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Eugene Richards

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Original author: 
Mikko Takkunen

Features and Essays

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

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

Ilona Szwarc

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 / 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

Angelos Tzortzinis

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)

Articles

030-035_FTMAG_0106_FINAL.indd

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

Drama, Manipulation and Truth: Keeping Photojournalism Useful (Picture Dept)

chrishondrosfilm.com

chrishondrosfilm.com

Hondros: A Life in Frames – trailer (Chris Hondros film website)

Censored – images of our ugly truths, natural and man-made (Sydney Morning Herald)

A Photographer, A Fixer, the New York Times and Child Servitude in Haiti: A Story Gone Haywire, then Simply Gone (BagNewsNotes)

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

Don McCullin guest of honour at 25th Visa pour l’Image (CPN)

A war photographer’s rediscovered images from Vietnam (CBS News)

Andrea Bruce

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)

‘Pictures from the Real World’: Derby, England in 1988 (LightBox)

Q&A: Why is Emphas.is now turning to its own platform to survive? (BJP)

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)

Stephanie Sinclair’s best photograph: child brides in Yemen (Guardian)

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

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)

What a Photograph Can Accomplish: Bending the Frame by Fred Ritchin (LightBox)

Chicago Sun-Times lays off its photo staff (Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Sun-Times will train reporters on ‘iPhone photography basics’ (Poynter.)

Alex Garcia: The Idiocy of Eliminating a Photo Staff (Chicago Tribune Assignment Chicago photo blog)

Do Newspapers Need Photographers? (NYT)

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

NY Times Public Editor Questions T Magazine Photoshopping Policy (PDN)

NYC Tribeca Residents Enraged Over Photos They Claim Violate Their Privacy (ABC News)

‘Control Order House’ by Edmund Clark – Photographing our response to terrorism (The Independent)

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 / 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)

 Tom Powel Imaging inc.

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)

James Nachtwey (National Geographic magazine) Longer version on Stephen Alvarez’s Facebook page here

Maggie Steber  Part 1 | Part 2 (Leica blog)

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)

Alan Chin

Alan Chin

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

Mads Nissen

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

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Eugene Richards

On assignment documenting Guantánamo Bay for this week’s issue of TIME, photographer Eugene Richards spent several days at the infamous detention facility. Here, Richards writes for LightBox about how he approached the assignment and the distinct challenges he faced working under the tight restrictions imposed on the media by the U.S. military. 

When TIME asked me to go to Guantánamo, I immediately thought back to 9/11 — to the smoke and ruin of that fatal day, to Bush’s declaration of the war on terror, then to the first images from the prison: of men in orange jumpsuits shackled, blindfolded, handcuffed, sensory-deprived. These men, often viewed in silhouette and on their knees in prayer, were often picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan by military units, although some were captured after bounties of as much as $5000 per head were paid. My first thoughts were to 9/11, of interrogations, secrecy, torture and military might.

And then there was the series of military-issued disclaimers I would have to agree to. I wouldn’t be permitted to photograph, or even see, the detainees. I couldn’t show the guards’ faces, and I would only be able to photograph the pre-ordained locations within the camp. And finally, I had to agree to having my work edited — to turn over my cards so that images could be deleted or cropped as per the opinion of the public information staff accompanying me the entire assignment. ‘Can you make pictures out of nothing?’ I asked myself, then prepared for the trip.

It took two plane flights to get down to Guantánamo and a ferry ride across to the prison camp proper. I made photographs on the boat, but because they were of soldiers, they would become the first pictures deleted by the military. Once off the ferry, Guantánamo became small town America, replete with miles of brand-new looking green-lawned suburban houses. There was a McDonald’s along the road, a Subway sandwich shop, bar-and-grills and a dry landscape of thorny bushes and cactus. Iguanas, looking absurdly out of place, lay often in pairs at the edges of roadways running to and from the prison, munching on the low vegetation. Because they are a protected species, all traffic would come to a stop as they took their time swish-swashing from place to place.

I was put up in a condo of sorts, then had dinner with my minder, Sgt. Brian Godette. The next morning, he asked me what I wanted to see. My assignment from TIME was just to see what I could see, so Brian, out of sympathy, brought me out to the one place that I could visit at will: the now infamous Camp X-Ray.

This is the place, he explained, where the first detainees were brought in 2002 — close to 300 of them, he said. So I followed this young, affable soldier through the gate and up a dirt road, to aisles upon aisles of what could only be regarded as animal cages — six-foot-by-eight-foot concrete-floored cells enclosed on all sides and on top with chain link. They were all glaring light and shadows at this time of the morning, offering no protection from the sun so broiling hot, even though this was only springtime. Vines wound up through the see-through ceilings, grass cracked the concrete and the wind was blowing. Plump hutias, also known as banana rats, nested along the metal supports. Still, it wasn’t hard to imagine the place at night, when the air would be filled with mosquitoes, when the rain would blow in unobstructed. I was also shown the summer-camp-cabin looking interrogation building where, according to some reports, torture took place. Camp X-Ray, Brian went on to tell me, was closed later that year, the detainees transferred to other areas in the military prison.

The first “editing session” happened later that day, when the previous day’s images from the ferry were deleted by Brian. What I remember next was the 4 a.m. wake-up.

Along with a two-man TV crew, I was led in the near dark through four or five electronic doors onto the hallway of Camp V for pre-dawn prayers. No prisoners could be seen. No faces, no hands. All there was to see were the openings in steel doors as the guards wearing protective face shields (since detainees, we were told, spit and throw waste at them) walked up and down the block. As if in cadence, they stopped occasionally at individual cells to peer in, to whisper, to hand over medicines to inmates said to be fasting. After twenty minutes, the prayers finally seemed to drift away and the food carts were ushered in, then ushered out. Because there were few, if any, takers, we were led out of the prison.

At one point earlier in the day, the faces of detainees did appear in the elongated windows above an entryway. Dark-skinned, long-bearded men looked down at us. A TV cameraman pointed his camera in that direction, only to be cautioned that his footage would later be erased.

I returned at 5 a.m. the following morning and was ushered through the gates onto a different cell block, all too aware that some of the photographs I’d taken the previous morning had been deleted. I also wanted to hear the prayers again.

And so I went on what could only be called a media tour. The most surreal moment came during our exposure to the force-feeding apparatus. After all, that’s why the media was here — the hunger strike that had been going on since February loomed large in the debate about the camp. Surrounded by three or four media personnel and an equal number of medical personnel, we were ushered past the crash beds in the detainee hospital into a large, empty room. Dead center, beneath a single fluorescent panel, was the restraining chair. A display of the force-feeding apparatus included a bottle of the liquid nutrient Ensure and two sizes of tubing that could be put up the noses of detainees who refused to eat. As the TV camera rolled, medical personnel explained, without a hint of doubt, that the force-feeding process is not at all unpleasant (olive oil, you see, is employed as a lubricant as the tube is snaked up through the detainee’s nose and down his throat) and that, despite what others in the medical field might say, the long-term consumption of Ensure does no lasting damage.

And just like that, when I was feeling that my week was just beginning, it was over. I was upset that it was over. Before boarding the flight back to the U.S., there was one more pre-planned stop on the tour: the visit to a Gitmo gift shop, for t-shirts and figurines of Fidel Castro. But then even after the lift-off, I couldn’t rid myself of the feeling — and still can’t get rid of it now — that even though I put some time in, and that I now have some pictures that say I’ve been to Gitmo, the truth is that I have never really been there.

Eugene Richards is an award-winning American photographer.

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AMERICAN SUBURB X

 

 

Follow THESE AMERICANS on Instagram.

 

Enjoy the ride.

 

http://instagram.com/theseamericans

The post FOLLOW T.A. ON INSTAGRAM appeared first on Since 2008, AMERICAN SUBURB X | Art, Photography and Culture that matters..

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AMERICAN SUBURB X

“At that time I was frustrated with everything, including photography – particularly my own. There was a sense of irritation generally in the air, so I just thought ‘let’s completely deconstruct photography’.”

- Daido Moriyama

The post DAIDO MORIYAMA: “FAREWELL PHOTOGRAPHY” (1972) appeared first on Since 2008, AMERICAN SUBURB X | Art, Photography and Culture that matters..

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Myles Little

Spring has finally sprung, and what better way to celebrate — on World Goth Day, no less — than with a bunch of haunting photos of graveyards, romantic ruins and landscapes laid waste by time?

Today’s distinctive, global Goth culture can trace its black-clad lineage back several hundred years, to a revolutionary series of literary works, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818 to Edgar Allan Poe’s bleak, evocative novels, stories and poems to, of course, Bram Stoker’s 1897 psycho-sexual horror masterpiece, Dracula.

In the middle part of the last century, England’s beloved Hammer Films kept the Goth spirit alive with a slew of dark, campy — and often critically panned — gems (The Curse of Frankenstein, The Mummy and more). In the Sixties, Goth received a slightly lighter treatment with the hit American TV series, The Addams Family, based on Charles Addams’ wry, gloomy New Yorker cartoons.

In the 1970s, the romance of Goth culture revived in a big way when British bands like Bauhaus, Siouxsie & the Banshees and, above all, The Cure slouched onto the scene, crafting lovely, somber albums that appealed to misanthropes and misunderstood teens everywhere. Bands like Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson and The Knife have helped carry the movement into the present day. (If interested, check out The Guardian’s selection of its favorite goth tunes curated for last year’s World Goth Day.)

Millions of bottles of black eyeliner and nail polish later, Goth’s influence can be felt everywhere from Alexander McQueen’s fashion to Tim Burton’s films.

Here, LightBox presents a selection of images from more than 150 years of photo history—photographs made not by Goth photographers, but pictures that instead evoke the original, dark and beautiful spirit of Goth — the spirit articulated so perfectly by Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein himself: “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.”

So, on World Goth Day 2013, why sit on your couch and mope when you can sit in front of your computer and mope?

Enjoy! (But no smiling allowed.)

Myles Little is an associate photo editor at TIME.

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AMERICAN SUBURB X

Man with Bandage, 1968

Fred Herzog In His Own Words, from interviews with John Mackie of the Vancouver Sun in June, 2005, and January, 2007

On Photography

“Photographic finesse has its place, but it can also get in the way. I was trying to show vitality. The pictures are about content, and more content. And if there is no content, take no picture.”

“It’s exactly the other way around now. ‘Okay I’m going to take my clothes off, and I’m going to stand there in the nude, and I’m going to try and look lonely or profound.’”

“Content cannot be manufactured, in my opinion. That which I can find is better than that which you can make. That which we find, the work and the use of the people out there, it’s natural, that’s what ordinary people do, that interests me.”

“I take pride in saying these are all how we looked, not how we wanted to look, or staged. You cannot stage pictures. That is something I have many many times defended. People say ‘Well you can stage that.’ I say ‘No you cannot, and I can prove it to you.’ Many times over I’ve taken a second shot after [some] kids have seen me, and nothing. It’s a different picture.”

“I started taking pictures in 1950. I went with a small youth group, every summer we went to the Alps and did hiking. They all had cameras so I had a camera. It was called the Kodak Retina I. It didn’t even have a rangefinder, it had a peephole viewfinder which was worse than you get on these throwaway cameras now. But I used it and I got good pictures with it.”

“The pictures I took in Germany were all lost on the ship when I came over here, because it was an old rust-bucket that nearly sank in the Atlantic. It took on water, all my baggage was floating in water and all the negatives were destroyed in the salt water. I tried to wash it, it couldn’t be washed.”

“In Canada the first good pictures I took were black and white photos of the ship pulling up in the St. Lawrence River and the towers of Montreal [in 1952]. I have got pictures of those German immigrants. They all had cameras and they kept them in their leather ever-ready cases with the flaps discreetly opened. They all wore suits and ties. A lot of them became successful and became importers. But here I have a picture of them on the ship. It’s a little bit like The Steerage by Steichen, but not quite. I never thought of printing them, but I have them.”

“In 1957 I became a medical photographer, and almost at the same time I became a serious documentary photographer. The reason I chose documentary photography — I didn’t even know that word — [was] I had great fun walking around the old streets of Vancouver, looking at the second-hand stores, the people and the signs. To me, that was a kind of vitality that spoke to me directly.”

“In that, I think I was really different. in those days I didn’t think of it that way. But what we know now is that nobody has done that, not even in small bodies of work. Nobody has done that. Before that [it was] buildings or swans or babies, sunsets or landscapes or barns with yellow tulips. I tell you nobody did that. It’s only now that that hits home.”

“Nobody did that even in the U.S.A. I have often looked at American yearbooks and things, the American Photography color yearbook, that was a big thing, I bought those. But they’re full of pretty pictures of women, some of them naked, some of them beautiful. Even the ones who are not naked look beautiful to me. Perhaps it’s my age. But there was no street photography. None done. And I did that, and I did it with a passion, and I did it with variety. You can see that now in the pictures.”

On why so many of his photos feature neon signs

“Oh, neon signs. This is one of the greatest use of technology, to make people happy. When you went to town in Vancouver in the 1950s, you had the experience of going to town. That’s gone. Now you have to look for parking, have park underground, which takes you almost as long as eating your dinner.”

“In those days we were convivial. That means we can live together. That has gone away. We are no longer convivial. We’re ‘You’re better than me,’ and ‘I’m better than him,’ and ‘I’m going to kick butt on him.’”

On his photo of the Neon jungle at Hastings and Carrall in 1958

“I don’t take credit for it looking like this. What I can’t believe is that there are no good pictures of that. That was a fabulous strip. I only took one picture. Not two or three for safety – I had no money for that. So I had to know exactly how to expose it, take one picture, and hope it doesn’t get lost in the mail. And some got lost in the mail. I had to send [the Kodachrome film] to Kodak in another part of North America. They could get lost and they did get lost.”

“When I see that now, I only have one slide of this. I think ‘How the hell did I not find the money to take two?’ Honestly, it was a question of eating, in those days. In those days, I put everything into photography, to the point where people said ‘This guy’s a neurotic.’”

On the White Lunch Cafe’s neon sign

“The White Lunch was an institution. I love things like that. The swirl of steam over the cup is pure genius. This is one of the better neon signs around. I’d go to the White Lunch. I can tell you what I ate there: braised sirloin tips and a custard pudding with a little bit of rice in the bottom.”

“Everything that’s uninteresting I remember faultlessly. But if it was my mother’s birthday, I’d have to think for awhile or look at a notebook. But this is how we are, how we are made.”

 

Bogner’s Grocery, 1960

On his 1960 photo of Bogner’s Grocery, which is literally covered in signs

“That was off Oak street. The signs are a very very important pictorial part of the American city. I won’t even say pictorial, an important cultural part of the American city. If you take the Coca-Cola and other signs away from America downtown, you have nothing. Maybe some interesting architecture, but not very much.”

“The neon signs and the soft drink signs, the cigarette ads and the billboards and the posters and the grafitti and collages of torn-off posters, all that contributes to make the city a place where art actually happens. That kind of casual art, overlapping posters, can be very very interesting. Those posters illustrate the city even if people are not there.”

“A store like this was a gem. You cannot fake that. Look how casually they nailed this big sign over the small one. The Coca-Cola man says ‘we’ve got another big sign,’ and the person who owns the store says ‘well put it up.’”

On his love of old Coca-Cola signs

“Coca-Cola signs, see, nobody photographed Coca-Cola signs. I did. I actually photographed them to show how the city looks bad without them. And they took those down, of course. They have become collectors items.”

“I’m not surprised, because they are beautiful. Embossed on metal, they are beautiful. I wish I had some of them, but I never stole them. Crazy stuff. If you had this Santa Claus with a Pepsi sign now, it would be worth $500. I ate a meal for 25 cents at the same shop. If I had asked for that they would have said come back in a week and you can have both of them.”

“These are to me an incredibly pictorial aspect. [He points to a photo of an old building with some signs.] Without that it could have been taken in the Ukraine. But with that, it’s America. I call Canada America, I’m talking about North America. I don’t differentiate that much.”

On shooting in colour, at a time when all serious art photography was done in black and white

“First of all when you do black and white all have is the basic resource, a negative. That needs a lot of dancing around the darkroom and time and patience and energy. You should ideally be a man of leisure, an English gentleman. And a lot of English gentlemen did serious and beautiful photography.

“But I didn’t have time for that. That’s one reason [I did colour slides]. I’d get 36 slides back, beautiful, finish.””

 

New Pontiac, 1957

On Kodachrome slides

“Kodachrome was the best film and the most reliable development, but it was far from reliable. I was so frustrated at times I sent film to Palo Alto or to Rochester, just to get them developed right. And of course that entailed an extremely long wait. You’d take the pictures today and they would come back in two weeks or something.”

“But Kodachrome was the best film. I have to thank Kodak for making that product. Without that product, we would not have the pictures. Pictures that were taken on other films have suffered more than Kodachrome. Kodachrome was thought to last 50 years, and it has.””

On his awareness of what he was doing

“I was aware I was taking art. That’s the conceit of young people. I knew that what I am doing is not only unique, but that someday I’m going to unpack that and shock people with it. And that was 50 years ago. It’s sort of a fairy tale story, but that’s exactly how it’s beginning to play out.”

“I am not blaming people for it not happening until now, because without digital I could not have done it. [He takes out a photo of Nelson and Howe.] This picture was so badly damaged by fungus. By traditional methods you would have said ‘Sorry I can’t print that.’ Well we cleaned that up just like that and it made a beautiful photograph. The colour is beautiful, the detail is excellent.”

On street photography and digital technology

“Timing in photography is almost everything. You have to pay attention to where the light comes from, you have to pay attention to your background. If your background is too loud, or makes too much of itself…that’s the problem of the photographic process. It records everything that’s in the viewfinder, whether it’s important or not.”

“All the good pictures that didn’t turn out good, it’s because of the background or because the light comes from one side or some other technical glitch. That’s the grace of these modern digital cameras. First of all everything that can go wrong is taken care of automatically. A person who’s completely ignorant of the photographic process [can take [photos].”

“And I say that respectfully. You don’t have to know anything, you press the button and you get a beautiful picture. That’s how it works out now. This is enormous progress. Because of that you’ll see now a flood of good pictures which we never dreamed we would see. I already get them in the e-mail.”

 

Foot of Main, 1968

On his photos of second hand stores

“I call them a microcosm of American culture, because that’s exactly what it is, of all the things we want to have. All the things we need to have, and all the things we’d love to have wind up in second hand shops in that kind of condensed fashion.

“This [photo of a second hand store window] is an art piece. I’m not saying my picture is an art piece. But if you could freeze that window and carry it into an art gallery, you could show that in New York and ask $50,000 for it. And you’d get it. And they’d say ‘Why didn’t I know about it? Now I have to pay $100,000, because that guy wants to sell it to me for $100,000.’

“That’s how much that store would be worth if you could have preserved it and transported it to New York as is, authentically. To have a photograph of that is the next best thing. And who else would have thought of taking that then?””

His photo of the U.R. Next Barber Shop

“That was the best barber shop of all times. It was also the first [photo I took]. I couldn’t improve on it. Look at this, it’s almost like a Hollywood movie set, it’s beyond belief.”

On his shot a family walking down Robson street beside the International Cafe

“I used to eat there many times. I had the goulash, very very good. An Austrian woman ran that. I have a picture of that [block] as it looks now, and it looks like a suburb of Shanghai. It’s not the same anymore.”

On his shot Hastings Street at Columbia, 1958

“I had a 35 millimetre camera which had bellows on it, and I could put a view cam on it from a big camera. It gave me that kind of long perspective, a telephoto perspective.”

On his photo of Granville and Smithe in 1959

“If you go to this spot on Granville street, all you see is trees. That’s gone. Everything that had teeth. This is what bothers me about the city. Everything that had interest or teeth or contradiction or American blaring culture which makes our cities interesting. Take that away and it’s all grey. That all has been taken away. So now we go to Granville street, it almost looks like an East German slum. It’s not nice.”

 

Paris Cafe, 1959

On how modern digital technology has made it possible for him to mount a show like this

“[That photo] is from the 60s. Look at how that can be resurrected through the digital method. If I had had to do a show then, I simply could not have afforded it, it would have cost 10 times as much and it wouldn’t have been as good.

“All the factors that lead to a good show have come together now. At my age, 76, perhaps it would have been nice to have that at age 60 or so. But I’m glad, I’m happy, I’m proud. I think actually it’s better it’s now, because I think it would have changed my life [to have success earlier]. Instead of taking pictures I would have sat around at parties.

“This has been a coincidence if things. One is that Kathleen [Bartels] who is directing the Vancouver Art Gallery wants this sort of thing. The other thing is that it’s technically possible now to make them to a budget, and to make them very good. Whether a picture was taken in the 50s or now makes no difference.”

On how many photos he took and where they were shown

“I have 80,000 slides. I don’t have them all anymore. Furthermore many of these slides don’t play in this kind of thing. They were done for very different reasons. I’ve got lots of pictures of motorcycle races and of butterflies and God knows what else. I’ve made 28,000 negatives. I counted them, I figured it out, per page of 36 exposures.

“I had many many slide shows, probably 80 or 100. But I did not have that many print shows.

“These [images] would have disappeared if we had not done this show. I’ve even said to my wife, ‘If you have to dump those, don’t dump them all on the same day.’ Nobody wanted them. It’s colour. I offered them to the National Gallery, and they said ‘Sorry we only do black and white.’ I enquired, that was the early 80s.”

His reaction to the National Gallery turning him down

“A person like me doesn’t get pissed off. I get tense, and I get nervous, and I am not Fearless Fred, as some people say. I can be daunted, but I don’t get angry that quickly. There’s a Spanish proverb, ‘He who gets angry will destroy himself.’ That’s a good one. I know it in Spanish, but not this morning, I need more coffee.”

On a 1960 photo featuring two kids play fighting over bubblegum

“Isn’t that a fun picture? I have two pictures of that. This one I took it at full aperture, on ISO 10 film. Do you know what that means? Films now have ISO 800 or even more, 1600. This was so slow, I had to shoot the picture at full aperture, F2, and a tenth of a second. And that’s how it turns out, and it’s good.

“I said to them, ‘I’m not sure if I got this picture of you guys, could you do it for me again?’ And of course, it’s so stiff and acted, it has no value at all. You couldn’t even show it to your own mother.

That picture has the authenticity of observed life. To me that is the key to success in photography.

“There are people that don’t think that way. Jeff Wall is a friend, and he thinks that what he enacts is better than what other people find. I don’t want to rock the boat, but it’s not for me. His is a new stage in art. It’s a little bit like film is compared to history. It’s valid, I’m not challenging it. When I make a remark like ‘what you find is more interesting than what you can make,’ I mean it, but I don’t mean it in such a way that it [precludes] other people from producing art on different levels.

On his love of old neighbourhoods like Chinatown and Strathcona

“Oh, Strathcona. Strathcona is the archetype of an intact neighbourhood. There have been changes, but Strathcona has remained at least 60 percent of what it used to be. The lanes are interesting, the houses are interesting, the inhabitants are interesting. I know two or three.”

 

Arthur Murray, 1960

On his photo of commercial signs at Carrall and Hastings in 1968

“Signs in this context expressed the vitality of a city. You notice that now the city has no signs, the vitality is no longer visible. It may be in the dining room or the kitchen or the bedroom, but not in the city.”

On going through his files for the Vancouver Art Gallery show

“I look back into my files and see if there is anything I want to pull out. Many of the pictures that are now in the show were originally in a discard file, because some of them were not perfectly sharp. Some just weren’t important then, because it looked like ordinary [life], this is how the city looked. So now pictures I had practically forgotten, have been fished out and used.

“I have not had a holiday in the last four years, because I have worked 10 hours a day on this show. It’s a lot of work, an unbelievable amount of work to make those scans, to approve the proofs, to print them, to reprint them if they’re not right. And to learn how to do it.

“All that has taken four years of my old life. But it has also in a way revived me. You could die of boredom, let’s face it. And this prevented that outright.”

On suddenly being the toast of the town, after 50 years of photography

“It’s wonderful. Let’s face it, we don’t want to live under a log. All of a sudden I have found recognition for something…it’s a funny thing. Artists have always liked these pictures, but they haven’t had the power to say he should be in the art gallery. Also they thought maybe painting may be better. People who have the highest rank in painting like my pictures but none of them came quite out and said ‘I’m going to talk to people at the Art Gallery, maybe you should have [a show] down there.’ It could have been done.

“But I was never bitter about it. In the U.S. people who did [similar photography] in the 1970s like Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld and Joel Meyerowitz, William Eggleston…they had done stuff like that and it got into the Museum of Modern Art and other similar museums. They had the funds and the grants and the money, and also the spirit that this can be used as art. In Canada, in this respect, we were hanging a little bit behind. We just did not have major art gallery shows of photography. Maybe in the east, but sometimes there were things we couldn’t do here in the west.”

On how his photo of a male mannequin’s upper torso in a suit, a measuring tape casually draped around its shoulders, reflects “the quiet charm which many other cities do not have”

“If I go to Berlin and look for that I will not find it, because these people are so uniformly educated and sophisticated and super clean, they don’t want stuff like that. They would probably parade in front of the shop and say ‘Hey guy, get mod! Get mod, clean up your act! Put something modern [in the window], we don’t want to look like a bunch of lumpy hicks from Russia!’

“This was on Commercial Drive. This is a wonderful thing. Here is a craftsman who has not studied art in London. Here is a craftsman who knew how to make a suit. He knew nothing else, but he thought that this would suck them people in. And I agree with him, it probably did. And I respect him, I’m not trying to laugh at his effort. I really want to say, ‘Hey guy, I respect you for the love that you bring to your craft. I don’t expect you to compete with Andy Warhol, I want you to make something that’s even better. But don’t get an education to do it.”

On his photo of a car racing across the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks on the waterfront, just ahead of an oncoming train

“Isn’t that lovely, the train coming, the car crossing just in time. I knew two people who died [in train/car crashes], two good acquaintances of mine, one a friend. I was in the fire department [in Germany] and our fire chief got killed just like that. Not in Vancouver, in my hometown in Germany.

“It was such a tragedy. He was also a sportsman, he was a German master in some kind of sport. But he created such a tragedy…they prevented his wife from jumping into the grave. He did just that, crossing the tracks in front of a fast-moving train, on his motorcycle yet. How he could do that? But you know what it is? Young people are so driven by testosterone, they’re full up to here with testosterone, and they will take unbelievable chances because they think they are specially protected.

“There have been times in my life when I may have been somewhat like this, but never so over the top that I would introduce myself as I’m Fred, I’m a type-A personality. Not that.”

 

Jackpot, 1961

On his photo of a dapper black man walking in Chinatown in 1962 with his daughter and dog

“I presume he was an employee of the CNR. He had his day off and went walking here with his daughter, dressed up beautifully. When I dressed up like that I looked like a bricklayer on Sunday, but he can pull it off with style.

On his photo of the art deco Marine Building and a decrepit rooming house

“That’s a treasure now, to see a picture like that. Not to have the damn thing around and catch mice at night, but to have a picture of that, because that is how the city looked in those days. [The Marine Building] was a state of the art building in the 1930s, and you have the Elysium Cleaners around the corner. This is a real timepiece. That’s a nice catch.”

On his Vancouver Flaneur photo of a dapper, slightly ominous man in a fedora and suit watching Granville street from a doorway”

“It’s simple and has a power. That’s my favourite shot for the cover [of the exhibition catalogue] because it’s simple, it has a power and it’s simple. [He looks like] a rent collector. He makes like he was part of a powerful group of people. If you had talked to him he would have spoken with a deep voice and sort of nodded his head to say ‘you’re half-right, but get lost.’”

On his 1960 photo The Joke, of two friends sharing a laugh at Carrall and Hastings

“I like this picture. It’s called the Joke, and it isn’t [technically] sharp. But look at the fun these guys are having: he’s patting him on the belly, saying ‘What about that now, guy?’ And he breaks up laughing. Isn’t that wonderful? That shows a warmth, the way people used to be out in the city. It said ‘This is our city,’ that’s the kind of venue where we could be ourselves and have enjoyment and meet friends.

“It’s not like that now. There’s an atmosphere of fear here, of dereliction, of drugs. It’s just awful. And we’ve made it that way, nobody can say that just happened. We made it that.”

On taking on-the-fly photos of people on the street, without asking their permission

“People say ‘Did you have a release?’ Well, you cannot take pictures of living people looking like living people with a release. You could ask for that afterwards, and I’ve done that.”

On his photo of a young girl at the PNE in 1960

“I even like her. If she had lived across the hall, something would have happened. There is an archetypal North American personality here which grips me. I have such love and sympathy for her, because she went out at night. Look how she’s prettied up. She came here and said ‘I’m going to hit the town, in my own modest way.’ She has both a presence and a slight sense of abandonment. The way she has her cigarette, she’s got style. She is not one of the types you would say is a film star, but I’d like to use her in a movie.

On his Jackpot photo of gamblers at the PNE in 1961

“The jackpot is for 25 cents. Look at the size of the coin. You’d think she had won 250 grand. But there’s five cents, and there’s five cents and there’s 10 cents. It’s not big money.”

 

ASX CHANNEL: FRED HERZOG

(All rights reserved. Text and Images @ Fred Herzog Estate)

The post INTERVIEW: Fred Herzog – “In His Own Words” (excerpts) appeared first on ASX | AMERICAN SUBURB X | Photography & Culture.

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Original author: 
Maria Turchenkova

Despite the reduction of large-scale military operations 10 years ago in Chechnya, a guerrilla war waged by Islamic fundamentalists rages on, and has brought a striking level of violence and bloody insurgency to the neighboring Caucasus republic of Dagestan.

For decades, and in much of the world’s eyes, all the news coming from the North Caucasus seemed focused on the cataclysm in Chechnya. Now, with Grozny slowly emerging from decades of chaos, Dagestan – the largest, most heterogeneous and, today, the most violent republic in the North Caucasus region – is raising its international profile, but for all the wrong reasons.

With a population of about 3 million people, Dagestan — bordering Chechnya, with the Caspian Sea to the east and Georgia and Azerbaijan to the south — is comprised of more then 40 ethnic groups. Ethnic Russians make up roughly four and half percent of the republic’s total population, while political power is held mainly by the two largest groups: the Avar and Dargin, both of whom practice Sufism, or the region’s traditional brand of Islam. Recently, however, Salafism — a puritanical form of Islam practiced largely in Saudi Arabia — has begun to make inroads, further complicating the already tangled political and religious picture.

Split by seemingly intractable social and religious differences and with almost a half of its territory locked down under a special security regimen (CTO, or “counter-terrorist operation”), Dagestan’s populace endures martial law, rigid curfews and random searches enforced by the Russian military.

For most Russian citizens, meanwhile, the North Caucasus is peopled not by neighbors or citizens but by stereotypes. A mountain region, alien and dangerous, it is populated (in the Russian popular imagination) by suicide bombers and terrorists. Period.

The Jamaats—local Islamic societies—comprise the vast majority of active anti-Russian Islamist fighters in Dagestan. Numbering somewhere around 500, by best estimates, Jamaats manage to replace those killed in action with newly joined militants in a remarkably timely manner. The reason for this renewable source of fighters is, in fact, rather simple: namely, the fundamentalists find fertile ground to propagate their ideas in the region’s remote, mountainous villages — as well as via the Internet. As the Dagestan justice system is largely ruled by nepotism, Russian law and order doesn’t have real power and most people find it impossible to receive justice from local authorities. Jamaats’ leaders, meanwhile, claim to be the “legitimate authority of Dagestan” and are candid about their aim of establishing a “fair society” based on Shari’a law. As the years pass, more and more people convert to Salafism.

Dagestan’s society is still deeply split. The gap between the richest and the poorest is enormous — and, like everywhere else, is rapidly growing. Conservatives, including many traditional Muslims, who still feel an allegiance to Russia certainly do not accept the “Islamization” of their country and their culture, while many others simply vote with their passports — emigrating from the republic entirely. The men, women and children who stay behind must somehow find ways to endure in the midst of their country’s hidden war.

Maria Turchenkova is a freelance documentary photographer based in Moscow. She was recently selected to attend the 2013 World Press Joop Swart Masterclass.

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