First Look : JRS Rules and Obey

Curator of JJJJound, Justin recently launched latelierj.com, a multifaceted creative agency. JRS Rules’ most recent project involves the design of a wardrobe classic in conjunction with streetwear brand Obey. If anyone has been following their line for the passed…5-6 seasons, they would have expected such a move as we’ve felt a sense of evolving continuity in the minimal branding. Put differently, the brand has simply been designing some of the strongest collections in their market. The 5-panel they’ve created together is the epitome of what they’ve been preaching in their latest seasons. The camp hat features multiple cotton fabric panels with stitched eyelets and an adjustable web belt closure. Moreover, it features a blank leather patch on the front and a specialty “JRS RULES” embroidery on the back. Also to be expected are 3 t-shirt designs.

A Short Essay on Post-Contemporary Curation : Blogs

As I peruse through my regular list of inspiration blogs or properly known as moodboard blogs, I came to an interesting comparative theory. These modern day curators like JJJJound, The Impossible Cool or One Man’s Style, are no different from the classic ones like Newhall, Steichen or even Szarkowski.

First let’s examine the evolutionary line of being that defines photography as Art. We first heard of this theory through avant-gardist Newhall’s conception of what it means to consider photography on the same plane as high art painting or sculpting. While he failed to penetrate masses with the idea, it was undoubtedly a stepping stone for this unclaimed ideology. His focus on curation was purely artist-based; in other words, he preached personal expression and the photographer as an autonomous artist. Public mass wasn’t ready for this. A photographers work was imcomparable to the time and competence needed to achieve an oil painting. Visitors didn’t comprehend the concept of a presence by absence of the photographer which, at the epoch was seemingly viewed to be snobbish and pontifical; often criticized for being submerged in some esoteric fog. Of course, the rise of mechanical reproduction made it impossible to praise the uniqueness, singularity and authenticity of a photograph.

This is where it gets revealing. His successor however, Edward Steichen remapped the idea of what it means to curate an photo exhibit. With the help of Bauhaus designer Herbert Bayer, four guidelines became the appraisal of curation’s organizational logic: space, color, elevation and most importantly typography. His goal? Penetrate and endoctrine an idea and specfic reaction by persuading the visitor to a, not so much biased opinion, but definitely a planned one. Much like these blogs, the photographers were almost or nearly considered a run of the mill. While I, myself as a photographer, hold no belligerent thoughts, it is simple historic fact and modern day truth. The photographer now became an illustrator of another artist’s ideas(in this case, Steichel); the designer’s hand soon became more important than the photographer’s eye. Nonetheless, he succeeded in grabbing the public eye, not because of the talented photographers, but because of the installations and the way photography was being displayed. During Steichen’s 15 year stay as the photographic curator and director at the MoMA, some of America’s most notable photographers went through unnoticed: Callahan’s formalistic style or Robert Frank’s romantic and poignant style slipped through the editting and cropping that Steichen allowed himself to do.

So where do we, as photographers, stand? or as Bloggers? While the 60′s had John Szarkowski to re-establish the balance between curation and photography. The internet is a much bigger Art Museum than the physical institutions…

Share your thoughts. Please.

-Vincent Tsang

Trolly, New Orleans by Robert Frank

The Americans by Robert Frank

Cuzco, Peru by Harry Callahan

Untitled (#372) by Harry Callahan

INTERVIEW : JJJJound – Justin Saunders

I met Justin a little while back through a friend who suggest we sit down and work together. Sat down we did. I asked him to do an interview with me so here I am, featuring JJJJound, one of the first (if not THE first) moodboard blog out there.

(I shot this photo from his own mood board in his work space)

Me: You dipped your feet into graffiti as a teenager, was that the turning point in your life??

Justin: From graffiti to hip hop, to basketball & skateboarding, it all played an unequivocal role in my upbringing.

Me: What brought you into fashion?

: When I was in high school, I wanted to be a pro skateboarder right after wanting to be a pro basketball player. Then I got into hip hop, got kicked out of school and started doing my own thing… Some way, some how, I ended up meeting a dude who had belief in me and wanted to invest. Printing and selling t-shirts, caps, sweaters became my hustle. Eventually I decided it was time to move on to other endeavors. So I went back to school in fashion marketing; learned about accounting, merchandising, and basically learned another approach to what I had been doing for four years…


Justin: I started caring much for the internet as soon as we got a computer at home. Around the time websites started updating every week. That blew me away – pertinent information from all these niche segments being moved around. That’s when I started saving stuff on my computer. Sharing is caring. I’ve sent you emails with attachments of cool photos and stuff right?

: yeah, I still have em.

Justin: Eventually, my list of emails got really long so I decided to put it all in one place…

Me: How did it snowball into what it is now though??

Justin: I have no clue, no idea why or how…

Me: How do you feel about people who have complained about seeing their photos on your site with no credits?

Justin: I got a couple emails with mention of credits, but I mean most people are pretty content about it being on there. At the end of the day, a good photographer’s photos should be recognizable. You can recognize your favorite photographer’s photo without it needing a credit or watermark: the subject, the context… I like that shirt a lot by the way, is it vintage?

(I was wearing a Ralph Lauren chambray).

Me: No, haha, it was on sale at the outlet…Can you talk abit about how you started with New York Times?

Justin: Basically, I started the blog and all of a sudden, I get emails from New York people; then NYT invites me down – want me to contribute for the The Moment. It made sense for me, since I don’t write on JJJJ, to word some of my opinions – great platform.

Me: Do you find yourself tuning what you post on NYT in comparison to what is on JJJound?

Justin: It goes from conversations I’ve had with them at the beginning. In other words, I’m not gonna post about items that are TOO niche or whatever… More long term investment pieces. But it’s fun, and I love doing it.

Me: Where do you think fashion is headed. The t-shirt game too kover in streetwear 5 years ago…. then people moved to dressing terry flannels…to oxfords…to full-on workwear. What next?

Justin: A lot of poeple have been asking me and frankly, I don’t know. I believe in the “forever” collection. I’ll always have a percentage of workwear, and a percentage of streetwear… high end stuff… I hope they don’t change anything because I’m gonna want the same socks next year…