Without question, one of the highlights of 2017 was Pete Souza's talk with Michael Shaw of Reading the Pictures, which was a special presentation brought to us by the exceptional folks at Photoville. Publisher Shaw and former White House photographer Souza met at St. Anne's Warehouse in Brooklyn before the start of Souza's national tour to promote his bestselling book, "Obama: An Intimate Portrait." 

Above is the 2 minute excerpt but I strongly recommend a large glass of something and the whole 90 minutes, below.

aCurator was given the book on Christmas morning and cried till lunchtime. Here I am telling him.

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© Grayson Dantzic

 © Ruth Orkin

 Sad news from our colleagues that Ninalee Allen Craig, aka Jinx, has died at the age of 90. She was the subject of a series of photographs by Ruth Orkin that includes the iconic "American Girl in Italy," a series made in Florence in 1951 and featuring Ninalee Allen, 23 at the time. 

 © Josh Rossi

 Photographer Gives Bullied Kids Sweet Revenge!! I first saw Josh Rossi's Wonder Woman series a couple of years ago and since then he's been on my peripheral vision, making what he does look simple and fun. Well, I don't believe it's simple but I can tell that it is fun! Josh Rossi does not mess around. In the course of four months he took 15 kids who have been severely bullied, turned them into superheroes and allowed them to feel empowered. You can read about their personal stories here










Please also check out the Justice League kids and Wonder Woman.

All images © Josh Rossi

It's Women's History Month at D.C.'s National Museum of Women in the Arts, the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. I am joining in the  #5WomenArtists social media campaign. Led by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and now in its third year, the campaign seeks to confront gender inequity and inspire a global conversation. Here are my nominations of five six women artists who I personally love and respect enormously. Here are my five six seven EIGHT:

Janette Beckman is a prolific artist. She not only has an archive that takes no prisoners, she still shoots as much as ever. People love Janette's style and the consistency throughout her work whether she's shooting a big name band, an underground women's fight club, or kids on the street. Check out the breadth of her work on her tip top website. Salt n' Pepa, 1987.

Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber ("We Make Large Things Small") are almost indescribably creative. Their wry eyes pervade their work. Lori and Kathleen spend arduous months making small dioramas that they then photograph. Above is "Living Room", 2013, which slays me with its mini-mini version of their Subway diorama, on the left. They scanned their CDs and books and printed them small to recreate their shelves - just one of the myriad little details that feature across their work. 

I witnessed as Manjari Sharma developed her Darshan series. Everything from the original concept to the final execution was superbly accomplished with appropriate love and devotion, and she brought her audience along for the journey. Manjari produced the gods in her home country of India with local artisans and eventually showed prints 60 x 48 inches in brass frames hand made and shipped from India to their debut outing at ClampArt in New York in 2013. Look out, here is Maa Kali coming to take your head.

Rocio De Alba quietly impresses with her subversive work. Examining motherhood, addiction, and neurosis, without overly navel gazing, her photography is thoroughly relatable. Rocio uses what is around her to create her curious vignettes.

Chloe Juno is an artist and also a curator. In this particular series she cleared her mind with nature walks, simply photographing flowers in situ to such lovely effect. Like all these artists, Chloe has a variety of work to enjoy. Please visit all their websites and follow them on the social media.

Working in both photography and illustration is youngster Nichole Washington. Nichole has gone from student to shero in the short time I've known her. I can't wait to see what she does next.

My bonus artist is Jenny Laden whose style I have also watched develop over many years. I love her starlets, recent drawings, and lucky for you Jenny now takes on portrait commissions. Enough with the photographs! Above, Teatime, 2003.

 Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #11, 1978; Gelatin silver print, 12 3/8 x 15 7/8 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York. On view in the exhibition Women House (March 9-May 28, 2018) 

March is Women's History Month. At D.C.'s National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts, there's lots going on. 

First, it's the return of the award-winning #5WomenArtists social media campaign. Led by the museum, and now in its third year, the campaign seeks to confront gender inequity and inspire a global conversation. 

NMWA poses the question: "Can you name 5 women artists?" and invites individuals and cultural organizations to celebrate women artists by using the hashtag #5WomenArtists on social media. In 2017, over 11,000 individuals and 520 organizations from 30 countries and all 7 continents participated. They expect an equally strong response in 2018, when the museum will be encouraging a focus on women artists of color, who experience a double disadvantage in an already challenging field. 

And, just opened is the opening of the exhibition Women House (March 9-May 28, 2018) featuring 36 international artists whose work - photography, sculpture and video - recasts conventional ideas about women in the home. Women House forms a sequel to the famous project Womanhouse, developed in 1972 by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. The artists and their students at the California Institute of the Arts transformed a dilapidated Hollywood mansion with works that disrupted conventional ideas about the home as a feminine space. It attracted thousands of visitors and national media attention. A landmark exhibition in art history, Womanhouse was the first female-centered art installation to appear in the Western world. The artists in Women House at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, include Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Mona Hatoum, Zanele Muholi, Leticia Parente, Martha Rosler, Miriam Schapiro, Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons and others. 

I have a feeling of disgust that there's a need for Women's Month, but let's join in while we still need to!  Here's some of what's on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in the Women House exhibition. Definitely worth a trip to Washington.

Laurie Simmons, Woman/Red Couch/Newspaper, 1978; Cibachrome print, 3 1/2 x 5 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York

Zanele Muholi, Katlego Mashiloane and Nosipho Lavuta, ext. 2, Lakeside, Johannesburg, 2007; Lambda print, 30 1/8 x 29 3/4 in.; Private collection

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #82, 1980; Gelatin silver print, 15 7/8 x 12 3/8 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Kirsten Justesen, Portræt i arkiv med samling (Portrait in Cabinet with Collection), 2013; Chromogenic print mounted on Dibond with matte acrylic, 58 1/4 x 39 1/2 x 1 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Montana A/S; © Kirsten Justesen

Laurie Simmons, Walking House, 1989; Chromogenic print; 64 x 46 in.; Collection of Dr. Dana Beth Ardi; Photo courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York

 Northern Soul, © Elaine Constantine

 Hosted at Spectrum in Brighton and part of Brighton Fringe, Behind the Beat is a group exhibition exploring the movements and scenes over the last 50 years that have been defined by the fashion, music and stories associated with them. Through Teds, Punks, Mods, Skins, Rudeboys, B Boys and Girls, Rave to Grime with plenty in between, the exhibition incorporates photographs from some of the UK's most celebrated documentarians, including Dean Chalkley and Harris Elliott, Derek Ridgers, Elaine Constantine, Ken Russell, Stuart Griffiths, Ali Tollervey, Gavin Watson, Olivia Rose and Paul Hallam. Behind the Beat is curated by Miniclick and Ali Tollervey.

In addition to the 9 artists, the exhibition will also incorporate images, memorabilia and unique audio recordings of stories on the scenes, all submitted by the public.

Behind the Beat will be open every weekend through May, from 10am to 6pm at Spectrum, 42 Frederick Place, Brighton, UK.

Read more and see loads more fab photos on the Miniclick website.

Truls Nord is an artist I had the extremely great pleasure of meeting in Norway last year. Since then, in amongst the other creative things swirling around in his head, he's only gone and completed this fantastic project! 

Enjoy and share.

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David McIntyre's several years of wandering the 13 mile length of Broadway are waiting to be collected into a book. You buy one, one gets donated. Win-win!

"Pushing back against the voices of intolerance by celebrating the beauty and strength of New York's diversity."

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"This project aims to publish a hardcover book of social documentary photographs taken on Broadway, not the theater district but the 13 mile long street that runs through the entirety of Manhattan. The collection is a meditation on the city's diversity and the tolerance that holds it together. 

"I'm launching this in this moment because I want to be proactive and push back against the intolerant voices that are overpowering the conversation and sowing the seeds of division by presenting a celebration of the great strength that comes from embracing diversity. New York's success over the years, it's growth into one of the worlds capital cities is proof of this. 

"In a desire to spread the word beyond the 'bubble' of Manhattan and other urban centers I'll going to match every backer by donating a copy to free to a school or college."

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All images © David McIntyre

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Zoo, Anthrocon © Arthur Drooker

When I first met Arthur Drooker, at PhotoLucida portfolio reviews in 2015, his book on conventions was still a twinkle in his hungry eye. Arthur had hit upon the idea of covering a variety of the countrywide events held for certain, specific interests.

"In 2013, while researching a potential photo series about historical reenactors, I came across the Association of Lincoln Presenters website. They were promoting their upcoming convention. When I saw that, a bell went off in my head. That's it! Conventions."

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Hail to the Chiefs, Association of Lincoln Presenters convention

'The Association of Lincoln Presenters welcomed me to their convention and it was a great experience. From there I began researching other conventions, specifically quirky and photogenic gatherings that really show like-minded people sharing their passion whether it be taxidermy, clowning, or fetishes."

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Her knight to remember, Military History Fest

"Each year, according to a Convention Industry Council study, there are 1.8 million conventions, conferences, and trade shows in the United States. These gatherings directly support 1.7 million jobs, $263 billion in spending, and $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue. As impressive as these figures are, they don't interest me as a photographer. I see conventions not as revenue sources but as visual treasures. To me, they're unique expressions of community, culture and connection."

Fast forward a year or so and I'm behind the curve but pleased to report, "Conventional Wisdom" is now in print through our friends at Glitterati.

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Mernage a Trois, Merfest

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All together now, VentHaven ConVENTion

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Clown cluster, World Clown Association
Not scary!

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Blown Away, Military History Fest

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Brony parade, Bronycon
All images © Arthur Drooker

See also: Pie Town Revisited, Arthur's previous feature here in the blog.
"The remote New Mexico community of Pie Town is famous for the photographs that Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee made there during the Great Depression. In this book author-photographer Arthur Drooker documents his own travels to Pie Town to find out what became of it seventy years after Lee visited."

© Leland Bobbé

Marvelous news in from Leland Bobbé that 18 of his photographs from 1970s New York City have been acquired by the savvy curators and collectors at the Museum of the City of New York. Congratulations and well deserved.


All images © Leland Bobbé

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