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)

Merry Printsmas!

PRINTS AVAILABLE FROM
SPORT: Iooss & Leifer

Iooss CatalogLeifer Catalog
Iooss: Kelly Slater                                           Leifer: Muhammad Ali vs. Cleveland Williams

What's the next best thing to wrapping up Muhammad Ali or Kelly Slater as a holiday gift for your sports aficionado? A limited edition and gallery quality print from the SPORT: Iooss & Leifer exhibit!

We are now offering visually stirring prints signed by the photographers. Whether your holiday is Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or old school Solstice, you can wrap a bow around artistry and captured magic for a friend, family member or associate. Proceeds from the sale of the prints will support the future activities of the Annenberg Space for Photography.

For details about the available prints, click on one of the images above. You will find a wide range of images from a variety of sports and eras. We are also making select monographs of the photographers' work available for purchase. Both prints and books can be purchased at the Photography Space during regular operating hours. We are not currently set up for online sales.

Phone inquiries from interested parties are welcome. Inquiries can also be submitted by email and fax; however all final transactions must be conducted in person at the Space. To place an order please download an order form linked below, fill it out, and contact a representative at the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Telephone 213.403.3018, fax 213.403.3100 or email goods@annenbergspaceforphotography.org

Walter Iooss' sales order form. Neil Leifer's sales order form.

Make this holiday one that your friends and family will never forget!

David Butow Brings China To IRIS Nights

Last night POYi award-winning photojournalist David Butow was our guest lecturer at the Space, speaking on the subject he has covered for much of this decade - China.

China's economy and culture have been rapidly changing over the last 10 years and David has been there to document those transformations every step of the way. During that time, he's made at least one annual trip to the Middle Kingdom.

David presented three photo essays for his IRIS Nights lecture. First, was the deadly Sichuan earthquake that struck the region in 2008.

Second, was his documentation of the Uighur people, an ethnic minority who live mainly in the Northwestern part of the country and who are largely of the Muslim faith. A Uighur uprising in 2009 threw the region into turmoil.

And lastly was David's look at China's trendy twenty-something culture. He explained that while the largely 'only-child' youth face desires, expectations and obstacles that are unique to their country, they are still essentially just like every other young person in the world.

At one point David asked the audience how many of them had recently visited China and was surprised to see how many hands shot up.

David took questions at the end of each of the three sections so the audience could discover more about each individual body of work. This was the first time IRIS Nights deviated from its format of a sole Q&A session.

Through David, we got a special window through to the many different faces that populate a country with a population of 1.3 billion people and growing.

We can't wait to see more photos from David documenting his future travels to China and elsewhere around the globe! Travel safe!

You could learn more about David's work on his official Website.

(All images © Unique for the Space)

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)

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