© Jamel Shabazz from "Back in the Days" coloring book, published by powerHouse Books

The press release tells you all you need to know about this brilliant new publication (August, 2016, powerHouse Books). If you aren't familiar with the wonderful archive of Jamel Shabazz, get busy. This book is a real treat, and affordable enough to get one for everyone on your holiday list. It's fun for ages 1 - 100! I asked the publicist for enough to fill mine but she not unreasonably sent me only one. 


"Straight from the old-school streets of NYC at the dawn of the hip-hop scene comes Back in the Days Coloring Book. Here is your chance to redraw the birth of old-school hip-hop fashion: hangin' in Harlem, kickin' it in Queens, and cold chillin' in Brooklyn. Based on the legendary and original street-style book, Back in the Days by Jamel Shabazz."


"Style with an attitude not seen in fashion for another 20 years to come, Shabazz's subjects strike poses that put supermodels to shame--showing off Kangol caps and Cazal glasses, shell-top Adidas and suede Pumas with fat laces, shearling coats and leather jackets, gold dookie chains, door-knocker earrings, name belts, boom boxes, and other 80s designer finery. Featuring 30 original drawings, now it's your turn to get in on the action. Pull out your Crayolas and markers and help everyone look their best by adding your own vibrant colors to these fly outfits."

What a brilliant and accessible way to keep your images out there!




All images © Jamel Shabazz from "Back in the Days" coloring book, published by powerHouse Books

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 Give it up for Aunt Doll! Sharing her Aunt's realness with the rest of us in a rather fabulous fashion, Michelle Maguire, a photographer and prop stylist based in Columbus, Ohio, has published a "small-edition artist's book featuring eye-popping, hand-printed images of my blunt, funny, completely unimpressed Italian-American great-aunt, Doll, with colorful Aunt Doll anecdotes by my husband Aaron Beck."

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"Aunt Doll, age 84, has lived in Canton, Ohio, her entire life. She cusses, loves cured meats, knows more about the NFL than you do, plays strip mall slot machines with her vegetarian hairdresser of 42 years, isn't trying to be funny but is, worships the sun from her concrete-slab patio, and frets about nothing except her beloved Italian bread causing her to pack on the pounds."

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"Aunt Doll makes the most if it. The gist of her story: enjoy every chicken wing while you holler at the Browns on your gigantic analog TV, because we aren't here forever. She'll cuss you out in one breath and in the very next, offer you a salami sandwich."

Definitely good value and Michelle is also making the most of it over on her website in the Salami Dreamin' pages.

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All images © Michelle Maguire

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Nude Reagan © John Brian King
Using the weird and wonderful Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, John Brian King photographed 23 models each wearing only this Ronald Reagan mask. Making the photos in an empty office, the women posed however they liked. The resulting images are an ironic reflection on the American right wing's much-loved conservative leader. 

Tits to you and your memory, Ronald.

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The mini-roids are collected in a book: Nude Reagan is out now from Spurl Editions.

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All images © John Brian King

"John Brian King is a Los Angeles native who graduated with a degree in photography from the California Institute of the Arts. He designed the film titles for over thirty films, including Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love and The Ring. He wrote and directed the feature film Redlands, an examination of creativity and horror in relation to photography." Read more over at Spurl.

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© Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing, 1995

 After making two trips to the West Bank twenty years apart, Belgian photographer Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing has collected his photographs into a book, titled "Lueurs d'espoirs / Glimmers of Hope." The book shows de Bellaing's travels through everyday life in both 1995 and 2015.

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The book includes an essay by Leila Shahid, Palestine ambassador in France and then Belgium for the last 20 years. 
Here is Frédéric's own statement:
"When I present this project, the same question comes back again and again: "Why Palestine?" Of course there is my indignation against oppression but, rightly, some respond to me that the Palestinians are not the only ones suffering. As often in this case, it is the personal journey that makes the difference.

The first intifada broke out in 1987. I was 16 years old. TV screens fed me up me with pictures of teenagers fighting with stones against heavily armed soldiers. I was shocked but the media release their floods of dramatic images all day long drowning indignations in an ocean of bad news.

Two years later when I began high school, I met Mina Shamieh. He was Palestinian and student like me. He was a warm person and his smile was disarming. We quickly became good friends. Until then, the Palestinian issue was but a media abstraction. Through my friendship with Mina, it took human shape.

The media feed us with pictures which are sometimes sensational but generally disconnected from human touch and identification to the Palestinian people has, for too long, take shape through empathy for their suffering.

To overcome this cathodic anesthesia, we must awaken the sympathy and empathy, in other words, we must become human.

With "Glimmers of Hope", I hope to convey the warmth and the desire to live which inhabit the Palestinian people.

To you, Mina, my old friend, with whom I have enjoyed sharing the small pleasures of everyday life."

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Above: images from 1995. All © Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing

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Images from 2015. All © Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing

From Autoportrait, by Martin Parr © 2000 Dewi Lewis Publishing & From South Korean Nature Photography, by David Brandon Geeting © 2016 DBG

When you go on a trip, photography's bound to get involved. Simple enough right? Actually, maybe it's not so simple, and often it's totally foolish. The snap shot is an international treasure, it's made from horsing around and taking the time to notice something you never did before. 

That's what getting away is all about. You go somewhere to be out of your element, to interact with others and bring home something to share and remember. Sometimes the mundanity of those stories and shots are the most joyous and absurd thing in the whole wide world. Martin Parr's revised edition of Autoportrait and David Brandon Geeting's newly published South Korean Nature Photography are all about this sentiment. These gentlemen have kicked it up a notch. Putting them together is a trip all on its own.

© Martin Parr from Autoportrait / Dewi Lewis Publishing 

© David Brandon Geeting

If you spend too much time Googling the name "Martin Parr" you read the same thing over and over again: Martin Parr is Britain's best known contemporary photographer. A satirist and quirky down to earth guy, Parr's photography is dumb. He's so dumb it's good - dumb in all the best ways one can be. Not bad, not in the slightest. The images in Parr's Autoportrait are his way of laughing at you, thinking you're laughing at him. Autoportrait is a collection of images Parr has compiled over the years from numerous business trips. The images aren't photos he has taken; he's the subject of images taken in studios, at tourist attractions, in photo booths, in any and all ways that reminiscence is created by the camera these days. On a cruise ship, in the mouth of a shark, on a flume ride, his head superimposed over the beefy flesh of a Mr. Universe contestant. The man has made himself an exquisite circus of blundered imagery and familiarity. To reference John Waters "A tasteful book about bad taste" - so too is Parr's Autoportrait, out now by Dewi Lewis Publishing.

© David Brandon Geeting

© Martin Parr from Autoportrait / Dewi Lewis Publishing 

"No one would ever take a photo of that." That's as good a place as any to start with David Brandon Geeting. The guy's too good to be true. He doesn't need to try to be anything. Geeting's sincerity is only matched by his authenticity and all around playfulness. The work he produces is not a joke. His new book South Korean Nature Photography, like Parr's book, is a collection of snap shots he took on a recent trip to South Korea. The images evoke elation, even laughter, but they walk a line that holds a deeper sense that lays behind their amusement. Geeting is a master of composing composition inside the camera with everyday stuff that you just would never think to put together. Mystery's important and it's fun to cross boundaries. Getting away is all about being lost in many ways - not bad lost - good lost. Geeting puts it best in regard to the work, "What the fuck's going on here?" Often the images in South Korean Nature Photography are so stupid they're brilliant. Geeting chuckles his big smile hearing that come out of my mouth. We're in agreement. So too are his images of the somewhat everyday reimagined in photographic execution. The images are as much about what's in the frame as they are about what's been left out of the frame.

© Martin Parr from Autoportrait / Dewi Lewis Publishing 

© David Brandon Geeting

There's an intrigue in the guise of fear that one feels when out on an adventure. The trauma that occurs when overcoming fear leads an exploration to rebirth. It's often boneheaded and confusing, but its so god damned rewardingly wonderful in it's contradictions.

© David Brandon Geeting

© Martin Parr from Autoportrait / Dewi Lewis Publishing 

© Martin Parr from Autoportrait / Dewi Lewis Publishing 

© David Brandon Geeting

© David Brandon Geeting

© Martin Parr from Autoportrait / Dewi Lewis Publishing 


Betty Davis, 'They Say I'm Different' photo shoot, Just Sunshine Records, 1974. Photo by Mel Dixon. Courtesy of Light in the Attic Records and powerHouse Books

 Lost Rockers: Broken Dreams and Crashed Careers (powerHouse Books) is a fascinating collection of tales about musicians who almost made it, back in a time when really making it through hard work and dedication, without entering a TV talent contest, was an option. "Some were ahead of their time, some were ill-equipped to deal with success, some simply fucked up." 


Gloria Jones, Los Angeles, 1973. Photo by Jim Britt

'Lost Rockers' digs deeply into each of the 20 or so musicians in the book, with several pages about their histories, success and failures, and even lyrics, accompanied by lots of great photos and ephemera. I was interested to see Betty Davis on this list, but the book suggests her "cuckolded" ex-husband, Miles, played a role in her early retirement from the industry. It is hard to summarize what went awry for each here in the blog, so go ahead and pick up a copy of the book for under $30. 


Rik Fox, hair metal hero, Surgical Steel, 1986. Photo by Michael Richard Sneeburger. Courtesy of the Rik Fox Archives


Kenny Young, "Bow Wow, Kenny with his Pomeranian," New York, 2003. Polaroid Color 668 by Gail Thacker. Courtesy of Gail Thacker


Chris Robison and David Johansen with Andy Warhol, Max's Kansas City, 1975. Photo by Bob Gruen


Cherry Vanilla, New York, 1978. Photo by Leee Black Childers. Courtesy of Leee Black Childers
All images courtesy powerHouse Books.

Lost Rockers: Broken Dreams and Crashed Careers, by Steven Blush with Paul Rachmann and Tony Mann, is out now from powerHouse books. 

Thanks to Madison Morales for her publicity skills.


 It was in 2010 that Robert Rutöd first contacted me and made me smile with his photographs. Since then he has stayed right in the zone, consistently entertaining. So I'm happy to report the news that he has collected 50+ into a new book. 

Right Time Right Place is out now in a limited edition available from the artist.

"Being at the right place at the right time is usually associated with happiness and success. But what happens when we are at the right place at the wrong time? Do we even know that this is the right place? And what if it turns out that it is the wrong place after all? But the right time!"


'Right Time Right Place' received several awards including the New York Photo Award, the Special Prize of the Czech Center of Photography, and most recently Artist of the Year at Dong Gang International Photo Festival 2015 in South Korea.






All images © Robert Rutöd

Untitled, East Liverpool, Ohio, 2010 © Nat Ward

Romke Hoogwaerts is a guy you may not know. I get the impression I may embarrass him if I say he's quiet and may prefer to go a little under the radar. I don't mean to embarrass him, but he is quiet. He's also friendly, and an insanely driven and talented editor, curator, and advocate of photography. An all around good dude. His ideas and vision for photography and design are nothing short of totally new, and unlike most interpretations and concepts I see in the community currently. True there's really a lot of great stuff out there and hard working folks who are killing it. But Romke is so sincere and totally dedicated to imagery that he stands out. So does his magazine, MOSSLESS. He's a big photo nerd and I am crazy about him for it. Everyone should be.

Untitled, near Gothenburg, Nebraska, 2013 © Alex Matzke

I sat down with Hoogwaerts to talk about him. It quickly became clear that the conversation would be more about mission and less about individual personality. Mossless magazine, which really isn't a magazine, is a chameleon; it's meant to be something that excites. It's currently in its third issue, with more on the way if all goes well. (Spoiler alert, work on issue four, MOSSLESS; Embargoed, with Charlotte Cotton is already underway.) No issue is the same and the publication explores the voice and breadth of all different kinds of photography and the state of sharing imagery and looking and seeing images. Hoogwaerts stresses to me the impossibility of Mossless were it not for the involvement of Grace Leigh, his partner at the time. Mossless is a huge labor of love and each page reads clearly in that mission and dedication to the images and the photographers.

Untitled #10, Rutland, Ohio, 2009 © Morgan Ashcom

I'll let Hoogwaerts set the stage for issue three of Mossless. "Who is tasked with bringing the true nature of American culture to recognition in its own home? Some photographers can frame reality in one poetic snap, so long as they know the context truthfully and can find visual references for their experiences spontaneously." There is a whole big kind of American identity between our shores. Sometimes it can seem unclear yet defiantly defined. Mossless issue three is tasked to capture a nation through its possibility and cull through its image-makers to find it. This issue collects the photos of 118 photographers from all walks of life. The layout breaks rules. Spreads vary from single photographer profiles and featured images in certain places, to spreads that are an accumulation of different photographers images. This flexing of space and names creates an engaging hodgepodge sense of photo album. What could be more American?

From MOSSLESS, by Romke Hoogwaerts & Grace Leigh © 2014 Romke Hoogwaerts & Grace Leigh

From MOSSLESS, by Romke Hoogwaerts & Grace Leigh © 2014 Romke Hoogwaerts & Grace Leigh

Mossless is a beautiful publication put together by two young talents who love and care about photography. The publication creates an inclusive community. It's visually fun and knowing that there is more in the world leaves a sense of exciting insecurity. The mission of Mossless stretches outside of itself, and helps viewers realize that each of us has an influence. Something bizarre happens with this publication - it's worth trying new ideas. They will work.

Get your hands on a copy of this beautiful publication by clicking here.

See Through Mine Shaft, California, 2014 @ Suzanna Zak

Sisters, Missouri, 2012 © Lara Shipley

Coolin Out At The Upper Deck, Virginia Beach, 2012 © Carl Gunhouse

Sheep, Norris, Montana, 2010 © Nich Hance McElroy

Abandoned Bank from and Earlier Boom, White Earth, North Dakota, 2012 (fracking related) © Terry Evans

From MOSSLESS, by Romke Hoogwaerts & Grace Leigh © 2014 Romke Hoogwaerts & Grace Leigh

Tooele Army Depot Superfund Site, Tooele, Utah 1986 © David T. Hanson

The obsession with landscapes will undoubtedly be around as long as there are people to view them and capture them. The question is, why do we need any more of these wonderful, beautiful, idealized images? Landscapes change, the planet changes, people change, views and ideals affect how we see things philosophically, physically, and literally. The planet is in direct conversation with the land we see every day; it's around us and beneath us, the landscape. It's all consuming and reveals misdeeds; David T. Hanson's images expose this topographical understanding. Wilderness to Wasteland (Taverner Press) is a collection of images from across the country that raise a flag; they shout into the distance, "Look at what you're doing!"

East edge of Atomic CIty, Idaho 1986 © David T. Hanson

Something very normal and recognizable begins Hanson's work - deserts, fields, tattered homes and boxy ranches in the central west of the United States. As the book progresses, something aggressive shifts in the imagery, as do the settings of the photographs. The landscapes become unspeakably altered, almost totally foreign. How can this be terra? Wilderness to Wasteland is a collection of images Hanson has pulled from his archive. It's interesting to note that the images, even with hints of 70's and 80's automobiles, somehow feel totally now, today. It's in the interruption of humans interacting with these environments. Those actions are unalterably timeless.

Mt. Con Mine and Centerville, Butte, Montana 1985 © David T. Hanson

The book takes us through chapters, ebbing and flowing from ground views to aerials, from west to east  all over the United States. Progressively one becomes more and more aware of the reality and the ways in which sites used for testing, mining, and waste could be affecting everything outside the frame of the photographs. The social and ecological implications complicate the language of the photographs. The images are just as much about what's not in them as what is. There's a psychology of landscape that blends with technology becoming inseparable from nature. Nothing will ever be the same, always evolving with many signs signifying progress. With enough distance and with the right kind of eyes these places and photos read like "open wounds," as poet Wendell Berry puts it in discussing Hanson's work.

New housing development, Rancho Cucamonga, California 1985 © David T. Hanson

Hanson's book doesn't feel like a period at the end of a sentence. In his own words, "These sites may be seen as monuments to the dominant myths and obsessions of our culture. Indeed, it seems likely that the most enduring monuments that Western civilization will leave for future generations will be . . . the hazardous remains of our industry and technology. Landscapes of failed desire, these sites become both arena and metaphor for the most constructive and destructive aspects of the American spirit." Hanson's photographs are a reflection of this apropos closing statement. It is this highly loaded atmosphere and unusualness that breathes an air of cautious beauty into the images. In Wilderness to Wasteland, Hanson has found a way to combine disbelief with the sublime.

Waste slag and Irrigated Cropland along the Jordan River, Sharon Steel Corp. Superfund Site, Midvale, Utah, 1986 © David T. Hanson

Yankee Doodle tailings pond, Butte Area Superfund site, Butte, Montana, 1986 © David T. Hanson

Sunset on the California Coast [Union Oil Company of California, Richmond California], 1983 © David T. Hanson

From Wilderness to Wasteland, By David T. Hanson © 2016 Taverner Press


Robert Mapplethorpe, American, 1946-1989
Identical self-portraits of Robert Mapplethorpe with trip cable in hand, 1974
Gelatin silver print. Sheet (each): 9.3 x 11.6 cm (3 11/16 x 4 9/16 in.)
Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Held at the Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.20.24
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

The first photography exhibition I ever saw was Robert Mapplethorpe, in London, and I have always said it ruined me for life. In my memory the exhibition was at the Festival Hall, but the web won't support this and insists it was the National Portrait Gallery, 'The Perfect Moment' retrospective, 1988/89. Regardless, I remember staring endlessly at one of his highly sexual portraits and listening to the outrage of the person viewing next to me. I felt happy. 


Robert Mapplethorpe
Ajitto, 1981
Gelatin silver print. Image: 45.4 x 35.5 cm (17 7/8 x 14 in.)
Jointly acquired by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with funds provided by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation, 2011.7.13
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

That Mapplethorpe-related happiness has carried me through my journey in the world of photography so I was beyond thrilled when a review copy of Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs (J. Paul Getty Museum, March 2016) arrived. What a book! 

Mapplethorpe's most recognizable and less-known images, both the graphic and the gorgeous, are drawn from the J. Paul Getty Museum's own collection, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and Mapplethorpe Archive housed at the Getty Research Institute. 


Robert Mapplethorpe
Grapes, 1985
Gelatin silver print. Image: 38.5 x 38 cm (15 3/16 x 14 15/16 in.)
Jointly acquired by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with funds provided by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation, 2011.7.20
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


Robert Mapplethorpe
Thomas, 1987
Gelatin silver print. Image: 48.8 x 48.8 cm (19 3/16 x 19 3/16 in.)
Jointly acquired by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with funds provided by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation, 2011.7.31
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

"This publication is issued on the occasion of the exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium on view at both the  J. Paul Getty Museum and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from March 15 and March 20, respectively, through July 31, 2016; at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montreal from September 10, 2016, through January 15, 2017; and at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, from October 28, 2017, through February 4, 2018."

Let it be known that the young me spent not inconsiderable time wondering if she could scrape together the £1,500 that a print was going for back then. They say one only regrets the things one did not do... But then, how would I have chosen?

Get your copy of Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs for under $60. Money well spent for a lifetime of Mapplethorpe mastery.


Robert Mapplethorpe
Calla Lily, 1988
Gelatin silver print. Image: 49 x 49 cm (19 5/16 x 19 5/16 in.)
Jointly acquired by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation, 2011.9.26
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


Robert Mapplethorpe
Derrick Cross, 1983
Gelatin silver print. Image: 48.5 x 38.2 cm (19 1/8 x 15 1/16 in.)
Promised Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, L.2012.88.910
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


Robert Mapplethorpe
Flower Arrangement, 1986 
Gelatin silver print. Image: 49 x 49 cm (19 5/16 x 19 5/16 in.)
Promised Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, L.2012.89.566
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


Robert Mapplethorpe
Self-Portrait, 1980
Gelatin silver print. Image: 35.6 x 35.6 cm (14 x 14 in.)
Jointly acquired by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation, 2011.9.21
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


Robert Mapplethorpe
Self-Portrait, 1985
Gelatin silver print. Image: 38.7 x 38.6 cm (15 1/4 x 15 3/16 in.)
Jointly acquired by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with funds provided by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation, 2011.7.21
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

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