Welcome to The Spot Press

As the inaugural blog post for The Spot Press, our welcome and invitation to explore the site comes with much excitement and some suspense. 

I'm J.B. Blackford, our editor and writer, who will be curating our blog and engaging you in discussions on everything from social commentary in fine art photography to why one of our team members, Max the Westie, is an ideal subject and Everyman. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. 

Our story actually started in 2007 with one photographer, two West Highland Terriers, and an experiment. 

Charlee Brodsky is a fine-art documentary photographer who used her two Westies as subjects while familiarizing herself with a new digital camera before visiting India. The liveliness of the photographs, coupled with Charlee's experiences that passersby almost always desired to connect with her dogs, made her probe the possibility of the work. Doing so led her to connect photographs and then pair them with the words of "collaborators" known for their skill in using language to explore the flaws and triumphs of humanity: Mary Shelley, William Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

This work evolved into the Good Dog series, which was exhibited at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in 2012, and was the first project that Charlee and I worked on together. It was my job to edit the Afterwords in which Charlee elaborates on the impetus for the work, and, to do my job well, I spent a lot of time looking at the images and text together. I was continually struck by how the language from novels that I'd read multiple times over many years was fresh to my eyes when put next to a "speaker" who wasn't human. From there, it wasn't a far leap to agree to Charlee's proposal that we try to get the work out, try to share it with a larger group of people than we were able to reach here in Pittsburgh. With that goal in mind, Becky Torbochkin -- a former design student of Charlee's at Carnegie Mellon University -- came on board to create and design the site. 

As individuals, the three of us -- Charlee, Becky, and myself -- are all storytellers in our own mediums and styles, whether through photography, information design, or the written word. Together, we want to tell you the story of The Spot Press. We want to involve you in the work that's being done here so that The Spot Press is both a place to create and sustain art, and a place where we can use beautiful things as a venue for examining our experiences as humans.  

For us, The Spot Press is an adventure, and it's our hope that you join us.