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Announcing The No Strangers IRIS Nights Lecture Lineup

Our first IRIS Nights lecture for no strangers takes place this upcoming Saturday, the same day that the exhibit opens. This sold-out debut lecture will feature the amazing Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher.

We've just released the full list of presentation for this very popular series. Click here to see that list, which includes Chris Rainier, Bonnie Folkin, Caroline Bennett and Aaron Huey.

We expect the lecture series to conitune to be popular so  reserve your free spot as soon as tickets are released. You don't want to miss out on these great talks!

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.

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.

Mark Seliger, Bob Gruen and Kevin Bacon Chat About Music & Photography

Who Shot Rock & Roll may have closed at the Photography Space over the weekend but that doesn't mean we don't have to stop talking about the exhibit.

Mark Seliger, one of the show's featured photographers, has a new sitdown show about photography called Capture. The voiceover intro pretty much sums up what the show is about: "A great photograph needs no explanation. But on Capture, these incredible people tell the story of creating their most memorable images."

In the the latest episode of Capture, Seliger sits down with Who Rock & Roll's Bob Gruen and actor (and photographer!) Kevin Bacon for a chat about music and photography. The latter gives us our favorite quote of the day: "There are two things that hit you the hardest. One is photographs and the other is music." We couldn't agree more.

Seliger, Gruen and Bacon talk about those two subjects in depth. Watch the entire intriguing discussion above.

The Final Countdown Starts Today

With The Doors song "The End" playing in our heads, we're sad to announce that this coming weekend is your last chance to see Who Shot Rock & Roll as the show will come to a close this Sunday, October 21.

But you're in luck as The Final Countdown begins today! What this means is that we will offer extended evening hours so to accomodate as many of you as we can during the last few days of the shot.

As a reminder, The Final Countdown hours will be:

Thursday, October 18, 10am - 10pm (please note that part of the exhibit will be closed from 5pm-8pm for a lecture)
Friday, October 19, 10am - Midnight
Saturday, October 20, 10am - Midnight
Sunday, October 21, 11am - 6pm

Yes, you saw that right - we're open until midnight on Friday & Saturday!

In conjunction with The Final Countdown, several cafes in Century Park (that's name of the park in Century City in which we're located) will be extending their hours:

Cuvée: Open until 10pm on Thursday & Friday; 11:30am - 7pm on Saturday
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: Open until 8pm on Thursday & Friday

Also, during the extended evening hours on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, enter to win special prize drawings.

Don't wait because come Sunday at 6pm, our doors will close until November 17 so we can prepare for our next exhibit, no strangers.

Terry O'Neill Shot Rock & Roll: The Photographer on His Image of The Police


© Terry O'Neill The Police, 1982

By Terry O'Neill

I was photographing The Police in 1982 for a magazine. They were at the height of their fame and I wanted to picture them like three street fighters. They seemed to me to be the band that were taking on all-comers, punching above their weight in sell-out tours and had elbowed their style of music to the top. They were a pugnacious band with their punk, jazz and reggae influences and had led the new wave after a decade of glam rock. They must have liked the shoot because they used the images on several album and single covers. At the time the band were starting to move in different directions; Sting was making movies and doing solo albums, Stewart Copeland was writing movie scores and I felt there weren't going to be many more opportunities to get an iconic shot of the band together in a studio.

See Terry O'Neill's other images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography through October 21, 2012. To learn more about the photographer and his work visit his official website.

The Vines Are Part of 'Who Shot Rock & Roll'

For those of you who have visited Who Shot Rock & Roll, you may have noticed that the exhibit features several music videos playing throughout the space. One of them is energetic video for the The Vines’ song "Outtathaway." The piece was directed by David LaChapelle, who has several images (including this one of Eminem) in the show. While it's not the same as watching the clip amidst the rest of the images in the Photography Space gallery, you can check out the colorful, gorgeous and kinetic music video above. Wonder who had to clean up the mess created at the end of the clip?

Gered Mankowitz Shot Rock & Roll: The Photographer on His Image of Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull, Salisbury Pub, St. Martin's Lane, London (1964) © Gered Mankowitz

By Gered Mankowitz

This photograph of Marianne Faithfull in the Salisbury Pub in London’s St. Martins Lane, is probably one of the most important photographs I have taken.

I had known Marianne for a few months having met her when she was promoting her first single “As Tears Go By” around June of 1964, and had immediately fallen under her spell. She was gorgeous, bright & funny and I started photographing her the next day! After a few months of taking photographs and hanging out I suggested that we shoot a session in the Salisbury with my eye on producing an image for an album cover. The pub landlord was accommodating and we spent a couple of hours taking various different portraits. This shot was one of my favourites – the composition, those socks – it just looked gorgeous, but Decca Records rejected it on the grounds that the men reflected in the mirror behind Marianne were  distracting and were looking at her in a lecherous manner! They ended up using a far less interesting image from the same session and this shot lounged in my archive, unseen until the 80s.

However, her manager at the time was Andrew Loog Oldham and he loved the session and as a result asked me to shoot with his other band – The Rolling Stones. I shot my first session with the band in early 65 and continued to work with them regularly until 1967. So, because of my shoot with Marianne I came to the attention of one of the most exciting bands of the time and my career as a music photographer was established!

 See Gered Mankowitz's other images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography through October 21, 2012. To learn more about the photographer and his work visit his official website.

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