Blogs

Digital Darkroom Hands-On Workshop

The Annenberg Space for Photography recently hosted students from local colleges and art schools enrolled in photography classes for a "Digital Darkroom" special, hands-on workshop with Bonny Pierce Lhotka and Russell Brown.

Bonny taught the attendees how to print the photos on treated aluminum plates to create a vintage tintype look.

While Russell gave an introduction to using mobile software apps with lots of opportunity for creative expression and, as you can see, included various props, costumes and various backgrounds.

Bonny taught the "cooking" of aluminum plates to create antique surfaces that look decades old.

After distressing, washing and cooking the plates, participants will compose and alter both the plate and the image that has been printed on a transfer film. Bonny will show how to easily transfer your print to the aged plate resulting in a new vintage tintype look. Check out the great results!

Coming back to Russell's portion, shared tips and techniques for enhancing the photos taken by the students and also explained how to achieve a classic look and feel as well as how to prepare the final image for printing.

It was a unique learning experience for everyone involved. Looks like no only did everyone have fun but they produced some impressive work!

Richard Ehrlich Steps Up to the IRIS Nights Podium

Photographer Richard Ehrlich opened up his IRIS Nights lecture last night by saying that he loved quotes so much that he would incorporate many of them into his presentation. His first quote of the night was a light-hearted one by photographer Elliott Erwitt: "It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby."

Richard stressed that he wanted his lecture to provide him an opportunity to be an advocate for photo manipulation, or rather, photo optimization as he prefers to call it. Tinkering with photos, he said, has been a part of photography since the medium's inception in the 19th Century.

He pointed out that the cannonballs in this photo taken during the Crimean War had been added to the original photo over 150 years ago. A convincing image even by today's standards.

Another favorite quote by Richard is credited to Richard Avedon: "A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth."

Richard talked in depth about the "decisive moment," the point in time that a photographer finds the right image. Learn more about his thoughts on this when his lecture is posted on our website very soon.

He also spoke about recent technological advances with digital cameras, detailing the impressiveness of Femto photography and the amazing Lytro and Red cameras.

One of our favorite quotes of the night was said by none other than the man of the hour himself. Said Richard, "There's nothing like the ability to realize your dream and the imagination than the digital." We couldn't agree more.

Thanks for such a great lecture, Richard! Check back soon to view his lecture online.

You can learn more about Richard on his official website.

All images by Unique for the Space

Coming This Summer: 'Who Shot Rock & Roll?'

We're very excited about our next exhibit, Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present! The show, which features 166 prints by over 100 photographers, was originally shown and created by the Brooklyn Museum. The summer exhibit will include an original documentary Annenberg Space for Photography film (as we always do) with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of photographers Ed Colver, Henry Diltz, Jill Furmanovsky, Lynn Goldsmith, Bob Gruen, Norman Seeff, Mark Seliger and Guy Webster. There'll also be appearances by rock stars Alice Cooper and Henry Rollins. Click here for more information. Mark June 23 down on your calendar!

'BEAUTY CULTURE' To Be Part of Tribeca Film Festival

We're very excited to announce that the original 30-minute film by the Annenberg Space for Photography which ran during the BEAUTY CULTURE exhibition will be part of the Tribeca Film Festival next month! The 30-minute short film is part of the festival's documentary program named Triptych which focuses on art, music and physical beauty.

The documentary, directed by Lauren Greenfield, was shown last year in the venue's sweeping, unprecedented photographic exploration of how feminine beauty is defined, challenged and revered in modern society. The documentary presents interviews with selected photographers and subjects included in the exhibition.

Watch a trailer for BEAUTY CULTURE here.

Maggie Taylor and Her Digital Darkroom Film Experience

By Maggie Taylor

A little note about the Digital Darkroom film at the Annenberg Space for Photography:

When Jerry Uelsmann and I were in Los Angeles in December for the opening of the exhibition “Digital Darkroom” we were amazed by the wonderful documentary film that was produced for the show.  It was fascinating to see all the other participants in their own environments making their images.  (Of course:  we also really loved meeting all of these special artists in person!)  This is the first time that either of us has been included in an exhibition that was accompanied by a film about the artists.

It is hard to believe that it has already been six months since the production team working on the film visited us at our studios and darkroom in Gainesville, Florida.  Jerry and I spent several days with director Steve Kochones and the folks from Arclight Productions, showing them how we work and talking about our images.  I don’t think they fully realized in advance just how hot and humid it can be in Florida in August.....but they managed to make the best of it. They even shot several outdoor scenes in what must have been 95 degrees and 90 percent humidity!  They also were able to film Jerry creating one of his images in the darkroom using only his normal safelights.  In that past, he had to have additional lights, which either fogged the paper or necessitated a bit of staging and did not capture the "real" printing process.  So he was very excited that they were able to figure out a way to work in near darkness with him.  

The combination of the film and the print installation at the Annenberg Space is really great to see--not to mention the second exceptional film on the 3D artists in the show.  We were really honored to be included and look forward to seeing future shows in the Space!

Maggie Taylor became a towering figure in photography in the 1990s when she learned Photoshop and began creating her unmistakable artistic fingerprint. Utilizing scanned images, tintypes of 19th-century subjects and pure imagination, she creates a world that is simultaneously of the past and of the future, and a photographic grammar that is both provocative and embracing. See her work in "Digital Darkroom" which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

Ted Grudowski: "Go Into a World that Doesn't Exist Anywhere Else"

By now many of you have seen Ted Grudowski's incredible 3D photography in "Digital Darkroom." His exhibited work includes images that feature Bruce Springstreen and U2's The Edge. Watch this short video (it's less than 2 minutes) and learn more about how Grudowski goes about creating his photographs. Also, don't forget that you can look through all of the 3D images in the print show here.

The LA Times Hearts The Space


Last month, The Los Angeles Times launched Framework, a top-notch photo blog we've fallen in love with. Not only are we big fans of the site but they're also big fans of the Space! They had nothing but nice things to say about the Space and our IRIS Nights lecture series: "The lectures are informative and entertaining and the space is spectacular — it simply engages you. In an odd way, I feel like I'm in an amazing home with the most incredible entertainment system and equally incredible photography in the hallways."

Thanks for the kind words and great blog! We're hooked!

Renee Byer: A Photographer's Journey

Last night, Renee Byer took the stage at our IRIS Nights to discuss photos that ranged in topics from the economy to prostitution to serious illness. Renee had a refreshingly down-to-earth personality and a strong desire to enlighten as many people as possible about these subjects... subjects which she clearly feels very strongly about.

The first series of photos she presented focused on the difficulties faced by those affected by unemployment in California.

Included in this collection is a photo (above) of California Governor Arnold Schwazenegger, who found himself stuck in the middle of the state's job crisis. Renee has photographed him several times and found him to be someone who really wanted to make a difference in the state. She described how she loves this picture primarily due to the tension seen in his hands.

Renee shifted her talk to people in Ghana who, though they had jobs, were forced to work in a toxic environment at an e-waste recycling facility. She told us how she became fascinated with one girl there who suffered from malaria. The girl, no doubt sensing Renee's warmth and compassion, wanted to come back home with her.

One of the most heart-breaking moments of the night came when Renee discussed a series of photos devoted to a brothel in Bangladesh that employed young girls, many of whom had no other choice but to enter the oldest profession. Renee confessed that if she won the lottery tomorrow, she would return to the South Asian country and free all of them. After listening to her speak, there's no doubt in our minds that she would!

Renee explained that the visual presentation for her Pulitzer Prize-winning series "A Mother's Journey" typically runs an hour but she managed to squeeze in an abbreviated version for IRIS Nights. The edit didn't reduce the impact of the powerful images of a mother and her 11-year-old son as the two coped with his fight with terminal cancer.

Renee was obviously very moved by her year-long, intimate documentation of Cyndie and Derek. Cyndie told Renee that she can't imagine living without the above photograph that captured a very tender moment between her and her son.

She also showed a sweet picture where the two shared a rare smiling moment together which seemed to touch everyone in the audience.

During the Q & A, Renee was asked the requisite question about when she first sound herself interested in photography. Apparently, it all started when Renee, as child, shot "little teeny people" on the street from the top of the Statue of Liberty, with a brownie camera her parents had given her.

Through her wonderful photography, this warm, cheerful and talented woman now gets to tell stories about all kinds of people (not just the "teeny" ones) from around the world. Sounds to us like she's already won the lottery!

Click here to watch Renee's lecture online!

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Recent Developments: Douglas Kirkland

"Recent Developments" is a new regular feature on the blog that will keep you up to speed on what's going on with photographers who have exhibited or lectured at the Space in the past. It will be a place where you can find out where work by these photographers is currently being exhibited and what new adventures they have embarked upon since we last saw them. We hope you enjoy reading these updates about our friends as much as we enjoy passing them along!

The first photographer in our "Recent Developments" update is Douglas Kirkland, who was featured in the Space's very first exhibition, L8S ANG3LES, a show that that included such iconic photos of his as the one of Marilyn Monroe above.

He was also our very FIRST IRIS Nights guest lecturer!

The famed photographer is having his first major retrospective in Australia, titled "Douglas Kirkland: A Life in Pictures," right now! All of our Aussie readers should rush over to Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art to check out.

Aside from Monroe, photos by Douglas of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Stevie Wonder, Jack Nicholson, Andy Warhol, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel and many others are included in the collection. Also, in what sounds like an astonishing addition, is a large set of photos taken on the set of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video. The exhibit closes on October 24.

You can listen to an informative interview with Douglas conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about the exhibit here.

Here's Douglas at the opening of our Space standing between our fearless leader, Wallis Annenberg, and L8S ANG3LES photographer Greg Gorman, along with other exhibiting photographers like (clockwise) Carolyn Cole, guest curator Anne Wilkes Tucker, Julius Shulman, Kirk McKoy, our Foundation co-director Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Tim Street-Porter.

Keep checking back on the blog for more "Recent Developments!"

Francine Orr: The Listening Comes First

This is what Francine Orr revealed early on in her IRIS Nights talk: "photojournalism is my passion." The LA Times photographer showed just how much she cares about the people she photographs by giving an awfully touching and moving lecture.

The first series of photographs in Francine's presentation focused on her documentation of people in Africa who live on just pennies a day. She told the audience that she had a hard time talking to people suffering from poverty but spoke to them anyway due to a strong urge to tell their stories.

Francine spent a bit of time talking about one photo in particular, that of a wide-eyed African woman named Margaret who was dying of HIV.

She described the moment she convinced Margaret's children to allow her to photograph their mother. She told them that the haunting image would tell the world her story and in turn this would help others.

Francine uttered several fervent soundbites during the lecture. One of our favorites was "Poverty sucks!"

Orr has spent a large amount of her career ensconced in dangerous places all over the world. She recounted one story about a time when she was in Africa and suspected her "fixer," the man she hired to protect/translate for her, planned to rob her of her expensive camera equipment.

She remembered how she'd been told by others in her field to go with her instincts. One morning, she wisely ditched him and went out on her own for the rest of her trip.

Francine also went into detail about how she befriended several homeless people she documented who live under the 7th Street Bridge in LA.

During the presentation of her final slideshow, Francine held a brave 7-month old baby boy who is the subject of a story to be published in an upcoming edition of the LA Times - a truly touching moment. That night he became the youngest person to go up on our IRIS Nights stage!

When asked by an audience member if she records interviews with her subjects before she starts photographing them, or shoots them first and then interviews them, Orr responded that's it's neither. For her, the listening comes first. When dealing with a story, she says, "the number one thing I try to do is listen." Quite a statement for a photographer.

Her two years working for the Peace Corps, on the island of Yap in Micronesia, was where she said she really learned to listen. She taught in a school there with no electricity, no outside communication except for visiting documentary film crews and anthropologists. Gathering around oil lanterns at night the Yapese people would share stories with her and each other...with not a single distraction. One of her former students from Yap - now living in the US - recently found her on Facebook and came to the lecture with a sister in tow!

Thanks, Francine, for sharing such moving and inspiring stories. We hope to hear more of them in the future!

For more information about Francine visit her upcoming official Website.

We at the Space are very excited to bring you videos of IRIS Nights lectures in a more timely manner. Click here to watch Francine's lecture online!

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Pages

Copyright © 2014. The Annenberg Space for Photography. All rights reserved.
Privacy & Accessibility Statement
Sitemap