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Posts tagged: portrait photography

Life Inside the Hotel Chelsea, New York’s Last Bohemian Haven, in Photos

Susanne Bartsch

Few landmarks to bohemian life continue to stand tall and proud in New York; most have disappeared from the landscape during the twin plights of benign neglect and gentrification that have reshaped the city over the past 50 years. But the Hotel Chelsea remains one of the last grand dames still on the scene today.

Built between 1843 and 1885, the Chelsea, as it’s colloquially known, was one of the first cooperative apartment buildings in New York City, and briefly among one of its tallest buildings. Under former owner Stanley Bard’s leadership, the hotel became a magnet for writers, artists, actors, directors, musicians, fashion designers, and other assorted luminaries, immortalized in books, film, television, and song.

The Chelsea the place where Sid Vicious killed Nancy Spungen, the place where Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, the inspiration for Andy Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls, and countless other moments in art and pop culture history. Now, it is the subject of the book, Hotel Chelsea: Living in the Last Bohemian Haven (The Monacelli Press) by photographer Colin Miller and writer Ray Mock, as an ode to the Gilded Age residency in the new millennium.

Enchanting Photos from a Cabin in the Woods

Night Swimming, 2017

Zephyranthes (Rain Lilies) at Dusk, Near the Cypress Swamp, Early Spring 2018

Ark Lodge, a cabin tucked away in the woods of South Carolina, has been in Jen Ervin’s family for generations. Built between 1939 and 1940 by her husband’s grandparents, it sits between two rivers, where Ervin, her husband, and their three children have spent countless hot and sticky summer days.

Ervin first visited the cabin when she was seventeen years old, just a few years older than her three daughters are now. Throughout the decades, their ancestors have left behind vintage photographs, many of mysterious origin. In 2012, Ervin picked up where they left off, creating portraits of life at the cabin using an old and compact Polaroid Land Camera.

She continued to document her family and this landscape for six years, culminating in The Arc, a book published this year by Aint-Bad.

Arlene Gottfried’s Mesmerizing Photographs of New York in the 1980s

Boy with Knife, late 1970s

Heroin Series, Man With Beer And Cigarette, late 1970s

Hailing from Coney Island, Arlene Gottfried (1950-2017) grew up on the streets of Crown Heights during the 1960s just as white flight was reshaping the face of New York. She moved to Greenwich Village in 1972 as a young photography student enrolled at Fashion Institute of Technology and soon thereafter her family moved to the East Village when it was more familiarly known as Alphabet City — one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Manhattan.

But the ragged, jagged edges of the city didn’t frighten Gottfried. Rather, like a moth to the flame she found herself drawn to the people living on the margins, whose lives often fell between the cracks, and made it her business to create some of the most sensitive, compelling portraits of an era that has all but vanished.

“New York City street photography is genre of photography itself. How many photographs of New York have been made?” gallerist Daniel Cooney asks. “What makes Arlene’s work special is Arlene herself. We see New York as Arlene sees it. It is not the subject matter, because the subject matter is not new. It is Arlene. She was an original.”

A New Exhibition Looks at Our Complex Relationship with Animals

Karsten, impoundment #87239. Karsten was an 11-month male Labrador/hound mix was a stray. He was brought to the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, NC on 4/20/13. Karsten was adopted on 8/13/13 after spending 78 days in the shelter, and thirty-seven days after being photographed at Landfill Park. © Shannon Johnstone

In 2013, Shannon Johnstone met a puppy named Karsten at the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, North Carolina as part of her long-term project Landfill Dogs, a series of photographs of shelter dogs who are at risk of being euthanized.

Karsten was a great dog, but he was young and big. He also had lots of energy, which meant he’d be harder to adopt. “Not long after his photo shoot, Karsten ended up in quarantine,” the artist remembers. “The note in his file read ‘Quarantined for rambunctious behavior.’”

Johnstone left Karsten’s photo shoot that day feeling sad and worried that he wouldn’t find a home. In his portrait, he’s sitting in the grass, looking back at the photographer under a cloudy sky. His expression is hopeful, but it’s also solemn.

Despite the nuances of the work, Johnstone initially had trouble getting people to care about dogs like Karsten. “When I began Landfill Dogs, I attended portfolio reviews and consultations with curators,” she remembers. “I was disappointed to hear that my photographs would never be anything but dog portraits.

“I was told by more than one individual that because of the subject, the photographs needed something else, some other twist to ‘elevate’ them. This really bothered me. Why can’t a portrait of a dog be just as important as a portrait of human?”

Now, an exhibition of five female artists is hoping to shift the narrative. With support from the Culture and Animals Foundation, Johnstone, Lee Deigaard, Jo-Anne McArthur, Traer Scott, and L.A. Watson have come together under one roof to examine the dignity, individuality, and worthiness of animals.

A Portrait of the Eternal City During the 1970s

Rome is a cinematic wonderland: a landscape made to be immortalized in photography and film. It’s grandeur lies in the dereliction of empire everywhere you look, the inevitable, inescapable decay of the imperialist impulse. It is pure romance in the nineteenth century sense of the word: the sublime awe-inspiring knowledge that all that remains of the past is fantasy and myth.

By the 1970s, Rome had become a restless place, one of innocence long faded away. In its place, a new spirit emerged, one that evokes the pride of those who are determined to survive at any cost. It is anything but la dolce vita, though a Fellini-esque spirit lurks in the shadows of debauched darkness punctured by quivering beams of shining light.

It is in this city that American photographer Stephan Brigidi took aim, capturing slices of daily life in his new book Rome 1970s: A Decade of Turbulent Change (Daylight). Like many world capitals of the era, Rome had become a harsh, sinister place, the breeding ground for the kidnapping and murder of prominent politician Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades.

A History of Photography as Seen Through the Eyes of Howard Greenberg

Young girl in profile, 1948. Consuelo Kanaga (American, 1894–1978)
Photograph, gelatin silver print

Madrid, Spain, 1933. Henri Cartier?Bresson (French, 1908–2004)
Photograph, gelatin silver print

The history of photography is shaped not only by the people who make the pictures but those who preserve their work and their legacies. In a world where the art market feeds a compulsion to buy and sell, to trade art like a commodity, the words of Oscar Wilde may spring to mind: “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

But once upon a time, it was not so. The collector was a person of tremendous importance and influence, supporting not only the artist in the tradition of patronage, but transforming the landscapes of history and art. Gallerist Howard Greenberg is one such person who understand this point of view, having not only helped establish the medium of photography in the haughty market of art, but having established a collection whose value extends far beyond the pallid discussion of price.

The new exhibition Viewpoints: Photographs from the Howard Greenberg Collection, on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston through December 15, 2019, presents 150 highlights from a group of 446 recently acquired images that showcases some of the most important pictures made during the twentieth century.

The list of photographers is a veritable who’s who of modern art — and some of our favorites including Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Roy DeCarava, William Klein, Dorothea Lange, Helen Levitt, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, James Van Der Zee, Arnold Newman, and Brassaï (Gyula Halasz) to name just a few of the legends whose works are now on display.

Photos Capture the ‘Serenity and Chaos’ of India

“I feel the serenity in the chaos is what makes India so amazing–the smells, the noise, the heat, the people, the animals,” the Bangalore-based photographer Vivek Prabhakar tells us. “I love going out when the streets are busy. There are so many moments unfolding.”

A Multi-Faceted Portrait of the Genius of Photographer Jim Marshall

Man outside a liquor store in Oakland, California, 1962

Black musicians still had to fight to perform in venues in non-black neighborhoods, even though the black and white locals of the American Federation of Musicians had merged. North Beach, San Francisco, 1960.

John Coltrane listening to playback at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio for Impulse Records, New York City, 1963

When most people think of photographer Jim Marshall (1936-2010), scenes from rock and roll history come crashing to mind: Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire during the Monterey Pop Festival; Johnny Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin State Prison; Janis Joplin lounging like a vixen in a sparkly mini-dress with a bottle of Southern Comfort in hand; the Charlatans playing the Summer of Love concert in Golden Gate Park.

But Marshall’s roots go deeper than rock: they thread through the history of jazz, in the nightclubs and festivals where he honed his skills as self-taught photographer coming of age in Jim Crow America. A perennial outsider, Marshall championed the underdog, the spaces where the oppressed and exploited transformed their pain and sorrow into beauty and art.

As a man of the streets, Marshall understood the power of the activist to transform the way we see and think. He used the camera as his instrument, to tell the story of the people and the times — not just the headlining names but the regular folks who fought for the cause that we’re still fighting for more than half a century after he made some of his most indelible photographs.

War Veterans Who Have Found Peace and Healing in Vietnam

On July 21, 1954, Vietnam was split, the fractured nation a pawn of the Cold War. The communist North and the capitalist South became pitted against each other in a twenty-year war that would destroy not only the Vietnamese people and their land but countless foreign soldiers sent to fight a brutal proxy war.

The United States entered into the conflict in 1964 after the suspicious Gulf of Tonkin incident, and for the next nine years drafted American men, disproportionately from working class, Black, and Latinx backgrounds, to fight a war they could never win.

That did not stop the U.S. military from engaging in some of the most heinous acts of war, from the My Lai Massacre in 1968, wherein their gang raped women, mutilated children as young as 12, and slaughtered some 504 innocent villagers uninvolved in the conflict.

Reportage of the war was as brutal as the acts themselves, fomenting a righteous ant0war favor stateside. Public sentiment split the nation in half, with warmongers deriding anti-war protesters and eventually spurring on the National Guard shooting that left four U.S. students dead during at Kent State in Ohio in 1971.

The Hope and Resilience of Animals, in Photos

“I first saw Chloe as I was passing a beautiful rolling pasture on my drive home,” Debra Hodges remembers. “It was late afternoon. Her whiteness was shimmering against the dark green of the forest behind her as she grazed in a pasture green with the promise of warmer days ahead. I’d driven by that pasture for years and had never seen her. I knew I had to photograph her.”

After weeks of searching for the property owner and the lessee, Hodges finally got to meet Chloe–a senior horse in her 20s. Chloe had been with her family for eight years, and she had melanoma. “From a distance, she was perfection,” the artist says. “Up close she had a large mass growing at the edge of one of her eye sockets. And the base of her tail was deformed by a collection of lesions and growths that hadn’t yet interfered with her bodily functions but would before long.”

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