Michael Bach is a photographer who enjoys modeling for other artists. But Michael has suffered a plethora of serious health issues during his lifetime and as the effects of multiple disorders increases, he has found this posing becoming increasingly challenging. To help process that, he made a series of self-portraits, saying: "I became intrigued with the idea of photographing myself in this process of decay, both on a personal level and displayed on the modeling stand in a predetermined pose and time interval." Michael tries to maintain half-hour exposures to capture all his tics.

I see strength in his photos,and ownership of his situation, and admirable braveness!




All images © Michael Bach


old_pope. Image by Alessandro Falco

I'm wary of camera-in-front-of-Google-maps projects but I always have time for people whose work I've published in the past, and Alessandro Falco has kept in touch with me since our paths crossed when he entered the International Fine Art Photography Competition a couple of years ago. I think this project is a good one, entertaining. Alessandro is a smart guy, check out his other work.

"Today an experience seems to be truly lived only if with a chance of sharing it in order to obtain approbation, and this is the next step of a consumer society. We are overwhelmed by images, and the internet is the place where this huge amount is left after receiving few or many likes/views/comments. 

"This work aims to present a new socio-cultural trend describing it in a provocative way, showing instead Google earth's photo icons. The main touristic destinations thus become a sort of digital landfill, and it lends to considerations of different nature, including the hypothetical conflict between amateurs and pros, or between tourists and locals."










Something gentle to see you into your weekend, from George Holroyd, a US-born photographer, currently living in Hungary, by way of Paris, France. In his current adopted country, George is working on some new diptychs. I love George's consistently tranquil style. 


"My photography is a form of personal documentary. It is an investigation into those elements that occasionally coalesce in ones awareness to foster a sense of belonging or alienation. I attempt to illustrate these phenomena in my work, presenting images to the viewer that are consistent with my recollection."






All images © George Holroyd

See a previous post with some of George's diaristic earlier work.


I published Walt Stricklin's gorgeous composite panoramas "Made in China" in the magazine almost three years ago now. Walt has stayed prolific in the meantime. Based in Alabama, Walt's been photographing rural churches and composing them thusly:


I love Walt's statement on the series:

"Being the son of a hell fire and brimstone Southern Baptist preacher and growing up in country churches across the South and southwest, this project would seem to be a natural fit. Unfortunately, my father and I never quite saw eye to eye on religion and for the most part, my religious views have not changed or softened. But, rambling through the backroads of the rural south has brought up feelings I had not expected.

I have had a conversion, not religious, more of a societal conversion. I started seeing things with the softer eyes of age. There is something special about rural church buildings. I am starting to understand the strength, comfort and sense of community they bring their congregations. Even the architecture seems to ground the soul in the common sense ways in which they are built. They have the feeling of country grandeur without overwhelming the sensibility of the rural lifestyle."


Here's another photographer I met at PhotoNOLA portfolio reviews. Bruce Morton studied photography, spent a year in the UK as a visiting artist (we did, as one always can, bond over British weather) but he took up landscaping and only returned to photography a few years ago. Bruce's positive personality and open nature is reflected in his imagery. 

His lovely book, 'Forgottonia,' is rich with a local's perspective of an isolated community, and is currently in its third printing. With a foreword by Aline Smithson and editing and book design by Paula Gillen.

Bruce explains:

"[Forgottonia] is actually the nickname for several counties in far west central Illinois. The reason for the nickname started in the 1950s and 1960s when the interstate highway system was being designed and constructed. Many times a route from Chicago to Kansas City, which would run through the heart of this region, was considered but never built. The people in power believed such an area did not need the infrastructure. Education and manufacturing also suffered with lack of funding and promotion. One college closed its doors and moved to Wisconsin. Trains, which moved goods from one small community to another, ceased to operate. Jobs were all related to the farming and cattle business. Many of the graduating seniors from local schools could not wait to leave this forgotten land. I was one of those.

Life has changed here but not necessarily for the better. Young people still hope to leave to find a better future. The overall population has steadily declined and the only jobs are still farm related. Small farmers are succumbing to the larger operations. In 2007 I decided to return to my homeland and photographically document this area that I once considered to be the most boring place on Earth. I am excited to be back with new eyes to hear old stories from long past friends and look forward to the new ones yet to be told. This book of photographs is a story about the life cycle of those who live, love, and die here."






All images © Bruce Morton


"Ten thousand impressions of what happened to my friends today"
(10,000 pieces of photographic papers from images posted on my social media in one day. On canvas, 36 x 48 in)

A smart, well-executed, fun, insightful and current project from LA-based architectural photographer and fine artist Chang Kyun Kim. "We are given countless images and abundant info every day and the Internet society seems to connect people with different ideas and thoughts. However, I believe majority of people choose just a few media and the images from these major media play a huge role in defining what's beautiful and ugly, what's good and evil and even what to expect from things that we've never seen or experienced before. In this sense, I believe it is very likely that we all have some similar memories that are directed by the given images.

In this series, I wanted to visualize the state of before or after certain collective memories - that seem to be chaotically diverse and complex, but similarly patterned after all - by deconstructing certain images we often see online and randomly placing the deconstructed particles on canvas."


Six thousand impressions of Times Square
(6,000 pieces of photographic papers from an image of Times Square in New York City. On canvas, 30 x 40 in)


Twenty five hundred impressions of the most searched celebrities
(2,500 pieces of photographic papers from images of 10 most searched celebrities in 2012. On canvas, 36 x 48 in)


Three thousand impressions of U.S. Senators
(3,000 pieces of photographic papers from images of 100 U.S. Senators. On canvas, 30 x 40 in)


Two thousand impressions of Las Vegas
(2,000 pieces of photographic papers from images of Las Vegas Strip on canvas, 30 x 40 in)


Twenty five hundred impressions of Central Park in four seasons 
(2,500 pieces of photographic papers from images of Central Park in New York City on canvas, 36 x 48 in)


Three thousand impressions of Jesus Christ 
(3,000 pieces of photographic papers from a portrait of Jesus Christ on canvas, 30 x 40 in)
All images © Chang Kyun Kim

Take a look at Chang's black-and-white negative renditions of California's modernist architecture in "Recalling modernity in reverse" over at the Photography & Architecture blog.


From the Harlem series © Harvey Stein

Last year, there was much celebration of the launch of Harvey Stein's new book "Harlem Street Portraits," and his publicity tour continues. Stein will show and discuss images from his 20+ years taking photos in Harlem as well as other images from New York City, on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014, at the Mid-Manhattan Library. 

Stein was interviewed by the inimitable Miss Sara Rosen who kindly gave permission for us to reproduce her article. Enjoy!


Harlem Street Portraits reveals Stein's reverence and love for the friendliness and warmth of Harlem's everyday men and women, and the vibrant and bustling vitality of a historic place that has been the center of African American life and culture for over 100 years. Shooting with a wide-angle lens, Stein's close encounters with families, couples, friends, the elderly, and youth are honest, direct and involving. Each portrait is more than a depiction of a person; it is an intimate record that necessitates direct engagement between photographer and subject showing the mutuality between people.

We are pleased to have Stein here today to share his thoughts about the work he has done on this project for over a decade.

Please talk about Harlem as you know it, as a place you've described to me as "your office." What is it about the streets uptown, the people, the energies that exist on the sidewalks of this world, a place that makes public life an act of art ?

Harvey Stein: I enjoy going to Harlem since I feel it has a street intensity that isn't found in many places in New York City. It's busy, generally friendly, and really beautiful. The avenues (running north/south) are wide, broad and lovely, with old apartment buildings framing the pavements. The cross streets are often filled with brownstones and lots of trees. I have found that the people are quite friendly, open, and emotional. Indeed, the public life is robust, with people hanging out on stoops, and socializing. I seek out visually interesting environments in which to photograph people, and unfortunately in New York, these environments are being gentrified and commercialized. Harlem hasn't escaped this. It seems cleaner; there is less graffiti, nicer store fronts, new buildings and development, more white faces populating Harlem. It is changing, and I think that my images peripherally document that. But my focus is always on the people and how they interact and get along in their neighborhood.


Please talk about the portrait, the way in which people compose themselves, for to be asked to be photographed is not only a compliment, but an honor. I'm always interested in the response of subjects, and how it sets the stage for the photograph. What do you enjoy most about the moment?

HS: I'm not sure that people think it's an honor or compliment to be photographed on the streets. In Manhattan, at least in midtown or downtown, I'd say that 50% of the people I approach to be photographed say no, in Brooklyn only 25% refuse, in Harlem, maybe 20% say no. It depends on the day, whether there is an event going on, how I'm working, etc., etc. Some people grudgingly say yes, others seem to really enjoy it. You never really know what the response will be until you try. And that's what I do, I try and keep trying, never getting upset by a refusal, and always keeping on. I stay cool on the streets, not showing how much I might want a shot, and always remain friendly and respectful.

I try to be casual when photographing on the street; I don't really need or want people to do anything other than to be themselves. Poses are not of interest to me, just people being natural. I ask that they look into the camera and not smile. I believe that portraits are stronger and more engaging when the face is serious, and the gaze is direct. So I guide them somewhat, and am not interested in the subjects composing themselves or performing for the camera.

My street photography is different from most other photographers in that I always try to get close, and use wide-angle lenses to reveal my subject in his/her environment and context. I want the environment to suggest things about the subject that may add another layer to the image. For me, a face is usually not enough; I want their body language, the clothes worn, and some of the foreground/background elements. Ultimately, I am seeking to make as strong and evocative an image as possible, but with permission. I don't really enjoy photographing people candidly; this feels empty to me.


Please talk about that moment of connection, when you, your subject, and your camera connect, capturing a fraction of a second forevermore. After all these years shooting, do you know you "have it"? What do you think that illustrious yet elusive "it" is in the act of street photography ?

HS: I like to think about freezing time with my images, that a person or scene I just photographed will never exist like this again except in the photograph. Nothing makes the passing of time and hence aging more vivid than photography.

I try to speak to my subjects; I want them to be aware of me as I am of them. Perhaps it validates my existence. I seek a collaboration and connection between us, even if very fleeting. I think I enjoy this moment because I am curious and learning something about the person. And learning something about myself. That is my "high".

I sometimes think "wow, that was a great shot, that person really worked with me", and it will result in a wonderful image. It's a feeling not always correct. And it doesn't happen often. For me, that elusive "it" in street photography is when I do make a strong connection with an individual, when we might talk for a few minutes, share the passing scene, and that I photograph 5-10 frames and think I've made a really good image. It's rare, and since I still shoot mostly film on the streets, it takes weeks if not months, sometimes years to realize what I did.





Stein's archive includes many wonderful bodies of work. Here are some of my favourites from his series 'Coney Island 40 Years."






From the Coney Islan series. 
All images © Harvey Stein

Thanks to Harvey for his patience!

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Larissa drying apricots, at the dacha. From the essay A Radiant Shoreline on the Horizon. © Simon Crofts

"Paradise is made from a mixture of cow shit and straw."

In the Land of Endless Expectations is a project consisting of six picture poems about the Slav heartlands, by Simon Crofts, with accompanying essays and stories. Simon is rolling them out so sign up for updates.

A rich project that you will lose yourself to. Get tea!

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Slava at home, Kherson, Ukraine

"Some, as I did, sink into a torpor and think of how to "shed the burden of time". Deep inside they often cherish the mad hope of surviving to a future in which they will recover their lost selves - something that will be possible only when true values have come into their own again. Their whole life consists of waiting for the first glimpse of a promised land, like a radiant shoreline on the horizon. Even though no such thing has ever existed on our planet, and never will, they have no eyes for anything else."
Hope Abandoned, Nadezhda Mandelstam

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Serguei and Svetlana at home, Kherson, Ukraine


Koktebel, Crimea. All images © Simon Crofts

Nadezhda Mandelstam's husband, the poet Osip Mandelstam, picked up pebbles from the beach of Koktebel, put them in his pocket and carried them back to Moscow. In his essay Conversation about Dante he consulted his Koktebel pebbles to help him understand Dante. He was not alone - in the film Roads to Koktebel, by directors Khlebnikov and Popogrebskiy, the village of Koktebel becomes a kind of place of pigrimage, a name symbolising some kind of promised land that you begin to doubt even exists, for a young boy crossing Ukraine on his own trying to be reunited with his father.


Cheesecake © Davide LucianoStyling by Claudia Ficca

Partners Davide Luciano and Claudia Ficca produce ridiculously fun images. Yes I'm a vegetarian and squeamish about catching meeces. But if I were a mouse and I saw one of these, I'd definitely call a meeting.

'The inspiration for Gourmet Mouse Traps came to Davide after a week-long cheese advertising shoot in NYC. "I was in a cheesy state on mind that week" says Davide. The idea came to him while he was riding the train after a long day on set. "When I told Claudia her eyes light up, she pulled out a pen and paper and instantly created the menu."' Brilliantly bonkers.




Mac & cheese






Poutine. Mmmmm.


Cheese board.

All images © Davide LucianoStyling by Claudia Ficca


© Paul Batt, "Untitled"

Lots of interesting series on Australian photographer Paul Batt's website, of strange spaces and odd portraits. I especially enjoyed these simple abandoned couches, from 2011. Paul has been widely exhibited and published both in Australia and abroad. 

"My primary interest in the 'Abandon Series' is the apparent state of flux and contrast the subjects exist in. These once intimate, comfort giving, interior objects have become surreally out of place, in the exterior world. Although their utilization is over, clues remaining of human habitation in the cushions and armrests formed to unknown bodies, over countless hours. It is this play between the interior and the exterior environments and the traces of human presence to absence that has informed the series as a whole."






All images © Paul Batt

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