Jacob A. Riis arrived in New York in 1870. As the economy slowed, the Danish American photographer found himself among the many other immigrants in the area whose daily life consisted of joblessness, hunger, homelessness, and thoughts of suicide. So when he finally found work as a police reporter in 1877, he made it his mission to reveal the crime and poverty of New York City’s East Side slum district to the world.
The resulting book, How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York, was published in 1890, and is still considered “a landmark in the annals of social reform.” Filled with pictures, sketches and graphic descriptions of the un-imaginable living conditions he found, the book forced the topic of tenement reform to the forefront of every New Yorker’s attention.
Almost 1500 photographers applied for the Individual Photographer’s Fellowship grants this year presented by the Aaron Siskind Foundation, honoring the legacy of the legendary photographer best known for pioneering lens-based modernist abstraction.
“He was a wonderful teacher, he was always interested in new ideas and in things that challenged us,” says Charles Traub, president of the Aaron Siskind Foundation and Chair of the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department at the School of Visual Arts. “We’re interested in all aspects of the creative photographic medium and all genres of photograph investigation — as long as the work is new and fresh.”
The eligibility requirements for the $5-10,000 grants are exceptionally democratic. They’re open to any professional, a citizen or resident of the United States, “who’s working on a serious body of work, who is trying to do something imaginative, important, moving the dialogue of our medium forward,” Traub says, and adds: “the term ‘professional’ is of course a loosely defined word.”
“There are no strings attached. It’s not like you have to have five million references, and a complete bio and all this stuff. It’s really just what you present.”
The Foundation selects three new judges each year — one from the editorial field, one artist and one curator — with an effort to avoid being East Coast-centric. This year’s judges were Natalie Matutschovsky, senior photo editor at TIME, photographer Andrew Moore, who recently published a new book on Cuba, and Tim Wride, curator at the Norton Museum of Art, formerly at LACMA.
“[The jury] tends to lean towards younger photographers,” since they are the ones who usually bring forth the newest, yet-to-be-recognized work, but occasionally, Traub says, “there is a better known older photographer who does submit new work that surprises the jury.”
This year, six photographers were each awarded $8,000 grants. “We gave six instead of our usual five this year because we just couldn’t pare it down any further,” Traub says. They are:
Michelle Frankfurter presented her series Destino which portrays the “perilous journey of undocumented Central American migrants along the network of freight trains lurching inexorably across Mexico, towards the hope of finding work in the United States.”
Wayne Lawrence documented the diverse experiences of African-American Orthodox Jews living in New York City.
Joshua Lutz presented a conceptual portrait of his mother’s descent into mental illness as “she slowly slipped away from the aggressive paranoia of my youth to an almost calming sense of delusion,” he writes. The series was published as a book titled Hesitating Beauty by Schilt in 2012.
Justin Maxon documented life in Chester, Pa, where industry has collapsed and the murder rate is among the highest in the nation, “a place where a domino effect of socio-economic issues and a long history of government corruption have revealed the community to be a microcosm of the wounds of racism that stain this country today.”
Jenny Riffle presented a complex portrait of Riley, a scavenger who as a child read “Mark Twain’s stories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and decided he wanted to be like those mythical boys. He wanted a life full of treasure and adventure.”
Sasha Rudensky presented her series Brightness which focuses on “an orphan generation of Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians that came of age in a social vacuum, having disowned their past but lacking any means of orientation within the present.”
“I thought these were all wonderful photographers from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, from different parts of the country,” Traub says. “Largely, the work had a kind of narrative in it, a sort of structure of a story not told in a linear way and not told necessarily in a traditional documentary way. There was a great deal of technical competence and a kind of idiosyncratic look at life.”
Eugene Reznik is a Brooklyn-based photographer and writer. Follow him on Twitter @eugene_reznik.
Tumblr Creative Director Peter Vidani
New York City noise blares right outside Tumblr’s office in the Flat Iron District in Manhattan. Once inside, the headquarters hum with a quiet intensity. I am surrounded by four dogs that employees have brought to the workspace today. Apparently, there are even more dogs lurking somewhere behind the perpendicular rows of desks. What makes the whole thing even spookier is that these dogs don’t bark or growl. It’s like someone’s told them that there are developers and designers at work, and somehow they’ve taken the cue.
I’m here to see Tumblr’s Creative Director Peter Vidani who is going to pull the curtain back on the design process and user experience at Tumblr. And when I say design process, I don’t just mean color schemes or typefaces. I am here to see the process of interaction design: how the team at Tumblr comes up with ideas for the user interface on its website and its mobile apps. I want to find out how those ideas are shaped into a final product by their engineering team.
Back in May, Yahoo announced it was acquiring Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Yahoo indicated that Tumblr would continue to operate independently, though we will probably see a lot of content crossover between the millions of blog posts hosted by Tumblr and Yahoo’s search engine technology. It’s a little known fact that Yahoo has provided some useful tools for UX professionals and developers over the years through their Design Pattern Library, which shares some of Yahoo’s most successful and time-tested UI touches and interactions with Web developers. It’s probably too early to tell if Tumblr’s UI elements will filter back into these libraries. In the meantime, I talked to Vidani about how Tumblr UI features come to life.
In this week’s photos from around New York, cyclists race through Harlem, a car injures four people after jumping a curb in the East Village and new art works arrive in Riverside Park South.
In this week’s photos from around New York, rain drenches the region, cicadas come to Staten Island and culinary students get scientific.
When viewed from the Franklin Mountains in southern Texas, El Paso and Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez meld into one expansive metropolis. Call it a Texan trompe l’oeil. Look closely, though, and the illusion is disrupted by the Rio Grande, the natural border that snakes through the two cities, carving out very distinct realities.
That proximity is what first drew photographer Reed Young to El Paso, in particular to the city’s Chamizal neighborhood, which he refers to as a sort of “ground zero” for the national debate on immigration. Here, where North officially meets South, the terrain gives rise to something all its own: frontera culture, with its distinct food, music and identity.
“We thought it was important to hear from people who are affected by the United States’ immigration policy today,” says Young. “National debate doesn’t always take into account the complexities of the people’s situations.”
If Washington D.C. is the political epicenter of the immigration debate, then Chamizal is arguably its human face, a place where the nuances of a thoroughly complex issue crystallize into the tangible. Take Araceli, for example. She has not seen her extended family in Juárez since 2009, although they live a few miles away. Claudia, who is transgendered, is another case in point. She is Claudia on the U.S. side of the border but always crossed the border as Ricardo, the name on her ID, until the violence in Juárez convinced her to end the treks.
Ciudad Juárez is the second most murderous city in the world. In 2010 alone, it witnessed over 3,000 deaths. The historic violence has instilled migrants with a special urgency when attempting to cross into El Paso, the safest big city in the United States. On their journey, they will encounter the most tightly enforced border in modern history. The number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border — 20,000 — has doubled since 2004. And the $18 billion the federal government spent on enforcing the border last year was more than it spent on all other law enforcement agencies combined.
But that didn’t matter much to Araceli. She waded through the Rio Grande with her four children in search of a better life for them. Now she cleans houses and scraps metal after work to supplement her income. And it didn’t dissuade “Goldie,” who crossed into El Paso when she was 16 and now owns Goldie’s Bar, a cantina in El Paso’s industrial section that pays homage to her hero, Marilyn Monroe.
Goldie’s story — and those of virtually everyone profiled in Young’s photo essay—attest to the strength of family ties. In Chamizal, at least, the commitment to one’s family, to the improvement of children’s lives, has proved stronger than billion-dollar physical barriers.
Reed Young is a photographer based in New York City.
Alfonso Serrano is a senior editor at TIME.com.
Cast and crew rehearsed for the 67th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, N.Y., airing live this Sunday. Bryan Derballa, on assignment for WSJ, captured these behind the scenes images of Thursday's rehearsal.
Photographs by Bolívar Arellano are among thousands from the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario that were recently acquired by a Columbia University archive.
Features and Essays
Lucas Jackson / Reuters
Lucas Jackson: Haunting Night Scenes of Oklahoma’s Devastation (ABC News) Reuters photographer Lucas Jackson traveled to Moore and used the twilight night sky to illuminate some haunting landscapes the tornado left behind.
Katie Hayes Luke: Faces And Places The Tornado Left Behind (NPR Picture Show)
Ashley Gilbertson: Intricate Rituals for Fallen American Troops (NYT)
Steve Ruark: Honoring the Fallen (LightBox) One Photographer’s Witness to 490 Dignified Transfers
Luke Sharrett: Sacrifices Set in Adorned Stone (NYT Lens) Gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Sergey Ponomarev: A Supporting Role (NYT) In Afghan Transition, U.S. Forces Take a Step Back
Andrew Burton: Afghanistan (CNN Photo blog) Photographing ‘my generation’ at war
Eugene Richards: Inside Guantanamo (LightBox)
Ilona Szwarc: The Little Cowgirls (Telegraph) Deep in the heart of Texas, young girls are bucking the trend and breaking into the traditionally macho world of rodeo. The photographer Ilona Szwarc has corralled some of these junior ropers and riders into a compelling visual essay | Related article here
Aaron Huey: Pine Ridge (LightBox) Aaron Huey has photographed the Oglala Lakota for seven years on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Ilona Szwarc: American Girls (Photo Booth)
Andrew Moore: Stuck in the Shadow of Affluence (NYT Magazine) How the epidemic of empty, foreclosed homes in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods ignited a new form of guerrilla activism.
Justin Maxon: Gunland (LightBox) Chicago’s South Side
Billie Mandle: Reconciliation (Wired Raw File photo blog) American confessionals and reconciliation rooms
Christopher Anderson: Skin on Parade in Central Park (NY Magazine) New York Magazine sent photographer Christopher Anderson to meander around Central Park on a 79-degree day
Charles Ommanney: Heavy Metal Cruise (Reportage by Getty Images)
Anderson Scott: Civil War Lovers Can’t Leave the Past Behind at Awkward Reenactments (Wires Raw File)
Arne Svenson: The Neighbors (Photo Booth)
Martin Parr: Life’s a Beach / USA Color (Slate Behold)
Joshua Yospyn: America’s Quirky Coincidences (NYT Lens)
Saul Robbins: Behind Closed Doors at New York Shrink Offices (Slate Behold)
Ruth Prieto: Safe Heaven (burn magazine) The second chapter of a documentary project about Mexican immigrant women in New York.
Lynsey Addario / VII for TIME
Lynsey Addario: Rich Nation, Poor People (LightBox) With its vast oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest concentrations of super rich households in the world. But an estimated 20 percent of the population, if not more, lives in crippling poverty.
Kiana Hayeri: Young Iranian Immigrants (NYT Lens) Leaving Tehran and Restraints Behind
Carolyn Drake: Two Rivers: A Journey Through Central Asia (Photo Booth) A photographic record of the area in Central Asia that follows the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, the region’s major rivers.
Linda Forsell: Refugee Crisis (zReportage) Syria | Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp is home to 170,000 people from Syria who have fled the fighting.
Kalpesh Lathigra: Passport-Style Portraits of Displaced Syrians Living in the Za’atari Refugee Camp (Feature Shoot)
Guillaume Herbaut: Chinese Weddings (CNN Photo blog)
Peter Pin: Life Beyond The Killing Fields (NPR Picture Show)
Angelos Tzortzinis: Societal Ills Spike in Crisis-Stricken Greece (NYT Lens)
Espen Rasmussen: Mud, Fire and Pain (Panos Pictures) Tough Guy claims to be the world’s most demanding one-day survival ordeal and it has been widely described as ‘the toughest race in the world’
Espen Rasmussen: Pain (Panos Pictures) As part of a longer project looking at masculinity and middle aged men, Espen visits the longest single stage cycle race in the world, from Tronheim to Oslo in Norway.
Kirsten Luce: Matadora (NYT Lens) In the Arena With a Smile — and a Bull
Brett Gundlock: One Small Town’s Fight to Banish a Brutal Mexican Cartel (Wired Raw File)
Yann Gross: A snake story in the Brazilian far west (Institute)
Kate Holt: Somalia surgeons: under the knife in Mogadishu (Guardian) audio slideshow
Siegfried Modola: Ethiopia’s ancient salt trail (Guardian)
Takayuki Maekawa: Wild Animals (CNN Photo blog)
The Financial Times Magazine, June 1/2 2013
My friend, Robert Capa (FT Magazine) John Morris, former picture editor of Life, talks about the great photographer and his most historic roll of film – of D-Day
The month in photography – audio slideshow (Guardian) Vanessa Winship, Erwin Blumenfeld and Nobuyoshi Araki feature in June’s guide to the best photography around the world.
World Press Photo controversy: Objectivity, manipulation and the search for truth (BJP) Beyond the attacks leveraged against Paul Hansen’s winning World Press Photo, the recent controversy over image toning is symptomatic of the current state of photojournalism and its place in a society that has learned not to trust what it sees. Photojournalists, photography directors and post-producers speak to Olivier Laurent, and ask whether objectivity in photojournalism is actually attainable
Hondros: A Life in Frames – trailer (Chris Hondros film website)
Censored – images of our ugly truths, natural and man-made (Sydney Morning Herald)
American beauty: Vanessa Winship’s photos of still, small-town US life (Guardian) Winship used her Henri-Cartier Bresson prize money well: to fund a book, She Dances on Jackson, in which she has captured the silence at the heart of a clamorous nation
Photographing What Endures For Australia’s Aboriginals (NPR Picture Show) Amy Toensing’s project for the National Geographic
Andrea Bruce / Noor Images
War Through a Woman’s Eyes (American Photo magazine) Some of today’s top conflict photographers just happen to be women. We spoke with a handful of these photojournalists about their experiences—and how they differ from their male colleagues’
Photojournalists Tell the Untold Stories From Iraq (Slate Behold)
Kathy Ryan: Office Romance: Renzo Piano’s Light (NYT Magazine 6th Floor Blog)
Capturing ‘Out Cold’ Commuters with TIME’s Patrick Witty (Instagram blog)
Martin Parr: All the world’s a beach (FT Magazine) For one photographer, there is no better place than the seaside to observe human eccentricity in all its glory
Finding And Photographing Alaska’s Remote Veterans (NPR Picture Show)
Who Will Crowdfund the Crowdfunder? (NYT Lens)
Moving Walls (The Foreign Policy) Looking back on 15 years of human rights photography.
Through the Lens of Eggleston (WSJ) The selection of William Eggleston’s photographs, “At War with the Obvious,” currently on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, reminds us why he an American master. For the June issue of WSJ. Magazine, the legendary photographer agreed to shoot part of his extensive collection of Leica and Canon cameras | Related
Garry Winogrand and the Art of the Opening (The Paris Review)
Wayne Miller obituary (Guardian) Magnum photographer celebrated for his images of the second world war and Chicago’s South Side
In Memoriam: Wayne Miller (1918 – 2013) (LightBox)
Featured photographer: Tim Richmond (Verve Photo)
Featured photographer: Albertina d’Urso (Verve Photo)
Featured photographer: Katharine MacDaid (Verve Photo)
Featured photographer: Joel van Houdt (Verve Photo)
The little girl in the photo, all grown up (AFP Correspondent blog) AFP photographer Jean-Philippe Ksiazek hears from a girl he photographed in Pristina at the end of the war in Kosovo
When Photography Imitates Voyeurism (NYT Magazine 6th Floor blog)
Joseph Eid / AFP / Getty Images
War and Representation: Showing the Limits of Comprehension (No Caption Needed)
Digital and the the desire for long form journalism (David Campbell blog)
Chicago Sun-Times lays off its photo staff (Chicago Tribune)
Alex Garcia: The Idiocy of Eliminating a Photo Staff (Chicago Tribune Assignment Chicago photo blog)
How the Internet Killed Photojournalism (PetaPixel)
Spitting on the Grave (Jim Colton website) On Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s comment ‘there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore’
Defining “News photographer” for the future (Reuters photo blog)
Anton Corbijn to shoot James Dean biopic, Life (Guardian) Control director to explore real-life friendship between 50s icon and Life magazine photographer in new film
Harlequin Without His Mask (Francis Hodgson blog) On Rankin
Ponte City: An Apartheid-Era High Rise Mired in Myth (LightBox) In 2008, South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky, in collaboration with British artist Patrick Waterhouse, set out to create a visual document of the building as monumental as the structure itself, exploring a long, complex history mired in myth.
Interviews and Talks
Anastasia Taylor-Lind / VII
Anastasia Taylor-Lind (Nat Geo Live) Mothers, Models, and Fighters | A rising star on the photography scene, Anastasia Taylor-Lind documents the lives of women who live isolated from male society, including in schools for Siberian supermodels and military training camps for Cossack women | video
John H. White (CNN) Howard Kurtz talks to Pulitzer prize-winning photographer John H. White about what the layoffs mean for the news industry after Chicago Sun-Times drops photographers
Jonas Bendiksen (Vice) Bendiksen Takes Photos in Countries That Don’t Exist
Winners from the 2013 World Press Photo Contest (WPP) Nineteen prizewinners discuss their award-winning work.
Alec Soth (A Photo Editor)
Richard Mosse, The Enclave, 2013. Six screen film installation, color infrared film transferred to HD video. Filmed in Eastern Congo. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging inc.
Richard Mosse (Frieze Vimeo) The Impossible Image | Artist and photographer Richard Mosse reveals the stories behind the making of his latest film, ‘The Enclave’ (2013), in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which will be shown in the Irish Pavilion at this year’s 55th Venice Biennale.
Lauren Greenfield (Rookie magazine) Money Changes Everything: An Interview With Lauren Greenfield
Donna Ferrato (Vogue Italy) “I really believe in the power of photography to change the world. I think without it we would be like cavemen”
Fabio Bucciarelli (Photographic Museum of Humanity)
John G. Morris (Vogue Italy)
Tim Page (Radio Australia) Page on history, photography and the Vietnam War
Thomas Dworzak (Roads and Kingdoms) Dworzak’s Instagram Chapbooks
Saul Leiter (In-Public)
Photojournalists on Covering the War in Iraq (The Leonard Lopate Show / WNYC) audio | Michael Kamber interviewed photojournalists from many leading news organizations to create a comprehensive collection of eyewitness accounts of the Iraq War—Photojournalists on War. He’s joined by photographers Alan Chin and Ashley Gilbertson, who discuss trying to cover the war in Iraq and examine the role of the media and issues of censorship
New booktells ‘untold stories’ from Iraq (MSNBC) Photojournalist Michael Kamber joins MSNBC’s Craig Melvin and fellow photojournalists Carolyn Cole and Ed Kashi to talk about his new book, “The Untold Stories From Iraq: Photojournalists on War”.
Doug Richard (ABC Arts) A New American Picture: Doug Rickard’s Google Street View road-trip
David Guttenfelder (The World) Inside the Hermit Kingdom: David Guttenfelder on Photographing North Korea
Mads Nissen (Panos Social) The Making of Amazonas
Ben Lowy (ABC Arts)
Ben Lowy (MSN Australia) Covering warzones with an iPhone
Kai Löffelbein (Leica blog) A Hidden World in Hong Kong
Tomas van Houtryve (The Story)
Michal Chelbin (The Voice of Russia)
Sue Ogrocki (LightBox) Moments of Hope in Oklahoma: One Photographer’s Story
Paul Hellstern (CNN) Photographer captures snapshots of courage after tornado levels OKC school
Ed Jones (LightBox Tumblr)
Stacy Pearsall (Peach Pit) In the Trenches with Combat Photographer
Katrin Koenning (No Borders Magazine) A sense of belonging
Alonzo J. Adams (LightBox Tumblr)
Laura Pannack (Photo Whoa) Speaking Through Your Photographs & Connecting with Your Viewer
Mikko Takkunen is an associate photo editor at TIME.com
Aereo, a service that streams over-the-air channels to its subscribers, has now spent more than a year serving residents of New York City. The service officially expands to Boston tomorrow and is coming to many more cities over the next few months, including Atlanta and Washington, DC. Aereo seems like a net-add for consumers, and the opposition has, so far, failed to mount a defense that sticks.
But the simple idea behind Aereo is so brilliant and precariously positioned that it seems like we need to simultaneously enjoy it as hard as we can and not at all. We have to appreciate it for exactly what it is, when it is, and expect nothing more. It seems so good that it cannot last. And tragically, there are more than a few reasons why it may not.
A little about how Aereo works: as a resident of the United States, you have access to a handful of TV channels broadcast over the air that you can watch for free with an antenna (or, two antennas, but we’ll get to that). A subscription to Aereo gets you, literally, your very own tiny antenna offsite in Aereo’s warehouse. The company streams this to you and attaches it to a DVR service, allowing you both live- and time-shifted viewing experiences.