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Posts Tagged ‘photography

“It’s really hard to imagine there ever being the kind of impact there was when punk rock happened in the late 70’s”*…

 

The late 1970s pulsated with an electric energy. Conceptual art and interdisciplinary art replaced Minimal Art. Rock musicians and artists alike were graduating from art schools. Painters were making films. Writers were doing performance art. Sculptors were doing installations. Artists were acting in films, making music and collaborating with each other.

It was in this milieu that I taught photography at Queens College and NYU by day and went out every night to hear music at CBGB’s, Max’s and the Mudd Club, which was also a venue for various artistic events, film showings, readings and theme parties. Guilty at spending so much time in clubs, I convinced myself that my photographic forays into the night, were my art. After taking candid pictures backstage or in dressing rooms at clubs, I would often invite people to my studio for photo sessions where atmosphere could be generated, lighting could be manipulated and props could be employed. My work with the Soho Weekly News, New York Magazine and other periodicals gave me access to photograph people who were well known in the popular culture…

Photographer Marcia Resnick recalls her career, and explains the story behind her new book:

More bad boys (and girls) on Resnick’s site.

* “It’s really hard to imagine there ever being the kind of impact there was when punk rock happened in the late 70’s. I wish there would be one big change like that again, but I don’t know if that’ll ever happen.”  – Penelope Spheeris

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As we strike a pose, we might send tuneful birthday greetings to Barry Mann; he was born on this date in 1939.  With his wife, Cynthia Weil, Mann wrote scores of hit songs including “On Broadway” for the Drifters, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” for the Righteous Brothers, “Kicks” and “Hungry” for Paul Revere & the Raiders, “We’ve Gotta’ Get Out Of This Place” for the Animals, “Walkin’ In The Rain” for the Ronettes, and “Blame It On The Bossa Nova” for Eydie Gorme,  Mann and Weil are members of both the Songwriters and the Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and fellow-tunesmith Carole King (whose birthday is also today)

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Written by LW

February 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

“And what is the potential man, after all? Is he not the sum of all that is human?”*…

 

Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch’s visionary triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, has stoked discussion since it was completed (sometime between 1490 and 1510); critics and scholars have confidently proclaimed it everything from a “didactic warning on the perils of life’s temptations” to an “erotic derangement that turns us all into voyeurs, a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty”… occasionally both.

Photographer Lori Pond was moved to incorporate Bosch’s vision into her own photographic work after she visited the Prado in Madrid, where his masterpiece has been on display since 1939.

After an emotional reaction to the painting and its mythologized mysteriousness, Pond decided to create a series of photos based on Bosch’s work — isolating details from Earthly Delights, as well as The Temptation of St. Anthony, and The Last Judgment.

The photos themselves look like they could be more minimalistic paintings by Bosch, but the arrangements you see were mostly achieved in-camera. Pond used materials gathered from swap meets, and enlisted the help of a motley team made up of a taxidermist, a prosthetics designer, her friends, and their closets…

More examples from Pond’s portfolio at Bosch Redux on her site; more back ground at “Arresting Photographs Remake Images From Hieronymus Bosch’s Grotesque Biblical Fantasies” and “Recreating Hieronymus Bosch.”

Then wander over explore the wonderful interactive documentary “Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Delights” (part of the transmedia tryptich: this interactive documentary, the documentary film “Hieronymus Bosch, touched by the devil,” and the Virtual Reality documentary “Hieronymus Bosch, the Eyes of the Owl,” coming this April).

And finally, check out the “newest” Bosch painting, recently (re-)discovered.

* Hieronymus Bosch

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As we follow in St. Augustine in praying that God grant us “chastity and continence, but not yet,”  we might send modern birthday greetings to Joseph Fernand Henri Léger; he was born on this date in 1881.  Best known as member of the Cubist movement (in which he was unique for his use of cylindrical shapes, earning him the label “tubist”), Léger was also sculptor and filmmaker.  Indeed, in his later life, he added book illustration, mural creation, stained-glass and mosaic work, and set and costume design to his repertoire.  In those later years, his gravitated to modern subject matter, which he treated in simple, bold, and accessible ways– for which he’s now considered an important forerunner of Pop Art.

Léger’s Nudes in the Forest (Nus dans la forêt), 1910

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Written by LW

February 4, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Movies are a fad. Audiences really want to see live actors on a stage.”*…

 

The lights begin to dim, ambient noises fade away, suddenly there is a burst of light overhead and you are transported… this is the premise of [photographer and one-time trial attorney Rick] Finkelstein‘s newest body of work: Sitting in the Dark with Strangers. In this latest series Finkelstein uses miniature figurines and meticulously fabricated sets to compose his images and explore the experience of the movies…

Sitting in the Dark with Strangers is on display at Robert Mann Gallery in New York City through the end of this month.

More images (and background) at “Artist Spotlight: Richard Finkelstein” (from whence these images), The Mann Gallery’s site, and “Photos of the Cinema-Going Experience Capture the Magic of Movies in Miniature.”

* Charles Chaplin (before he became famous as Charlie)

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As we salt our popcorn, we might that it was on this date in 1941 that Paramount Picture’s released Preston Sturges’  Sullivan’s Travels.  A picaresque satire that celebrates that movies, it has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, named one of the “Greatest Movies of All Time” by the American Film Institute.

The filmmaker was already on a roll. Not only had he been granted the honor of being one of Hollywood’s first writer/directors, but his last two films,The Great McGinty and The Lady Eve, were critical and commercial hits. Given as much creative freedom as a studio like Paramount could offer in 1941, Sturges crafted a smart, original fable about a comedy film director (Joel McCrea) who takes off to suffer in order to gain the experience necessary to make an “important” serious drama, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (a title later appropriated by the Coen brothers). Along the way, he teams up with “the Girl” (Veronica Lake), an aspiring actress who brings a dose of reality to the director’s noble aim. But just as soon as he learns his lesson, he’s robbed, thrown on a train, then arrested and put in prison in the Deep South. Sturges, who’d wanted to satirize contemporary high-toned depression dramas, was inspired by the tales of John Garfield living as a hobo in the 1930s. Towards the end of the film, Sullivan, who is taken with his prison chain gang to an African-American church, learns the real power of comedy when a Disney carton comes on the screen. This scene, often cited in reviews as demonstration of Sturges’ deft mix of social realism and mad comedy, in many ways accomplishes what Sullivan set off to do by paradoxically dismissing the importance of such social realistic filmmaking. What people in poverty and injustice need is a good laugh. But the scene has resonated for others in far different ways. The secretary of the NAACP wrote Sturges a letter praising his “dignified and decent treatment of Negroes in this scene.” On the other hand, the U.S. government’s Office of Censorship refused to approve the film for export, claiming that its portrayal of a chain gang, showing “the brutality and inhumanity with which the prisoners are treated” might serve as enemy propaganda. Most Americans, however, just found it hilarious, making the film Sturges’ next big hit.

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Written by LW

January 28, 2016 at 1:01 am

“To thine own self be true”*…

 

Readers may recall an earlier entry on what was thought to be the very first selfie… and indeed, it may be (at least insofar as that particular form of self-snap is concerned).  But as Susan Zalkind reports, self-portraits date back further…

My great-great-great-grandfather, Edward Linley Sambourne (1844–1910), known as “Sammy,” was the principal cartoonist for Punch. Sammy set up a studio at his home in Kensington, London, and photographed not only his servants and children, but also himself—thousands of times! “The Rhodes Colossus,” depicting British colonialist Cecil Rhodes with one foot in Cairo and the other in Cape Town, is his most iconic drawing.

More at “Grandfather of the Selfie.”

* William Shakespeare

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As we watch the birdie, we might recall that it was on this date in 1888 that the National Geographic Society was incorporated.  Two weeks earlier, the 33 founders of the Society had first met at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. to agree to plans; nine months later, the first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published.

This 1963 painting depicts the founders signing their names to the new organizations’s charter. The table in the painting is in use today in the Society’s Hubbard Hall.

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Written by LW

January 27, 2016 at 1:01 am

“I don’t understand how anyone can become a director without learning the craft of cinematography”*…

 

email readers click here for video

Because…

* Nicolas Roeg

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As we noodle on the nanny-cam, we might recall that it was on this date in 1934 that Samuel Goldwyn acquired the film rights to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  The novel, published in 1900, had become an instant classic, spawning sequels (that continued under the direction of Baum’s widow after his death in 1919), a long-running Broadway musical, and several silent films.  Goldwyn’s version, released in 1939, had modest success at the box office (though it did garner several Oscar nominations–including a Best Song win for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and a special award for Garland as Best Juvenile Performer). Then, in 1956, an estimated 45 million people tuned in to watch the movie’s television debut on the Ford Star Jubilee.  Countless TV airings later, The Wizard of Oz is one of the best-known– and most beloved– films of all time.

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Written by LW

January 26, 2016 at 1:01 am

“I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it… Anything is possible on a train”*…

 

Remember when Google Street View only allowed you to explore streets? Since its launch in 2007, the service has been expanded to include things like coral reefs, hiking trails and the Amazon River. In its latest “off-road” adventure, however, Google Maps has thought smaller – it’s used miniaturized Street View cameras to visually map a model railroad.

The li’l railway in question is actually the world’s largest such exhibit, and it’s much more than just trains and tracks. Located in the city of Hamburg, Miniatur Wunderland spans 1,300 square meters (13,993 sq ft), recreating a number of European and American attractions at a scale of 1:87. It’s full of moving bits and pieces, along with 230,000 miniature inhabitants.

Previously, however, visitors had to view most of it from above, as if they were in an airplane. With the new Street View option, they’re now able to explore its various roads and parks as if they were right down in there…

Ans so one can: wander through the Lilliputian landscape (and check out the video tour) at “Google Maps gives the Street View treatment to world’s largest model railroad.”

* Paul Theroux

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As we get small, we might light a birthday candle for Sir Francis Bacon– English Renaissance philosopher, lawyer, linguist, composer, mathematician, geometer, musician, poet, painter, astronomer, classicist, philosopher, historian, theologian, architect, father of modern science (The Baconian– aka The Scientific– Method), and patron of modern democracy, whom some allege was the illegitimate son of Queen Elizabeth I of England… but who was in any event born on this date in 1561.

Bacon (whose Essays were, in a fashion, the first “management book” in English) was, in Alexander Pope’s words, “the greatest genius that England, or perhaps any country, ever produced.”  He probably did not actually write the plays attributed to Shakespeare (as a thin, but long, line of enthusiasts, including Mark Twain and Friedrich Nietzsche, believed).   But Bacon did observe, in a discussion of sedition that’s as timely today as ever, that “the remedy is worse than the disease.”

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“The problem with winter sports is that — follow me closely here — they generally take place in winter”*…

 

Be that as it may, winter sports have long had the devotees… and with them, helpful instructors.  Consider Bror Myer, a Swedish figure skating champion, who produced an illustrated guide for hopefuls.

To facilitate an easy interpretation of the text, as well as to show more clearly the various movements, I decided, after great consideration, to illustrate the work by means of photographs taken with a Cinematograph.

Check them out at the Internet Archive.  And for a look at why his choice of photos was inspired, contrast his work tothis French ice-skating manual from 1813, one of the very first devoted entirely to the sport.

[Via Public Domain Review]

* Dave Barry

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As we sharpen our blades, we might recall that it was on this date in 1994 that figure skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, surrendered to authorities in Portland, Ore., after being charged with masterminding an attack on Harding’s rival, Nancy Kerrigan.

On January 6, 1994 [on the eve of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships], a man named Shane Stant delivered the blow itself—a single strike on the right knee with a police baton—and then fled the scene in such a panic that he ran right through a plexiglass door. Cameras captured the aftermath of the attack, with Kerrigan bellowing on the ground: “Why? Why? Why?”

The surreal quickly became the sensational. Implicated in the attack were Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding; her ex-husband, Gillooly, and Gillooly’s band of hired goons—Stant, bodyguard Shawn Eckardt, and getaway driver Derrick Smith. Harding initially denied everything, while Gillooly, charged with conspiracy to commit assault, later pleaded down to one count of racketeering. Awkwardly, both Harding and Kerrigan competed in the ’94 Lillehammer Olympics. Harding finished eighth, and Kerrigan won the silver. A few months later, Gillooly and his associates went to prison while Harding got probation for conspiring to hinder their prosecution. (She maintains to this day that she knew nothing of the attack in advance.)

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Gillooly and Harding in happier days

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Written by LW

January 19, 2016 at 1:01 am

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