Brewer's Tubular Zen

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!
Art Brewer 1/21/10 © Unique for the Space

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...Art Brewer © Unique for the Space

Others showed the secret inner life of tuberiders...
Art Brewer © Unique for the Space

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!
Art Brewer © Unique for the Space

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.

Dude...how rad is that? (sorry...I had to!)

(all pictures © Unique for the Space)

National Geographic's Griffin packs the Space!

Over the course of the current exhibition's IRIS Nights lecture series, we've had an incredible opportunity to get to know and love the staff of one of our favorite magazines - National Geographic .

The behind-the-scenes stories of how NatGeo  photographers capture those unparalleled moments of our changing world almost rivals the wonder of viewing the photographs published in the magazine.

So it comes as no surprise that our final executive guest lecturer from National Geographic , Director of Photography David Griffin...

...was greeted by a VERY full house last Thursday at the Space.

David delivered that sought-after narrative, bringing us inside National Geographic  and answered questions from the audience including the ultimate...how to become a National Geographic  photographer?

Wallis Annenberg, Neil Leifer,

Lauren Greenfield,

and Michael Robinson Chávez

were all in attendance at the Space for David's lecture and multimedia presentation.

Along with the first-hand stories from the front lines,

David brought video footage and behind-the-scenes stills of NatGeo  photographers chasing the moments,

capturing the extraordinary,

and covering over 100 years of published issues.

The lecture was at times funny,

at times frightening,

at times instructive,

and all in all, totally awe-inspiring.

Thank you David Griffin!

(All images © Unique for the Space)

O'Meara Brings Volcanoes to Life


Stephen James O'Meara, one of our Extreme Exposure featured photographers, was the first IRIS Nights lecturer in our new series. O'Meara and his wife Donna (who graced us with her presence at our opening night) have lived on a volcano for the past 30 years. You read right - they not only take pictures of volcanoes erupting around the globe, they LIVE atop an active one.

Stephen's lecture was called "Does the Moon Affect Volcanoes on Earth?" - which if you attended you now know is not such a wild subject. Stephen is an animated speaker who is incredibly inspired by his studies. He also happens to be an astronomer, so no one could be better prepared to answer this question. Stephen explained how the Moon affects tidal flows of water, but also of the Earth crust itself.

He went into great detail about how the tides of the Earth's crust rise and fall at regular interval, but when the Earth is closest to the Moon (perigee) those tides are more rapid and when the Earth is farthest from the Moon (apogee) the tides of the crust grow more slow.

The best part was how he demonstrated this change by condensing the daily and monthly tidal intervals by breathing in and out. It was an incredibly simplified demonstration but it made very clear what the effect Moon has on tides (both water and crust) and therefore on the probability of volcanic eruptions.

Steve seemed like he was about to erupt a few times!

It was a great pleasure listening to such an informed and inspiring individual. I can't believe we've never had a Vulcanologist/Astronomer lecture here before!

View Finder: Brian Bowen Smith Lecture

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

Lynch brings a triple TKO with Ultimate Fighting's Brandon Vera, Watercolors, and his Mom!

Kevin Lynch
Last night Kevin Lynch brought the goods.

First he brought an amazing presentation of his work including celebrity portraiture, film posters, his exhaustive and up close coverage of the UFC fighters...
Kevin Lynch

...including some very challenging before and after bout pics.

...and some chilling portraits.

...as well as an abstract series that he co-created with his wife called "Watercolors."


Then... to make it all the more real... Kevin brought UFC fighter Brandon Vera to sit and talk with him.

Brandon was so gracious and polite it was hard to imagine him breaking noses and spilling blood.


...but his input was very interesting. He spoke about his contemporaries and about the logistics of growing a 'career' in Ultimate Fighting.

Afterwards they both stayed standing through a round of Q&A and the onslaught of fans.

Kevin also brought his urban-legend-rare and giant book, OCTAGON. The book, which has more than 800 four-color and black-and-white photographs, was printed and hand bound in Italy, weighing over 50 pounds.

It ranges in price from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the edition, and is truly a work of art.

But for those who wanted to purchase a book for Kevin or Brandon to sign, there were some more affordable volumes on hand.

...and plenty of opportunity to press the flesh and mug for the cameras...

Oh! And did I mention that Kevin also brought his mom?

She even came back afterwards and got her son to sign a few books.

(cute!)

In short, Kevin really knocked us out. Thank you Kevin, Brandon and Mom. Y'all come back now y'hear?

(All images © Unique for the Space)

Ian Shive offers Water & Sky at the Space

We were sad to hear that our June 3rd lecturer, Christian Cravo, had to cancel due to schedule conflicts. Fortunately the very pleasant Ian Shive agreed to step into the fray and lecture instead.

There's much to know about Ian Shive. Perhaps his passing resemblance to Christian Slater - whom he probably encountered during his former years working in publicity at Columbia Pictures - is not on the top ten list, but there are a number of other influential factors from his personal life that have shaped his perspective and allowed his work to stand apart from the masses of landscape photography.

On Thursday night, Ian shared his work at the Space and how and why he creates the images that leave our jaws wagging.

From Coachella Valley to Croatia, Ian Shive has travelled the world as a conservation photographer, achieving countless awards and national recognition along the way.

His current body of work examines how our world interacts with the planet's most valuable but increasingly threatened resource water.

Ian shared his most memorable accounts documenting ceremonial gatherings of water around the Ganges River to everyday communal get-togethers in Krka River in Croatia.

Ian has only been a professional full-time photographer for the last three years, but has been shooting since childhood.

His award-winning book The National Parks: Our American Landscape was released in 2009 and he shared numerous images from it.

It's clear that even without the accolades Ian would still be out in the field capturing these fantastic images and serving as an advocate for our environment.

His work is truly from the heart and you can see it in every image.

After the lecture, Ian answered a few questions from the enthusiastic crowd.

...and even though he didn't bring copies of his book to sign, some fans brought copies of their own...

A gentleman and a scholar, that Ian Shive...and so polite too.

Thank you Ian!

(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)

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)

Bruce Hall and Corinne Marinnan open our eyes to Blind Photography!

Last night was our 30th IRIS Nights lecture!

We had two very special guest lecturers, Academy Award winning producer Corinne Marrinan and blind photographer Bruce Hall.

The subject of the evening was a short film directed by our own Neil Leifer, co-produced by Neil and Corinne, and featuring Bruce Hall along with two other blind photographers (Pete Eckert and Henry Butler) called "Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers."

I didn't know about blind photographers until I heard about this film. The subject matter was introduced in a very artful way in the film, through interviews with a number of well-known photographers talking about their skepticism or curiosity about how a blind person can even be a photographer.

Bruce and Corinne discussed the unique case of each of the three, as each of them has a different kind of blindness.

Peter Eckert lost his sight later in life, so he had a lifetime of 20/20 memories to draw on to create his ethereal, painterly images.


(photo by Peter Eckert)

Henry Butler has been completely blind since he was a baby, so his pictures arise out of his musical sense of timing and his connection to people he meets.


(photo by Henry Butler)

Bruce has been legally blind since birth - he has 5% of normal vision and can only see blurry shapes unless he brings something a few inches from his face...


(This is Bruce literally reading a note from his Doctor explaining his condition.)

...so he takes pictures with a sense of what he might be capturing, but then has to look at large prints of the images (or enlargements on his monitor) to even see what happened.

Corinne-who in her spare time has been a writer on CSI for the past few years- was completely charming and kept drawing great stories out of Bruce with her innocent-sounding questions.


(photo by Damon Webster)


Then we got to see more of Bruce's amazing underwater photography.

...including the one that Bruce said Neil Leifer loved of the glowing Garibaldi off the coast of Catalina Island...

Bruce then veered into his other work: his ongoing (life) project documenting life with his twin sons who are profoundly autistic.

This one is his favorite.

And that was a wrap!

What a great pair! Thank you so much for your Joie de Vivre Corinne!

And your wonderful work Bruce!

(All photos © Unique for the Space except where noted)

Gil Garcetti - Our 45th IRIS Night Lecture!

It was the 45th IRIS Nights Lecture and the very last lecture during our "Water" exhibition. Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube and Director of Operations Sylia Obagi were there to welcome our lecturer, the former elected district attorney of Los Angeles, Gil Garcetti.

Garcetti wasn't making another routine stop made by politicians every election year, that is, he isn't running for office. In fact, the purpose for his visit was to deliver one of many portfolio presentations by Gil Garcetti, the critically acclaimed (by the New York Times!) photographer.

Although he's given up his role prosecuting criminals, Garcetti has taken up a new advocacy defending our world most crucial resource, water.

Just prior to the lecture, Aube took an informal poll of the crowd to see how many people were regulars - and he found a large number of hands in the air when he asked how many people had been to more than 10 of our lectures!

...and there was one gentleman who had attended 43 of the 45 lectures!
Now that's dedication.

Garcetti has documented water and the empowerment of women in West Africa, hoping to bring global attention to issues of safe water and economic stabilization.

He helped inspire the creation of Wells Bring Hope - a nonprofit org that helps dig wells for underserved communities in Africa.

Who would have ever believed that after years as a high profile D.A., Garcetti would transition into a career as a highly regarded photographer?

Garcetti told of how his first published images of the Walt Disney Music Hall earned him praise from photographic greats (and previous exhibitor/lecturers) like Julius Schulman and David Hume Kennerly.

Early work showed the steel workers on the project

- and he described how his chosen form of expression became his passion and his post-political career.

Eager to start a new trend here in America, Garcetti also shared some stories from his current work Women in Bikes,

a collection of images of fashionable women who bicycle in Paris as an everyday means of transportation.

His presentation at the Space secured a whole new audience of followers.

At the book signing following the lecture, Garcetti helped raised over $1,275 from book sales to go to Wells Bring Hope.

and received a donation of over $6,000 from a foundation in attendance!

What a great way to close an incredible exhibit...and what a nice surprise for our final lecturer for Water: Our Thirsty World!

Thank you Mr. Garcetti for helping us demonstrate the many ways in which philanthropy can take shape!

(All images © Unique for the Space)

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