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Photojournalism

Annie Leibovitz is Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf

NYHSLogoThere have been several excellent write-ups in the past week about “Pilgrimage,” a new exhibit of photographs by Annie Leibovitz running through February 22 at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library. The 78 showcased pictures follow a fall 2011 coffee table book of the same name.

Inspired by a bucket list put together by the late Susan Sontag, this pilgrimage saw the photographer travel far and wide, eventually focusing on the homes and personal objects of famous American figures. The Daily Beast’s Justin Jones spoke at length with Leibovitz, who explained why a shot of Virginia Woolf‘s desk resonates:

Woolf’s desk, shot from above, reveals every mishap it encountered — branded with cigarette burns and splattered with ink spills. “To me, it says that art and life are messy,” Leibovitz said of the author’s desk, which she described as one of her favorite images from the series and related to the financial troubles she faced and all of life’s upsets.

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Transplanted Photographer Fashions Unique Rogues’ Gallery

For many years, Tom LeGoff was based in New York City and making a large part of his living with celebrity portrait work. However, now that he’s an MFA student at the University of Louisville, he has pointed the camera at some famous folks there.

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Running through December 4 at Mo McKnight Howe‘s Revelry Boutique Gallery, “Louisville Noir” filters notable locals – including the mayor, Greg Fischer – through the prism of familiar film noir characters. From a recent report by WFPL 89.3 FM:

LeGoff started shooting portraits for this collection in October 2013 after he working on a darker project for a magazine. LeGoff said the magazine’s editors ultimately wanted him to change his vision to something more open and cheerful.

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Sophia Loren Lends New Meaning to EW’s ‘Pop Watch’

EWPopWatchLogoThere will likely not be another item that fits into Entertainment Weekly‘s “PopWatch” tag as snuggly as Joe McGovern‘s recent Q&A via Switzerland with the one and only Sophia Loren.

The article burst to the top of Facebook’s trending topics and it’s easy to see why. In 1957, Loren was famously snapped staring down in horror at the chest of fellow actress Jayne Mansfield, not long after the latter took her seat next to Loren at an industry-sponsored function at Romanoff’s. In 2014, the Italian star insisted to McGovern that her captured stare was all about a personal pop-watch:

“I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table.”

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Celebrity Photographer Blake Little Experiments with Honey

BlakeLittleVeteran magazine editor Richard Pérez-Feria knows Blake Little‘s work intimately. He has over the years frequently commissioned the famed LA-based photographer to shoot celebrities and has a portrait shot by Little of actress Sonia Braga hanging in his home.

When Pérez-Feria recently caught up with Little for a Q&A for 50+ focused website NowItCounts, the photographer – whose career trajectory mirrors that of early subject Tom Cruise – spoke about a new, intriguing focus. One that is sure to garner much more attention starting at the end of this year:

“My brand new body of work is called Preservation. I photographed 90 people — men, women, children from age two to 85 – all completely covered in honey. Preservation will be published this December and exhibited at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles in March 2015.”

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Honoring the First American Woman Correspondent Killed in Action

MilwaukeePressClubLogoAmong the journalists being inducted Friday into the Milwaukee Media Hall of Fame is the one and only Dickey Chapelle. The late photographer’s trailblazing run as a female war correspondent began during World War II in Iwo Jima, when she detoured away from a women’s magazine assignment, and ended with her death in Vietnam in 1965.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Meg Jones put together a wonderful remembrance of Chapelle, born in Milwaukee as Georgette Meyer. Chapelle was very possibly the first female journalist to report from the Vietnam War front, and wanted no preferential treatment while doing it:

In 1962 an officer tried to deny her access to covering a field operation, arguing that there were no toilets for women in the jungle.

“According to my AP colleague Fred Waters,” recalled Peter Arnett, who met Chapelle, in an email interview, “Dickey, in her olive drab field gear, and her feet firmly planted on the ground, snarled at him, ‘Listen soldier don’t worry about me, and when I have to I can piss standing up straight just like you do!’ Of course, Dickey went on the patrol.”

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Vogue Photographer Patiently Awaits His Next Assignment

In Toronto for the opening of an exhibition of his photos at Yorkville’s Izzy Gallery, famed Vogue photographer Arthur Elgort took the time to chat with Canadian Press.

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Among other things, he came up with a job title that really should be the one printed on Anna Wintour‘s Condé Nast business cards:

Vogue are not using me at the moment. I don’t know why,” said the genial 74-year-old New York native, who suffered a stroke in 2011. “I’m going to wait and send (Wintour) a Christmas card and say, ‘I’m ready for you anytime you’re ready for me.’ But I think she’s so busy now because I think now she’s the head of everything, and that’s a lot of things to do.”

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Martin Schoeller’s Pivotal Career Boost

Martin Schoeller is an award-winning photographer who for many years was on staff with The New Yorker. And as he reminds this week, his ascension to that position owes a great deal to a certain Oscar-winning actress.

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In 1998, freelancer Schoeller counted just five assigned jobs – three of which were weddings. In 1999, the year he was hired by The New Yorker, that total would jump to 127.

Per Schoeller’s contribution to the Time Lightbox series “The Photo That Made Me,” it all changed for him after he was asked in 1998 to photograph Vanessa Redgrave for Time Out New York:

I had come across the Kino Fluorescent lighting system (a sort of fluorescent tube lighting) and started to incorporate it into my work. This started to change things: these lights really bring out a subject’s eyes. And because I had adopted the style of a super close-up portrait, my work started to stick out. Back then the mainstream thing to do was a more distanced shot with a perfect background and styling – and it was also a time when Photoshop was really becoming a big part of things.

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A Storied Photographer Turns 95

When you’ve lived for almost a century, traditional birthday celebrations can seem somewhat redundant. So in Phil Stern‘s case, he is marking his 95th turn around the make-a-wish corner by gifting someone else. Stern, who will officially mark his latest birthday in Los Angeles tomorrow, has donated prints of 95 of his iconic shots to the Veterans Home of California.

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From a report in Variety by Shelli Weinstein:

As a teen, Stern had worked as an apprentice in a New York photo studio and as a local police photographer, but got his baptism of fire, quite literally, at age 21, when he became a combat photographer in Darby’s Rangers during World War II, after convincing Colonel William O. Darby to allow him to join. Stern was decorated with a Purple Heart for his services…

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New Yorker Photo Editor: ‘It’s About More Than the Picture That Gets Published’

Seattle native Whitney C. Johnson is back in her hometown to give a lecture at the Seattle Art Museum.

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Ahead of the museum talk, she spoke via telephone with The Stranger visual arts writer Jen Graves about her seven years on the job as one of The New Yorker‘s team of photo editors. At one point during the informative Q&A, Johnson – now the director of photography – outlined her admirable big-picture M.O.:

“I try to assign photographers assignments that can contribute to a person’s body of work. Thomas Struth had a show in New York recently, and one of the images he shot on assignment for us. Moises Saman was recently showing me the book dummy for his work from the Middle East over the last five years or so, and I’d say about 20 percent of the pictures he’s shot on assignment for us.”

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Fifty Years Later, Bob Dylan Assignment Still Reverberates

ForeverYoungCoverAlthough Look magazine killed a planned 1964 feature story on Bob Dylan, deeming the cresting singer “too scruffy for a family magazine,” the photographs from the spiked assignment continue to be appreciated today. The shots were taken over a span of several weeks in New York City, Woodstock and at the Newport Folk Festival.

Photographer Douglas Gilbert was able to reclaim the pics after Look ceased publication, turning them into the 2005 book Forever Young, lending them to Martin Scorsese for a PBS documentary and sharing them via an ongoing, traveling gallery show. With the exhibit currently at Michigan’s South Haven Center for the Arts, area native Gilbert took time to share a few anecdotes with Kalamazoo Gazette entertainment writer John Liberty. Starting with this one:

Gilbert steered through a small town in New York when his passenger, a 23-year-old Bob Dylan, shouted, “Stop the car! Stop the car!”

Gilbert, a relatively green 21-year-old photographer from Michigan, obliged as the curly-haired musician ran to a newspaper stand on the side of the road. Gilbert said Dylan was drawn to a magazine with news about aliens on the cover.

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