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Yul Brynner, 1956 by Yousuf Karsh

There are several frames of Yul Brynner in the Karsh digital archives but this is my favourite! 

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Chris Killip
From the series In Flagrante Two
Two girls, Grangetown, Middlesbrough, Teeside, 1975
Gelatin Silver Print
© Chris Killip, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Last month, I was talking to a photographer I admire enormously and he told me had just seen one the best photographs of his life, at Yossi Milo here in NYC. It turned out to be the above 'Two Girls' by Chris Killip, whose photos I have much admired after embarrassingly only discovering him rather late in life. The exhibition was ending the following day so I bunked off work for the afternoon and headed to Chelsea.

Yossi Milo Gallery's presentation of fifty gelatin silver prints from the photographs that constituted his book 'In Flagrante' (Secker & Warburg, 1988) hand-printed by Killip, is the first time since 1988 that the series has been exhibited in its entirety and the first time ever in the United States. The images are culturally familiar and endearing to me and it was interesting to talk to some of the American viewers about the miners' strike and the Queen's silver jubilee street parties I remember so well. 

The unassuming photographer has been working at Harvard as professor of visual and environmental studies for many years and apparently will soon retire and cease printing his negatives. So if you're thinking about purchasing a print, now is the time to do it. 

Yossi Milo is pleased to announce that the J. Paul Getty Museum now owns a set of all 50 of Killip's prints and will mount an exhibition in the coming months. The book, In Flagrante Two, is out now from Steidl.


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This is a sweet and gentle observation by Nicholas Pollack, a recent MFA grad whose project featured here, 'Nothing Gold Can Stay' was nominated for the 2016 ICP Infinity Award. He is also a contender for the upcoming Featureshoot Emerging Photographer Award.

"Nothing Gold Can Stay is a body of work about the fleetingness of youth. My photographs of the boys of Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey describe this ephemerality, and through these photographs I intends to access a sense of memory and vulnerability to create an experience of love amid life's chaos and uncertainty."

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All images © Nicholas Pollack

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Images play different roles in and of themselves as windows and even - dare I say - as individuals. If a photo can be individual - I think it can. The awareness of that window is important to each person who's looking. Caroline Tompkins and I chat at length about the hope that people might take that time with photography. "Here's a thing you need to see," she tells me, explaining the how of her photographs. Her images and language are interesting to interpret, as is she. The word demure may seem accurate at first but the truth is Tompkins has, well - balls. There's nerve in her, and within her reserve is an inquisitive and engaged fight. Not a fight of fists or words but one of reflective intellect and tenderness.

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© Caroline Tompkins

Tompkins has a different sensibility; it's probably something about Ohio where she's from, and a certain sort of projected quietness in her tone and her hands. Her photographs are beautiful in a noncritical way; they are absurd and situational. It would be easy for viewers to find themselves laughing with a Tompkins image. There is something intrinsically photographic happening in Tompkins imagery. It rouses a charming engagement of reflective and coy peculiarity. It's all very quaint at the surface; it's after those first few moments when you realize something deeper is engaging the imagery and the photos are not just pretty things, idealized places, and pretty people. 

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© Caroline Tompkins

There's time to reveal secrets and invent a good amount of trickery when traveling around with a camera. Tompkins' imagery has a lot to unmask and explore; her photographs are of getting away or moving on, from one place to another. They are wide and precious in scope but pressed with observation and hugely aesthetic. It isn't outwardly obvious, it is wonderfully seductive in its matter of factness. It's like breathing - she tells me she's always had a camera in her hands. Eight years old and taking pictures, she didn't so much have a lighting bolt moment that drew her to photography as much as she just always had this extra appendage. Tompkins knows the camera the way she knows herself.     

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© Caroline Tompkins

She, Tompkins, is a hard working lady. She is hugely respectful and strikes me as the type to go into the wilderness and leave only footprints. I don't mean to romanticize her; I mean to point out something hugely loving and human about the person who presses the eye to her camera. She reflects in her images as they speak back about her. The work doesn't get lost on Tompkins; the world she interacts with is important but there isn't a sense that she is her own subject. Caroline is far more interested in the everything and all around. Pieces and parts she photographs like a collector of unexpected bric-a-brac's of all kinds of wonderful odds and ends. There's a rhythm that reads like a hymn in her warm compositions. Elusive beyond what they literally are, the only thing they ask is a few more moments for your viewing pleasure.

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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Betty Ford, 1977 © Yousuf Karsh

Just because... here's Betty! Karsh photographed her and Gerald Ford, one of 12 US Presidents immortalized by Karsh, in 1977.

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President Gerald Ford, 1977 © Yousuf Karsh

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Ray Tomlinson, 1998 © Henry Horenstein

What a gorgeous portrait of Ray Tomlinson by the lovely Henry Horenstein. Ray Tomlinson died last week. He created the first email system and has us all using the @ sign. Big up, Mr. Tomlinson! 

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From 'Close' © Natalia Evelyn Bencicova

Amongst the many emails that drop in on any given day I was stopped dead in my morning tracks by the announcement of this year's Hasselblad Masters. Natalia Evelyn Bencicova is in her early twenties and already making superb photographs, deservedly winning the 2016 award in the Portrait category. Happily, she agreed to be featured in the magazine so I chose images from two series on her website, 'Body' and 'Close' but I frankly would have been happy to publish any of her photographs. 

Here's to a bright future for Natalia and a feast of portrait delights for us. Do take the time to visit her website for more glories.


Good article over at Yatzer.

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From 'Body' © Natalia Evelyn Bencicova

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From Jimmy DeSana: Suburban, Aperture/Salon 94, 2015


It's difficult to pick a starting point to talk about Jimmy DeSana's book Suburban, out now from Aperture and co-published by Salon 94. Suspicious and sexual, unusual, surreal, and yet somehow surprisingly domestic. Well, not so typically domestic. There's a good amount of exciting and unexpected debunking happening in DeSana's images. The photos aren't against suburban spaces, they alert a different sense of possibility in them. White walls and power cords, high heels and purses worn on feet and hands or placed over heads and genitals. Chairs, beds, and cabinets used like a circus, an array of different everyday objects scattered and used in tandem with the naked body, achieving a much different sense of the everyday. But it's not really erotic, all the parts are kind of true to themselves.

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Storage Boxes, 1980 © the Jimmy DeSana Estate/Salon 94

Gelled tungstens, in an array of colors, confuse the space and stage where these bodies perform. These photos are a performance. Captured motion and a slower shutter speed (sometimes) is hugely essential to DeSana's characters. Whether there is a single figure in the frame, or two, there isn't so much a feeling of sexuality between them as much as there is a sense of exploration. A sense of touch is second-most important. The debauched quality of everyday objects as they find new place on the body accentuates that touch. There's also touch between the two figures interactive with the space around them. All the parts become inescapably intimate.

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Instant Camera, 1980 © the Jimmy DeSana Estate/Salon 94

The work has an interesting dialogue; it's easy to think of Philippe Halsman. DeSana's work courts a kind of contemporary surrealism. His photos are nearly abstract in moments where they almost completely lose gravity but stay rooted in a semblance of reality, because at the end of the day his props are very commonplace. It's interesting to see the ability of these mundane objects and how they can become more. The photos are not of the mundane, and yet they're straight out of the tedious everyday. There's an argument - a disbelief - you can't take your eyes off these obfuscated photos because they're so seemingly recognizable. They are meant to be read into, and from one suburban-raised kid to another, clearly DeSana had some - as Laurie Simmons puts it - "emotionally lethal stories" behind his relationship to suburbia. 

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Four Legs with Shoes, ca.1980 © the Jimmy DeSana Estate/Salon 94

Suburban is a delightfully bizarre book and body of work. Period. And the book is a celebration of DeSana's forwardness. It doesn't waste time and it doesn't feel sentimental. The book reflects the feeling of the work. It's interesting to see what a whacky guy and a few friends are capable of with the most basic tools to make photographs. That's not passé, in-fact it was Minor White who said, "It's not about the tools but how you use them." Jimmy DeSana embodies that sentiment in this surrealism. 

Get your hands on a copy by clicking here.

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Cardboard, 1985 © the Jimmy DeSana Estate/Salon 94

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Untitled (Plywood Interior), 1979 © the Jimmy DeSana Estate/Salon 94

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Puerto Rican Day Parade © Arlene Gottfried, courtesy Daniel Cooney Fine Art

"It takes a lifetime to be a new discovery, I guess." So said Ms Arlene Gottfried this week (speaking to David Schonauer over at AI-AP) in the run-up to her second solo show, 'Bacalaitos & Fireworks', at Daniel Cooney Fine Art, in Chelsea, New York, which opened March 3, 2016 and runs till April 16th. 

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The show at Cooney features images originally collected in Arlene's 2011 book Bacalaitos & Fireworks, printed from her rich, orangey Cibachromes.

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From the press release "Growing up, Gottfried was fascinated with the culture around her, learning to Salsa dance and to love the music, food and language. As an adult living in Manhattan she embraced the Puerto Rican community and they embraced her, sharing their lives with her and her camera. Gottfried says, "From my window on the Lower East Side I could look out and see the Puerto Rican culture I encountered over 30 years earlier. "One night I heard a street vendor on the corner of Avenue C and East 3rd Street calling, "bacalaitos and fireworks", bacalaitos, a fried cod fish indigenous to Puerto Rico and fireworks, for the Fourth of July weekend. This juxtaposition became etched in my mind - representative of an immigrant population on the streets of America."

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These are but a small sample of the colour prints on show. Run don't walk! 

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All images © Arlene Gottfried courtesy Daniel Cooney Fine Art

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Grace © Toto Cullen

"'Beauty Undefined" explores the concept of womanhood and societal ideologies regarding beauty. This exhibition curated by Monica Watkins and Magda Love, of Beauty for Freedom, features the works of 20 international artists. Images of female beauty vary greatly across cultures and time as does what qualifies as "beautiful" among everyday women. Beauty Undefined develops a stronger definition of beauty of the female form by introducing issues of culture and identity through the mediums of photography, illustrations, video installations, graffiti art, fine art and sculpture. 

"'Beauty for Freedom' is an innovative, sustainable platform providing the industries of beauty and fashion with a means to raise awareness, accountability, and financial contributions for charitable foundations and non-profits who fight human trafficking globally. Spring 2016, Beauty for Freedom will be producing a series of art, music, photography and writing workshops in SE Asia (Project India) meant to promote self-esteem and self-expression for survivors of sex-trafficking.

The exhibition is on view March 2nd & 3rd, 2016, at 51 Orchard Street NY, NY with an opening reception March 2nd, 7-11pm.

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Confection © Alison Brady

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The White Dress © Tim Okamura


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