He Shoots - He Scores! Leifer knocks it out of the park! (add in your sport metaphor)

Neil Leifer, Thursday, January 7 - © Unique for the Space
Neil Leifer kicked off 2010 with our first IRIS Nights lecture of the New Year and boy did he just raise the bar!

We had such an amazing turnout that we actually had to turn a few people away (we're SORRY!)... over 250 people filled our digital gallery AND our workshop area. Neil - always the prepared professional - was at the Space early to run through his slides and do an interview with KCAL (which they will be running on Super Bowl Sunday of course). He also took the time to chat in our Reading Room with one of our previous esteemed lecturers, David Hume Kennerly.

David Hume Kennerly and Neil Leifer at the Photography Space

Also in the house for Neil was recent lecturer Howard Schatz:
Howard Schatz at Neil Leifer's Lecture

Neil was so prepared he brought his own introduction, narrated by Alec Baldwin(!). He watched with great joy as Alec, Sly Stallone and numerous luminaries sang his praises before he even reached the podium. Neil Leifer waiting in the wings

Once he took 'the stage' we sat rapt, listening to the master regale us with tales of how a hard-scrabble hobbyist kid (yes that's him in the picture below!)

Neil Leifer at the Space for IRIS Nights Lecture

...became the youngest photographer to grab the cover of Sports Illustrated. Neil's a natural storyteller and a huge fan of his subjects...whether it's Muhammad Ali...

Leifer's images of Ali at the Space
...or it's Fidel Castro!

Leifer with Castro and Leifer

Neil peppered his lecture with threats to reveal the score of the Texas/Alabama BCS Championship game being played in Pasadena during the lecture, but he was loudly overruled by our guests who didn't want the surprise ruined.
Neil threatening to reveal the score

Whether you were a sports fan, a photography buff, a history nut or an A-List photographer, Neil offered a highly entertaining evening...looking quite at home talking from our podium.

Neil Leifer at the podium

Afterwards, Schatz and Kennerly hung out for a while, chatting...
Howard Schatz and David Hume Kennerly

...while Neil settled comfortably in for a long line of book-buying fans...for whom he signed everything...books, postcards, napkins.

Neil Leifer, signing post-lecture
He was so comfortable, in fact, and the audience was so appreciative, that we're going to have him come back on February 13 for a special Saturday IRIS Nights lecture -completely new, unlike his first program.

What can we say? We love having Neil here and we're glad the feeling is mutual!
Neil Leifer

Mother's Day the Annenberg Space for Photography way!

Did you hear? Mother's Day was our most well-attended day at The Annenberg Space for Photography ... ever. You gotta hand it to all the mothers out there for making things happen. Without them where would we all be...?

Here at the Space, we took lots of lovely photos...

We took photos of moms with sons, moms with their daughters, moms with their entire families and even some soon-to-be mommies.

We took a few pictures of some proud fathers too, but really this blog is about the Mother's Day.

We printed out these special event photos for our wonderful patrons and they got take home a keepsake that will last...until the ink fades away (Epson estimates 200 years, archived properly).

We also had cookies and ice-cold milk for our patient guests. But I can't forget the other reason people came to the Space that day: to see our amazing National Geographic Water Exhibition!

Indeed, it was a great day to be a mother at The Annenberg Space for Photography.

(Photos © Griffin Lauerman and Tony Miller for the Space)

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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!"

Paul Nicklen Chills Out In The Polar Regions

"Extreme Exposure" featured photographer Paul Nicklen's photos of wild animals in the polar regions have awed many who have seen this terrific show. Last night, it was Paul's time to awe IRIS Nights lecture attendees with his amazing stories of what went into capturing those images.

The Space was jam-packed! Over 200 people attended the lecture, which sold out in a matter of seconds when tickets first went on sale a couple of weeks ago.

Paul's message is clearly one of environmental conservation. He cares passionately about the environment and explained that if the polar caps lose their ice, they will also lose polar bears an absolutely frightening thought!

One of the many death-defying moments he recounted in his lecture was the story related to the photograph above. During a trip to the Arctic, Paul's lightweight aircraft experienced engine trouble though he still kept taking pictures during the entire incident! According to Paul, it was all worth it because being able to photograph thousands of narwhals in the Arctic is not all that common!

Why does Paul enjoy taking so many close-up images of animals? He does it because he feels people would care more about them when they are seen in a more intimate light.

During his talk, Paul played several "on location" video clips of himself photographing in the wild. It was great to see how someone in the situation above...

...could end up with this amazing photo!

Paul also recounted the story of his four-day interaction with a female leopard seal who repeatedly attempted to gift Paul a penguin while both were underwater. Despite their sharp teeth, Paul insists that they are very gentle, kind animals.

Paul re-iterated his message of environmental protection throughout his lecture but he managed to inject quite a bit humor into his talk with a his funny deadpan delivery.

How can you help the environment? Paul wants us all to "chill out."

Before he left for the night, Paul stuck around to sign copies of his book, Polar Obsession. The cover of the book features one of his favorite photos - that of a polar bear and his reflection in the clear, glassy waters!

Thanks for sharing the incredible stories and the worthwhile message, Paul!  You can watch his entire IRIS Nights lecture here and learn more about him on his official site.

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Call For Entries For The 69th POYi

As many of you know, POYi is the oldest and the most prestigious photojournalism program and competition in the world. The Photography Space has had the great pleasure of hosting the winning photographs and visual editors in this contest not once but twice over the last few years. Want to see if your photo is included in this prestigious group? You're in luck as POYi is again accepting photos as part of its 69th year in five different divisions: news, reportage, sports, editing and multimedia. But hurry as the deadline for submissions is January 12th - yes later this week!

For more information, please visit the official POYi website.

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Jimmy Colton takes 'making the cut' to a whole new level!

Jimmy Colton, January 14 - © Unique for the Space Last Thursday, our Space was graced with a pair of the best eyes in the business - Jimmy ('only my mother calls me James') Colton - photo editor for Sports Illustrated. Jimmy Colton, January 14, 2010 - © Unique for the Space Jimmy prepped us for his presentation by informing us that during the Olympics his job entailed reviewing 319,000 unedited images to narrow down to 70. Jimmy Colton, January 14, 2010 - © Unique for the Space That's right: 319,000>70. Crazy, right? Then he showed us the 70 or so images - and he proved his point! When we first met Jimmy at our SPORT opening, he told a wonderful story about how he sees his work as digging for the jewel in the lightbox. Jimmy showed us how SI became the source of the 'photo finish' for the famous Phelps 100m race. In this case the jewel was not too hard to find. Jimmy Colton on the Phelps 100m victory - © Unique for the SpaceJimmy Colton on Phelps' 100m victory - © Unique for the Space Each of his presentations were impeccably produced and superbly scored. The Olympics, Super Bowl, and my favorite, the Ooohs and Ahhhs reel. Jimmy Colton - Ooohs and Ahhhs - © Unique for the Space As is often the case, Jimmy's lecture was attended by some of our other IRIS Nights stars, on this occasion including Lucy Nicholson... Lucy Nicholson at Jimmy Colton Lecture - © Unique for the Space ...and Rick Rickman... Rick Rickman @ Jimmy Colton - © Unique for the Space ...and Manuello (Manu) Paganelli... Manuello Paganelli @ Jimmy Colton - © Unique for the Space Needless to say, after the lecture Jimmy was swarmed by appreciative guests. Jimmy Colton after the lecture © Unique for the Space Many guests asked Jimmy to sign the complimentary issues of Sports Illustrated he brought along as lecture favors! Jimmy Colton © Unique for the Space Always the gentleman - he was happy to oblige. Thank you Mr. Colton. The pleasure was ours!

Dennis Dimick comes full circle back to the Space


Dennis Dimick returned for a fourth visit to our Space - this time to gave a special inside-edition lecture about National Geographic 's current magazine issue, "Water" and other environmentally-focused previous issues.

Dimick was National Geographic  magazine's representative who first brought the concept of the special Water issue to our board last year as a potential exhibit and partnership between National Geographic  magazine and the Annenberg Space for Photography. He told us that his original presentation was based on a feature story from 1992 that he edited for the magazine about the coming freshwater crisis. Prescient!

He came for a second visit once the Water issue was coming together with actual images from around the world to show to us ... and of course he was here a third time for our opening in March. Now he returned to discuss National Geographic  magazine's leadership in combining photojournalism with environmental issues to study our planet's fragile state.

As the executive editor in the area of environmental issues, it is clear that Dennis' dedication to these issues has brought National Geographic  well-deserved praise.

Along with a catalogue of some amazing photographs, he brought a surprising tone of practicality to the endless debate of going green and going greener - or as Dennis puts it, moving from competition to collaboration and learning to do better with the resources you already have. His inspiration, he said, was rooted in his own upbringing on a farm...

...and his own personal journey shifted - as did the journeys of many of us attending - when he first encountered the famous image of the Earth from space on the cover of the Whole Earth Catalog.

Covering some dense perspectives of our current environmental challenges, i.e., responsible disposal of electronic waste or recyclables, Dennis began the lecture with some personal inspirations that have led to his part in the creation of National Geographic 's stories.

Our growing population,

and the attendant rise in CO2 output,

the frightening reminders of our shrinking glaciers,

and the resulting climate changes that have brought about new flooding,

as well as new droughts,

and draining reservoirs.

It wasn't what I would call a feel-good lecture but it was amazingly clear, level-headed and informative. This is a testament to the clarity with which Dennis approaches the global view of our climate changes and water crises.

Dennis was cool enough to hang out after the lecture to answer questions and view photographic work of lecturer goers, including some large prints in 3D by photographer Stuart Sperling.

Thank you for coming back Dennis...

...your presence is always welcome here!

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)

Donna O'Meara: Make Your Own Dreams Come True

Donna O'Meara is the last "Extreme Exposure" featured photographer to participate in our IRIS Nights elcture series. You may remember that her husband (and fellow volcanologist) Stephen O'Meara was the very first lecturer for the exhibit. Donna delivered a terrific, inspirational lecture about volcanoes, passion and the journey of life.

Donna, who lives on top of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, started her lecture by reciting a traditional Hawaiian thank you chant - a first at IRIS Nights.

She showed the audience photos from her wedding to Stephen, which took place on top of Kilauea. You can't tell in the photo above, but they both wore sneakers during ceremony - just in case they needed to run for their lives!

Donna recounted the time when National Geographic first hired her and Stephen for a photo shoot. The magazine let them choose the volcano they wanted to photograph. The two eventually decided on one located in Stromboli, Italy where they camped out for 39 days and survived 534 eruptions.

This expedition led to her and Stephen's own National Geographic television special titled Volcano Hunters!

Donna's theme of accomplishing what you want no matter the obstacle carried over to her story about her journey to Antarctica in 2009. It was on that trip that she met Barbara Jones, the 94-year-old only living child of Edward Nelson, the explorer who was part of the first official British exploration of Antarctica.

Donna became close to Barbara during the trip. She explained that she had always wanted to see the place where her father worked on the continent. Tragically, Barbara passed away during the trip.

Donna's volcanologist boots have been on display during the entire run of "Extreme Exposure." She said that even though she has a new pair, she wants her old ones back because they are so comfortable.

Donna ended her talk with words of inspiration and encouragement. No matter how old you are, make sure your dreams come true!

She stuck around to sign copies of the several books on volcanoes she has written over the years.

Thanks for the motivational talk, Donna. And don't worry,  your boots are on their way back to your home in Hawaii!

Watch Donna's entire IRIS Nights lecture here and learn more about her on her own website.

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space. All others are by Donna O'Meara)

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