NO NET AMERICA

Migrant family on highway, California, 1937

Photograph by Dorothea Lange

Extended Caption: California at Last: Example of self-resettlement in California. Oklahoma farm family on highway between Blythe and Indio. Forced by the drought of 1936 to abandon their farm, they set out with their children to drive to California. Picking cotton in Arizona for a day or two at a time gave them enough for food and gas to continue. On this day, they were within a day’s travel of their destination, Bakersfield, California. Their car had broken down en route and was abandoned.

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LANGE AND HER TRANSCRIBED TEXT

Dorothea Lange and the Walkers “Toward Los Angeles.”California,

March 1937 by Dorothea Lange for FSA

 “Next Time Try The Train– Relax.”  

Lange captioned this with the walkers own words: “Well– give me the fare and I will, buddy.  We ain’t walkin’ for our health…”

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The Funklands

The Funklands are where you find them, and, when.

Bruce Berman started this project when he was in his early 20s, in the 1970s, and just starting out in photography. He cruised the highways and the low-ways of America, no particular agenda, stopping often (to the consternation of those driving with him), always looking for the funk, the detritus of other eras, the iconography of his youth and the times before him.

This America is now almost gone. It hangs over bars in places like Austin or Madison, Los Angeles or Chicago. The Funklands have turned into “Fly Over” territory, still there, still quasi rural, but  now, unrobed. The structure of the Funklands, textured, bold, spectacular, has been replaced by franchised plastic, flatness, sameness.

We celebrate corporate identity in the iconography of now, not roosters and skeletons and old Cadillacs.

The Funk has turned from delight to nothingness. Occasionally  there is a McDonald’s that riffs on a local theme, but pretty much not.

The Funk is hard to find.

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BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE

Bridge to Somewhere, El Paso, Texas. ©2015 Bruce Berman
Bridge to Somewhere, El Paso, Texas. ©2015 Bruce Berman
Text and Words by Bruce Berman

 

The meteorologists call this a “High Pressure system being pushed out by a Low Pressure system.”

Photographers will admit “every once in a while things come together and you get a lucky.”

What do I call it? What does one get for being out there, every evening and every day, always with your “axe (camera)at the ready, often coming home with nothing but the pleasure of having been out there trying?”

The funny thing is, as usual, I was in a part for town I’d never been in before (there are few left). It is a very unusual ‘hood for El Paso. In another city one would call it the “ghetto.” Here, no one thinks there is a ghetto. Being a predominantly latino city (82%), if you have a neighborhood that is lower income, the natural thing is to call it a barrio. This neighborhood was definitely “low income,” and of the three people I conversed with, two had been drinking alcohol to the point of inebriation. It is a mostly Black neighborhood, unusual in El Paso that is only 4% African-American.

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IMAGES FROM THE FSA ROAD

Okies on the road
Okies on U.S. 66, March 1937
by Dorothea Lange

 

Text  by Bruce Berman

All Commentary (definitely) Subjective

 

The Farm Security Administration (FSA) started out to show government programs to the taxpaying public, to gain support for the New Deal agriculture initiatives of the Resettlement Administration (RA). From mid 1936 to late 1939 it did that but in the doing it found itself -pushed by the hand of its Director, Roy Stryker- documenting “American Life.”

The beginning of the FSA concentrated on the devastation of people and land of the agrarian sector but, as time went on, it broadened its image-making to include the way all Americans lived and worked.

The America of the 1930s is still out there, in the backlands, far away from the eyes of urban America. In fact, if one only learned of the interior of America from the mainstream media (all situated in urban America) one could not know that the America of the 1930s FSA is ongoing, alive, and functioning.

These images are a sample from the FSA road, a road I travel often, now, in 2015, seventy nine years after the creation of the FSA and their portrayal of America.

Then as now it is typified by open space, graphic simplicity and, agriculture and a sense of order now uncommon in urban America.

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Susan Meiselas on The Engaged Photographer

Editor’s note: Susan Meiselas, Magnum Photographer and long time great documentarian, discusses documentary photography, motivations, uses, intentions and hopes for the work’s impact on subjects and society.

This project, funded by the Open Society Foundations (Meiselas Co-Curated the project’s exhibition), shows the work of some of the world’s best contemporary photographers working in this discipline.

 

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Looking Back At Portugal At Night

Restoration Square, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Horácio Novais Studio

A beautiful set of photos of Portugal at night, through the years, shot on Portugal Day.
Officially observed only in Portugal, Portuguese citizens and emigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. The date commemorates the death of national literary icon Luís de Camões on 10 June 1580.

SEE: http://www.photography-news.com/2010/06/lisbon-10-night-views.html?goback=%2Egde_1641777_member_123023198

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Fake Photos (according to Ethics Czars at AP and NPPA and every other uptight news org)

Our colorful universe or good Acid trip?

Photo: NASA

From OMG Facts

Source: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/behind_the_pictures/meaning_of_color/

NASA says that taking color pictures with the Hubble telescope is much more complex than taking pictures with a regular camera. The reason for this is that the telescope uses special electronic detectors instead of using film.

The finished pictures that we see are actually combinations of various black-and-white exposures to which color has been added. Sadly, this means that sometimes they play with color as a tool. The colors you see on a photo aren’t necessarily what you’d see in real life.

The way they do it, is they have different filters that capture different sections of the color spectrum. For example, they will adjust their sensors to capture red light, then green light, then blue light.

This gets them 3 black and white photos. However, they each are of a different brightness depending on what color it is. In a picture of Mars, the red photo will be brighter than the others.

After they color each photo, they combine them and the result is the photos you see them publish!

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The “Story Teller With Pictures”: Carl Mydans

Cafe in Pikesville, Tennessee, 1936 (for the Farm Security Administration)

Article edited and written by Bruce Berman

 

Carl Mydans began his photographic career with the Farm Security Administration in 1935, and was quickly hired away by Life magazine in 1936. Mydans photographed national stories until 1939, when Life sent Carl and his wife Shelley Smith Mydans to cover the war in Europe as the first husband and wife photo-journalist team.

From Europe, the couple was re-assigned to the Pacific theater. In 1941 they were captured by Japanese forces in the Philippines and held as prisoners of war until 1943. Mydans returned to the war alone in 1944 to cover the Italian front, while his wife and partner remained behind in the United States.

Carl Mydans was born in Boston on May 20, 1907. The family moved to Medford, Massachusetts, on the Mystic River where Carl went to high school and worked in the local boatyards after school and on weekends. He later became interested in journalism and worked as a free-lance reporter for several local newspapers. In 1930 he graduated from the Boston University School of Journalism.

Carl Mydans, 1936

Mydans then moved to New York and, while working as a reporter for the “American Banker,” began to study photography at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. In July 1935 his skill with the new 35mm “miniature” camera landed him a job with the Department of the Interior’s Resettlement Administration, which soon merged into the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Mydans joined Walker Evans and Arthur Rothstein as the core of the remarkable team of photographers assembled by Roy Stryker to document rural America.

While travelling through the southern states photographing everything that had to do with cotton, Mydans developed the shooting style he would use throughout his career. He concentrated on people, and he photographed them in a respectful and straightforward manner. As he had been taught to do as a reporter, he kept careful notes on every shot.

When Mydans joined the staff of Life in 1936 he joined a group of photojournalists who were changing the way press photography was done. Photojournalists had traditionally used 4×5 Speed Graphic cameras with flashguns and reflector pans, and their pictures of people tended to look much the same: overlit foregrounds fell off to dark backdrops that had no detail. But Mydans and his colleagues at Life relied on 35mm cameras that allowed them to work with available light, capturing a new kind of excitement and activity in their photographs. Their success with the small camera revolutionized the practice of photojournalism.

A man in hospital shows injuries caused in the wake of the atomic explosion in Hiroshima. Credits:Carl Mydans/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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Phonera

Images from NIGHT TREK series. I take strolls. I shot whatever I see. Like the old days before I was supposed to “be relevant.” The phonier is dumb, There’s always fingerprints (which one forgets to wipe off) because it’s in my pocket with change, keys, debris. I’m not caring because the point isn’t to be a photographer but to stroll. I think Cartier-Bresson said something about a photographer needs to be a good “stroller.”

I’m a good stroller anyway.

All these were shot on the mobile phone camera three days ago, Monday, May 21, in the Segundo barrio, the place that I stroll often and for years.

 

The quality of the  “tech” is marginal.

Admittedly.

BUT, the liberation of just being another idiot with a cell phone, priceless!

The mobile phone returns one (especially one who no longer looks like a Spring Chicken) to the roots, invisibility, just another vato in the ‘hood. I hate bad technique, but, I love being FOW again (fly on the wall).

What do you think? Lower technique but higher involvement? Or go for higher technique and be the outsider jamming that thing into people’s lives?

Are Phonera’s a democratizing Good Thing?

 

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The Killer Of Film

Bermaloid of the film shelf, May 2012

Commentary by Professor B KIller

Is it really over? Film? Well, actually that’s impossible. Film is any medium that can hold an image (my translation).

But is it  that film that has silver on it on an “acetate” base is over with?

Pretty much.

I teach at a university. I’ve been there for four years. When I got there I was shocked to find out that they still had darkrooms. For one reason or another we kept them. I couldn’t arrive on the job, announce “The Darkrooms Are Dead” and be the killer!

And, as we went on, the students kept saying, “We love this.”

Well, some did. Soime hated it. Some loved and hated it. Many went on to be excellent photographers (in digital).

The point was that they were still learning some good lessons -as I and my generation did- in that dim room, swathed in yellow-red light, interacting with each other as they struggled with the old wet process of film and enlarged prints.

Cool but archaic.

So, here we are, at the end of another year, and as I look forward I struggle, once again, with the idea of being the Killer.

Anyone out there have any comments on this? Opinions? Experience with being the Killer Of The Darkroom or having fought off the axe of extinction?

Register on the blog and let me know.

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Altaf Qadri

Altaf Qadri, 35, is an award winning photographer.

Qadri, 35, won a World Press Photo award this year for his poignant photograph of relatives mourning over the body of a man killed in a shooting by Indian police in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

 

photography Altaf Qadri

Qadri, an Indian citizen, is a native of the Kashmiri city of Srinagar. He studied science at Kashmir University and worked as a computer engineer before taking a job as a staff photographer at a local Kashmiri newspaper in 2001.

CLICK ON THIS IMAGE FOR MORE Altaf Qadri:  

In 2003, he joined the European Press Photo Agency and covered the conflict in Kashmir. In 2008, he began working for The Associated Press in the Indian city of Amritsar. His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world and has been exhibited in the United States, China, France and India.

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André Cypriano Shoots The Other Venezuela

From Shantytown by André Cypriano-©2011

André Cypriano takes us into the forbidden hills of Caracas Venezuela. He takes us into a strange land of oddly shaped houses, winding streets carved out of the hills, into a land so odd and so foreign that it must be myth but can only be reality. He notices, as all greart documnentarey phtography does, that ordinary reality, in some cases, is always more intense and mind-boggling than any fiction can be,

Cypriano takes us to Rochinha.

How he got there, who gave him access and what he encounters is worth serious viewing time. In the New York times Lens Blog post, below, wander with André.

He will take you on a journey you well not forget.

For more from André Cypriano, see:

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/in-brazil-finding-dignity-in-horror/

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Henri Still Kicks!

 

Article posted courtesy of Huffington Post and Steve Ettlinger

Is Photojournalism Dead Yet?

by Steve Ettlinger

Born in the 1930?s, come of age in the 1950?s and 60?s, and pronounced near dead in the 1970?s and virtually buried by the closing of magazines/rise of the internet–you have to wonder how it is that some aspects of this wonderful world are still around.

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JR Is Outside In

Outside In by JR

Editor’s Note: This is an amaz­ing project. In the era when peo­ple worry about the demise and/or future of jour­nal­ism, when aca­d­e­mics ques­tion the effec­tive­ness of jour­nal­ism in a 24/7 news cycle world, there is JR, who is pro­duc­ing and pro­mot­ing another form of pho­to­jour­nal­ism and not only bring­ing his sub­jects into the com­mu­ni­ca­tion process, he is bring­ing the work done on the sub­jects back to their envi­ron­ments. Check it out:

INSIDE OUT is a large-?scale par­tic­i­pa­tory art project that trans­forms mes­sages of per­sonal iden­tity into pieces of artis­tic work. Every­one is chal­lenged to use black and white pho­to­graphic por­traits to dis­cover, reveal and share the untold sto­ries and images of peo­ple around the world.

SEE VIDEO

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Andrea Bruce Shoots You In The Heart

Ingushetia by Andrea Bruce

Andrea Bruce is a passionate, stylish, skilled documentary photography who’s images -in the best traditions of still photography- sear your soul and drive their point through your heart, restoring it instead of terminating it. She is the new breed of documentary photographer that blends all the skills of good journalism with all the skills of great graphic image-making and produces a coctail that is nothing less than photo alchemy.

Take a look: http://www.andreabruce.com

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Evgen Bavcar: The Blind Photographer

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Self portrait by Evegen Bavcar

Photography has always been thought about as “another,” way of seeing.

And it is.

But, usually, we think about that as a person looking through the camera, seeing what’s there, and, through the magic of the camera and the film -or digital- capture process, one sees the world in different way.

More advanced photographers and appreciators of photography then allow for the transformative recognition of the quality and angle of light, of the Decisive Moment, of the power of distance to subject or, even, luck or magic.

It is this latter idea that infuses the work of Evgen Bavcar ((“E-oo-gen Ba-oo-char”), the Slovenian photographer is completely blind, completely eccentric and his images are totally wonderful.

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Shawn Baldwin Feels Egypt

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Man selling popcorn at a moulid, Tanta, Egypt, ©Shawn Baldwin

GO TO: http://www.shawnbaldwin.com/

Shawn Baldwin’s photographs of Egypt are lyrical, soft, sometimes tough, nuanced and, mostly, an eye that sees with the heart and feels with the intellect.

This is the kind of documentary that lets its viewers see as if they were there (although you’d have to be looking as hard as he is and putting in your time to get these beautifully done images).

In the end, because these are not screaming and specific, this work let’s us know a place and people without prejudice.

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Azerbaijan: Displacement Ex-Soviet Style

Rena Effendi

©Rena Effendi

GO TO: http://www.fiftycrows.org/index.php#s=0&p=0&a=2&mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&at=1

Displacement. A world wide problem. When the Grid comes you got to move no matter that there is no good place to go to from the bad place you have become accustomed to. It looks the same in Azerbaijan, Mexico DF, Lomas del Poleo, Chicago…wherever.

Rena Effendi takes us into the rarely seen inner Azerbajian, to the mahalla neighborhood in the capitol city of Baku.

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Victor Sera: Uprooted

Victor Sera

©Victor Sera

GO TO: http://www.fiftycrows.org/index.php#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=1&a=7&p=0&at=3

This is a photo essay on the lives of the undocumented as they navigate between their homes and their country chosen for work.

In some ways the “landscape,” of this document has changed since it was photographed in the 1990’s. The immigration interdiction efforts by the United States has reduced the number of migrants and, more recently, the lack of jobs in the U.S. due to the faltering economy has reduced it even further. The personal plight for migrants in the U.S. has changed for the worse, making any return to the mother country impossible due to the danger of the return journey.

This document, however, is still quite valid. The existential delemna of home and heart weighed against stomach and uprootedness is ongoing, worldwide and, as this work shows, problematic.

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Displacement In The “Heartland”

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SEE: http://mediastorm.org/0023.htm

A documentary project on Displacement…in the “Heartland!

This photographer shows how “progress,” comes to everywhere and the displacement is not limited to indigenous people either. In the end it is the interests of Capital weighed against the interests of Labor that is the issue of land appropriation and displacement.

Let this documentary speak for itself.

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