Interesting Stuff Last Month – October 2013

House of Turds – Cover of New York Daily News at the Start of the Government Shutdown
The one image that captured the most political act of the year. A sly reference to the Netflix TV series House of Cards, which was itself a reference to the famous photo of Vladmimir Putin by Platon. Iconic.

Hurricane Sandy-Damaged Photographs of Ground Zero
Hurricane Sandy – Self-Portraits by Communities in Distress
Rising Waters show in NYC
Hurricane Sandy hit the city where many of the world’s best photographers live. Here are a few things to show how they hit back a year later.

The Moment a Photographer Became a Historian – Bill Eppridge
“I just turned to my left and there was the senator lying there and at that point my profession changed. I became a historian.”

The Impact of the Eddie Adams Workshop – 20 Years Later
This incredible workshop has been helping train photo journalist for 20 years. Here’s a few personal stories looking back at the first class.

Passenger Seat
More from Passenger Seat
A few images from Julieanne Kost’s personal project.

Advertising and the End of Instagram’s Sincerity
An analysis of Instagram’s evolution into a platform for advertising. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. The line to walk is fine and yet undefined.

One Hour, One Camera, One Setting, One Dollar per Person
How a change in plans can lead to a wonderful photo project.

Things I Have Learned About Nature Photography
A friend I met at the Platon workshop traveled to Africa with two other friends from that same workshop. Along the way, she started becoming a nature photographer.

Women on the Front Lines and Behind the Lens
Profiles of some fantastic, National Geographic photographers providing different perspectives and access to stories that make that magazine an institution.

An Open Letter from a Photographer’s Agent
“I write this letter in the hopes of starting a conversation between agents and photographers that will remind us that we are in this together; each of us trying to make the other a better photographer, agent, partner, therapist and friend.”

Traditional 40’s Pinup Photos with Models Wearing High Speed Milk
Yes, you can do amazing work by being very technical and geeky and willing to put in the time planning. The results can stun the world.

Bill Atkinson’s new mission: Save the Postcard
This living legend in the Macintosh world and an accomplished photographer has built a digital tool to help revive an old form of communication. “Nobody sends hate mail on a postcard.”

Moleskin and Paper Collaborate to Bring You Custom Books
I am a fan of good notebooks and Moleskin makes some of the best. That a classy app like Paper teamed up with them should not be a surprise, but is certainly a pleasant one. It has led me to get back to sketching on my iPad so I can buy one of these books.

The Drones of Burning Man
Drone photography fascinates me. There are so many things I’d love to photograph using an aerial camera. This articles talks about the wonder and the practicality and the possible future of how drone photography will become part of our everyday.

These Time-Lapses Fit Into a Single Photo
Photographs capture a slice of time. One artist found a telling way to use slices to capture more than a single instance in one image.

Incredible Self-Portraits by 14 Year Old
A fantastic series of adventure.

Young Photographer Discovered by Band Creates Album Cover – Rosie Hardy
Digital tools can be liberating and life changing. Personal expression sometimes leads to rewards beyond expectations.

Why Make Prints?
Return to the Same Well
Two articles by John Paul Caponigro that answer a few questions about theory and practice as an artist.

David Maisel Interview
“I’m looking at landscape from a conceptual point of view. Politics and environment enter into it, but I’m primarily a visual artist, and I’m not making these pictures in order to change policy. If I was, I’d need to make very different kinds of pictures, and I’d position them very differently than I do.”

Angelo Merendino Photographed Every Stage of His Wife’s Cancer
As my cousin wrote, “Heart check. I passed.”

Spectacle Within an Argentine Limousine
Important Things are Said Softley by Myriam Meloni
There can be the image we project to others, the image we project to ourself, and the image of ourself we usually don’t see. This project captures all of those. The follow up story goes deeper and more personal into one of the subjects.

Creepy and Disturbing Vintage Halloween Photos
Anything can be used to make a costume and any costume can be creepy. Halloween photography should become its own genre. Here are some examples from the past.

Interesting Stuff Last Month – September 2013

Steve McCurry Looks Back on His Stories Career
“Certainly when you have the time to really dig deep into a story, it is a great opportunity to explore every aspect of a topic and potentially find some interesting angles to include in the story. The same can be said for continuing to return to the same places over the span of many years.”

Military Rape, Enemy Within the Ranks
Photo-journalistic investigation into an odious problem. A good example of how one story can lead to another.

Sam Abell Interview
“It’s shifted in a good way, away from what you might call the singular successful image, to the sustained body of work. Yes, there are billions more photographers, and billions more photographs every day, but who’s building up a point of view? Who’s photographing with intention, and whose body of work will sustain itself and survive?”

RIP Gotham – Rands in Repose
A lament and attempt at recreating the discarded Instagram Filter.

Top 12 Photos by Paul Caponigro – Selected by John Paul Caponigro
The photographer and educator picks the top 12 photos created by his equally famous father. The result offers insights into both artists.

How Three Famous Photographs Were Edited Before Photoshop
The exhibit for Richard Avedon’s “Portraits of Power” included a photo of Jackie Kennedy done for Life magazine with marks similar to those shown in this article. It is naive to think that photos were pristine before the digital age.

The Economic Collapse Seen Through Aerial Photos of Abandoned Mansions
A fascinating way to visualize the economic fall out of the Great Recession.

Witness to a Massacre in a Nairobi Mall by Taylor Hicks
The photojournalist goes into an active terrorist attack as the police try to get bystanders to safety and contain the attackers. Truly news as it was happening.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About James Porto
A short interview with a wildly creative photographer. I had been clipping Porto’s early covers for Wired, before I was fortunate to meet him. Wish I had been able to take the Photo-Illustration class with him at SVA.

Francis Cisafio: Filter Photo Festival Blow Up Winner
I see faces everywhere and in many inanimate objects. So it’s always fun to see people mess around to create new faces.

Marty Knapp – Portrait of a Photographer
A short film about a photographer in northern California, who has been photographing Point Reyes for a long time.

Laurie Rubin Interviews Brook Shaden for Women in Photography
A good friend interviews a fascinating photo artist who is starting to gain recognition for her work. A future blog post will review her book, which comes out soon.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling
Very good advice for those telling stories in any medium – visual or otherwise.

Road trip begins for world’s largest film camera
Although cameras like this are a novelty, the prints must be amazing to see in person.

Interesting Stuff Last Month – August 2013

A fascinating peek into Dinner in New York
How people in New York eat dinner is as unique as each person. Here’s an interesting view into their meal time worlds.

Day-to-Night in the City with Stephen Wilkes
Fascinating cityscapes with night and day time scenes blended together.

Bigshot – The Camera for Education
Buy a build-it-yourself digital camera for $89. Perfect for teaching kids how to make tech.

108 Years of Herman Miller in 108 Seconds
A fun, iconographic look at this influential design firm.

Photography Phone Call – Are Snapshots Dead?
A phone call conversation with photo collector, giving insight into what he looks for and why.

Kathy Ryan’s Instagram Photos on Absurd Consciousness
The photo editor for the New York Times magazine regularly knocks my socks off on Instagram. Go follow @kathyryan1

20 Photographs of Abu Dhabi by Martin Sigal
I’m partial to the industrial photos of the freeways, but the landscapes and other photos are also excellent.

Strange, Disturbing Figure Work by Masha Ermak
Very curious article about how a thesis project developed and the stunning work it produced.

Photography Is the New Universal Language and It Changes Everything
“The dialogues you can have with neuroscientists about photographic images are as interesting and as provocative as the dialogues you can have with artists.”

Maggie Taylor (video 8 min)
Another short film about Maggie Taylor, her fabulous photo composites, and how she creates them.

4 Sisters Photographed Every Year for 36 Years (Nixon Sisters)
“Whilst the fashion, haircuts and indeed their lives & personalities continue to evolve and change over the years, one thing that is incredibly evident is just how much of a loving bond there is between the four of them.”

Ellen Wallenstein Interviewed by Elizabeth Avedon about “Respecting My Elders”
An interview with one of my SVA instructors about one of her long-term projects and the book she made of it.

A Photo Editor Interview with Erik Madigan Heck
“I saw photography as a medium that was actually doing something new when Callahan took photographs, because he had perfected this space where reduction and minimalism were not exclusive to humanity.”

Photo Book – Genesis by Sebastião Selgado

Genesis-1

Genesis by Sebastião Selgado is a big book by a master photographer. He spent eight years traveling the world to capture a huge amount of black & white photos. The book expresses the idea of the world after the creation in the book of Genesis. This world is wild and raw and varied.

Genesis-2Genesis-3
Genesis-4Genesis-5

Mr. Salgado was already known for traveling the world to capture amazing sights, presenting them in nuanced black & white. From the mining pits in Brazil to the oil workers in Kuwait after the first Gulf War, he has not shied away from difficult self-assignments. Somehow he manages to capture the sweat and the sweet of these environments of turmoil.

Genesis-6Genesis-7
Genesis-9

This book ranges all over the world – Antarctica, Patagonia, Madacasgar, the African plains, the American badlands, the ocean, the mountains, the marsh, the jungle, the river, the trees, the coast. There is danger and beauty. Above all there are layers and details. Although the concept of the book is the new world, what is shown is not new. Grand Canyon displays its depths. The gulls are established on the cliffs as are the crocodiles in the river and the penguins on the ice. Yet the photos show a clean place. This is a world without traces of history.

Genesis-11
Genesis-12

Part of this metaphor of the world after Genesis is the people that live simpler lives. Here too there are layers of detail and variety. The photos are similar to those Edward S. Curtis took of Native Americans in the early 1900s and even a bit of Irving Penn’s Dahomey. The photos are documentary but also warm to the subjects. There are no judgements or snarky winks or cloying sentimentality or charitable superiority. The tone is one human looking at another. It is fitting for Salgado to include photos of these people. There is grandeur and danger and curiosity and wonder, just as there is for the landscapes and animals and plants and ice. The planet earth is a marvel captured by a master with great depth.

Photo Book – Bourdeaux Series by Mona Kuhn

Mona Kuhn Bordeaux #1

My artistic drive restarted about 12 years ago with figure and portrait drawing. I got my first digital camera around the same time, so it only made sense that at some point they’d converge. My drawing skills by that point were not improving, but my photographic skills were getting better and better. As I started looking into figurative and nude photography at the time, my eyes found the images of Mona Kuhn.

Mona Kuhn Bordeaux #2

Mona Kuhn Bordeaux #3

The casual posing of the subjects is immediately engaging. So is the realization that these people are completely comfortable in their own skin. This level of comfort and familiarity between the subjects and photographer was something new to me. Mona Kuhn’s body of work is more than just nudes. There is also the techniques she uses to create the images. She likes narrow depths of field, which render most of the figure as blurred abstracts, with slices of sharp detail.

Mona Kuhn Bordeaux #4

Mona Kuhn Bordeaux #5

Photo LA is a photo gallery show in Los Angeles each January. I could not make it the first year I heard of the show (I was probably too busy working at the time). Mona Kuhn’s debut as a fine art photographer was at that show. Her prints were selling for about $500 and her first book by Steidl had not been published yet. I did make it to the next year. By that time, it was too late. She’d been priced out of my budget for art. The print prices had quadrupled and more. Large, beautiful color prints were at several of the gallery booths (M+B Gallery and Flowers Galleries) at the show.

Mona Kuhn Bordeaux #6

Mona Kuhn Bordeaux #7

Mona Kuhn has pursed her interest in the figure. She has released a few more books. Each improves. With her photography, Mona Kuhn is exploring her own background, interests, and techniques. While in Brazil, she started adding more nature and environment images to the books, in addition to the nudes. “Bourdeaux Series” continues this exploration by setting all the figures in a room in Bourdeax, France and including images from around her rented place.

Mona KuhnMona Kuhn Photographs
Mona Kuhn EvidenceMona Kuhn Native

This book sits well on my shelves of photo books with her previous books. She does not seem as interested in narrow depths of field, but still captures images of people at home in their own skin. The nudes are casual and comfortable and beautiful in their ordinariness. Each could be someone you might know. My own efforts with the subject of the nude is different than Mona Kuhn’s, but her images have had a big impact on mine.