Ami Vitale - "The Story Within the Story"

Acclaimed photographer Ami Vitale joined us at the Space on Thursday and shared her award winning work shot in Kashmir along with other recent still and video projects. Vitale's photographs have appeared in Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report and The New York Times, among others.

We didn't know what to expect but got very positive words from the one-and-only David Hume Kennerly who called the day of the lecture to express his regrets for not being able to attend.

She was - as Kennerly forewarned us - extremely charming and quite a wonderful photographer. The theme of her talk was "The Story Within The Story" and she told many...

Touching stories, beautiful stories, tragic stories - moments of memory made timeless by the arresting images she took as they unfolded.

The images were poignant portraits of cultures and identities around the globe, and the stories she shared about them were just as engaging- we wished she published her written journal.

Her presentation displayed the strong bond that she shares with her subjects and the communities she works in.

A bond which - it was clear - she had no trouble making with those who came to hear her speak as well.

Ami withheld no details regarding her choice of photo gear, her process - or her decision not to use Photoshop.

She also made it clear through retelling some personal experiences, that she thinks every photographer should fight to keep their copyright.

A transporting evening courtesy of an amazing talent...and so friendly and approachable too!

Thank you Ami!

(All images © Unique for the Space)

Michael Nichols: A Southern Gentleman Braves A Dangerous World

Michael "Nick" Nichols, one of the five featured photographers in Extreme Exposure, popped on over to the Space last night to present his IRIS Nights lecture. The award-winning National Geographic photographer gave one of the most passionate and energetic talks we've seen in awhile!

There was no way to escape the Alabama native's energy as he leapt from one side of the screen to the other relating story after story about the images that flashed in front of the audience.

The sold-out lecture was standing room only and Nick won over each and every single one of them with his affable Southern charm.

Nick spent a good chunk of time talking about the stitched together image of a giant Redwood tree in Northern California he shot for National Geographic. Click here to read a riveting personal essay written by Nick about his experience photographing the tree.

Nick has gone through a lot just to get the perfect shot. Not everyone can say they've had an elephant charge at them but Nick has!

One way to avoid some of the dangerous situations in nature is to set up so-called "trip trap" cameras, something that Nick has perfected over the years. The image above was shot using such a camera. You couldn't get such a shot without one!

Nick has come close to death more than once but explained that this is just part of the job.

Many of Nick's National Geographic friends showed up to hear his lecture, including the Space's own Pat Lanza (2nd from left).

A job very well done, Nick! It's not everyday we get a lecturer as energetic as you were last night. Come back anytime!

Click here to watch Nick's IRIS Nights lecture online. For more information about Nick, visit his official Website.

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Recent Developments - Michael Nichols releases iPad App!


Word came around to us that one of our featured photographers from EXTREME EXPOSURE is moving from the jungle to your iPad...seriously.

Most photography iPad apps so far have focuses on managing pictures, manipulating pictures, organizing photoshoots (timing them, producing them and even invoicing and getting model releases!). There is definitely a different target audience (with a very different skill set) than with iPhone apps (you say Hipstamatic, I say TiltShift Generator).

And then, of the growing number of photography 'fan' apps, most have been "iVersions" of publications. None of the rare apps that focus on the work of a single photographer have the depth and breadth as Mike's - extensive photogalleries, behind the scenes videos and access to more than 20 years of his work.

We can't help but take pride in one of our exhibitors - who is known for his long treks in the remote corners of the world's jungles - taking the lead in new technologies.

The Space Honored By Julius Shulman Institute

Last month, the Annenberg Space for Photography was the recent recipient of a great honor. We were awarded the 2011 Julius Shulman Communication Award, which honors an outstanding contributor and exponent of communication in his or her field. The award is handed out each year by the Julius Shulman Institute at Woodbury University. Gil Garcetti, Diane Keaton and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels have all been past winners.

Thanks to all of you, our visitors, who have helped make the Photography Space such a great success. We wouldn't be where we are without you!

Above is classic shot of the Space taken the year we opened. The photographer? Julius Shulman himself!

WATER: Our Thirsty World - New Exhibit with National Geographic Opens

Yes we've reached another great moment at the Photography Space...a new exhibit in conjunction with National Geographic's special single-topic issue focuses on the world's freshwater crises.

We also celebrated our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

On hand to help us launch the new show and offer a hearty happy birthday were all the nice folks from National Geographic: (L-R) Sandra Postel (NG Freshwater Fellow & Director of the Global Water Policy Project), Terry Garcia (NG Executive VP, Mission Programs), William Marr (NG Director of Photography; rear) Wallis Annenberg (Annenberg Foundation Chairman of the Board, President and CEO; front), Sarah Leen (Senior Photo Editor for National Geographic magazine), Lynn Johnson (featured photographer - "The Burden of Thirst"), Jonas Benkdiksen (featured photographer, "The Big Melt"), John Stanmeyer (featured photographer, "Sacred Waters"), Chris Johns (National Geographic magazine Editor in Chief) and Dennis Dimick (National Geographic magazine Executive Editor)

This is another shot without the photographers but with our own Pat Lanza, the Talent and Content Manager for the Space. And here's one with just Wallis and the photographers who attended.

(L-R; John Stanmeyer, Wallis Annenberg, Lynn Johnson, Jonas Bendiksen)

What is the show like? It's intense.

The print show mirrors the NatGeo issue, covering six major themes - The Big Melt, California's Pipe Dream, The Burden of Thirst, Parting the Waters, Silent Streams, and Sacred Waters.

At a small cocktail party/reception we hosted a few hundred people who took in the images - some beautiful and some tragic - before gathering in the digital gallery to hear a few words and watch the digital feature. Among the guests were previous exhibitors in the Space like

Laurence Ho (L8S ANG3LES Exhibit),

...and Lauren Greenfield (L8S ANG3LES Exhibit)

...not to mention a number of our lecturers like Juergen Nogai (with his lovely wife Jeannie)

...Gerd Ludwig who is also actually an exhibitor in the current show. (here with Chris Johns of NatGeo)

...Rick Rickman (seen here with some party crasher).

...and Douglas Kirkland's divine wife Francois!

We were also graced by the new Director of MOCA, artworld emprassario Jeffrey Deitch!

Once inside the Digital Gallery,

we were treated to a small introduction by

Leonard Aube (Annenberg Foundation Executive Director)

...and then some lovely words from Lauren Greenfield who heralded our first year, revealed that her first job was as a NatGeo intern, and brought Wallis to the podium.

...then Wallis introduced NatGeo Editor in Chief Chris Johns, who

...wait for it...wait for it...

...introduced the show!

You can watch it online by clicking the image above, but if you really want the full experience, I think our 7'x14' screens are a better way to see it. So come down to the Space, Wednesdays through Sundays, 11am-6pm (Except Thursdays when we close at 5pm to prepare for the lecture).

And take a look at the upcoming lectures to make sure you don't miss any speakers in this vital series about Our Thirsty World!

(all images © Angela Weiss for the Space)

Elizabeth Kreutz Cycles Up To IRIS Nights

Elizabeth Kreutz is the quintessential modern day sports photographer and she conveyed just that image during her IRIS Nights talk last night.

She does it all - photographing the Tour de France while five months pregnant, covering not one, but two Olympics and working a full year as the exclusive documentary photographer of Lance Armstrong during his comeback in 2009.

The twittering photojournalist makes sure she shares as many of her adventures on Twitter as she can. Elizabeth, with a little help, even managed to tweet a picture of herself during her IRIS Nights lecture.

Elizabeth's remarkable work with Armstrong has garnered her three awards -- World Press Photo for Sports Feature Story (first place), POYi for Sports Picture Story (first place) and the Photo District News Photo Annual.

Elizabeth's Twitter fans may have been disappointed she didn't share any pics of her baby boy Charlie during her presentation at the Space, but everyone left inspired by the amazing photographs that revealed sports celeb Armstrong's more private moments.

Elizabeth's presentation, which included the infamous drug-testing photo of the cyclist, covered everything you would want to know about Armstrong, including his quirks, passion as well as his dedication to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for a great night and we'll see you on Twitter!

(All images © Unique for the Space)

Karen Kasmauski: A Born Observer

Karen Kasmauski came to our IRIS Nights lecture last night and explained to us why she does what she does. "I was born an observer," she told those in attendance. An observer, yes, but also a storyteller.

While trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, she said that she settled on photography as a way to tell stories. The former newspaper photojournalist's only formal training in the field was what she describes as a life-long thirst to learn more about other people's lives.

In college, a palm reader predicted Karen would pursue a career in medicine. Obviously, that prediction didn't come true.

Still, maybe that palm reader was on to something. Over the course of her career, Karen has done several stories on health and medicine.

It was these stories that placed in her in some of the greatest danger. During one story about radiation, she was unknowingly contaminated with radiation after eating reindeer and moose meat from Sweden that was contaminated from the Chernobyl disaster.

Karen shared the story behind an amazing image of a survivor from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. During the shoot, this man, who was severely burned, asked her if she would be interested in seeing the charred and tattered jacket he was wearing on the day the bomb was dropped. She responded with a resounding "yes!" What a profound story in a simple yet powerful image.

Not only were Karen's many colleagues in attendance during last night's IRIS Nights lecture but so was her family. Here she is with her proud husband and daughter.

Great job, Karen! We can't wait to hear more of your observations in the future!

Click here to watch Karen's IRIS Nights lecture online. For more information about Karen, visit her official Website.

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Intoxicating Beauty

It was an incredible privilege to go to Andrew Southam's IRIS Nights lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Southam, an Australian born beauty photographer, spoke with such genuine humility and introspection that it was hard not to fall in love him and his work.

He had such a sweet demeanor that when Southam admitted to a lifelong obsession with female beauty and being 'intoxicated by the fun of it all', the audience seemed to beam.

Throughout his talk Southam illustrated remarkable self-awareness describing himself as a "boy who spent his life, quite literally, on one knee in front of beauty."

He even opened up about sometimes feeling flustered in front of such direct sexuality.

But the core of his honesty was exposed when describing June Browne Newton and her husband Helmut Newton. Southam revered Helmut and became friends with June Newton after her husband's death. She continues to profoundly impact his life and his professional career to this day.

Southam also answered how and why questions regarding his famous techniques. "I am a student of lighting," confessed Southam when describing how he avoided using Photoshop or digital enhancing mechanisms.

"I always wanted to make my subjects look beautiful. I like people to look like they would on their best day," Southam explained when asked why he developed his unique style.

The sincerity of the lecture had the audience complimenting and thanking Southam for such a wonderful job. But, at the end of the day, he confessed that his main desire is to stay true to himself.

"You can only be who you are," said Southam in a statement to sum up the evening. And for both the aspiring photographers and non-photographers, it was probably his best piece of advice.

After the lecture Southam mingled with the crowd including his friends and peers, Joe Pugliese and Art Streiber.

For more information on Andrew Southam and his new photo series click here

IRIS Nights Sneak Peek: Alex Kuczynski

As we enter our final weeks of BEAUTY CULTURE here at the Annenberg Space for Photography, one of the most frequently asked questions from visitors who watch our feature documentary continues to be "Who is that woman in the pearls and blue dress?" The woman whose statements have left such a lasting impression on visitors is our November 17th IRIS Night lecturer, journalist and author, Alex Kuczynski.

Since Kuczynski will grace us with her presence, along with photographer (and previous IRIS Night lecturer) Susan Anderson, during our final IRIS Night lecturers during the run of BEAUTY CULTURE, it's a great time to learn more about "the woman in the pearls."

The ambition that would ultimately lead to Kuczynski's success as an award-winning author and reporter appears to run in the family. Her father, Pedro, was a candidate in last year's Presidential election in Peru. John Casey, The National Book Award Winner and novelist, is her maternal uncle. Kuczynski, however, isn't interested in resting on family laurels. Carving out a name for herself as a reporter for The New York Times, she took it one step further and authored an uninhibited, behind-the-scenes examination of the cosmetic surgery industry in her book, Beauty Junkies.

Beauty Junkies is a revealing view at what is now a demographic-defying $15 billion fixation on youth and physical vitality. In a recent article for Harper's Bazaar, Kuczynski sums up the obsession saying, "The pressure to stay young, and to remain young looking, is at a fever pitch in America. Those seeking the holy grail of youth are driving up the number of cosmetic procedures—with Americans getting more than 13 million of them every year—in their quest for a smooth forehead and taut cheekbones."

In her book and featured role in the BEAUTY CULTURE documentary, Kuczynski readily admits to experimenting with a few cosmetic procedures in her 20s and 30s, but ultimately realized that "Living out west [in Idaho] has made me release all the ideas I used to have about success, including the quest for that perfect age-defying forehead. In fact, I've discovered that the more I give up, the greater the reward. I stopped trying to think I could do it all—and in part, I was forced to....you can't worry about your hair or your skin because the one practicing dermatologist in our town doesn't even do Botox."

We hope you'll be joining us for our final IRIS Night lecture with "the woman in the pearls" Alex Kuczynski and High Glitz photographer, Susan Anderson on November 17th for what is certain to be an entertaining and very enlightening conversation. If not, you'll still have a few days to visit BEAUTY CULTURE one more time before its closing day on Sunday, November 27th. We hope to see you soon here at the Space!

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