February 2011

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© Maggie Steber

“Haiti is dreamlike, magical, evil, heavenly. It seems as though the fates pointed to Haiti and decided this is where they would put the portal between heaven and hell.” — Maggie Steber, from The New York Times Lens blog

An exhibit of Maggie Steber images of the Haiti Earthquake “Haiti between Destruction and Hope” will be on display at the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the The University of Texas at Austin February 23 through April 8…

It seems actor Ryan Phillipe doesn’t understand photojournalists. This is just a tad bit frightening since Philippe’s latest movie role is that of photojournalist and  “Bang-Bang Club” co-author Greg Marinovich. Phillipe says in this article that he finds it difficult to “understand psychologically” how photojournalists can stand back and just let something happen.

Uh, Ryan – They are doing more with their camera than the actions of one person can possibly achieve. It’s kind of shocking that a 36 year old, who I assume has once or twice picked up a newspaper, can’t grasp that concept.

The actor, who describes himself as sensitive further states that he is unsure about the photography profession as a whole because it  ‘exploits people in peril” and shows us things he thinks should remain behind closed doors. Huh??? Like what? Torture? Corruption? Government-sanctioned murder?

FYI Ryan – each and every one of us owe a great debt of gratitude to photojournalists and their “exploitations”. Every day, they stand in harm’s way just to inform and educate the world about all the injustice and inhumanity that human beings can muster up. Surely, he must have researched Marinovich in order to play him. Surely, he’s aware of the book’s other co-author, Joao Silva, recently seriously injured in Afghanistan and also portrayed in the film. And Kevin Carter, who took this Pulitzer Prize winning photograph and killed himself following unjust criticism for not helping the girl in the photograph, and Ken Oosterbroek, who lost his life just days before the first free elections that would end apartheid.

I would not like to imagine what this world would be were there no one to document the heinous things we do to one another. Considering what happens in full view, the absence of witness is a chilling thought.

Ryan – perhaps as you’re lunching at the Ivy and discussing your latest film, you’ll think about how fortunate we are to have those who would risk life and limb in order to inform.  I have confidence in you – after all,  you are a “sensitive” guy…

Coco Chanel, Paris 1964 © Henri Cartier-Bresson

This image of Coco Chanel is one of 300 photographs that will be on view at the High Museum in Altlanta. “Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century” opens February 19. Again, good fortune for me as I will be speaking in Atlanta on March 12…


The Romance of Trains

O. Winston Link "Hot Shot Eastbound at the Iaeger Drive In, Iaeger, West Virginia, 1956"

From 1955 to 1960, O. Winston Link traveled to Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina more than twenty times to document the steam locomotives of the Norfolk & Western Railway.  Link’s documentation of these disappearing machines is symbolic of the rapidly changing way of life in post-war America.

Taking almost thirty years from the time the first picture was taken until the work was first exhibited, Link’s images are now part of the collections of MOMA, The Getty, The Met and LACMA.

“Trains That Passed in the Night: The Photographs of O. Winston Link” will be on view at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem NC. Comprised of fifty black & white gelatin silver prints, this exhibit also  features images of Link and the staging of his  highly technical imagery. Organized by his former assistant, Thomas Garver  who collaborated with the Center for Railroad Photography & Art,  these photographs are on view from February 19 – June 19.

For those reading this who are not familiar with the work of O. Winston Link,  you are missing something special as there is no other way to describe this work as other than great. And how fortunate for me that I will be speaking in Charlotte on March 19. An extra day and a trip to Winston-Salem is definitely now part of my plan…

“It’s About You”

Photographer Kurt Markus is being hailed as the visionary filmmaker behind “It’s About You” with John Mellencamp.  Shot in Super 8 with assistance from his son, a film student, they followed Mellencamp to 26 cities in 18 states while Mellencamp was touring with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson in the summer of 2009 and chronicles the recording of Mellencam’s “No Better Than This”. The film will premiere at the SXSW Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas on March 12. More information here

The Museum of Modern Art has announced that “Cindy Sherman” featuring 170 key photographs from the mid 70′s to the present will run from February 26 through June 11, 2012. More information here

“Eye Wonder”

This Sandy Skoglund image “Revenge of the Goldfish” is one of 115 pieces exhibited in “Eye Wonder: Photography From the Bank of America Collection”. All images by women created between 1865 and 2004, this show features work by 45 photographers including Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott and Margaret Bourke-White, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gisele Freund and Eva Besnyo. Through May 22 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC…

Opening at Kopeikin Gallery on Saturday, February 19, Hiroshi Watanabe’s LOVE POINT. A reception for the artist and book signing takes place from 6pm to 8pm …

Muybridge at SF MOMA

Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change” opens on Feb. 26 at SF MOMA

In a lawsuit made public today, photographer David LaChapelle said Rihanna’s S&M video was “directly derived” from pictures taken by LaChapelle. For more info, visit here.

Camera-less Photography

“Step inside this camera-less world and I can guarantee you will be transformed – or, at least, transported into the unexpected.”

Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography explores the work of five contemporary artists – Floris Neusüss, Pierre Cordier, Garry Fabian Miller, Susan Derges, and Adam Fuss at the V&A until February 20…

Darius Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson are bringing their one day seminar, “Publish Your Photography Book” to ART CENTER on Saturday, February 26th. Information about the program can be found here and you can watch the trailer here. This seminar will be of great value to anyone hoping to have a book of their photographs…

“Young artists should feel gratified when he said of the creative process: “It’s exactly what it’s always been. It’s just hard work.”

A Q&A with Philip -Lorca Di Corcia well worth reading.

“Philip-Lorca Di Corcia ELEVEN” at the David Zwirner Gallery features work originally published in W magazine between 1997 and 2008. A new book of  the same name has been published by Damiani Editions.

“What attracts him to taking pictures of dogs? “They are everywhere, they are sympathetic and they don’t ask for prints. I like them.”

You just have to love this man. You can read about Erwitt and his alter ego, André S. Solidor, a pompous French photographer who takes pretentious artsy pictures and whose initials spell ASS. An exhibition, based on his latest book, The Art of Andre S. Solidor (2009), opens this month in London and a second show, “Sequentially Yours Photo Sequences or Indecisive Moments”, opens next week at London’s Atlas Gallery…

Here are the images from the last roll of Kodachrome taken by Steve McCurry, frame by frame.

© Debra Weiss 2010-2011. All rights reserved. No distribution, reproduction or display without advance express written permission.