Two views of the same dumpster near 9th & Washington Avenue in the heart of South Philly's Italian Market. The black & white version was taken in January, and the color version was taken today.
Or... made in January and made today.

I'm on the fence regarding the Take vs. Make concept of describing the act of photography. Taking refers to the aggressive and intrusive nature of photography, especially when it involves people shots....(as well as the phrases...shooting, pointing, capturing, etc) To me, Making leans too heavily towards art and painting. I don't think I make anything when I release the shutter. I am recording an instant in time, I have removed it from the continuum as a frozen moment. We need a word for the act of photography that describes the subtle and thoughtful moment of image recording.
Summer Photography Exhibits in Philadelphia…

I wrote this post for ArtBlog

In case you haven’t noticed, Philadelphia is in the midst of a Photography renaissance of sorts.
From the Eugene Levy Gallery at the PMA along with the highly regarded work of photography curator Kate Ware, the recent influx of dedicated photography venues such as Yo Darkroom, Basho, and Gallery 339, right on down to numerous corner cafĂ©’s that showcase the work of up and coming locals, Philly has plenty to see and serves up a wide variety of photographic exhibits. With that in mind, here is a schedule of what’s being offered around the city this summer.

Philadelphia Museum of Art: Eugene Levy Gallery
Perelman Building
Fairmount and Pennsylvania Avenues
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 763-8100
Ansel Adams: Transcending the Literal
Exhibit Details
Through August 17th

Comprised of more than 40 photographs selected from the Museum’s extensive holdings of the artist’s work, this exhibition focuses on Adams’s less-familiar landscape images in order to demonstrate his innate understanding of graphic form and balanced design. The key phrase here is “less-familiar”. You’d be wrong if you avoid this show simply because you think you’ve seen enough Ansel Adams photography. This wonderfully presented show highlights a very sophisticated balance between abstraction and reality as only the genius of Ansel Adams is capable of.

Institute of Contemporary Art
118 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 | 215 898-7108
Trisha Donnelly
Exhibit Details
Through August 3rd

Using sculpture, drawing, photographs, text, sound, video, and painting, Donnelly has composed this installation, her first U.S. solo museum exhibition, using works made between 1998 and 2007.

Project Basho
1305 Germantown Avenue, Phila. Pa. 19122
Shozo Tomioka: Images from Noto Peninsula
Exhibit Details
Through June 29th

This exhibition features 25 images of by Shozo Tomioka, a Japanese photographer from Kanazawa, Japan. Made in the 1950s, his black & white images were created in the fishing villages of Wajima and its surrounding area. Influenced by Ken Domon, a prominent Japanese photographer of the same generation, Tomioka's keen eye for composition with a sense of geometry captures the harsh, yet lively and joyful, lives of the local people.

Below is Untitled (Hegura Island) by Shozo Tomioka

Yo Darkroom
113 N. 23rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 789-9032
Daesha Harris : And yet must be… my Promised

Exhibit Details
June 28th to August 24th

A series of Photographs on the theme of gentrification that show the contrasts between teens of the African American community and the face of urban development.

Photo West Gallery
3625 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa 19104
Exhibit Details
Photo West Blog
You Go Girl
June 20th- July 20th

Photo West Gallery will be hosting the art show "You Go Girl" from June 20th through July 20th, with an opening Friday June 20th at 5pm. The show exhibits 8 local and national artists with their work portraying modern girl culture, either in the subject or the style. Ink line illustrations, dreamy photographs and a performance piece round out the array of views exhibited in the show of young women today. The artists are Brian Blomerth, Sarah Bloom, Anita Totha, Maiko Sembokuya, Sarah Everton, Christine Jones, Emily Glatt and Cecilia Corrigan. There will also be live performances from Philadelphia bands Normal Love and French Erection.

Gallery 339
339 South 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Henry Horenstein: Animalia
Exhibit Details
Through July 5th

An exhibition by nationally renowned photographer Henry Horenstein. This exhibition coincides with the publication of Horenstein’s newest monograph, Animalia, a compilation of his animal photographs.
The rich sepia-toned prints that comprise Animalia represent Horenstein’s distinct exploration of animal portraiture. The images are truly arresting; and in both a literal and a metaphorical sense, we see these animals as we have never seen them before…

Below is White-cheeked Spider Monkey by Henry Horenstein

Gershman Y
401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147 • 215-446-3027
Exhibit Details
Stephen Shames Small Survivors: Vulnerable Children
Through August 15th

Acclaimed documentary photographer Stephen Shames brings back images of children whose lives have been indelibly changed by civil war and AIDS. Many are now in school thanks to Shames’ efforts. These large format prints are stunningly presented in The Open Lens & Borowsky Galleries of the Gershman Y.

Sony Music acquired Columbia Records in 1988, but it wasn't until last year that they realized they owned a gold mine in photographic archives from Columbia recording sessions from the 1950s through the 1970s. Sony started a new company, Icon Collectibles, to sell art quality reproductions of these photos online. Prices run from $300 to $1700. Images include Miles Davis during the 1959 Kind of Blue sessions, Bob Dylan from 1963, Billie Holiday from Lady in Satin in 1957, and Sly Stone from 1973.
There are several planned shows of these prints at Morrison Hotel Gallery.

New York Times Story

Morrison Hotel Gallery

Don Hunstein

The lighting in some galleries and museums is fantastic and lends itself to gorgeous images. Some of my favorite photographs in recent years have been of people looking at art work in galleries. The photo above was taken at the Photographers Gallery in London during the Deutsche Borse 2008 exhibit. Fazal Sheikh's black & white portraits of Indian women with their backs turned away from the camera, while the unknown art patron seems almost as if he were trying to mimic the poses.

It turns out I am not alone in loving photographs of art work in context. Louise Lawler has turned this into a two decade oeuvre, and has a current exhibit through June 7th at Metro Gallery.

Louise Lawler

Fazal Sheikh

One of the things that attracts me to roadside memorials is their connection and similarities to rural folk art of the 18th & 19th centuries, especially folk art of rural Pennsylvania and the hand carved tombstones and fractur art of the Pennsylvania German artisans. The most important memorials to me are those that consist of handmade items and items chosen to represent the life of the person who died.

I believe that artistic expression is highly beneficial to the grieving process, and may represent the fullest source of healing and closure for those without traditional spiritual or religious connections. Most of society today has lost touch with the creative and hands on aspects of grief and death, and roadside memorials represent a return to those roots.

Road Side Memorials Series
The police in Sydney Australia have raided the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery and shut down the current photo exhibit of Bill Henson, whose works include nude images of 12 and 13 year olds. There is now a firestorm of debate over the pornographic nature of these images.

Without seeing the images it is impossible to make that judgment, and the central issue seems to be whether or not the images have been sexualized. At least one former Henson child model has spoken out in defense of the pure artistic nature of these photos and the conditions under which they were made.

As a photography theorist, my fascination centers on the primary argument being made by the Gallery owners and numerous members of the art world, including Cate Blanchett, that these photos are in the centuries old tradition of the classic art nude such as those made by Caravaggio and Michelangelo. Yet another example of the ebb and flow of the love hate relationship between photography and painting. Photography, once thought of as the mortal enemy of painting, has never hesitated to hide behind the protective skirt of traditional painting when under attack.

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Bill Henson

New York Times Story

Sydney Morning Herald Story

All my life I have been going to the New Jersey beaches and not once have I ever explored the coast line of the Delaware Bay. I did just that over the past Memorial Day weekend as a continuation of my study of the impact on shorebird migration due to over harvesting of Horsehoe Crabs

I explored the coastal bay areas along routes 47 and 553 near the Maurice River. Reeds Beach, Thompsons Beach, Heislerville, Delmont, and the East Point Lighthouse area. There are numerous places with elevated observation areas. The muddy flats and tidal pools are teaming with shorebirds such as Sandpipers, Dunlins, Plovers, Redknots, Ruddy Turnstones, and Gulls all feeding on Horseshoe Crab eggs.

Shore Bird Migration

N. J. Fish & Wildlife

Horseshoe Crabs of the Delaware Bay

Cornell Capa (4/10/1918- 5/23/2008)

More than just a great photojournalist, Capa espoused the concept of The Concerned Photographer,following the example of the iconic Lewis Hine, and introducing emotional concern for the photographic subject and erasing the traditional boundries of journalistic objectivity.
From the day his brother Robert was killed by a land mine in Viet Nam...
Cornell Capa told Newsweek magazine in 1994, "I was haunted by the question of what happens to the work a photographer leaves behind, by how to make the work stay alive".

This obsession eventually led to his founding of The International Center of Photography

New York Times Obituary

Los Angeles Times Obituary

My Summer wish list for New York exhibits...

Heavy Light: Recent Photography & Video from Japan
May 16- September 7 @ International Center of Photography
Heavy Light

Bernd & Hilla Becher: Landscape/Typology
May 21- August 25 @ MOMA
Bernd & Hilla Becher

Polaroids: Mapplethorpe
May 3- September 7 @ Whitney Museum

Architecture of Authority: Photos by Richard Ross
May 23- July 21 @ Aperture Gallery
Richard Ross

W. Eugene Smith: The Art of History
May 25 - August 1 @ Silverstein Gallery
The Art of History

In 1951, Berenice Abbott, in her essay, Photography at the Crossroads, railed against the loss of realism that occurred in photography during the time of the Pictorialism movement that swept the public off it's feet in the later 19th century. Abbott writes... Instead of the honest, realistic likeness, artificial props with phony settings began to be used.Retouching and brushwork also set in. What was thought to be imitation or emulation of painting became rampant.....Much of this was due to a terrible plague, imported from England in the form of Henry Peach Robinson. His system was to flatter everything. He sought to correct what the camera saw. The inherent genius and dignity of the human subject was denied.
The war between the Pictorialists and the Realists has existed ever since the first photographer decided to apply a painterly look to his work in the darkroom. Some loved it, some hated it....and so began the call to arms. The battle continues today between the Photoshop haters and the Photoshop lovers.

The May 12, 2008 issue of The New Yorker contains the article, Pixel Perfect: Pascal Dangin's Virtual Reality, written by Lauren Collins. Pascal Dangin is almost unknown outside the fashion photography world, yet he is the premiere retoucher of fashion photographs. All of the top fashion magazines and photographers use his services. There is a general belief that he possesses a savant like sympathy for the soul of a picture. The photos above show a nude by photographer Patrick Demarchelier on the left, and the retouched Dangin version on the right.
The article is essentially an in depth confirmation that you can't believe a thing you see in fashion photography....but what fascinates me in this article are the numerous references and analogies to painting.

...Using the principles of anatomy and perspective, he is able to smooth a blemish or a blip with a painterly subtlety

...Using a Photoshop tool called a smudge brush, Dangin applied extra color to every pixel, giving the pictures a dreamy, impressionistic texture, as if they had been wrought in oil and chaulk.

...The sky had been too yellow..."I gave it more white" he said' "like a Boucher painting".

...His digital brushstrokes can be as deliberate as Jasper Johns's or John Curran's are on canvas.

Pascal Dangin emerges as the modern day torchbearer for the Robinsonian School and it's "flattery pays off" motto. Lauren Collins describes Dangin as ...more than anything, the consigliere for a generation of photographers uncomfortable with the details of digital technology.
Today's Fashion photographers, a la Dangin, are the modern day Pictorialists.... what Walker Evans in 1931 called ...that fantastic figure, the art photographer, really an unsuccessful painter, with a mysterious bag of tricks. Open up that bag today and you will find Pascal Dangin and his computer.
Final three choices for the annual Photo Review competition...

I am certain that my love of the results from my 1965 Polaroid Auto 100 comes from some subconscious memory of my parents or grandparents using an old roll film bellows model when we were kids. I can vaguely see the camera in my mind's was probably a Highlander or a Pathfinder. This photo was taken around 1962. It's me and my sisters. I love the random poses on the furniture.

Saturday night I joined a group of volunteers to participate in a Horseshoe Crab count at South Bowers Beach, Delaware. The Atlantic Horseshoe Crab has been over harvested for years and is now endangered. As a result, numerous migrating shorebirds, especially the Red Knot and the Ruddy Turnstone are also imperiled because they rely almost exclusively on Horseshoe Crab eggs for fuel as they migrate through the Delaware Bay.

Delaware River Keepers
Horseshoe Crabs