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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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Peaches Geldof © Rayon Richards

Work-satisfaction-wise, not much beats witnessing a young photographer develop... I met Rayon Richards several moons ago when he was assisting the one-and-only Ernie Paniccioli. Rayon has always been positive, working super-hard on his career and turning out some great editorial, commercial and personal portraits. He has just launched a new website - a healthy improvement on the last (no offense, but those Livebooks sites sure can be soul-crushingly treacly.) Partake.

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Denise and Toni; Dani Filth; Half Pint; Bat For Lashes. All images © Rayon Richards
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Keeping me entertained today is Ohio-based photographer Stephen Tomasko's current project 'First Place and Our Congratulations'. 

"The start of this project, seen here, is the fruit of twenty days at sixteen midwest county fairs, examining the intense culture of competition surrounding the events."

This body of work will be part of the Proj'ekt LA series at MOPLA.

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All images © Stephen Tomasko

British county fairs feature massive vegetables, and I particularly enjoyed the story of the enormous swede that prompted Snoop Dogg to invite a Welshman backstage...

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In The Final Throes, New Jersey, 2011 © Michael Massaia

Michael Massaia is an incredibly productive, young, self-taught, technically impressive photographer. He doesn't look like a stalker, he isn't creepy, but he does sneak about a lot in the wee hours in places he probably ought not. Obviously Michael works with large format cameras; there is no trickery, just patience and masterful film processing and printing techniques. Michael describes his images as one-shot scenes that have been pushed to their limit. He talks about developing with Pyro allowing for huge, grainless prints that he makes himself. 

Michael has already been on the walls at AIPAD so I suspect all he needs to continue on this stellar path is a few more hours in the day (or night). At Gallery 270 in New Jersey, they reckon he eats only occasionally and may sleep just two or three hours every other day...

See Michael's work in its best format - large prints from the compelling series Seeing The Black Dog, Massaia's project on long-distance trucking will be on view at J Cacciola Gallery in NYC, opening May 3rd. 


Vivien_Goldman_Class.jpgThe Punk Professor, aka Vivien Goldman, is announcing a short new course open to all interested parties, with credit applicable to any of your studies. 'The Roots of Electronic Dance Music' is The Professor's first Electro Pop course. Seats are limited but there's still time to apply.  

For more info, visit the site or Tweet @PunkProfessor.

British photographer David Parfitt's goal here is to see the beauty in the mundane. aCurator believes not much beats a nice long bath with a calming soundtrack of clicking and snapping from a tubful of bubble bath (try Lush!)

Enjoy these little pops of pastel!

all images © David Parfitt
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BDS_4_ben2.jpgI was having a poke around aCurator-featured photographer Brian David Stevens' site today after he Tweeted about the 87th birthday of Anthony Wedgwood Benn, a British politician who, as per good old Wikipedia "...has topped several polls to find the most popular politician in Britain. He has also been described as "one of the few UK politicians to have become more left-wing after holding ministerial office." Since leaving Parliament, Benn has become more involved in the grass-roots politics of demonstrations and meetings, as opposed to parliamentary activities, and has been the President of the Stop the War Coalition for the last decade. He has also been a vegetarian since the 1970s." Yay for Tony Benn.

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Then I connected with this portrait of Molly Parkin ("a Welsh painter, novelist and journalist, who became most famous for exploits in the 1960s") with George Melly (an English jazz and blues singer, critic, writer and lecturer. From 1965 to 1973 he was a film and television critic for The Observer and lectured on art history, with an emphasis on surrealism.)

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BDS and I share a bit of common history so in a nod to the music of our time, a portrait of the Jesus and Mary Chain. I wonder whether I still look just as sardonic, 25 years on.

All images © Brian David Stevens

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JR shoots Liu Bolin © Zachary Bako

aCurator-featured artist Zachary Bako has been working with artist Liu Bolin in China for some time now. Recently they were in New York, with Bako documenting a collaboration between Bolin and French artist JR.

"Liu Bolin's passion for his artwork was clear from the start. The more I worked with Liu, the more interested I got in capturing his emotion, and that of those around him, as he works. When we collaborate, I find myself peeling the camera away from my face, almost like I need to take a minute now and then just to bear witness to the intensity of the atmosphere around me. In particular, when we were in his hometown of Binzhou in Shandong Province, China, last September creating two works."

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"Liu Bolin and JR have known each other for 4 or 5 years ago. They first met in Arles, France. During Liu Bolin's first performance for Hiding in New York in 2011 (at that time, in front of the Kenny Scharf mural on Houston and Bowery) JR stopped by to give his regards. Almost a year later the two would collaborate on a piece."

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"First, JR photographed Liu Bolin's face (the frame denotes his left eye partially visible through the fingers of his left hand) (Liu Bolin is predominately left-handed when creating sculptures and painting) Then JR and his assistants pasted the mural onto his studio door.  Once the pasting was completed, we waited for the correct light and Liu Bolin and his assistants then painted JR into his own image. Perched on scaffolding across the street, (there was a SUV parked from the correct POV, so we elevated camera to combat this) Liu Bolin directed his assistants with a laser pointer to perfect every last detail. The final product, a photograph."

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"Frankly, Liu Bolin and JR respect each other's work; even so much that JR has collected one of Liu Bolin's pieces. I think that it is fantastic that a cultural bridge is connected with these two artists. They are no doubt, two very important artists of our time; both having very distinct messages within their work. I consider their collaboration a homage to one another." - Zachary Bako.

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All images + video © Zachary Bako


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