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

Coming To The Space This Summer: BEAUTY CULTURE!

The Space has been open for over two years now and our seventh exhibition will be here sooner than you think - May 21st to be exact. We couldn't be more excited!

BEAUTY CULTURE is a photographic exploration of how feminine beauty is defined, challenged and revered in modern society. The exhibition will include images from some of the most highly respected and world-renowned photographers in the beauty and fashion world.

© Felicia Webb

BEAUTY CULTURE will feature 170 images in our print show and over 500 in the digital one - one of our largest shows ever!

Quick note: Keep in mind that BEAUTY CULTURE does include graphic images, such as those of explicit medical procedures and nudity, and may not be appropriate for all ages.

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)

BEAUTY CULTURE: Opening Gala Event

Last night, the Annenberg Space for Photography hosted the opening gala for our newest exciting exhibit BEAUTY CULTURE, an event which represented beauty in many different forms. Here are photographers Paul Lange and Tyen starting their initial tour of the exhibit.

Hundreds of party-goers enjoyed the photography inside and outside of the Space amidst a crowd filled with photographers, celebrities, supermodels and everyone in between.

Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube took to the stage to thank all of the photographers whose work is included in the exhibit, such as the three of the four featured photographers; Tyen, Melvin Sokolsky and Lauren Greenfield. The fourth featured photographer in our exhibit - Albert Watson - unfortunately couldn't make the party. He was definitely missed!

One of the highlights of the evening was a special surprise performance from burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese. At the start of her show, Dita emerging from a giant sparkling compact!

Her act, which wowed the guests, brings back glamour from a bygone era in a big way.

Supermodels Gisele and Alek Wek, both featured in photographs in BEAUTY CULTURE, looked twice as stunning standing next to one another.

Annenberg Foundation Chairman, President and CEO Wallis Annenberg excitedly greeted featured photographer Tyen at the event. It was Wallis's initial vision that made the Space available to the public.

Actress Sophia Bush takes in the iconic Herb Ritts photo that greets guests at the entrance to the exhibit.

Lawrence Ho, who was one of the 11 featured photographers in our inaugural exhibit L8S ANG3LES, seen here with fellow guest and "Pictures of the Year International" contributor (and recent Pulitzer Prize winner!) Barbara Davidson.

Photo Space Talent & Content Director, Patricia Lanza, is seen here with Matthew Rolston, who has several of his images in BEAUTY CULTURE.

Two Hollywood beauties: Halle Berry and Katie Holmes.

Photographer Susan Anderson poses in front of one of her photographs. Those of you who live in Los Angeles may have seen this image all over the city as it is as part of our street banner campaign.

Melvin stands in front of one of his images of model Peggy Moffitt.

Moffitt was at the event and posed alongside Alek Wek: beauties from two different generations!

Exhibit consultant Manon Slome poses inside of the Space.

Lauren chats with "The Pink Lady," the subject of several of her photos and one of the people interviewed for the BEAUTY CULTURE digital feature.

Thanks to everyone for a terrific celebration of this great new exhibit. BEAUTY CULTURE runs now through November 27. Come see it and find out what beauty means to you!

All images by Chris Weeks.

Jill Greenberg Launches IRIS Nights, The BEAUTY CULTURE Version

Opening up the BEAUTY CULTURE season of IRIS Nights last night was award-winning photographer Jill Greenberg. Jill has shot for such magazines as Time, Wired, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly - the list really just goes on and on and on.

Jill has been taking photographs since she was a little girl. She showed us this adorable photo of herself holding a toy camera, portending things to come in her adult life!

Jill's photographic work has a strong feminist point of view. One of her series features the United States Olympic synchronized swim team wading in a swimming pool - all while wearing heels!

Jill has quite a bit of experience photographing some of Hollywood's most famous beauties. She's shot her signature style of portraits for a slew of female celebrities including Hollywood stars Drew Barrymore, Jada Pinkett Smith Lindsay Lohan (above).

Jill has found herself under criticism for her "End Times" series in which she photographed several two-and-a-half and three-year old crying children. During the shoot, Jill took candy away from the kids in order to make them cry.

Jill defended herself explaining that the toddlers's tears don't mean that they were in any sort of pain during the photo shoot or will have any kind of permanent damage. As she said, her own kids cry when they refuse to go to sleep at bed-time!

Jill's been photographing animals pretty often these days. She's taken portraits of bears, horses and monkeys. Art collectors all over the world have been buying up prints for her popular monkey series.

The local NBC affiliate in LA came down to cover the exhibit and interview Jill about her IRIS Nights lecture. You can watch that news clip here.

Thanks to Jill and everyone who attended the lecture for making the first BEAUTY CULTURE version of IRIS Nights such a big success!

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

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space. Childhood photo by Jill Greenberg)

Spotted At The Space: Leonard Nimoy

Just days after the opening of BEAUTY CULTURE, Leonard Nimoy visited the Space to take in the featured images and also check out his own photos in the exhibit. He'll be back at the Space again later this year, this time to discuss his photography as part of our IRIS Nights lecture series. Thanks for stopping by, Leonard, and we'll see you in September!

Nikki Sixx Rocks The Space

A bona fide rock star lecturer, Mötley Crüe bass guitarist NIkki Sixx, rocked IRIS Nights last night! Some people may not be aware but bass guitar isn't the only instrument Nikki takes seriously - cameras also play a large role in his life.

Visitors lined up outside of the Space well before doors opened at 6pm.

Joining Nikki for this lecture was journalist and author Kristine McKenna. The long-time Los Angeles music writer did a stellar job picking Nikki's brain about his photography in a revealing and candid discussion.

Nikki told Kristine that he has been photographing for over 30 years but started to take it more seriously in 1989. Quite impressively, he's completely self-taught in the medium.

Nikki told a poignant story about the Coney Island clown in this photo. He told Nikki said that most people took his picture because he was a "freak" but felt that this image captured his outer beauty.

Nikki doesn't believe beauty is only defined in the pages of People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People" issue. He reiterated throughout the talk that beauty is everywhere: "being an individual is so rewarding."

Here's a recent photo taken by Nikki of a female teenage fan paying homage to the rock star by replicating one of his looks from the 1980s. Check out a photo of vintage Nikki here.

Kristine asked Nikki about the kind of cameras he uses in his photography and he revealed that he uses everything from Holgas to Leicas. But he stressed that it doesn't matter what kind of camera you use to take pictures. Use the best tool in your hand to capture the moment!

Nikki takes loads of self portraits. Why? According to him it's simply because no one else is ever around!

While Nikki said he doesn't feel ready to publicly exhibit his photos quite yet (he'd like to first nail down a theme), we can't wait until the time comes.

Nikki's girlfriend, model Courtney Bingham, was also in the audience. As his muse of sorts, Nikki said that she has inspired him to start to dabble in fashion photography.

Annenberg Foundation executive director Leonard Aube stopped by for a post-lecture chat.

Nikki couldn't resist adding his own answer to the white board question about beauty and age located in our workshop area.

Nikki showed us tonight that not only is he a rock star in the music world but a rock star photographer as well! Thank you Nikki and Kristine for an awesome night!

For more information about Nikki's photography, visit his tumblr site.

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

What Age is Beauty? Carmen Dell'Orefice turns 80!

Carmen Dell'Orefice has been giving us images of perfection since she was 15 years old - that's 65 years of working as a model...65 years.

Carmen turned 80 this week, breaking every boundary between age and beauty that anyone might be holding.

This is what 80 looks like:

Well, to be totally honest this is what 78 looks like - it was shot as part of an ad campaign for Rolex in 2009. This photo by Fadil Berisha is so stunning that we used it as one of our street banners that promote the BEAUTY CULTURE exhibit.

The image below was shot a month or so ago - so this is what 79 years and 300 some odd days looks like:

...and another one a few months before that:

Just shy of 80 folks. I'm just saying...we can all but pray that 80 will be so kind to us.

What's even more amazing than how young she looks now, is how mature she looked when she was 15 and posed for her very first Vogue cover. I know one thing - she didn't look 15.

See images below that follow her teenage debut and demonstrate over and over how Carmen has remained a timeless fashion plate and style icon...not to mention a muse to photographers such as Avedon, Horst, Parkinson...and the list goes on.

Don't hate her because she's beautiful...and Happy 80th Carmen!

May you have many more.

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