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.
Susan Anderson, an internationally known photographer and expert on the High Glitz culture of child pageantry, recently gave us her take on the industry at our Iris Nights Lecture.
Although she abstained from giving any formal opinion on the controversial subject of beauty contests, she did claim that this is not a new issue we are dealing with. Anderson put on the screen a classical painting of Aphrodite and the golden apple and posed the question, "could this have been the first beauty pageant?"
Her question was meant to explain that society has always idealized women and we have always been fascinated with the fairy tale ending. The fake eyelashes, the artificial tans, the thousand dollar hair dos, and the sparkly dresses all play into a preexisting culture that we are all partially responsible for creating.
Anderson admits that the most popular responses to her work are either to moralize or to laugh. But she offers a different response: to just present. She suggests that the little girls collaborate with her, that they have fun with it and it is their way to act, play a role and take a reality and make it their own.
She offers and interesting perspective because from where she stands it is simply art, it is fascinating and it is visually stunning.
To see more of Susan Anderson's work click here
Matthew Rolston, an icon in fashion photography, came to entertain us at the IRIS Nights lecture yesterday. He also brought his long time friend, journalist Merle Ginsberg. Her questions and insight into Matthew's work helped reveal exciting information about his unique body of work.
Rolston confessed that he didn't see himself as simply a photographer or director but rather an 'idea' person, wanting to extend his talents into all areas of the creative world.
Rolston also explained his process of creation as collaborative and told stories of working with Anna Nicole Smith or Christina Aguilera. Aguilera actually came to him a year in advance in order to plan a photo idea for her upcoming album release.
Rolston then provided insight to his role in the industry and his vision for expanding the cannon of beauty. "For me photography is worship." said Rolston, "Human desire is about genetics - survival. The things we consider to be beautiful...go to the core of survival."
In a surprise turn of events the two guest speakers invited the entire audience to join them in a drink, outside on the plaza at our first IRIS Nights complimentary cocktail party.
Needless to say it was a glamorous night out with the Annenberg Foundation and two hundred of Rolston's closest brand new friends
Thank you Mr. Rolston for a lovely evening.
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 Annenberg Space for Photography knows how much you enjoy our exhibits and lecture series. So to make sure you stay updated on the current happenings in the world of photography, we have complied a list of stories for you to check out!
Our friend from PhotoInduced recently posted some interesting information about new developments in the realm of photography.
The iPhone is trying to make it into the photography world by creating an adapter that will take high quality pictures straight from your phone. Nonetheless photo induced has remained skeptical considering the Mac track record with its gadget lifespan.
In other news, the world record may have been broken by a massive photo book created by The Brand Union and Lambie-Nairn. The Big Book once complete will be 7.9 tons (including two tons flooring weight and 14 metal frames @ 300KG per section) and will contain 100 pages, is 4m wide and 2.5m high. That's a big book!
In the spirit of big and ground breaking photography, NASA has taken its first ever up-close details of a Saturn storm, which just happens to be eight times the surface area of Earth.
A new photography technique that has people asking some serious questions about boundaries is public photography. Artist Kyle McDonald put a secret camera in public computers in hopes to create a project about people relationships with technology.
And for tips on how to make a boring event something to look at, check out Scott Chernis's advice on event photography!
Hope this jump starts you into a productive hour of searching the web and looking at amazing photos!
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
What a treat it was to have fashion photographer Fadil Berisha present during our IRIS Nights lecture series yesterday evening.
Fadil has had a global influence throughout his career. He has not only worked with such figures as Tyra Banks, President Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg and numerous Miss America contestants, but he also played an incredible role in campaigning against the Kosovo massacres.
During his presentation, Fadil explained that his work stems from a genuine love for beauty.
"Beauty is what I really love... I like to live happy and see pretty things all the time. With photographers it has to do with how they feel on the inside and that's what comes out on the photo," proclaimed Fadil during the lecture. "I love to feel happy."
Fadil took a moment during his lecture to speak about his experience photographing the horrific war in Kosovo. Since the topic wasn't related to beauty itself he placed his visual slideshow on pause because he felt it was important to take some time to talk about his experiences with the conflict.
About 10 years ago Albanian photographers contacted Fadil asking him to help promote their cause in the Kosovo war. He told the audience that the pictures they sent him changed his life. He then spent the next couple years raising money and campaigning for awareness. His work and the photos he took made an international impact and helped pressure the United States to get involved.
Fadil told the audience about his first time working with the stunning Carmen Dell'Orefice, the legend who was his inspiration for a Rolex campaign. He said he fell in love when he realized how she stayed young at heart and continued to exude beauty throughout her whole life.
Fadil also gave shout-outs to models Beverly Johnson and Nikki Haskell, who were both in attendance. He raved about how they each possessed that same confidence and beauty he found so alluring in Carmen.
Johnson took the microphone during the Q & A session but she didn't have a question for Fadil. Instead, she took the time to praise the photography by calling him "brilliant" and telling the audience she could not wait to work with him again.
(All lecture images by Unique)
IRIS Nights lecturer Paul Lange
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)
What did our IRIS Nights attendees think of Brian Bowen Smith? Here are some of their thoughts:
"He was so personable and such a good speaker. I was amazed by him!"
--Jesse Ruoff, regular IRIS Nights attendee, apparel designer
"To see all these pictures in an exhibit is pretty amazing. It is just beautiful the way it is laid out. I will definitely come again."
-- Ariana Trinneer, guest of lecturer Brian Bowen Smith
"The Space is terrific the way it shows photography. You get enough to make it significant but you don't get too overwhelmed"
--Marshall Feldman, first time visitor
"I love this place. I can benefit a lot from it because it really contributes to me as a professional but also as a person. I think so highly of the Annenberg Space for Photography. There is no other museum like it!"
-- Nini Valentina, regular Photo Space visitor, professional make-up artist
"I think the space is state-of-the-art! [Wallis Annenberg] went all out. Her generosity of spirit is so profound. It's such an invitation to the public.... Bottom line is that I am really impressed."
-- Dawn Moreno-Freedman, first time visitor
(All lecture images by Unique for the Space)
For more about Brian visit his website
Check out this weeks recent developments in the photography industry.
You can now send photos over email with better quality and less hassle. iPhoto now lets you access facebook, email, and a photobook application without ever having to leave the site.
Apple Inc. is not the only one taking advantage of what photography has to offer, the fashion industry has also been changing and adapting because of advancements in the field. Check out an article that looks critically at this issue.
Go back in time with Vietnam War photojournalists as New American Media writes a special piece comparing photojournalism now versus 50 years ago.
And lastly take a breather and enjoy a sweet video about the domino effect of photography- compliments of friends from 2Dphotograpahy. You are going to have to just trust us on this one and watch it!