Bengie inside the candy store © Bruce Davidson, courtesy Seven Stories Press
," (Seven Stories Press
, 2012) is about the life of Bob Powers (aka Bengie), a skinny, asthmatic kid born into a large Irish family in Brooklyn in the early 1940s. Bob tells his graphic tales of growing up dirt poor to alcoholic parents; about the Catholic school that overlooked him; becoming a drug addict; marriages, kids; making millions from meth, hitting the bottom and climbing up clean to become a drugs counselor.
Bruce Davidson met Bob and his gang in 1959 and began photographing them where they hung out making major trouble in South Brooklyn. Forty years after Davidson finished that project, he received a phone call from Powers, and ultimately, over the next ten years, Powers told his story to Bruce's wife, the adorable and brilliant Emily Haas Davidson.
This book is an easy and extremely engaging read (I knocked it off in a couple of hours) even if the subject matter is sometimes tough going. Bob's redemption in his own eyes, and of those family members willing to forgive him, however, is entirely uplifting and in a perfect ending, his ability to help others escape their own entrapment is truly heartening.
Bengie combing his hair outside the candy store
Under the boardwalk at Bay Twenty-two. Left to right: Norman, Junior, Willie, Henry
On the beach at Coney Island
Bengie in "the hole" at Eighteenth Street and Eighth Avenue
Bengie's mother, Mary "May," across from the Holy Name church on Prospect Avenue
All images © Bruce Davidson, courtesy of Seven Stories Press.
'Fifi' smokes an argileh water pipe at a cafe in St. Paul, MN, 2012. "I talk a lot when I smoke, but it's fun to do when we girls get together." Many parents don't approve of their daughters going out, but they find ways around the rules. © Alex Potter Alex Potter
is a young photojournalist from the Midwest living in the Middle East. She is currently based between Lebanon and Yemen.
According to her bio: Alex began her career in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. After growing restless with her nursing job, Alex picked up to document post-revolution Yemen, a land with zero lakes, but plenty of mountains to climb. In 2012, she was selected as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and moved to Lebanon.
Though she didn't study photography, Alex has attended the NYTimes Lens Review, Eddie Adams Workshop, and a VII Masterclass, which were much more beneficial than your average classroom. Since 2012 she has been chosen for the Chris Hondros Student Fellowship, Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship (2012, 2013), PDN Photo Annual, and American Photography 29, among others.
"Since the start of the war in Somalia, thousands of refugees have settled into bordering and western nations, part of the ever-growing Somali diaspora. One of these largest communities is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This mid-sized city of 400,000 in the Midwest is home to an estimated 40,000 Somalis. It has been over twenty years since the first refugees arrived. Many were children at the time, now grown into a new generation of young adults, faced with the task of balancing tradition with transformation, heritage and a new identity.
The community has faced many struggles: recruitment of young men to al Shabab, gang violence, and prejudice of a mid-sized city in the Midwest. Yet through it all, the youth have thrived, and the community is revitalized. They are mentors, artists, poets, and community leaders. Though their stories are different, their message is clear and united - Hanoolaato (Long Live) Somalia."
Here's a bonus, a sample from Alex's work in Yemen:
Yemeni women spray graffiti on barrier walls leading to the Presidential Palace, demanding the former president be brought to justice, Sana'a, Yemen, 24 December, 2012. The Arabic eventually reads, ليعدم عفاش, meaning "Afash (Saleh's nickname) to be executed"
"The Market Hotel opened in 2008 in Bushwick Brooklyn as a venue for punk rock shows and loft style living for about a dozen. Both activities being done illegally due to a lack of permits and incorrect zoning. The owner recently decided to make it a legal venue and continue to play punk rock shows, but in order to get the building to code, its current residents must move out. These are portraits and interiors of the residents during the final days of the Market Hotel."
Thanks Adam! I love the collages!
'Hide and Seek: The Dubious Nature of Plant Life in High Security Spaces by Adam Walker-Smith,' is a documentary photography project created by a paranoid photojournalist, the alter-ego of British artist Max Colson
. Instigated by his discovery of the landscape design programme 'Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design' (CPTED), Walker-Smith's photographic research exposes what he sees as the 'suspect' plants of high security urban spaces.
Officially: Max Colson is a photographer from London who works with text, graphic design and most recently his intriguing alter-ego, Adam Walker-Smith. In 2013 Max was named as a UK winner of the Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward 'emerging photographer' award and was also selected by University College London's 'Urban Lab' to exhibit in their annual show at the Slade School of Fine Art; in 2012 he was exhibited as part of Photofusion's 'Annual Member's Salon'; in 2010 he featured in the 'A Luta Continua' exhibition at Newcastle's Side Gallery.
Elyse Weingarten reviews the extremely impressive book Hunters,
a photographic essay by David Chancellor
(text by Bill Kouwenhoven. Published by the good people at Schilt
, March 2013)
"If I am rabid, I am equal to what is outside." Paula Fox, Desperate Characters.
Photographer David Chancellor's book, Hunters, explores the psychology of the hunter, documenting the safaris that comprise the big game trophy industry in southern Africa. The book is divided into two parts, the first containing over a hundred full-page photographs set deep in the African wildlife; among them, portraits of hunters and huntresses posing with their prey, in the instant after the kill. It is this exigent moment - and the hope for what it could reveal - that propelled Chancellor to join hunting safaris with seasoned, lifelong hunters throughout his adopted country of South Africa, and Namibia and Zimbabwe. Each kill is a "trophy," and the rarer the species, the better.
Bow hunters in blind, Eastern Cape, South Africa
The question this book begs is "why?" Why have these hunters come all the way from their home countries to hunt animals they know to be dangerous and endangered, and come back again and again? It seems that the rush of the kill is what is being sold. The ultimate freedom is to kill, and with a hunting license, death becomes the ultimate commodity. The absence of blood on the photographed hunters, except for the occasional shirt or the ceremoniously blood-smeared face, is conspicuous. In this very lucrative business, death is sanitized.
The second part of the book contains the breathtaking photo narrative, "Elephant Story," taken near a national park in Zimbabwe. Here, the thrill of big game hunting is replaced by the consumption of game meat by a local population. The twelve photographs of this series sequentially show villagers descend upon a dead elephant and skin it, collecting the flesh for meat until all that is left are skeletal remains and bloody chunks of unusable innards. In contrast to the hunters who visit and use the gaming industry as a spiritual or aesthetic gain, those who crowd around the elephant's body are just another part of the sustainability of the natural environment. They do not shy from the blood of the animal. Here, in this landscape, death is not tidy. - Elyse Weingarten
Huntress, skinners and a nyala, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Hunter and wife, game farm, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Huntress with impala, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Novice hunter with cell phone and blesbok, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Novice hunter with recovered bullet, Bray, Northern Cape, South Africa
Huntress with buck, South Africa. Winner of the Taylor Wessing portrait prize 2010, National Portrait Gallery, London
Fallen giraffe, Somerset East, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Elephant detail # II, Zimbabwe
All images © David Chancellor/INSTITUTE
Road-trip addict and now aCurator's most-published, Rob Hann
has kindly been out west again, satisfying my own near-constant hankering to be on the highway.
"Since October 2001 I've been taking photographic road trips throughout America, mostly in the western states, building a large body of work under the title of 'I Dream a Highway.' I head out whenever I can, usually for about two weeks. On my latest trip I flew into Las Vegas and wandered through eight states before heading back to Vegas and flying home to NYC. I have no fixed route but drive from daybreak to dusk each day before finding a cheap motel to lay my head for the night." Rob Hann, June 2013.
'Speak English! The Rise of Latinos in Baseball
' (Kent State University Press. Text by Rafael Hermoso) is a new book featuring images by Rita Rivera
. Rita was introduced to me by my friend and colleague Mary Engel whose mum, Ruth Orkin
, Rita used to assist. Mary works hard to maintain the archive of both her parents - her dad was Morris Engel
- and I'm thrilled she hooked me up with Rita and introduced me to this project about the important role Latinos increasingly play in league baseball and the prejudice they still face.
Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox
Here's the blurb for you baseball fans.
"'Speak English! The Rise of Latinos in Baseball chronicles how much - and how little - has changed since the first Latino played in the big leagues in the nineteenth century. By the middle of the next century, the Alous, Vic Power, and Rico Carty worked to earn their place in the game amid taunts and ridicule. Today, even established players and stars may be told to speak English in clubhouses, eliciting cringes or shrugs from individuals who are seemingly still hurting."
"Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig offers a foreword full of nostalgia and pride. The afterword by Omar Minaya describes his experience playing ball in Queens and being the first Hispanic general manager in baseball. Speak English! selects the stories of 45 players to illustrate the collective history of Latinos in baseball and is illustrated with photographic portraits of many of them."
Wilton and Vladimir Guerrero
"Today, more than a quarter of all major leaguers are Latino, and most began as outsiders. Globalization unearthed baseball in San Pedro de Macoris, Caguas, and Maracay. American teams looked abroad for talent and cheap wages, carving baseball diamonds out of sugarcane fields. Players in their teens left their families. Those from Cuba knew they were possibly leaving for the rest of their lives, just for the chance to play in a country still struggling with diversity in the 1950s and 1960s.
Yet many Latino players still speak as if not much has changed. Far from perfect, their no-rules journey to professional contracts has increased the risk of taking improper shortcuts. Several players were implicated recently in the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. Others admitted to shaving years off their ages, allowing them to compete with an advantage against younger players."
Ed Figueroa, The Yankees
"The great Latino story is also one of glory, as some of the best players in major league history tell of their hard voyage to baseball's mainland. The tale is likewise one of realists, and readers will not find anything in these stories that does not exist in other walks of life. The story is not clean, but it is compelling. Like baseball, there's enough to love in it to keep coming back to it as generations learn from the ups and downs of the Latino role in baseball, and its rightful place in history."
Felipe Alou, San Francisco Giants
Albert Pujols, St.Louis Cardinals
Luis Tiant played with Boston Red Sox
Stephen Tomasko stopped by to see me in my offline world at ClampArt
and told me his good news: his project 'First Place and our Congratulations
' was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2013. Here are some new images from the series, and a link to my previous post
Join aCurator favorite Michael Massaia
on a trip down memory lane with this new series, 'Saudade.'*
In my youth I loved amusement arcades, as did Michael Massaia. I guess my UK experience would have differed from the US - not much actual gambling allowed here in the States, so no 'fruit machines' as we knew them, and I'm sure British pinball machines featured far fewer semi-clad women... weren't they all based on American TV shows?
These machines were produced in the 1960s and '70s. Michael told me "I started working on this a few years back but I ran into all these technical problems when it came to shooting them. I had to modify one of my view cameras so it could get better depth of field at lower f-stops. I also had to use multiple polarizers to get all of the glare off the glass. It was actually very hard to take these. They are shot on large format black and white sheet film developed in pyro, and I'm making the finals selenium toned silver prints."
* a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament. - Dictionary.com
This is just wonderful, you're all going to love it and fund it
. Watch the video - it features the delicious Bruce Davidson.
Short version from Rachel Seed, whose mum died in the same year that Rachel was born:
"I am making a documentary film, A Photographic Memory, that revisits some rare interviews and films that my late mother, Sheila Turner-Seed, produced in the early 1970's with ICP's Cornell Capa called 'Images of Man.' She interviewed Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith, Lisette Model, Don McCullin, Bruce Davidson and several others, and Cartier-Bresson often said it was the best interview he ever gave. I have revisited those photographers still living and am weaving together our interviews in a posthumous collaboration."
Rachel with her mum, Sheila, 1979.
Long version from the press release:
In the early 1970's, filmmaker and journalist Sheila Turner-Seed interviewed several influential photographers and produced, with International Center of Photography (ICP) founder Cornell Capa and Scholastic, the 'Images of Man' series: eight audio-visual programs that paired a photographers' images with their philosophies and motivations in their own words. Her roster included Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, W. Eugene Smith, Lisette Model, Cornell Capa, Roman Vishniac and Don McCullin. Of Turner-Seed's interview with Cartier-Bresson - a notoriously elusive interview subject - Martine Franck, Cartier-Bresson's widow, said to Rachel in their 2011 interview, "The final result certainly was one of the best.... not so much interviews, but she managed to get Henri to talk about the way he photographed and to talk about his photographs. That was quite an achievement."
After Turner-Seed's sudden death in 1979, her husband, Time-Life photographer Brian Seed, sent the raw film materials to ICP for safekeeping. In 2012, Rachel, now in her 30's, rediscovered the work, which had been sitting like a time capsule at ICP, and digitized more than 70 reels, hearing her mother's voice for the first time since she was young while uncovering her rare interviews with the photo moguls.
Rachel has since traveled to France to interview Cartier-Bresson's widow, Magnum's Martine Franck (who passed away in August 2012); spent the day with Bruce Davidson in his Upper West Side studio; caught up with Don McCullin at his War/Photography exhibit opening in Houston and filmed National Geographic's William Albert Allard at work and at leisure in Afton, Virginia.
In 'A Photographic Memory,' outtakes from Turner-Seed's interviews are revealed for the first time, woven into a posthumous mother-daughter collaboration with Rachel's follow- up photographer interviews, reconnecting the women through their shared passion for photography.
From May 21- July 2, 2013 'A Photographic Memory' will hold an all-or-nothing fundraising campaign on Kickstarter
with a goal of $25,000. Funds will support the completion of film production, including Seed's upcoming interviews with contemporary photographers that will bring Turner-Seed's legacy to new audiences.
Rachel being photographed by Martine Franck.