Monday, June 30, 2008
This group of pictures from Saturday’s New York Times showed Zimbabweans on their election day where they were forced to vote for the only candidate, President Robert Mugabe, for fear of punishment unless they could produce a finger colored by red ink as evidence they had cast their ballot.
According to the newspaper, the subjects agreed to be photographed and interviewed on the condition that their faces not be fully visible while the pictures ran uncredited for fear of reprisal against the photographer.
Given the information provided - the first name and age of each subject as well as in many cases, enough of the person pictured to make them identifiable - I'm not sure the story holds together in quite the way the front page treatment suggests. However, as testimonial to the freedom we often take for granted, as well as a creative use of photography, they were a striking group of pictures.
"I put an X on both candidates to spoil my ballot because the result will be the same. M.D.C. has withdrawn, so the result is obvious: ZANU will win. I just wanted ink for security reasons. I fear victimization from the ZANU-PF militia. It is obvious they will come door to door. If they see you don't have ink, they will know you are M.D.C." --MacDonald, 33
Friday, June 27, 2008
For some reason, the 25th anniversary of the film “Flashdance” is passing by without the usual fanfare accorded to such decade defining films. So to redress the balance a montage of scenes set to the film's Oscar-winning Best Song “What a Feeling” (music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Keith Forsey and Irene Cara).
For those in need of narrative assistance, to briefly re-cap: “Flashdance” featured Jennifer Beals as Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel-mill welder by day, and exotic dancer by night. Harboring dreams of a career in ballet, she is supported by her hunky but kind-hearted boss Nick (Michael Nouri) and her tough but big-hearted instructor Hanna Long (Lilia Skala). Will Alex get in to the prestigious dance academy? Will true love bloom? Will leg-warmers stay in fashion?
Controversy ensued when it was revealed that many of the film's signature dance scenes were largely performed by Beals' dance double Marine Jahan, but the film went on to dominate the summer box-office.
Can we start talking revival here?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Like the first bird of spring, the first street vendors selling Obama buttons and paraphernalia have just arrived on the streets of New York City. Of course not a penny of the proceeds will get anywhere near the Obama campaign, but what a shining example of the American way!
As further proof of democracy in action, the vendor next to the gentleman below had a smattering of McCain buttons but informed me they were selling very poorly.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
A trip out of New York always seems to make it hard to keep up the pace of new posts. But as it's Friday - time for another Weekend Video. I was recently introduced to the band Beirut and their two videos directed by Israeli film-maker Alma Har’el. I love the use of old home movies in the top video "Postcards from Italy" and the crazy energy of "Elephant Gun" (below), not to mention the band's unusual trumpet and ukulele driven sound.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
When someone tells me I'm not allowed to take a picture, I tend to take it as an affront and a challenge. I haven't looked into the actual legality of the situation yet, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing wrong with photographing the former TWA Terminal at JFK (above) as I tried to
do before I was waved down, or in the various stores, museums, and establishments who routinely tell you, "Photography is not allowed". With the advent of tiny digital cameras and cell phone cameras it's pretty hard to stop it anyway, but here are some samples of my recent surreptitious camera work.
This from Katsuya - a fantastic Philippe Starck designed restaurant in Brentwood. The tricky thing here was that Robert Downey Jr. was sitting at a table to the left of the frame and I was trying to get the graphic on the wall while respecting his privacy as a diner!
Monday, June 16, 2008
I am in Los Angeles this week so I’ll do my best to keep posting. On
the plane over I was reading TIME Magazine when I was stopped by
the full page picture by Greg Miller (above). It’s from their current
cover story on childhood obesity.
I have known Greg since 1988 when he was photographing for the magazine 7 Days and have always been a big fan. Since then he has had a highly successful career mixing editorial and advertising work but he’s very much a picture person’s photographer. I e-mailed him when I landed to congratulate him on the TIME pic and find out what he was up to and he told me he just received a Guggenheim Grant to photograph around his hometown of Nashville. Patience and virtue have been rewarded!
For a further look at his work, his website is rich with good pictures.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
After posting "Chasing Pavements" by Adele as a Weekend Video two weeks ago, I was pleased to receive an e-mail from "Federico" pointing out that Adele had also covered the same Bob Dylan song I had featured a few weeks previously - "Make You Feel My Love". As both a completist and a great appreciater of this kind of serendipity, I'm happy to make it this weekend's video, and I hope you enjoy.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A year ago, I stopped into Tusk - a terrific leather goods store a few blocks from the gallery - and ended up in conversation with Hiten Manseta, the owner. I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn't find a backpack that was both ergonomic and didn't look like a school bag. Anyway the result was that I ended up designing what we dubbed ”The Flatpack” for them – a thin nylon and leather backpack that rides close to your body and carries a laptop up to 15” in size. After Departures Magazine featured it, they quickly sold most of their stock, and I just found out there are only a few left in brown and black. It’s not cheap, but it’s been a lifesaver for me and my back.
The other Tusk product I can’t live without is a little leather case I use to carry my pocket digital camera. Because they keep introducing new product, this one is also nearly sold out, in fact it’s not even on their website. But if you call up and ask for it, they have a few left in their stockroom. It’s incredibly light and soft unlike most other camera cases which bulk up with unnecessary protection and defeat the notion of pocket-sized. (Squeezed flat it’s 3” x 5” so it’s only good for the smallest cameras that are around 2” x 4”.)
I've arranged a special offer for The Year in Pictures readers. If you call the store and give them the code "Danziger" you will receive a 10% discount on whatever you buy. 1.888.GET.TUSK. (438.8875.)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Things don't always go smoothly. The frames for the Paul Fusco "RFK Funeral Train - Rediscovered" exhibition arrived on Friday with the wrong plexiglass (They were supposed to have Atrium plexi - a u.v. protecting, non-reflecting plexi that costs about $300 per frame!) However, all was set right and now the show is up and ready for its grand opening tomorrow night from 6-8 p.m..
By then the heat wave should have broken, we'll have the gallery nicely air-conditioned, and cold beer ready to be served. (One of my quirks - to serve little cans of beer instead of the nasty wine you usually get at openings.) So I look forward to seeing all local The Year in Pictures readers at 521 West 26th Street. There's no such thing as an opening that's too crowded!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Detail - see full image below text.
For almost 40 years Richard Misrach has been producing photographs of the American West focusing on man's relationship and impact on his environment. His extended series “Desert Cantos” explored many aspects of the American desert with subjects ranging from fires and floods to military-scarred terrain to luscious skyscapes.
More recently he has turned his attention to the water with a series he titled “On the Beach” photographing the ocean, sunbathers, and swimmers from a hotel balcony in Hawaii. Shot on his 8x10 inch view camera, the photographs yield exquisite detail and sense of light. But Misrach did not intend them to be just pretty pictures.
As he explained, "My thinking was influenced by the events of 9/11, as well as by Nevil Shute's 1950s Cold War novel "On the Beach". I was drawn to the fragility and grace of the human figure in the landscape. For me, the work is both a celebration of our survival and an elegy. Paradise has become an uneasy dwelling place; the sublime sea frames our vulnerability, the precarious nature of life itself."
While some of these photographs have been exhibited over the past few years, an exhibition of 19 of these photographs, some as large as 10 feet wide, has just opened at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and is the first time that this many works from this series can be seen together. It’s a stunning and disquieting view of trouble in paradise.