• /the-shot-blog/grace-jones-chris-levines-superstar

    For Grace Jones' 2009 "The Hurricane Tour," "Digital Darkroom" photographer Chris Levine designed an element of the show in which a laser shined at the lustrous Swarovski crystal-encrusted bowler hat the singer wore during her performance of "Love is the Drug." This created a surreal and magical effect on stage that mesmerized the audience. Levine recreated the moment for his stunning photograph of Jones, entitled Superstar, which is above,

    Said Chris about the moment in the show: "I got the Royal Festival Hall (in London) to take all lights to black out when we did it first time. The laser coming directly down from above onto (her) crystal headpiece...the audience went wild. It was a magical moment-a kind of flash point. Grace was back! It has to be one of the best live shows I had ever seen by any artist. It was electrifying!"

    Want to see for yourself how well Levine's design played out during the show? Then watch Jones' "electrifying" performance of the song in the clip below.

  • /the-shot-blog/bringing-attention-important-topics-through-use-humor

    by Pierre Beteille I am proud to say that the Annenberg Space for Photography's "Digital Darkroom" is my very first photography exhibition. I was excited to be given the opportunity to go to the show's public opening and witness, for the first time, people react (if they reacted at all!) to my images in a public setting. I take my photographs in my apartment in France!!

  • /the-shot-blog/total-immersion

    by Christopher Schneberger

    I've always been a storyteller as much as a photographer. A little over ten years ago I began making narrative images dealing with spirits that revisited the spaces, and sometimes the people, that were important to them in life.  My spirits were not really the scary ghosts of horror movies or campfire lore, but ethereal interlopers that would visit lonely souls among the living.   A lost daughter would appear to her still living mother, a husband might return to his widow, or a vaporous ballerina would dance for a lonesome janitor in her former studio.

    I would often include specific names and dates (birth & death) for these spirits.  Viewers and collectors find these specifics curious and ask me if there was some historical, factual basis for the imagery.  At a certain point I decided I would create a much more ambitious project - somewhat of a whodunit mystery in the form of an installation.  The project revolved around a pair of twins from the early 20th century, one of whom had mysteriously died but returned in spirit form to cavort with her sister.  I wrote an elaborate backstory for this involving their family and a scientist cum photographer, Dr. Charles Addison.  The exhibition took the form of an installation - the "recreation" of Dr. Addison's studio where (as I posit) Addison photographed Regina Crosswell and her ghostly twin, Lydia.  The room had period wallpaper, curtains and the same furniture pieces seen in the photographs.  I treated the installation as a museum exhibit, replete with curatorial text recounting the story.  Not much gave any indication that it was a fictitious artistic work.  To my great surprise, and joy, many people took it as fact and wondered how I had discovered this story.

    Since that time, my work has continued to explore the supernatural in ordinary life, and particularly in America in the early 20th Century.  The next story was about Frances Naylor, a legless girl who briefly developed, at the age of 13, the ability to levitate.  She floated about her home in Evanston, Illinois, and was photographed by her father, an amateur photographer.  Her mother saw the ability as a sinister manifestation and forbade her from levitating in public.  The first exhibition of the work took place in the house where the images were made.  The public could, at once, see the photographs and the exact spot where they had occurred.  As in the previous installation, this created an immersive environment that brought the audience into the story.  Again the accompanying text treated the story as fact and allowed the audience to suspend disbelief.  This further immersed them in the story.

    The following tale came about through historical research.  My gallery in Chicago, Printworks, is housed in a rehabbed warehouse building that was once home to the National Candy Company.  National was even owned by Vincent Price Sr., father of the well-known actor (no kidding!).  So, I decided to tell the story of something that could have happened at the factory.  In this case, the story was that of Anna Sula, a young orphan worker who was found murdered at the factory.  Photographs later surfaced showing that Anna had telekinetic powers and participated in meetings of a private circle at the factory.  Could this have something to do with her brutal murder?  I leave it for the viewer to decide.

    In addition to the elaborate story and the installation, I also immerse the viewer in the imagery by using stereo photography (3D).  My work is primarily exhibited in 2D form, but I have the ability to display it in 3D as well.  Sometimes this is in the form of View-Master reels and viewers, sometimes as antique-style stereo cards, and sometimes as anaglyph prints that require the paper red/cyan glasses.  This is the form they are currently in at "Digital Darkroom" at the Annenberg Space for Photography.

    All of my major narrative works can be enjoyed at the Annenberg Space as narrated 3D slide shows.  There is a monitor booth near my framed work with displays for shows, complete with music and narration.

    I am currently at work on a new series which is in color and set contemporarily.  It involves a family (husband, wife, son, daughter) who live in an older house that has a ghost who looks in on their lives.  This show will debut at Printworks in October of this year.  And I hope to show a few preview images at my IRIS Nights lecture at Annenberg on Thursday, February 16th.

    Christopher Schneberger is a traditionalist and an iconoclast. He has created photographic series of both infrared and mural-sized photographs. His work often weaves a narrative tale incorporating supernatural elements. See his work in "Digital Darkroom" which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

  • /the-shot-blog/digital-darkroom-opening-3d

    Here's another reason to hang on to the free 3D glasses provided to you when you visit the Space. During last month's opening gala for "Digital Darkroom," Ted Grudowski, whose impressive 3D images are featured in the exhibit, walked around the party with his own 3D camera, snapping images of the artists and partygoers. Ted has kindly provided us those photos and here they are below. Put on those 3D glasses and enjoy!

    Pre-opening gala, Ted's fellow "Digital Darkroom" 3D photographer Christopher Schneberger in front of the Photography Space.

    The man behind the camera - Ted Grudowski himself!

    The legendary Jerry Uelsmann striking a 3D pose.

    Maggie Taylor in front of her outstanding digitally manipulated work.

    Annenberg Foundation Executive Director addresses the crowd gathered to celebrate the show's opening.

    The excited aforementioned crowd!

    3D artist Mike Pucher, right, and his proud parents.

    Exhibited photographer Martine Roch, who wants to make all of us smile, gives her best 3D pose.

    Guests at the gala alongside some Annenberg Foundation folks.

    Pierre Beteille strikes a pose toward the end of the night.

    Thanks for the images Ted! Be sure to check out other (2D!) photos from the gala we posted shortly after the opening.

    (all images by Ted Grudowski)

    Blog Tags: Digital Darkroom, 3D
  • /the-shot-blog/my-goal-bring-smile-peoples-faces

    By Martine Roch

    I've just returned home to France after a trip to Los Angeles for the fantastic opening of Digital Darkroom at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Being part of the stellar group of artists in this exhibit is a great honor. Both Pat Lanza, Director of Talent and Content at the Photography Space, and Russell Brown, curatorial advisor and one of the creators of Photoshop, have done an outstanding job with the show. Pat is a wonderful organizer, and Russell is such a comedian - the camera absolutely loves him, which makes him an entertaining subject in any photo.

    The Annenberg crew was very attentive and did a great job making this event special for everyone - the artists as well as visitors to the Space. The Annenberg Foundation held a VIP reception for the artists just before the opening gala. It was fun to clink chilled champagne glasses with my fellow exhibitors and the Annenberg Space for Photography team.  I also had the great privilege of meeting Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor, living legends of American surrealist photography. There were several other Frenchies exhibiting, including Jean-François Rauzier, Pierre Beteille and Jean-Marie Vives, who were also very happy to be part of the special exhibition. We'll meet again, I'm sure! After the bubbly reception, we went downstairs and crossed the esplanade to the Photography Space where the gala's guests awaited us.  What a great evening!

    Over the last several months, many of the photographers featured in Digital Darkroom had been filmed for the show's short documentary film, which premiered at the opening gala. It was such a treat to see the finished film, which is an amazing Hollywood-like production. Seeing the artists talk about their work on huge, pin-sharp, high-definition screens really brought them and their work to life! The show also represents artists working in 3D with their own film shown in a special 3D screening room.

    Something that caught my eye was the set of two impressive touch sensitive Microsoft Surface tables that featured digital images from the show. The interactive tables looked like oversized iPads, the likes of which I've never encountered before.  They're definitely worth taking the time to play with when you come see the show.

    As for the photographs in the show, my ''characters'' are hung in a group together in the gallery, which seems to create a kind of family for them. For those unfamiliar with my work, these are created with friendly animal heads merged with human bodies. I was delighted to hear some people call my images ''unique!''

    When creating one of my portraits, I think about the animal's back story. What would this creature say if it were human?  I then try to sum up the image's story with an amusing caption. My goal is to bring a smile to peoples' faces. I've heard various reactions to my work such as:

    "It makes my pet special."

    "I've never seen my dog this way before! It's too funny."

    "My cat is like my baby. Seeing him like this makes me love him even more, if possible!"

    "Oh! Now she's looking like my Auntie!"

    I hope my work continues to evoke similar reactions from people who see my images in Digital Darkroom and elsewhere!

    Street banners promoting the exhibit are peppered all over Los Angeles, and I can tell you that fellow Frenchie, Pierre Beteille, was happily surprised and, yes, quite proud to see his eggs image on streets all over the city!

    This was such a wonderful experience and such a magical moment. Digital Darkroom is an impressive show, and I encourage all of you to come see it before it ends in May!

    Martine Roch has pursued an artistic style that reflects her love of animals. Her digital creations have become an Internet sensation on the photo-sharing site Flickr, and now, have become available commercially throughout the world on notebooks and postcards. See her work in Digital Darkroom which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

    (Top photo by Pierre Béteille)

    Blog Tags: Digital Darkroom
  • /the-shot-blog/put-your-3d-glasses

    ...Because here is a great in your face group photo of 16 of the 17 artists featured in "Digital Darkroom" (also including Russell Brown and the Space's Pat Lanza) - in 3D! The photo was taken by Ted Grudowski's own 3D camera. We'll have more 3D content on this site very soon so hang on to those 3D glasses you get when you come visit the Space in person!

    Click the photo above for a larger image.

    Blog Tags: Digital Darkroom, 3D
  • /the-shot-blog/digital-darkroom-opens-space

    Digital Darkroom is now open at the Space and last week's opening night gala saw almost all of the photographers gather at the Annenberg Foundation offices above the Photography Space to celebrate. Just before the party, 16 of the 17 artists (Khuong Nguyen was definitely missed!) posed for this once in a lifetime group shot.

    After the upstairs festivities, the photographers joined the rest of the revelers downstairs at the Space to enjoy the amazing artwork presented Digital Darkroom, our 8th exhibit.

    Here's the show's Pierre Beteille with friend to the Space (and L8S ANGL3ES photographer) Douglas Kirkland and his wife Françoise.

    Partygoers learn more about the art by maneuvering the Microsoft Surface tables.

    And here's Steve Kochones, whose Arclight Productions produced both the feature film and 3D movie that accompany the exhibit.

    Kirkland poses with Digital Darkroom curatorial advisor Russell Brown.

    Brown gets silly with 3D artist Mike Pucher. Get your own free 3D glasses at the Space!

    Annenberg Foundation Executive Director took to the podium to say a few words just before the presentation of the 3D film.

    He was followed by Brown who then introduced...

    The Space's Pat Lanza, our Director of Talent and Content.

    Time for another group shot of the photographers and a round of applause, just before the start of the film.

    Brooke Shaden, whose work is showcased in the show, takes a seat while she and her guests absorb the film for Digital Darkroom.

    Ted Grudowski went around the party taking photos - in 3D! Look for those images here very soon.

    Claudia Kunin and a partygoer enjoy the gala.

    Martine Roch poses in front of her photographs.

    Pierre Beteille's images can be very playful - just like him!

    Jerry Uelsmann and Russell Brown also get a little silly toward the end of the night.

    Everyone loved wearing their 3D glasses - this was the most popular pose of the night! Remember, hang on to your 3D glasses when you visit the Space. We'll have a slew of 3D content for you to look at on The Shot very soon.

    Digital Darkroom runs through May 28, 2012! Come see the show soon!

    (All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

  • /the-shot-blog/creative-revolution

    By Joel Grimes

    It is estimated that in 2009 Flickr hosted over 4 billion photographs and Facebook users uploaded 30 billion images.  This is just the tip of the iceberg with no end in sight. On the video front, YouTube now has over 12 billion views per month.  We are without question in the greatest age of photography since its introduction.  Never in the history of mankind has there been a greater opportunity to experience the creative process, and the ability to share it with the masses. We are in a Creative Revolution.

    I often meet people that have only been taking pictures for a few years, and when presented with their work, I am simply blown away. In today's digital capture and manipulation era and with the hyper accelerated pace of learning and sharing, it is possible to accomplish in one or two years what took an average person say, 20 years ago, to accomplish in 10 years.

    In 1979 Bob Dylan wrote about a "Slow Train Coming," but in 2011 that train is moving at a high rate of speed.  Miss that train and you will be left behind.  It is a rude awaking for those of us who grew up with Bob Dylan and have dug in our heals, resisting the digital age.

    Part of accepting this new digital era is being willing to re-examine the very definition of photography.  If we define photography by the technical process or by the tools used in that process then we are bound and obligated to work within that definition.  A few years ago when I first started doing photographic composites, I received all sorts of criticism stating I was no longer a photographer but had now become an illustrator.  Somehow we had accepted the manipulations done in camera and in the darkroom, but when it came to working in programs like Photoshop, well that was somehow cheating and crossed the line of traditional acceptance.

    A few years ago I sat down and asked the question, "from the glass plate process to the new digital process what constant denominator has never changed and will never change in the future?"  The answer is this: the creative process.  In the end, the single greatest dominating unchanging force that drives the photographic process is that it takes an artist to create.  What tools we use should be completely secondary to the creative process.

    Once I let go of my preconceived definitions of photography and focused on my exploration and uniqueness as an artist, my work literally took on a whole new life. I was now free to explore the creative process without the restraining boundaries that once kept me in check by the definitions established by others.

    Joel Grimes makes his living in commercial photography but has a parallel career in art. Grimes combines an artistic vision with an impressive fluency in the technical aspects of photography, creating images that make viewers see the world anew. See his work in Digital Darkroom which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

  • /the-shot-blog/joy-living-digital-world

    By Brooke Shaden

    When I picked up a camera for the first time it was not to experiment with photography. In fact, I didn't even like photography. Instead it was to very strategically turn my dreams into reality. The first time I picked up a camera I never doubted that I would be able to create my own dream worlds using this tool. To me, this was a fact and that fact has propelled me into creating my own unique worlds.

    As most people do, I start with an empty frame in a camera. The possibilities of what I could fill that frame with are endless. I choose not to point my camera at the world around me and click, hoping to get something magical. Instead, I fill the frame with my imagination. I will not take a picture unless the scene in front of my camera is as surreal and whimsical, or dark and mysterious, as what I see in my dreams. My pictures are staged, very much the same way that a painter chooses his subject, composition, color palette and other aesthetic choices before picking up a paint brush. I make these decisions before a camera lands in my hands, often only taking about five pictures per photo shoot. Every detail is pre-conceived before a piece of equipment ever enters the picture. However, every detail could hardly be conceived of in the world of photography without technology. I am a girl of the digital age.

    In my image "Running from Wind," I was able to carefully construct the details of the picture. The girls run in front of the camera, both looking back, insinuating that something is chasing them. Every detail speaks to a timeless scene, a world that is unique from our own yet still touches on reality, and a mood that is not of this world. All of this is possible because of the digital age. That picture was created on a very early, foggy morning, just me, a camera, tripod, and my friend. It was created in a day but conceived of for much longer. My dreams are my reality; I know them very intimately. The joy of living in a digital world is that dreams no longer have to be kept inside. They can be turned into new worlds; they can be our reality.

    The journey from the moment I picked up my first camera to my current life has been one of rebirth. The technical pieces that I taught myself along the way are irrelevant compared to the way I have changed how I think. No longer do I imagine the world I want to live in, I live in it every day. To part with my camera now would be like saying goodbye to a piece of myself. The two have become woven together and intertwined, and there is no future for me without photography.

    Brooke Shaden's photographs seem like little films, complete with character, tension and a lush visual sense that might easily be called cinematography. One of her exhibited photographs was recently selected by director Ron Howard as one of eight photos used to inspire a short film. See her work in Digital Darkroom which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

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