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Posts tagged: portrait photography

Photos of a Lonesome and Imaginary Salesman

Yesterday Was a Good Day

A Cliche of a Phone Call

The Old House

“I am kind of stuck in the past, visually,” the Norwegian photographer Ole Marius Joergensen tells me. His series Vignettes of a salesman follows the many wanderings of a fictional traveling salesman–an ageless figure from the 1950s, who, in a surreal twist, has journeyed not only through space but also through time. “He is here in the present, representing something which is gone,” the artist explains. “He is from the old world walking around in our world.”

Facing the Complex Truths of Addiction & Recovery

JUNE 24, 2017 – BALTIMORE, MD: Colin came to Earl’s Place in 2012. He was at one time an assistant to acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz. Now he is clean and sober and nurtures his relationship with his daughter.

AUGUST 14, 2017 – BALTIMORE, MD: Earl is 54 years old. He used drugs for 30 years and was in numerous recovery programs before coming to Earl’s Place in 2006. Earl believes the structure of Earl’s Place, including curfews and chores, helped him learn how to be neat and clean, and how to respect others. “I have 12 years without drugs. I have my own place. I go to church. I have a job, a sponsor, and I’m the sponsor for two men,” says Earl. 

The conversation around addiction and recovery is a minefield filled with a wealth of disinformation, misinformation, sensationalization, exploitation, and victimization, poisoning our understanding of issues — and the lives at stake. For addiction rarely harms the addict alone, but extends into the lives of families and friends.

Photographer Andrew Mangum understands this firsthand, his mother having suffered from addiction most of his life. Although she is now clean and sober, Mangum continues to bear the pain of trauma that has informed his life. Photography became a path to healing through conversation and communion, centered in the vital, necessary act of human connection with the people he met at Earl’s Place in Baltimore.

A transitional housing program for homeless men in recovery from alcohol or substance abuse, Earl’s Place provides long-term housing and support services for up to two years. At any given time, 17 men are given the basic support and care needed to help them continue their education, get a GED, secure job training and employment opportunities that will allow them to re-enter mainstream society.

Through the process of creating these portraits, Mangum was able to have conversations with these men that were too difficult to have with his mother. The depths of his understanding is profound, as his portraits stand in silent testimony to the toll addiction exacts on those who fall into its perilous clasp. Yet there is none of the hand-wringing, holier-than-thou, condescending contempt or voyeuristic thrill seeking that pervades so much coverage of addiction in the press — there is simply a knowledge of the struggle and mutual respect. Here, Mangum shares his experiences creating this intimate body of work that humanizes the face of addiction.

Moving Photos of the Stray Animals of Sarajevo

For the photographer Adnan Mahmutovic, the stray animals of Sarajevo are more than the subjects of a longterm series. They’re an important part of the fabric of his life. “I don’t consider this is a ‘project,'” he admits. “I’ve taken photos on my everyday walks for years now. The dogs or cats come for a little cuddling or some food.” His pictures aren’t spur-of-the-moment snapshots but the result of an enduring connection spanning many years.

The Magical, Mystical Muses of Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas. Racquel Reclining Wearing Purple Jumpsuit , 2015.
Rhinestones, glitter, flock, acrylic, and oil on wood panel. 96 x 144 in.
The Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann Collection

Mickalene Thomas. Racquel: Come to Me , 2017.
Rhinestones, acrylic, oil, oil stick, and glitter on wood panel. 108 x 84 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

Look, but don’t touch, just imagine how it feels as your eyes caress the surface of a work of art by Mickalene Thomas. Painting, photograph, and collage commingle effortlessly as sequins, rhinestones, and glitter every hue imaginable make their way across the picture plane. Spellbound, you stand there and breathe it all in, taking refuge in the infinite glory of the sublime.

At the heart of Thomas’s work is an intoxicating sense of intimacy, a sensual embrace that that seems to embody the very air we breathe. One is immediately seduced and disarmed, overwhelmed by the feeling of being welcomed into this milieu, a space that suggests a boudoir filled with velvet and lace, with veils that cover and reveal, of secrets to be shared.

At its very center, it is about relationship, about the dynamic that exists between artist, model, and viewer that dances into the timeless sunsets of an infinite land. It is rooted in the connections Thomas holds with the women who inspire her to create a wonderland.

Make a Stunning Photo Book with This Great New Tool

I’ve loved photo books ever since I was a kid, so when I learned about Motif Photos, a native extension for Photos on macOS, I knew I had to make one of my own. Motif uses cutting-edge technology to simplify the process of putting together a top-of-the-line photo book, card, or calendar; in minutes, anyone and everyone can use this tool to design the perfect holiday gift. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, this new extension makes it easy to build a beautiful collection of your favorite images.

I quickly downloaded Motif Photos from the App Store, and then I let my creative side take over. The concept for the book was a seasonal collection of winter landscapes from photographers all over the world. I didn’t want anything typical or overly cheery; instead, I imagined a book that reminded me of that sort of pleasantly melancholy feeling I get on chilly December days. I spent hours searching for some of the most magical and surprising images I could find, and in the end, I had a curated collection of almost forty images. Once I launched Motif, it took me less than five minutes to bring my book to life! The extension took care of all the hard work, and it was smooth sailing for me. Let’s take a look at the process.

Tip: Before you get started, it helps to view everything in full screen.

Once you’re ready, open up the album you want in “Photos” and click “File > Create > Book > Motif”.  Motif has hardcover and softcover books in all different sizes. Each of them is affordable, with the least expensive softcover starting at $9.99. I chose a 10 x 10 hardcover for its durability, good size, and trendy square format.

From there, Motif instantly creates your project. They have tons of themes to choose from, ranging from the classic and chic to the hip and unexpected. I almost went with “Pretty in Pink” because the color complemented some of the images I’d curated for the book, but in the end, I settled on “Gold on White” because I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible and bring the images to the fore.

If you, like me, don’t have graphic design experience, I highly recommend you opt to “Autoflow” your book. The Motif technology understands images and formatting, so I trust it to do that part better than I ever could. Don’t worry: they’ll even help you edit your photos! If you have a bunch of images that look similar, like I did, they’ll pick out the best ones for the book. Motif will also analyze every image for printing quality to make sure it’ll look great in the final book.

When it came time to design the cover, I knew exactly what image I wanted to use: a pensive horse seemingly lost in a paradise of snow. I titled my book Winter Landscapes, and while I loved the sophisticated gold, I mixed it up a bit with a deep green for the text to match the trees in the cover photo. The font was perfect for what I wanted, so I didn’t change it.

Here’s where the fun really starts. Motif is amazing when it comes to sequencing images for you, but you can easily change any detail with their intuitive and interactive image tray. The image tray tool is like your own personal photo editor, so you’ll see your best photos have been noted with a checkmark and sequenced beautifully according to their colors, atmosphere, and composition.

When it came to the first page, I went with a classic Icelandic scene. I deliberately chose a few images with an “on the road” theme (i.e. snowy streets, misty railroads) because I wanted readers to feel as though they were “traveling” through the book. From there, we visited a pastel vista from Luxembourg and a lovely polar bear from the Arctic.

One of the page layouts literally made me smile. The image tray tool paired the deer photo with a gray-muzzled golden retriever. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to pair these two animals together, but seeing them there on the pages, I couldn’t ignore the similarities between their expressions. There was also something vulnerable about both of them; the deer looked like he was hunkering down for a harsh winter, and the pup had clearly reached his golden years. They somehow belonged together in a way that was both heartwarming and poignant.

Motif surprised me again with a stunning layout of five images: on the left, a misty swamp, and on the right, a group of images that together formed tapestry of greens and whites. These photographs images were perfectly paired, and they shared similarly moody, wild, and ethereal atmosphere. It was a stroke of genius for Motif to couple the Swedish landscape with an abandoned waterslide; I only realized the parallel lines in these photos when they were presented side-by-side.

Next up were pages 14 and 15. The cutting-edge technology over at Motif paired up two vertical frozen landscapes, which I had hoped for from the start! That layout was followed by two sublime and mysterious photos in which all shapes and forms seemed lost in blankets of fog. From there, we went straight into another Icelandic vista across and a serene forest, and I decided to add an almost abstract crop of tree branches into the mix. As we drew to the end of the book, I wanted the images to start to feel airy and delicate, as if we were heading into the eye of a blizzard, and Motif helped me tap into that vibe.

Before checking out, I gave myself a full run-through of the entire book to make sure it was just right.

I eagerly awaited the arrival of my book, and within a few short days, I found it right outside my doorstep. The packaging was beautiful, and the book itself knocked my socks off. I grew up looking at art books, and this one instantly stood out as pretty and sophisticated. The colors came to life on the printed page, and together, the images helped tell a story about frosty and enchanted winter days. I made a cup of hot tea and spent quite a while thumbing through the volume over and over again.

Winter Landscapes is now proudly displayed as the pièce de résistance of my bookshelf, and I know I will return to it many times throughout the upcoming months, curled up on the coach and watching the snow fall outside my window. I also created a Motif Photo book for my husband, and the process was so intuitive and quick that I know I’ll be making more in the future. Using Motif was such a fun, easy experience from start to finish, and I am delighted by the results.

The Beauty of the Aging Body, in Photos

Merle Sparlin

Ione Buie

Warren Dalton

Over the course of nine years, the Missouri-based photographer Anastasia Pottinger has worked with models over the age of one hundred years old. She’s spent time by their sides, listened to their stories, and recorded the details of their skin in black and white. Now, you can find her photographs of fourteen of these centenarians collected in the new book 100: What Time Creates, published by Marcinson Press.

Honoring Those Who Give Their Lives to Fight the Power, in Photos

2015, Justice League NYC’s “March 2 Justice” from New York to Washington, DC,
in protest of police brutality.

Congressman John Lewis at Justice League NYC’s “March 2 Justice”
from New York to Washington, DC, in protest of police brutality in 2015

On November 27, Ferguson activist Bassem Masri was found unconscious on a bus in suburban St. Louis. Just 31 at the time of his death, Masri is the latest untimely death of local activists who have passed in sudden and mysterious ways.

Many will remember the murder of Deandre Joshua, just 20 years old, when his body was found with a gunshot to the head inside his car, which had been set on fire during the height of the protests against the extrajudicial assassination of Mike Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson.

Then in 2016, the body of Darren Seals, 26, was found — the same manner of killing exacted upon one of the most prominent activists in the movement. But the deaths did not end there. In 2017, Edward Crawford, 27, was found shot to death in the backseat of his car, and just as recently as October 17, Ferguson activist Melissa McKinnies discovered her son, Danye Jones, 24, lynched in her backyard.

On December 3, HBO premiered Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland, a documentary film that asks, “What really happened to Black Lives Matter activist Sandra Bland?” In her death, Bland became a symbol of all that the government has done — and the ways in which the true story is hidden from view.

Timeless Photos Capture the Poetry of the Human Form

Edward Weston wrote more than once about photographing the “quintessence” of every subject, whether it be the human body or a botanical specimen. Exploration of sensuality and melancholy–A State of Nature, a new project from the photographer Daniel Dorsa and the producer Tina Michelle Chen from the ROOT Creative team, is a contemporary look at the timeless principles artists have grappled with for generations; decades after Weston, they set out in search of those elusive but “quintessential” truths about our bodies, our relationships, and our desires.

Inside Chris Stein’s Punk Photo Diary

Snuky Tate, Fab 5 Freddy, and kid punk band the Brattles, 1981. The Brattles opened for the Clash at their New York City show at Bonds on Times Square.

Brooklyn’s own Chris Stein took up photography in 1968, at the age of 18, and began to amass a body of work documenting New York life as the punk scene came into existence. In 1973, he met and began working with Debbie Harry, and together they founded Blondie. From this rarified position, Stein had the best view in the house, the consummate insider in the quintessential outsider scene.

His new book, Point of View: Me, New York City, and the Punk Scene (Rizzoli New York), is a visual diary of daily life during the 1970s, the rawest decade of them all. Stein takes us all the way back to his days as a student at SVA, and gives us a guided tour of a young artist coming of age in a city that was equal parts decadent and derelict, and home to characters like none before or since, be it William Burroughs, David Bowie, Divine, Andy Warhol, or the Ramones.

The Secret Life of Alpacas, in Photos

According to Andean mythology, alpacas are gifts from the gods and goddesses. They arrived in our world under one condition: we must always treat them well and tend to their needs. Many centuries later, the photographer Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek pays homage to these age-old animals with Better Living with Alpacas, a new calendar in which he imagines the secret life of a few mischievous fellows.

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