Taking a good photo of a great building is no easy task, as Flickr or Instagram can demonstrate. Meanwhile, even the most expansive Pinterest page of stunning architectural images is likely to feature the work of a relatively small group of photographers–those who have mastered the tricky art and science of capturing the utility, spirit, and beauty of the designed environment. Many of those names are followed by “Esto,” the firm built on the image collection of Ezra Stoller. Esto assignment photographer Albert Vecerka was on hand last week at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center for the latest in the museum’s “Harlem Focus” series. “I look to tell a story about a place; a neighborhood, a building, a room,” Vecerka has said. “Looking for the right light, right day, or right time of day is a part of that narrative, and it is no different for commercial assignments than for personal projects.” Watch the event below and then mark your calendar for June 26, when architectural historian John Reddick will be joined by curators and gardeners from the Central Park Conservatory Gardens to talk “Garden Design: The Art of Color, Variety, and Form.”
“Ansel Adams is probably the one who got me into photography. We have a button in the app called Lux, which makes everything look contrast-y and beautiful; that was heavily influenced by Adams. I’ve always been a fan of landscapes. I rarely take photos of people. I’m awkward. I don’t like holding up a phone in front of someone’s face.”
-Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, in an interview with Garage magazine
Ansel Adams, “Evening, McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park,” part of a series commissioned in 1941 by the U.S. National Park Service. The photo mural project was scuttled by World War II.
Whether you’re bound for the beach or just your own backyard, make it a summer to remember with this bathing beauty, captured in 1997 by photographer Martin Parr while prowling the beaches of Benidorm on the coast of Spain. Our friends at Aperture are celebrating this month’s release of the beach-bag-sized edition of Parr’s Life’s a Beach with not only an exhibition of highlights from his beach photography but also a limited-edition terrycloth tribute (read: towel). Grab yours for $75 here before the supply of 150 sells out, and then toss it lovingly into your Roy Lichtenstein beach bag with some SPF 50 (and a tube of red lipstick?).
Heifer International, the organization behind those buy-a-llama-oh-it’s-for-charity-they-don’t-really-send-you-a-llama catalogs, has teamed with photographer and publisher Rankin to spotlight world hunger and poverty with the launch of a worldwide photography competition. The just-launched contest is open to amateurs and pros alike. Rankin will select the winning photograph, which will be showcased at Fahey-Klein Gallery in Los Angeles and published in his biannual fashion and culture magazine, The Hunger. “We hope that vivid and unique photographs will encourage individuals to stop and contemplate the sharp inequalities that exist in our world,” said Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International, in a statement issued this week. Entries must be received by July 2, so start sourcing theoretical livestock now.
Watch French street artist JR get his TED Prize wish for a global art project in Inside Out, a fresh-from-the-Tribeca-Film-Festival documentary that debuts tonight at 9 p.m. on HBO. Director Alastair Siddons (Turn it Loose) crisscrosses the globe–from Tunisia to Haiti, North Dakota to Pakistan–as people around the world come together to follow JR’s simple directions to “take a portrait photograph of yourself or someone you know and then paste it in the street, using it to stand up for something you care about.” More than 100,000 people responded to his call by uploading their portraits to the project’s website for JR to print and display around the world. Explains Siddons, “This is a film about an artist giving away his method and the inspiring stories that follow that.” Sample a few in the film’s trailer (below):
From left, Walker Evans, “Saint Martin, West Indies” (1974) and a 2007 photo from John Divola’s Abandoned Paintings series.
“What interested me about Walker Evans is probably not what interests other people about Walker Evans. What interests me is that he had a way of looking at things that people made and built, and then appropriating the subjectivity of whoever constructed it. Late in his life he actually collected handpainted signs…he’s photographing buildings that small-scale contractors are making, where they have to make certain kinds of judgments, and he photographs other things as well but there are an awful lot of handpainted signs. That’s something in the work that I’m really interested in—this identifying and appropriating and contextualizing the aesthetic or the literal choices that people make. And in terms of my own work, I’m doing that, except that I’m one of the subjective actors, in a certain sense. I’m taking something that has an inherent set of attributes to it—somebody has either kicked a hole in the wall or chosen to build a kitchen that looks that way or put that kind of wallpaper up. And then my own activity, in relationship to it and in the photograph, simply contextualizes these kinds of actions and choices that are made prior to the capturing of the photograph.”
More than a year after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Kodak has made a deal to sell the camera film business on which it was founded, among other assets. As part of a $2.8 billion settlement agreement with its largest creditor, the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan (KPP), the company’s personalized imaging and document imaging businesses will be spun off under new ownership to KPP. The deal, announced today and subject to the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, will also give Kodak $650 million to help it emerge from bankruptcy.
So what is actually set to be spun off? You may recall that Kodak recently sold its digital imaging patents for $525 million and then pulled a Polaroid by licensing the Kodak brand name to Los Angeles-based JK Imaging for consumer products such as digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and portable projectors (having shuttered the Kodak digital cameras business last year), as it moves to focus on B2B commercial imaging. The business units involved in the KPP deal are personalized imaging, which includes retail photo kiosks and dry lab systems, photographic paper and workflow solutions, still-camera film products, and “event imaging solutions,” which allows theme parks to sell garishly framed souvenir photos to queasy, fresh-off-the-rollercoaster types. The deal will also divest Kodak of its document imaging business, a line of scanners, software, and professional services.
Richard Misrach, “November 20, 2011, 3:36 PM” (2011). Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery.
“I grew up in L.A. and went to Berkeley from ’67 to ‘71. I started out as a math major and ended up in psychology, but that was also when Berkeley was just going insane. I didn’t take formal classes in photography at all. I started taking photographs of tear gassings on the Berkeley campus with my uncle’s camera….I was being exposed to Berkeley street riots and the politics of the time, which was very important to me, but I was also being exposed to the f/64 school of photography—Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange—and I was just falling in love with photography, so I found that that combination of social, political engagement along with my passion for the aesthetics of the medium of photography were coming together very fast and hard. For the last forty years I think my work has reflected those two polarities, and it’s been sort of interesting the way they have been pushed. They’ve never really reconciled—art and politics.”
-Richard Misrach today at Paris Photo Los Angeles, in an on-stage conversation with John Divola and curator Douglas Fogle. Misrach’s work is on view through June 16 at the Cantor Center at Stanford University. A exhibition of his new largescale photos opens next Saturday at Pace/McGill Gallery in New York.
On Sunday, April 28th, take a break from your digital devices to spread the unusual beauty of a historical photographic process as the world celebrates Pinhole Photography Day. Now in its thirteenth year, the event celebrates and promotes the lenless method that dates from the 10th century. Join thousands of people (pinheads?) from around the globe in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph by adapting an existing camera or making your own out of a light-tight container, such as a box or a can, with a tiny hole in one side. Leave your perfectionist tendencies at home with your digital camera, because, according to Pinhole Photography Day organizers, “This is the photography of patience, of meditation, no more anguish for a ‘badly turned out’ photo.”
Spring has finally sprung, and so it’s possible to gaze upon snowflakes–or at least images of snowflakes–without shivering. These fine specimens were photographed in 3-D as they fell by a high-speed camera system developed by researchers at the University of Utah and its spinoff company, Fallgatter Technologies. “Until our device, there was no good instrument for automatically photographing the shapes and sizes of snowflakes in freefall,” says Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences. “We are photographing these snowflakes completely untouched by any device, as they exist naturally in the air.” In addition to taking the first automated, high-resolution photos of snowflakes, Fallgatter’s Multi Angle Snowflake Camera measures how fast the flakes fall and according to Garrett, “collects vast amounts of data that can be used to come up with more accurate and more representative characterizations of snow in clouds” for improved weather forecasting.
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