West Texas seems vast, seamless, endless and infinite.
But consider the Universe!
No walls. No boundaries?
No end we can even imagine.
Can you get your head around that?
West Texas seems vast, seamless, endless and infinite.
But consider the Universe!
No walls. No boundaries?
No end we can even imagine.
Can you get your head around that?
This eye has been 0n America for a long time now.
We think we’ve been watching the world through it but, in reality, it has not only been watching us, but sucking us into its world of fantasy and deceit.
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.
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…”
Tenant farmer moving his household goods to a new farm.
Hamilton County, Tennessee, Rothstein, Arthur, 1937 (LOC)
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 The structure of the Funklands, textured, bold, spectacular, has been replaced by franchised plastic, flatness, sameness.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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch this lovely video. Be inspired. A true original.
Was he the finest wine of the great era?
Why was he not mentioned in the same breath as Avedon and Penn? Could it be he was too original, too pure, too soulful?
Bridesmaids and best man at a wedding in Chavez Ravine, 1929.
Courtesy of the Shades of L.A. Collection, Los Angeles Public Library
Memorial service for men killed during the
Japanese attack on Kanehoe, Hawaii
courtesy of Navy History and Heritage Command
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.
Our colorful universe or good Acid trip?
From OMG Facts
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
These are not the view of Japan that we normally see. Shiho Fukada shows us how some elderly people in Japan fare. It is not a story unique to Japan.
Lost Boys of Afghanistan by Moises Saman
See this stirring slideshow by Moises Saman shot for The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/08/27/world/20090827AFGHANMINORS_index.html
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.
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.
©2009 Photograph by Mimi Chakarova
This is one of the most painful documentaries I have ever seen.
Even more amazing is the fact that the work is not the slam and splash type of photojournalism that deals in blood, guts and flames.
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.
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.
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.