Tuesday, February 26, 2013

See Civil Rights & Memphis Music through Ernest Withers’ Eyes

Via Tennessee Trip Tales

You’ve seen Ernest C. Withers’ photographs whether or not you know his name. Last October, they showed in Berlin and draped a building façade in Washington, D.C. If you saw Katori Hall’s play, The Mountaintop, his were the images that shook the final scene. Even before his death in 2007, Withers’ work had exhibited internationally and appeared in films (see 2004’s The Manchurian Candidate with Denzel Washington).
But Withers’ daughter, Rosalind, says her father realized the significance of his work much earlier in his career – specifically, in 1955, when his images of Emmett Till – from the boy’s brutally beaten corpse to his murder trial and funeral – were released worldwide and credited with bringing so much attention to the U.S. civil rights movement.

In a self-published “photo story” following the acquittal of Till’s alleged murderers, Withers wrote: “…we are presenting this…not in an attempt to stir up racial animosities or to question the verdict…but in the hope that [it] might serve to help our nation dedicate itself to seeing that such incidents need not occur again.”

And so his career goes, with Withers assuming the charge of telling pivotal chapters of our country’s 20th-century civil rights story in pictures. Today, you can view the most iconic images in The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery, located on the east end of the Beale Street entertainment district in a building that formerly housed Withers’ studio (and that was named for him in 1995).

The intimate space distills Withers’ vast collection into 10 major “projects.” The school desegregation section shows members of the Little Rock Nine exiting their car (in the background, white students crowd the entrance to their school in protest). A section devoted to Medgar Evers grips you in the faces of Evers’ family attending his funeral. In another section, titled “Memphis and The South,” signs say everything – in a poster held by a young, white man (“Segregation or war!”); in a placard worn by a father strolling his infant daughter (“Daddy, I want to be free too!!!!”). There are moments of triumph, too – when the Montgomery Bus Boycott set that city’s first desegregated bus rolling in 1956, Withers and his camera were there.

Even if you’ve seen these images in other contexts, you’ll immediately recall them – once seen, they never leave your consciousness. Viewed in aggregate, they seem to me even more powerful – as does Withers’ ability to capture the most critical moments at such close range. As for Withers’ near-omnipresence along the civil rights timeline, Rosalind explains simply that her father was a “journalist by nature.” She offers more on the intimacy her father achieved with his subjects, referencing several of his images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – particularly one of Dr. King lounging on his bed at the Lorraine Motel (King was in Memphis to join James Meredith’s 1966 March Against Fear). “It speaks to his character that he was able to get so close,” Rosalind believes.

It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that the gallery opens and closes on Dr. King – presenting first the images from 1966 of the man in repose; ordering lunch; looking cool marching in sunglasses and a hat. By the end of the exhibit, it’s two years later, and Withers’ lens is trained on Memphis’ sanitation worker strike (source of Withers’ most recognizable image, shown below) and Dr. King’s last march; King’s blood spilled on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel; masses gathered in Memphis and Atlanta following the assassination – and the riots. It’s hard to imagine, under its present-day neon glow, a Beale Street strewn with tanks and evenly-spaced soldiers, propped with their rifles against shattered-and-boarded windows. But Withers’ images show it like it was.

Many of the images displayed at Memphis’ Withers Collection Museum & Gallery are the same ones you’ll see archived by the Library of Congress and incorporated into the permanent collection of Washington, D.C.’s in-progress National Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian institution. Major purchases by both organizations helped to fund the creation of the Memphis museum and gallery, which opened in May 2011. Image courtesy of and copyrighted by the Withers Family Trust. All rights reserved. No images can be reproduced without permission.

Many of the images displayed at Memphis’ Withers Collection Museum & Gallery are the same ones you’ll see archived by the Library of Congress and incorporated into the permanent collection of Washington, D.C.’s in-progress National Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian institution. Major purchases by both organizations helped to fund the creation of the Memphis museum and gallery, which opened in May 2011. Image courtesy of and copyrighted by the Withers Family Trust. All rights reserved. No images can be reproduced without permission.
The gallery takes two lighthearted turns, driven by Withers’ chronicling of baseball and music – and ultimately giving what I saw as the clearest insight into the photographer’s personal life: His series on the Negro Baseball League grew from the portraits players and fans would pay him to take at the ballpark. Withers had no studio at the time, so he would develop prints in the bathtub of his home and dry them in the family’s oven. “I still remember that smell in our house,” Rosalind laughs, but those prints helped Withers and wife Dorothy raise eight children. They were also what drew Dorothy into business with her husband. “He would print and my mom would count [the prints] and tell him how much money he would have to bring home,” Rosalind recalls.

The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery is located at 333 Beale Street in a building that housed Withers’ studio (and that was named for him in 1995). The now-vacant studio space still bears this window marking.

The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery is located at 333 Beale Street in a building that housed Withers’ studio (and that was named for him in 1995). The now-vacant studio space still bears this window marking.

As for the music, Withers served as Stax Records’ official photographer for two decades. “He loved the blues and B.B. King was one of his best friends,” Rosalind tells me, noting that he also liked listening to Al Green and Isaac Hayes, whose relationship with Withers was so close, the performer called him “Pops.” To caption Withers’ images of Memphis music history through the 1950s and ’60s is to name-drop star after star: Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Tina Turner – though I especially enjoyed the juxtaposition of two of Withers’ images of B.B. King: one of a newbie playing in a club on Beale Street circa-1950; the other of a veteran playing in his own club on Beale Street in 1994.

“'I am a man,' and Elvis and B.B. – that’s Memphis,” Rosalind immediately offered when we began discussing which of her father’s images should accompany this piece. Credit: Image courtesy of and copyrighted by the Withers Family Trust. All rights reserved. No images can be reproduced without permission.
“’I am a man,’ and Elvis and B.B. – that’s Memphis,” Rosalind immediately offered when we began discussing which of her father’s images should accompany this piece. Image courtesy of and copyrighted by the Withers Family Trust. All rights reserved. No images can be reproduced without permission.

What’s next for Withers?
Among individual photographers covering the civil rights movement, Withers is commonly credited with producing the largest body of work. Though her father once told her his portfolio was five million images strong, Rosalind has stopped counting (for now, at least) at one million. Of those, only a few thousand have been digitized.

The images sit – some as negatives; others as prints – in a pandemonium of file cabinets, cardboard boxes and card catalog-style units in a space near the gallery. There is some clarity in the chaos courtesy of the Withers’ original subject-matter categorization, but the takeaway is this: The images need to be legitimately archived. Rosalind has a plan for that, but not the money. During our interview, she was preparing for a black tie fundraiser to that end. She also previewed memberships the museum will soon be offering to help offset the costs of archival, and expansion. (An ambitious project will be announced this spring to expand the gallery’s current 7,000 square feet to 28,000 – including an amphitheater for musicians and theater groups and a restaurant.)

Until then, Withers’ images will receive their largest showing since his death (in 2007) during the April 3-7 gathering of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory. (Monroe Gallery of Photography, Booth #419)

You only have to go as far as Beale Street.

While Rosalind and her team work to raise the funds necessary to properly archive her father’s body of work, the images remain in Withers’ original filing system (offsite). “All of this handwriting is my mother’s and father’s,” she smiles.
While Rosalind and her team work to raise the funds necessary to properly archive her father’s body of work, the images remain in Withers’ original filing system (offsite). “All of this handwriting is my mother’s and father’s,” Rosalind reflected.

Before you go:The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery (333 Beale Street) is open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4-10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 4-11 p.m. and Sundays, 4-9 p.m. (Daytime tours are available for groups of 10 or more by reservation.)
With a short video on the photographer’s life and more than 90 images on display, plan to spend around an hour.

Currently, admission is a suggested donation of $5-10. Beginning March 1, 2013, admission will be $10 for adults and $7 for children with membership packages at various levels.

Note that some of the gallery images are sensitive in nature (read: prepare your children in advance – and be prepared to answer their questions during and after viewing the exhibit).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

LA Times: Steve Schapiro's photos in 'Then and Now' offer a mix of emotions

Hollywood Pix
Marlon Brando in a makeup session for "The Godfather" in New York, 1971      
©Steve Schapiro

 The photographer's book features candid Hollywood portraits alongside everyday images.

Via The Los Angeles Times
By Liesl Bradner
February 24, 2013
When photographer Steve Schapiro first arrived on the Lower East Side set of "The Godfather" in 1971, there were rumors floating around that Marlon Brando was not well. Moving closer to the action, he noticed an old man in an overcoat and hat talking to an assistant director with this gravelly, sick voice. The rumors must be true, he thought.

"Suddenly," Schapiro recalled, "Brando turns to the crowd with this enormous electricity shooting out of his eyes and in his best 'On the Waterfront' accent said, 'I think there's someone with a camera out there.'" That stunning transformation was just one of many Oscar-worthy moments Schapiro has witnessed in his 50-year career working on the sets of such groundbreaking films as "Taxi Driver," "Midnight Cowboy" and "Chinatown."

In "Steve Schapiro: Then and Now" (Hatje Cantz) the 78-year-old pairs candid photos and portraits of Hollywood celebrities alongside artists, musicians, civil rights activists and everyday people taken from the 1960s through 2011.

"I see a lot of celebrity books that don't excite me because they're just portraits," said Schapiro on a call from his Chicago studio. "We wanted to bring pictures together that work against each other or with each other by interjecting things which weren't necessarily film-related." For example, Jane Fonda clad in aerobics attire at the height of her fitness craze juxtaposed next to sumo wrestlers in Chicago in 2010 or Dustin Hoffman in a midair jump placed next to Roman Polanski in a flying-nun pose from 1968.

Of the nearly 150 photos, only 12 pictures have been published before, quite extraordinary for a photographer who has worked on more than 200 films and created 100 movie posters. The list of famous faces he's photographed reads like a history of the Academy Awards: Francis Ford Coppola, Jodie Foster, Sophia Loren, Martin Scorsese and nominee Robert De Niro, up for his third golden statuette at Sunday's ceremony.

Whether it's a candid between-scenes shot or an intimate picture in the comfort of home, Schapiro's aim is to capture the spirit and sense of his subject. "I try to be a fly on the wall as much as possible," he said. "For me emotion is the strongest quality in a picture."

One of the more interesting discoveries he made was an unearthed negative of a young Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) meeting his future wife Lonnie for the first time in 1963. On assignment for Sports Illustrated, the black-and-white image Schapiro shot reveals a shy, ponytailed 6-year-old girl, just one of a gaggle of neighborhood kids hanging out on the stoop with Ali outside his parent's house in Kentucky.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Schapiro was influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and studied under W. Eugene Smith. He began as a photojournalist during the turbulent '60s. After photo-centric publications such as Life and Look folded in the early '70s he turned to film, working as a special photographer, an industry term for a contractor hired for publicity and marketing. His photograph of Mia Farrow from "The Great Gatsby" was on the first cover of People magazine

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A day to raise awareness of the risks faced by journalists and photojournalists in war zones on a daily basis

A Day Without News?

An awareness campaign to highlight the risks faced by journalists covering major international news is set to launch on the anniversary of the deaths of American war correspondent Marie Colvin and photographer Remi Ochlik, killed in the Syrian city of Homs last year.


The idea for A Day Without News? arose within the journalism and media industry, by those that too often find themselves targeted by belligerents whilst reporting critical news to the world and that have lost too many friends who did not survive their last assignment.

On August 15, 2012, at United Nations headquarters, in New York City, a panel discussion, “The Cost of Truth,” was held to introduce that year’s winners of the World Press Photo Awards, the largest and most prestigious annual photojournalism prizes. Several hundred were in attendance.

Speakers included photographers Lynsey Addario and Michael Kamber; photo agency representatives Stephen Mayes and Aidan Sullivan; David Marshall, representative of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and Maarten Koets, deputy managing director of World Press Photo.

The panel discussed the alarming increase in the number of injuries, kidnappings and deaths of journalists – who seem not only to be more often the direct target of perpetrators, but also more vulnerable to such attacks due to advanced technology. Aidan posed the question whether there is a better way to legally protect journalists and make the world aware of the critical importance to do so. Despite the fact that it is officially a war crime to target journalists, there has been little respect for or enforcement of the international human rights laws when applied to journalists. And it doesn’t seem that the public recognizes the risk in governments failing to do so.

That night, over drinks at photographer Steve Pyke’s New York bar, Kingston Hall, Aidan recalled a conversation he had had recently with the director general of the ICRC, Yves Daccord, about raising awareness of the dangers faced by journalists in conflict, starting from within the journalism and media community. Photographer Lynsey Addario, who was abducted in Libya in 2011, immediately warmed to the idea. She also mentioned that such an effort might help remind people of the recent losses of journalists such as Colvin, Hetherington, Hondros, and Ochlik. Also on hand that day was Vanity Fair’s David Friend, who would coin the phrase, “A Day Without News?”.

Register your support here.

Find out more here.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

To Do Saturday: Public Lecture: Photography from A to Z + Tea

Shop, avenue des Gobelins

"A" is for Atget, "B" is for Baltz and "C" is for come join Katherine Ware, our New Mexico Museum of Art curator of photography, for the official launch of FOCA + P (the Friends of Contemporary Art Plus Photography). Ware will take us on a journey through the museum's photography holdings and talk about collecting strategies, future exhibitions, and special projects. Come learn about photography and have a chance to join this exciting friends group.

2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
St. Francis Auditorium, inside the Museum of Art.

Light refreshments served.

image: Eugène Atget, Shop, avenue des Gobelins, 1925 (printed by Berenice Abbott c 1930). Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Annie Leibovitz: Places instead of faces

Photographer Annie Leibovitz takes a break from interviews to pose in a gallery of
 her photographs at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe

By Kathaleen Roberts
The Albuquerque Journal

Demi’s pregnant belly. Whoopi’s smile sinking into a bath of milk.

And, of course, John curled around Yoko in fetal submission.

The images of Annie Leibovitz sear the mind like cultural tattoos

But after 44 years of shooting Mick and Keith, the Blues Brothers and a bleeding Pete Townshend, Leibovitz has focused her lens on her own personal “Pilgrimage.” More centered on place and the shadows of their former occupants, these are not the carefully staged and lit portraits associated with the photographer’s rock ‘n’ roll glory years.

There are no people here.

“Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage” opens Friday at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. Leibovitz’s lens leads viewers from O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu home to Elvis’ gun-shot TV set, to Thoreau’s Walden Pond and Virginia Woolf’s writing desk. Arranged as a kind of travelogue, the show includes 57 images taken from the south of England to the Yosemite Valley. In the past, she had always worked fettered by assignments.

For perhaps the first time, she photographed images only when she felt their seduction.

“When you’re a photographer, you don’t stop seeing,” she said. “Stuff gets a hell of a lot more interesting, and you’re better than ever at what you do. It’s reflected in this work.

“You don’t know if you had it in you anymore to just take a picture,” the 63-year-old continued. “I learned that it’s a deep well.”

Oddly, Leibovitz is careful not to call the exhibition photographs. “It’s not beautiful photographs,” she insisted. “It’s note-taking.”

The images span the rhythms of dramatic landscapes (Niagra Falls, Old Faithful), as well as dimly lit interiors –– as the objects and talismans of past lives.

The series germinated from a set of serendipitous encounters that led Leibovitz from accepting the Centenary Medal of the Royal Photographic Society to traveling to Monk’s House, the home of Vanessa Bell, Woolf’s sister, where Leibovitz entered the author’s writing studio to discover both the author’s battered desk and glasses.

From there, she traveled to London, where she photographed Sigmund Freud’s ornate couch after finding it stuffed in a closet. She learned it had been his deathbed, as World War II air-raid alarms roared throughout the neighborhood.

“I was hooked,” she said. “I felt myself totally seduced into the imagery.

“I love the series,” she continued. “I usually don’t think in terms of a single image. One image complements the other like a brother or a sister.”

Stateside, she attended the bar mitzvah of her cousin’s son in Amherst, Mass. Her sister suggested they visit Emily Dickinson’s house, as well as Emily’s brother Austin’s house next door.

“It was getting dark,” Leibovitz said. “It was after five. (Austin’s) house hadn’t been touched at all. It had been left in a Victorian state.”

Armed with a digital camera, Leibovitz was amazed by the clarity with which it captured the dimly lit corners.

She shot Emily’s herbarium of plant specimens, as well as her eyelet-strewn white dress, stored behind Plexiglas. Dickinson had been the favorite poet of Leibovitz’s late partner Susan Sontag, who died in 2004.

From there, Leibovitz came up with an initial list of 12 places. It would eventually swell to encompass 27.

A visit to the Lincoln Memorial turned into a search for the former president that led her through Kentucky, Indiana and finally to Illinois.

“I didn’t know why it moved me to tears,” she said of the Washington, D.C., landmark. But then she realized Lincoln’s shadow traced a through line from Marian Anderson to Eleanor Roosevelt to Martin Luther King Jr.

Roosevelt had invited Anderson to the White House to sing after she was banned from Constitution Hall.

“You’re standing there with your children,” Leibovitz said. “You go on the journeys in your mind. I went looking for Lincoln’s log cabin. I started in Kentucky and ended up at Springfield (Ill.). This was all before Spielberg and the ‘Lincoln’ movie.”

She shot the top hat and bloodstained gloves Lincoln wore to Ford’s Theatre, as well as a first draft of the Gettysburg Address.

Georgia O’Keeffe would become a kind of touchstone. Leibovitz originally discovered the artist through the famous portraits taken of her by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz.

“Stieglitz’s portraits of O’Keeffe are probably the greatest portraits ever done,” she said. “They are just unparalleled. Sometimes I use them during portrait photography workshops.”

Most magazine assignments give the photographer just 15 minutes to work, she added.

“It can’t even begin to compare to what Stieglitz and O’Keeffe did together. When you have the opportunity to make her look into those lenses –– I can’t even talk about it without moving close to tears. We think we knew all about her, but we didn’t.”

When museum staff members escorted Leibovitz to O’Keeffe’s famous Black Place, she couldn’t take her eyes off the rock-scattered ground. Suddenly, she understood why the artist was always photographed bent over and staring at the soil –– she was looking for rocks.
“She was collecting the rocks like seashells,” Leibovitz said.

The photographer was equally mesmerized by a divided drawer in the Georgia O’Keeffe Research Center containing the artist’s pastels, which she had made herself.

“I don’t have the words for it,” Leibovitz said, “… seeing the blue of the sky, the red of the hills, it’s all your landscape here. You feel her fingers on her pastels.”

She found herself quietly weeping over the torn bedsheets in O’Keeffe’s bedroom.

“The bed linens on her bed were threadbare,” she explained. “So she was very frugal. You’re a little bit like a detective. …

“O’Keeffe to me is really the heart of this project. You think you understand someone, and you don’t.”

Leibovitz’s career took off when she was hired by Rolling Stone magazine at the age of 18. She was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, where the emphasis was on the work of Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner named her the magazine’s photo chief in 1973, a job she held for 10 years. She was just 24 when she worked as the Rolling Stones’ tour photographer in 1975. Her intimate photographs of rock royalty helped define the magazine’s look. She joined the revived Vanity Fair in 1983.

Leibovitz has long said the Rolling Stones tour was the genesis of her own drug addiction, from which she later recovered.

“My Rolling Stone years were when I was a kid,” she explained. “The fact that I’m still alive –– I’m happy about that. I wasn’t one of those people who want to take pictures of the band on stage. We were all young. No one told you what to do. I was supposed to be taking publicity pictures. That never happened. I didn’t know how the music was made. I never looked at the pictures until much later. It was like a war zone. I learned a lot about power and fame and the pitfalls. It was a quick study in living too fast.”

Leibovitz’s next book will be about artists working in their studios. She can’t think of any celebrities she would want to shoot today.

“I look back, and I wish I could have gotten to Martha Graham,” she said. “I tried for Lucien Freud, but it just didn’t work out.”

But she is not averse to capturing the pop stars of today — even Justin Bieber.

“I’m not against Justin Bieber,” she said. “On the basis of social reporting, I don’t find it uninteresting.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

Finding Vivian Maier Feature Documentary Film

Via Vivian Maier Facebook Page

We are very happy to officially announce the feature documentary Finding Vivian Maier which tells the incredible true story behind the mystery of her hidden life. We are excited to share the official trailer with you for the first time. The film will be ready later this year.

"That rare case of a genuine undiscovered artist, she left behind a huge trove of pictures that rank her with the great Am...erican mid-century street photographers. The best pictures bring to life a fantastic swath of history that now needs to be rewritten to include her." - Michael Mimmelman, NY Times

Film Licensing
During the Berlin Film Festival this week Submarine has concluded presales at Berlin to SVT (Swedish TV), AVRO (Dutch TV), Swiss TV, all rights in Canada to Films We Like, and all rights in Italy to Feltrinelli Films. Further licensing deals and a domestic partner will be announced shortly. See more about this news in Variety Magazine.

The Story
Vivian Maier was a mystery even to those who knew her. A secretive nanny in the wealthy suburbs of Chicago, she died in 2009 and would have been forgotten. But John Maloof, an amateur historian, uncovered thousands of negatives at a storage locker auction and changed history. Now, Vivian Maier is hailed as one of the greatest 20th Century photographers along with Diane Arbus Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Weegee.

And that is just where the story begins. Finding Vivian Maier follows the filmmakers as they unearth Vivian's story, combing through thousands of negatives and a mountain of other material (including hundreds of hours of Super 8 film footage and audio recordings) left behind in Maier's storage lockers. As the filmmakers track down an odd collection of parents who hired her, children she cared for, store owners, movie theater operators and curious neighbors who remember her, the story that emerges goes beyond cliches of the undiscovered artist and offers a portrait that is at times bewildering and troubling. Maier's story pushes us to ask as many questions about ourselves as it does about her.

Finding Vivian Maier was Directed & Produced by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel (Bowling for Columbine, Religulous) who are Chicago natives. John once worked the swap meets and storage lockers that led to the discovery of Vivian's photographs and Charlie grew up in the North Shore neighborhoods where Vivian was a nanny. John Maloof is a filmmaker and photographer. Since the discovery of Vivian's work, he is now the chief curator of her photographs. In 2008 he established the Maloof Collection with the purpose of preserving and making publicly available the work of Vivian Maier. Jeff Garlin, an Executive Producer on the film, is a producer, writer, director and actor whose credits include Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Charles Siskel stated, "Vivian's story is as powerful as her art. We are excited to work with the very best labels to share Vivian's life and work with audiences around the world. Finding Vivian Maier, we hope, will bring her the recognition she deserves."

To Do: This Weekend in Santa Fe

Via The Santa Fe New Mexican

Our View
February 15, 2013

It’s easy to forget — in between work, errands, attempts at exercise and the many other obligations of daily life — just how much there is to do in Santa Fe. Much of it is either free or inexpensive, too. To take advantage, though, people have to remember to get out and soak up our city.

Today, for example, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum opens Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage, a series of photos by the famed photographer, shifting the focus from her usual portraits to objects. It’s the rare opportunity to see a photographer as she reassesses her work — whether in capturing the landscapes that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe, the darkroom where Ansel Adams worked or even photographing a gunshot television that Elvis Presley once owned.

This is a personal work, rather different from her early photos of rock ’n’ roll stars or the glamorous portrait shots the world has seen in Vanity Fair. She calls it her “notebook.” Fans of the photographer were able to listen to her lecture on Tuesday night at the Lensic, hearing in her own words how she developed this insightful project, and others were walked through the show Wednesday by Leibovitz. It’s part of a traveling exhibit, put together by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. And it’s right here, in Santa Fe, through May 5. (Also on exhibit is the ongoing Georgia O’Keeffe and the Faraway: Nature and Image, offering the opportunity to kill two shows with one visit, so to speak.)

The opening is just the start of a busy weekend — on Sunday, HBO star and satirist Bill Maher is playing the convention center. Usually, the closest the funny guy gets to Santa Fe is the occasional stop in Albuquerque. He is biting in his criticism of politicians and other cultural shibboleths, and expect plenty of pope jokes — if you watch his show, Real Time with Bill Maher, or have heard his jokes, you’ll remember that Maher detests organized religion. It might be offensive to some, but it likely will make them laugh, too.

Of course, you might be among the lucky ones who scored tickets to hear artist Shepard Fairey speak Sunday night. He’s at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in a sold-out show — the lecture is free, but all the tickets have been handed out by the university, either to their students, high-school art students or the general public. Even better for Santa Fe, Fairey will be staying next week to work on a public art project at the school. Best known to the general public as the man who created the Obama Hope poster back in 2008, Fairey also is one of the more influential contemporary artists working today. He is appearing as part of the university’s Artists for Social Change series.

That he is coming to Santa Fe is another reminder of why keeping a vibrant university in town mattered — the conversations, the interactions between town and gown, all of the back and forth, help make Santa Fe a more interesting place. That, after Fairey leaves, the college will be richer — with a permanent outdoor mural — is exciting news for all of Santa Fe. What’s more, it will be a permanent reminder of the smart and interesting people who visit our town, making it a more enjoyable place for those of us blessed to call it home. As photographer Leibovitz put it so well earlier this week: “The problem with coming to Santa Fe is that you never want to leave.” We’re here, so we might as well make the most of it.

Related: Of course, we would like to suggest that you inclide a visit to the exhibition "Sid Avery: the Art of The Hollywood Snapshot", on view through March 31.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Ken Regan: Equal Rights March on Washington, "Kiss-In", April, 1993

Stanley Forman talks about bearing witness to the news, being the first on the scene, and the importance of photography

Credit Stanley Forman
The flag turns into a weapon in fight outside City Hall during the busing riots in 1976. Forman won a Pulitzer Prize for for this photograph


Photojournalist Stanley Forman has been at the scene of most of Boston’s news events for the past 40 years, capturing iconic images that define the people and places in those stories. His work has earned him three Pulitzer Prizes, and he’s now working on a book entitled “Before Yellow Tape: A Pulitzer Prize Winner’s Fire Images.”

Forman sat down with Emily Rooney to talk about bearing witness to the news, being the first on the scene, and the importance of photography.

On becoming a photojournalist…

As a kid, I [followed] the sirens, the blue lights, the red lights. And finally, when I was around eighteen, my father said, “You go to all these things — why don’t you take a camera?” I thought I was going to be a firefighter. But he gave me a camera, and I got interested in photography, and I was very lucky.

On covering fires today…

You don’t have the access. I get to a fire, forget yellow tape — no matter what it is — you just don’t have the access that we had in the ‘60s, the ‘70s, the ‘80s. Everything has changed. I blame [changes in access] on O.J. Simpson, because everything changed after the mistakes they made at the scene.

On technology turning everyone into a photographer…

I’m self publishing — I know nothing about publishing … Anything you want to do in this digital age, you can become it. Do I like everyone taking pictures? I’m beat before I get there. No, I don’t like it … I’d like to think my framing is better than the guy with the iPhone, or the woman with the iPhone, but they have the image. Everything gets used.

On moving from the Boston Herald to Channel 5 in the ‘80s…

You cover news … with a still camera or a video camera. You use a Phillips screwdriver or a standard screwdriver. I’m still covering news, and that’s the most important thing to me.

Credit Stanley Forman
Fireman rescue Tammi Brownlee from a burning building in South Boston, 1977
Credit Stanley Forman
Evacuating horses from a burning stable at Suffolk Downs

Monday, February 11, 2013

Today in History: Nelson Mandela walked out of prison a free man after 27 years

Jürgen Schadeberg: Nelson Mandela in his cell during a re-visit, Robben Island, 1994

On Feb 11, 1990 Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid activist walked out of prison a free man after 27 years behind bars.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

49 Years Ago: February 7, The Beatles Arrive in America

The Beatles arrive, February 7, 1964, New York
Bill Eppridge: The Beatles Arrive, February 7, 1964, New York

"One morning my boss said, 'Look, we've got a bunch of British musicians coming into town. They're called the Beatles.'"

Eppridge was at John F. Kennedy airport on February 7, 1964 for the arrival of The Beatles. He continued to photograph The Beatles that day, and over the next several days. He was invited to come up to their room at the Plaza Hotel and "stick with them."

"These were four very fine young gentlemen, and great fun to be around," Eppridge recalls. After he introduced himself to Ringo, who consulted with John, the group asked what he wanted them to do while being photographed for Life. "I'm not going to ask you to do a thing," was Eppridge's reply. "I just want to be here."

Traveling with the Beatles, forced by a snowstorm to take the train to Washington, Eppridge captured some wonderfully fun and memorable pictures. He was with them in Central Park and at the Ed Sullivan Show for both the rehearsal and the historic performance, and photographed their Carnegie Hall performance on February 12, 1964.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Newseum opens exhibit featuring Martin Luther King Birmingham, Alabama jail cell door

A casting of the original jail cell door behind which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was confined after his April 1963 arrest for leading non-violent protests in Birmingham, Alabama, is seen at the Newseum in Washington on February 1, 2013. To celebrate the beginning of Black History Month, the Newseum opened "Jailed in Birmingham," a new exhibit featuring the casting of the original jail cell door. It was in this cell that the civil rights leader penned his historic letter defending civil disobedience. The "Letter From Birmingham Jail," written in response to a statement by a group of eight white Alabama clergymen, includes the now famous quote, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM

WASHINGTON, DC.- To celebrate the beginning of Black History Month, today the Newseum opens "Jailed in Birmingham," a new exhibit featuring a casting of the original jail cell door behind which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was confined after his April 1963 arrest for leading nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Ala. It was in this cell that the civil rights leader penned his historic letter defending civil disobedience. The "Letter From Birmingham Jail," written in response to a statement by a group of eight white Alabama clergymen, includes the now-famous quote, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The door on display is a bronze casting made from the original door to King's cell in the Birmingham city jail. The exhibit also features one of the first publications of the letter, a 1963 pamphlet published by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group. The exhibit is on display in the Newseum's News Corporation News History Gallery.

On Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2:30 p.m., Chris Jenkins, editor of The RootDC, and award-winning video journalist Garrett Hubbard will discuss King's legacy during a special Inside Media program. The two collaborated on a Washington Post video series, "BrotherSpeak," which explores the experiences of black men in America. Inside Media programs are free with paid admission to the Newseum, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

This year will mark a number of milestone anniversaries of key events in U.S. history, and the Newseum will debut new exhibits to highlight them. From March 1 to 14, a special, free exhibit will illustrate the landmark 1913 women's suffrage parade on Pennsylvania Avenue through newspaper front pages and photos of the historic event. "Marching for Women's Rights" will be on view to the public in front of the Newseum in the museum's Today's Front Pages cases.

Later this year, the Newseum will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with two new exhibits and an original documentary chronicling the presidency, family life and death of America's 35th president. The Newseum will host public programs and special events about the Kennedys throughout 2013 to enhance the visitor experience. The JFK exhibits and film will be on display April 12, 2013, through Jan. 5, 2014.

Friday, February 1, 2013

STAR GLOW: Sid Avery Captured Young Hollywood Shining with Health and Success

Steve McQueen in his 1957 Jaguar XKSS
Steve McQueen in his 1957 Jaguar XKSS  ©mptv

Via The Albuquerque Journal
By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013

There is a wistful melancholy about viewing the photographs that Sid Avery took during Hollywood’s most recent golden age, the 1940s to 1960s. Audrey Hepburn has bicycled up to the camera to show off her rather smug Cairn terrier. Steve McQueen is admiring his new pistol, as well as his new Jaguar. Marlon Brando has stopped playing his bongo drums long enough to give the photographer a pensive pose. Elizabeth Taylor is stretching her shoulders into the sun on the set of “Giant.” Rock Hudson has stepped out of the shower and gleefully grabbed a ringing phone – he looks very gay, in every sense of that overused word.

Marlon Brando, At Home With Bongos, 1955
Marlon Brando, At Home With Bongos, 1955

Dean Martin, like his contemporaries, is happy and self-satisfied as he readies a song for recording. All of them are shining with health and youth and success, with not a thought for any disease or age that might lie ahead. Only Frank Sinatra looks slightly wary, as if he sensed perhaps, on the edge of the frame, some intimation of mortality.

Frank Sinatra with camera, Capitol Records
Frank Sinatra with camera, Capitol Records
These and other photographs by the late Hollywood photographer Sid Avery, fill a major exhibition opening today at Monroe Gallery of Photography on Don Gaspar. The exhibition, which will be up through March 24, is being opened concurrent with the publication of a new book: “The Art of the Hollywood Snapshot.” Avery’s son Ron, curator and archivist of his father’s work, will attend the public reception.

Elizabeth Taylor Sunning Herself on the Marfa, Texas Set of
Elizabeth Taylor Sunning Herself on the Marfa, Texas Set of "Giant"
Monroe Gallery of Photography, owned by Sidney and Michelle Monroe, specializes in classic black and white photography with an emphasis on humanist and photojournalist imagery. The gallery features work by more than 50 renowned photographers and also represents a select group of contemporary and emerging photographers. The Avery show, of which all prints are for sale, is a major coup, Sidney Monroe said. “He was one of the greatest names in Hollywood photography in the 1950s and ’60s,” Monroe said.
The book, he added, “is a sumptuous, long-overdue tribute to Avery’s prolific talent.” The text of the book was written by Ron Avery. It was edited by Tony Nourmand and additional text was written by Alison Elangasinghe and Bruce McBroom. The design is by Graham Marsh.

Avery (1918 – 2002) was born in Akron, Ohio, and introduced to photography when he was 7 years old. By the time he was 20, he had begun to photograph celebrities in nightclubs for fan magazines. In 1939, at 21, he opened his own Hollywood studio for portraiture and publicity photographs.   From 1941 to 1945, Avery was assigned to the Pictorial Service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in London and Paris. In London, the young man supervised the Army’s official photographic history of the war.

In 1946, Avery re-established his studio in Hollywood, where he got celebrity portrait assignments from Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post. He also became the photography editor of Photoplay, the movie magazine of the time. In 1947, while he was continuing to contribute to numerous magazines, he formed Avery and Associates to photograph commercial accounts. Avery directed television commercials and developed innovative special effects.

In 1985, Avery retired from directing and producing TV commercials to begin assembling the Motion Picture and Television Photographic Archive, which many regard as his greatest legacy. The foundation’s purpose was to preserve, document and exhibit the work of notable photographers.

His own archive, called mptvimages, now has more than a million historic Hollywood images on file and is recognized as one of the great archives of Hollywood imagery. Ron Avery runs the archive today. The new book was created entirely from its depths and includes never-before-seen pictures, contact sheets and other materials.

Avery was best known for capturing the private moments of legendary Hollywood celebrities like Taylor, Hudson, James Dean, Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Hepburn, who were showcased in his book, “Hollywood at Home.” He was the only photographer to shoot both the original 1960 cast of “Ocean’s Eleven” and the cast of the 2001 remake, recreating his iconic group shot around a pool table. He believed in capturing moments.

Avery taught at the University of California at Los Angeles and lectured at several other institutions and at museums. His own works are included in numerous museums and private collections.

Sid Avery died in 2002 at age 84. His work, however, lives on – and in that way, so do his subjects.

If you go WHAT: Sid Avery: “The Art of the Hollywood Snapshot”
WHEN: Today through March 24; opening reception 5-7 p.m. today.
Coincides with the publication of the new book, “The Art of the Hollywood Snapshot”
(The exhibition contunues through March 28, 2013)
WHERE: Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar
CONTACT: (505) 992-08