Photographers

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"I'm a SAD GURL because I am a mermaid that has been stranded on land, and on top of that I'm being forced to "grow up" when that's clearly a terrible idea." - Annie © Sam Lichtenstein and Jess Williams // SAD GURLZ 

 On a cool Friday night in April, in Brooklyn, myself and a bunch of my photo cohorts gave up another evening for the greater photo cause - this time for ASMP's student reviews. There was a variety of photography to look at, and only 10 minutes to talk about it with each person so I was concerned when two youngsters sat down to be reviewed together. But Jess and Sam, aka the founders of the SAD GURLZ project, lit me up with their refreshing attitude, their confidence, their looks, and their collection of SAD GURLZ who have been invited to submit a statement about a particular reason they haz sad, and have some of their bits and pieces photographed. 
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"I'm a SAD GURL because my cognitive psych professor said that if aliens do come to visit, they'll kill us." - Haley

It can be tough reviewing students, especially when they are from all different schools and at different levels, with some not seeming to have been given any guidance. I was convinced during my first review that Taylor Swift must have been standing behind me as the young man's eyes wandered incessantly.
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"I'm a SAD GURL because I'm such a fangirl at heart but The Beatles and the Beach Boys broke up so I have nothing to take my top off for." - Paulina
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"I'm a SAD GURL because I want to go to Med School but I spend all of my time drinking Budweiser and sleeping with NYU frat boys." - Carlie

Jess and Sam seemed far from sad as they showed their book and beamed about their project. They are infectious and besides which, the series is an insight into the minds of today's young women. I have spent much time thinking what I would have said to them.
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"I'm a SAD GURL because love doesn't exist. It's not just sunshines and rainbows. It's all fucking heartbreak." Original SAD GURL Jess
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"I'm a SAD GURL because at this point, it's easier to be single than deal with fuckboys." Original SAD GURL Sam.

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Not so SAD! Jess and Sam © aCurator


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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

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Slick Rick grabbing his crotch © Janette Beckman

This original photograph is by Janette Beckman. Beckman photographed Slick Rick in her studio in 1989. When your photographs become iconic, other, less talented artists attempt to hitch their wagon on to your artistry. Let it stand for the record: this is © Janette Beckman. Accept no substitutes.

Here is the only remix of her original Slick Rick photograph that Beckman has endorsed:

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Slick Rick © Janette Beckman was remixed by Morning Breath and is available as a limited edition print.

Now you can own a limited edition shiny version! Selling like the proverbial hotcakes over at 1xRUN are "10 x 20 Inches Archival Pigment Print on Satin Silver Aluminum Sheet." Go!! 

Here is the original contact sheet from the photo shoot:

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 © Janette Beckman 

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© Erika Huffman

Erika Huffman makes quietly beautiful, unfussy portraits. Sometimes with adults, sometimes with kids, always with peace. Until now, as she shatters the serenity with this portent of violence. 

aCurator fans know that it's unlikely for me to say this: Erika makes gorgeous photographs of her son. Check them. Also: Henriette.

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Warmth © Meggan Joy

We might all be taking photos of just about bloody everything, all the time, but not everyone then laboriously makes one story out of literally thousands of them. Meggan Joy embarked on a marathon digitization of her daily shots.

"A couple years ago I started to slowly collect individual pieces of the world around me. The orange placed before me for breakfast, I took a photograph before I ate it. The leftover flowers from a friend's wedding were quickly shot the day after. The empty nut found while walking my dog, captured and left in its place... I started pulling these images together into one single form. And after working on the project irregularly, in the early winter of 2016, I finished; almost 2 years after starting." Phew!

Please also check out Meggan's more serious project "She."

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© Nicholas Pollack

This is a sweet and gentle observation by Nicholas Pollack, a recent MFA grad whose project featured here, 'Nothing Gold Can Stay' was nominated for the 2016 ICP Infinity Award. He is also a contender for the upcoming Featureshoot Emerging Photographer Award.

"Nothing Gold Can Stay is a body of work about the fleetingness of youth. My photographs of the boys of Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey describe this ephemerality, and through these photographs I intends to access a sense of memory and vulnerability to create an experience of love amid life's chaos and uncertainty."

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All images © Nicholas Pollack

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© Caroline Tompkins

Words by Efrem Zelony-Mindell.

Images play different roles in and of themselves as windows and even - dare I say - as individuals. If a photo can be individual - I think it can. The awareness of that window is important to each person who's looking. Caroline Tompkins and I chat at length about the hope that people might take that time with photography. "Here's a thing you need to see," she tells me, explaining the how of her photographs. Her images and language are interesting to interpret, as is she. The word demure may seem accurate at first but the truth is Tompkins has, well - balls. There's nerve in her, and within her reserve is an inquisitive and engaged fight. Not a fight of fists or words but one of reflective intellect and tenderness.

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© Caroline Tompkins

Tompkins has a different sensibility; it's probably something about Ohio where she's from, and a certain sort of projected quietness in her tone and her hands. Her photographs are beautiful in a noncritical way; they are absurd and situational. It would be easy for viewers to find themselves laughing with a Tompkins image. There is something intrinsically photographic happening in Tompkins imagery. It rouses a charming engagement of reflective and coy peculiarity. It's all very quaint at the surface; it's after those first few moments when you realize something deeper is engaging the imagery and the photos are not just pretty things, idealized places, and pretty people. 

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© Caroline Tompkins

There's time to reveal secrets and invent a good amount of trickery when traveling around with a camera. Tompkins' imagery has a lot to unmask and explore; her photographs are of getting away or moving on, from one place to another. They are wide and precious in scope but pressed with observation and hugely aesthetic. It isn't outwardly obvious, it is wonderfully seductive in its matter of factness. It's like breathing - she tells me she's always had a camera in her hands. Eight years old and taking pictures, she didn't so much have a lighting bolt moment that drew her to photography as much as she just always had this extra appendage. Tompkins knows the camera the way she knows herself.     

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© Caroline Tompkins

She, Tompkins, is a hard working lady. She is hugely respectful and strikes me as the type to go into the wilderness and leave only footprints. I don't mean to romanticize her; I mean to point out something hugely loving and human about the person who presses the eye to her camera. She reflects in her images as they speak back about her. The work doesn't get lost on Tompkins; the world she interacts with is important but there isn't a sense that she is her own subject. Caroline is far more interested in the everything and all around. Pieces and parts she photographs like a collector of unexpected bric-a-brac's of all kinds of wonderful odds and ends. There's a rhythm that reads like a hymn in her warm compositions. Elusive beyond what they literally are, the only thing they ask is a few more moments for your viewing pleasure.

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins

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© Caroline Tompkins


918 by Santolo Felaco

Do something funky with your photos! This cheered me up on a dull day. Thanks to Italian artist Santolo Felaco for making me happy. (You might want to turn the volume down a smidgen.)

"The office is the place where many people spend at least a third of their day; where human relationships are established, anxiety developed, and the need to escape created. This photographic project took place in an office and in outdoor spaces adjacent to it. What results is an apparent altered representation of reality because the images do not directly describe the environment but they use a metaphorical language to tell what else lurks in regard to this microworld.

Each quadtych is made up of a combination of minimal pictures that are almost like words, they are linked to each other to compose a message. One of the objectives was to leave the viewer a lot of freedom of interpretation. Many quadtychs are designed and combined to communicate something specific, maintaining a polysemantic feature. I often played on the indoor and outdoor relationship, of what I call "the escape instinct": often you want to escape as soon as possible from the workplace, sometimes even just for a break. The office and the outside world that immediately surrounds it bind almost to form a continuous space. 

These and others are the issues dealt with, but I think I've already said too much, if I preferred words to pictures, I would have become a writer rather than a photographer."


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A Dozen Roses (for Tony) © Matthew Leifheit

Words by Efrem Zelony-Mindell.

In all forms, languages, cultures and creeds love is expansive and transformative. It can be a beginning as easily as it can be an end. Love signifies all sorts. Sometimes it is intimate, literal, and exacting, at other times vague, eclipsing, and abstracted. Talking with Rachel Stern, curator of LOVE 2016, she never wanted love to be a definitive thing, she always wanted this group show to be a way to reign in the new year. And why not? After all love is not limited, it is a vast wonder place for imagery and imagination. The show, LOVE 2016 - currently on display at Columbia University's LeRoy Neiman Gallery - brings together a vast group of image-makers from all over. These makers were asked by Stern to either show old work, new work, or respond to the shows concept in a way to look towards the future. "This is a show I wanted to see." Stern tells me with an excited smile. She is as lovely and accommodating, as one would expect form a curator of a show about love.

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Self-Portrait, Los Angeles June 2014 © Hobbes Ginsberg

"Responding to love is like responding to air." Stern is like talking to an intelligently insightful romance poem, she is full of these wonderful isms. The passion is apparent. The show at first glance can almost seem flippant; it is not. The gallery space is instantly atmospheric. The walls - adorned in a not so symmetrical system of lush roses - hit you and suddenly you're in the center of a bull-fighting ring. These icons of exaltation envelope the shows desire, driving its diversity, while also holding its thread. Looking through the show and its images, beyond love, what speaks so clearly is the sense of community. "I'm always constantly wanting to make the most for my community with my community." It is this visual camaraderie Stern shares that engages and binds these works that could easily fall prey to distance from each other. There is an elusive tether; something about them together is almost supernatural.

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Untitled (Danny-and-Lawrence) © Marc Swanson

The works themselves run a gamut from portraiture to conceptual - darkroom prints to sculptural and physical objects. They're plural and unexpected; they come from artists of all ages and walks of life. The show is inclusive and there is a sense of equality and identity that speaks to a larger envelope that is not hung up in specifics and titles. These people are the dreamers of dreams, the magic makers and the paupers of a new generation. They are not as bohemian as much as they are willing to experiment with visual language. Pushing at the possibilities and boundaries of photography and its preconceptions. There is as much recollection of history as there is spontaneous contemporaneity. The show is a striking success of awkward unusual bits, always poetic, coy at times, and highly definitive at others. It's clear, LOVE 2016 is what love looked like, looks like, and sets a temperature for the future of its interpretation. 

"The show isn't done." Stern tells me with a good amount of restrained excitement. Her eagerness reads in her face, behind those comforting eyes. It reads in the effort and love that's been put into the curation and presentation of the show as well. What's the future? LOVE 2017 hopefully! For now this show will stand. It is an epically created environment, it banishes the notion and expectation of white walls and stuffy spaces. It's reinterpreting history, bouncing off its echo and allowing viewers to be filled with love or sadness, or whatever they want. It has many feels, and maybe the best part is the open-ended ability for individualized interpretation. These ideas stretch - vast not weighted down - and go beyond statements or judgments. There is a brilliantly subtle revolution brewing in the range of this broad show.

LOVE 2016 is on display at Columbia University's LeRoy Neiman Gallery through February 17th.

Checkout LOVE 2016's publication here.

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You and Me Final © Kent Rogowski

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(Left) Men,Mango Leaves & Dates (Right) Woman & Lychees © Micahel Bühler Rose

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Suits © Martin Gutierrez

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American Reflexxx (Still from video) © Signe Pierce & Alli Coates

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Family Portrait © T.M. Davy

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Untitled (Brooklyn) © Bryson Rand


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"I was drawn to Red Hook with its edgy, worn landscapes, its ubiquitous rust, and the extraordinary quality of its light. Some years ago, while taking pictures there, I came upon an old barge moored in a small inlet in the harbor." And so begins William King's story of a Brooklyn man and his barge.

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"This photographic portfolio focuses on the maritime activities and maintenance performed by Captain David Sharps with the aid of friends and volunteers aboard the Lehigh Valley barge. The story highlights float repair, spinning the barge, and barge assessment regarding dry-dock mandated by the US Coast Guard."

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"The 101 year old Lehigh Valley barge is a historic landmark and working museum. Due to the efforts and dedication of Captain David Sharps, with his many friends and volunteers, the Lehigh Valley is the last remaining example of the Hudson River Railroad barges."

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Words and images © William King 

William's barge book is out now!! 

This barge museum also holds music and other events. Check out their schedule.
Also: don't miss William's "Brooklyn Trolleys"

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