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"American Girl In Italy" 1951 © Ruth Orkin

As a member of the American Photography Archives Group, in my role representing the Estate of Yousuf Karsh, I sit among some truly great archivists, including relatives of Ernst Haas, Phillipe Halsman, Inge Morath, Gordon Parks and many more. The founder of this group is the inimitable Mary Engel, daughter of photographers Ruth Orkin and Morris Engel, who also works hard representing her parents' archives.

Daughter of a silent film actress, Ruth Orkin had an early interest in film movies and was the first messenger girl at MGM Studios! "Orkin wanted to become a cinematographer; however, women were not allowed to join the union. It was not until the 1950′s when she and her husband Morris Engel made their first independent feature film "Little Fugitive." Truffaut credited the film with helping to start the French New Wave."

In Mary's words: "My mother, Ruth Orkin, had many loves. Photography and travel were two of them. When she was 17, my mother took a cross-country trip by herself, bicycling and hitchhiking from her home in Los Angeles to New York, snapping pictures along the way. She later moved to New York, where this spirit of adventure continued. She photographed Tanglewood's summer music festivals, honed her craft in nightclubs, joined the Photo League, and with her first published story in Look magazine, became "a full-fledged photojournalist." In 1951, Life sent her on assignment to Israel. From there she went to Italy, and it was in Florence that she met Jinx Allen (now known as Ninalee Craig), a painter and fellow American.

The two were talking about their shared experiences traveling alone as young single women, when my mother had an idea. "Come on," she said, "lets go out and shoot pictures of what it's really like." In the morning, while the Italian women were inside preparing lunch, Jinx gawked at statues, asked Military officials for directions, fumbled with lire and flirted in cafes while my mother photographed her. They had a lot of fun, as the photograph, "Staring at the Statue", demonstrates. My mother's best known image, "American Girl in Italy" was also created as part of this series."

aCurator is pleased to publish some of the rest of this photo shoot.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

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L to R: Photographers Roberta Parkin, Nicky J Sims, Tabatha Fireman, Curator Dede Millar, Photographer Henrietta Butler © Barbara Doux

From Lady Day to Lady Gaga... The opening night of She Bop A Lula was a huge success. At  Proud's Strand Gallery in central London, the exhibition includes over 60 photographs for sale at £200 of the most influential female recording artists of the past six decades, by female photographers. All proceeds go to Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity.

Running through April 1st, please support the cause, spread the word, buy yourself a photograph of a recording artist you love!

More press:
The Guardian
The Independent
Time Out

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Visitors check out photos of Millie, Nico, Sandie Shaw, Ari Up and Annie Lennox © Barbara Doux

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Overview featuring the back of the legendary jazz photographer David Redfern © Barbara Doux

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Poly Styrene's daughter Celeste Bell in front of some of her Mum's artwork © Barbara Doux

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© Carsten Stormer

I am honoured to publish the work of Carsten Stormer, a German writer and photographer. Carsten brings to our attention a horrendous form of violence in Cambodia: acid throwing.

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"They call themselves survivors, refusing to accept the stigma of victimhood. And somehow, they survive. You see them on sugarcane plantations in the middle of nowhere. In the trash dumps of Phnom Penh. In flimsy bamboo lean-tos where relatives hide their own shame and helplessness. People call them Cambodia's living dead. They are the forgotten victims of a war that ended a generation ago but lives on in the souls of the country's people.

"Acid attacks deprive people of more than their looks and sight. Families are torn apart. Husbands leave their wives, and vice versa. Children are separated from their parents. Jobs vanish overnight, turning professionals into beggars. Many victims cannot get through a day without constant assistance, becoming burdens on their families. All bear the mark of the pariah."

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"There is an invisible wall dividing Cambodia. Since global companies discovered its low wages, the country is in the fast lane back to the future. But there has been no public discussion of the civil war and mass murder committed over 30 years ago by the Khmer Rouge. Hardly anyone was held accountable. It was simply assumed that time heals all wounds - somehow. The past fades to black. Only the present counts, the here and now.

"What remains is a traumatized society in which domestic disputes, unhappy love affairs, and professional rivalries are nearly always resolved through violence. Hardly a family without its members lost to the ideological battles of the Khmer Rouge - a curse that is passed on from parents to children. Battery acid is known to be most uncomplicated way of causing lifelong suffering. A dollar will buy you a quart of acid on any street corner. The perpetrators are seldom punished. Their targets become outcasts."

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"There is no specific criminal law on acid attacks, and the attacks are not tallied separately from other assaults. The authorities are aware of 11 cases so far in 2011, but the unreported number could be much higher. Many victims are terrified any form of resistance might provoke another attack. Many cases disappear without a trace in the Cambodian court system." Carsten Stormer.

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Unlike similar incidents in Pakistan or Bangladesh, acid attacks in Cambodia don't focus on women only. According to Wikipedia "..these type of attacks are most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other nearby countries. ...80% of victims of these acid attacks are female and almost 70% are under 18 years of age.

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The photos were in the final of the Leica-Oscar-Barnack-Award as well as on the shortlist for the Henri-Nannen-Award.

All images © Carsten Stormer

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Alfredo Gutierrez makes portraits of homeless Americans who come to Tijuana because life on the street is cheaper here than in neighboring California. © Stefan Falke

Whilst working on his project on the Moko Jumbies of Trinidad, Stefan Falke met a costume designer from Mexico who introduced him to one of Mexico's foremost artists, Marta Palau, and Stefan's idea for a project photographing artists along the US-Mexican border began to develop.

"With my long-term project 'La Frontera' I want to examine the cultural and humanitarian activities on both sides of a border that keeps the United States and Mexico apart with a wall of steel already 600 miles long. The turf wars of drug cartels, arms trafficking and rampant kidnappings have turned cities like Tijuana and Juarez into some of the most dangerous places on earth. Despite the violence many artists, photographers, architects, poets, humanitarians, teachers, live and work in the shadow of the wall on both sides, and have a positive influence on this region; they are the focus of this project. Over time I plan to cover the entire length from the Atlantic to the Pacific." Stefan Falke

Stefan's first show of this work opens March 9th, 2012 at La Casa Del Tunel Art Center,
Colonia Federal, Tijuana BC, México. The Center is built over an old tunnel running under the border.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

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© Stefan Falke

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March For Jobs, Peace & Freedom. Washington D.C., August 1983 © Margaret McCarthy

Portfolio reviews are earnest affairs, I've heard them called "stuffy," so it's notable when one finishes one's 10 minutes of speed dating with tears of laughter rolling down one's cheeks which is how it was when I met Margaret McCarthy for the first time and she showed me 'Late Night Animals' - yes, photographs of animals that featured as guests on various late night talk shows. Margaret went on to have a show of the series in New York.
 
However, it seems as good a time as any for some photographs of protests. As an aside, I hit the streets for my first protest at age 14 under Margaret Thatcher - Meryl Streep won best actress in the Oscars last night for portraying her in a film I wouldn't see even if you promised to keep me in milk for the rest of my life.
 
So, my alternative title for this story is 'Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.'

"The 1980's and 1990's are often portrayed as decades of greed and apathy when social activism vanished. In fact, those times spawned vigorous and committed opposition to a rapidly escalating nuclear arms race and U.S. activities in Central America. A military draft threatened to unfairly target black and inner city youth. Frustration over the treatment of women and same sex couples reached a slow boil as the AIDS crisis hit and abortion rights were continually attacked. We realized the environment was in trouble. A sea change occurred then: the awareness of how all these issues were connected. The cost of war could no longer be separated from issues of racism and poverty; the status of women reflected our relationship to the earth. March events then tended to be multi-issued, asking people to rally around a united consciousness; they cut across lines of race, sex, gender preference, economic status and age.

Color slide film, with its saturated hues, captured the visual richness and drama of these events, as well as the humor and irreverence of their participants. These events were truly 'living theatre' with a message - protest as a creative act. It was important to me to witness and document this pageant of American history not often discussed or acknowledged. Occupy Wall Street was preceded by large-scale demonstrations in opposition to the Iraq War; those were historically connected to the activism of the 1980's and 90's. The anti-war movement of the '60's eventually evolved into a peace movement, which birthed a consciousness of how all the important issues we face are related.

Today a new generation of young activists infuses fresh energy into the peace and social justice movements. I continue to document this multi-cultural, multi-generational activism, hoping to capture its wit, vision, its creative spirit and its fresh sense of urgency.

So what's really changed? (Other than my using digital cameras now?) Look at the jubilant faces of the newly married same sex couples in front of city hall. Look at the in-your-face signs of the young women marching to protect not just abortion rights now, but birth control. Look at the signs from Zuccottti Park; the human mic asks: What is our highest and best future?" - Margaret McCarthy, February, 2012

Continuing her work photographing protests, Margaret hit the streets for 'The Line' march today. "5,000 citizens formed a 3 mile line on Broadway, from the Bull at Bowling Green to Union Square and held up pink slips from 8:14 am to 8:28 a.m. today on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012. It was a protest to represent 14 million Unemployed Americans & demand action from congress & corporations."


Karsh_Salk_CMLA-Invitation-1.jpgAlmost without exception, the business I do for the Estate of Yousuf Karsh brings me great joy and also keeps me grounded.

Dr. Peter Salk and I have been in touch over the past couple of years; we've compared photos of his father, Dr. Jonas Salk, and the Estate happily grants permission for the photographs to be used in various settings. As you can see, Dr. Salk has a lecture coming up on April 27th at Cleveland Medical Library Association.

"Dr. Salk's lecture will explore the broader aspects of his father's legacy and their potential contributions to helping humanity address its present and future challenges and opportunities. Dr. Salk graduated from Harvard University in 1965 and from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1969. Following two years of training in internal medicine at the University Hospitals of Cleveland, he worked in his father's laboratory at the Salk Institute (1972-1984) conducting research on immunotherapy of cancer, autoimmune disease and strategies for vaccine production. He worked again with his father from 1991-1995 on a project to develop an inactivated HIV vaccine, and subsequently worked on the introduction of AIDS treat- ment programs in Africa and Asia. Since 2009 Dr. Salk has been the President of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation."

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I don't know what happened to you that night / VODKA


Chris Sellas was in the SVA MFA Photo Thesis Exhibit I saw last June. He just got back in touch, telling me my blog post on the exhibition "...kind of helped my work a lot. I landed a second show, and my book sold out in weeks." Hurrah for Chris! Here are a few more from his series 'You. I.' wherein he mails two copies of a photograph to a significant person from his past. He's hand-written on one; the recipient sends back their comment on the other. It really works well as a bigger series so see if you can still get a copy.

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You pushed me up against the bathroom door and went down on me / I remember being down on my knees thinking this would get you to like me more

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You chose to rob me of my innocence when I was 5 / If you felt I hurt you then I am sorry. I do not remember what you are talking about

Beryl_Bryden_billie.jpgOpening at the Proud Strand Gallery in London on March 7th is a new photo exhibition: She Bop A Lula! The exhibition will feature over 60 fabulous pictures of some of the most successful and creative women singers from the last six decades. From Lady Day to Lady Gaga, the list of artists include not only top chart sellers, but those women who have excited and entertained us with their music and stage performances.

The pictures, all taken by women photographers, are a mix of candid and intimate backstage scenes, sensitive and stylised portraits, through to the excitement and raw power of live performance.

Now you have the opportunity to own one of these fantastic pictures as the prints are available to purchase at £200. All the photographers have generously donated their work for free and 100% of sales will go to Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity, the UK's leading charity which undertakes vital research into a disease that affects 1 in 8 women.

Dusty Springfield, Nina Simone, Dolly Parton, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Madonna, Diana Ross, PJ Harvey, Poly Styrene, Sade, Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue, Annie Lennox, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Adele are some of the names - there are many more!

You will have the opportunity to bid for exclusive prints - signed by some of the artists including the late Amy Winehouse. There are also two specially commissioned artworks of Kate Bush by Dawn Wilsher and Barbra Streisand by Sally Munton for sale.

She Bop a Lula opens 7 March through 1 April 2012 at the Strand Gallery, 32 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6BP

Billie Holiday © Beryl Bryden

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Gail, Behind Her Room, 2006

Laura Noel has been photographing the sneaky fag break for several years. I like what she says on her website about this project so I'll leave it to her to expand. Check out her other work, too. When I hear photographers saying they don't know what to shoot, I want to send them to people like Laura.



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"Though this is a fairly broad subject, I am primarily interested in visualizing the emotions involved in the decision to smoke. I consider these portraits to be psychological in nature, as well as an examination of the places smokers have retreated to. The pull of self-image and addiction is very strong. 

My pictures concern the attitudes - defiance, enjoyment, resignation, and contentment - of those who continue to smoke cigarettes in the face of public disapproval. More importantly, these portraits reveal that for some smokers, cigarettes are a way to enter into a state of contemplation.
 
This introspective pause in a hectic world is more valuable to smokers than non-smokers would imagine."

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Amy, In Her Backyard, 2005


"A residue of glamour can also be seen in these photographs - the theatrical inhaling and exhaling, the sensual pleasure of watching smoke float and dissipate in the air, and the primal tie to fire. Though we may not approve of the act, we can understand the appeal of smoking, however false it may turn out to be.
 
Since the anti-smoking movement began gaining momentum in the 1970's, culminating in the current ban on public consumption, smokers have become social refugees banished to windy corners, cars, and private rooms. I am interested in exploring the idea that society has become so disenchanted with smokers, that we have tried to legislate them out of existence."

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Barry, Behind The Lab, 2010


"Of course, smoking is unhealthy and potentially fatal, but my images are not a defense of this dangerous practice, but instead a portrait of a diverse group of people united by a habit."

All images © Laura Noel

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Cairo, Egypt (Ramses Hilton under construction), 1980 © Adam Bartos

Gitterman Gallery will host their first exhibition with Adam Bartos, opening March 1st and showing never before exhibited color photographs. The exhibition includes work he made in North and East Africa and Mexico in the early 1980s and recent photographs made in Long Island, New York between 2007-2010. The spiel:

"Bartos' interest in the 19th century travel work of Samuel Bourne, Robert MacPherson, and others, led him to Egypt, Kenya, and Mexico with a large format camera and color film. His images are thoroughly modern, yet their energy is inspired by the lucid depiction of form and light that the earlier photographers achieved. The same impulse is present in his recent work, although the subject matter is found much closer to home, in eastern Long Island. These images have been printed using a four-color carbon transfer process that, with its tonal range and description of fine detail, emphasizes Bartos' subtle color palette and formal compositions."

Thanks to Kate Greenberg for tip top PR stuff.

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Kenya, 1980

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Cairo, Egypt, Sultan Hassan Mosque, 1980

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Teotihuacan, Mexico, 1981

All images © Adam Bartos

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