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.

Susan Anderson's Illusion of Womanhood

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

Beauty Pageant Culture

You'll find an array of photos of beauty pageant contestants in BEAUTY CULTURE. From Miss Senior California, the one and only Pink Lady (you might recognize her Botox-injected lips from our exhibit banners throughout L.A.) to Susan Anderson's toothy-smiled, Beauty, age 4, which greets visitors in the Space's entrance hallway - we see these women prepping for the show and competing as well.

But what happens after the contest?

In celebration of the Miss USA pageant's 60th anniversary, Time Magazine recently asked Anderson (who lectured at the Space and signed copies of her book, High Glitz, on June 16) to shoot portraits of 31 of its past winners.  These queens still have some set ideas about pageant culture.

Miriam (Stevenson) Breckenridge (Miss USA, 1954) now 78, told Time: "...you don't want to be thought of just as the beauty queen. People only remember me for being Miss USA and Miss Universe even all these years later."

Meanwhile, 75-year-old Myrna Hanson (Miss USA, 1953) weighed in on artificial beauty: "At that time, you didn't dare put any pads in your bathing suit, but now I look around and see silicone everywhere. I don't think young people need silicone any place, any time anywhere. It's what you do with what you've got that counts."

To see all of Andersen's portraits in the Time piece, click here.

If you haven't yet seen BEAUTY CULTURE, come see it now before it goes away in November!

Father's Day at The Space Was a Big Success

Thanks to everyone who made Father's Day at the Space a huge success. We had almost 900 visitors come to celebrate the holiday and check out our immensely popular BEAUTY CULTURE exhibit. Staff members took complimentary photographs of guests who visited that day and free refreshments were served as well.

We hope everyone had a spectacular Father's day!

Pages