Poetic Photography: Lecture With Paul Lange

IRIS Nights lecturer Paul Lange - pictured here in front of his stunning picture of Venus Williams - gave an impressive presentation on the art and technique of photography last night.

Some of the photos on the screen looked more like paintings or digitally constructed portraits then the straight film or digital photography which they truly are. But as Lange pointed out, that was his goal. He manipulated the photos during exposure in-camera by simply experimenting with chemical processing methods.

"A photo is not just a model posing. I want my photographs to be like paintings," said Lange. "I want them to be long living."

He even went into detail explaining how a photo could be double exposed, cross processed or dye transferred - terms that had all the non-photographers struggling to keep up.

"It's fun just playing with the rules. They work more often then they don't work so the key is to just try it," said Lange in reference to his experimental work.

Lange's diverse career led him to the world of fashion, photographing top models and celebrities from around the globe. He combined his fine art training with the fashion staples of good hair, makeup and perfect lighting to create his unique and polished style. Lange still creates all of his photographs in-camera and does not digitally alter them in post-production.

Lange explained that digital filters don't have the poetry that film does. "There is a translucent quality that you get by chance with film..." said Lange passionately, "otherwise it is too uniform."

Lange kept coming back to ideas of mystery, chance, passion and poetry relying on the imagery of a 'paint-like quality' to describe his photographic style.

His unique photographs were not the sole reason this night was different from our other lectures; last night was also the first time the Annenberg Space for Photography held two lectures by a photographer in one evening.

The night was so successful that we hope to do more double-header lectures in the future, giving our guests twice the opportunity to attend!

Thank you Paul Lange for giving two lovely presentations!

(All lecture photos by Unique for the Space)

The Creative Revolution

By Joel Grimes

It is estimated that in 2009 Flickr hosted over 4 billion photographs and Facebook users uploaded 30 billion images.  This is just the tip of the iceberg with no end in sight. On the video front, YouTube now has over 12 billion views per month.  We are without question in the greatest age of photography since its introduction.  Never in the history of mankind has there been a greater opportunity to experience the creative process, and the ability to share it with the masses. We are in a Creative Revolution.

I often meet people that have only been taking pictures for a few years, and when presented with their work, I am simply blown away. In today's digital capture and manipulation era and with the hyper accelerated pace of learning and sharing, it is possible to accomplish in one or two years what took an average person say, 20 years ago, to accomplish in 10 years.

In 1979 Bob Dylan wrote about a "Slow Train Coming," but in 2011 that train is moving at a high rate of speed.  Miss that train and you will be left behind.  It is a rude awaking for those of us who grew up with Bob Dylan and have dug in our heals, resisting the digital age.

Part of accepting this new digital era is being willing to re-examine the very definition of photography.  If we define photography by the technical process or by the tools used in that process then we are bound and obligated to work within that definition.  A few years ago when I first started doing photographic composites, I received all sorts of criticism stating I was no longer a photographer but had now become an illustrator.  Somehow we had accepted the manipulations done in camera and in the darkroom, but when it came to working in programs like Photoshop, well that was somehow cheating and crossed the line of traditional acceptance.

A few years ago I sat down and asked the question, "from the glass plate process to the new digital process what constant denominator has never changed and will never change in the future?"  The answer is this: the creative process.  In the end, the single greatest dominating unchanging force that drives the photographic process is that it takes an artist to create.  What tools we use should be completely secondary to the creative process.

Once I let go of my preconceived definitions of photography and focused on my exploration and uniqueness as an artist, my work literally took on a whole new life. I was now free to explore the creative process without the restraining boundaries that once kept me in check by the definitions established by others.

Joel Grimes makes his living in commercial photography but has a parallel career in art. Grimes combines an artistic vision with an impressive fluency in the technical aspects of photography, creating images that make viewers see the world anew. See his work in Digital Darkroom which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

Rickman Rocked!

Who's Afraid of Getting Old? Not Rick Rickman or his subjects!

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rick Rickman

Last night Rick Rickman pulled back the veil on a "senior underground - a movement that few know about and little has been written about. It's the venue in which people over 60 are enjoying the aging experience by keeping themselves enthusiastically engaged in life itself."

His infectious enthusiasm and personal stories about the geri-athletes he profiles were the perfect mix. Rick even brought along some of his subjects, including senior surfer Eve Fletcher - who at 83 years is still catching the waves!

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rickman and Eve Fletcher - senior surfer

Apparently Rick hangs ten with Eve a few mornings a week and she cuts him NO slack....

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rickman with photo of Eve Fletcher

She was similarly feisty in the Q&A that followed the lecture - for us she was the poster girl of the lecture.

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rickman and Fletcher
Rick also had on hand a couple of prize winning weight lifters named Bill Cunningham and Jane Hesselgesser whose physiques were in perfect form...and they were well past retirement age.

© DS for the Photo Space - Rick with image of Bill and Jane
Holy Jack LaLane!

The list went on as did the expectation-challenging images. Senior synchronized swimmers, shot-putters and Iron Man competitors!

© DS for the Photo Space - Senior Synchronized Swimmers

© DS for the Photo Space - Senior Shot Putter

Apparently one Rick's subjects, Sister Madonna Buder (not pictured here) finished Iron Man (26 mile run 10 mile swim and 100 mile bike tournament) 22 TIMES - once with broken ribs, elbow and shoulder!

Just when we thought we couldn't see something new at the Photo Space - it came wrapped in the package of something old...amazing athletes with an amazing life perspectives captured by an amazing photographer.

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rick Rickman greeting guests
Thank you Rick Rickman.

The Space brings a little (Ken) Light to Town


Imagine photographing in complete darkness using a Hasselblad camera no auto focus, no fast film, with a single flash. Today this scenario would present quite the challenge but in 1982 it was the technique of photography and single best method for highly acclaimed photographer Ken Light.


Born in the Bronx, raised in East Meadows, NY- social photographer, organizer and filmmaker Mr. Light graced the stage at the Space and he brought the nostalgia of film and the great photographers of the past with him.


Covering his works of the last 40-years, Ken presented images of the 1970 Ohio State University riots, travels with President Nixon, race relations in Mississippi, to his current portfolio documenting the socioeconomic decline of California Central Valley.


He also discussed his now famous coverage of death row inmates and gave a nod to his recent court case with Current TV and Al Gore - where he sued for their unauthorized use of one of his images

...sadly the court sided with the other guy!

And of course as a professor and curator at the University of Berkley, Ken did not fail to mention the great traditions of American photography or its founders...


...giving shout outs to the great Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans and their work during the Great Depression. During the lecture, Ken explained that it is the duty of every generation of photographers to reexamine the same issues of the past so these issues don't go ignored.

In other words, New School meet the Old School


and don't forget the R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

After answering questions from the audience, Ken autographed books in the ASP Reading Room.

Thank you Professor Light! Very illuminating!

(All pictures © Unique for the Space)

IRIS Nights Proudly Hosts Katie Falkenberg's First Lecture

We first met Katie Falkenberg during last year's POYi exhibit when her "Sugarcane Worker" portrait had just been honored by the acclaimed photojournalism contest. Her work is featured again in the current exhibit and this time she made sure to come out and speak at IRIS Nights. You wouldn't know it based on how at ease she was in front of the audience, but last night's IRIS Nights talk was the first time Katie had ever given a lecture. What a natural! She displayed an immensely charming presence and a warm smile that captivated the audience the entire evening. Katie divided her lecture into two halves, dedicating each part to a specific photography project. The first half focused on her series of photographs about domestic violence in Pakistan titled "In The Name of Honor." Shockingly, 70-90% of women in Pakistan are victims of domestic violence and Katie's moving images helped shed light on their stories.  Her series "Mountaintop Removal" tells of the drastic effects Mountaintop coal mining has on certain communities in Kentucky. At the end of the evening, a still smiling Katie shared more about her work by graciously spending time answering questions from those who came out to hear her speak. We're honored to have hosted your first lecture, Katie. You did a great job! We hope to see you speak again at the Space very soon! For more information about Katie visit <a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.katiefalkenbergphotography.com/" href="http://www.katiefalkenbergphotography.com/" "target="_blank">her official Website. (All images by Unique for the Space)

Recent Developments: Julius Shulman

Juergen Nogai ( R) seen here with his wife, Jeannie ( C) and POYi/Water photographer and lecturer Gerd Ludwig ( L)

When we caught up with Juergen Nogai (Julius Shulman's shooting partner) at our last opening, he told us about an amazing retrospective of Julius' (and also Juergen's) work. It was planned well in advance to celebrate Julius' 100th birthday. Sadly, Julius passed away in July of 2009 at the age of 99 leaving us with an impressive life-time of amazing work (see our tribute to him here).


It was decided that 'the show must go on,' and the exhibit, which is the most complete collection of Shulman's work to be shown in one place, opened in October of last year (Julius' 100th birthday would have been 10/10/2010). It's called "Cool and Hot" and it will run until February 27, 2011 at the ZEPHYR Gallery in Mannheim, Germany.

While it might not be likely for you to see this exhibit before February, Juergen did mention that it is likely to hit the road for a mini-tour. We can hope that it makes its way across the pond to us, but so far it doesn't look like that's in the cards. We'll keep you posted.

Brian Bowen Smith: Beauty Is What You Make It

Not even a broken leg could stop photographer Brain Bowen Smith from giving a rousing lecture at IRIS Nights last night.

Brian did not intend to define beauty last night but instead explained that he believes that the topic is truly subjective.

He described how the combination of luck, guts and fate landed him his first job with famed photographer Herb Ritts, who would later become his mentor. According to Brian, Ritts taught him how to adeptly manipulate natural light and use photography to translate a model's true self.

But his most significant contribution was the idea of simplicity. "Beauty is simplicity and everything revolves around beauty," said Brian. "So I want to keep it simple."

Brian revealed that Ritts's style has been a source of inspiration throughout his professional career. Here's a photo that has a hint of Ritts but is truly all Brian Bowen Smith.

Brian reiterated his belief in simplicity. "Don't make a big deal about it," offered Brian. "Have fun. Keep it simple."

His exuberant and animated personality had the audience engaged and laughing the entire night.

As one audience member put it, "he was so personable and such a good speaker. I was amazed by him!"

Thanks for a terrific lecture, Brian. Here's to a quick recovery!

For more information about Brian, visit his website.

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

The Media Is Talking About "Digital Darkroom"!

"Digital Darkroom" has already received some terrific coverage in the press and on the blogsosphere! Below is just a number of the many outlets and blogs that have mentioned the show:

New York Times Lens blog (Dec. 12)

New York Times Lens blog (Dec. 13)

Photoshop Café

The Los Angeles Times Framework blog

Patch - Century City

Cool Mom

Check out this great video from a segment that aired on NBC4 the morning of December 15th.

Blog Tags: 

Lucy Nicholson makes it seem so fun!

Lucy Nicholson, December 17, 2009 © Unique for the Space
On Thursday the amazing Lucy Nicholson - senior staff photographer at Reuters - graced our Space with her lilting British accent, her light-hearted sense of humor and an incredible presentation.

Lucy Nicholson, December 17, 2009 © Unique for the Space
From a short film about how an organization the size of Reuters shoots a big event to her own riveting photos, Lucy gave us a lot of rich content from a unique perspective to consider.
Lucy Nicholson, December 17, 2009  © Unique for the Space
Seeing what goes into what we end up seeing online (around the world) was a real eye-opener. Once again we learned at the feet of a master (matrix?).

Lucy even gave a breakdown of the elements that go into Sport photography and discussed the importance of all the different factors...very helpful!

Lucy Nicholson, December 17, 2009 © Unique for the Space

She also let us see some of her non-sports portfolio. Lucy Nicholson, December 17, 2009 © Unique for the Space

Lucy was so down-to-earth and accessible...

Lucy Nicholson, December 17, 2009 © Unique for the Space

Long after the Q&A was over Lucy hung around talking with lecture guests, friends and fans...

Lucy Nicholson, December 17, 2009 © Unique for the Space

Thank you for rounding out an amazing year of lecture Lucy!
Happy Holidays everyone!

Camille Seaman brings timeless wisdom to the Space

"...the Earth is not just our mother - we are made of this..." Camille Seaman said as she loaded up her first slide.

"None of us were born in space or on another planet - so everything that went into creating us came from this planet. And this planet is made from pieces of exploding stars...all of the metals that form the core of our planet - the metals that we mine and adorn our bodies with come from exploding stars."

"...we are made of stars..."

This was only the start of Camille Seaman's lecture at The Space yesterday, as she took us along on her personal journey (tagged onto the end of the story of creation!) to becoming a National Geographic  award-winning photographer.


Admitting that she was, by both nature and heredity, a bit of a storyteller, she proceed to tell us the story of her travels and growth as a photographer.

Camille played a slideshow of her current portfolio. Her soft-spoken voice only enhanced the boldness of her storytelling and photographic work documenting the fragile environment of the North and South Pole regions.

Her images are as courageous as they are beautiful.

Camille's life and work is inspirational and the peace, scale and calmness of her photography is thrilling.


After viewing her portfolio on the huge digital screen (a size perfectly suited for a subject so enormous), and following her unfolding of her perspective from having visited the vast openness of the planet's poles multiple times,


you couldn't help but to leave the presentation last night loving the earth just a little bit more than you did before.

At the end of the night she raffled off some prints to raise funds and awareness about her next (and last) visit to the Arctic, weaving the guests into her personal story of documenting the fragile extremes of our planet.


Thank you Camille for spreading the earth love!

(All photos © Unique for the Space)

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