On a recent afternoon, an older man and woman self-consciously configured themselves in front of the south reflecting pool at the 9/11 Memorial. The man placed his hand on the woman’s hip in an awkward clasp and grinned broadly as another person took their picture with a digital camera. A girl in a Yankees cap took a selfie with her camera phone, the Freedom Tower soaring into the sky behind her, the reflecting pool draining into nothingness. She was smiling. An Ethiopian man asked me to take a photo of him and his family. They wore blank expressions, though the youngest girl with them hammed for the camera with her [...]
"I was supposed to fly to Afghanistan today but my body armor didn't arrive in time," was something Willem Marx said to me one of the first times we met. He says things like this on a not infrequent basis. Marx currently works at Bloomberg TV and has reported from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uzbekistan, the Arctic Circle, and other less trodden parts of the world.
In 2009, he spent time [...]
Looking at Editta Sherman's celebrity portraits, you wonder: Who will be this era's Tyrone Power? Which current movie star will be the one hardly anyone recalls seventy years from now? Bale? Brody? Bloom? Whose name will draw blank stares from the Class of 2082? If you saw the documentary Bill Cunningham New York, you certainly remember Sherman, the vivacious nonagenarian photographer who was Cunningham's Carnegie Hall neighbor and the muse for his shamefully out-of-print book Facades. Since 1949, she lived and worked in the artist studios above Carnegie Hall. She also raised five children there. In 2010, she, Cunningham, and the other remaining tenants were moved out so the [...]
Here are some libraries on Pinterest: leather couches, wraparound staircases, hidden doors within the shelves. And then here is my personal library: crammed into and around a small bookshelf. My 20-month-old son regularly pulls books off the shelves and buries them beneath the couch, like a particularly nerdish squirrel. I'd like a hidden door also, but this is my library and this is my life.
Here are some thoughts on the consecutive rise of two Ryans. Ryan McGinley is the young superstar photographer who became famous in the early 00s. Ryan Trecartin, four years younger, began getting attention in 2006 and became art-world famous circa 2009. In their ways and work, the Ryans represent two adjacent micro-generations of gays. Christopher Glazek writes: "McGinley helped to elevate a necrophiliac vision of mute youth into the universal condition of downtown existence…. Now the new Ryan has negated McGinley’s negation, superseding the gym bunny-heroin corpse dialectic entrenched since the 1980s." In light of Trecartin's videos—which are girly, brash, multi-ethnic, screechy and hilarious—McGinley's snapshot-stylized pale [...]
Cliff Kincaid, President of America's Survival Inc., outside the Columbia School of Journalism following the announcement of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners. Kincaid peppered outgoing Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler during the question period over the awarding of The Guardian and The Washington Post in the Public Service category, for their revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency involving leaked documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. "It was really sad. It was a disgraceful day for journalism," said Kincaid.
Pulitzer Prize Administrator Sig Gissler answering questions following the announcement of the 2014 winners. Concluding a barrage of questions regarding the awarding of The Guardian and [...]
"Photography was once an act of intent, the pushing of a button to record a moment. But photography is becoming an accident, the curatorial attention given to captured images."
Ahmad el Abed, a tailor. Saida, Lebanon, 1948-53. by Hashem el Madani. Collection: AIF/ Hashem el Madani. Copyright © Arab Image Foundation.
No product of human industry is infinite, but photography comes close. In 1976, John Szarkowski, the longtime curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, announced, somewhat gnomically, that "the world now contains more photographs than bricks." As a metaphor of plenitude, Szarkowski’s phrase is wonderfully material, suggesting that photographs are just another object in the world, at once essential and interchangeable. As an estimate of quantity though, it now seems impossibly low. If digital photographs count (as by now they must), then the real figure [...]
The first in a month-long series on terrible trips, great journeys and getting lost.
In March, I quit my job in advertising to pursue a career in photography. With no money coming in and gas prices at an all-time high, I decided the timing was perfect for a soul-searching cross-country road trip. For three months I traveled in my FJ Cruiser (a great rig for all the elements, not so great for gas mileage). After a trip to Austin to cover SXSW, my route became a nonsensical zigzag pattern around the western half of the country, the points based on wherever I had a friend to stay with, [...]
“The so-called 'tasteful' Playboy pics will be… a classic tribute inspired by original Tom Kelly nude pictorials of Marilyn Monroe…. According to sources, Playboy began taking Lindsay Lohan photos last week, while she was juggling other duties like ordering cupcakes to the morgue.” —The Hollywood Gossip, 11/8/11, 10/25/11.
He told her that she was moving too much, that she had to stay stiller, the camera was finicky, the exposures depended on no motion, like just stop breathing, he said looking at the playback, just stop breathing, okay. Lindsay thought it was a joke and laughed but he said it was serious, this was going to be [...]
Johnny Depp took his reputation for eccentricity a little too far last week. Interviewed in the November issue of Vanity Fair, the actor appeared to let his guard down when discussing photo shoots with writer Nick Tosches, a long-time friend and a godparent to one of Depp’s kids. “Well, you just feel like you’re being raped somehow,” the actor said. “Raped. The whole thing. It feels like a kind of weird—just weird, man. Weird. Like you meet people and they say, 'Can I have a picture with you!' And that's great. That's fine. That's not a problem. But whenever you have a photo shoot or something like that, it’s [...]
Early this year, John Patrick Leary, a professor of American literature at Wayne State University, published a story in Guernica called "Detroitism" about, primarily, the two competing journalistic and artistic narratives about the Motor City.
There’s the Detroit Lament, which he describes as an examination of the city’s decline that is mostly told through the examination of physical spaces. You may have heard it referred to as "ruin porn." And there’s the Detroit Utopia, stories which purport to show a new way forward for the city, be it through urban farming, $100 homes or bicycling. (Utopian depictions of Detroit, Leary noted, tend to involve young creative white people.)
Garry Winogrand used to say that he took photographs of things to see what they would look like as photographs. He took a lot of them. He photographed relentlessly: crowds, zoos, dogs, cars, parties, sidewalks, train stations and women, always more women. He'd describe a good night as "thirty-five rolls." A good year might involve a thousand. He was always slow about editing. He had a rule that he wouldn't even look at an exposure for a year, so that emotion wouldn't cloud his judgment, but towards the end of his life he wasn't even doing that anymore. He just let his rolls pile up in trash cans and [...]
"We can see different physical properties of different bonds, and that's really exciting." —Dr. Leo Gross, an IBM scientist in Zurich, talks about why he likes Daniel Craig even more than Sean Connery. No. He's really talking about the fact that he and his colleagues recently published "single-molecule images so detailed that the type of atomic bonds between their atoms can be discerned." The pictures are amazing. The 13 atoms in this one molecule called a "fullerene" arrange themselves in a hexagonal shape that looks like a turtle (so, I guess that would be Timothy Dalton. Just kidding!) Or, if you're a religious person of the Jewish persuasion, [...]
Antarctic Beech Fairy Ring #1211-P1020362 (12,000 years old, Queensland, Australia)
For the past six years, Rachel Sussman, 37, has devoted her life to chronicling the oldest living things in the world before they disappear. A photographer by training and hedge scientist by necessity, her photos are a mix of Annie Liebovitz and Ansel Adams: portraits whose subjects happen not to be human. Sussman has chased down nearly three dozen different organisms, a 400,000-6000,000 year-old bacteria in Siberia, a 2,000-plus year-old olive tree in Crete, and some 3,000 year-old lichen in Greenland, to name a few. She spent February and March chasing down 5,000-year-old moss in Antarctica. [...]
1. “THE CASE IS CLOSED”
“For general use the single-tone [black-and-white] pictures will enormously prevail." — Rupert Hughes, screenwriter, 1923
“[Sound film] is an exhausted toy, ready to be cast aside.”—David Belasco, playwright, 1930
“Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan.”—Mary Somerville, radio broadcaster, 1948
Roger Ebert knows that 3D movies just don’t work—and they never will. This past January, he wrote: “The notion that we are asked to pay a premium to witness an inferior and inherently brain-confusing image is outrageous. The case is closed.”
As Exhibit A in support of this verdict, Ebert furnished a letter from Walter Murch, the acclaimed editor of The [...]
In the October Vanity Fair—the one with Angelina Jolie’s most recent spin on the cover, this time in an ultra-zoomed-in portrait leaving her looking like a close-up-ready revision of Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein—Joan Didion was depicted in her biennial being-thin tour, occasioned by the upcoming release of her memoir Blue Nights. The picture, taken by Annie Leibovitz, depicts a gaunt and dimly lit Joan, her hair overtaken by wispy flyways and even a small sweater piling upon itself on her frame. Some meager light plays across her face. The photo, in uncopyrighted reproduction, has 625 notes right now on Tumblr, and the actress Zooey Deschanel [...]