Chris Rainier: Photography is the 'Role of Postcards to the Future'

Here's an exclusive video interview with No Strangers featured photographer Chris Rainier. In the clip, the lensman talks about his passion saying: "My philosophy is to use photography as an art form and also as a social tool to celebrate culture."

Watch a previsouly posted exclusive video interview with fellow featured photographer, Steve McCurry, here.

Hamid Sardar-Afkhami: My Journey As a Photographer...Has Been a Personal Pilgrimage

Hamid Sardar-Afkhami talks about his photography in the above video clip which is part of the 'No Strangers' exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Sardar-Afkhami, who is one of the show's featured photographers, says: "My journey as a photographer and as an ethnographer has been a personal pilgrimage. I am in search of the very soul of a people, a place, a culture." Watch the clip to learn more about him and his work in Mongolia.
 

Cooking Demo at the Space

Looking for some way to celebrate on President's Day weekend? You might want to consider coming to the very first cooking demo at the Annenberg Space for Photography! Whole Foods Market's chef Sibyl Fenwick will cook ethnic dishes inspired by our current exhibit, no strangers, as well as the countries where the wonderful Whole Planet Foundation works.

The cooking demo, which is open to the public, will take place on Saturday, February 16 from 2pm - 5pm and it's absolutely FREE!

Watch This New 'No Strangers' Video

For no strangers, we're partnered with our friends over at SHFT who put together this great video about the exhibit. The 3-minute piece featured curatorial advisor Wade Davis as well as Angela Fisher & Carol Beckwith, Chris Rainier, Thomas Kelly and Aaron Huey. Click above to watch it now.

Who Shot Rock & Roll Extended

 © Edward Colver. Flip Shot, Pasadena, CA, 1981. Part of the film accompanying the exhibit Who Shot Rock & Roll.

The show will rock on!

Due to unprecedented popular demand, Who Shot Rock & Roll will be extended an additional two weeks. That means you have until October 21, 2012 to see the show for the first time or the 20th time. After that date, the show will leave the United States and travel abroad. Who Shot Rock & Roll will travel to its final stop later this year: the Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand. Once the exhibit closes, the Space will shut down until November 17 to prepare for our next show.

Up next at the Space is No Strangers. Click here for more information about that exciting exhibit.

Spotted At The Space: The 'No Strangers' Edition

Over the weekend HGTV host Vern Yi and Facts of Life star Mindy Cohn stopped by to take in no strangers. Here are the two posing with WAG-A-LOT CEO Craig Koch. Hurry up and experience the exhibit for the first, second or third time - this weekend is your last chance before it closes for good!

Watch The 'No Strangers' Video Teaser

We've just extended the exhibit run for Who Shot Rock & Roll and, at the same time, are also prepping for the opening of our next show, no strangers: Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World. The exhibit is about the wonder of culture and the plight of indigenous people throughout the world and opens on November 17, 2012. Watch the video teaser above to get a sense of what to expect from this important show.

Spotted at the Space: Josh Radnor

It's the final weekend for the no strangers exhibit. How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor stopped by today to take in the exhibit before it closes. He came by just in time as the show will end on Sunday at 6pm. Come see it if you haven't had a chance. Hope you enjoyed the exhibit and documentary, Josh!

Steve McCurry on His Image of the Shaolin Monastery Monks

 © Steve McCurry

By Steve McCurry

This image is of young monks training in the art of kung fu at the Shaolin Monastery in Hena, Province, China.

The original Shaolin Monastery was founded on Mount Shaoshi in the 5th Century. Though the practice of martial arts actually originated in China several hundred years before its construction, the temple has a long history associated with kung fu.  

There are many thoughts as to the beginnings of Shaolin kung fu.  The most common begins with a man named Bodhidharma.  According to the Yijin Jing, Bodhidharma stood facing a wall in total silence for nine years.  It is said that his stare created a hole in the wall.  After completing this task, he wished go back west to India.  The only thing he left behind was an iron chest which contained two books: the Marrow Cleansing Classic, which was taken by one of his disciples, and the Muscle Tendon Change Classic, or Yijin Jing. The story goes, that this second book was extremely coveted by all of the monks as well as the obsession for practicing the skills within.  The Shaolin have garnered a wealth of fame through their fighting skill.  If the stories of origin are true, the credit is due to their possession of this manuscript.

In Buddhism, there is a pervasive sense of the impermanence of life.  There is a cycle.  Things are born and they pass away.  Having spent a great deal of time in Buddhist monasteries, I’ve gained a strong appreciation for the unique way the monks look at life.  Rather than fear the certainty of aging and death, they expect and also embrace it.  Wander through the monastery or talk to devotees and you will see that their priorities and the things that they care about seem more sensible and more sane than in other parts of the world.

no strangers: ancient wisdom in a modern world opens at the Annenberg Space for Photography on Saturday, November 17 and runs through February 24, 2013. Learn more about Steve McCurry's work on his official website.

Thomas Kelly on Kayapo Dance

 © Thomas Kelly, Kayapo Dance

By Thomas Kelly

Sexual activity is regarded among the Kayapo as a natural and desired part of life. Rules regarding sexual activities are complex and vary between different sex and age groups; sexual faithfulness is a matter of individual choice rather than a common rule. "There are those men who do not like their women to be with someone else; there are others who do not mind," says Kwyra Ka. "Those who do not mind stay together, those who mind separate." It is a normal custom for Kayapo Indians to marry, split up and remarry several times, and as a rule chiefs have several sexual partners at the same time. Gorotire, Xingu Reserve, Brazilian Amazon.

In 1991, activist Anita Roddick founder of The Body Shop International, U.K. asked me to join her to document their fair-trade practices with the Kayapo Indians deep in the Brazilian Amazon with hopes the Kayapo wouldn’t surrender to outside pressure to sell out to gold miners, cattle rangers and forest destruction. 

We arrived in time for a ceremonial dance; the deafening sounds of wooden clubs beating against the central hut pillars by chiefs and warriors resounded through the moist air and within minutes I was focusing head on at a procession of freshly painted Kayapo women- plucked of their eyebrows, faces painted with red arucum seed paste, macaw parrot feathers in their hair, red and blue beads strung down to their waist and thighs, beads adorned their calves and ankles. I had a Canon F-1and 85mm 1.2 fixed lense loaded with Tri-x B&W film. After the dance, I set up a back drop at the ceremonial hut and had the extra-ordinary priviledge to make portraits of all the dancers. I spent the next ten days documenting the day and the life of the Kayapo.

Their seamless living in harmony with nature, uninterrupted by outside forces, afforded a way of life which supported their cultural values. 

I remember being awe-struck and not a little envious at the time of the Kayapo’s ease with their natural nakedness deep in the Amazon, and feeling awkward and overdressed in shorts in a shirt. That didn’t last long. After the ceremony, a gaggle of women laughing, hauled Anita and I over into a hut and stripped off our clothes and painted us naked. They were curious about our body hair and made comments about it.  They painfully plucked off our eyebrow, eyelash, and pubic hair. “That’s ugly,”they said. ”Now you are one of us.” They took Anita off into the forest and wrapped her waist with the root of a vine. Paikhan the chief turned to me and said, “You can take any woman you want now.” It makes me sad to think that very few Kayapo are likely walking around the village naked anymore. I guess this is considered progress, but I am not so sure. Like Octavio Paz who advocates the plurality of being as the very spice and color of life, what happens to us as humans when we start to wear clothes?

What is it we are concealing or what are we ashamed of? I loved their ease of being in their own natural skin. The Body Shop International created a Brazilain nut oil extraction business at source cutting out middle men and gave a cash injection that allowed the Kayapo to use the cash in whatever way they choose.

no strangers: ancient wisdom in a modern world will show at the Annenberg Space for Photography and runs through February 24, 2013. Learn more about Thomas Kelly's work on his official website.

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