Tonight, the Axis art gallery/event space in Pioneer Square is playing host to a unique photo exhibit, showcasing the work of three local photographers: Coco Aramaki, Patrick Bennett, and Nick Hall. It all takes place between 4 and 8 pm. It was centered around the theme of football, which seemed fitting because the Seahawks are now defending Super Bowl champions. There are some stunning portraits hanging on the Axis walls, and they cover a wide range of sites and scenes that can be tangentially related to football, like the concession stand. It was also quite cool to take a tour of the exhibit with a focus on the scent, feel, sound, and even taste of the exhibit. Others were more overt.
The whole shebang was put together by Canon, who are promoting their Pixma Pro line of high-quality printers. It’s the third stop, after Boston and Austin. All cities had different themes: Boston focused on “Iconic Boston,” Austin’s theme was live music, and Seattle’s was football. Oh yeah, and each city had a celebrity who took part. Seattle was quite fortunate that hometown-hero-turned-TV-star Joel McHale was part of the show, and he had his own photos in the show. While he won’t be at the show tonight, his photos will be.
Last night, there was a private reception for the show, before the public opening tonight. While possibly being mistaken for someone from the Seattle Times, we were able to get a few minutes to talk with Joel McHale about the photo show, and his partnership with Canon. My friend Jenna sat in on the interview and asked a few questions, which are noted below.
You’re taking part in this photo show in your hometown, what made you want to get involved with it?
Well, Canon is paying me money. Don’t say that! It’s a partnership, a partnership!! They hate that!
No, Canon came to me and said, “Hey, want to work for us for a bit?” It’s Canon, a blue chip brand and I use Canon cameras, so I would do this for free. But if you’re going to pay me, I’m even more excited.
It’s really about their printer, the Pixma Pro. I know this sounds like a sell, but go down there and look at those prints. Those were all printed off of those printers. You can have that printer in your home and the shit looks like that.
Were you always interested in photography?
I am what you would say, just like everything else, I want the best electronics and I can understand about 5 to 10% of it. Canon makes a lot of cameras that I can use. And with that printer, it makes my stuff look way better than it actually is.
The theme of this show is football, and I know you’re a big Seahawks fan and played for the Huskies. It has to be exciting to be a part of it now that the Seahawks are Super Bowl winners.
Right, but if you notice down there, there are no Seahawks logos down there because we’d have to pay for it and we don’t want to pay for any of that!
But yes, I’m a massive Seahawks fan and I’m a huge Huskies fan. With us beating Cal last week, I was very happy. With us losing to Dallas last week, I was not happy.
It’s very convenient to live in a city that doesn’t have an NFL team because you can stay very loyal to your home team. I would anyway, but you don’t get shit from anybody because everyone else is like “whatever, we don’t have a team.”
I’m sure we both remember how dismal Seahawks football was during the Tom Flores years…
I remember the Jack Patera years!
J: Where did you take your photos?
That was a high school on the Eastside.
J: Were you looking for specific photos because of the assignment?
Yeah, we were talking about the football theme. I was going to take a look around. It was a nice day and that all came together. It was awesome and it worked out perfectly.
J: How long have you been working on it?
Eleven years! Eleven years!!
I guess the relationship started about 3-4 months ago. I had a couple of other shots that weren’t a part of that shoot, which we liked and were going to use, but decided not to.
How often do you make it back to Seattle?
For real, about twice a year. Once in a while, I’ll get up for one day for something.
We both saw you at the Triple Door a few months ago…
Brooks (McBeth) was great. I was just there in a producer capacity. The night was about him and how funny he is. That’s why I didn’t do too much material, because a) I didn’t want to be there for that long and b) that was Brooks’ special. He said it’s coming together really well.
I’ll come back here and do standup sometime; it’s just a huge hassle to do it. I think I gave away 200 tickets last time I did standup. I was also managing the parking… People were texting me right before I went on stage asking “Where do I park?” I don’t fucking know.