Rutherford and Mendoza step up to the plate!

One thing that we love about the lectures for the SPORT exhibit has been the wonderful assistance provided by the Women Sports Foundation, who helped us bring some incredible athletes to share the podium with photographers. They introduced us to Aimee Mullins who came to speak with Howard Schatz, and Laila Ali who spoke with Mikki Willis.

Last night was another great pairing - this one with a female athlete AND a female photographer - the lovely lenslady Marla Rutheford and the bubbly Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza.

From the way these two ladies played off of each other and cracked each other up you would think you were a fly on the wall at a fun sleepover, not in the room with innovating industry leaders.



For all the laughter and fun the two were very serious in their discussion of their experiences and the not so charming realities about making it in the industry of sports photography.

Marla spoke to the challenges she has faced in developing a trust relationship with her subjects, resorting to charm, intellect, a lot of humor and even a little fibbing so they would feel comfortable posing for artistic semi-nudes.

Jessica discussed the wake-up call moment she had when one of the first images of her in circulation was digitally enhanced by the publishers, causing her to question whether or not her appearance should play such a central role in the coverage of athletics.

They both shared captivating stories about these and other turning points in their extraordinary careers.

...and try as they might they could not stop cracking each other up!

At the end of the day we were just thrilled to be in the presence of such positive, accomplished and inspiring ladies.

(All photos © Unique for the Space)

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)

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)

Coming Soon At IRIS Nights: Amber Valletta

Here at the Annenberg Space for Photography, we've had the great fortune of many incredible photographers lecturing at our IRIS Nights for our BEAUTY CULTURE exhibit. One of our guest lecturers on Thursday, November 3rd will provide her own unique insight from her career in front of the camera. Model, actor and long-time humanitarian Amber Valletta (seen above during a visit to the Space) started modeling as a teenager quickly establishing a high-profile career by landing her first Vogue cover on the eve of her 19th birthday. Her success as a model would soon transition to television and film with Valletta taking over co-hosting duties from Cindy Crawford on MTV's House of Style followed by acting roles in Hitch and the current ABC show Revenge. Her increasing fame also provided an opportunity to work with multiple charitable organizations that focused on Valletta's childhood interest in social relations.

One of her most recent fashion spreads for the September issue of W Magazine has also been one of her most controversial. In an industry where youth and beauty are usually a prerequisite for success, Valletta inhabits a role in "One for the Ages" spanning 12 decades of life with a final lasting image of a decrepit, yet intimidating elderly woman of the future. Because aging is often the death knell for many models, the actual intent of the photo shoot is a rarity. In the issue, Valletta said of the layout.

"You see women who are getting older, and they're still thought of as powerful and sexy and sensual. Ten years ago that wasn't talked about nearly as much...My best advice for aging gracefully is probably going to be more of a spiritual or a psychological answer, which is just trying to find peace in life and being happy and sharing that with other people. Ultimately the insides never change. The outsides will always. And it's transcending that that I think makes a beautiful life."

We couldn't agree more, Amber! If you don't have a chance to see Valletta along with photographer Amanda de Cadenet at our IRIS Night on November 3rd, we hope you'll still find an opportunity to check out BEAUTY CULTURE here at the Annenberg Space for Photography until November 27th. You can check out her spread in W, shot by Steven Klein, here.

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Steve Fine Shows Us How It's Done - SI Style!

Guess who came to the Photography Space?

SMILE! It's Steve Fine from SI!

In the 'green room' before his lecture Steve paced claiming he was nervous, but you would never have known it once he started his lecture. Steve was alternately brash, funny, informative, inspired and inspiring.

Here's Steve's brash, funny, informative, inspired and inspiring dance:


brash

funny

informative

inspired

inspiring!

He brought with him some amazing produced and scored slideshows of the 2010 Olympics:

and regaled us with tales of 9 staff photographers, too little snow, too many pictures and the magic of putting it all together in real time like no one but Sports Illustrated can.

Steve's lecture was the final IRIS Nights talk during the SPORT: Iooss & Leifer exhibit, and his powerful presence drew quite a few luminaries including (surprise) Mike and Kitty Dukakis!

Steve - showing absolutely no signs of his alleged pre-show 'nerves' - was an ever-gracious speaker/host to all,

...including Lucy Nicholson from Reuters (who also lectured here),

...more than half of his 9 photographer staff, and even the illustrious and incomparable Howard Bingham!

All in all we were treated to a highly entertaining and amusing evening.

Thanks Steve!

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)

Donna O'Meara: Make Your Own Dreams Come True

Donna O'Meara is the last "Extreme Exposure" featured photographer to participate in our IRIS Nights elcture series. You may remember that her husband (and fellow volcanologist) Stephen O'Meara was the very first lecturer for the exhibit. Donna delivered a terrific, inspirational lecture about volcanoes, passion and the journey of life.

Donna, who lives on top of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, started her lecture by reciting a traditional Hawaiian thank you chant - a first at IRIS Nights.

She showed the audience photos from her wedding to Stephen, which took place on top of Kilauea. You can't tell in the photo above, but they both wore sneakers during ceremony - just in case they needed to run for their lives!

Donna recounted the time when National Geographic first hired her and Stephen for a photo shoot. The magazine let them choose the volcano they wanted to photograph. The two eventually decided on one located in Stromboli, Italy where they camped out for 39 days and survived 534 eruptions.

This expedition led to her and Stephen's own National Geographic television special titled Volcano Hunters!

Donna's theme of accomplishing what you want no matter the obstacle carried over to her story about her journey to Antarctica in 2009. It was on that trip that she met Barbara Jones, the 94-year-old only living child of Edward Nelson, the explorer who was part of the first official British exploration of Antarctica.

Donna became close to Barbara during the trip. She explained that she had always wanted to see the place where her father worked on the continent. Tragically, Barbara passed away during the trip.

Donna's volcanologist boots have been on display during the entire run of "Extreme Exposure." She said that even though she has a new pair, she wants her old ones back because they are so comfortable.

Donna ended her talk with words of inspiration and encouragement. No matter how old you are, make sure your dreams come true!

She stuck around to sign copies of the several books on volcanoes she has written over the years.

Thanks for the motivational talk, Donna. And don't worry,  your boots are on their way back to your home in Hawaii!

Watch Donna's entire IRIS Nights lecture here and learn more about her on her own website.

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space. All others are by Donna O'Meara)

Lauren Greenfield Returns To IRIS Nights

If you're one of the nearly 50,000 patrons who has visited Beauty Culture since its May opening, we're betting there's a good chance you've departed the Space electrified by filmmaker and featured photographer Lauren Greenfield's documentary of the same name. We were thrilled to learn more about Greenfield's career during her recent IRIS Nights lecture at the Photography Space, as well as the inspirations behind her photographic and filmed accomplishments.

Greenfield was all smiles as she and her husband (and documentary producer) Frank Evers, arrived at the Space. This was Greenfield's second IRIS Nights lecture. She was also part of the L8S ANG3LES lineup!

Just before showtime, IRIS Nights attendees wrapped themselves all the way through the exhibit hall anticipating the opening of our gallery seating for Greenfield's lecture.

One of Greenfield's first images in her retrospective was of Las Vegas showgirl Anne-Margaret. A note taped to the entertainer's mirror reads "I approve of myself." This is one of many Greenfield images involving women that address issues dealing with self-esteem and self-acceptance.

Greenfield also spoke about an image taken at a beauty pageant for southern belles. The photo captures the contestants in traditional gowns and poses, but juxtaposing these traditions--the girls also flash garter belts on all of their legs.

Greenfield talked the above image in which a young model walked down the street, while being ogled by three passing men - one of them a hard-hat wearing construction worker. While the audience laughed at Greenfield's retelling of the story behind the picture, she joked that we may be responding with the laughter, but the men's wives probably had a far less humorous response!

Greenfield's work obviously inspires much discussion with audience members and she was happy to address a number of questions from lecture attendees regarding the psychological and sociological issues behind her images.

Guest perused copies of Greenfield's best-selling and award-winning books including Girl Culture, Fast Forward and Thin before meeting her for a book-signing in our photography library.

Visitors had an incredible opportunity to chat one-on-one with Greenfield during the book signing.

Meanwhile, Evers engages guests in conversation while waiting in the book-signing queue.

Greenfield happily greeted fans as several photographers maneuver through the crowd to capture the best angle. Despite the often intense and emotional images that she captures, Greenfield and her fans had a delightful evening and we certainly did too! Thank you so much, Lauren!

You can watch the lecture on our site by clicking here.

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

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)

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)

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