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Posts tagged: documentary photography

Arlene Gottfried Captured New York at Its Best

Angel and Woman on Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, New York, 1976

Women on Riis Beach, New York, 1980

Arlene Gottfried (1950–2017) was a paradox of the best kind: the infinitely shy artist who can blow the roof off the joint while singing gospel, or approach any person in order to take their photo. Hailing from Brooklyn, Gottfried spent her childhood in Coney Island where all kinds of characters loomed near and far.

She took up photography, casually snapping some of the greatest New York scenes ever caught on film, documenting an era of life that once defined the city, but has long since been erased. In Sometimes Overwhelming (powerHouse Books). Gottfried chronicles the charismatic figures she encountered on the streets and the beaches, the nightclubs and the parks, the boardwalks and the parades, the circus and the dog shows.

These Nostalgic Photos Capture the Spirit of NYC

Sleuth

Chrysler

When describing the American photographer Berenice Abbott, the French poet Jean Cocteau once said, “She is a chess game between light and shadow.” It’s been almost ninety years since Abbott made New York her stomping ground, but her ghost continues to haunt its streets. And perhaps if you look hard enough, you’ll see she left a few of those chess pieces behind.

Ian Robert Wallace knows how to find them. As the child of two architects, the young photographer and filmmaker always shared a bond with the city. “I knew when I was growing up that I wanted to live in NY at some point,” he admits. “I thought it was mesmerizing.” He finally made the move when he went to NYU in 2012, but in some ways, the much-anticipated arrival took him back in time.

Photos of 65 Iconic Artists In Their Bathtubs

Keith Haring, 1982. Photo © Don Herron, courtesy Estate of Don Herron and Daniel Cooney Fine Art

Phoebe Legere, 1988. Photo © Don Herron, courtesy Estate of Don Herron and Daniel Cooney Fine Art

The East Village, 1988: Phoebe Legere was preparing to pose in her bathtub for photographer Don Herron. The 25-year-old songwriter had signed to Epic Records—one of the most powerful in the world back then—and they poised to make her into some combination of Madonna, Barbra Streisand, and Liberace. At the same time, Legere says, Michael Jackson had reached huge commercial success, Cindy Lauper was past her prime, and few female singers or artists were depicted as strong or powerful figures in stardom. Not to mention there was a booming yet wholly male-dominated art renaissance emerging quite literally around the corner in New York, according to Legere. Even Keith Haring was showing at the now-iconic FUN Gallery just half a block away from Legere’s apartment, where she still resides today. “It was a boys club, no question about it,” Legere tells me. “Girls were not welcome, except as maybe a muse or a drug dealer.”

A few days before her photo shoot with Herron, however, Legere had an idea. The up-and-coming musician could use the session to reveal another one of her talents: painting. Using black bathtub glaze, she adorned her bathtub in paintings of fish—which she calls her “totem animal”—and voluptuous women. She didn’t think her beauty alone was enough to would hold anyone’s attention. By the time Herron arrived, after he climbed 80 stairs to Legere’s fifth floor walk up, the paint on the tub had not yet dried and the water had turned black.

12 Must-See Exhibitions at the Indian Photography Festival

Delhi, India © Alejandra Cardenas, from The Print Swap by Feature Shoot

The Indian Photography Festival (IPF) by the Light Craft Foundation is now underway! As South Asia’s leading photography festival, IPF 2018 includes stunning exhibitions, talks, workshops, and portfolio reviews with some of the world’s most influential and pioneering artists, journalists, and editors. Among those present are the photojournalists Nick Ut (Vietnam) and Anush Babajanyan (Armenia), National Geographic‘s senior photo editor James Wellford, the photographer Sandro Miller, the photographer/filmmaker Pep Bonet, and many more.

Featuring 550 photographers hailing from 52 countries, this year’s events speak to the power of photography to inspire social change. Exhibiting organizations range from Women Photograph to the Siena International Photo Award and everyone in between. The festival opened last night at the State Gallery of Art in Hyderabad, India, and it will run through October 7th. In anticipation of opening weekend, we put together this preview of just twelve of this year’s extraordinay exhibitions to whet your appetite. Be sure to head on over the IPF website to see the whole schedule. And if you’re in or near Hyderabad this month, don’t miss the chance to see all the shows in person!

The realities of the Black Diamond mining communities in Eastern India

About ten years ago, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi was working on a project called A Cirkusz – a photographic exploration of the traveling circus community and their freedoms. It was around then that he came across a news story that argued against the officially released data claiming that the number of deaths and injuries related to coal mining in China were very low. The reality was in fact much worse. This piqued an interest in Sardi and he began searching for images of coal mining in China. Unfortunately, there was very little he could find and so he decided to go to China himself, as a photographer. This was the beginning of his journey in documenting the effects of coal mining on its communities, around parts of the world.

This New Award Is Exactly What The Photo Industry Needs

Taken April 27, 2016 during a rally in West Baltimore. As protestors and supporters march through the street, two young boys on bicycles raise their fists as a police car drives away from them. This image was taken around the one-year anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray and the 2015 uprising. © Shan Wallace

© Rhynna M. Santos

Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, stands among memorial pillars at The National Memorial for Peace and Justice of those lynched in various counties and states. Photographed for NPR. © Lynsey Weatherspoon

The history of photography has been written primarily by white, cis-gendered, heterosexual men. “Culture is driven by creatives of color, but so often mainstream media removes the cultural significance, voice, and tone and seemingly co-opts our brain power,” the Atlanta-based photographer Lynsey Weatherspoon writes. Lifting up and centering stories of color is critical, as is making space for women and creatives of color to tell their own stories.” Weatherspoon is one of 30 photographers selected to be part of The Lit List, a new award devoted to doing exactly that. 

The Lit List, launched by the photographer and writer Oriana Koren of the Authority Collective in collaboration with Diversify.Photo, amplifies the voices of marginalized and underrepresented lens-based artists. This includes but is not limited to womxn, transgender, and non-binary photographers and filmmakers of color. This year’s superstar jury included the photographer and professor Zora J Murff, California Sunday‘s Paloma Shutes, The New Yorker‘s Siobhan Bohnacker, the Magnum Foundation’s Noelle Flores Theard, Wired‘s Sara Urbaez, the visual historian Renata Charlise of Blvck Vrchives, the art director and illustrator Jaya Nicely, the photographer and photo editor Danielle Scruggs, and Hannah Kuo of Lucky88.

Breathtaking Photos Capture Loss and Hope in the Age of Climate Change

Dust Storm, Rajasthan, India, 1983 © Steve McCurry

Bear One, Devon Island, Canadian Arctic, 2008 © Sebastian Copeland

Constant industrial developments and a significant increase in the consumption of Earth’s resources over the last few decades have resulted in environmental disasters that continue to negatively impact the our climate today. Now more than ever, environmental issues are at the center of social and political debates all over the world.

Artists and journalist alike have directed their lens towards this pressing issue and documented the causes and the effects of climate change all over the world. In the hopes of raising more awareness, Lucie Foundation collaborated with The Royal Photographic Society of Thailand and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre to present the exhibition Beyond the Air We Breathe. Featuring over 80 of the world’s most accomplished and renowned photographers, including Steve McCurry, Sebastian Copeland, and James Nachtwey, the exhibition aims to highlight the astonishing stories of photographers dedicated to the protection of the environment.

Soulful Photos of Animals Saved from Slaughter or Neglect

Scout

Shy Girl

“Scout the sheep is my muse,” the photographer Janet Holmes tells me. As a volunteer at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, New York, she’s developed a bond with many of the rescued farm animals, but none quite compare to Scout. “Sheep can recognize human faces, and she seems to remember me,” she continues. “Almost every time I visit, she comes over to say hello and asks for a back scratch just the way a dog does, by nudging her head under my hand. She’ll lean her weight against my leg and even rest her head on my shoulder.”

In France, One Village Sets an Example by Helping Refugees

Michelle Baillot (center) picks up three sisters (from left: Touana, 5, Schkourtessa, 7, and Erlina, 10) from school. Baillot welcomed the family when the parents fled Kosovo after conflict engulfed the former Yugoslavia. (Lucian Perkins)

Marianne Mermet-Bouvier (far right) shelters a Syrian family who fled Aleppo. Her relatives hid Jews throughout the war and she says that there remains an unbroken line of tradition extending from that generation to her own. (Lucian Perkins)

In the yard of the stone elementary school with the tile roof in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a town of just 2,700 people on a high plateau in south-central France, kids play and horse around like school kids everywhere. Except they sometimes chatter in different languages: They’re from Congo and Kosovo, Chechnya and Libya, Rwanda and South Sudan. “As soon as there’s a war anyplace, we find here some of the ones who got away,” says Perrine Barriol, an effusive, bespectacled Frenchwoman who volunteers with a refugee aid organization. “For us in Chambon, there’s a richness in that.”

More than 3,200 feet in elevation, the “Montagne,” as this part of the Haute-Loire region is called, first became a refuge in the 16th century, when residents who converted to Protestantism had to escape Catholic persecution. In 1902, a railroad connected the isolated area to industrial cities on the plain. Soon Protestants from Lyon journeyed there to drink in the word of the Lord and families afflicted by the coal mines of Saint-Étienne went to breathe the clean mountain air.

Thus Chambon-sur-Lignon, linked to Protestant aid networks in the United States and Switzerland, was ready for the victims of fascism. First came refugees from the Spanish Civil War, then the Jews, especially children, in World War II. When the Nazis took over in 1942, the practice of taking in refugees—legal before then—went underground. Residents also helped refugees escape to (neutral) Switzerland. In all, people in and around Chambon saved the lives of some 3,200 Jews.

The tradition of opening their homes to displaced people continues today. In the village of Le Mazet-Saint-Voy, Marianne Mermet-Bouvier looks after Ahmed, his wife, Ibtesam, and their two small boys, Mohamed-Noor, 5, and Abdurahman, 3. The family arrived here last winter and live for now in a small apartment owned by Mermet-Bouvier. They lost two other children during the bombing of Aleppo, and then spent three years in a Turkish camp. That’s where the French government’s Office Français de Protection des Réfugiés et Apatrides found the family. But even with entry papers, somebody in France had to put them up. Their sponsors, not surprisingly, were here on the plateau. Ahmed and his wife, now six months pregnant, smile often, and the word that keeps coming up in Ahmed’s choppy French is “normal.” Despite the upheavals of culture and climate, Ahmed finds nothing strange about being here, which, after the hostility he and his children encountered in the Turkish camps, was a thrilling surprise. “Everybody here says bonjour to you,” Ahmed marvels.

Margaret Paxson, an anthropologist who lives in Washington, D.C., learned recently that she has family ties to Chambon and is writing a book about the region. “This story is about now,” says Paxson. “Not because we need to turn the people who live here into angels, but because we need to learn from them.”

Read the rest of Joshua Levine‘s article and see more of Lucian Perkins‘s photographs over at Smithsonian Magazine.

Inside the Southside Nightclubs of Chicago in the 1970s

Between 1975 and ’77, Michael Abramson (1948-2011) created an extraordinary body of work documenting Chicago’s Southside nightclubs as the subject of his Masters thesis for the Illinois Institute of Technology. Abramson made the rounds, carrying a camera and strobe light to catch all the action going down at Perv’s House, Pepper’s Hideout, The High Chaparral, The Patio Lounge, and The Showcase Lounge.

The sound was afterhours, featuring the funky, soulful vibes of blues artists like Little Mac Simmons, Bobby Rush, Lady Margo, and Little Ed. But Abramson wasn’t checking for the musicians on stage — he came for the crowd on the dancefloors and the bars, shooting half a dozen rolls every night inside this rarely seen milieu. “It was a living self-contained theater,” Abramson said of those heady nights.

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