Yousuf Karsh photographed on the set of the 1964-released movie "Zulu." Future political leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi played Zulu King Cetshwayo kaMpande, his great grandfather. Buthelezi is a South African politician and Zulu tribal leader who founded the Inkatha Freedom Party in 1975 and was Chief Minister of the KwaZulu bantustan until 1994.
Mr Karsh enjoying a ceremony.
Members of Zulu Kingdom watching a movie for the first time.
Kirill Kovalenko made these images on the beach in Crimea over the last year - a complicated time for the Republic. Kirill talks about how "...there is the feeling of a lack of time, as if all those people to come and do what they do solely by inertia or habit. Has already clearly left a past, unknown future, but this all goes on, as if there were no first and second, neither before nor after. What really want these people from life? for the sake of what they live?"
Exploring how people relax during times of such conflict, Kirill has a mischievous eye.
On May 23rd, 2014, news came of in a series of murders committed by a young man in Isla Vista, California, near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara. Gun violence is a daily occurrence in the United States, but something about this incident tipped Joe Quint over the edge: he launched "It Takes Us."
"I happened to glance at that week's issue of People. The cover story was about some Kardashian wedding and there was a little blurb in the upper right corner about the shooting... with a subhead saying 'How could this happen - again?' Now, setting aside the disproportionality in importance of these two stories, I was struck by both the naivety and borderline irresponsibility of that subhead. 'How could it NOT happen again?' was my immediate reaction - why should we be surprised when - despite some small gains made in recent years by the gun violence prevention movement, there had yet to be anything remotely resembling a collective shift in our consciousness on the subject?
"I became increasingly frustrated by inaction - my own, and the inaction of my country. I could no longer simply pay lip service to the importance of reducing the over 32,000 senseless and preventable deaths that take place every year. I want to show how the crisis extends far beyond the typical media narrative of urban violence to include domestic abuse, suicide, children being injured or killed by unsecured guns in their homes, and so many more tragic cases." Joe Quint
Lissa Rivera came strongly recommended by none other than photography expert, author and educator Katrin Eismann, who is program chair of MPS Digital Photography at New York's School of Visual Arts. When Katrin calls, you listen.
Between them, Lissa Rivera with her partner and muse, "blur the borders of masculinity and femininity... the photographs tap into deep-seated narratives about gender, desire, freedom and taboo."
For me, this lovely series is beguiling. Embracing genderqueerness, using fantasy to explore identity.
"Posed within the relationship of subject to photographer, and the public relationship of the photograph to its viewer, the camera transposes the private realm into public space, converting a private moment into public performance. The fantasy of dressing up transforms the experience of being photographed into one that fuses identity-creation with image-creation. By blurring the borders of masculinity and femininity the photographs tap into deep-seated narratives about gender, desire, freedom and cultural taboo." Lissa Rivera.
The Long Term Survivor Project exhibition opened at San Francisco Camerawork on June 4th, in celebration of annual Pride month and in honor of National HIV / AIDS Long Term Survivor Day, which was June 5th.
SF Camerawork brings together works by Hunter Reynolds, Grahame Perry and portraits from our pal Frank Yamrus' series, A Sense of a Beginning, to address the experiences of HIV survivorship.
Go see if you are SF-based!
"Frank Yamrus' "A Sense of a Beginning" is a series of solemn and stately portraits of long-term HIV survivors. Through this series Yamrus tells the story of survivorship as manifested not only in the lines and physical attributes of his subjects' faces, which bear subtle testimony to the effects of HIV medications, but also as a factual declaration of presence. Each person depicted in the series is alive today thanks to a complex regimen of medication and years of struggle and determination. Long-term survivorship is a story of countless physician appointments, blood draws, continually shifting drug regimes and constant monitoring of T-cells and viral loads, in the midst of untold grief watching friends and loved ones die. Through the peak years of the struggle against AIDS may have faded into recent memory, survivors live on, bearing the impact of AIDS in their everyday lives."
"By 1991... we were on the front lines of war. We volunteered at various AIDS organizations, joined support groups, and attended fundraisers and many funerals. I became a Shanti Project buddy, helping and witnessing young men die, and worked at the Mt. Zion HIV Clinical Research Center with young men who sacrificed their bodies to help find a cure. As I recall our first decade in San Francisco, I cannot remember much that did not gravitate around AIDS. The words and acronyms that were so foreign to me not long before became embedded in my vernacular. Around this time, my photography transitioned to work about loss as it became the language I knew best. Like others, I analogized the pandemic to war and the early images I made romanticized death as a coping mechanism to deal with overwhelming grief....
"After countless physician appointments, blood draws, continually shifting drug regimes and constant monitoring of T-cells and viral loads, after untold days protesting and untold nights watching friends die, these courageous men and women allow us to examine the aftermath. Gone is the romanticized idea of battle and loss. In its place: the stark reality of years of struggle and fight. This series does not attempt to capture the tenor of those times or the great strides that have been made since. It simply documents survivorship - the physical, psychological and emotional turmoil AIDS has caused over the last 30-plus years." Frank Yamrus.
Imagine my surprise when, upon arriving at Thierry Goldberg Gallery in NYC's lower east side to meet my fellow judge for the Parson's BFA graduate show, it turns out to be Vince Aletti, photography critic for the New Yorker Magazine. After I got over my intimidation, I was thrilled and humbled to chat with Mr. Aletti about the more than 60 graduating artists' work, and even more thrilled when we were in agreement about much of the work on show.
We nominated our winners and each selected a Juror's Choice - mine is A. Retina Stewart. (Her fabulous real name!)
A. Retina Stewart is Houston-born, now living and working in New York. Her short documentary is a classic; it explores the lives of underground hip hop musicians, their goals and personal endeavors. Stewart highlights the young men's struggles against the pressure to be hyper-masculine and portray a young-black-male stereotype.
"Selling drugs is NOT part of our culture. That's the situation we were put in. If we could have went to Yale, we would have. People move drugs into our streets. We are survivors. We didn't get the same opportunities... we made it work."
Genesis Iver, 2014
Carpe D, 2014
Frank McFly, 2014
Jevon Doe, 2014
"Male African-American hip hop musicians are notoriously perceived to uphold hypermasculine standards; which creates a commercialized persona. Through an intimate interview in each artist's bedroom, Stewart explores them on a more dimensional and nuanced level, delving into their ambitions, insecurities, and fears." A. Retina Stewart
Klaus Enrique's own exuberance is evident in this series of photographs in which he pays homage to the Italian portraitist Arcimboldo in spectacular style. Referencing both the 16th century master's own works as well as updating his subjects to reflect cultural and political concerns, Klaus' images are highly detailed, impassioned, and splendidly executed.
Klaus grew up in Mexico City. He studied genetics at the University of Nottingham, UK, and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, US. Most of his working career was spent as a freelance IT consultant before he turned to sculpture and photography, which he studied at Parsons and at the School of Visual Arts, in New York. We met at the outstanding Photolucida Portfolio Reviews in April, 2015. Klaus had the foresight to email me beforehand, and included one of his images, saying he was looking forward to meeting me. Simple things like this make me happy, especially when the work is this compelling!
Artist Terri Goldexplores "universal cross-cultural truths," and for this chapter of her ongoing series "Still Points in a Turning World" she headed to Niger.
Terri says: "There has been no tourism in Niger for six years now. There were just four of us. The woman leading the trip, Leslie Clark has had a foundation there, The Nomad Foundation. We were the only guests at the festival amid thousands of nomads - being nomads there is no fixed date or location we had to patiently search and were thrilled to finally find their annual gathering.
"There was nothing done on our behalf, this was the most authentic experience I have ever witnessed. We had 18 armed guards which the government insisted we travel with. All had Kalashnikovs and there was a 50 mm machine gun on each truck. One ahead of us and one at the rear. I have never traveled like that before. We were graciously welcomed by the nomads but right after we left al Qaeda spilled over from Nigeria and we would have had to cancel the trip.
"In this remote corner of northern Niger indigenous tribes are holding on to their way of living: in tune to the rhythm of nature, treading lightly on Earth, leading their beloved animal herds to precious water sources and staying true to their traditions. Surviving in these sunbaked landscapes, each tribe has created a richly unique identity. Yet the timeless past will soon meet the imminent future. What will be discarded and what will be treasured? If we appreciate the mysteries of every realm, we may gain a deeper understanding of that which lies both behind and ahead of us."