Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holiday's, I Think.

Well, for those who know me, I am not a big holiday person. Especially Christmas! I don't enjoy all of the commercial pressures of the holiday season and since I do not believe in or celebrate the religious meaning of the holiday it is just another day. I did get excited about the Winter Solstice on Sunday. That means that the day's will slowly begin to get longer again. If I was going to celebrate the season in a more spiritual way I would definitely choose the Pagan and more earthly philosophy. Don't get me wrong, I do believe in a higher energy and the spirit with-in but just can't push myself into the realm of organized religion.

It is a great time to spend with family and that is a gift. My boys are coming home so the family will be together again. Happy Holiday's! Really, I mean it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

R.I.P My Dear Smokey

A sad day in our household today. We had to put down our beloved cat, Smokey. Not much to say other than he will be missed. Luckily, we have many great photo's of him like this thanks to my daughter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Art and Culture In the Bush Era

THE WAY WE WERE Art and Culture In the Bush Era

This article appears in the current issue of Newsweek Magazine. Newsweek asked its cultural critics to pick the one work in their field that they believe exemplifies what it was like to be alive in the age of George W. Bush. Check out Newsweeks website or pick-up a copy. I love the intro text:

If artists depend on angst and unrest to fuel their creative fire, then at least in one sense the 43rd presidency has been a blessing. Eight years is an eternity in the life of a culture, and when we look back on an era, we do it through pinholes: a movie here, a book there. What will stand out, decades from now, as the singular emblems of this moment in history?

I agree with Lorraine Ali's choice for music. Green Day's "American Idiot" is a superb musical journey that harnesses all of the feelings and emotions that many American's have been experiencing since the early stages of Bush's term. What tv show, movie, album, art work, book, or poem stands out for you, over the last eight years, that sums up what it has been like living in the age of George W. Bush. If only it was a dream. I'd like to hear what you would include if asked. Please leave a comment.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sunrise Fire

My first thought as the violent fire's long chaotic fingers were reaching out of the Sunrise Apartments window was, "Oh no, it is going to spread to my house if they don't deal with this soon". Quickly my own fears were distracted by the many seniors that the firemen were evacuating from the building. Residents from the apartment shuffled out with walkers, wheelchairs, no coats and fear of the unknown. My wife and I quickly began to grab as many coats and blankets from our house to warm the displaced residents until more help could arrive. We met some wonderful neighbors today under a terrible situation. The fire is out and a bus came to warm all of the people evacuated from the apartment. I hope that all are well. We did drive one wonderful 87 year old woman to West Allis Memorial Hospital after complaining from the smoke she inhaled. I know that her brother and her daughter would be with her soon. Hopefully all of these people have family that will provide them with a warm place to stay until they can be back in their homes!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Thanksgiving Bridge

Since my son had to work the day after Thanksgiving we traveled to Winona MN so that we could still celebrate the holiday all together. During our visit I also took a little time out to photograph the kids which has been a yearly tradition for many years. Our hotel looked out upon the mighty Mississippi River and a very large bridge that connects Winona to Fountain City, WI.

I have looked at the bridge many times over the numerous visits to Winona since my two sons moved there. This time it took on a special meaning as it really became a metaphor for the journey thats been traveled this past year by each of my children and all of us for that matter. Each of the kids has followed their own path and crossed their own bridges, some good and some less desirable. Family's are always in motion. Changing, evolving, growing both apart and together. Thanksgiving brought our bridges together in a harmonious way like Thanksgiving often does.

Here is to Thanksgiving and family!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Dad

It has been four years since my father unexpectedly passed away. Even though I have certainly moved on, not a day goes by that I'm not reminded of him, think about him, or speak to him. I was fortunate to write this poem a few years before he passed away. It was a Christmas present to my father. A moment I will cherish forever. More than a few tears were shed that day. This weeks blog is dedicated to my father on the fourth anniversary of his passing.

Dear Dad
by william zuback


The first thing I remember
Maybe I was four
Father running by my side
Strong hands to hold
Guided by a gentle push
I gain my independence
Comforted by the rhythmic steps
Pedals turning heart still churning
Both gasping for our breath

Turning around
Dad Still there
I knew I'd never stand alone


Around the age of nine or ten
Dad took on the task
Helping to build a special car
To race among the best
Made of pine and looking fine
The car sped down the track
Encouraging the car
To pick up speed
And place above the rest
But on this special race day
It did not meet the challenge
The pine car did not place
One, two, or three
Pride was the trophy
I took home from the race
Pride of a father
Who made me feel like a winner
That night

Turning around
Dad Still there
I knew I'd never stand alone


Sun rises on the horizon
Of my early teenage years
Finds father and son together
Spectators of dawns first light
The headlines delivered each and every day
One by choice and one by need
We'd meet in the middle to share the seam
Every morning like a clock
Mother nature woke us up
Few spoken words at the crack of dawn
Early morning meditation the conversation
Brings us together to share the news

Turning around
Dad Still there
I knew I'd never stand alone


Young adult and full of spite
Space was given but still we'd fight
I followed a path of my own invention
Mostly wrong but sometimes right
You respected my space
With a humble grace
And let me stumble but never fall
A thousand miles of open road
Eighteen hours sharing another seam
One by choice and one by need
No lecture or advice tonight

Turning around
Dad Still there
I knew I'd never stand alone


Now a father I am proud
To use the wisdom handed down
I'm reminded of you every day
And for that I love you - Dad
More and more each day

Father is the tripod
Foundation of the image
The image grows each passing year
From wisdoms past
Guided by a gentle push
I gain my independence

Turning around
Dad Still there
I know I'll never stand alone!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I had another of my always fascinating dinner gatherings with a small group of my liberal friends last Sunday. Less than a week since Obama became President Elect Obama, we obviously had a lot to rejoice about and toast. Our subject for the evening was poetry. We all had to bring a poem that had meaning in our lives. Since I don't read a lot of poetry, I chose a song that strikes a strong chord in my life at this time.

The singer/songwriter is a great musician by the name of Mary Gauthier. The song is called Mercy Now. After a bad reading of the lyrics by me, we played the song on the stereo. Check out the song on her myspace page.A great discussion developed afterward with the biggest debate being; Is mercy and forgiveness the same thing or different? I would love to hear your opinions on this. Enjoy her heartfelt music!

Mercy Now
Mary Gauthier

My father could use a little mercy now
The fruits of his labor
Fall and rot slowly on the ground
His work is almost over
It won’t be long and he won’t be around
I love my father, and he could use some mercy now

My brother could use a little mercy now
He’s a stranger to freedom
He’s shackled to his fears and doubts
The pain that he lives in is
Almost more than living will allow
I love my bother, and he could use some mercy now

My Church and my Country could use a little mercy now
As they sink into a poisoned pit
That’s going to take forever to climb out
They carry the weight of the faithful
Who follow ‘em down
I love my Church and Country and they could use some mercy now

Every living thing could use a little mercy now
Only the hand of grace can end the race
Towards another mushroom cloud
People in power, well
They’ll do anything to keep their crown
I love life, and life itself could use some mercy now

Yea, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don’t deserve it
But we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance
Dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


by william zuback

November tree limbs creak with arthritic movements
Dry and brittle, the branches scrape together
Pointing upward like knurled bony fingers, reaching to the cold gray sky
November's bitter wind resonates the muffled tapping of an elder's cane
On a frozen sidewalk balanced by the rhythmic shuffle of heavy feet
Leaves release their grip on majestic limbs
Too tired to hold on, abandoning the muscle
Cold November days mark the change of another season
A season of contrast, of black, white, and gray
Arthritic branches hum and moan in the frenzy of fall
Burdened with the heavy weight of an early snow
Hold on to the trunk, fragile limbs
Deep roots held frozen in time

Monday, October 27, 2008

One hit wonder, The Best of, or Stay tuned...

Photographers must withstand, with the help of their families and friends, the psychic battering that comes from what they see. In order to make pictures that no one has made before, they have to be attentive and imaginative, qualities partly assigned and partly chosen, but in any case ones that leave them vulnerable. When Robert Frank put down his camera after photographing The Americans he could not so readily escape the sadness of the world he recorded as could we when we closed the book.

Paradoxically, photographers must also face the threat that their vision may one day be denied them. Their capacity to find their way to art, which is their consolation-to see things whole-may fail for an hour or a month or forever because of fatigue or misjudgment or some shift in spirit that cannot be predicted or understood or even recognized until it has happened past correction. For every Atget, Stieglitz, Weston, or Brandt who remains visionary to the end, there is an Ansel Adams who, after a period of extraordinary creativity, lapses into formula. excerpt from THE EDUCATION of a PHOTOGRAPHER, edited by Charles H. Traub, Steven Heller, and Adam B. Bell.

I often think about this potential fate of some artists. You see it often with musicians, they produce a great body of work for a period of time and then reach a plateau in their career. The work becomes average instead of ground breaking or innovative. I try to push my photography out of my comfort zone as often as I can to avoid this fate. Will I succeed? Only time will tell. A one hit wonder or a visionary to the end.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sixteen days to HOPE

With the election nearly two weeks away it is hard to keep emotions in check and not get excited about what the future of this country CAN BE! For a party (GOP) that prides itself on less government, we citizens have lost so much in the last eight years to an administration shrouded in corruption, secrecy, and greed. Barack Obama will lead this country back to fairness and greatness for all of it's citizens.

Cry No More
William Zuback

Cry no more
Your tears have quenched your soul
Salt has dried your lips

Cry no more
Put your trembling hand in mine
Fold your fingers into the valley of the fray

Our hands have experienced
The war of our day
Life lines collide, granting us one more stay

Our minds a kaleidoscope
Fragments of thought
Abstract ideas
That cannot be bought

Our bodies are prisoners
Of this political scheme
But the freedom of our soul
Allows us to dream!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

EXPOSED a group exhibition

Opening on Friday, October 17th at Light Ideas Gallery, a group exhibition comprised of twenty-seven local photographers. I will have one print on display along with four others rotating electronically on a large screen monitor. The autumn Gallery night is always one of the most popular so come on out and support art in Milwaukee. The Squeezettes will perform in the lower level outside of the gallery as well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

COPA Juror Reception and Gallery Talk

COPA is proud to announce the Juror Reception and Gallery Talk with George Slade, Friday, October 10, 6-8pm at the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public. George Slade, former Artistic Director of the Minnesota Center for Photography, juried this year’s exhibition; selecting 60 photographs from 42 artists. Slade also served as Program Director for the Minnesota Center for Photography/McKnight Foundation Artists Fellowships for Photographers, and is an adjunct assistant curator in the Department of Photography at The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. Slade’s expert eye in selecting work has been honed over the years. He has been a panelist and portfolio reviewer for the Ohio Arts Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, Minnesota State Fair, Fotofest’s Meeting Place, and Society for Photographic Education, Critical Mass and Photolucida. Slade is also a prolific writer, having contributed reviews and essays to the Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Photography, Exposure, Photo-eye Booklist, Minnesota History, and other publications. Slade lives in St. Paul with his two daughters.

The reception for Slade will begin at 6pm on Friday, October 10, with his Gallery Talk following at 7pm. Walker’s Point Center for the Arts is located at 911 W. National Ave., Milwaukee, WI. 53204, phone 414-672-2787.

If you haven't seen the exhibit yet Friday is a great night to view the exhibit and listen to Slade's talk, discussing selected images and the process of selection that led him to the 60 chosen images.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to me?

Yup, today is my Birthday. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am the poster child for non-celebration. I don't enjoy celebrating my Birthday but it does become a significant day of reflection. A day in which you size up your life, it's failures and accomplishments. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for such days I certainly hope that I have many more in my future.

Today, my mom took me to lunch and my wife and daughter took me to dinner for my Birthday. Enjoyed both not for the occasion but for the family I love. My son called me from college and wished me a happy Birthday. I never tire of his calls or IM's. My daughter asked me if I could take her to get her belly button pierced. I did. It was probably the highlight of my day seeing how happy she was. These are my birthday presents. Maybe that is why I don't need one specific day to celebrate. I find these little gifts come throughout the year.

I will end on a more reflective note. I often turn to this book "Revolution on Canvas", poetry from the Indie music scene, edited by Rick Balling. It is full of poetry from some of the best Indie rockers. This poem is by Russ Rankin of the band Good Riddance.

Blank Pages
When I stop living
When I am dead
When I no longer walk, talk,
Or breathe
When my insides stop working
Will I leave anything substantial?
Will anything I've done, said,
Or erected
During my brief tour here
Empower, enlighten,
Or endure
When I happen to pause
In the course of an average day
And think these thoughts
It's as if Time itself hits me
On it's way to wherever
It is going
In such a hurry
Why am I?
There are no answers for me
In this life
Only these long days
And blank pages to fill

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

From Fame To Tame

There is a great article in the current issue of Newsweek magazine that talks about an artists ability to be bold and radical with their art until the world begins to notice their work. Then, the artist tends to move into something more mainstream. I've struggled with this as I slowly try to move into a more serious role in the fine art arena. Read the article, it is fascinating.

As an artist, my work and work of other artists I respect, especially musicians, ebbs and flows in content, context, an emotion depending on many factors of your current and past life experiences. I am not real familiar with this artist so I can't make a judgment on her body of work. The author of this article, Peter Plagens, seems to think that Opie has moved from Fame to Tame or Radical to Mainstream as her career has progressed. I guess, in the end, only the artist and their closest friends and family may know that answer but is does raise a question that as artists, we must be concerned about.

The images above are by artist Catherine Opie.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

INFLUENCE/MENTOR you've never met?

This was an interesting topic that was the center of our conversation at our last dinner gathering. Unfortunately for me I wasn't able to attend. I can imagine from the dynamic group of individuals, a very insightful evening of discussion took place last Sunday. I will have to get the Reader's Digest version the next time we get together.

The topic for the evening was, to come prepared to discuss, who was an major influence or mentor in your life that you have never met. For me as an visual artist, that influence would have to be the band Alice Cooper. Music in general has influenced my visual imagery more than any other type of art or artist but none more that Alice Cooper. From early song's such as "Caught in a Dream", "Billion Dollar Babies", "I Love the Dead", and Muscle of Love to mid career songs such as "From the Inside", "Nurse Rozetta", and "Millie and Billie"; the band always challenged the status quo both lyrically and musically. The fancy die-cut flaps on numerous album cover jackets pushed the envelope on design and photography.

Today, my fine art photography reflects a lot of those musical and lyrical influences of the late 60's and the 1970's. Music continues to be both a great motivator and stimulus for creativity for my fine art images. If you would like to see some of my earlier work then check out the Doll Narrative Series gallery at my website.

This briefly describes one of my main influences as an artist. I'd love to hear who has been an influence/mentor in your life?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

West Allis Arts A'Fair

Saturday, September 13 from 10am to 3pm; the West Allis City Hall building and grounds will host a variety of artists from the West Allis community and beyond. Work will be for sale by artists.

The 5th annual West Allis Art A'Fair will represent 21 artists showing photography, painting, jewelry, woodworking, and other fine arts. Poetry and music will also fill the grounds with artistic sounds and expression. Food and drink are available for sale.

This event is free and open to the public.

I will be showing all new work. Gone are the landscapes and back are some of the “different” type of photography I’ve done in the past. If you are looking for something to do on Saturday the 13th, stop by.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

CoPA 2nd Annual Juried Show Selection

I was fortunate to have one of my images selected for the Coalition of Photographic Arts 2nd Annual Juried Exhibition. This years event Juror was George Slade.

George Slade, Artistic Director of the Minnesota Center for Photography, juried this year’s exhibition; selecting 60 photographs from 42 artists. Slade said, “These 42 artists have brought unique visions to bear on a wonderfully intriguing assortment of subject matter. Many of the photographs pose questions about representation, and many provide insights that are accessible to those willing to look closely. There are excellent single images in the show and provocative groupings that highlight photography’s inherent multiplicity and the complexity of visual story-telling. In successful cases, I was intrigued by how an application expanded my awareness of the world and enhanced my appreciation of the medium’s grasp. I look forward to experiencing the exhibition in the galleries. ”

The Exhibition opens on Friday, September 12 with an opening reception from 5-9pm at the Walker's Point Center for the Arts (WPCA).

Nearly 700 images from 150 artists were entered in this years Juried Show competition. All the information about the photographers was removed prior to Slade's jury process selection. The selection was based completely on Slade's artistic judgment. The 42 artists accepted for this years show come from Illinois (18), Minnesota (12), and Wisconsin (12).

The Exhibition runs from Friday, September 12 through Saturday October 18. There will be a Juror Reception and Gallery Talk with George Slade on Friday, October 10 from 6-8pm. The show closes with a closing reception on Friday, October 17 from 5-9pm. This is also Gallery Night in Milwaukee so there will be plenty to see around town.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Untitled (Description)

I am guilty of doing this with past artwork myself. You see it often on a painting, photograph, 3D art piece; "Untitled", followed by a description of the artwork in parentheses? After a while you ask yourself, why didn't the artist just name the piece the description that they used to explain it's content?

I have been criticized in past shows by art critics that my titles say too much. That because of the title, I don't leave enough room for the viewer to make up their own mind, conclusion, or interpretation, of the art being viewed. Do you write a novel or short story and leave it "Untitled"? Isn't the main goal of an artist to communicate?

So what are your thoughts as an artist or as a patron of the arts? Do you like the work to be titled, untitled, just provide a literal description of the piece, or provide a title that pushes you toward the artists intent?

Old man, newsman, street vendor; how would you title this photograph?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mid-Life Crisis

I've been listening a lot to John Mellencamp's new CD, Life Death Love and Freedom. The content of this CD speaks to me of late. Very reflective of all that the title evokes. I don't speak of the term "crisis", in my title, as a troubled time but as a "turning point". A place and time in ones life where you are literally at a crossroads with those who are in your circle of life. Your life experiences are shared with those who have come before you and have experience much more life than you and with those who are coming up behind you. You are truly at the Mid-Point.

With in the last few weeks death has been a much too common thread in my life. Although indirectly, it has certainly been with in the seven degree's of separation. It certainly makes you reflect on your own mortality and those around you. Makes you begin to assess your own life journey of where you've been and where you still want to go. Hopefully my journey will become less about me and more about those around me. As an artist, I don't know how successful that goal will be for me? For, every fine art image I create, I am saying look at me, look what I did! Maybe artists are kids who never grow-up or at least try and pretend they don't have to grow up?

Verse from "Longest Days" John Mellencamp

It seems like once upon a time ago
I was where I was supposed to be
My vision was true and my heart was too
There was no end to what I could dream
I walked like a hero into the setting sun
Everyone called out my name
Death to me was just a mystery
I was too busy raisin up Cain

Monday, July 21, 2008

Seduction by: wm zuback

You're so hot
Every morning
I'm awakened by
You're radiating warmth
From your smooth
Curved porcelain skin
Held tight
Between my two
Cupped hands
My hands
The recipient
Of your generosity
My lips
Taste your smoothness
Your sultry
Your darkness
Just a hint
Of sugar
I consume
Every ounce
Of your wetness
I delight
In our daily
Early morning
Love affair
With my
Arabica bean

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Liberal Mind Bender

Once a month I get together with five like minded liberal creative thinking friends. We have great food, drink, and conversation. Not much different than most. We discuss the events of the day, art, and anything else that comes up for discussion. At the end of each gathering we always come up with a topic that we are prepared to talk about at our next gathering. Tonight we came ready to talk about our "shadow" and what that means to each of us. Six completely different points of view to bring each of us to our own idea's and conclusions. Some more pointed and straight forward and others more clinical or philosophical. All sincere and worthy of great discussion and respect. I saw a terrific photograph, listened to some poignant readings, and heard some meaningful poems. An intimate evening in the company of great friends!

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Creative Nugget

Although the entire space is just under 500 sq ft., it is my first very own studio space. I have dreamed of a creative space of my own like this for a very long time. Thanks to a very understanding wife, we made some logistical changes and sacrifices to our parking situation to allow me this wonderful creative space. I feel as an artist and as a business person, this allows me the freedom and flexibility I need to create. Now, NO MORE EXCUSES!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Studio Construction Progress

I haven't been this excited in a very long time. I have been like a little kid waiting and waiting for Santa to finally come and bring that new slot car race set I wanted. This time it isn't a slot car race set but a studio for me to play and make some extra money in. I've still been waiting and waiting just as I did so many years ago but not for Santa. I've been not so patiently waiting for the contractor to finish his handy work so that I can finally get into my new playground and well, you know, PLAY!

I have big plans for this new space which is only about 20 steps from my back door. I plan to spend many hours working on my fine art photography while also doing a fair amount of freelance work to help get the kids through school.

I know that the contractor is busy this time of year just as Santa is during his peak busy season, but come on, give a kid a break!

Friday, July 4, 2008

First Post/First Impressions

If you stumbled on this by accident or are a friend, family member, or acquaintance; this is my first posting. As a photographer I guess it is only fitting to begin with an image.

This image is a Photoshop composition I created recently. I added two doll faces to the overall landscape image but when I was finished I noticed a third face that I didn't create. It looks hauntingly like my father. Since he passed away almost four years ago I have been wanting some sign/communication from him. I'm not a religious individual but consider myself a spiritual person. I don't know if there is a god or an afterlife but I do feel a deep connection when I talk to my father. Well, for what it's worth, this is the sign I have been waiting for. Thanks Dad!