now totally uninteresting. I wish I'd taken more pictures of my friends and classmates. The one really surprising discovery was that I had taken a picture of a stray shopping cart in the Scajaquada Creek. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise, there has been a consistency to my artistic and aesthetic concerns from about age nine forward. It reminds me of something David Cronenberg said in an interview (although I think he was paraphrasing someone else in his answer). He was asked why all of his films dealt with such similar themes and his answer was that they were made by the same person.

The very first Stray Shopping Cart photograph 1988

My Schmitt Stix Yard Stick, Independent trucks ground to the axle

Winter cycling costume

Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts (BAVPA)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Picking up the Pace

I have been a bit slow about posting this summer (I truly don't know if anyone cares, the majority of people who visit this blog seem to be Googlers looking for pictures of the Japanese Giant Salamander). In any case, I plan on picking up the pace in the weeks to come. More 18th century turtles here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Caves and Caverns

I made a promise to myself about three years ago that I would try to visit more caves and caverns. Since then I have not visited a single one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New York and New Haven

View of Ellis Island from the Battery Park Ritz Carlton

Fancy shoes

I was in NYC (and New Haven) Saturday through Tuesday. I went down to see my friend (and fellow Buffalo resident) Neil Wechsler accept the Yale Drama Award for his play Grenadine. Edward Albee was the sole judge for the competition and he presented Neil with the award. It was a big deal. The award ceremony was at the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park which has a fantastic view of the statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. When a friend and I took a cab downtown, we were puzzled by how much traffic there was for a Sunday evening. We later found out that everyone had been called into to work on Sunday to deal with the Lehman Bros. collapse. There was a reading of the play presented by the Yale Rep the next day in New Haven. The reading was great, this was the second time I had seen Grenadine read, I look forward to eventually seeing a full production.

I managed to see most of what was up in the ground floor Chelsea Galleries, as usual there was only a tiny percentage of work that interested me. I was most excited to see a show Jean Luc-Mylayne at Gladstone Gallery. I will have more to say about him in another post.

Jean Luc-Mylayne

A very Japanese looking building in Chelsea

The IAC building by Frank Gehry

Meredith Sparks' show at Elizabeth Dee was pretty cool, but I don't know what I would think if I didn't already have a deep affection for Kraftwerk, David Bowie and Joy Division.

Flight home

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I've had this song in my head for a week

It's a parody of Lionel Richie's Lady, all about Brady.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Holy Grail

I have not been actively shooting stray shopping carts for the couple of years, but on Wednesday I was riding my bike to the gym and I saw this just 2 blocks from my house. I turned around and sped back to the house to get a camera. I have been waiting for years to find one of these kiddie-car-carts on the streets, and now it has finally happened. Unfortunately, the setting is rather unspectacular (I was hoping to find one in the Scajaquada Creek), and the light conditions were not ideal, but it is probably about 3 miles from its Source which is remarkable. When I passed this corner on my way back from the gym, the cart was gone.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September on Lake Erie

Oliver Hazard Perry

Today was one of those "end of summer" kind of days. It was cool and stormy. But of course, today will be forgotten when it warms up for a few days and then cools off to create another end of summer day. This will probably happen a five times in September.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Get Yer Freak On

I photographed these spiders in the act of mating. As you can see in close-up picture, their jaws are locked, and the male (left) has his pedipalps (read below), poking all around her body. Here is how Wikipedia breaks down the process:
Sperm transmission from male to female occurs indirectly. When a male is ready to mate, he spins a web pad upon which he discharges his seminal fluid. He then dips his pedipalps (also known as palpi), the small, leg-like appendages on the front of his cephalothorax, into the seminal fluid, picking it up by capillary attraction. Mature male spiders have swollen bulbs on the end of their palps for this purpose, and this is a useful way to identify the sex of a spider in the field. With his palps thus charged he goes off in search of a female. Copulation occurs when the male inserts one or both palps into the female's genital opening, known as the epigyne. He transfers his seminal fluid into the female by expanding the sinuses in his palp. Once the sperm is inside her, she stores it in a chamber and only uses it during the egg-laying process, when the eggs come into contact with the male sperm for the first time and are fertilized; this may be why the vivipary has never evolved in spiders.
Shortly after I took this photograph they separated. The male was lucky to get out alive.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Go to this Opening 2

My friend John Opera has a show opening at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, (formerly Bucket Rider) in Chicago tomorrow night. Check out his site here.

Go to This Opening

My friend and Gallery mate Alicia Ross has a solo show opening tomorrow night. More at here.

Black & White Gallery
The Chelsea Terminal
Warehouse (Ground Floor)
636 West 28th Street
New York, NY 10001

Monday, September 1, 2008

WTF I was Just Interviewed on a UK Radio Show that has 5 Million Listeners!

I just did a very short, very fast interview on BBC2's national Chris Evans Drive Time show, about my Stray Shopping Cart book. I got the email from a producer this morning, later he called, did a pre-interview and we set up the on air interview for 6:10 pm GMT. I subsequently learned that my book had been mentioned in a Guardian article about the "Oddest Book Title Prize" (I won last year). Apparently there was a picture of the cover in the print version. I guess they are doing a weird book week on the show. I'm familiar with who Evans is, when I lived in England in 1996 he had a very popular TV show that I kind of liked. The interview went OK, like all the radio interviews I've done, I am set up to be this weirdo and then I have to quickly explain that I am an artist, it's a conceptual project, etc. In this case Evans said something like: "and now we go to an interview with Julian Montague, a guy who loved shopping trolleys so much he wrote a book about them." Needless to say that's not how I prefer to frame my artistic practice. But I'm not complaining, he was way nicer than the BBC World Service team that interviewed me last year, no one does dismissive like the BBC news. I find it kind of surreal that I was just on a show with 5 million listeners.

This is Chris Evans