Broken Ear

Broken Ears, originally uploaded by Matt Niebuhr.

I came across this little Ethiopian cafe shop the other morning. I find it interesting to try and get a read on the neighborhood by the activity and objects found in these little displays – little arrangements and messages – partial dioramas. A hint at a world that might be just behind the glass. Promise, allure, little short stories. Work to be done. Invitations to come in off the street or to go away – move along. These windows are filled with potential – like photographs themselves – pictures framed hung by the sidewalk – already made.


Sensing and seeing pictures after paintings

I’ve been drawn to looking at Hopper’s work. I’m not exactly sure but I am primarily looking at his work for the quietness, but also for the intense isolation tinged with lonesomeness.  So it’s interesting to me to begin to notice these “scenes” out in the real world so to speak.  So I’m asking myself – how to compose a photograph to be possibly nearly as emotive as the constructed images of Hopper’s paintings…  yet clearly be “of the world out there”.
Early Sunday Morning 1930 – Edward Hopper
Oil on canvas 35 x 60 in.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

East St. Louis, Illinois, 2003
From the series “Approaching Nowhere” by Jeff Brouws.
copyrighted by Jeff Brouws.

Some of Brouws work comes close to reminding me of that quietness…

54 PM. Sunday Afternoon

3:54 PM. Sunday Afternoon – Matt Niebuhr

I walk by this building above quite often – maybe finding it in the right light with the right activity level – might just get closer to what I’m searching for – an update so to speak on the “Sunday Morning” feelings in the Hopper painting…  it’s just not there yet.

Drug Store,1927 – Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper

Gils Maricopa – CA HIGHWAY by Jeff Brouws
I haven’t seen Brouws’ work in person – so I wonder what the prints might look like.  But the images seem promising at least in the web versions.
For me, it’s not in the painterly treatment of a photograph -but perhaps more in the spare, pared down detail, the coloring and the perspective yet flatness that a photograph can produce that lend it more of that emotive quality I’m after.

Portraits: Industrial Farming

Industrial Farm: 20061125#1-1
Matt Niebuhr

One of a series I am working on of various types of industrialized farming buildings.

I hold the view that industrial farming is not a sustainable endeavor for many reasons. Not least of which is the enormous strain that is put on the environment because of the extremely high concentrations of livestock in confined conditions. Another obvious issue is the vast scale of production that severs the connection with sustaining a local community in order to feed the “world”. In the modern world of processed foods, the location of production and the location of consumption are rarely known to each other.


Industrial Farm: 20060126#1

Matt Niebuhr


This is not a “new” problem, but it is one that has a potential solution in recognizing and looking at more sustainable farming practices which includes certified organic farms. We, (the invisible hand) have the ability to pick and choose among the types of food products we purchase to encourage the growth of more sustainable production of food. Consider locally grown produce when possible is a place to start.


Industrial Farm: 20061125#1-3

Matt Niebuhr


The Industrialized farmstead – a product of economics – is creating the potential for increasingly devastating disaster’s as the issue of scale and product are increased. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” as the saying goes.

See more of my work here: