• /the-shot-blog/leonard-nimoy-beams-iris-nights

    The one and only Leonard Nimoy stepped up on stage at IRIS Nights last night. He wasn't here to talk about his acting career but to discuss his life as a highly respected photographer.

    Introducing Nimoy at the lecture was New York Times Lens Blog writer James Estrin. The two are seen here chatting in the green room beforehand. Looks like they've become fast friends! Nimoy started the lecture by recounting a story about a time he was walking in Los Angeles with Tom Hanks. The two encountered a man who wanted to have his photo taken with Hanks. When Hanks asked who would take the picture, the man turned to Nimoy and said "Oh, Mr. Nimoy, you're a wonderful photographer. Can you take the picture?" Nimoy, who maintained such an enviable sense of humor throughout the lecture, joked that it was that story that gave him "street credibility" as a photographer. We think he had street cred long before then! Nimoy spoke at length about his photography, including one of his most well-known works, "The Full Body Project." He explains how he became involved with the women in the above photo, all members of the Fat Bottom Revue burlesque  group. Nimoy revealed that he does not do photojournalism. He prefers shooting projects in a controlled environment. Nimoy's "Secret Selves" was the first time he ever used color in his photography. "Secret Selves" focused on people bringing out their secret, hidden or fantasy selves to Nimoy and his camera. Nimoy is a very prolific photographer.  Apparently there are thousands of photos that he's taken which have yet to see the light of day. Personally, we can't wait to see more! Nimoy stuck around after his talk to sign copies of his books The Full Body Project for fans. Were you one of the lucky few to get him to sign a copy of the book? Nimoy's wife was in attendance last night. Here she is, on the left, posing with him in front of one of the first images visitors come across in the BEAUTY CULTURE exhibit, his most well-known photo from "The Full Body Project." After expressing his gratitude to the packed room for attending his lecture, he signed off with this very familiar quote: "live long and prosper!" Thanks for such a thoughtful, entertaining and enlightening lecture last night, Leonard! You can watch the lecture on our site by clicking here. (All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

  • /the-shot-blog/announcing-our-100th-iris-nights-lecture

    Hard to believe that we've almost made it to the big 100 considering we're still only 2 1/2 years old!

    We couldn't be more excited that we're thisclose to celebrating our 100th IRIS Nights lecture. The momentous occasion takes place later this month on when David Fahey and Mark McKenna take the stage to discuss the life and body of work of Herb Ritts.

    No need to wait until the week before to secure tickets. We're giving them away now and up until a couple of days before the lecture on September 29th. In order to win tickets you must participate in our IRIS Nights trivia contest, running on our Facebook page ("like" us here if you haven't already). We'll publish trivia questions about past IRIS Nights photographers on that page. The first person to respond with the correct answer in the comments wins a pair of tickets to the lecture on September 29th. Now is a great time to brush up on your IRIS Nights knowledge!

    Thanks to all of you for making IRIS Nights the big success that it is each and every Thursday night! We couldn't have made it to 100 without you!

    Blog Tags: Iris Nights
  • /the-shot-blog/nikki-sixx-rocks-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)

  • /the-shot-blog/photo-link-round-0

    Check out what is happening in the photography world this week!

    1. In honor of Kodak's ten year anniversary of its first digital zoom camera,

    DC Views has compared elements of photography from when it was a 'digital science' to the 'easy sharing' aspect of today.

    2. In a timely web 'service' offering Military personnel are remembering their time in service with photo books offered specially by the Military Yearbook Printing Company....but sometimes uploading pictures to a website can be extremely complicated.

    3. Hollywood photographer David Strick is suing the Los Angeles Times for illegally publishing 174 of his photos.

    The law suit could potentially cost $150,000 for each infringement, and there are 510 alleged violations!

    4. When David Strick seemed to deliver too many photos, wedding photographer Gerald Randolph Byrd didn't deliver enough.

    In fact Byrd refused to hand over the photos and is now serving two years of house arrest for fraudulent intent. The original sentence was eight years in prison.

    5. But on a lighter note National Geographic has announced the "Best Travel Pictures of 2011" and they are incredible.
    Photograph by Robin Moore

    Click here to check them out.

    Photograph by Becky Kagan Schott

    We hope you have fun surfing the web for more photography updates!

  • /the-shot-blog/brian-bowen-smith-beauty-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)

  • /the-shot-blog/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

  • /the-shot-blog/poetic-photography-lecture-paul-lange

    IRIS Nights lecturer Paul Lange - pictured here in front of his stunning picture of Venus Williams - gave an impressive presentation on the art and technique of photography last night.

    Some of the photos on the screen looked more like paintings or digitally constructed portraits then the straight film or digital photography which they truly are. But as Lange pointed out, that was his goal. He manipulated the photos during exposure in-camera by simply experimenting with chemical processing methods.

    "A photo is not just a model posing. I want my photographs to be like paintings," said Lange. "I want them to be long living."

    He even went into detail explaining how a photo could be double exposed, cross processed or dye transferred - terms that had all the non-photographers struggling to keep up.

    "It's fun just playing with the rules. They work more often then they don't work so the key is to just try it," said Lange in reference to his experimental work.

    Lange's diverse career led him to the world of fashion, photographing top models and celebrities from around the globe. He combined his fine art training with the fashion staples of good hair, makeup and perfect lighting to create his unique and polished style. Lange still creates all of his photographs in-camera and does not digitally alter them in post-production.

    Lange explained that digital filters don't have the poetry that film does. "There is a translucent quality that you get by chance with film..." said Lange passionately, "otherwise it is too uniform."

    Lange kept coming back to ideas of mystery, chance, passion and poetry relying on the imagery of a 'paint-like quality' to describe his photographic style.

    His unique photographs were not the sole reason this night was different from our other lectures; last night was also the first time the Annenberg Space for Photography held two lectures by a photographer in one evening.

    The night was so successful that we hope to do more double-header lectures in the future, giving our guests twice the opportunity to attend!

    Thank you Paul Lange for giving two lovely presentations!

    (All lecture photos by Unique for the Space)

  • /the-shot-blog/everything-beauty-lecture-fadil-berisha

    What a treat it was to have fashion photographer Fadil Berisha present during our IRIS Nights lecture series yesterday evening.

    Fadil has had a global influence throughout his career. He has not only worked with such figures as Tyra Banks, President Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg and numerous Miss America contestants, but he also played an incredible role in campaigning against the Kosovo massacres.

    During his presentation, Fadil explained that his work stems from a genuine love for beauty.

    "Beauty is what I really love... I like to live happy and see pretty things all the time. With photographers it has to do with how they feel on the inside and that's what comes out on the photo," proclaimed Fadil during the lecture. "I love to feel happy."

    Fadil took a moment during his lecture to speak about his experience photographing the horrific war in Kosovo. Since the topic wasn't related to beauty itself he placed his visual slideshow on pause because he felt it was important to take some time to talk about his experiences with the conflict.

    About 10 years ago Albanian photographers contacted Fadil asking him to help promote their cause in the Kosovo war. He told the audience that the pictures they sent him changed his life. He then spent the next couple years raising money and campaigning for awareness. His work and the photos he took made an international impact and helped pressure the United States to get involved.

    Fadil told the audience about his first time working with the stunning Carmen Dell'Orefice, the legend who was his inspiration for a Rolex campaign. He said he fell in love when he realized how she stayed young at heart and continued to exude beauty throughout her whole life.

    Fadil also gave shout-outs to models Beverly Johnson and Nikki Haskell, who were both in attendance. He raved about how they each possessed that same confidence and beauty he found so alluring in Carmen.

    Johnson took the microphone during the Q & A session but she didn't have a question for Fadil. Instead, she took the time to praise the photography by calling him "brilliant" and telling the audience she could not wait to work with him again.

    Thanks for an outstanding lecture, Fadil! For more information about him, check out his official website. You can also watch his IRIS Nights lecture online.

    (All lecture images by Unique)

  • /the-shot-blog/viewfinder

    We have heard a lot of great chatter amongst our Annenberg Space for Photography attendees. After compiling some quotes, listening to what visitors thought about the Space and our lecturers, here is what they had to say:

    The Andrew Southam lecture

    "Loved it! It was so nice to listen to someone talk about art and communicate it so well... instead of just telling stories he got into how he did it and why." "I love the space. It is such a dream for photographers to not have to pay a lot to see such wonderful photos. I need to come and spend a couple hours here."
    (Amy Cantrell, photographer, attending 2nd IRIS Nights lecture)


    "It was really inspiring. I loved that he was so real about everything."
    (Madison Enloe, aspiring photographer, attending her 2nd IRIS Nights lecture)

    "[The Space] is an extraordinary gift to LA for both professional photographers and non-photographers. It allows them to interact. We are really gifted to have Annenberg here. Everything is really on the mark."
    (Chad Slattery, regular attendee)


    "I loved it! I am a non-photographer, unlike my husband. But that is the gift. There are a range of subjects and you don't have to be a photographer to love it - just a human being."
    (Donna Lee Slattery, non-photographer, regular attendee)

    The next time you're here tell Viewfinder what you think.

  • /the-shot-blog/intoxicating-beauty

    It was an incredible privilege to go to Andrew Southam's IRIS Nights lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Southam, an Australian born beauty photographer, spoke with such genuine humility and introspection that it was hard not to fall in love him and his work.

    He had such a sweet demeanor that when Southam admitted to a lifelong obsession with female beauty and being 'intoxicated by the fun of it all', the audience seemed to beam.

    Throughout his talk Southam illustrated remarkable self-awareness describing himself as a "boy who spent his life, quite literally, on one knee in front of beauty."

    He even opened up about sometimes feeling flustered in front of such direct sexuality.

    But the core of his honesty was exposed when describing June Browne Newton and her husband Helmut Newton. Southam revered Helmut and became friends with June Newton after her husband's death. She continues to profoundly impact his life and his professional career to this day.

    Southam also answered how and why questions regarding his famous techniques. "I am a student of lighting," confessed Southam when describing how he avoided using Photoshop or digital enhancing mechanisms.

    "I always wanted to make my subjects look beautiful. I like people to look like they would on their best day," Southam explained when asked why he developed his unique style.

    The sincerity of the lecture had the audience complimenting and thanking Southam for such a wonderful job. But, at the end of the day, he confessed that his main desire is to stay true to himself.

    "You can only be who you are," said Southam in a statement to sum up the evening. And for both the aspiring photographers and non-photographers, it was probably his best piece of advice.

    After the lecture Southam mingled with the crowd including his friends and peers, Joe Pugliese and Art Streiber.

    For more information on Andrew Southam and his new photo series click here

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