Lauren Greenfield Comes Full Circle With BEAUTY CULTURE

While BEAUTY CULTURE continues to break attendance records here at the Annenberg Space for Photography, we thought now would be a good time as any to publish a post on one of featured photographers, Lauren Greenfield and the documentary film, also titled BEAUTY CULTURE, that accompanies the show. The 30-minute film was directed by the award-winning photographer herself.

Produced by her husband and producing partner, Frank Evers, Greenfield filmed the documentary over the course of several months in Los Angeles, New York and Paris. Her intent was to create a film that focused on the sociological and psychological perceptions of beauty from a cross-cultural viewpoint.

Regarding her work on BEAUTY CULTURE Greenfield says, "A lot of the things I photograph are interconnected: from the young girls and the kind of precocious sexualization of young girls, to the vanity of teenagers and the kind of struggle to establish your identity as a teenager, to women and older women facing the challenge of getting older in a youth-obsessed culture. So this project, BEAUTY CULTURE, allowed me to kind of bring the work full circle and look at all aspects."

The film has been met with resounding praise from many guests here at the photography space citing Los Angeles--with its Hollywood machine and incessant promotion of the billion-dollar cosmetics industry--as an ideal location for a film addressing warped ideals of beauty.

BEAUTY CULTURE is certainly not Greenfield's first foray into filmmaking. Her documentary Thin premiered on HBO in 2006, also screening at the Sundance Film Festival. A film dealing with eating disorders of young women, Thin went on to earn Greenfield an Emmy nomination for Best Director of Non-Fiction Programming. Her follow-up doc kids + money, also broadcast on HBO, won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the AFI Film Festival among other honors.

The film, which features interviews with Jamie Lee Curtis, Tyen, Crystal Renn and many others, screens throughout the day at the Space. Make sure you come see it before the exhibit closes next month.

As for Greenfield, she will return to the Space as our IRIS Nights lecturer on Thursday, October 13, in what is sure to be a standing-room only event!

Ron Haviv's Photos Documented The Yugoslav Wars

© Ron Haviv/VII

By Ron Haviv

In 1991, I covered the beginning of the end of Yugoslavia. By 1992 with new fighting brewing in Bosnia between everyday citizens both Muslim and Serb: I arrived in the town of Bijeljina where the restaurant owner was fighting the candlestick maker and so on and so on. After a few days of fighting the feared Serbian paramilitary leader known as Arkan arrived with his unit, the Tigers. He told me he had arrived to liberate the town from Muslim fundamentalists. I had taken a portrait of him that he liked during the previous war, so he allowed me to accompany one of his paramilitary units as they fought through the town.

After a few hours we arrived at a mosque. The Serb militia quickly tore down the Islamic flag and replaced it with a Serbian one. They then took one man prisoner almost immediately. I heard some shouting when I was inside and went out to the front of the mosque.

Across the street an unarmed middle-aged couple were standing against the wall. The woman began screaming and some shots rang out. Her husband fell to the ground. The soldiers were yelling at me not to photograph anything. It was chaotic, dangerous and obvious there was nothing I could do to change things. I had been in a similar situation before, and at that time had promised myself that if I wasn't able to stop an execution, I needed to make sure there was a photograph to document what was happening. I slowly backed away from the soldiers and tried to blend into the background near a crashed truck on the other side of the street. I was able to photograph several frames as the wife tried to help her husband, who lay dying. As I moved back towards the soldiers, more shots rang out and the woman fell to the ground too. Moments later, another woman was brought out and she too was shot.

Things quieted down for a bit until another prisoner was brought to the soldiers. A young boy in his teens: he was confused and terrified. He managed to break away from the soldiers and to the back of the mosque to escape but was unable to jump over the wall. He had no choice but to return and when he did they shot him. I knew I needed an image with the paramilitaries and the victims in the same frame. That way, there would be no doubt of what had happened.

The soldiers decided to bring the remaining prisoner back to their temporary headquarters. As most of them left, I stood in the middle of street, framed the shot and as I did one of the soldiers came from my left, cigarette in hand; sunglasses on his head and moved towards the Bosnians as they lay dying on the sidewalk

After we had arrived at the headquarters, I needed Arkan’s permission to leave. I waited along with a Serbian colleague who had been with another unit. I heard a great crash and looked up to see the first prisoner of that day coming out of a second story window. He crashed at my feet. Miraculously he survived the fall but was quickly beaten by the soldiers, doused with water and brought back into the house.

Arkan arrived and immediately asked for my film. I had managed to hide some of the film and than proceeded to argue with him for the rest. He said he would process the film and give me back what he liked. I said the labs were terrible and I would process the film and let him edit. In the end, I lost the argument but managed to keep my film.

The images were published all over the world but to little reaction. The war began officially the following week, killing thousands and creating millions of refugees. In the end I spent more than five years on the ground during the ten years of wars that dissolved the country known as Yugoslavia.

WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath will show at the Annenberg Space for Photography through June 2, 2013. Learn more about Ron Haviv and his work on his official website.

Portugal. The Man At Who Shot Rock & Roll: Live

Who Shot Rock & Roll: Live continued over the weekend with the second of three concerts we are presenting with KCRW - and what a show it was! The night served to bring people together to celebrate music and photography  as well as commemorate the 40th anniversary of T. Rex's influential album The Slider - all for free! Portugal. The Man put on an amazing show - one that people were still talking about days afterward.

Droves of people filled the park outside of the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Everyone was in good spirits at this all ages show. Some adults even let out their more youthful and care-free side.

There was a line to enter to see the Who Shot Rock & Roll photography exhibit all day long.

One of the exhibit's featured photographers, Ed Colver, who also attended the Moby concert earlier this month, showed up with his lovely wife Karin.

Before the show, the members of Portugal. The Man came up to the Annenberg Foundation to play for a live televised news segment.

KCRW DJs Dan Wilcox & Gary Calamar began the entertainment part of the night by spinning some records.

The crowd had a good time listening to music...

...and dancing!

A concertgoer proudly shows off his newly purchased Who Shot Rock & Roll t-shirt!

Portugal. The Man came on stage shortly after 8 o'clock playing their own songs as well as covers of T. Rex tunes.

The band has even compiled their own YouTube video playlist inspired by the exhibit.

The crowd - really energized by the music!

The band ended their fantastic hour and a half-long set with a lively rendition of the Beatles' "Hey Jude."

Thanks to everyone who came out to this magical night to enjoy rock & roll images and rock & roll music. Our third (and final!) show in the free concert series with Band of Skulls & Raphael Saadiq will be Saturday, August 4. Find more information about that night here.

(All images by Unique Nicole for the Space)

Photographer Michael Coyne On His Image Of An Iranian Rehab Center: 'A Symbol Of The Futility And Waste Of War'

© Michael Coyne, Rehabilitation Centre, Iran (1985)

By Michael Coyne

Photographer Michael Coyne

Over a period of eight years, I documented life in Iran at a time when the country was mostly closed to international media. I was there after the Islamic revolution when the religious leaders were at the height of their power, and during the Iran/Iraq war.

I travelled with a film crew and on one occasion was invited to visit a rehabilitation center for people wounded in the war with Iraq, to see injured men lying in bed or sitting nearby, their limbs swathed in bandages. Because everyone was focused on the film crew, I was able to wander away from the ward, unnoticed, until I came across a room with callipers and artificial limbs piled on the floor and leaning against the wall. On the wall above there was an elaborately framed painting of Khomeini and a verse in Persian, which I later learned was a poem by a Shiite mystic urging dedication to Allah.

I immediately realized what a powerful image this could be as a symbol of the futility and waste of war. To me, also, it showed what became of the many young men who at, Khomeini’s urging, ran across minefields to clear the way for the advancing Iranian army. It made me angry then, as it still does, to think that the Basij, as they were called, some of them as young as twelve, were persuaded to commit, as I saw it, suicide. Because I was shooting with Kodachrome 11 (ISO 64) in very low lighting, I used a tripod with a cable release but, due to nervousness, bungled the first shots. I then managed to take a number of frames before a medical person came in and angrily asked me to leave.

Later on, this was one of the 35 photographs published in National Geographic magazine as a photographic essay entitled "Iran Under the Ayatollah."

WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath will show at the Annenberg Space for Photography through June 2, 2013. Learn more about Michael Coyne on his official website.

Watch A Clip Of 'Who Shot Rock & Roll: The Film'

Who Shot Rock & Roll: The Film accompanies the photo exhibit of the same name. The short documentary focuses on the work of the show's nine featured photographers with original interviews and hundreds more rock & roll images. One of the interviewees, Mary McCartney, discusses her mother Linda's body of work. Watch a 3-minute clip of Mary talking about her mother's photos of Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and many others above. A young Mary even makes an appearance in one of the photos she discusses.

WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY Exhibit Catalogue Wins Award

Congratulations to WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY curators Anne Wilkes Tucker, Will Michels and Natalie Zelt winners of the 2013 Kraszna-Krausz Foundation's Best Photography Book Award for WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath. The awards are the UK’s leading prizes for books published in the fields of photography and the moving image.

The other award announced by the Foundation is in The Best Moving Image Book ategory. The winner of that award is Hollywood Costume by Deborah Nadoolman Landis. For more information about the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation, click here.

The 600-page catalogue covers conflicts spanning two centuries and six continents. Pick up your own copy, autographed by Anne and Will along with featured photographers Carolyn Cole, Ashley Gilbertson, Edouard H.R. Glück and David Hume Kennerly when you visit the WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY exhibition at the Photography Space now through June 2, 2013.

Laura Levine Shot Rock: The Photographer On Her Photo of R.E.M.

R.E.M, Walter's Bar-B-Que, Athens, Georgia, 1984

By Laura Levine

R.E.M. and I clicked from the moment we met at our first photo shoot in my Chinatown apartment back in 1982. We became close friends, and over the next few years as we spent an increasing amount of time together, I photographed them more than any other band before or since: on the road, at their homes, in my studio, backstage and onstage.

This particular photograph was taken in March 1984 in their hometown, of Athens, Georgia. The band was about to release its second album, Reckoning, and since their record label didn't have a budget to send a photographer to Athens to do a publicity session, I flew down on my own dime to shoot pictures, make a Super-8 film (Just Like a Movie) and spend a few days hanging out with my friends.

For the next few days I shot rolls and rolls of film as the five of us explored every nook and cranny in Athens that had photogenic possibilities - the railroad tracks, abandoned factories, trees blanketed in kudzu, outsider artist R.A. Miller's whirlygig yard and, of course, Walter's Bar-B-Que.  Actually, this shot at Walter's wasn't even planned. We'd been taking photos all morning and we'd worked up quite an appetite, so we stopped into Walter's for lunch (It was the guys' favorite BBQ joint).  While we were eating I looked around and saw a great photograph there, so I stepped behind the counter and quickly took a few frames (I'm afraid I didn't even allow them to eat their meals in peace).  By the way, that's my plate of food in front of Michael Stipe.

This photograph has a special place in my heart not only because of our friendship, but because it documents a time and a place that disappeared soon thereafter. (Even Walter's is long out of business). I don't suppose any us of could have imagined how much would change in just a few years' time. It captures those last moments of innocence, just as they were on the cusp of stardom and about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.  But mostly, for me, when I look at this photograph, I see my four friends being themselves, smiling, relaxing, and chowing down on a good Southern meal.

See Laura Levine's other images in the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography. To learn more about the photographer and her work visit her official website.

Helmut Newton Arrives June 29th!

Our next exhibit is the very first solo show at the Annenberg Space for Photography and boy is it a doozy. Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes presents the work of one of the most revolutionary and influential photographers of the past century. Newton's provocative images of women brought eroticism to fashion photography. In his photos, art, fashion, subverison and aspiration collide. The exhibit opens on Saturday June 29, 2013.

Watch the video teaser above for a sneak peek of the show.

Godlis Shot Rock: The Photographer On His Photo of Patti Smith

By Godlis

I remember that night like it was yesterday. They say a camera stops time, and for me, in this case it’s proven to be true. One-quarter of a second exposure on my handheld Leica IIIf camera back in 1976 has endured via silver and megapixels all these years.

I spent a lot of time in 1976 looking through the French photographer Brassai’s photographs of Paris nightlife in the 1930s, and had worked out a way to shoot photographs at night by natural light without flash. In looking back now, it was all of another time – pushed tri-x film, arcane developing chemicals, nights in the darkroom. But it enabled me to return night after night to CBGB’s with boxes of pictures to show off my experiments to my friends in a budding scene and create my “Documents for Artists.”

It was in between sets when everyone headed out from within CBGB’s, to the raw air under the Bowery streetlights.  Patti Smith was standing in mid-conversation that night, when I tapped her on the shoulder and asked if I could take her photograph. I know I saw the Bleecker Street sign in the background and thought “perfect.” I knew that she was standing in the right spot, under the streetlamps. All the elements were in place. So when she turned my way and brought her hand to her face – I knew in that moment, the photo was mine to have or screw up.  Shooting at night, handheld – no tripod - meant both Patti and I would have to be perfectly still. I did my part that night, and obviously Patti more than did hers. One-quarter of a second stopped forever. Time on my side.

See Godlis's work in the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography. To learn more about the photographer and his work visit his official website.

'Digital Darkroom' Film Wins Award

Congratulations to Arclight Productions on their recent win at the New Media Film Festival here in Los Angeles. Their film, Digital Darkroom: The Art of 3D won Best in Category for 3D Content. The short documentary film was presented exclusively at the Annenberg Space for Photography's Digital Darkroom exhibition.

The 4th annual New Media Film Festival was held on June 11 & 12, 2013 at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles.

Watch Digital Darkroom: The Art of 3D (in either 3D and 2D!) in its entirety here.

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