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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.



Whitney, Behind Her Job, 2006


"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

Karsh_Glenn_John_1968.jpgToday marks 50 years since John Glenn's orbit around the earth, circling it three times in five hours.

I hope to live long enough and have enough money to take a trip myself, Virgin Galactic or otherwise.






I find it almost impossible to imagine this great nation so forward-looking as I watch the desperate attempts by the right to roll back progress.

John Glenn, 1968 © Yousuf Karsh

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Wave Trails, Black Sand, Iceland, 2002 © Bill Schwab

Bill Schwab and I first crossed paths many years ago when he joined my agency for syndication. I recall some photos of Dee Dee Ramone. The wonderful world of social media brought our paths together again recently and I learned about the other Bill Schwab, who, with a Kodak Brownie and a home darkroom kit received as a gift from his father, taught himself to process film and contact print at age twelve: a widely exhibited and collected fine art photographer, wet plate practitioner and teacher, and producer of stunning landscapes. Bill has made several trips to Iceland and takes workshops out there (one of which 'Iceland: The South Coast' is later this year); his work also often centers around his home base of the Detroit area.

Bill's book 'Gathering Calm' is available in its second edition, and his next book, featuring his work from Belle Isle, Detroit, will be released this year.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

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Dee Dee Ramone, Detroit, 1991 © Bill Schwab

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Christopher Auger-Domínguez makes photographs of kids that I actually enjoy looking at. At a recent portfolio review it was a real pleasure to see Christopher again; his demeanour is reflected in his photos.

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Auger-Dominguez_02.jpg All images © Christopher Auger-Domínguez

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John Logan Pierson with Lucky the one-armed squirrel monkey © Kevin Steele

Kevin "Just-back-from-Ecuador" Steele found a local assistant during his three-week shoot. Nice work if you can get it. Check out the wonderful Compassionate Adventure story at Kevin's blog.

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© J. Stephen Young

I am just as thrilled as can be to see the results from the show I curated for the New Orleans Photo Alliance, which opened this past weekend. I felt a great responsibility to do justice to both the contributors and to the Alliance and I hope that all the attendees find it an engaging exhibition.

'Light' runs at the Alliance, 1111 St. Mary Street, New Orleans, LA, 70130,  February 11th to March 25th 2012.

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In stores soon is this new infinitely-readable little book, 'Photographs Not Taken,' brought to you by the bright and brilliant team at Daylight. Author Will Steacy's short essays by photographers is a collection of personal stories about missed opportunities, mistakes, missteps and many other varied vignettes; some of them are glad that they hold the memory instead of a physical manifestation. "Diane Arbus would have done it" states Sylvia Plachy, in hindsight. Other short tales from Mary Ellen Mark, Roger Ballen, Amy Elkins, Mark Power, Jamel Shabazz, Tim Hetherington and dozens more.

Pre-order one now. Great value, great reading, relatable and moving.

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© Les Stone

Les Stone, working on a documentary on coal mining in McDowell County, West Virginia, has found his story morphing into a broader look at health care.

"McDowell County is one of the poorest and most remote counties in the United States. In fact Welch, the county seat, had at one time the highest concentration of millionaires in the United States. Thousands of immigrants came from all over the world to work in the coalfields. Now, Welch is scarcely a shadow of its former self. Still, today more coal is taken out of this area than at any time in its history, however, mechanization and non-union mining left the county destitute. In addition, many of the coal companies have treated the people there with disdain and have taken advantage of the miners and their families. .

Black lung, heart disease, diabetes and drug abuse just a few of the problems that have come with poverty in McDowell County. Black lung disease is on the rise among all the miners after several years of decline. Many of the formerly rich towns in the area are now little more than ghost towns and still the only jobs that pay more than minimum wage are the most dangerous jobs in the world - coal mining. Very few people here have health care insurance or access to medical clinics.

In the context of the national economy where many of us are currently suffering, this project is a reminder that some of our fellow countrymen have had it much worse for a long time and they should not be forgotten. In fact, they need to be celebrated as heroes. They are the reason the lights are still on in our homes. However that is not to celebrate coal - we need to find alternatives and quickly - but as in all decisions involving policy, you cannot forget that people's lives are deeply affected." - Les Stone.

Many thanks to Les for the text.

Read an interview with Les, "How A Photojournalist Used To Work," on Stella Kramer's blog.

View the full screen magazine feature.


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Phil Penman is a New York-based photographer with some grand, breath-taking images on his website, and a happy and colourful blog. Phil submitted images from his series on celebrity shooters right as I was receiving unwelcome news from my past life, which I spent licensing images from celebrity and music photographers, including the red carpet hoppers. As the desire grew to catch celebs increasingly unaware (unless they'd already had their publicists advise where and when their star would unexpectedly be...) we still resisted the creepier photographers snatching pics of celebs in sweatpants eating tacos (I think we actually got that specific request once).

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Penman_Phil_04.jpg"The life of a celebrity photographer may sound all glamour, red carpets, hanging with the stars, the Hollywood lifestyle. But fundamentally it is shivering your days away in the middle of the winter waiting for today's name in lights to come out of a building, whilst constantly responding to the ever-present question from passersby "Who Are You Waiting For?"" - Phil Penman.








All images © Phil Penman

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