Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So Young

It is no wonder Ryan McGinley personally requested to work with Coco Young on many of his projects. When I first stumbled across her blog I fell in love with Coco's photographic eye. Everything is so fresh and carefree. Sometimes I need a reminder to shoot without inhibition.

These two in particular are my favorite. But make sure to check out some more here.

Photo Credits: All by Coco Young

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Art of Marfa

I love vintage photographs. I collect them - each time I go to the flea market, I sift through boxes to find ones I like. Here's why - they're nostalgic, they're anonymous, and they are most always what we would consider a "friend photo." In other words, the photographer was looking for a good family photo, not necessarily one that stands on its own. But then there are some that work both ways. And those are the most fun to find.

For me it nods back to Weegee's methods. He was an amazing man-behind-the-lens, but he was there to get to the heart of the picture for a news story. He just had an exceptional eye for what exactly that was. Well, that's the idea here on a certain level - images to document a town or a family end up looking like art. I always learn something.

I found these vintage photos courtesy of the Marfa Public Library. They're all of Marfa, Texas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Drive Through World

Two little girls pay out the window in Soho. NY Photographer Atisha Paulson's Drive Through World, Part of his series Shooting Soho.

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Intimate Setting, An Adolescent Portrait

Last night I ventured over to a lecture - one of a series- held by the Camera Club of New York at SVA. The photographer was Martine Fougeron. A graduate of the ICP, Fougeron began shooting her two sons- and 10 of their friends- when they were 13 and 14 at the inception of their teenage rebellion and continued through their high school graduation. As a result, she built a refined, intimate portfolio of their coming of age.

Fougeron did something socially difficult, seemlessly-- AKA she's Mom and her two sons are growing up, rebelling, figuring out girls- booze- smoking (they're French) - yet there isn't really evidence of this adverse relationship within the work, and where it is present is an illustration that is integral to the story. I also think she was able to minimize photographer interference in a context where it would typically be amplified to capture a story that ends up feeling true - and very relatable at that. Somewhere in the lecture introduction, Fougeron was compared to the likes of Jacques Henri-Lartigue and Larry Clark, a class of photographers who photographed within their immediate social surroundings. For Fourgeron, that was caring for her sons. And I think that's why these images come so naturally.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

View Of The Street

Thanks to Michael Wolf's upcoming show "iseeyou," Google maps is crossing over into the art world. In his exhibit, Wolf makes a statement about urban life and our quickly depleting privacy given the advancement of technology. Part of the exhibition is comprised of a series called "Street View: A Series of Unfortunate Events." I always did wonder how Google managed to compile such a seemless view-- the company's automobile trolls the city streets with 9 mounted cameras, capable of capturing the world in 360 degrees.

Wolf switched out his camera for the screenshot tool on his computer and milled the streets of cities around the world, virtually speaking that is, to find an unexpected moment.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Darling Marcel

In case you have not already seen this video (and I understand it is an off chance at this point), please take a moment to do so. It is vry impt. Jenny Slate did an amazing job creating Marcel as quite a lovable character- and kudos to the director Dean Fleischer-Camp!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

M. Hulot's Holiday

The first time I saw Jacques Tati's humorous (and one of his most famous) film Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, I fell in love. It was last summer. I fell in love with the visual satire (clumsy Hulot played by Tati himself), the romantically washed out black and whites, the minimal script, and the way it makes me want to skip town for the South of France (if only). Read: makes me feel happy.

On that note, let's reinforce that although how some learned photographers can become too technical for their own good--

(Think "this is no good, imperfect print quality!"- a theory that M. Tichy has completely blown out of the water.)

-- the end goal is nothing if not to stir up a little emotion.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Image Studies

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects to starting a photo project is choosing the subject matter. Once a focal point is established, the project begins to develop cohesive property and a smooth flow, but until then it can be quite disconnected. Who hasn't encountered such frustration regardless of genre.

It is no wonder then that some of my favorite image blogs all share this quality - a tight focus. After years of daily posts, these blogs become an awesome image backlog of their subject matter. I would even go as far as saying that they will have become a database.

I think you will find that these two do a particularly good job at that - in the fashion blog category: Le Smoking (beautiful people smoking) and The Impossible Cool (title says it all). Neither contain any text apart from photo credits, but I think if they started referencing back and commenting they might kick it up a notch. Or maybe better left an open book. What do you think? Any others you have encountered?

Image source (all): Le Smoking

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Day Off

Today was one of the most relaxing I have had in a while. I spent the whole afternoon by myself, riding my bike, reading, and drinking iced coffee. Over a late lunch I flipped on the tv to see Man on Wire playing. This is a movie I have watched before (and thoroughly enjoyed), but it was an inspiring revisit for me. I was glued to the channel and before I knew it I was crying and feeling like I could do anything in the world (yes yes I know).

The most beautiful part for me is after all the build up when Philippe Petit finally dances between the towers. I can only imagine witnessing this in real life.

Here are some stills of the moment. And if you haven't seen that film, it is a must!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Back to talking

I've been a horrible poster recently;  mostly it is because work has gotten extraordinarily busy that I haven't had a spare moment. Great stuff on the horizon!

In the meantime, very important that I go see the Cartier-Bresson exhibit at the MoMA on Sunday. I need to find a bit of inspiration (and I'm going straight to the greatest) as I have had a total standstill with my personal project. I've noticed sometimes time away is good to gain a fresh eye with your own work, but mostly I just feel like a bum! So this will be a good jump start I think--as a photographer friend said recently, "[Cartier-Bresson's] work is the kind I look at and think, what am I doing??"

Here are a couple I cannot wait to see:

Photo Credits: all Henri Cartier-Bresson; Titled From Top: New York, New York, Coronation of King George VI, London. Note on the first image via MoMA: The arrival of a boat carrying refugees from Europe reunites a mother and son who had been separated throughout the war. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Street Spotting is putting on a photo contest that is all about personal style and street style.

Even just in the past two or three years, the art of street style blogging has downright blown up. There have been new sites cropping up left and right. The outside of the tents during fashion week is a blogger bonanza. It's really interesting to see the unique point of view among them. It speaks a lot to the view and talent of each photographer.

Some of my favorites here from top: Tommy Ton; Maya Villiger Who are your favorite street style bloggers on the web?

Oh - and everyone enter the contest!

Monday, April 26, 2010

According to Newsweek, the Sixties DID Happen.

Here are a couple of great interviews with David Bailey that were part of a publicity round for his recently ended Pure Sixties, Pure Bailey exhibition at Bonhams in London. In discussing his career he touches upon some philosophies that I find really interesting and helpful.

I especially like what he says in the video interview with Sarfraz Manzoor for the Gardian UK about stealing and originality, "They [other photographers] shouldn't borrow, they should steal. If they borrow, it's only going to be weak. And if they copy it's going to be weak. But if they steal it and make it their own... I've got nothing against people stealing things," he goes on. "..Everything is an influence and if you don't steal everything, I mean, you can never do it. I mean, people who think they can just be original, you can't."

Maybe a strange way for me to take it, but I am really encouraged by that. As a photographer, your goal is to make a photo that people feel like they have never seen before. But part of that is knowing that everything has already been done -  accept that and use it to your advantage - it's what I try to tell myself.

The second is a cheeky interview found on the very last page of last month's Tatler.

Q&A with David Bailey, Tatler, April 2010:
What makes you happy? Sex.
Your highest moment? The Himalayas.
Your lowest moment? The Dead Sea.
Your best quality? Dyslexia.
Your worst quality? Intolerance.
Who inspires you? Henri Cartier-Bresson and Pablo Picasso.
First photograph that made an impression on you? Hitler's victims during the Second World War.
What makes a good photograph? A good artist.
Most memorable photoshoot? The birth of my children.
Most beautiful woman you've ever photographed? Catherine Bailey.
Best piece of advice you have been given? Ingrid Bergman once told me: only have lunch or dinner with people who make you laugh or further your career.
Best advice you have given? Expect the unexpected.
What are you proud of? Living so long.
What are you scared of? Living forever.
What's your addiction? Work.
What do you have on your bedside table? Usually 30 books, such as Samuel Pepe's biography, Roberto Bolano, Gore Vidal, Diaghilev.
The most interesting person you have ever met? Gore Vidal because I loved his cynical sense of humour.
Who do you dislike? People who are politically correct.
Bete Noir? God asking me to photograph a dodgey blonde.
The Sixties...did they really happen? According to Newsweek
Who will you vote for? Miss World.
Favourite politician you have photographed? Nelson Mandela.
iPod playlist? Stravinsky, Bob Dylan, Vera Lynn.
Your favorite restaurant and why? Bob's East End Cafe - why not?
First crush? Audrey Hepburn.
Do you think you are successful? Apparently.
Last time you cried and why? When I was being born.
How do your nearest and dearest deal with you? With caution.
Who do you love the most? Catherine Bailey.
Have you had your heart broken? What happened? Yes, my lead soldier melted.
Your indulgence? Camera cases.
Worst nightmare? A camera with a dead battery.
Favourite escape? The darkroom.
Where do you go to be alone? In my head.

Photo credit: David Bailey portrait of Michael Caine

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wish You Were Here: Argentina

I love travel photography for so many reasons: 1) it is great for jogging memories of a place and a specific visit 2) it is often visually interesting because the subjects are new or unusual 3) it describes one's encounters more precisely than they can be told 4) it motivates me to get it together and save up for a vacation (oy).

My pal, Alex, over at From Lara recently went on a leisurely trip to Argentina (lucky). Her photos, many of which she posted, are a consise and very pretty visual diary of her time there.

One of my favorites is of her visit to El Calafate in the Patagonia where she got to walk on the Perito Moreno glacier. Isn't it beautiful! I can imagine the experience was magical.

All images: Alexandra de Lara. From top: Perito Moreno Glacier, Caminito In La Boca, La Recoleta Cemetery.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting Away

I'm in beautiful Nantucket for the week, so posting will be infrequent until I get back. In the meantime, here is a lovely photo of the island (snapped around 1870) by Charles H. Shute, a photographer, Nantucket born-and-raised, who operated a studio with his son on Martha's Vineyard.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pictures of Pictures: A Recorded Collection

Although, on a last minute change, I couldn't make the opening (tonight) I so look forward to checking out Danziger's newest exhibition (through May 22), Elfering – 1642.

Here's what it is: Elfering--1642 is the collection recording a collection, images of images. In 2005, Gert Elfering, a famous German collector, sold his masterful collection of prominent photographic pieces (including works from Irving Penn, May Ray, Helmut Newton, and the like) at auction via Christies New York showrooms. It occurred to him that he might want a souvenir of sorts to commemorate both the collection and the event of auction, and he commissioned photographer, Matthais Shaller, of whose work he admired, to do so.

Upon seeing it on the floor at the auction house (before it was hanged), Shaller felt capturing the collection in this way was the most impactful and meaningful.

 "In this way and as a completed series, Schaller’s photographs encompass the many complexities and ironies of the concept while at the same time incorporating the power of the objects about to be sold into their own luminous interiors. The finished works – beautiful, compelling, and intriguing pictures in their own right - stand as a remarkable example of enlightened patronage while remaining resolutely true to Schaller’s own vision of creating a portrait of both a collection and a collector," Says the press release of the result (and I cannot wait to check it out in person).

On a sillier note, the concept reminds me a bit of A Collection a Day, a blog created by artist Lisa Congdon soley to record her many unusual and/or extensive collections.

Image: James Danziger, A Year in Pictures

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Other Side of the Picture

Here is an interesting video of the collaboration between photographer Julien Claessens and designer Olivier Theyskens on the creation of their recently released The Other Side of the Picture, a book published by Assouline. Claessens says he is not a fashion photographer, but he wouldn't call this of the documentary genre. He felt lucky that he was totally free to do what he wanted with the images, without having to compromise, and because he was a student when he first began the project he didn't force it into a certain category.

The backstage photos throughout the book are pretty breathtaking. Claessens uses both black & white and color and in every case, creates a sort of sculptural being. He uses the light to perfection. In this interview of the two, they talk about how Claessens would not take the photo if it was posed; as soon as anyone did, he would walk away. Other than that, the photographer did not limit himself to anything. There were thousands of images to sort through- a kind of retrospective of the designer's career so far.

Image: Julien Claessens

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ellen von Unwerth

I love the work of model turned photographer Ellen von Unwerth. It's all really dreamy, it all feels like it's from another time, and it all kicks reality up a notch. Von Unwerth continues to be extremely relevant in the fashion and beauty world, shooting everything from MAC makeup ad campaigns to Lula editorial spreads. She works as a film director as well- I particularly love this video she did for Azzedine Alaia in 1990.

Read her BIO here.

Update: Today, a bit of a 'scandal' involving an Ellen von Unwerth/ Shrek photoshoot for VMan. Read about it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wild Things: Found

Feast your eyes on this humourous/dirty (quite literally)/ dark, Roger Ballen's series, Boarding House. Ballen's work is sight to be seen. The photographer, who started his career in the photo-journalistic realm, switched to this distinct artistic vision after his Outland series in 2001. Most of the time, only small parts of the subjects are visible in each photograph--like a hand, a few fingers, a leg--and small animals make an appearance in many.

I think one can take the pictures to mean what he/she may on a personal level. As Doug Stockdale says on The Photobook, "I only have scratched the surface for all of the potential meanings that lay within the context of Ballen’s photographs." (Read his extensive review)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Younger Than I'll Be: A Critique

This week I was able to visit the current photo exhibit at BAMart, Younger Than I'll Be, curated by Skye Parrott, a photographer herself and co-founder of Dossier. There were some pretty interesting pieces in the collection of what seemed to be about 20 images-- some Weegee, Larry Clark, Virginia Parrott (mother of the Skye), and Cass Bird: these were the ones that spoke to me personally.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Seeing Is [Really] Believing

There are some photographers that have the power to stun with their work. James Nachtwey is one of those photographers. Pardon me for being so subjective here, but my jaw is literally on the ground looking at his work. As Mr. LaRocca, who first brought Nachtwey to my attention, described him, "[He is] literally 'The Man'." I know it's a cliche, I know I know I know, but these pictures speak so many words, so many more than what anyone could say about the subjects they portray.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Color Me Pastel

I have never been a drawer. I think that is why Im so much into photography. It's an outlet that is about composing and capturing an existing scene as opposed to creating one. That being said, last summer in the dead heat I was inspired to scribble, scribble all over my black and white photographs a la Mr. Peter Beard. It was a way to add color and to use my left over test prints (of which I have countless stacks). So, off to SOHO ART I went to pick up some oil pastels.

Don't ask me the rhyme or reason: why I chose these colors or why I scribbled where I did. I based it all on emotion-- what felt good at the time. And it still feels good to me now- I hope you enjoy!

All images and artwork: Julia Wideman. Location From Top: Brooklyn Heights, Central Park, Midtown NYC.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Man Reference

I love surrealism in photography. That V references Man Ray as influence (plus Marlene D) of the Kirsten Dunst shoot, I think,  is right on. See some of the great surrealist's work at the ICP through May 9th.

All Images: Man Ray

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Real Alice

With all the hub-ub of Tim Burton's rendition of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) is man of the hour. I myself, a fan of both Burton and Carroll, have seen the 3-D movie twice (a bit nerdy, I know). That being said, yesterday I took my lunch break at the ICP museum store and stumbled upon the photographic works of the latter. I never knew he was a man behind the lens.

Carroll became involved in photography in 1856 and used it as an entree into social circles, where he took portraits of some notable figures.

Monday, March 29, 2010

If You Build It, He Will Come

Tim Schenck is an engineer-- the kind of photographer who builds a graphic structure within every image. And then there is the fact that he is an actual engineer--a structural engineer. Really. "Blessed and cursed" with two callings, Schenck uses his architectural eye and career path to aid his passion for documenting significant architectural construction, renovation, and demolition. He has a knack for using color, shapes, and mathematical principles to create a striking image. His 9/11 Series is on permanent collection at the Smithsonian. He documented the before, during, and after of the creation of the High Line.

Schenck's style is very different from my own, on every level from equipment to purpose; so when I caught up with the photographer, who was nice enough to agree to a chat, I wanted to know everything-- background, inspirations, what makes him click, his take on digital versus analog-- and everything he did tell:

Julia Wideman: Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you first became interested in photography?

Timothy Schenck: I am blessed and cursed to have two callings. In addition to being a self-taught photographer, I'm also a structural engineer. Structural engineers collaborate with architects to design buildings, specifically the "skeleton" or "bones" of the building (think steel beams, concrete walls, etc). We create computer models, perform calculations, draft plans, and help administer the construction process. I started out in photography by taking photos of my projects in construction--out of necessity, I needed to document the work progress. Gradually I found myself taking shots of little details and vignettes around the jobsite. I was using the company's cameras, early digital models, and thought to myself that this was fun and I should get my own camera. I bought my first digital camera, a cutting edge 1MP point-and-shoot and I quickly grew out of it. I then took the plunge and bought a DSLR. This was a major turning point for me as the level of adjustment available in the DSLR piqued my creative curiosity and forced me to learn--and of course my photographs got much better. I was hooked. I started carrying the camera with me everywhere I went. I shot more and more and eventually started developing my own voice and aesthetic.

JW: I called it "a graphic quality," but what do you identify as some of the main themes in your photography? Why are they compelling to you?

TS: My personal work largely focuses on found and carefully composed color and form, shape and symmetry. I have heard people describe my work as very "graphic" and think that it is an entirely appropriate description. My analytic background in architecture and engineering greatly informs the making of these types of photographs. I appreciate the beauty of mathematics in nature and the built environment. The engineering and the photography allow me express this beauty in two quite different ways that are very satisfying to me (the old left brain, right brain thing).


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pretty, Funny Ladies

By Terry Richardson

To make the rainy (NYC) Monday brighter, below are some great images caught of eccentric women being, well... eccentric. Some are posed (although those that are do seem spontaneous at that), some are on the fly. In any event, all seem to capture a little piece of the subjects' personalities. This one of Pam Anderson just makes me chuckle every time, as do the many more after the jump.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Going Nowhere

Happy Friday everyone. This weekend I'll be hitting up the brand new Ryan McGinley exhibit, Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere (through April 17th), at Team Gallery. Last Thursday was the opening reception, and although I couldn't make it to witness myself, I heard it was so packed that the attendees spilled out to fill the entire city block from cross street to cross street (and to the point where the fire brigade came in and shut it down!). 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whose Space?

Street photography is not for the faint at heart-- or rather, the general concensus is that one is more apt to be successful if he/she is unafraid of getting a reaction, welcomes it even. Wednesday, Exposure Compensation did a great post on Jeff Mermelstein, a bold photog not concerned with getting in the faces of strangers. This is a great circle back to the discussion of being an "asshole" when shooting. How close do you have to get to be considered in someone else's "personal space"? And does it even matter?

Consent is not really an option on the street. As Mermerlstein says in the video after the jump, "I'm, in a sense, stealing something from them without asking them... I myself feel no guilt from that. I'm not trying to hurt anybody with the camera"

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Woman is a Woman

Having gone into it a bit skeptically, I left his ICP exhibition as a passionate convert in favor of the work of Miroslav Tichy.

Tichy, a Czech eccentric artist, not only takes his photographs by way of homemade equipment (most of the time out of cardboard and waste of production), but he is absolutely and utterly uninterested with his own recent success in the art world. He says he takes his pictures, prints them, and throws them away. The spots, the curled edges, the tears, that is all part of the beauty, not to mention the makeshift cardboard frames he sometimes creates. See some of those after the jump.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Charles Moore (1931 - 2010)

This week, photographer, Charles Moore, who "changed the course of history" with his powerful documentary images of the civil rights movement while working under contract for Life, has died at age 79.

Looking at his work, Moore's impactful images bring me back to the subject of photojournalism & reportage and art. There is an inextricable link, I'm sure of it. (Moore's amazing photos are strong evidence of that.) BBC quotes Moore on his work, "Pictures can and do make a difference. Strong images of historical events do have an impact on society."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Me And My Cousins

I really like this Vampire Weekend video for Cousins, which the band released last November. It's a simple concept-- an alleyway, quick cuts (stop-animation-esque), and a lot of repetition.
I like that it is decidedly rough around the edges. And I think that that can apply to film as well. Take the Holga for instance. If you've ever used one, you know you can't ever rely on a perfect negative. There is bound to be a light leak, a spot, a drastic line of focus. But that's what makes it good.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

That's The Way Uh --- Uh --- I Like It

I discovered HUH. Magazine via my research for yesterday's post. HUH., a UK based publication with a publish-frequency they describe as "sporadic," focuses on art across the spectrum and does a particularly good job (I think) with photography.

HUH.'s photography blog and Features section is a mix of guest curators (recently, one of which was I Thought I Was Alone), reader submissions, and general photog. news.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Thought I Was Alone

I love the sense of community within the photography world. It seems everywhere I go there is another hub of photographers banding together, helping each other, providing a platform to show their work. I Thought I Was Alone, the brainchild of photographer Lele Saveri, is just that. "I thought it was time to create an online platform for photographers who, while being very different, are united by a common starting point: to capture what surrounds their lives without worrying about the whats, the hows, and the whys," Saveri says via the site, "I thought I was alone, but maybe I am not." Saveri is currently the photoeditor for Vice magazine in Milan.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What Gravity

Today the skies are opened up. I'm a lover of rainy days, so I'm looking at it positively. Perhaps it's April Showers come early?

Here are some great pictures by Daniel Gordon to remind us what all the hydration will bring in just a few short months.  I think the "flying" man is expressing how we (I) feel inside on the first day of spring. You want to skip down the street, jump up and down, defy gravity.

See more soaring images after the jump. Then read about Daniel Gordon on The Photobook.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mr. Penn's Engagement

Lots of attention surrounding the great Irving Penn this year commemorating his death in 2009. Now on view until June 6th at the National Portrait Gallery in London is Irving Penn Portraits, which they call "a glorious celebration of his work" over the past seven decades. And that it is.

On a similar note, last night I had a nice surprise. I attended a fundraiser event at Christie's for the WCF and was able to see the Irving Penn work on view there, which is to be auctioned on April 14th. This is a collection which belongs to Patricia McCabe, Penn's long time assistant (for over thirty years!), and "the most significant group of photographs by Irving Penn ever to come to auction," as the press release states. The prints were gifts from the artist to his assistant. As would be expected the estimated prices are not what you would call "attainable" for just anyone.

My favorite for sale is the image above. He creates some wonder and curiosity with the Cuzco Children. I want to know where they have been, more about them. I love the angle of their stances. In all of his work, one can sense a strong engagement with his subjects, probably the most important quality for a portraiture photographer.

After the jump, a bit from the NPG curator, Magdalene Keaney, on Penn's "presence" in his photographs and more about the exhibition on view.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Good Old Fashioned Feeling

Aren't these portraits great? Although it's not intended (or I don't believe so) they remind me much of the circus, or maybe circus characters out of their element. These work because they are clean and light, and they are cropped well. I feel happy when I see them.

The photographer is John Huet, who specializes in athletic performance and portrait. His photos of Michael Phelps are also really mesmerizing (seriously), which you can take a look at here.

Last night, my boyfriend gave me a photo critique, and I enjoyed hearing his thoughts. He said things like "This gives me a good feeling when I look at it," pointing to one image; then pointing to another, "I don't get that feeling with this." So simple- and yes there is more to it usually- but isn't that the crux when you really get down to it?

Photo Credit: All by John Huet