On Verso Episode #9: scott b. davis

This episode is an interview with photographer scott. b. davis, who runs Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego, California.  We spoke with him this past summer.  Please have a listen.

And, as always, comments and questions are welcome at onverso@paclosangeles.com

News from the World of Photography: October 2017


William Eggleston, at 78, in a New Key

The New York Times

William Eggleston is widely considered one of modern photography’s most influential artists. The prolific piano playing that’s been his other lifelong passion, however, has remained more of an insiders’ secret.

“People know my photographs because they’re published in books and shown in galleries and museums and so forth, and yet I don’t perform music in public, ever — only in front of good friends who really want to hear it and who really listen,” Mr. Eggleston, who is 78, said in a recent phone interview from his Memphis apartment...

The Grain of the Present

Pier 24
San Francisco, CA
1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018

The Grain of the Present, Pier 24 Photography’s ninth exhibition, examines the work of ten photographers at the core of the Pilara Foundation collection—Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Lee Friedlander, Nicholas Nixon, Stephen Shore, Henry Wessel, and Garry Winogrand—whose works share a commitment to looking at everyday life as it is. Each of these figures defined a distinctive visual language that combines formal concerns with a documentary aesthetic, and all of them participated in one of two landmark exhibitions: New Documents (1967) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, or New Topographics (1975) at the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester.

Looking back, inclusion in these exhibitions can be seen as both a marker of success and a foreshadowing of the profound impact this earlier generation would have on those that followed. Although these two exhibitions were significant, most of these photographers considered the photobook as the primary vehicle for their work. At a time when photography exhibitions were few and far between, the broad accessibility of these publications introduced and educated audiences about their work. As a result, many contemporary photographers became intimately familiar with that work, drawing inspiration from it and developing practices that also value the photobook as an important means of presenting their images.

The Grain of the Present features the work of these ten groundbreaking photographers alongside six contemporary practitioners of the medium—Eamonn Doyle, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ed Panar, Alec Soth, Awoiska van der Molen, and Vanessa Winship. This generation embodies Wessel’s notion of being “actively receptive”: rather than searching for particular subjects, they are open to photographing anything around them. Yet the contemporary works seen here do not merely mimic the celebrated visual languages of the past, but instead draw on and extend them, creating new dialects that are uniquely their own.

Nicholas Nixon: Exhibition in Madrid. Fundación MAPFRE Bárbara de Braganza Exhibition Hall

Fundación MAPFRE
Madrid, Spain
14 September 2017 - 7 January 2018

Concentrating particularly on portraiture, Nicholas Nixon occupies a distinguished and unique place in the history of photography over recent decades. His work exposes the constant tension between the content and the emotions that underlie his images. His photos reveal to us the realities of his daily life through a very refined technique and careful composition. We are presented with themes and aspects of life that, through their familiarity and humanity, induce the viewer to feel part of and identify with the images. 

Over his career spanning nearly fifty years, Nixon has always worked using series. Some of them such as The Brown Sisters or his family portraits extend throughout his entire career. His method of working requires a great deal of time: as much due to the intimacy and confidence he demands from his subjects as for the technique he employs (large format camera). The relationship he needs to establish with his subjects and the themes on which he concentrates once again demand a lot of time in order for him to achieve his objective: the elderly, the sick, the intimacy between couples and the family. 

After showing in Madrid, in 2018 and 2019 the exhibition will move to the Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía, C/O Berlin and Fondation A in Brussels.

Catharsis: Amak Mahmoodian, Sara Davidmann, Mariela Sancari

Belfast Exposed
Belfast, Ireland
27 October - 23 December 2017

Belfast Exposed is pleased to present Catharsis - a new group exhibition which brings together three projects by contemporary photographers who use portraiture in innovative ways to explore and come to terms with complex family or personal histories.  Employing different strategies, each artist uses photography as a means to unravel or respond to a repressed narrative around personal identity.  Through the process of creative investigation they open a broader dialogue around the constraints that societal norms can impose upon the freedom of individual expression.  

Bruce Davidson: American Photographer

Nederlands Fotomuseum
Rotterdam, Netherlands
16 September 2017 - 7 January 2018

This autumn the Nederlands Fotomuseum will be presenting the first retrospective in the Netherlands of the work of American photographer Bruce Davidson (b. 1933). Since the 1950s, Davidson has devoted his time and energy to photographing those for whom the ‘American Dream’ has turned out to be unattainable and who have attempted to hold their own in society.

Davidson depicts major themes as civil rights, violence, poverty, racism and immigration, all from a personal perspective. For many years, for instance, he tagged along with a street gang in Brooklyn and travelled with civil rights activities to the South to take part in The Selma March. This approach has given him first-hand experience with the subjects of his work and enabled him to poignantly show what the ‘American Dream’ has meant for them. The exhibition features almost 200 photographs, including work from his famous series The Dwarf, East 100th Street and Subway.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration with Magnum Photos and the Fundación MAPFRE. The exhibition and international tour have been made possible thanks to the support of the TERRA Foundation for American Art.

A Green and Pleasant Land: British Landscape and the Imagination, 1970s to Now

Towner Art Gallery
Eastbourne, UK
30 September 2017 - 21 January 2018

This major survey exhibition focuses on artists who have shaped our understanding of the British landscape and its relationship to identity, place and time. Exploring how artists interpret urban and rural landscape through the lens of their own cultural, political or spiritual ideologies, the exhibition reveals the inherent tensions between landscape represented as a transcendental or spiritual place, and one rooted in social and political histories.

Though primarily photography, A Green and Pleasant Land includes film, painting and sculpture by over 50 artists, illustrating the various concerns and approaches to landscape pursued by artists from the 1970s to now.

Artists included in the exhibition: Keith Arnatt, Gerry Badger, Craig Barker, John Blakemore, Henry Bond and Liam Gillick, Paul Caponigro, Thomas Joshua Cooper, John Davies, Susan Derges, Mark Edwards, Anna Fox, Melanie Friend, Hamish Fulton, Fay Godwin, Andy Goldsworthy, Paul Graham, Mishka Henner, Paul Hill, Robert Judges, Angela Kelly, Chris Killip, John Kippin, Karen Knorr, Ian Macdonald, Ron McCormick, Mary McIntyre, Peter Mitchell, Raymond Moore, John Myers, Martin Parr, Mike Perry, Ingrid Pollard, Mark Power, Paul Reas, Emily Richardson, Ben Rivers, Simon Roberts, Paul Seawright, Andy Sewell, Theo Simpson, Graham Smith, Jem Southam, Jo Spence, John Stezaker, Paddy Summerfield, The Caravan Gallery, Chris Wainwright, Patrick Ward, Clare Woods and Donovan Wylie.

The British Journal of Photography

“There are two important things about this show,” says Clément Chéroux, senior curator of photography at SFMOMA. “First, the quantity of work – more than 300 photographs, quite a large selection, because we were able to get support from most of the big institutions – MOMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Canada, the Musée du Quai Branly and so on, and private collections from around the world.

“Second, is the fact that it is arranged thematically rather than chronologically. Usually when you look at important retrospectives they are chronological, but we organised by theme because we wanted to organise it around Evans’ passion for the vernacular. He was fascinated with vernacular culture.”

It is, as Chéroux says, a huge show – the first to take up the SFMOMA’s entire Pritzker Center for Photography, which, at over 1000 square meters, is America’s largest photography gallery. But though a retrospective of this size is entirely appropriate for one of the 20th century’s key photographers, what’s emphasized isn’t his monumental importance or his ongoing influence. Instead, it hones in on his love for the more humble and every day...

At FotoFocus, the Radical Notion That Women Are People


    Two weeks before the Women’s March on January 21, 2017, Sara Vance Waddell posted a message on Facebook asking marchers to save their protest signs. Vance, a philanthropist who primarily collects art made by female-identified artists, wanted to make an exhibition of artwork from the march at the gallery in her home in Cincinnati, Ohio. When the signs that protesters sent began piling up, Waddell realized she had a bigger project on her hands. Like many Americans, prior to the 2016 presidential election, Waddell hadn’t thought of herself as an activist. But suddenly it was clear, as one participant wrote in thick black ink on a cardboard placard, that “The Future is Nasty.”

Are we living in a moment of emergency feminism? Among the gathering of artists, critics, scholars, and cultural workers at the FotoFocus symposium “Second Century: Photography, Feminism, Politics,” presented in Cincinnati in October, there was a mood of enlivened solidarity, a sense that if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. The symposium opened with a panel discussion by FemFour, the group that Waddell assembled to turn her Women’s March project into a traveling exhibition, but the subsequent panel discussions and keynote addresses often took on the energy of a teach-in. Although the FemFour’s project is not concerned specifically with photography, their discussion seemed an appropriate way to open FotoFocus. For curator Maria Seda-Reeder, who worked with Waddell to assemble the collection, the Women’s March project had an emotional dimension. In working with FemFour, she had connected to other women who were also “mad as hell.”...

Illuminating India: Photography 1857-2017

Science Museum
London, UK
4 October 2017 - 31 March 2018

Shortly after its invention in Britain in 1839, photography arrived in India. It was used by the British as a tool to document and exert power over the people, architecture, and landscapes of the subcontinent but it also became a medium for Indians themselves to express their unique experiences of the country.

This exhibition brings to light the previously overlooked Indian photographers who worked in parallel with their foreign counterparts from the 1850s onwards.

Pivoting around two key dates—1857, the year of the Mutiny and 1947, the year of Independence and Partition—it is an ambitious survey of the technological and artistic development of photography in India that examines the role the medium has played in charting the country’s modern history.

Among the images are works by Samuel Bourne, art photography pioneer Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, Henri Cartier-Bresson and award-winning contemporary photographer Vasantha Yogananthan.

Hilla Becher on making art and a life with Bernd

British Journal of Photography 

An exclusive interview with Hilla Becher, revisited as Hauser & Wirth Zurich stages a large new exhibition of Bernd & Hilla Becher's seminal work, curated by their son Max. First posted on 25 March 2015

One of the dominant influences in contemporary European photography is wheeled into the restaurant at the NRW Forum, a grand art gallery a stone’s throw from the Rhine.

It’s the height of the Düsseldorf Photo Weekend, and people of all ages are passing through the galleries on either side of us. Many of them won’t realize it, but most of the photography here is deeply indebted to this slight and unassuming woman, born in East Germany before the war, and now happily talking over pasta and wine in the café.

She has now been without Bernd, her husband, for more than seven years, after he died from complications during heart surgery. That straight bob of blonde hair is greying. She is now 81, and sits slightly stooped in her wheelchair. You have to strain to hear what she says, yet she recounts her life with a remarkable wit and poise. Some people start to switch off at this age; Hilla Becher, it seems, could not be more connected to her surroundings...

Passport Photos and Online Porn: The Dizzying World of Thomas Ruff

The New York Times 

Thomas Ruff was explaining how pleased he was about his forthcoming retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery here when we were interrupted by an unearthly shrieking. A fire alarm had gone off; we and the technicians installing the show would have to be evacuated. Dumped politely but unceremoniously on the street, we continued the conversation on the sidewalk, with Mr. Ruff broadcasting his thoughts to pedestrians and passing traffic.

The incident was unplanned (a false alarm), but had a twinge of poetic justice. Revered in his native Germany and among the photographic cognoscenti, Mr. Ruff, 59, has often seemed a little outside the art-world mainstream. While contemporaries including Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth — both of whom trained, like Mr. Ruff, with the pioneering conceptual photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher — have become stars of the market and familiar names in museum collections worldwide, Mr. Ruff’s work, though far from unknown, is not seen nearly as often as it should be. The Whitechapel exhibition is the biggest Ruff retrospective the English-speaking world has yet seen...

The Photographer Who Saw America’s Monuments Hiding in Plain Sight

The New York Times Magazine

Almost inevitably for an artistic career stretching over more than five decades, the quality of the work is uneven. Unlike Winogrand, Friedlander hasn’t given up on editing, but he is more interested in taking pictures and getting them out than in scrupulously curating his own oeuvre. “It’s a generous medium, photography,” he is quoted as saying in the epigraph to the MoMA catalog. He was thinking particularly of a picture of his uncle, which also included a bunch of other, unintended information. “The American Monument” came about in similar fashion, when he noticed that memorials and statues of all kinds cropped up in multiple contact sheets, some of which were primarily concerned with other matters. After that, he began seeking out such monuments in the course of his travels throughout the States.

On receipt of a lifetime achievement award from the International Center of Photography in 2006, the 71-year-old Friedlander responded that the honor, while welcome, was premature. At the glamorous reception and dinner, he spent the evening photographing, snapping guests and the other honorees like a cub photographer eager to make the most of what might prove to be his big break. That break actually came in 1967 at MoMA when he, Garry Winogrand (who died in 1984) and Diane Arbus (who died in 1971) were chosen to represent a shift in documentary photography from social concerns toward more personal ends. It’s possible that his reputation, as it has risen in the decades since, has also suffered, in the way that Dizzy Gillespie’s did in comparison with that of his doomed fellow bebop pioneer Charlie Parker.

Lee Friedlander’s “The American Monument” was first published in 1976. That’s “monument” singular, though one of the many singular things about Friedlander is that he’s nothing if not a pluralist. Whitman-like, he is great, contains multitudes. In an essay appended to the sumptuous new edition of this landmark work, Peter Galassi (who curated the 2005 Friedlander retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art) deems it “pointless” to try to count precisely how many books the photographer has published since 1976 before settling on roughly one a year. The retrospective was huge, and, inevitably, the accompanying catalog was almost too hefty to lug home comfortably. It was sort of monumental, though monuments tend to be erected to the dead.
Eventually he had enough pictures for a book — which, in Friedlander-ese, means more than enough. The original edition boiled thousands of potential candidates down to 213, the bulk of them taken between 1971 and 1975, supplemented by a brilliant afterword by Leslie George Katz. That essay still feels remarkably fresh in the reprint, even though Katz’s observations occasionally gleam with a faith in the assumption of the continued worth of monuments that may turn out to be “discredited,” “outmoded” or ironically apposite, as when he says of their power, “Something like racial memory is at work.”...

The Eye of Photography

On October 22nd 2017 The Griffin Museum of Photography, near Boston, gave Elizabeth Avedon a  Lifetime Achievement award,  for promoting new and emerging photographers, and “whose ongoing commitment to photography has created far-reaching impact”. Elizabeth Avedon, a book designer for decades, for years a frenetic writer on young photographers and their work on her blog, the daughter-in-law of the famous photographer, is also a contributor to The Eye of Photography since its debut. Today’s edition is entirely dedicated to her.

In the past years, she has been profiling notable leaders in the world of photography such as Joel-Peter Witkin, W.M. Hunt, Anne Wilkes Tucker, among many others. She has received awards and recognition for her photography exhibition, design and publishing projects, including the retrospective exhibition and book, Avedon: Photographs 1949-1979 for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, and Atlanta’s High Museum; and Richard Avedon: In the American West for the Amon Carter Museum. Elizabeth Avedon recreated the original 1974 Museum of Modern Art exhibit, Jacob Israel Avedon: Portraits of the Photographers Father with Photographs by Richard Avedon, for the opening of the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona.

In conjunction with Random House, she co-published the series Elizabeth Avedon Editions/Vintage Contemporary Artists, pairing distinguished art critics such as Donald Kuspit, Peter Schjeldahl, and Barbara Rose with contemporary artists Francesco Clemente, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, Eric Fischl among others. Former Director of Photo-Eye Gallery, Santa Fe; Creative Director for The Gere Foundation; Art Director for Polo Ralph Lauren national ads; Elizabeth Avedon mentions one of her favorite projects was with the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography on a juried black and white photo publication, fossils of light + time, reflecting the spirit of a seductive quote by Daido Moriyama: "If you were to ask me to define a photograph in a few words, I would say it is “a fossil of light and time.”

“The Twitter feed of master photo book designer, curator and author Elizabeth Avedon is a one-stop shop for the best and latest in photography,” wrote Mia Tramz in TIME Magazine. “As a hub of the photographic world, Avedon’s feed surfaces must-see photography exhibits, the most interesting photo events and content from her equally excellent blog where she frequently interviews the industry’s most legendary figures.”

Elizabeth Avedon’s award has been presented by Sean Perry, an architecture photographer based in Austin, Texas and New York City.

Biennial of Photography on Industry and Work

Bologna, Italy
12 October - 19 November 2017

For this third edition, presenting fourteen exhibitions by some of the world’s most important photographers, the MAST Foundation is multiplying its commitment by creating a temporary, living and participatory community that is renewed every two years with the same urge to exchange ideas triggered by the narrative force of the images.

Swann Auction Galleries 

Robert Delpire, Champion of Photography as Art, Dies at 91

The New York Times

Robert Delpire, a French publisher and editor whose championing of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank and Josef Koudelka helped elevate photography as an art, died on Sept. 26 in Paris. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by Michael Hoppen, whose gallery has exhibited the photographs of Sarah Moon, Mr. Delpire’s wife.

Mr. Delpire (pronounced del-PEER) created his own photographic universe in Paris — publishing books, curating exhibitions and directing the Centre de National de la Photographie for more than a decade after it opened in 1982. It is now part of the Paris arts center Jeu de Paume.

“He was an uncompromising lion,” Peter MacGill, of the Pace/MacGill Gallery in Manhattan, said in a telephone interview. “He would
if he felt something was to be done a certain way, let other realities encroach on the making of a book or exhibition. He didn’t care...

Photography Lovers A Guide to Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

Photography Lovers A Guide to Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a Getty-led collaboration between arts institutions across Southern California which explores Latin American and Latinx Art as it relates to Los Angeles.  Exhibitions are happening at more than 70 institutions, so we made a list of our top ten must-sees.  For a complete list visit pacificstandardtime.org.

PHOTOCULTURE: Interview with Michael Dawson

PHOTOCULTURE: Interview with Michael Dawson

Michael Dawson is a private dealer and appraiser specializing in rare books and fine art photography, including historical photographs of California and the Southwest. Michael has written widely on photography and has owned and operated his own gallery as well as the celebrated Dawson's Books Shop in Los Angeles–a business established by his grandfather in 1905.

News from the World of Photography: August 2017


Graciela Iturbide talks about going viral, L.A. cholos and shooting Frida Kahlo's bathroom

The Los Angeles Times

Countless photographers hope to produce a single indelible image over the course of their careers, something so unforgettable it is seared onto the collective unconscious. Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide has made not one but several of these images.

There’s the photograph of a Zapotec woman in a southern Mexican market, her head draped in a crown of iguanas striking a pose. There is the spectral figure of an indigenous Seri woman, clad in a long dress, who floats through the desert clutching only a boom box. And there is the woman, with the seen-it-all stare, having a drink and a smoke in a Mexico City bar — her mortality, and ours, writ large in a mural of a skull that looms large over her shoulder.

There are others who are recognizable too: The Zapotec transgender woman framing her striking features with a mirror. A mask-wearing reveler standing in the middle of a dry field, the party over, out of time.

Iturbide’s images are part of museum collections all over the world, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the Bay Area and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Photography in Canada: 1960-2000

National Gallery of Canada
Ottawa, Canada
7 April - 17 September 2018

Experience the diversity of Canadian photographic practice and production from 1960 to 2000 in this exhibition organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada. Bringing together more than 100 works by 71 artists — including Raymonde April, Edward Burtynsky, Lynne Cohen, Angela Grauerholz, Michael Snow, Jeff Wall and Jin-me Yoon — it explores how the medium articulated the role of art and the artist in an ever-changing world, along with differing ideas of identity, sexuality and community.

Formulated around themes such as conceptual, documentary, urban landscape and portrait, this exhibition celebrates the enormous growth of the practice, collection and display of photography over more than four decades. 

Photographic Treasures from India


To mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, an exhibition of photographs examines some of the earliest documentation of the country.

The Unsung Hero of South African Photography


Andrew Tshabangu’s two decades-plus visual repertoire, the best of which was showcased earlier this year at Johannesburg’s Standard Bank Gallery and Gallery MOMO in Footprints, is provocative and ultimately liberating. With its exploration of blackness as a lived, if banal and mundane experience (just as it is with any other racial group), Footprints, which was curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe, is also notable for its simplicity and aching, often sweeping quietness, and clarity. In “The Value of Andrew Tshabangu’s Photography,” an essay in the accompanying monograph, published by Fourthwall Books, the curator, critic and novelist Simon Njami tells us that Tshabangu’s journey began in the place where he was born, namely, South Africa. “While biography is never a trivial part of the analysis of any artist’s work,” Njami writes, “in Tshabangu’s case the contextual elements seem to render fundamental clues to a deeper understanding of his universe.”

PHOTOVILLE returns to Brooklyn Bridge Park 

Brooklyn Bridge Plaza
13-17 September & 21-24 September 2017 

Returning to its iconic location at the Brooklyn Bridge Plaza—located in DUMBO’s Brooklyn Bridge Park beneath the majestic span of the Brooklyn Bridge— Photoville will once again create an immersive photography village populated by 55+ shipping containers repurposed into galleries.

The 2017 festival will present five nights of programming in the Beer Garden, numerous hands-on workshops, an education day for New York City middle and high-school students (proudly supported by the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment), three full days of panel discussions and talks presented next door at St. Ann’s Warehouse, tents with family-friendly photo activities, photo publishers, gear demonstrations, a community photo book store run by Red Hook Editions, tintype portraits by the Penumbra Foundation, and a beer garden with a range of food vendors from Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Brewery beers.



British Journal of Photography

Swedish organisation Fotografiska is to open a new centre for photography in London’s Whitechapel. The 89,000 sq ft lower ground space plus office, which is located near Whitechapel Gallery, is due to be completed in the second half of 2018, and has been rented by Fotografiska for 15 years (with a break option at 12 years).

“Fotografiska has for a long time been searching for suitable facilities in London, one of the world’s most dynamic cities when it comes to photography,” said Tommy Rönngren, founding partner and chair of the board of Fotografiska London. “Whitechapel, which is one of London’s most dynamic areas, will be a perfect location. It will be really exciting to bring the concept of Fotografiska to London.”

Fotografiska already runs a 59,000 sq ft contemporary photography centre in Stockholm called The Swedish Museum of Photography, which opened in 2010 and shows four major exhibitions per year. Previous exhibitions include solo shows by Guy Bourdin, Sarah Moon, Annie Leibovitz, Lars Tunbjörk and Anders Petersen. The organisation also reportedly signed a lease this summer for all six floors, 45,000 sq ft, of the 281 Park Avenue South building in New York.

Southern Elegy: Photography from the Stephen Reily Collection

Speed Art Museum
Louisville, Kentucky
17 March - 14 October 2017 


The Speed Art Museum is pleased to present Southern Elegy: Photography from the Stephen Reily Collection, an exhibition of photographs from the Louisville-based collection of Stephen Reily. Reflecting the complex history of the American South, the images in this exhibition address the themes of loss, ruins, beauty, and violence, through evocative images of the South’s natural landscape, architecture, and residents. Southern Elegy features 75 photographs, chiefly spanning from the 1930s to works from the past decade. The 14 photographers represented include George Barnard, William Christenberry, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, William Gedney, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Clarence John Laughlin, Russell Lee, Deborah Luster, Sally Mann, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Robert Polidori, and Doug Rickard.

Having researched the photographers who have documented the American South from the nineteenth century to present day, Reily built a collection on the premise of photography as an elegiac
process, or a poetic form of “capturing loss.” As a medium that records the past, photography provides a means of exploring the contested and difficult history of the South through the documentation of specific moments and places. The South provided artists with a landscape shaped by slavery and the Civil War, and in later decades, discrimination, poverty, violence, and human made disaster. Reily explains, “Southern photography is often inspired by its own sense of captured memory, self-aware of the losses that underlie the landscape before us as well as the losses that will transform it once again.”

Longer Ways to Go: Photography of the American Road

Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix, Arizona
15 April - 15 October 2017

The most recent collaboration between Phoenix Art Museum and the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography (CCP), Longer Ways to Go: Photography of the American Road delves deep into the complex dialogue that photography can enter into with a subject dear to many. This exhibition explores the symbiotic relationship between photography and the folklore of the American highway, including the emblematic Route 66. Longer Ways juxtaposes photographs from different eras, exploring themes related to travel, ideals of small-town life, the national heritage of westward expansion, and personal freedom.


Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain

Thirty years after the exhibition Hommage à Ferrari, the Fondation Cartier will once again focus its attention on the world of cars with the exhibition Autophoto dedicated to photography’s relationship to the automobile. Since its invention, the automobile has reshaped our landscape, extended our geographic horizons and radically altered our conception of space and time, consequently influencing the approach and practice of photographers.

The exhibition Autophoto will show how the car provided photographers with a new subject, new point of view and new way of exploring the world. Organized in series, it will bring together 500 works made by 100 historic and contemporary artists from around the world including Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Lee Friedlander, Rosângela Renno and Yasuhiro Ishimoto. Capturing the geometric design of roadways, the reflections in a rear-view mirror or our special relationship with this object of desire, these photographers invite us to look at the world of the automobile in a new way. 


For artists at the dawn of the 20th Century, the modern world must have seemed like a bright, shiny and inspiring place. Think of FT Marinetti, whose rhapsodic Futurist Manifesto, published in 1909, extolled factories and shipyards, bridges and railway stations, locomotives and racing cars. “A roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace,” he wrote. 

By the time of the artistic maturity of the US photographer Walker Evans (1903-75), though, much of that seductive appeal had worn off. As an important retrospective of more than 400 artworks at the Pompidou Centre in Paris reveals, Evans, unlike Marinetti, was no cheerleader for modernity.

In a way, this is surprising, since the show suggests that Evans’ photographic career began conventionally enough, as a budding modernist. Indebted to formal innovations by avant-garde photographers such as the Russian Alexander Rodchenko, Evans’ boldly framed early pictures, from the late 1920s, eulogised New York’s awe-inspiring architecture. Like many others, he felt compelled to photograph Brooklyn Bridge and Broadway...

The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Washington DC
7 April 2017 - 28 January 2018

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has been engaged in multiple wars, varying in intensity, locale, and consequence.  After fifteen years, this warfare has become normalized into our social and cultural landscape; it is ongoing, yet somehow out of sight, invisible.

The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now explores and assesses the human costs of ongoing wars through portraiture. The exhibition title is drawn from John Keegan’s classic military history, which reorients our view of war from questions of strategy and tactics to its personal and individual toll. Featuring fifty-six works by six artists, the exhibition includes photographs by Ashley Gilbertson, Tim Hetherington, Louie Palu, and Stacy Pearsall; site-specific installation of drawings by Emily Prince; and paintings, sculpture, and time-based media by Vincent Valdez.

With this poignant exhibition, the National Portrait Gallery will put a face on recent wars through the work of artists who have pictured the experience of common soldiers. The Face of Battle will also bring to public attention the latest formal developments in the field of portraiture as practiced by a diverse and talented group of artists. The exhibition will place the focus on the identity and experiences of ordinary soldiers who fought and continue to fight for our nation.


Belgian photographer Nick Hannes has been pursuing independent documentary projects for over a decade. His travels (and curiosity) have taken him across the 15 former Soviet Republics as well as all around the Mediterranean Sea, and yet his latest work focuses on a completely different part of the world: the city of Dubai.

In the series, titled “Bread and Circuses,” he focuses on leisure and consumerism in one of the capitals of extravagant consumption. Through his camera, he focuses on the bizarre peculiarities of this unique city—his hope is to tell a more universal story about humanity’s relationship to pleasure and entertainment.

LensCulture managing editor Alexander Strecker reached out to Hannes to find out more about his project and Hannes’ process. Below is an edited transcript of their exchange...

Gösta Peterson, Barrier-Breaking Fashion Photographer, Dies at 94

The New York Times

Gösta Peterson, a self-taught photographer who made fashion history with his magazine covers of a once-spurned black model, Naomi Sims, and an androgynous British waif nicknamed Twiggy, died in Manhattan. He was 94.


At first glance, Kate Ballis’ candy-coloured landscapes are reminiscent of the hand-tinted photographs that were prevalent in the mid-19th century, but these gorgeous popsicle-palette images were created with the aid of a specially converted infrared camera as opposed to a paintbrush. “I first came across the technique at the Venice Biennale in 2013, where Richard Mosse had used the process to represent the violent conflict in the Eastern Republic of Congo,” she explains. “In his work it seems like he’s subverting these horrors and creating something aesthetically beautiful.”

No Longer Seeing the World Through Men’s Eyes

The New York Times LENS Blog

The first Women Photograph grants to support personal projects by female visual journalists have been presented to Alex Potter, Lujan Agusti, Gabriella Demczuk and Néha Hirve. Women Photograph, a new organization, aims to help women gain opportunities in an industry that has historically been dominated by white men and has been rife with sexism.

Most new photography grants or awards are announced with great fanfare promising long-term impact. But if Women Photograph succeeds in helping visual storytellers, there may eventually be no need for it, said Daniella Zalcman, a freelance photographer who founded the group.

“In some perfect world of the future, half of working photojournalists will be women and there will not need to be grants for photographers of color or female photographers,” she said. “But right now, as we work to level the playing field, we absolutely need to create intentional opportunities to address the huge imbalances in the photojournalism community.”

The group’s website and database features 550 female and female-identifying photographers from 87 countries who are available for editorial assignments and have more than five years of professional experience. They have been advocating for more jobs and editorial assignments for women photographers from leading publications, and its private Facebook group has become a forum to exchange professional tips and occasionally to discuss instances of sexual harassment and gender bias...

Elliott Erwitt in Hungary

Magyar Fotográfusok Háza
Budapest, Hungary
15 June - 10 September 2017


Elliott Erwitt, the world-renowned photographer took pictures of Hungary in 1964. A selection of these images will be showcased for the first time in Hungary at the Mai Manó House in the summer of 2017.

News from the World of Photography: July 2017


The First 100 Years of Photography

Europeana Photography

Europeana Photography opens up Europe’s rich photographic heritage to everyone. Photography is a direct and effective connection between history and contemporary society. It allows people to connect with their past, with fellow European citizens, explore remote eras and locations, and better appreciate the value of their continental, national and local cultural heritage.

FOCUS PHOTO L.A. Prize Winners

Finalists: Robert Calafiore, Cody Cobb, Sean Foulkes, Augustin Gonzalez Garza, Jill Hannes, Rowan Ibbeke, Carlos Jaramillo, Dan Lopez, Ole Manus Joergensen, Pat Martin, Deepanjan Mukhopadhyay, Ange Ong, Stephen Rader, Landon Speers, Judith Stenneken, Jessica Thalmann, Sinziana Veliescu

The 20th Edition of PHotoESPAÑA

L'Oeil de la Photographie

Festival PHotoESPAÑA
31 May - 27 August 2017
Different locations in Madrid, Spain

Every two years, during the summer, Madrid becomes a major event for the world of visual arts and photography. With exhibitions in the main museums, halls and art galleries, as well as diverse activities related to the chosen theme of the year, PHotoEspaña offers the possibility to discover the latest tendencies as well as the latest projects of internationally renowned artists.

PHotoESPAÑA reaches its twentieth edition this year, before really turning 20 years old in 2018. This year, the festival presents from May, 31 to August, 27 about 100 exhibitions with works by 514 artists and a program of 20 activities for professionals and for the general public that will take place in 62 venues.

Under the theme “The Exaltation of Being”, the festival has invited Spanish photographer Alberto García-Alix to participate in this edition with a carte blanche. He has proposed six exhibitions and one activity: exhibitions by Anders Petersen, Paulo Nozolino, Antoine d’Agata, Pierre Molinier, Karlheinz Weinberger and Teresa Margolles, as well as a book editing laboratory directed by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.

The twentieth edition of the PHotoESPAÑA counts on the involvement of the principal Spanish cultural institutions and on international cooperation, this continues to be one of the characteristics of the festival. Today’s edition of The Eye of Photography offers you a selection of the best exhibitions in town.

World’s Largest and Most Controversial Portrait Competition Goes Digital

British Journal of Photography

National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize innovates again by opening up the world-famous competition - with a £15,000 prize - to digital entries, as previous winners discuss how their careers took off despite the award’s ongoing controversial reputation.

The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize manages to divide opinion, inspire debate and even provoke controversy like virtually no other global photographic award. For its detractors, the joke is that the Taylor Wessing competition so often awards prizes to photographers who have taken pictures of girls and women, usually with red hair, holding animals – something that makes the prize repetitive and conservative. For its supporters, the Taylor Wessing portrait prize has a thematic coherence and identity most other photography competitions lack. 

In fact, both viewpoints are a little unfair because in recent years the prize has started to award a far more diverse range of portraits. Take for the example the 2014 winner David Titlow; a fashion photographer who won with his image of his infant son being introduced to a dog, surrounded by friends the morning after an idyllic midsummer party. And more recently Claudio Rasano, who won in 2016 for his image of a young schoolboy in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Now, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, one of the most revered and competitive photography awards in the world, is going digital. The prize will now accept images uploaded via the competition’s new digital portal, from anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world, even accepting images taken on mobile...

Walden: Four Views | Abelardo Morell

Concord Museum
Concord, Massachusetts
10 February - 20 August 2017 

Guided and inspired by Thoreau’s journals and his seminal work Walden, Abelardo Morell has made new panoramic photographic works that suggest fresh new angles from which to look at Walden Pond.

Ryan McGinley: The Kids Were Alright

MCA Denver
Denver, Colorado
11 February - 20 August 2017 

MCA Denver is pleased to announce Ryan McGinley: The Kids Were Alright. The exhibition will feature early photographs by McGinley, whose pioneering, documentary-style approach captured the antics and daily activities of himself, his friends, and collaborators in lower Manhattan in the late 1990s.

Occupying the entire second level of MCA Denver, the exhibition focuses on McGinley’s work from 1998 to 2003, from his earliest forays into photography to his rise to national prominence. The photographs present intimate moments of both exhilaration and introspection, often within a mundane setting, and demonstrate a sweeping range of emotions. McGinley’s works capture the essence of his lifestyle at the time: gritty, daring, and focused on moments of both pleasure and tedium, as well as illicit activities. Unstaged and unedited, McGinley’s use of light imbues all of the works with an intensity and profound emotional depth. They may depict a figure as brooding and contemplative or bursting with joyful exuberance. McGinley’s photos and Polaroids continually elevate these everyday moments and allow them to pulsate with life.

A rare instance of the artist re-examining his earliest major body of work, which was titled The Kids Are Alright, the exhibition at MCA Denver features many never-before-printed images. Additionally, over 1500 of McGinley’s Polaroids, which have never before been exhibited, will wrap the museum’s second floor. For this series, he documented nearly every visitor to his home and studio over the course of four years.

Works by Dash Snow and Dan Colen, two of McGinley's closest collaborators during this early period, complete the exhibition.

National Galleries Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland
Until 1 October 2017

A Perfect Chemistry: Photographs by Hill & Adamson explores the uniquely productive and influential partnership of David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), which lasted a few short years from 1843 until early 1848. These stunning images, which belie the almost unimaginable technical challenges faced by the duo, are arguably among the first examples of social documentary in the history of photography. 

174 years ago an event that forever changed the course of Scottish history also led to one of the greatest partnerships in the history of photography. When the Free Church of Scotland was established in 1843 it represented a decisive break from the existing church that profoundly influenced the political and cultural landscape of the entire country. It was also the catalyst that brought together David Octavius Hill, an established landscape painter, and Robert Adamson, an engineer. The two men formed a partnership in order to photograph over 400 ministers of the Free Church. Conceived as sketches for a large canvas that Hill was working on these photographs was the beginning of one of the most productive and innovative partnerships in the medium. 

While famous within the history of photography, Hill and Adamson’s groundbreaking collaboration is also among the most mysterious, with many questions left unanswered as to the exact nature of their ‘perfect chemistry’. What is clear is that a series of events, circumstances and opportunities conspired to bring these two men together. In just four and a half years they not only altered the course of Scottish photography, but that of the history of photography around the world—all from their studio at Rock House, Calton Hill.

Using the new calotype process, which was invented by the Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) in 1841, the pair made thousands of photographs by hand.

Their subjects included portraits of some of the artists, literary figures, renowned scientific innovators, and groundbreaking religious thinkers at the heart of 1840s Edinburgh. These portraits along with those of family and friends provide a fascinating insight into life in Edinburgh in the 1840s.


Akron Art Museum
Akron, Ohio
25 February- 20 August 2017


         Family is a fundamental social construct in every culture. Most basically, its definition references parents, their children and others related by blood or by law. As well, partners, close friends, neighbors, church members, mentors, colleagues and others special to us may assume the role of family in instilling values, offering protection and establishing and maintaining cherished traditions.

While families afford a source of stability, births and marriages, dissolutions of relationships, aging and death recurrently alter their structures and dynamics. Many of these events are accompanied by formal rites of passage. Other, more subtle changes in family relationships occur from day to day, and may only be fully understood over the course of time.

Formal and informal family relationships are a rich resource for artists and the Akron Art Museum collection features works in many media portraying friends and loved ones. Family shares an array of photographs, most drawn from the Akron Art Museum collection, that record the estranged as well as the fond exchanges that characterize “family.” They offer insights into the intimate, spontaneous, prescribed and strained interactions that distinguish the families we inherit, create and adopt. They were selected within an expansive definition of family, seeking to stimulate conversations about the intentions of the artists and the individual perspectives each visitor brings to the exhibition. Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, TR Ericsson, Larry Fink, Helen Levitt, Danny Lyon, Mary Ellen Mark and Joseph Vitone, are among the photographers featured in Family.

How the Polaroid Camera Seduced the Art World


A January 1973 edition of Popular Science heralded the SX-70 as “perhaps the most fiendishly clever invention in the history of photography”, a sentiment that photobook and touring exhibition The Polaroid Project aims to highlight. Focusing on the phenomenon of the photography and how it intersects with science, The Polaroid Project explores the Polaroid in 360°, as “a corporation, a business, an industry, a technology (or, more accurately, a cluster of technologies), and specific products that stood proudly at the forefront of photographic image-making in a Western post-war world that really believed that easier and faster meant better” photographic curator William A. Ewing writes in the book’s introduction.

Including the history of the Polaroid, its engineering and evolution, the book and 
exhibition also features never-before-seen snapshots taken by Land himself, and other works by eminent artists who have all used – and in some cases, still use – this extraordinary technology.



Shot through with intense melancholy and rich sepia tones, Luis González Palma’s, Escenas is a uniquely engaging photo series. Each of the finished pieces compiles work from several different photographs, and the result—stretched into a panoramic format—hints at a private narrative that floats just out of reach.

Born in Guatemala in 1957, Palma is one of the most significant photographers from Latin America working today. His work is collected by the Art Institute of Chicago, USA; the Museum für Fotografie, Berlin; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; The Daros Foundation, Zurich; and the Museo de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, among other institutions. Despite his prolific photographic career, however, Palma was trained as an architect, a background that influences how he approaches photography. “It is all connected, life and your experiences,” he says. “It all dictates the way you feel and transform your world. Having studied architecture gave me, I believe, the possibility to mentally conceive the idea in relation to the space. My background made me realize that we inhabit ideas; when we experience a work of art, we face it in the context of our own life experiences”.

Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA)
Baltimore, Maryland
17 May - 1 October 2017

Black, White & Abstract considers the work of three of the most important and influential American photographers of the 20th century: Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White.

The BMA is fortunate to have strong holdings of works by Callahan and Siskind, and now White as well thanks to the recent acquisition of the nine-part series Sound of One Hand Clapping, Sequence 14, never before on view at the Museum.

Born within a decade of one another, Callahan, Siskind, and White each took up photography in the 1930s, with their work coming to the fore in the 1940s and 1950s as they embarked on long teaching careers.

Although they worked primarily in black and white they periodically experimented with color photography, especially Callahan. Each, in his own way, was interested in pursuing abstraction, though their work was always tied to representational subject matter.

All three photographers were also intrigued by exploring formal and/or conceptual themes through series of photographs.

Arles 2017: Fiona Rogers’ Top Five

British Journal of Photography

Magnum Photos' global business developer, and founder of Firecracker, rounds up her five favourites from Arles - from the official programme and the fringe festival.

Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)
Washington DC.
12 May - 6 August 2017 

America’s urban streets have long inspired documentary photographers. After World War II, populations shifted from the city to the suburbs and newly built highways cut through thriving neighborhoods, leaving isolated pockets within major urban centers. As neighborhoods started to decline in the 1950s, the photographers in this exhibition found ways to call attention to changing cities and their residents. Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography explores the work of ten photographers—Manuel Acevedo, Oscar Castillo, Frank Espada, Anthony Hernandez, Perla de Leon, Hiram Maristany, Ruben Ochoa, John Valadez, Winston Vargas, and Camilo José Vergara—who were driven to document and reflect on the state of American cities during these transformative years.

Rather than approach the neighborhoods as detached observers, these artists deeply identified with their subject. Activist and documentary photographer Frank Espada captured humanizing portraits of urban residents in their decaying surroundings. Hiram Maristany and Winston Vargas lovingly captured street life in historic Latino neighborhoods in New York City, offering rare glimpses of bustling community life that unfolded alongside urban neglect and community activism. Working in Los Angeles, Oscar Castillo captured both the detritus of urban renewal projects and the cultural efforts of residents to shape their own neighborhoods. Perla de Leon’s poignant photographs of the South Bronx in New York—one of the most iconic blighted neighborhoods in American history—place into sharp relief the physical devastation of the neighborhood and the lives of the people who called it home. John Valadez’s vivid portraits of stylish young people in East Los Angeles counter the idea of inner cities as places of crime. Camilo José Vergara and Anthony Hernandez adopt a cooler, conceptual approach. Their serial projects, which return to specific urban sites over and over, invite viewers to consider the passage of time in neighborhoods transformed by the urban crisis. The barren “concrete” landscapes of Ruben Ochoa and Manuel Acevedo pivot on unconventional artistic strategies—like merging photography and drawing—to inspire a second look at the physical features of public space that shape the lives of urban dwellers.

Canada Debates Whether Gift of Leibovitz Photos is also a Tax Dodge

The New York Times

Someone — and absolutely no one involved seems ready to say who — came up with an idea in 2012 for a patron to purchase 2,070 photos by the American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz and then donate them to a museum in Canada.

This was a colossal score for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, which owned nothing by Ms. Leibovitz at the time.

For Ms. Leibovitz, who had a financial crisis several years earlier, the transaction meant she earned several million dollars. And the donor, a Deloitte Canada partner who said he had bought the collection to honor his mother’s memory, stood to qualify for a generous tax deduction and recognition as an arts patron.

Four years later, though, a Canadian government panel that must sign off on the deduction is still balking at approving it, partly because the panel won’t accept a $20 million valuation for a collection that the donor purchased for just $4.75 million...

Oakland Museum of California
13 May - 27 August 2017

Through the lens of her camera, Dorothea Lange documented American life with riveting, intimate photographs that portrayed some of the most powerful moments of the 20th century. Lange was driven by the belief that seeing the effects of injustice could provoke reform and, just perhaps, change the world. From documenting the plight of Dust Bowl migrants during the Great Depression to illuminating the grim conditions of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II, Lange’s photographs demonstrate how empathy and compassion—focused through art—can sway minds and prompt change throughout this nation’s history. See how Lange’s work continues to resonate with millions and inspire new generations of artist-activists, illustrating the power of photography as a form of social activism.

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing presents 130 photographs to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the artist’s gift of her personal archive to the Oakland Museum of California. Drawing upon vintage prints, unedited proof sheets, personal memorabilia, and historic objects, this exhibition takes a unique approach to a beloved American photographer by reuniting photographs with comments and quotes by the people she photographed. Don’t miss a selection of photographs on view by contemporary photographers Janet Delaney, Jason Jaacks, and Ken Light, whose works demonstrate how the issues tackled in Lange’s subject matter are relevant to many of the issues we face today—nationally and globally.

Wynn Bullock: Revelations

Center for Creative Photography (CCP)
Tucson, Arizona
13 May - 25 November 2017

This exhibition represents the most comprehensive assessment of photographer Wynn Bullock’s (American, 1902-1975) extraordinary career in nearly forty years. Bullock worked in the American modernist tradition alongside colleagues and friends Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, and Ansel Adams. The arc of Bullock’s innovative achievements is surveyed through more than 100 prints, from his early experimental work of the 1940s, through the mysterious black-and-white imagery of the 1950s and color light abstractions of the 1960s, to his late metaphysical photographs of the 1970s. 

Bullock's work was guided by an intense interest in the mid-twentieth-century dialogue about the structure of the universe and humanity's place within it. Drawn to the spirit of experimentation that marked scientific and philosophic endeavors of his day, Bullock used knowledge about quantum physics, special relativity, and the space-time continuum as a reference point for his own intuitive and deeply personal explorations of the world. Photography for Bullock was a way of meditating on the frightening and exhilarating idea that there is much more to the world than is commonly understood through ordinary perception, and he was passionate about conveying that revelation to others through his work. 

John G. Morris, Renowned Photo Editor in the Thick of History, Dies at 100

The New York Times

John G. Morris, a renowned picture editor who left an indelible stamp on photojournalism from World War II through the Vietnam War, died on Friday at a hospital near his home in Paris. He was 100. His friend and colleague Robert Pledge, a founder of the agency Contact Press Images, confirmed the death.

Mr. Morris had a long and storied career in picture editing. In one memorable instance, in wartime London, he edited Robert Capa’s historic pictures of the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944 and got them printed and shipped to New York in time for the next week’s issue of Life, the country’s largest-circulation picture magazine at the time.

Forceful and sometimes fractious, Mr. Morris had a peripatetic career that included stops at most of the major postwar centers of American photojournalism. In addition to Life, he worked for The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic and the celebrated cooperative agency Magnum Photos.

News from the World of Photography: June 2017


News from the World of Photography: May 2017


A Bygone Era of Big City Life

The New York Times LENS Blog


“Mehr Licht” — more light — were Goethe’s famous last words. That deathbed declaration was also the title of Fred Stein’s only book, featuring images taken along Fifth Avenue, which was published posthumously. What could be more fitting?

The German photographer’s oeuvre has been largely overlooked, but more light is being shed on his work in an exhibition at the Maison Doisneau, just outside Paris, featuring Mr. Stein’s black-and-white images taken on both sides of the Atlantic.

He was born in 1909 to a Jewish family in Dresden, where he developed an early interest in politics and became an anti-Nazi activist. He studied law in Leipzig but was denied admission to the German bar because of anti-Semitism. In 1933, he married Liselotte Salzburg, known as Lilo, and the two fled their native Germany for Paris under the guise of a honeymoon, from which they never returned...

Today Mr. Stein’s photographs provide a record of the everyday pageantry of 1940s New York and Paris between the wars, portrayals of a bygone era of big city life. In his time, photographers were more often seen as technicians rather than artists. However, his own consideration of the medium was ahead of the curve: He once gave a lecture at the New York Public Library titled: “Is Photography Art?”

“It is remarkable that Stein chose the purist’s route in his photography,” Ms. Rosenberg noted. “Stein was trying to capture people and the essence of their lives; in so doing, he could not avoid picking up in his images the events and conditions which formed the universe inhabited by his subjects.”

“Fred Stein, Paris-New York” is on view through Sept. 24 at Maison Robert Doisneau in Gentilly.

Image: Fountain. Paris. 1935. Credit Estate of Fred Stein

Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMOCA)
Madison, WI
2 December 2016 - 12 November 2017 


Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection, drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, presents an overview of developments since 1970 that have helped define contemporary photography. From the time it was commercially introduced in 1839, photography has undergone continuous technical and conceptual changes—from the first daguerreotypes to today’s digital prints.

Through the majority of the twentieth century the film-based, black-and-white print served as the standard format for modern photography. Over the past several decades, however, artists have transformed the medium by exploring new technologies and by adopting older approaches in innovative ways, thereby opening up photography to fresh perspectives. As evidenced by works included in Reconfigured Reality, these contemporary approaches include the adoption of color as a primary means; the large format photograph; an exploration of vintage processes to express contemporary concerns; the staged photograph; the manipulated photograph; and conceptual strategies, among others.

What contemporary photography has amply discredited—and which, in fact, applies retroactively to the entire history of photography—is the narrow view that the camera is a recording device only, not a creative tool, and that its purpose is strictly representational. Laid to rest, too, is the notion that the camera can ever capture objective reality.

Despite the extraordinary technical shifts and proliferation of the photographic image, which has become the pervasive visual language of our time, great photographs continue to be what they have always been. In the hands of gifted and creative photographers, they are personal accounts that manifest poetic or critical reflections about the world.

Image: © Cindy Sherman

Exhibition: New Realities. Photography in the Nineteenth Century

British Photographic History

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
until 17 September 2017

Every so often a photography exhibition comes along which provides a new perspective on what may often be a familiar history of photography and re-excites one as a photo-historian. New Realities is one such show and, if you see no other photography exhibition over the summer, then this is the one not to miss.

Familiar photographs and styles of photography are re-contextualised within a beautifully designed physical space in Amsterdam's refurbished Rijksmuseum and the newly re-opened Philips Wing. Photographically-illustrated books and ephemera are given a rightful prominence (in special cases with glass that eliminates reflections and provide a 360-degree view of the object), and the application of photography is taken beyond science and documentation to its ephemeral use in advertising and mainly through the Steven F Joseph collection which the Rijksmuseum has acquired. 

Using some 300 photographs, photographically-illustrated books and magazines with tipped-in photographs, New Realities tells a story of how photography was put to use after its announcement in 1839. Six themed rooms commence with an introductory room devoted solely to Anna Atkins' British Algae (1843-53). The book itself is displayed with appropriate reverence facing a wall which shows every plate contained within and sets the scene for the way photography changed the way people saw and recorded the world, people and places around them, and created a new art form. 

Getting Others Right

The New York Times Magazine

A woman holds a little dog in the crook of her arm. Her sleeveless open-necked top is richly patterned. She wears lipstick, earrings, a bangle. The dog, a puppy perhaps, is both alert and relaxed, looking directly at the camera, just as the woman does. The photograph has such an informal mood, such disarming warmth, that we might suppose it had been made recently, were it not in antique-looking black and white. It’s wonderful when an old picture lets us in like this, obliterating the distance between its then and our now.

The woman in this photograph was named Trecil Poolaw Unap, and the photographer was her brother, Horace Poolaw. They were Kiowa, born and raised in Oklahoma. Horace Poolaw made the photograph in 1928, near the beginning of a career in which he went on to become an avid photographer of Native American life. His photographs, some of which he sold at fairs, often came with a stamp: “A Poolaw Photo, Pictures by an Indian, Horace M. Poolaw, Anadarko, Okla.” It was clear that he wanted to assert that these were pictures with a particular point of view...

Room 29: A Century of Photography 1840-1940

National Portrait Gallery
London, UK

Photographs have been collected at the National Portrait Gallery almost since the Gallery was founded in 1856. However, it was not until the 1960's that the Gallery embraced photography as an art form, and began collecting for aesthetic, and not simply documentary reasons. Currently, the Collection includes some 250,000 examples, spanning the history of photography and representing a wide variety of techniques. It is designated as the National Collection of Photographic Portraiture.

The photographs in this room have been chosen to illustrate photography's expressive power. The best photographs show us not just what a person looked like, but also provide a window on their character, giving us a sense of what it might have been like to be in their prescience. This is one of the great paradoxes of photographic portraiture – that something of a person's spirit, thought, and feeling might be glimpsed in one, carefully chosen moment in time...

 Image: © The National Portrait Gallery, London


Sonja Hamad, Jin – Jiyan – Azadi (Women, Life, Freedom) 
Athens Photo Festival
14 June - 30 July 2017

It is said that death at the hands of a woman deters a martyr from entering paradise. One-third of all Kurdish fighters in Western Kurdistan are women. Unafraid of death and fulfilled by their passion for their homeland and their love for their families and people, these women muster up the courage to face the heavily armed IS in Syria. One of their most recent victories includes the recapturing of the City of Kobane in northern Syria from the IS. These women refuse to succumb to the patriarchal view of the role of women that regards women as objects, trapped in their homes, and upholding the family’s honor. It is without exaggeration to say that one could describe the current Kurdish feminist movement viewed from a military, ideological, and organizational perspective as the world’s strongest movement on behalf of the rights of women. This series by Sonja Hamad entitled Jin – Jiyan – Azadi (Women, Life, Freedom) pays them homage.

Image: Sonja Hamad

The World According to Black Women Photographers

The New York Times LENS Blog

As a young photographer growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn was deeply influenced by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe’s book “Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers.” The 1986 book took a historical look at female photographers from the 1800s to the present day and left her eager to see more.

“I’ve always been waiting for an update,” Ms. Barrayn said. Had she left it to others, she’d still be keeping vigil. Tired of waiting, she and several colleagues finally decided to self-publish “Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora,” the first of a planned series of biannual journals, which features images by 100 women photographers from around the world. The journal is named in memory of Mmekutmfon ‘Mfon’ Essien, a young black photographer who died from breast cancer in 2001, one day before her show “The Amazon’s New Clothes” was to open at the Brooklyn Museum.

“I feel black women are very underrepresented in the field of photojournalism and fine art photography,” said Ms. Barrayn, who published the journal with her friends Adama Delphine Fawundu, a visual artist, and Crystal Whaley, an Emmy-winning producer. She explained that while there are photography books that feature black men and women photographers, nothing is solely devoted to black women.

Ms. Barrayn was seven when she got her first camera as a gift from her father. Ten years later, she got professional gear and would embark on a career covering arts and culture for local papers and magazines like Vibe. She now travels the world and juggles documentary and fine art photography.

Image: ©Adreinne Waheed

The Force of Photography: Works from the Museion Collection

South Tyrol, Italy
25 November 2016 - 17 September 2017 


The exhibition explores the photographic works in the Museion collection. Portraits and self-portraits – images of others’ bodies and one’s own – investigate the notions of identity and otherness, the body and social space. The exhibition also features a selection of sculptures around the same theme.

A longside the exhibition, photographic works will be presented in the study collection room. These can be described, in the broadest sense of the word, as political works. They express a direct criticism of a socio-political situation and will be counterposed by idealistic and utopic visions.

Artists: Eleanor Antin; Vanessa Beecroft; Günther Brus; Letizia Cariello; Marcel Duchamp; VALIE EXPORT; Michael Fliri; Isa Genzken; Gilbert & George; Nan Goldin;
Douglos Gordon; Roni Horn; Joan Jonas, Elke Krystufek; Ketty La Rocca; Zoe Leonard; Ana Lupas; Santu Mofokeng; Zanele Muholi; Brigitte Niedermair; Luca Patella; Arnulf Rainer; Lili Reynaud Dewar; Niki de Saint Phalle, Jana Sterbak, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nico Vascellari, Francesco Vezzoli.

Image: Santu Mofokeng

A Critical Understanding of Edward Curtis’s Photos of Native American Culture


Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian 
Muskegon Museum of Art (Muskegon, Michigan)
through 10 September 

Can one come to a revelation through a visit to an art museum, or is it something that can only be arrived at through a more intensive personal journey? This is the question that emerged for me as I visited the Muskegon Museum of Art for Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian, a massive installation of the 30-year-plus ethnographic survey of surviving Native American culture by turn-of-the-20th-century, Seattle-based photographer Edward S. Curtis.

The North American Indian is a seminal and controversial blend of documentary and staged photography — one which contributes to much of the foundational imagery and, often-stereotypical, understanding possessed by white America about some 82-plus native tribes that the United States eradicated over a century of colonization. Much has been made 
about the complexities, contradictions, and conflicts of interest in Curtis’s masterwork, by Native and non-Native scholars. Some argue that in staging photographs and, at times, adding props or accessories, Curtis took liberties with the concept of ethnography, both imposing and reinforcing white notions of Native American appearances and culture. Others argue that without Curtis, there would be hardly any extant imagery of the cultural heritage of the tribes he worked with.

Teenie Harris Archive

Carnegie Museum of Art 
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania


Charles "Teenie" Harris (1908–1998) photographed Pittsburgh's African American community from c. 1935 to c. 1975. His archive of nearly 80,000 images is one of the most detailed and intimate records of the black urban experience known today.

A Painting? Bruce Berman Prefers Photographs

The New York Times

There is a photograph taken on the coast of Cuba with the lights of Miami in the distance — what a refugee would see just before setting out. Taken by Virginia Beahan, a large-format photographer, it hangs in the home of Bruce Berman, chairman and chief executive of Village Roadshow Pictures and possibly Hollywood’s most ardent photography collector. Mr. Berman said that he acquired Ms. Beahan’s photo because its desolate beauty spoke to him. “A very magical picture — it fit into the collection nicely,” he said.

Mr. Berman has overseen more than 100 movies — including “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Training Day” and Steven Spielberg’s coming “Ready Player One” — but considered becoming a fine-art photographer himself while an undergraduate at U.C.L.A., Bennington College and the California Institute of the Arts in the 1970s, when he shot roll upon roll of Kodak Tri-X and Ektachrome film on road trips. “Those were great opportunities to take photographs of a part of America you don’t see if you’re born and raised in New York,” he said.

Mr. Berman’s collecting aesthetic runs to the unsparing Americana of Walker Evans, William Eggleston and Dorothea Lange, as well as the contemporary acolytes Christian Patterson, Sheron Rupp and Joel Sternfeld, whose haunting photo of a condemned house in the toxic Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, N.Y., remains a favorite. Mr. Berman and his former wife, Nancy Goliger, amassed 2,600 photographs that they auctioned after their divorce in 2007 or donated (source for the J. Paul Getty Museum’s 2006-7 exhibition “Where We Live: Photographs of America”). This year, Mr. Berman donated 400 additional photos from his collection to the Getty and other institutions.

Image: © Monica Almeida for The New York Times

Edward S. Curtis: Treasures from The North American Indian

Pro Photo Daily  

Edward S. Curtis: Treasures from The North American Indian
The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University (San Marcos) 
17 January - 3 December 2017

In celebration of its recent acquisition of Edward S. Curtis’ monumental publication, the Wittliff has selected more than 50 of his photographs for this special exhibition.

In 1906 Curtis received a large grant from financier J.P. Morgan to record, through photography and the written word, all Native American tribes who maintained some degree of their “primitive” lifestyle. Native Americans were almost wholly confined to reservations by Curtis’ day, and he felt 
passionately that their culture should be chronicled before it disappeared altogether. The North American Indian is one of the most ambitious photographic projects ever undertaken. Published from 1907 to 1930, its twenty bound volumes contain documentation of more than 100 tribes’ languages, stories and songs, along with extensive illustration with Curtis’ photographs. The volumes are paired with large portfolios, from which the framed prints in this exhibition were selected.

Artist or Faker?

A tremendously gifted artist, Curtis made many unforgettable images, and his photography is enjoying a surge of popularity today. Yet Curtis manipulated many of images by retouching his negatives and created “inaccurate” photographs by using the same clothing, accessories or blankets for multiple tribes. For these reasons, Curtis is now regarded by some as a notorious “
faker,” and he is dismissed for romanticizing Native Americans by eliminating signs of Western influence, especially at a time when their forced assimilation into Western culture denied their rights and dignity. Nevertheless, many Native Americans today defend Curtis’ images, often as they are the sole depictions of their forebears, but also because Curtis gave his subjects a dignity they likely did not experience in their daily lives.

Image:  The Chief and His Staff -- Apsaroke by Edward S. Curtis, 1905, published 1909 

The New York Times LENS Blog

Staring into Ironing Board Sam’s smile, beautiful and bright as his fingers dance across a keyboard, one can easily forget that somewhere above him is a man balanced next to a 14-foot-high stand, aiming a large-format camera down at him, waiting for a strobe light to fire.

And that’s just how Timothy Duffy prefers it.

“My goal is to disappear somehow from this experience,” Mr. Duffy said, “so when you see the photo it’s just you and the artist.”

For too long, it was his subjects who were invisible. They are American roots musicians, many of whom were “ignored in their communities for decades,” which prompted Mr. Duffy to step in and help. In 1994, he founded the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which helps them cover basic living expenses as well as promote and develop their careers. By helping them, the foundation has also preserved the work of these musicians, who are the living history of American music’s foundation...

Image: Timothy Duffy

Pérez Art Museum Miami Brings Art to Miami-Dade County Neighborhoods with Inside | Out

Perez Art Museum Miami

Inside|Out is a program generously funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that brings high-quality reproductions of works from PAMM’s permanent collection to communities throughout Miami-Dade county.

 Miami is the fourth city to host Inside|Out, a program conceived by the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2010. It proved so successful in Detroit, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is providing $2 million over three years to expand Inside|Out to communities across the country, including Philadelphia and Akron, Ohio. 

The program kicked off in Miami in 2016 in the communities of Hialeah, Homestead and West End. A total of 30 reproductions were installed in the selected locations of Hialeah Park; Losner Park; Hammocks Community Park; Olympic Park; Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment; Mayor Roscoe Warren Park; Blakey Park; Robert Is Here; and Westwind Lakes Park.

This February, PAMM will kick off the second year of Inside|Out. PAMM issued a call to participants to host this year’s Inside|Out program and received 17 applications from communities all over Miami-Dade County. Six communities were chosen for this year’s round of installations that will kick off this spring in Biscayne Park, Opa-Locka and Overtown. Over the summer, the reproductions will rotate to Little Haiti, North Miami Beach and Surfside. 

The New York Times 

Marie Cosindas, a photographer whose painterly, artfully composed still lifes and portraits, made with Polaroid film, broke with the dominant black-and-white aesthetic of the early 1960s and opened up a new world of color, died on May 25 in Boston. She was 93.

The death was confirmed by her nephew Julius R. Teich Jr.

Ms. Cosindas, a painter by training, turned to photography early in her career and was immediately stymied by an unwritten law: For the medium to be true to itself, images must be black and white. Color was for advertising.

She rebelled. “The world in black and white did not totally satisfy me, and color seemed the way to add more feeling and mood to what I was already doing,” she later wrote in an introductory note to the book “Marie Cosindas: Color Photographs” (1978).

A solution arrived when Polaroid, in 1962, asked her to test a new product, Polacolor, that it was planning to introduce for its instant cameras. Within three years, after much experimentation, Ms. Cosindas was working exclusively in color, producing highly stylized images that broke radically with the documentary approach then in vogue...

Artist's Choice: Photographs from the Judy Glickman Lauder Collection

Portland Museum of Art (PMA)
Portland, Oregon
3 February - 30 July 2017


The photographs in this focus exhibition all belong to the artist and collector Judy Glickman Lauder, who has spent her life immersed in photography. She is an acclaimed photographer herself, yet her joy in the medium began during her childhood, when she would model for her father, Irving Bennett Ellis. Lauder began collecting photographs over 40 years ago, visiting the studios of other artists whenever possible and finding community and friendship through photography—both as an artist and an admirer of the works of others. An active participant in the Maine Photographic Workshops (now the Maine Media Workshops) in Rockport, she began swapping photographs with friends she met there in the 1970s and '80s. As a result, one notable aspect of her collection is that it includes art by many of the Workshops' most illustrious alumni.

Artist's Choice presents highlights from Lauder's collection, including prints of some of the most celebrated images of the 20th century. They are mostly, but not exclusively, American, and many works were made either in Maine or in her home state of California. Every collector chooses a path by which to build a collection, ranging from exploring one particular area of art history to offering a comprehensive historical sweep. Lauder's collection is unified by virtue of her interest in the way that photography is closely linked to the human condition in the modern area. While many works in Lauder's collection display dramatic formal properties such as intense contrasts of light and dark, they all convey her profound interest in humanity and suggest a highly personal approach to this most modern of media.

Image: Richard Misrach 

Irving Penn Reinterpreted, by Irving Penn

The New York Times LENS Blog


Irving Penn wasted few days and even fewer images. Over the course of his 70-year career, he often went back to his earlier images from the pages of magazines and reprinted them in platinum, palladium and other alternative processes.

“He treated himself to the pleasure of transforming his images, many of which had already been published in Vogue, some of which were published in black and white, but a lot of them were published in color,” said Jeff Rosenheim, the curator in charge of the department of photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Irving Penn: Centennial — the biggest exhibition of the photographer’s work to date — is up through July 30.

Born in Plainfield, N.J., Mr. Penn studied design in Philadelphia before working as a graphic artist and illustrator in New York. After purchasing and experimenting with a Rolleiflex, he traveled to Mexico in 1942 to focus on painting, but ended up destroying much of his work. When he returned to New York City at year’s end, he was hired as the editor and artist Alexander Liberman’s assistant at Vogue, a position that led to Mr. Penn’s lifelong connection with Condé Nast. Less than a year later, Mr. Penn had his first Vogue cover.

Image: © Irving Penn

The ’60s Photographer Who Captured the Street in Vivid Color

The New York Times Style Magazine


In 1962, Joel Meyerowitz left his job in advertising and set out to be a photographer. He started by venturing outside with two Leica cameras (one loaded with color film and the other with black and white) to snap the world in motion: In one image, a man strides through the streets of New York cradling an enormous dog in his arms; in another, a couple zooms through Greece on a scooter, the woman’s scarf blurred by the wind.

“Along with half a dozen other photographers of his generation, Joel Meyerowitz is responsible for the re-evaluation of color photography as a significant form of art,” says Giles Huxley-Parlour, the director of London’s Beetles+Huxley Gallery, which opens a show focused on the photographer’s influential street photography this week.

Image: Joel Meyerowitz 

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea with Pieter Hugo



Whether directly or not, you’ve almost definitely seen Pieter Hugo’s work – or at least his ideas. The South African photographer shot to prominence in the mid-2000s, most notably with his 2007 series The Hyena and Other Men. It’s this project that’s been appropriated the most: the jaw-dropping similarities in Beyonce’s video for Girls is the most glaring example, though Hugo also claims that Nick Cave’s Grinderman project used “at least a dozen direct visual copies from my Nollywood series” in the video for Heathen Child.

In the ten years that have passed since The Hyena and Other Men, Hugo has learned a lot; not least about being “pigeonholed” as an African artist (his work is far more international in scope than many would realise, encompassing advertorials and fashion as well as fine art), and about ultimately having to relinquish control of the perception of images you create as an artist.

Image: Pieter Hugo

A Commitment to the Community: The Black Photographers Annual, Volume I

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA)
Richmond, Virginia
16 February - 3 October 2017

In 1973, a group of African American photographers in New York City published the first volume of The Black Photographers Annual. In a brief forward that succinctly outlined the new publication’s purpose, novelist Toni Morrison wrote: “It was conceived as a commitment to the community of Black artists. . . . There is no higher praise for any project than that it is rare, true, and free. And isn’t that what art is all about? And isn’t that what we are all about?” Emerging from the broader context of the Black Arts Movement, which grew out of the civil rights movement, as well as the more specific context of the collective of African American photographers known as the Kamoinge Workshop (Kamoinge is taken from the Kikuyu language of Kenya and means “to work together”), the Annual featured the work of nearly 50 artists.

This exhibition is the first of four rotations that explore each of the four volumes of The Black Photographers Annual, which ended in 1980. The first installation features 20 photographs by several of the artists whose work appears in the first issue, including Anthony Barboza, Roy DeCarava, Louis Draper, LeRoy Henderson, Beauford Smith, Ming Smith, and Shawn Walker. Curated by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.


Image: Boy and H, Louis Draper, 1961

Close-Up: An Extensive Interview with Edward Burtynsky

ProPhoto Daily

Edward Burtynsky is a legendary Canadian fine art photographer who specializes in chronicling the extraction and destruction of the earth and it’s minerals, mines and more. His images bring a painterly beauty to the banal. A photographer and master printer for over forty years, Burtynsky has pioneered a unique way of looking at the planet. I had the opportunity to speak with the artist at the Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles, where his latest exhibition "Industrial Abstract" was recently on view.

Image: © Edward Burtynsky

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Illuminating Opera Houses and Abandoned Movie Palaces

The New York Times LENS Blog

Growing up in 1950’s Tokyo, Hiroshi Sugomoto sometimes was brought to tears by the movies he saw with his mother. He still remembers feeling ashamed by those public displays of emotion. Above all, he remembers the emotional connection he felt being inside the theaters.

After teaching himself photography in his early teens, one of his first subjects was Audrey Hepburn — or at least a 20-foot-tall image of her projected onto a theater screen. He discovered that by employing a shutter speed of a 30th of a second he could produce a still image of a single frame of the movie. But he eventually realized, in New York City in 1976, that the light that entranced him on screen could also illuminate the interiors of America’s remaining movie palaces.

This vision led to his seminal, and surreal, “Theater” series that captures the splendor of cinema and is also a meditation on the nature of time. By leaving his shutter open for the full length of a movie to create a single still image with a luminescent white screen, Mr. Sugimoto offers a meditation on impermanence and the fleeting nature of civilization.

Image: © “On the Beach” (1959) at Paramount Theater. Newark. 2015.

Han Young Soo: Photographs of Seoul 1956-63

ICP at Mana
Jersey City, New Jersey
24 February - 9 June 2017 

This exhibition is the first major U.S. showing of the work of Korean photographer Han Youngsoo, who captured the dramatic transformation of Seoul in the years after the end of the Korean War.

After taking part in bitter frontline fighting as a young South Korean soldier during the Korean War (1950–53), Han Youngsoo returned to Seoul at the conflict’s end and found a devastated, impoverished city. Choosing photography as a profession, he witnessed a period of profound transformation in Seoul that saw the rapid creation of a modern city and urban society. His photographs, rarely seen outside of Korea until now, offer a fascinating window onto the changing everyday lives of the city’s inhabitants during a historic moment.

Image: Han YoungSoo, Meongdong, Seoul, Korea, 1958. © HAN YOUNGSOO FOUNDATION

GENESIS: Sebastião Salgado

Museum of Photographic Art (MOPA)
San Diego
24 May - 30 September 2017

Genesis is a quest for the world as it was, as it was formed, as it evolved, as it existed for millennia before modern life accelerated and began distancing us from the very essence of our being. It is a journey to the landscapes, seascapes, animals and peoples that have so far escaped the long reach of today’s world. And it is testimony that our planet still harbours vast and remote regions where nature reigns in silent and pristine majesty.

Through these photographs, Genesis aspires to show and to share this beauty. It is a visual tribute to a fragile planet that we all have a duty to protect. An exhibition organized by Lélia Wanick Salgado, the exhibition Curator. With the support of the Brazilian company VALE. 

Members Opening Reception: Friday, 2 June, 7-9pm
Free to current MOPA members and one guest. Enjoy a hosted bar and dessert. 
RSVP Here 

 Image: Sebastião Salgado, The Mursi and the Surma women are the last women in the world to wear lip plates. Mursi village of Dargui in Mago National Park, in the Jinka Region. Ethiopia. 2007.© Sebastião SALGADO / Amazonas images. Courtesy of the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego.

Project Space
London, UK
17 May - 10 June 2017

Internationally renowned photographic agency Camera Press celebrates its 70th anniversary this year with a special exhibition entitled ‘Camera Press at 70 – A Lifetime in Pictures’ which will coincide with Photo London 2017. Drawing on an unparalleled collection of images, and featuring work by some of the most iconic figures in the industry, this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into photography from the 1940s to the present day.

The photographs in this exhibition reveal the changing trends in portrait photography as well as the evolution of the role of celebrities and distinguished public figures over the last 70 years.

The more formal studio portraits of the 1940s such as Karsh’s iconic bulldog shot of Winston Churchill are followed by 1950s Hollywood glamour epitomized by stars such as Marilyn Monroe. The swinging Sixties heralds the influence of a more relaxed, intimate, documentry-style of photography, as seen in Jacques Lowe’s seminal photographs of JFK and the work of one of the world’s first paparazzi, Elio Sorci. This is then contrasted with the gritty social-realism of punk and the arrival of Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s.

Image: Yousuf Karsh/Camera Press

Do UK Museums Take Photography Seriously?


         This spring, the collection of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) was transferred from the National Media Museum in Bradford to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. When news of the move was announced in 2016, there was a good deal of criticism, including a letter to the Guardian signed by a long list of leading photographers, historians, curators, dealers, and critics, as well as protests from two MPs representing constituencies in Bradford. The public controversy surrounding the transfer of objects focused on charges of cultural vandalism and centralisation, but the history of this particular collection – one of the most important in the world – touches on much broader questions of how museums should collect such a varied medium. As Michael Pritchard, the chief executive of the RPS, puts it, ‘Photography’s diversity is its strength, but also its downfall. It’s so ubiquitous in terms of our culture and our history that it sometimes might not be recognised.’...

Image: Shop sign, rue Geoffroy-St-Hilaire, Paris, (c. 1900), Eugène Atget. © Victoria and Albert Museum

Mike Mandel: Good 70s


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
20 May - 20 August 2017

Good 70s explores the tongue-in-cheek, socially conscious work of conceptual artist and photographer Mike Mandel (American, b. 1950), focusing on projects he made during what was, for him, an incredibly productive decade. This exhibition includes photographs, books, and a film, all made during the same period he was collaborating with his friend, the photographer Larry Sultan. 

Some of Mandel's diverse projects from the 1970s include Myself: Timed Exposures (1971), in which he inserts himself into funny and commonplace situations; Seven Never Before Published Portraits of Edward Weston(1974), which reproduces correspondence he initiated with men named Edward Weston; his Baseball-Photographer Trading Cards (1975), featuring subjects such as Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham; and his book SF Giants: An Oral History (1979).

Image: Untitled, from the series Myself: Timed Exposures, 1971 © Mike Mandel

Prix Pictet 2017: Richard Mosse Wins Prize with Heat-map Shots of Refugees

The Guardian

The Irish photographer Richard Mosse has been awarded the 2017 Prix Pictet for his series Heat Maps, made using a military camera that is classified as a weapon under international law. The hi-tech surveillance device, designed to detect body heat from a distance of over 30km, was used by Mosse to track the journeys of refugees from the Middle East and north Africa. The result is a series of large-scale prints – and an acclaimed film, Incoming – that reconfigures the refugee crisis as a spectral, almost sci-fi drama of human endurance and survival.

Given that the Pictet judges have tended
tocanonise work that is grandstanding in ambition and large-scale in presentation – Nadav Kander, Mitch Epstein and Luc Delahaye have all won in recent years – Mosse is an unsurprising winner. His application of state-of-the-art technology to the most urgent and contested issue of our turbulent times makes him very much the photographic artist of the moment.

Image: © Richard Mosse, Prix Pictet 2017

Steve Cagan: Working Pictures

San Francisco Camerawork (SFC)
San Francisco
11 May - 1 June 2017

Steve Cagan, Working Pictures is a career survey and the first solo exhibition on the west coast to highlight Cagan's five decades of work integrating photography and activism. Cagan’s work gives voice to causes both local and international, ranging from the demise of industry and labor issues in his home state of Ohio, to the social and political strife of refugees in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and most recently to issues with indigenous peoples in Colombia fighting to preserve a way of life. 

This exhibition will at once celebrate the aesthetic excellence of his work through beautifully printed photographs, while perhaps more importantly showing his work at work through the many publications, posters, and other forms of distribution he employs to give his images a voice from within. 

This exhibition is curated by Jeanne Friscia and made possible through the generous support of Frank Mainzer and Lonnie Zwerin.

Image: Steve Cagan, School children and their teachers greet a peace caravan down
the Atrato
 River in El Chocó, one of the areas that suffered greatly in Colombia’s civil war, 2003.

The New Yorker

In her remarkable photo essay “From the Shadows to the Light,” the French photographer Nadège Mazars has emulated the chiaroscuro of the Italian painter Caravaggio to evoke the transition that is under way in Colombia following fifty-two years of civil war. After the signing of a historic peace agreement with the government late last year, the country’s seven-thousand-odd Marxist FARC fighters recently began moving into a series of camps...

In her portraits of a dozen fighters, taken just prior to their move into these disarmament camps, Mazars focusses our eye on the individual fighters by engulfing them in shadow but leaving their facial features illuminated. Each of the subjects (who provided Mazars with their noms de guerre but kept their real names private owing to security concerns) stares arrestingly back at the camera. Some wear smiles and others a more studied wariness, but all are assertive. We immediately sense that these are not the vulnerable members of a defeated group laying down arms in an act of abject submission but, rather, still-proud fighters. Their expressions seem to reflect what their leaders have been saying all along, that while the FARC guerrillas may have agreed to end their violent campaign, they intend to continue fighting for their political ideals even without weapons...


Exhibition: How Cameras and Cars Conquered Time and Space, Together

Pro Photo Daily  

The camera and the car came of age together. And together they altered our relationship to reality — one, noted the British Journal of Photography recently, by stopping time, and the other by speeding everything up.

On view at the Fondation Cartier in Paris through September 24 is the exhibition “Autophoto,” which explores how the automobile and the art of photography have combined to change how humans experience the world. The show brings together 500 works made by 100 historic and contemporary artists from around the world, including Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Lee Friedlander, William Eggleston, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Bernard Plossu, Juergen Teller, Luciano Rigolini, Stéphane Couturier, Alejandro Cartagena, and Malick Sidibe.

Image: Los Alamos series, c. 1974, by William Eggleston

The Photographer's Gallery
London, UK
3 March - 11 June 2017

This major exhibition is the first since 1999 to show the iconic work of British photographer Roger Mayne (1929-2014). It includes his pioneering photographs of 1950's and early 1960's community life in London’s Southam Street. Mayne’s humanistic approach has influenced subsequent generations of photographers, and made a significant contribution to post-war British photography.

Also featured are examples of Mayne’s less well-known work from outside the Capital, including early work in Leeds where Mayne first developed his photographic interests. These pictures of street life around the city chart his development from pictorialism to his characteristic realist style. Between 1961-65, Mayne was commissioned to photograph the newly developed estate of Park Hill in Sheffield. His photographs captured both the nuance of daily social interactions and the sharp angles, shades and abstract forms of the urban environment.

Image: Girls dressed up for a 'teenage night' at a Sheffield Club, 1961 © Roger Mayne

A Retrospective of a Forgotten 1930s Photographer of Famous Faces


Lusha Nelson’s art career was brief, but prolific. In the 1930s as a staff photographer for Condé Nast publications including Vogue and Vanity Fair, he captured icons like Katharine Hepburn and Jesse Owens with a direct elegance, always avoiding retouching or manipulation of his portraits. He mingled with Alfred Stieglitz and was mentored by Edward Steichen; he was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1937 photography survey; he surveyed the streets of Depression-era New York with a documentarian eye; and he even once ran away with the circus, following Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey from Manhattan to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

So why don’t many people remember his name? After a quick rise from teenaged Latvian immigrant to successful modernist photographer, Nelson died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 30 in May of 1938. Most of his archives were stored in private hands, the majority of them later purchased at a 1980s estate sale. It wasn’t until a 2015 acquisition of over 4,000 of his prints, negatives, and archival materials by the Philbrook Museum of Art that the breadth of his work was exhumed. Now the Tulsa, Oklahoma museum is exhibiting Nelson’s first retrospective, called Lusha Nelson Photographs: Celebrity, the Forgotten Man, and 1930s America, part of a decade-long initiative by the institution to retrieve and contextualize his legacy.

Image:  Lusha Nelson, “Jean Arthur” (1935), published in Vanity Fair, August 1935
(courtesy Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma)

The New York Times LENS Blog

On a continent where same-sex relations are illegal in most countries, and where being gay is punishable by death in some states, homosexuality is widely considered “un-African.”

While powerful work on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in Africa has been done by documentary photographers like Robin Hammond of New Zealand, with his project “Where Love Is Illegal,” the approach of liberal Western media can reinforce the notion that homosexuality in Africa is a “perversion” of traditional African values introduced by foreigners, or a colonial legacy that imposed European religious conservatism and rails against such relations as “unnatural.”

But work such as the Ghanaian artist Eric Gyamfi’s “Just Like Us” project, and that of Zanele Muholi, a South African activist who explores the experiences of black lesbians in her country, shows how homosexuality is an inherent part of African society, and history, said John Fleetwood, the former head of Johannesburg’s Market Photo Workshop and the director of Photo, a new African initiative.

“Their work has done great things for how people think and gives other artists the confidence to make their own expressions,” Mr. Fleetwood said. “And what we’re finding is that the public is suddenly standing in front of exhibitions that show this part of our culture.”

Image: Solly Sefako. Phiri, Soweto, 2012. From the series “uMama. © Jabulani Dhlamini/Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg 

France Allemagnes(s), 1870-1871: A New Perspective on a Little Known War

L'Oeil de la Photographie

Musée de l’Armée
Paris, France
13 April - 30 July 2017

This exhibition aims is to give a new perspective on the Franco-German War of 1870-1871, overshadowed by the two global conflicts, by offering the two countries’ points of view, whether they be immediate or retrospective, and to give this conflict larger perspectives. One starting in 1864, the beginning of the German unification wars, to 1875 with the crisis called the “War in Site” (Krieg in Sicht). The other beginning in 1813, corresponding to the German Liberation wars (Befreiungskriege), followed by the Congress of Vienna in 1815,  up to the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

The traces left by the war’s witnesses and participants in the arts, literature, or even urban environments are numerous, like the
neighbourhood of La Défense  west of Paris, the Victory Column (Siegessäule) in Berlin, or even the Straße der Pariser Kommune. They are largely addressed throughout this exhibition with a great variety of objects, paintings, sculptures, as well as an exceptional ensemble of photographs from that time. Also evoked are the major transformations born from these events, whether they be political, diplomatic, military, ideological, social, economic, or religious.

Image: Pietro Dovizielli, Temple of Vesta (1855)

Nine Chinese Photographers You Need to Follow

TIME Lightbox

The unprecedented economic boom in China since the early 1980s has also sparked an explosion of interest in photography.

Despite the government’s tightening restrictions on media, young photojournalists and documentary photographers continue to push the limit, investigating issues central of a society under constant transition. The fine arts, a market in general on the rise in recent years has offered a new voice for visual artists looking for new modes of experiment and expression.

This list features the new generation of Chinese photographers and visual artists, all under 35, who were born and raised in a time of sweeping change. As China continues to diversify and assert its influence around the globe, these artists offer a glimpse into the ever-changing country and what it means to be Chinese today.

Image: © Pinglang Zhou 


Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP)

Columbia College, Chicago
13 April - 2 July 2017


Known as one of the world’s most provocative artists, Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. 1957) creates work that boldly confronts contemporary political and social issues, both in China and abroad. As an outspoken human rights activist, writer and curator, Ai’s practice crosses multiple disciplines including sculpture, public works, film, music, poetry, photography and social media. #AiWeiwei is an exhibition specifically designed for the Museum of Contemporary Photography that focuses on Ai’s early diaristic photographs from the 1980s and 90s in New York and Beijing along with a series of recent social media based installations that center on what Ai refers to as photo activism. Ai’s fame drives over half a million visitors to his twitter and Instagram pages and he uses these tools, sometimes leveraging irony and humor, with disorienting effect, to bring attention to serious humanitarian issues and the constellation of state forces around them. The accompanying publication will feature an interview with Ai Weiwei by MoCP executive director Natasha Egan and texts by graphic designer and lecturer Liz McQuiston and independent curator John Tancock.

Image: Photographs of Surveillance, 2010-2015, Bugs, Beijing, 2015 

A 19th-Century Photographer of Scottish Industrialization Gets His First Survey


Thomas Annan, who opened a photographic firm in Glasgow, Scotland in 1857, was among the first photographers to use the new medium to document urban living conditions. In particular, he focused on the closes, or narrow passageways, of the city where the impoverished lived in crowded squalor. By the end of the century, many of these tenements would be demolished under the Glasgow City Improvements Act of 1867.

Despite the enduring interest in his legacy, such as the National Library of Scotland’s new online platform for navigating his Glasgow plates, there hasn’t been a survey exhibition of Annan’s nearly three decades worth of work. On May 23, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Getty Center in Los Angeles will open the first, titled Thomas Annan: Photographer of Glasgow.


Image: Thomas Annan, “High Street, from College Open” (1868-71) (courtesy Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal)