What do you see here? Personality? Are the fauna of Langley, Washington, and the photographer relating to each other during their sitting? In Kevin Horan
's project he photographs the neighbors, albeit four-legged hoof-footed ones. Thumbing through these, the resemblances to your friends may not be as clear as they are in, say, Jill Greenberg's monkey portraits
, but still there's something in their faces and poses. Xenia here for example is clearly "working it."
As great as these lovelies are online, Kevin's prints make for a whole other experience. Great blacks! Another fabulous portfolio as seen at Photolucida
The Bank of Canada honored the historic reign of Queen Elizabeth on September 9th, 2015, with the launch of a commemorative bank note. The note is a variation of the existing $20, and features this portrait from 1951 of then-Princess Elizabeth, by Yousuf Karsh
. The same photo, with her tiara removed, was previously used for the 1954 Canadian Landscape series as well as for a commemorative note in 1967 marking Canada's centennial.
If you like that sort of thing you can read more about the new note, and Canada's bank note history, in this interesting article.
,' the latest book from Bruce Gilden, the extreme-close-ups are cited as "collaborative," with the subjects giving permission to have their picture taken in a departure from his usual street habits.
From the publisher: "A defining characteristic of Bruce Gilden's photography is his creative attraction to what he calls 'characters', and he has been tracking them down all through his career."
"Every photographer has their own artistic vision, especially portrait photographers; I am one of those and my vision is to collaborate with the subject, documentary-style, to portray them as they are at that moment.
In March I photographed Bruce Gilden, the author of 'Face,' for a British magazine. We met on a street corner in NYC. He pointed out he was dressed like a "bum" and mentioned that no one messes with him as he is "kinda aggressive." He told me a story about throwing a famous photographer up against a wall because he didn't like some comment he made.
"I idolized my father. He screwed me around," said Gilden in a 2010 interview with The Guardian
. "The reason I stick a flash in people's faces is to get back at him in some way."
All of this may contribute to his current oeuvre: extreme close-up flash-lit images of faces ravaged by life - the intro talks about the "babies and sorority sisters" on social networks and states in contrast "here are Bruce Gilden's family." Yes they are extreme portraits, not easy on the eye.
Avedon in his 'Out West' series showed a similar sort of folk but with a certain beauty - Gilden's portraits have none of that and anyone stepping in front of his flash lit camera should be aware that he is not out to capture beauty, but the harsh side of life. In some ways these days with the cult of the selfie, retouched images and social media I can understand where he is coming from but it ain't pretty." Janette Beckman, August, 2015
Another find at Photolucida
, I knew Ben Marcin
's series 'Last House Standing' from having seen it in various settings and I was interested to hear about the rest of his projects. The photographs in this feature are from two ongoing series: Grids, and Street.
"'Grids' is about different types of structures found in urban settings. These buildings are designed to accommodate goods, cars and people. Viewed individually, few of them are particularly notable in appearance. However, by carefully assembling them into a series of patterned grids, I tried to produce an added dimension, a patchwork of the visual noise that surrounds us."
"Our cities are almost completely carpeted in concrete and asphalt. According to the NYC Department of Transportation, there are over 12,750 miles of sidewalk throughout New York alone. Streets and sidewalks are an essential, although oft-maligned, component of our urban infrastructure. They allow us to get from Point A to B efficiently and relatively cleanly. However, like the air we breathe and the water we drink, all of this hard stuff goes largely unnoticed - unless we're trying to avoid a pothole or protruding crack or some other small mess that presents itself on our path to wherever. Rarely do we really look at what we're walking on."
was among my reviewees at the wonderful Photolucida portfolio event in April, 2015. His wistful, and sometimes puzzling, photographs from "What's Left Behind" are made at estate sales.
"Estate sales are commonplace in America. They frequently take place in homes once lived in by the elderly, who have since died or moved on to a nursing home. Their children hire companies to catalog and sell their parents' possessions," saith he.
"After getting past the massive arrays of dishes, furniture, and jewelry, one can find poignant mementos of strangers' lives. Reminders of life's finite cycle are present everywhere. They make me think of my parents and the possessions they left for my sister and me.
"I take pictures during the sales themselves. At first I was self-conscious about shooting, but after a while I realized no one seems to mind. Shoppers and sellers are much more interested in buying and selling. I also sometimes purchase items at the sales and photograph them in another setting with better lighting and background."
Norm plans to continue with this series, and I think people will be fascinated, and relate to the photographs. Perhaps they may make a person reconsider how much stuff they are holding on to, and how whomever is left behind will have to cope.
Just because. Walt Disney by Yousuf Karsh.
If you are a regular here at aCurator you will be familiar with Rob Hann
's photographs. This is his sixth magazine feature!! Rob took off on his annual road trip out west earlier this year and I always love what he comes home with.
Happy summer to our northern-hemisphere-dwelling friends.
"I took my first road trip shooting in the American West in 2001. It felt like a faraway place, exotic and mysterious to a person living in London. I moved to New York City in 2003 and I hit the road with my camera whenever I can. I've come to realise that going to faraway places is an important part of my practice.
"I like to feel a little bit lost out there, to not know what I might come across as I head out at sunrise each morning. On my latest trip I concentrated on California, a place that still feels faraway, exotic and mysterious to a person living in New York City."
Read more about Rob Hann, and how he sells his work in New York, in a piece we did over at aPhotoEditor
"New York" 1948, Esther Bubley
"During America's golden age of photojournalism, Bubley cast her discerning eye over a broad range of subjects including beauty pageants, boarding houses, schools, clinics and kitchens. Her immersive working process and compassion for her subjects yielded deeply insightful images that also subtly critique American culture on the eve of the Cold War and Civil Rights movement."
"At the well-baby clinic" 1953
Esther Bubley's archive is represented
by her niece, Jean Bubley. We are both members of the American Photography Archive Group
, an organization that includes many of the greats including Ruth Orkin, Arthur Rothstein, Philippe Halsman, and Fred W. McDarrah.
Jean Bubley will discuss the work of her aunt in a gallery talk at the Phillips Collection
in Washington, DC, August 27, 2015.
"Born in Phillips, Wisconsin, Bubley developed a passion for photography while serving as her high school's yearbook editor. She set out for New York City in 1940 to become a professional photographer. After a brief stint at Vogue magazine, she moved to Washington, D.C., and worked as a darkroom assistant to Roy Stryker at the Office of War Information (OWI). With Stryker's encouragement, Bubley began photographing neighborhoods and activities around Washington, recording the effects of World War II on the community. One of few OWI photographers who worked primarily with 35 mm and other small handheld cameras, Bubley developed a dynamic point-and-shoot style that enabled her to photograph from unusual angles."
"High school, in a classroom" 1945
"During the 1930s, images created by Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White and others made clear to government agencies and commercial clients that women could excel as photographers."
"In 1943, Stryker promoted Bubley to the position of OWI field photographer. She contributed more than 2,000 images to the OWI file over the course of that year. In these early photo-essays, Bubley's ability to capture people in natural, unaffected poses is evident. She immersed herself in her assignments, touring on buses for weeks to document American bus travel and profiling a serviceman's family at home. When Roy Stryker left the OWI in late 1943 to establish a photographic library for the Standard Oil Company, Bubley followed, documenting the impact of the oil industry around the U.S. and beyond. One of her best-known assignments for Standard Oil depicted life in Tomball, Texas. Living in the town for six weeks, Bubley took more than 600 pictures documenting the town's commerce, industry, schools, churches and recreation. In her photographs, Tomball's citizens appear natural and unaffected, often unsmiling or not looking at the camera - a reflection of the artist's ability to work unnoticed."
"Backstage in Quest to Be Miss America, Atlantic City, New Jersey" 1957
All images by Esther Bubley, courtesy Jean B. Bubley, thanks to Nicole Straus Public Relations and Margery Newman.
Monica Smith, New York, May 2015 © Marissa Roth
This portrait is the culmination, in photographs at least, of Marissa Roth
's now 31-year-long journey.
"This portrait of Monica Smith, who is Anne Frank's second cousin, is the final portrait of my 31-year odyssey that is the global photo essay,"One Person Crying: Women and War
"I had the opportunity to photograph and interview Mrs Smith one day before her 92nd birthday this past May, at home in Manhattan. It was a great honor and profound pleasure to meet her and to feel her indomitable spirit which continues to prevail in spite of the many emotional heartbreaks that she endured in her life.
"Monica Smith was born Dorothee Wurzburger in Stuttgart, Germany, on May 10, 1923. Her mother and Anne Frank's mother were first cousins, and Anne was six years younger than her. In 1938, when it became increasingly evident that the situation for Jews in Germany was dangerous, Mrs. Smith's parents put her on a Kindertransport to Holland where she was housed in an orphanage near Amsterdam.
"Anne and Otto Frank would come and visit her regularly and bring peanuts. "I didn't realize that she would become a saint. Maybe that's what was needed. Her fingers were always covered with ink".
"In 1940, Mrs. Smith was reunited with her parents and they went to England where they boarded the RMS Samaria for the transatlantic crossing that took them to New York and would save their lives."
Prints from "One Person Crying" make up a traveling exhibition. See news and updates over on the One Person Crying
's series stood out among a few hundred entries to a competition I judged earlier this year. Jordan lives in Canada; in his bio you learn that "Before moving to Toronto, Jordan worked in the sail training industry for seven years and holds a Master 150 ton and a Chief Mate 500 ton ticket with Transport Canada." I frequently remind photographers to tell us something interesting about themselves that is not photography related because you never know when it will inspire someone to work with you.
Jordan's artist statement tells us all there is to know about his project:
"The Thorns We Walk Upon is a social documentary, which gives a glimpse into daily life at the Samburu Handicap Education and Rehabilitation Program (SHERP
), an NGO in Maralal, Kenya. Grace Senia, a teacher in the local community, established SHERP in 2001. Since then, and in an effort to accommodate a variety of needs, SHERP has become a home, a community, an orphanage, and a dormitory for children with disabilities.
With help from the Samburu town council, county council, and the Japanese embassy, Grace managed to acquire a plot of land and build two dormitories in Maralal. Over the past thirteen years, various international donors have helped build SHERP's infrastructure, however despite the available facilities SHERP's needs continue to outweigh available resources. Water, food, staff, and full time management are never present in unison, creating a challenging and complicated environment for the kids."
"Each child at SHERP has his or her own unique story. Some are left at the front gate, while others come from supportive families, which see SHERP as an opportunity for their child to receive an education. To varying degrees both the semi-nomadic culture, and the traditional misunderstanding of disability in Samburu are a part of each child's story. Their lives have been marked by much pain. In spite of this kids at SHERP come together to lean on each other.
The Thorns We Walk Upon attempts to place individuals before their disability while speaking towards the questions and landscape they must navigate. Theirs is a path marked by layers of hostility. What is taken for granted by most, even in the arid hills of Samburu, are real and immediate concerns for kids with a disability. Their struggle for food and a sense of home, in many ways, is an odyssey for self worth.
Despite living at SHERP these glimpses were viewed as a guest. The Thorns We Walk Upon tries to acknowledge as much. This series reflects both an expression of the kids' lives and the challenges of working across difference and privilege."
Beautiful. Thanks Jordan!