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© Simen Øvergaard

Simen Øvergaard is one of many delightful photo students I met at Nordic Light Photo Festival. Simen attends Bilder Nordic School of Photography in Oslo, and this body of work is part of 'Shameless,' 37 graduating students of 2012 exploring sexuality and shame, with their own visual voice and style. Simen says his is "...a project presenting and neutralizing places that are made for humans to have sexual intercourse. Nothing to hide, it is just sex."

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All images © Simen Øvergaard


Henrik-Halvarsson-image-for-Aday.org.jpgOn Tuesday May 15th 2012, the Aday.org initiative will invite the entire world to participate in the largest and most comprehensive photographic documentation of a single day in human history. Whether an amateur with a mobile phone camera or a professional photographer, Aday.org asks anyone - and everyone - in possession of one of the world's estimated one billion digital cameras to document their experiences of the day: uploading their images in order to create a visual archive of our lives today.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who sits on the Global Advisory Board for Aday.org (and will be contributing his own photographs on May 15th), comments: "Take this unique opportunity with me, and thousands of others around the world, to create a priceless collection of images, to boost understanding and enhance research and education." Fellow Global Advisory Board member, Sir Richard Branson comments: "This great project is about real people taking pictures of real life in real-time. Please get your camera and share your life on May 15."

Aday.org seeks participants of all ages, backgrounds, and from every corner of our planet: each contribution as relevant and significant as the next person's in creating this unprecedented snapshot of humanity. To help get the largest number of people involved, Aday.org has already recruited hundreds of global 'connectors' - leading lights from the worlds of photography (including 30 World Press Photo winners), journalism and academia - who will both take part on the day and spread the word as well as encourage participation among their own social networks, intranets, mailing lists, or fan-bases.

Tons of info over at Aday's website. Join in!

Image by Henrik Halvarsson for Aday.org

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Unknown Soldier, 2011 © Marcin Owczarek

And now for something completely different. "My name is Marcin Owczarek and I am an artist who creates in the spirit of Surrealism."

Marcin Owczarek was born in Wroclaw, Poland in 1985 and studied photography there. He admires Dadaism as well as Surrealism. "I regard my critical collages as the prediction of human degradation. Man is imperfect. Man is a savage, greedy rebel of Nature. I stress the present process of dehumanization, mechanization and standardization of human race, false norms and illusional values that are given as the truth to society by religion, governments, laws, propaganda, the false mirror of the television..."

Focusing on the issues of mechanization and standardization, he tackles them in an antiutopian style, depicting the total capture of the spirit by the machine world. He reflects: "In the times of old Celtic celebrations there were enormous figures made of wood or cane, filled with living people and them burned. I have the impression that nowadays we have superseded these Celtic figures by concrete blocks of flats, dead peninsulas, where we undergo geometrical unification and from which we shout 'like martyrs being burnt alive while still giving songs of life from their stakes'. (Artaud)"

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Visit Marcin on Facebook.

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Superman, Hollywood © Bjørn Opsahl

Bjørn Opsahl and I met at Nordic Light last week. We knew we were going to be on a panel discussion together but didn't know anything about each other. Fashion and portrait photographer Bjørn is obviously a bit of a heartthrob and hero, some of the students in the audience for his presentation were gooey. Bjørn was self-effacing during his great slideshow, claiming to be nervous to present in English - he was flawless. He talked about having been a roadie and a rocker and his progression to shooting bands, with no formal photographic education; how being ballsy is how to get great shots, especially when you're shooting celebrities; doing anything that's needed to get the shot (like getting a full back tattoo) and the skills required when handling handlers. 

This particular photograph was the culmination of a few days stalking a Hollywood Superman look-alike. Bjørn talked about how he crawled the curb each morning until he got the right shot. 

Bjørn, baby, how about a new website?

Robert Pledge's exhibition CONTACT/S, hosted most recently at Nordic Light, is monumental.

One would not expect anything less - the show, the layout, photographs from the building of the Berlin Wall to the falling of the Twin Towers, there's nothing to be done but really see, remember, hold photographers in awe and, if you're like me, let the tears run. Perhaps the one uplifting series was the gorilla who rescued a little boy who fell over the railings at the Chicago zoo showing us the humanity we can't see in most of the rest of the photographs. Even the first second of the new millennium, shot in Times Square, is full of Guiliani's disturbing mug.

And of course, the contact sheet is disappearing fast.

Leaving the show, I felt John Botte's interview deserved another airing.

John Botte: The 9/11 Photographs from In The Loupe on Vimeo.


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Title: untitled. Artist: unknown. January 2010, Berlin. Photo © Koen van de Wouw

"Last Expo is an online exposition. It is a collection of photographs taken of orphaned art in its final resting place. It's a commemorative album of forgotten human imagination."

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Title: untitled. Artist: unknown. March 2011, Amsterdam.

"I walked in the centre of Amsterdam, minding my own business, when I noticed a stray piece of artwork lying next to the trash. I thought maybe this was the first time that this painting had seen the light of day. I wanted to adopt it, but then I realized that this was a big moment for the painting - its debut".

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Title: untitled. Artist: unknown. July 2010, Los Angeles.

"For young artists, it is difficult to get your work onto a stage to be seen. It's not easy to get a place in a museum or at the current photo exhibitions. This is why I chose to create an online exposition. It's cheap and the whole world can see it."

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Title: untitled. Artist: unknown. April 2009, Amsterdam.

Koen_van_de_Wouw-kliko.jpgTitle: untitled. Artist: unknown. April 2009, Amsterdam.

All photographs © Koen van de Wouw

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'Cruel Story of Youth' © Jennifer Loeber

Counter Culture Summer Camp sounds wonderful; we uptight Brits didn't do this sort of thing... Jennifer Loeber enlightened me by sharing her project 'Cruel Story of Youth' and speaking from the heart.

"This series explores my personal reconciliation with the slowly fading memories that once had an indelible impact on my path to adulthood. I spent several weeks living with and documenting the emotional landscape of the current inhabitants of the counter culture summer camp I attended as a teenager as part alumnus, part outsider. Connecting with my subjects through a shared history afforded me the trust necessary to be able to watch events unfold without censorship. Drawing from my own self-discovery within this same space, I focused on conveying the spontaneity and supportive atmosphere that is the foundation and legacy of the camp."

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All images © Jennifer Loeber

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Every event is a highlight here at Nordic Light International Festival of Photography in Kristiansund. I feel fortunate to be spending real time with the people who have influenced me and who most likely influence you.  

Robert Pledge, ever-delightful founder and president of Contact Press Images, has mounted a show of contact sheets with the prints of the images that were selected from them. Seen all together, the show is incredibly moving and Robert followed up with a presentation of some 300 images he curated showing events from the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 through to September 11th, 2001. I had not seen Annie Leibovitz' images from the Tutsi massacre before.


It was a real treat to go through the show with Robert who, as you can see, has not lost a jot of enthusiasm in the 35 years he's been running Contact.

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There's just so much good stuff going on here, including James Mollison's 'Where Children Sleep'; an Abe Frajndlich restrospective; sweet and delightful Bruce Davidson's 'American Photographs'; a selection from Mary Ellen Mark; Bjorn Opshal is my new friend-to-take-the-piss-out-of who is a great photographer with no formal training; and a wonderful new discovery for me - Annelise Kirsebom, an 82 year old woman who took up photography late in life but whose scenes might as well have been taken when she was in her 30s (and for whom I can't find a decent link.)

I'm completely blown away by Stuart Franklin but I'll address that separately.

I love this idea of having the students create a pop-up gallery by wearing their best image on a T shirt.

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Here's me having a sneaky fag with the inimitable (the word was invented for him) British attorney Rupert Grey. Since I always thought I might have been a lawyer if only I was inclined to study hard, I enjoy talking rights and cases with Rupert and this is the first time we've met face-to-face in the twenty years we've known each other.

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We're not done yet and tonight we'll be treated to a conversation with Mary Ellen Mark. Tomorrow I have four hours of portfolio reviews and I can't count how many photographers have come up to me and told me how nervous they are. I don't know why... 

Poor photos © Julie Grahame

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© Ted Morrison

With this marvelous series, Ted Morrison demonstrates the importance of personal work. Fully embracing a challenge he set for himself, the results prove that personal projects can rejuvenate your creativity, broaden your interests and perhaps keep you sane. Ted, who might spend months on a project with a client, suggests being busy with paid work tends to lead to a death of proactivity outside of the job you're doing. Hearing how I bang on about the importance of coming up with and embracing ideas for new projects, Ted literally got off his chair and headed to Maine accompanied only by his cameras and a new obsession.

Only accessible under certain conditions, Ted made trips to Acadia during summer and autumn last year. The results are beautiful and dramatic. I'd like to be under the sea!

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

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Man smoking in 14th Street Diner, NYC, 1974 © Harold Feinstein

Panopticon Gallery is proud to announce 'Harold Feinstein - A Retrospective' published by Nazraeli Press. Feel free to pre-order it for my birthday gift.

Feinstein was born in Coney Island, joined the Photo League at 17 years old, and is widely know for his work in New York, indeed helping to define the 'New York School'.

'Harold Feinstein, A Retrospective' is the first career-spanning monograph showcasing the brilliance of a small camera master of black-and-white photography. Feinstein began his career in photography in 1946. Within four short years, Edward Steichen, an early supporter, had purchased his work for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and exhibited it frequently. Feinstein quickly became a prominent figure in the vanguard of the early New York City photography scene where he exhibited at Helen Gee's Limelight Gallery, was a designer for historic Blue Note Records and was a member of the NY Photo League. Feinstein is best known for his six-decade love affair with Coney Island, which has resulted in a collection unsurpassed by any other photographer. While his Coney Island work is much celebrated, Feinstein's breadth and exposure is far greater. His black-and-white portfolios include photo essays from the Korean War, documentary street work, nudes, landscapes, and still life. Feinstein's photographs have been exhibited in and are represented in the permanent collections of major museums including the Museum of Modern Art, International Center of Photography, and the George Eastman House. "When your mouth drops open, click the shutter." - Harold Feinstein

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Coney Island Teenagers, 1949 © Harold Feinstein

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GI in photo booth, Kilmer, 1952 © Harold Feinstein
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Man with daughters at the Side Show, Coney Island, 1949 © Harold Feinstein
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Tattooed man, Coney Island, 1990 © Harold Feinstein

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