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 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. 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. Each of his presentations were impeccably produced and superbly scored. The Olympics, Super Bowl, and my favorite, the Ooohs and Ahhhs reel. As is often the case, Jimmy's lecture was attended by some of our other IRIS Nights stars, on this occasion including Lucy Nicholson
...and Rick Rickman
...and Manuello (Manu) Paganelli
... Needless to say, after the lecture Jimmy was swarmed by appreciative guests. Many guests asked Jimmy to sign the complimentary issues of Sports Illustrated he brought along as lecture favors! Always the gentleman
- he was happy to oblige. Thank you Mr. Colton. The pleasure was ours!
Last Thursday, our Space was graced with a pair of the best eyes in the business
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,
" 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!
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 is the last
" 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
" 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!
(All lecture images by Unique for the Space. All others are by Donna O'Meara)
Check out what is happening in the photography world this week!
1. In honor of Kodak's ten year anniversary of its first digital zoom camera,
DC Views has compared elements of photography from when it was a 'digital science' to the 'easy sharing' aspect of today.
2. In a timely web 'service' offering Military personnel are remembering their time in service with photo books offered specially by the Military Yearbook Printing Company....but sometimes uploading pictures to a website can be extremely complicated.
3. Hollywood photographer David Strick is suing the Los Angeles Times for illegally publishing 174 of his photos.
The law suit could potentially cost $150,000 for each infringement, and there are 510 alleged violations!
4. When David Strick seemed to deliver too many photos, wedding photographer Gerald Randolph Byrd didn't deliver enough.
In fact Byrd refused to hand over the photos and is now serving two years of house arrest for fraudulent intent. The original sentence was eight years in prison.
5. But on a lighter note National Geographic has announced the "Best Travel Pictures of 2011" and they are incredible.
Photograph by Robin Moore
Click here to check them out.
We hope you have fun surfing the web for more photography updates!
by Christopher Schneberger
I've always been a storyteller as much as a photographer. A little over ten years ago I began making narrative images dealing with spirits that revisited the spaces, and sometimes the people, that were important to them in life. My spirits were not really the scary ghosts of horror movies or campfire lore, but ethereal interlopers that would visit lonely souls among the living. A lost daughter would appear to her still living mother, a husband might return to his widow, or a vaporous ballerina would dance for a lonesome janitor in her former studio.
I would often include specific names and dates (birth & death) for these spirits. Viewers and collectors find these specifics curious and ask me if there was some historical, factual basis for the imagery. At a certain point I decided I would create a much more ambitious project - somewhat of a whodunit mystery in the form of an installation. The project revolved around a pair of twins from the early 20th century, one of whom had mysteriously died but returned in spirit form to cavort with her sister. I wrote an elaborate backstory for this involving their family and a scientist cum photographer, Dr. Charles Addison. The exhibition took the form of an installation - the "recreation" of Dr. Addison's studio where (as I posit) Addison photographed Regina Crosswell and her ghostly twin, Lydia. The room had period wallpaper, curtains and the same furniture pieces seen in the photographs. I treated the installation as a museum exhibit, replete with curatorial text recounting the story. Not much gave any indication that it was a fictitious artistic work. To my great surprise, and joy, many people took it as fact and wondered how I had discovered this story.
Since that time, my work has continued to explore the supernatural in ordinary life, and particularly in America in the early 20th Century. The next story was about Frances Naylor, a legless girl who briefly developed, at the age of 13, the ability to levitate. She floated about her home in Evanston, Illinois, and was photographed by her father, an amateur photographer. Her mother saw the ability as a sinister manifestation and forbade her from levitating in public. The first exhibition of the work took place in the house where the images were made. The public could, at once, see the photographs and the exact spot where they had occurred. As in the previous installation, this created an immersive environment that brought the audience into the story. Again the accompanying text treated the story as fact and allowed the audience to suspend disbelief. This further immersed them in the story.
The following tale came about through historical research. My gallery in Chicago, Printworks, is housed in a rehabbed warehouse building that was once home to the National Candy Company. National was even owned by Vincent Price Sr., father of the well-known actor (no kidding!). So, I decided to tell the story of something that could have happened at the factory. In this case, the story was that of Anna Sula, a young orphan worker who was found murdered at the factory. Photographs later surfaced showing that Anna had telekinetic powers and participated in meetings of a private circle at the factory. Could this have something to do with her brutal murder? I leave it for the viewer to decide.
In addition to the elaborate story and the installation, I also immerse the viewer in the imagery by using stereo photography (3D). My work is primarily exhibited in 2D form, but I have the ability to display it in 3D as well. Sometimes this is in the form of View-Master reels and viewers, sometimes as antique-style stereo cards, and sometimes as anaglyph prints that require the paper red/cyan glasses. This is the form they are currently in at "Digital Darkroom" at the Annenberg Space for Photography.
All of my major narrative works can be enjoyed at the Annenberg Space as narrated 3D slide shows. There is a monitor booth near my framed work with displays for shows, complete with music and narration.
I am currently at work on a new series which is in color and set contemporarily. It involves a family (husband, wife, son, daughter) who live in an older house that has a ghost who looks in on their lives. This show will debut at Printworks in October of this year. And I hope to show a few preview images at my IRIS Nights lecture at Annenberg on Thursday, February 16th.
Christopher Schneberger is a traditionalist and an iconoclast. He has created photographic series of both infrared and mural-sized photographs. His work often weaves a narrative tale incorporating supernatural elements. See his work in "Digital Darkroom" which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.
Living legend Art Brewer graced our Space Thursday night and was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He was totally down-to-earth, mellow, funny
...and he actually showed up with a crew!
The last time we had so many people in the green room (really our Reading Room) was when David Hume Kennerly brought his whole family along to man his book-selling table!
After a brief intro to the intro by Annenberg Foundation Exec Director Leonard Aube, who spoke about the unexpected success we've had with our IRIS Nights lectures, Art came out, sat down and starting rolling out waves of images and stories for our delight.
Many of the pictures he showed were dominated by cascading walls of blue
Others showed the secret inner life of tuberiders
And some were portraits of the many surfers that are Art's real 'crew'
- many of whom he has known since he started shooting waves as a teen!
Despite the driving rain outside, the house was full! Many of the guests seemed to be off-duty surfers coming to check in on their pal. And one or two of his photos actually had some land in them!
But the majority of what we saw were these incredible shots of little humans braving giant waves
- accompanied by some incredible stories of the guy in the water shooting them!
Afterwards Art graciously took questions (and generously gave answers) to the faithful assembly
...and then sat and signed books, meeting folks and cracking jokes.
Here he is signing a vintage issue of Surfer
- the magazine that published his first cover shot when he was 16 years old.
...how rad is that? (sorry
...I had to!)
(all pictures © Unique for the Space)
Not many of our guest lecturers visit the Space to present a collection of images focusing on environmentally-polluted sites and then disassociate their work from the larger effort of global advocacy
...especially in regards to our world's water crisis.
But in the case of New York-born Princeton and Harvard grad David Maisel, when it comes to his photography, his work neither represents answers to a conflict nor offers any resolution other than a sense of poetic truth.
...if this is your position David, then thou ART as wise as thou ART beautiful!
Maisel's aerial photographs of sites where the natural ecological order has been eradicated are images of a stunning atrocity.
At first glance, you see a brilliant photograph of splattered colors,
but upon further examination, the photo actually depicts a man-made sea of toxic minerals destroying our environment.
A bittersweet presentation, Maisel's work
- titled Black Maps
- is a visually emotional creation that does more than just leave an impression
...it speaks to the soul.
If you missed the lecture, this is unfortunately one time when you won't be able to watch it online.
However, we will be posting an audio file and a transcript,
as well as a gallery of more photos.
But you must see the work
...it's truly unique.
Afterward, David was extremely genial and approachable.
He answered questions, chatted with guests
...signed some copies of his book Oblivion
then bid us all goodbye and good night.
(All photos © Unique for the Space)
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)
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.