Today, after three years of New York-style rain-checks, I finally had a cup of tea with Kate Simon and of course a good rummage in her print archive. Kate spent a lot of precious time photographing Bob Marley and was also in the New York and London punk scenes hanging out with Patti Smith, The Clash, Richard Hell and the like. Kate has a photograph of David Bowie's mum! I can't share most of the stories, but I will share her picture of one of my all-time favourite performers, Lee "Scratch" Perry.

Lee Perry © Kate Simon


I met Phillip Toledano a couple of weeks ago, and although I'd recently seen his project "America the Gift Shop" I was somehow more drawn to his bespoke outfit than the brilliance of his work; it is brilliant though, in the British sense - not shiny, but clever. Between meeting Mr. Phillip and now, I've inadvertently soiled his business card.

Business card 2009, Design © Phillip Toledano

Karsh_Salk_Jonas_1956_02_10.jpgWe were able to locate this image of Jonas Salk. The client originally requesting it had found it on Wikipedia, regrettably marked as being in the public domain. Wikipedia decided to take the image down even though I would have liked them to just make sure it was properly attributed and keep it on the Jonas Salk page. One of Dr. Salk's sons got in touch; also a doctor, even he felt the injection shot was a little discomfiting.

Dr. Jonas Salk, 1956 © Yousuf Karsh


An inquiry came in from a museum requesting permission to use one of Karsh's portraits of Dr. Jonas Salk in display materials. No high-res scan exists of the one they want but this image from the same session demonstrates Salk in action - he discovered and developed the first polio vaccine.

Dr. Jonas Salk, 1956 © Yousuf Karsh


I missed the opening at Amador Gallery for Olaf Otto Becker because I was a meeting of the American Photo Archives Group, a trade organization with a great set of members; we meet to discuss the challenges of having a physical archive of photographs, negs, transparencies, contact prints and so on. But, from the dusty boxes-under-beds to a different theme entirely - Becker's  "Above Zero" project.  Risking life, limb and large-format camera, Becker photographs the incredible disappearing landscape of Greenland. I haven't seen the show yet so I can't comment on the prints but if what's on the web is anything to go by it'll be breath-taking.

River 3, Position 5, 2007 © Olaf Otto Becker

Ickes_Harold_1944.jpgI see that Harold M. Ickes is consulting New York Governor David Paterson - a man with about a 20% approval rating clearly needs the help. Harold M. Ickes was White House Deputy Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton. His father, Harold L. Ickes, was Secretary of the Interior from 1933 to 1946 and served under FDR, implementing much of Roosevelt's 'New Deal'. This photograph was licensed for use in a new book by Ken Burns/Dayton Duncan; you can see a little teeny tiny slideshow of some pages at the Random House website.

Harold L. Ickes, 1944 © Yousuf Karsh


For me, the New York Times online seems to hide much of its engaging stuff behind its wordy old home page and I tend to not go there unless I'm looking for mainstream news items, forgetting they have so much great photography (I confess I haven't bought the paper version in years). This morning I discovered the "One in 8 Million" feature which is just gorgeous and lovely to use, and I've canceled my plans for the day so I can watch all the stories. These weekly slideshows are still images by Todd Heisler playing over personal accounts by New York characters and all those I've seen so far are winners, in particular Nancy Bunche: The Mayoral Maid as well as Maggie Nesciur: The Walker.

Maggie Nesciur by Todd Heisler / New York Times
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Nothing against Jim Marshall but how good it is to learn Andy Earl has a book of his Johnny Cash photos coming out and an exhibition with our mates at Snap Galleries in their new location in Central London, opening November 18th, 2009.

Johnny Cash, Telegraph © Andy Earl


"In Perfect Harmony: Music Legends and their Animals" is a fund-raising 2010 calendar benefiting Rational Animals, sponsored by Morrison Hotel Gallery and its photographers. The organization does lots of proactive work to protect animals and reduce euthanasia, and is widely respected. Patti Smith is my favourite as Ms June, but it's hard to resist Danny Clinch's Moby in a van with his dog and Bob Whitaker's John Lennon snuggling a Siamese. Indeed, it's worth buying just to have Sting in a pair of shorty-shorts in your kitchen for the whole of July (thanks to Lynn Goldsmith). Making it an even better deal is the photographer's account that accompanies each image.

Patti Smith, 1974 © Frank Stefanko
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Catherine Chalmers makes gorgeous photographs of things that make us squeamish. In "American Cockroach" she shows us the hideous creature that seems universally to repel humans (I think she gets them back in "Executions"). Close-up images of bugs eating in "Food Chain" simply demonstrate what naturally goes on around us all the time but somehow we find it disgusting. There are other fascinating projects and she also shoots video - "Safari" is absolutely worth 7 minutes of your time, not least of all to see the stick insects trying to cope in the rain. Catherine is off to Costa Rica to record leaf cutter ants for a month, I'll hope to show something of them down the road.

Frog Eating a Praying Mantis © Catherine Chalmers

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