Justin James Reed's Top Ten

portrait by Bree DeStephano

Justin James Reed is a photographer, professor and blogger from Philadelphia.

10. Olaf Breuning

Just one look at his website and I think you cannot help but agree that he is undeniabley awesome. His video at the Whitney Biennial made my day.

9. Medieval Civilization (400 - 1500)

Currently working my way through a book by the same title. The dark ages not quite as dark as I previously thought, but then again mothers cooking and then eating their babies to avoid starving to death is pretty rough. Incredible that we made it through, and also pretty scary to think how close we sometimes are to decending back into it's depths.

8. The Daily Show & The Colbert Report

Not only the funniest shows on television, but probably the smartest. Whenever I am feeling down about the political process these gentlemen always remind me of how ridiculous it can all be, and that it is ok to laugh. Plus, they now stream all of their episodes online for free!

7. Unique Uses of the Internet by Photographers and the Photo - Blog - O - Sphere

The Photo - Blog - O - Sphere in and of itself is a great example of how photographers are the most creative bunch out there. To see how we are all pushing this medium forward, and utilizing it as one of the most progressive tools available to us for networking and promotion is amazing. Some of my favorite unique uses so far are; Wanderlustagraphy & Women in Photography, Remain In Light, Fjord, Folio Browser & A Photo Editor, Molokoplus Magazine, countless others, and everyone who takes the time to share with us their insights and thoughts on a daily basis with their own blog.

6. Brian Ulrich

How could one possibly say who is their favorite photographer? Well if push came to shove I would have to say that Brian is mine. It is not just that he has photographed one of the most relevent activities of our time, consumerism, but that he does it so damn well. Looking at Brian's photographs reminds us of our common human experience. His work trancends all social classes and locals. We have been those people in his photographs. We have all navigated those environs. One cannot help but be changed by his work. I cannot say how often I look down the isle at my fellow consumers, and think about his work. How often I look up into the rafters of the big boxes and see the absurdity of all of it. On top of all of this his photographs just keep getting better.

Chicago, IL 2003

5. Travels With Charley

Probably one of my all time favorite books. John Steinbeck simultaniously makes you feel like you are in touch with the American road and spirit, as much as he makes you want to go out there and expereince it for yourself. His descriptions of lonliness, fear, wonder, and excitment are all spot on for anyone who has made the trek across this country. Also, if it doesn't encourage you to get a dog, (not necessarily a poodle) to accompany you on photographic journeys, I don't know what will.

4. New Jersey

Oh yes no Top 10 list of mine would be complete without a mention of the mighty NJ. New Jersey eeked out North Dakota as my favorite state as soon as I moved back to the east coast. From Philadelphia I can see it just across the Delaware, and it never seems to lose it's allure. It has provided countless photographs, and endless travels. What other state has this much to offer: the beach, the Turnpike, the Pine Barrens, more strip malls then could ever possibly be neccessary, farmland, the first climite contolled indoor mall, suburbs galore, and on top of that you only have to pay tolls to get out of New Jersey, never in!

3. The Suburbs

True they are basically an environmental catastrophy in terms of their affect on the landscape, natural resources, and animal life, but they provide endless photographic fodder. As a contemporary landscape photographer there really is no other more relevant subject. They are EVERYWHERE.

Photograph by Kevin Bewersdorf "Old Man Surveys Landscape"

2. Going Green

My counter point to including The Suburbs in my Top 10. We all know we have to go green if we want to live in a world with a comfortable climite, a diverse ecosystem, no wars, and thousands of other reasons, but how we do it is the biggest challange. I cannot help but feel that the only way is with small steps. I would never claim to have the answer, but little things like not taking a plastic (or even paper) bag when you leave a store, buying organic, and turning off your power strips when you are not using the appliences attached to them is a start. For those of us with the wanderlust, who drive all the time, a Hybrid is an awesome investment. I was lucky enough to be able to purchase one, and 46mpg with near Zero emissions is amazing anytime, especially with $3.50 gas.

1. Love

It makes the world go round. Can be the greatest feeling in the world, or the cause of our worst agony. More music, movies, photographs, etc... are made because of and for it then probably any other subject. And most of all because without it life is empty, and once you experience it you realize that it truly is what it is all about.