Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Street Spotting

Style.com 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  JakandJil.com; Maya Villiger  Turnout.tv. 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 Style.com 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.