Larry Towell: 'A Story Is The People In Front Of You'

Larry Towell's life is all about human beings and being human (his business card even says "human being") so it should come as no surprise that he incorporated those themes into last night's IRIS Nights lecture.

The first thing Larry did during the opening of his lecture last was explain why he would not be doing much speaking during his presentation. The reason? The hiccups. Larry explained that he suffered with the hiccups for 2 weeks earlier this summer and decided to put together a photographic slideshow, complete with pre-recorded audio, just in case there was a sudden resurgence of his hiccups while he was up on stage.

Some of the multi-talented photojournalist's slideshows consisted of his poetry and guitar-playing which narrated the photos with forceful artistry.

Larry said that he sometimes collects the ambient sound of places uses that as a soundtrack to his slideshow.

You can hear this natural soundtrack in his series dedicated to the Mennonites.

The Magnum photographer has photographed people all over the globe and spent a chunk of his time talking about his photo series from Palestine. Larry reminded us that "a story is the people in front of you."

Larry, who studied visual arts in college, pointed out: "When you're studying art you're made to believe that you're the center of the universe. But when you actually go out into the universe, you realize that it revolves around you ...and the people that are in front of you become the story." In other words, it really is all about human beings!

Larry's most personal slideshow came at the end of his talk when he showed a series of photographs that focused on the most important people in his life: his wife and children. The beautiful black and white images show the family frolicking in nature as well around their quaint country home.

During the Q&A Larry revealed how he goes about establishing a relationship with his subjects: it takes time. For example, the project with the Mennonites, who rarely allow themselves to be photographed, took him 10 years and 3000 roles of film to complete!

Congratulations, Larry, on a great presentation - and no hiccups!

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Coming To The Space This Summer: BEAUTY CULTURE!

The Space has been open for over two years now and our seventh exhibition will be here sooner than you think - May 21st to be exact. We couldn't be more excited!

BEAUTY CULTURE is a photographic exploration of how feminine beauty is defined, challenged and revered in modern society. The exhibition will include images from some of the most highly respected and world-renowned photographers in the beauty and fashion world.

© Felicia Webb

BEAUTY CULTURE will feature 170 images in our print show and over 500 in the digital one - one of our largest shows ever!

Quick note: Keep in mind that BEAUTY CULTURE does include graphic images, such as those of explicit medical procedures and nudity, and may not be appropriate for all ages.

Nikki Sixx Rocks The Space

A bona fide rock star lecturer, Mötley Crüe bass guitarist NIkki Sixx, rocked IRIS Nights last night! Some people may not be aware but bass guitar isn't the only instrument Nikki takes seriously - cameras also play a large role in his life.

Visitors lined up outside of the Space well before doors opened at 6pm.

Joining Nikki for this lecture was journalist and author Kristine McKenna. The long-time Los Angeles music writer did a stellar job picking Nikki's brain about his photography in a revealing and candid discussion.

Nikki told Kristine that he has been photographing for over 30 years but started to take it more seriously in 1989. Quite impressively, he's completely self-taught in the medium.

Nikki told a poignant story about the Coney Island clown in this photo. He told Nikki said that most people took his picture because he was a "freak" but felt that this image captured his outer beauty.

Nikki doesn't believe beauty is only defined in the pages of People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People" issue. He reiterated throughout the talk that beauty is everywhere: "being an individual is so rewarding."

Here's a recent photo taken by Nikki of a female teenage fan paying homage to the rock star by replicating one of his looks from the 1980s. Check out a photo of vintage Nikki here.

Kristine asked Nikki about the kind of cameras he uses in his photography and he revealed that he uses everything from Holgas to Leicas. But he stressed that it doesn't matter what kind of camera you use to take pictures. Use the best tool in your hand to capture the moment!

Nikki takes loads of self portraits. Why? According to him it's simply because no one else is ever around!

While Nikki said he doesn't feel ready to publicly exhibit his photos quite yet (he'd like to first nail down a theme), we can't wait until the time comes.

Nikki's girlfriend, model Courtney Bingham, was also in the audience. As his muse of sorts, Nikki said that she has inspired him to start to dabble in fashion photography.

Annenberg Foundation executive director Leonard Aube stopped by for a post-lecture chat.

Nikki couldn't resist adding his own answer to the white board question about beauty and age located in our workshop area.

Nikki showed us tonight that not only is he a rock star in the music world but a rock star photographer as well! Thank you Nikki and Kristine for an awesome night!

For more information about Nikki's photography, visit his tumblr site.

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

Bringing Attention To Important Topics Through The Use Of Humor

by Pierre Beteille I am proud to say that the Annenberg Space for Photography's "Digital Darkroom" is my very first photography exhibition. I was excited to be given the opportunity to go to the show's public opening and witness, for the first time, people react (if they reacted at all!) to my images in a public setting. I take my photographs in my apartment in France!!

by Pierre Beteille I am proud to say that the Annenberg Space for Photography's "Digital Darkroom" is my very first photography exhibition. I was excited to be given the opportunity to go to the show's public opening and witness, for the first time, people react (if they reacted at all!) to my images in a public setting. I take my photographs in my apartment in France. I mostly shoot self-portraits and work alone, without an assistant. As a result, I have no direct feedback on my work. Of course, I get comments and messages from people on the Internet, but they inevitably come only from those who are receptive to my work. Coming to Los Angeles for "Digital Darkroom" was really my first opportunity to see people's instinctive reactions - either good or bad - in person. While it may seem rather childish and narcissistic satisfaction, to see people smile and react with such pleasure to my photos brought me an incredible sense of fulfillment. My work sometimes deals with serious issues that are important to me but I try to juxtapose the more solemn subjects with humor. For example, my latest photos focus on the speculation on the cereal markets and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. Glamorous themes, aren't they? My goal is to make people think about these important topics without boring them or putting them off, and the only way I can accomplish this is through the use of humor or satire. Humor can sometimes be very specific to different cultures, and I was not sure that it would be perceived in the same way from one continent to another. This is why one of my fears was to see people remain indifferent to my pictures. On the day of the "Digital Darkroom" public opening, a young girl in a wheelchair visiting the Photography Space came to me and with a great big smile said to me, about my photographs, "Thank you; you made me laugh." Even if I am a big boy, I must confess that I was very moved and that it almost brought tears to my eyes. This single sentence is the most beautiful reward and the best encouragement that I could receive for my work. Thank you all for your smiles! Pierre Beteille is a self-taught talent in Paris who has an unbridled humor and wit. He takes pride in never having read a book, watched a tutorial or taken a class on photo manipulation. His digital creations are highly original, each image functioning as both a punchline and an act of rebellion. See his work in "Digital Darkroom" which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

Lynch brings a triple TKO with Ultimate Fighting's Brandon Vera, Watercolors, and his Mom!

Kevin Lynch
Last night Kevin Lynch brought the goods.

First he brought an amazing presentation of his work including celebrity portraiture, film posters, his exhaustive and up close coverage of the UFC fighters...
Kevin Lynch

...including some very challenging before and after bout pics.

...and some chilling portraits.

...as well as an abstract series that he co-created with his wife called "Watercolors."


Then... to make it all the more real... Kevin brought UFC fighter Brandon Vera to sit and talk with him.

Brandon was so gracious and polite it was hard to imagine him breaking noses and spilling blood.


...but his input was very interesting. He spoke about his contemporaries and about the logistics of growing a 'career' in Ultimate Fighting.

Afterwards they both stayed standing through a round of Q&A and the onslaught of fans.

Kevin also brought his urban-legend-rare and giant book, OCTAGON. The book, which has more than 800 four-color and black-and-white photographs, was printed and hand bound in Italy, weighing over 50 pounds.

It ranges in price from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the edition, and is truly a work of art.

But for those who wanted to purchase a book for Kevin or Brandon to sign, there were some more affordable volumes on hand.

...and plenty of opportunity to press the flesh and mug for the cameras...

Oh! And did I mention that Kevin also brought his mom?

She even came back afterwards and got her son to sign a few books.

(cute!)

In short, Kevin really knocked us out. Thank you Kevin, Brandon and Mom. Y'all come back now y'hear?

(All images © Unique for the Space)

National Geographic's Griffin packs the Space!

Over the course of the current exhibition's IRIS Nights lecture series, we've had an incredible opportunity to get to know and love the staff of one of our favorite magazines - National Geographic .

The behind-the-scenes stories of how NatGeo  photographers capture those unparalleled moments of our changing world almost rivals the wonder of viewing the photographs published in the magazine.

So it comes as no surprise that our final executive guest lecturer from National Geographic , Director of Photography David Griffin...

...was greeted by a VERY full house last Thursday at the Space.

David delivered that sought-after narrative, bringing us inside National Geographic  and answered questions from the audience including the ultimate...how to become a National Geographic  photographer?

Wallis Annenberg, Neil Leifer,

Lauren Greenfield,

and Michael Robinson Chávez

were all in attendance at the Space for David's lecture and multimedia presentation.

Along with the first-hand stories from the front lines,

David brought video footage and behind-the-scenes stills of NatGeo  photographers chasing the moments,

capturing the extraordinary,

and covering over 100 years of published issues.

The lecture was at times funny,

at times frightening,

at times instructive,

and all in all, totally awe-inspiring.

Thank you David Griffin!

(All images © Unique for the Space)

Recent Developments: Greg Gorman

Another one of our L8S ANG3LES exhibit artists is in our viewfinder again - Greg Gorman has an exhibit up called "A Distinct Vision" 1970-2010. (click on "Greg Gorman Exhibit" on the left for more info)

As some of you may recall, Greg was one of the 8 featured photographers in our inaugural exhibit and gave a memorable IRIS Nights lecture. This new retrospective show featured several rooms filled with prints


from arrays of tabloid-size portraits


to super-sized prints that dominated huge swaths of the wall.

including a nearly life-sized series of Gorman's favorite subject,


Tony Ward

The exhibit had a gala opening at the Pacific Design Center on Sept. 15th with a very well-attended party featuring some of his famous subjects, an array of


stylish friends...


fans... and - of course -


Mr. Gorman himself!


Other faces in the crowd included Julius Shulman collaborator Juergen Nogai and his better half Jeannie.

The show only runs through Oct. 29, 2010, so you still have a chance to get out before 5 p.m. on Friday if you want to see it.

Scroll down for some more images from the opening.
My favorites were giant contact sheets.


Warhol


Johnson


Iman

What an incredible peek behind Gorman's iconic images. It's actually amazing when you see that he seems incapable of taking a bad shot!

Here are a few more portraits:


Bowie and Jackson


Herman, Beatty and Depp


Crisp

Don't miss it!

(All event photos © David Scharff for the Annenberg Foundation)

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BEAUTY CULTURE: Opening Gala Event

Last night, the Annenberg Space for Photography hosted the opening gala for our newest exciting exhibit BEAUTY CULTURE, an event which represented beauty in many different forms. Here are photographers Paul Lange and Tyen starting their initial tour of the exhibit.

Hundreds of party-goers enjoyed the photography inside and outside of the Space amidst a crowd filled with photographers, celebrities, supermodels and everyone in between.

Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube took to the stage to thank all of the photographers whose work is included in the exhibit, such as the three of the four featured photographers; Tyen, Melvin Sokolsky and Lauren Greenfield. The fourth featured photographer in our exhibit - Albert Watson - unfortunately couldn't make the party. He was definitely missed!

One of the highlights of the evening was a special surprise performance from burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese. At the start of her show, Dita emerging from a giant sparkling compact!

Her act, which wowed the guests, brings back glamour from a bygone era in a big way.

Supermodels Gisele and Alek Wek, both featured in photographs in BEAUTY CULTURE, looked twice as stunning standing next to one another.

Annenberg Foundation Chairman, President and CEO Wallis Annenberg excitedly greeted featured photographer Tyen at the event. It was Wallis's initial vision that made the Space available to the public.

Actress Sophia Bush takes in the iconic Herb Ritts photo that greets guests at the entrance to the exhibit.

Lawrence Ho, who was one of the 11 featured photographers in our inaugural exhibit L8S ANG3LES, seen here with fellow guest and "Pictures of the Year International" contributor (and recent Pulitzer Prize winner!) Barbara Davidson.

Photo Space Talent & Content Director, Patricia Lanza, is seen here with Matthew Rolston, who has several of his images in BEAUTY CULTURE.

Two Hollywood beauties: Halle Berry and Katie Holmes.

Photographer Susan Anderson poses in front of one of her photographs. Those of you who live in Los Angeles may have seen this image all over the city as it is as part of our street banner campaign.

Melvin stands in front of one of his images of model Peggy Moffitt.

Moffitt was at the event and posed alongside Alek Wek: beauties from two different generations!

Exhibit consultant Manon Slome poses inside of the Space.

Lauren chats with "The Pink Lady," the subject of several of her photos and one of the people interviewed for the BEAUTY CULTURE digital feature.

Thanks to everyone for a terrific celebration of this great new exhibit. BEAUTY CULTURE runs now through November 27. Come see it and find out what beauty means to you!

All images by Chris Weeks.

Beauty Pageant Culture

You'll find an array of photos of beauty pageant contestants in BEAUTY CULTURE. From Miss Senior California, the one and only Pink Lady (you might recognize her Botox-injected lips from our exhibit banners throughout L.A.) to Susan Anderson's toothy-smiled, Beauty, age 4, which greets visitors in the Space's entrance hallway - we see these women prepping for the show and competing as well.

But what happens after the contest?

In celebration of the Miss USA pageant's 60th anniversary, Time Magazine recently asked Anderson (who lectured at the Space and signed copies of her book, High Glitz, on June 16) to shoot portraits of 31 of its past winners.  These queens still have some set ideas about pageant culture.

Miriam (Stevenson) Breckenridge (Miss USA, 1954) now 78, told Time: "...you don't want to be thought of just as the beauty queen. People only remember me for being Miss USA and Miss Universe even all these years later."

Meanwhile, 75-year-old Myrna Hanson (Miss USA, 1953) weighed in on artificial beauty: "At that time, you didn't dare put any pads in your bathing suit, but now I look around and see silicone everywhere. I don't think young people need silicone any place, any time anywhere. It's what you do with what you've got that counts."

To see all of Andersen's portraits in the Time piece, click here.

If you haven't yet seen BEAUTY CULTURE, come see it now before it goes away in November!

Grace Jones is Chris Levine's 'Superstar'

For Grace Jones' 2009 "The Hurricane Tour," "Digital Darkroom" photographer Chris Levine designed an element of the show in which a laser shined at the lustrous Swarovski crystal-encrusted bowler hat the singer wore during her performance of "Love is the Drug." This created a surreal and magical effect on stage that mesmerized the audience. Levine recreated the moment for his stunning photograph of Jones, entitled Superstar, which is above,

Said Chris about the moment in the show: "I got the Royal Festival Hall (in London) to take all lights to black out when we did it first time. The laser coming directly down from above onto (her) crystal headpiece...the audience went wild. It was a magical moment-a kind of flash point. Grace was back! It has to be one of the best live shows I had ever seen by any artist. It was electrifying!"

Want to see for yourself how well Levine's design played out during the show? Then watch Jones' "electrifying" performance of the song in the clip below.

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