Thursday, October 29, 2009
Isreal born photographer Nadav Kander first caught my eye in the NYTimes Magazine's 52 page full color portrait series entitled "Obama's People." Insightful portraiture or striking landscapes, his work seems patient and urgent.
Kander has just been announced as the winner of the prestigious Prix Pictet 2009. He was chosen from a shortlist of 12 nominees that included Ed Kashi, Christopher Anderson, Edward Burtynsky, Andreas Gursky and Naoya Hatakeyama. The award was presented in Paris at the Passage de Retz by Kofi Annan, Honorary President of the Prix Pictet.
About Prix Pictet:
"Sponsored by the Geneva private bank Pictet & Cie, the Prix Pictet is the world’s first prize dedicated to photography and sustainability. It has a unique mandate – to use the power of photography to communicate crucial messages to a global audience; and it has a unique goal – art of the highest order, applied to the immense social and environmental threats of the new millennium."
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My best friend's brother has an opening in Boston next month. For all you New Englanders, please check it out. He is very talented young man.
With their latest photo special issue the good people over at The Fader magazine have released a new photo website called Double Vision. It features landscapes from the American West by Victoria Sambunaris and a randomized gallery of photographs from America by Peter van Agtmael during his road trip with Christian Hansen. Listed as coming soon include a number of essays from Mr. Matt Eich, the Fader’s own John Francis Peters, Dominic Nahr, Alex Welsh and a few other intriguing collections.
The Podcast from this issue is also wonderful as always.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
My good buddy Rush Jagoe has just started scanning the film from his cross country bike trip. If Robert Frank and Sam Abell had a photo child, his or her photos might look very similar to the images from Rush's journey. Subtle, sophisticated, insightful.
Keep an eye on his blog, Living My Songlines.
Feels like a long time ago...
Thursday, August 13, 2009
(Photo by Yoon Byun)
Well, in a few days I will be heading to DC to intern in the Photo Office at the White House. My good friend Johnny is interning there now and will be finishing up in a few days. His family generously offered to let me stay in their house for the Fall. I'm really excited to get started. Can't wait to see how things have changed since I was there in the Spring of 2008. Not excited to commute and wear a suit to work everyday. I hopefully will be bloging throughout the journey.
I already miss that hippie castle. Many good times.
All the best.
(White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Oil drilling in Ohio began in 1860 and for a period, the state’s oil fields were the largest in the world. According to Dow Bowman, owner of a drilling company in Ohio, “The oil and gas in southeastern Ohio and eastern Ohio over the last 100 years has been drilled. We are going back through old fields now trying to squeeze out any area that may have been missed.”
Noah Rabinowitz: Photographer, Audio, Production
Jennifer Poggi: Senior Producer
Marta Hewett opened the Marta Hewett Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1990, which was devoted to the exhibition of rarely seen works of contemporary studio glass. Her childhood in Columbus, Indiana initiated a love for the visual arts. As a student, opportunities to explore New York City's endless offerings of museums and galleries had a profound influence. Marta returned to the Midwest in the mid 80s to complete her B.A. in painting at the School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning, at the University of Cincinnati. Her career reflects her belief in the benefits of visual arts in everyday life.
At the new gallery location in the Neusole Glassworks complex in Cincinnati, Marta will continue to emphasize and encourage the patronage of works by selected, emerging and established artists.
Her artists include greats like Stephen Powell and Michael Aschenbrenner.
You can visit her gallery's website Here.
Musician Miguel Ebanosky, a.k.a. "Spooktober", grew up on a farm in Hinton, West Virginia and began playing guitar in his early teens. Recently relocating to Athens for "excitement", Ebanosky lives in a backyard tent and shops for his clothing in "reuse dumpsters".
Noah Rabinowitz: Photography, audio and production
Louis Spirito: Senior Producer
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Sunday, April 05, 2009
One of my favorite satirists Steve Brodner wrote about Hearst's closing of the Seattle PI,
"Today marks the death of the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Published since the civil war, nothing could stop this paper, except our situation today. I can only conclude that a part of our civilization is lost now unless we can organize somehow to replace this necessary imperfect creation, the newspaper. We cannot function very well at all without it. And we have to do this fast."
Bruce Bartlett, former Treasury Dept. economist under HW Bush,
“Personally, I am partial to the nonprofit model. Foundations, universities, think tanks and even political parties might sponsor publications. For example, the Ford Foundation might take over The New York Times, Harvard University might buy The Boston Globe and the Heritage Foundation might assume control of the The Washington Times. They could run these publications without expectation of profit and a least keep alive the basic journalistic function.”
Thursday, April 02, 2009
“Ohio’s Last Drops of Black Gold,” is look into a domestic drilling company and group of men that consider themselves on the “frontlines of America’s thirst for oil.” Oil drilling in Ohio began in 1860. For a period of time the oil fields in Lima, Ohio were the largest in the world. Although much of the oil in the state has either been extracted or is not economically feasible to drill, a few companies are continuing to drill. According to Dow Bowman, owner of Bowman Drilling Company, “Most of the oil and gas in southeastern Ohio and eastern Ohio over the last 100 years has been drilled. We are going back through old fields now trying to squeeze out any area that may have been missed.”
Friday, March 20, 2009
Tod Papageorge has been the director of Graduate Study in Photography at the Yale School of Art since 1979. This essay is an inspired reading of Frank's indebtedness to Evans, "a debt so profound that . . . we can observe not only the influence, but the way in which a brilliant young photographer embraced and comprehended a masterpiece."
Frank (right) by: Richard Avedon
Frank has always been upfront about Evans' influence on his work but, as Papageorge writes, that acknowledgment has mostly been ignored:
Although, since The Americans was published, Frank has consistently stated that Walker Evans . . . was the photographer who most influenced his work, the few writers who have discussed the two men in relation to one another generally have done so by setting them in a Manichaean opposition. In this equation, Evans, on the side of the angels, is seen as a moralist whose work unequivocally accepts and elevates the raw material of vernacular American culture, while Frank, in the devil's party, is seen as the photographic equivalent of Rimbaud — an anarchic poet who sings one brutal song, and then, in despair and exaltation, or whatever joy is found in conjunction with the creation of something incomparable, denies his gift by rejecting it. That the sorrowing world Frank's book describes has been set against Evans' lightstruck community, where, in at least a casual reading, everything possesses the clear gorgeousness of achieved fact, is unsurprising. But the suggestion that the two photographers are related only because they share the same general subject ignores the particular debt that The Americans owes to American Photographs, and, with that, disregards the most subtle triumphs of Frank's book, its transformation of Evans' vision.
CLICK HERE to read essay
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I'm heading out to San Francisco for a week or so. I hope everbody has a great change of seasons~!
ps. I was featured on the Verve Photo blog a few days ago. Check it out. Geoffrey is compiling an pretty extensive list of talented documentarians.
Monday, February 16, 2009
New section on the website:
"The Experimental Life"
I also attached Randolph Bourne's book Youth and Life that I've been studying recently.
"[Conformity guarantees] you popularity and fortune at so small a price – only the price of your best self!” -Bourne
Although some skeptics discount Randolph Bourne as an irrelevant romantic, Bourne’s unwavering idealism about individuality and the moral paradox of war paved the way for a solidified youth culture that reappears in times of distrust in mass culture and unpopular wars. It has become clear through debates over war since his death that Bourne’s voice will forever remain in the modern American conscious.
To understand when and why a youthful moral ideal peeks its way into the American conscious, it is important to discuss what formed the profound moral ideals and the historical context in which he was writing. He grew up in the town of Bloomfield, New Jersey. Bourne witnessed very important clashes of culture during his years there. Christopher Lasch tells the story in his book, The New Radicalism in America, “The village was twice invaded during Bourne’s lifetime, first by industrial workers, who created the social split that he analyzed in an early article, “The Social Order in an American Town,” and again by commuters from New York, who transformed it into a suburb.” Bourne witnessed first hand the genteel culture of his home town’s disdain for working class’s seeming irreverence.
He came to reject the expectations and norms of this genteel culture he was raised in. His father was distant, and Bourne disliked visiting home. His parents were intimidated by their son’s intelligence and felt obligated to indulge his wishes because of his deformities. Bourne’s face was twisted and misshapen by the forceps used during his birth. At the age of four, he contracted spinal tuberculosis and was left with a hunchback. Born in 1886, he was part of a generation of modernity, where many started seeing religion as meaningless, corporal punishment was mainly abolished, children worked in coalmines and arguably, children raised themselves. It was the first era where youth was recognized as a distinctly different period in life. Bourne and this young generation, that he became the voice of, found itself empowered in a way it had never been before.
Randolph Bourne’s early writings were dominated with a sense of friction between a young generation and the old establishment. The early 20th century was the first time in American history that there was a defined social stratum of intellectual youth. Many even referred to this group as the “Youth Problem.” The Bohemians in Greenwich Village could be defined by a culture of talking in salons and cafes about the “experimental life,” and a general rejection of bourgeois expectations. Idealism, aestheticism, feminism, friendship, music, reading, and impassioned discussion were for Bourne social ideals. Most of the Bohemians were independently wealthy, and this allowed them to act on passion and whim. This may have contributed to their philosophies of living becoming somewhat idealistic and naïve. Bourne once wrote, “Youth rules the world, but only when it is no longer young. A tarnished, travestied youth is in the saddle in the person of middle age. Old age lives in the delusion that it has improved and rationalized its youthful ideas by experience and stored-up wisdom, when all it has done is to damage them more or less – usually more. And the tragedy of life is that the world is run by these damaged ideals.” He hopes that youth can retain their ideals long into their adult life, thereby positively influence the whole of society.
In “The Dodging of Pressures,” Bourne describes where the pressures on the youth are emanating from and why one must avoid their narcotic effect. “The dangers that I speak of are the influences and inducements which come to youth from family, business, church, society, state, to compromise with himself and become in more or less degree conformed to their pattern and type.” [Conformity guarantees] you popularity and fortune at so small a price – only the price of your best self!” Thus they seduce him insidiously rather than openly attack him.” Bourne was profoundly skeptical of groupthink, mass culture and the mob mentality: anything that would inhibit the individual’s ability to think and act independently.
Bourne was challenged and shocked by the possibility of America entering World War I. In “Twilight of Idols,” he is struggling with his disagreement with his mentor and former idol, pragmatist, John Dewey in supporting President Woodrow Wilson in his decision to enter the war. Bourne wonders whether Dewey and his fellow pragmatists found the forces to enter the war too strong to overcome, or whether they saw it as a gallant war that would lead to a grand end for democracy. Bourne sees both of these as “intellectual suicide.” Bourne’s wartime attacks on Dewey marked a departure from Dewey’s philosophical pragmatism. He demanded that Dewey and other progressive intellectuals make a compelling pragmatic case for American intervention. Bourne’s cries did not fall on grateful ears. He had to resign from The New Republic, and only The Seven Arts had the nerve to circulate his writings against the war. Many friends did not like to be seen with Bourne and his father wrote begging him not to disgrace the family name. Bourne discusses this in “The War and Intellectuals,” when he articulates something that can be applied to all forms of rebellion and can be an allegory for Bourne’s life. “But again the terrible dilemma arises – either support what is going on, in which case you count for nothing because you are swallowed in the mass and great incalculable forces bear you in; or remain aloof passively resistant, in which case you count for nothing because you are outside the machine of reality.” Nevertheless, his next assertion of unwavering idealism is why Bourne continues to arise in history. “The intellectual who remains his animus against war will push out more boldly than ever to make his case solid against it.”
One of his recent biographers labeled him a “forgotten prophet.” However, one cannot read Bourne’s war essays and be blind to their prevalence to the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan and also during the opposition to the war in Vietnam. It is clear that many on the right and left alike had justified the Iraq War in strikingly Wilsonian terms. During the Bush administration, we heard Wilsonian rhetoric from the White House, the justification of the war being to thwart a dangerous regime and protect American from weapons of mass destruction. After these justifications evaporated, the administration attempted to cloud public memory, and instead promote the idea that we were spreading freedom and democracy to the Middle East. According to Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California, Ronald Steel, Wilson’s overriding idea was that of “constructing the world according to American principles.” The parallel can also be made between Lyndon B. Johnson, with the Vietnam War, and Wilson. Johnson firmly believed in the Domino Theory and that his Containment policy required America to make a serious effort to stop all Communist expansion as to preserve and spread American principles internationally.
Representative Ron Paul frequently refers to Bourne directly and indirectly in his arguments against the Iraq war, mainly from “War is the Health of the State.” Paul stated in a speech before the U.S. House of Representatives on May 22, 2007, “With war, the state thrives…. Certainly, the neoconservative belief that we have a moral obligation to spread American values worldwide through force justifies the conditions of war in order to rally support at home for the heavy hand of government. It is through this policy, it should surprise no one, that our liberties are undermined…Out of fear of being labeled unpatriotic, most of the citizens become complaint and accept the argument that some loss of liberty is required to fight the war in order to remain safe.” Paul uses Bourne as a intellectual base for his argument that there is a paradox inherent in entering war, especially to “spread” American principles.
The moral dilemma that Bourne develops about going to war for “moral” causes will be a reoccurring discussion for generations. No matter how high a cause is for entering war; there will also be human rights violations within war that will in negate its purity. A recent event that is an example and historical manifestation of Bourne’s ideas were the systemic human rights violations that occurred in the Abu Ghraib prison. Bourne repeatedly warned that war is unpredictable and uncontrollable consequences would occur during a war technique.
Many of the fears that Bourne vocalized did in fact occur, but this is not his greatest significance. Although sometimes naïve and contradictory, his musings became the highest common denominator, the moral ideal, the grounding for how to progress as an American culture, aside from the pressures of nation or state.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Here is something I read recently that was very insightful.
“Youth is not interested, and rightly not interested, merely in material success or in a career that commands the respect of his neighbors. Youth does not care, and rightly does not care, merely to make money, merely to “get on.” Youth wants to savour life, to enrich its quality if he may and if he can, to feel and experience something of its range and depth – youth wants to make over civilization so that others may in increasing measure do likewise, for that is the glorious way of youth.
To accept life as it is and make the best of it, may be an admirable quality in a middle-aged man, as it is a lovable quality in an old man, but it is a horrible thing in a young man. The intransigent spirit of youth focuses its aspiration upon the quality of life. It demands something richer and more varied. It demands also that it shall have the opportunity to help make over into something finer that we now know, the civilization of which it is a part.”
He is actually making an argument for expatriation and leaving the US for Europe...
The next sentence is,
“But in America youth is permitted to do neither one thing nor the other.”
This was written before the Obama and the HOPE and the CHANGE and stuff. hah.
Drop me an email if you want the PDF of the essay, it’s a great read.
Peace. Love. Photography.
-Harold Stearns, "WHAT can a YOUNG MAN DO?"