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Documenting the Vanishing History of Appalachia’s Famed Cumberland Plateau

Eugene Hensley and Jobie Pray. Wilder, TN. 2017.

The Old Coon Hunter Mural at Ciderville Music Hall. Powell, TN.

“My daddy, he was a moonshiner. I’m not ashamed of it,” Opal Sharp Wright tells author Rachel Boillot in the new book Moon Shine: Photographs of the Cumberland Plateau (Daylight).

“He was crippled, he couldn’t work no regular job I guess dad had to feed his kids. He had three brothers that lived over there by him and they’d help him sometime, they’d all gather up there at the stlll and you could hear ‘em a-signing and making music.”

Growing up in the 1920s during Prohibition, Sharp Wright came of age inside a culture as old as America itself, a way of life that finds its swan song in Boilot’s tender and merciful book.

An Intimate Look at the Secret Life of April Dawn Alison

“Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life and a secret life,” the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez knowingly remarked, reminding us that what we see and what we believe is often just an illusion of sorts. Beneath it all, lays the true self, an identity we often keep hidden from the world — including ourselves.

But there are those who dare to delve into the person they are we no one else is there to witness it. These moments are a manifestation of something beyond the person others see: it is the self that exists within our deepest being. To record this, to document it, to create evidence of that which exists for no one else — this takes nerve. It is here our story of April Dawn Alison begins.

In 2017, a painter named Andrew Masulio donated an archive of over 8,000 Polaroids to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) — previously unseen self-portraits of April Dawn Alison, the female persona of Alan Schaefer (1941-2008), an Oakland-based photographer who lived in the world as a man. The archive reveals to us a fully-realized secret life beautifully revealed in the exquisite monograph, April Dawn Alison (MACK), selections from which are currently on view at SFMOMA through December 1, 2019.

A Powerful Portrait of the First Peoples of Australia

In 1899, British/Australian biologist and anthropologist Sir Baldwin Spencer and telegraph-station master Francis J. Gillen published The Native Tribes of Central Australia, an in-depth study of the customs and traditions of the Aboriginal groups living near Alice Springs. Initiated as members of the Arunta tribe, the authors were the first Europeans to witness the customs and social structures of a people that the state of Australia did not recognize.

The book featured 119 photographs, many of sacred rituals and ceremonies never seen by the Western world before. While the book caused a sensation in Europe, it failed to take into account the impact it had on those it documented — quite literally as such encounters with the disease-carrying Europeans often resulted in death:

“The very kindness of the white man who supplies him, in outlying parts, with stray bits of clothing is by no means conducive to the longevity of the native. If you give a black fellow, say a woollen shirt, he will perhaps wear it for a day or two, after that his wife will be adorned with it, and then, in return for perhaps a little food, it will be passed on to a friend. The natural result is that, no sooner do the natives come into contact with white men, than phthisis and other diseases soon make their appearance, and, after a comparatively short time, all that can be done is to gather the few remnants of the tribe into some mission station where the path to final extinction may be made as pleasant as possible.”

These intimate scenes will take you back to the Victorian Era

© Tami Bahat

© Tami Bahat

The Mistress 1, 2017 © Tami Bahat / courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

Tami Bahat’s photographic portraiture is at once unique and familiar: unique in its distinct approach to lighting and Victorian-era style, yet familiar in its visual cues, referencing the work of old masters such as Vermeer and Rembrandt.

The work in Bahat’s series, Dramatis Personae, is tied to the tradition of painting. In her piece The Painter, a seemingly conventional composition becomes quite complex upon further investigation, as a baboon takes center stage in a once traditional artist portrait. There is a subtle twist in each of Bahat’s photographs, quietly demanding the attention of the viewer.

We spoke to one of the internet’s most famous Photoshop provocateurs

Since Feature Shoot’s inception back in 2008, we’ve managed to showcase some of the best photographers on the planet. But of all the talented people we’ve had the pleasure to interview, only one has been able to capture Kurt Cobain’s secret pet Gremlin, exposed that Elvis is still alive, and witnessed the moment when Pablo Escobar met Mr. Rogers. We present Vemix, the digital artist that’s taking the world by storm.

Nobody knows his real name or has ever seen a photograph of him. Yet, the guy has about 60,000 followers on Instagram and is constantly tagged by today’s greatest celebrities. He’s even got his own entry in the Urban Dictionary, where his name is defined as a verb.

The Photographic Duo Behind Iconic Images of Modern Art

HARRY SHUNK AND JANOS KENDER, SELF-PORTRAIT, ITALY, 1966.

FRANCOIS DUFRENE IN HIS STUDIO, PARIS, 1963.

Between 1958 and 1973, German Harry Alexander Shunk (1924-2006) and his Hungarian partner János Kender (1938-2009) collaborated with nearly 300 European and American artists to document some of the most iconic moments in modern art.

Together, they produced some 190,000 images in collaboration with artists including Man Ray, Roy Lichtenstein, Lou Reed, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Carolee Schneemann, William Klein, and Yayoi Kusama — many of which have become an integral part of the history of art, and works worthy of veneration themselves.

“In the history of photography, ‘documents for artists’ exist in the shade, with a few rare exceptions,” writes Florian Ebner in an essay that appears in the new book, Shunk-Kender: Art Through the Eye of the Camera 1957–1983 (Éditions Xavier Barral), which accompanies the first exhibition of their work, now on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris through August 5, 2019.

Scenes from A Pivotal Era in the Gentrification of Miami Beach

E.J. Pence, competitive bodybuilder South Beach, 1990

Ocean Drive, South Beach, 1992

As with nearly every major city across the United States, Miami Beach was reduced to a shell of its former self. As the Nixon White House policy of “benign neglect” systemically denied basic government services to Black and Latinx communities, white flight caused the economy to plummet into the abyss.

Nixon’s attack on minority communities didn’t stop there as he invented the “War on Drugs” in 1971 as a way to criminalize the Black community and build the foundation for the prison industrial complex, in which legal slavery openly flourishes across the nation.

Under the weight of state-sponsored terrorism against the very citizens it purported to serve, cities collapsed into a horrific vortex of poverty, crime, illness, and death. Miami Beach was particularly hard hit as it became the stomping grounds for Colombian drug cartel during the 1970s and ‘80s. By the time Fidel Castro emptied the jails and sent 125,000 Cubans to Miami on the Mariel Boat Lift in 1980, Miami Beach’s glory days as tourist destination were a thing of distant memory.

A Rock Star Finds Himself on the Other Side of the Camera

Montserrat, Lesser Antilles, December 1982

Copenhagen, Denmark, January 1982

Montserrat, Lesser Antilles, December 1982

Back in 1979, while watching television in his New York hotel room, British rock star Andy Summers had a revelation: “I should get a real camera,” he writes in an essay that appears in the new monograph, A Certain Strangeness (University of Texas Press).

“Our band, the Police, was moving fast in the US. With pockets suddenly stuffed with dollars and what they called ‘media attention,’ we were a hot new band. You could feel it in this city, where already our names were being called out in the streets. It was fun, but sitting around and staring at the walls of hotel rooms was boring, and we need diversions.”

Summers goes on to recount the experience of being in front of he camera, posing for snaps, and realizing he was intrigued by the way photographers went about their business. He decided to buy a camera and immediately took to the streets, like a duck to water, equally at home with a guitar as he was with a Nikon FE.

Memories of Terence Donovan’s Swinging Sixties

Georgia Gold Fashion shoot for Queen magazine 26 May 1964 

Sophia Loren May 1963. In costume on the Spanish set of Anthony Mann’s ‘The Fall
of the Roman Empire’ Queen magazine

British fashion photographer Terence Donovan embodies the quintessential rags-to-riches tale but a modern twist: for all of his commercial success, a darkness cast a pall, and leading the legendary lensman to commit suicide at the age of 60, in 1996.

Although he made his name in the Swinging Sixties as part of the “Black Trinity” that included fellow fashion photographers David Bailey and Brian Duffy, Donovan rarely exhibited his work. ‘Terence didn’t want to look back,’ Robin Muir, former photo editor of British Vogue told The Guardian in 1999. ‘I think it is very much part of his generation’s way of approaching photography not to see themselves as artists, but as people who pick up the camera and then move on.”

Now, a new exhibition shines a light on his iconic work. Terence Donovan: The 1960s – Vintage Prints from the Archive on view Huxley-Parlour in London through July 27, 2019, presents sections of his most famous images alongside rarely-seen works. The exhibition begins in 1959, when Donovan, then 22, opened his first London studio, and charts his career as he came to define the look of post-war Britain’s first youthquake — a time of sex, frocks, and rock & roll that still reverberates today.

Werner Bischof’s Breathtaking Portrait of Mid-Century America

Advertising signage, southern states, USA 1954

The Golden Gate Bridge from above, San Francisco, USA 1953

Magnum photographer Werner Bischof (1916-1954) arrived in the United States a year before his death and spent 1953 traveling across the continent. His series USA, currently on view at David Hill Gallery in London through July 26, 2019, is a vivid portrait of the nation as it rose to become a global superpower.

While most of his contemporaries were firmly entrenched in the tradition of black and white, Bischof broke free, using color to capture both the mood of a place and the quality of life, creating lyrical poems of extraordinary nuance and depth. The exhibition features a selection of 25 photographs that reveal his experiments in color and motion to capture the sensations of being in a rapidly modernizing country possessed with entirely too much faith in itself.

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