If you are not familiar with the name Edward Steichen (1879 – 1973) you are missing the joy of looking at some of the most wonderful photos of the 20th Century. Steichen is recognized as one of the greatest photographers in history. Some claim that he is THE photographer of the 20th Century if not the best ever.
Instead of posting a few of his photos here I give you a link to a YouTube video showing some of his photos from the early part of his career. This video is about 8 minutes in length.
By Jim McKinniss
Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes, featuring the work of the revolutionary fashion photographer is the first exhibition of Helmut Newton’s work outside of gallery shows in Los Angeles, his long-time winter residence.
Images from Newton’s first three books – White Women, Sleepless Nights and Big Nudes – will be on view June 29 through September 8, 2013. The exhibition was originally organized by Manfred Heiting for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
“Helmut Newton is one of the most powerful and influential photographers of the past century – the place where art and fashion and subversion and aspiration all collide. If Newton’s work was controversial, I believe it’s because he expressed the contradictions within all of us, and particularly within the women he photographed so beautifully: empowerment mixed with vulnerability, sensuality tempered by depravity. Newton deepened our understanding of changing gender roles, of the ways in which beauty creates its own kind of power and corruption. On top of that, his compositions were brilliantly precise, cinematic in their scope and in their storytelling,” says Wallis Annenberg, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation.
The photographs were made specifically for the exhibition and are large-scale – some reaching nearly six feet in size.
n addition to the more than 100 prints displayed, the exhibit will feature two films about Newton.
Helmut by June, a documentary film shot and directed by June Newton, Newton’s wife of 56 years, goes behind the scenes at several of his photo shoots and provides an intimate look into his private life and the couple’s remarkable relationship. From a photo shoot with Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen in Saint-Tropez to a conversation with June in the privacy of their room at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, the man behind so many provocative images is revealed.
Additionally, the Annenberg Space for Photography has commissioned an original documentary film from Arclight Productions entitled Provocateur. The film examines the legendary photographer’s impact on fashion, on women and on photography – as told by men and women who knew him, worked with him and were influenced by his remarkable vision. Models, stylists, fashion editors, photographers and friends will share unique perspectives on a titan of 20th century fashion photography whose influence lives on.
Participants in the Arclight Productions film include the “Three Boys from Pasadena” — Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis — who were students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, when they first met Newton in 1979 and served as Newton’s assistants during one of his most prolific periods, each becoming successful photographers in their own right.
David Fahey, co-owner of the Fahey/Klein Gallery, also appears and shares personal videos and photographs of Newton taken at the photographer’s favorite Los Angeles haunt, the Chateau Marmont hotel. Over the course of his 36-year career, Fahey has introduced and exhibited well over 500 artists, taught the history of photography and collaborated on the production of over 45 fine art photography publications.
This show runs through September 8, 2013
Wed-Fri: 11am – 6pm
Sat: 11am – 9pm
Sun: 11am – 9pm
Mon – Tue: Closed
Location: 2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
By Jim McKinniss
dnj Gallery is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, “Claude Cahun and After.” The exhibition begins with four vintage prints by the famed early twentieth century photographer, Claude Cahun. Working during the troubled interwar period in Europe, Cahun was one of the first female photographers to use portraits, often of herself, to explore notions of identity and gender. Cahun’s images serve as a point of departure for assembling five contemporary photographers who explore their own struggles with the concept of self. All of the artists contend with identities from different social classes and geographic environments, extend their temporal range into the past and future, and transform themselves or others to express concepts of sexuality, gender, beauty, and hope.
Sia Aryai explores female beauty through the filter of his own childhood in repressive Tehran, Iran, where as a boy he sketched female figures from contraband magazines. In his series “Eternity,” Aryai portrays empty gazes and whitened faces of women. Aryai seeks to reduce the effects of cultural dictates about beauty and to highlight the essential, timeless qualities of his subjects. Aryai’s portraits reflect a perspective about beauty that was formed by the restrictive circumstances of his youth and that has since become a key element of his identity as an artist.
In “Artificial Memories,” Corey Grayhorse creates intricate worlds that incorporate influences from art, fashion, set design and pop culture. Underlying these colorful and seemingly lighthearted photographs is Grayhorse’s own darker yearning for escape from certain circumstances in her own life. The characters in these nearly narrative images represent Grayhorse’s own idealized, yet unattainable, version of the life and identity she dreams of for herself.
Clay Lipsky’s self-portraits from his “In Dark Light” series reflect his battles with depression and the resulting sense of a loss of identity. Shadowy self portraits of the artist moving through isolated landscapes suggest Lipsky’s anguish and are visual metaphors for the obstacles and promise of life.
Ni Rong lived in China until the age of 28, when she immigrated to the United States for
graduate school. Her ambivalence toward her cultural identity is illustrated in her series “In America – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.” Rong’s self portraits are visual interpretations of the tension between her desire to embrace the past while looking for a future for herself in a new land.
With her “Tam is…” photographs, Tam Tran explains that she seeks to “express her inner heroine through [her] works – breaking free of reality and altering [her] own appearance.” Each image depicts Tran as a new entity made from a combination of herself and the artists who inspire her.
For more information or images, please contact Cambra Sklarz at (310) 315-3551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
dnj Gallery 2525 michigan avenue, suite J1, Santa Monica, CA 90404 http://www.dnjgallery.net
SHOW DATES: September 7 – October 26, 2013
RECEPTION: Saturday, September 7, 6 – 8 pm
GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm
By Jim McKinniss
I became aware of the work of photographer Anne Barnard when reading the October, 2013 issue of B&W Magazine. The magazine featured Anne’s work in an article written by editor Dean Brierly in a section called “Alternatives.”
“Spots and marks, gobs and blobs, tangled up unrecognizable jumble that mumbles and shouts; the edge of a pattern; the lines of a hand; a body as it steals through time; I like the where, what and how of these things.” says Anne.
The photos that accompany this posting are from the “Cells” and the “DNA” series.
You can see Anne’s work at http://annebarnard.com/
By Jim McKinniss
The text that follows is from Thierry Cohen’s website: http://thierrycohen.com/index.html
A hundred times I have thought New York is a catastrophe…it is a beautiful catastrophe.”Le Corbusier, quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, 6 August 1961
“The City is of Night; perchance of Death, but certainly of Night.” The City of Dreadful Night, Poem by James Thompson, 1874
You might be forgiven for thinking that – of all things – the stars were equal above us. Too far, too big, too old, to be affected by anything that puny man could do. The stars look down upon us with benevolence or with despite, according to the mood of the poet, and our language is rich in reminders of how mankind has thought its destiny written in the stars. Star-crossed lovers look for lode-stars, and it sometimes seems that every writer stuck for a word has merely to look up to find his all-purpose answer in the stars. Shakespeare once called them the bad revolting stars. Traditionally, the stars affect us and we can do nothing in return. Yet now it seems that mankind’s infinite capacity for messing things up has reached even to the stars.
In Thierry Cohen’s series, Darkened Cities, we think we see bright night skies over cities. Very traditional, very poetical. Actually, what we’re seeing is the opposite. These skies are an indictment and a lament. These are the skies that we don’t see. They are also extremely clever photography, in which highly skilled execution provides rich layers of meaning.
The principal operation that has to take place before these pictures can exist is that the sky from one place has to be superimposed upon cityscape from another. The reason is simplicity itself. As every amateur astronomer knows, it is impossible to see this detail in the night sky above a city. Modern lighting provides a level of light pollution so high that looking into the urban sky is like looking past bright headlights while driving. Add to that the atmospheric pollution above any city, and you have a screen only barely penetrable by light. Stand in New York or Rio and look up, even on the most cloudless night, and you won’t see Cohen’s explosions of light. Yet it is there, blotted out only by man’s interference.
The first photographer to split his photographs horizontally in two, specifically to even out the luminous balance, was the nineteenth century French master Gustave Le Gray. Le Gray, a fine technician at the very point of technology, found that the emulsions available in his day could not record equally well the bright sky and the twinkling water in the great series of poetic seascapes that he made in the 1850s, so he made them from separate negatives for sea and sky. The convenient straight line of the horizon helped him both to join them and to conceal the join from his viewers.
Cohen is also a fine technician, who has practised digital photography for longer than almost anyone else. But he is not practising for virtuosity alone. Cohen does not merely replace one sky with another for convenient photographic legibility. By travelling to places free from light pollution but situated on precisely the same latitude as his cities (and by pointing his camera at the same angle in each case), he obtains skies which, as the world rotates about its axis, are the very ones visible above the cities a few hours earlier or later. He shows, in other words, not a fantasy sky as it might be dreamt, but a real one as it should be seen.
This is a very powerful treatment. It is laborious in the extreme. To find places with the right degree of atmospheric clarity, Cohen has to go – always on the latitudes of our cities – into the wild places of the earth, the Atacama, the Mojave, the northern wastes of Mongolia. Who among us beyond a handful of professional astronomers would know if Cohen cut the odd corner by finding a good sky not quite so remote? But photography has always had a very tight relationship to reality. A good sky is not the right sky. And the right sky in each case has a huge emotional effect.
As more and more of the world’s population becomes urban, and as we lose our connection with the natural world, so it becomes plain what damage is caused. Are there injurious effects of light pollution? Quite possibly. To people there may be physical connections to certain cancers, and there are surely psychological burdens of permanent day. To other natural life, flora and fauna, the damages are wide-reaching. The ‘city that never sleeps’ is made up of millions of individuals breaking natural cycles of work and repose. Lose sight of the sky, and you become a rat in a lab. We’re all heading that way. It may come to it that we can never properly see the sky again. Already there are produced maps of the intensity of pollution by light which are so bright they’re scary. There are still gaps where you might see the sky, but they’re not where we all live.
Cohen hasn’t simply shown us the skies that we’re missing, by the way. His process is many degrees more complex than that. Notice how dead his cities look, under the fireworks display above? No lights in the windows, no tracers of traffic? Barely even reflections of the blazing starry glory above. That’s because they are in fact photographed in the daylight hours, when lights are switched off or shine out less brightly. How clever this is, each photographic obstacle to Cohen’s expression isolated, and solved to perfection.
There is an urban mythology which is already old, in which the city teems with energy and illumines everything around it. All roads lead to Rome, we were told. Cohen is telling us the opposite. It is impossible not to read these pictures the way the artist wants them read: cold, cold cities below, cut off from the seemingly infinite energies above. It’s a powerful reversal, and one very much in tune with a wave of environmental thinking of the moment. Look at the work of Sebastiao Salgado, for example, who used to show specific areas of distress (geographical or social) until his subjects grew bigger until now (in the series entitled Genesis) he is working to tell us about the health of the planet itself. Thierry Cohen didn’t merely find pictures that pointed so sharply to the blight that our mega cities have become, he couldn’t. He made them instead, with patience and skill and the driving desire to be understood.
Night time is as attractive to photographers as it is to poets. One thinks in a moment of the terrestrial nights of such artists as Brassaï, for whom the night was a stage of its own. René Burri, the great Swiss photographer, rushed out into the New York blackout of 5th November, 1965 with only 8 rolls of film and made 40 of the greatest pictures of a city at night that you will ever see. Weegee loved the night, of course, and Nan Goldin, and Bill Brandt and dozens of other photographers of the city. It’s particularly a city thing, you see. In the country, when it gets dark, you go to bed. It’s in the cities that we go mad a little at night. Cohen’s fine series shows that he understands this. Zoom in on one any of these pictures, I feel, and you’ll find oily dark scenes from Weegee in every window.
Francis Hodgson, London 2011
Francis Hodgson writes on photography for the Financial Times and is a consultant on various aspects of photography to a wide roster of clients. He co-founded the Prix Pictet, the world’s richest photographic prize, upon the executive of which he also sits. Hodgson was until 2009 the head of the photographs department at Sotheby’s in London. He has been a writer on photography for many years, including stints as contributing editor on photography for Art Review, and a regular contributor to The Economist. He was once VP for content development at Eyestorm, the online art dealer, and before that was the founding European creative director for Photonica, a major photographic stock library. Hodgson has been a gallerist both in the private sector and the public, and has been a frequent visiting lecturer at photographic schools (he used to teach a course in the culture of photography at the Royal College of Art)
By Jim McKinniss