Could someone please tell me exactly when Rolling Stone Magazine turned into yet another version of People Magazine?
I must be getting some sort of trial subscription in the mail....I've received two issues now. I haven't read Rolling Stone in years. It sucks! Seriously. I remember when RS was considered cool and hip and semi-intellectual. Now it's got Lindsay Lohan gossip and an article questioning the real inventors of Facebook (isn't that story like, 5 years old?) Is it simply that I am getting older and the RS readers are getting younger? Is there any significant difference between the 2008 cover above and the 1972 cover below? I think there is.

The biggest disappointment is the photography, or lack thereof. Not a decent photograph in the two most recent issues. Nothing that a young music fan would tear out and tape up on the wall. Maybe RS was never that type of magazine. I thought it was.

I know CREEM was. And so was Circus. Those were rock photography magazines. In the 70's we didn't buy them for the articles. We bought them hoping for great images of Led Zeppelin, Yes, Mott The Hoople, etc etc. On stage stuff, backstage stuff. We would cut that magazine apart and tape the best stuff on the walls. I can still remember a photo of a bleary-eyed Jimmy Page carrying a bottle Heineken that just seemed to represent the iconic rock star to me. I had that photo on my bulletin board for years. CREEM and Circus inspired the hell out of me in those days....not as a musician, but as a photographer.

CREEM Magazine

Circus Magazine
Staging the way....

This photo was posted today by Barack Obama on his Flickr site. Ok, by one of his assistants, but his Flickr account is set up to look like it's his personal campaign diary, including a full personal profile page ....(favorite movies,Godfather I & II... favorite musicians....Miles Davis, Bob Dylan). I think it's pretty cool that he does it, and I'm one of his 5000+ contacts.

This is from Unity Day, in Unity, NH. (And that can only begin to touch upon the scripting of the day)
See the rest of the photos here
Choreography...Staging...Body Language....Color Co-ordination...Unity!

Speaking of body language.... here's another photo posted by Barack...

P.S. Ken Burns was there....

I love all types of photography blogs. I follow dozens of them, both critique based and artist based. Thanks to Peggy Roalf, who writes Eye on the Scene for Photograph Magazine, I have three new (to me) blogs to follow. The newest issue of Photograph has Roalf's story on Photography Blogs.
Eye on the Scene

The Year in Pictures is an easy flowing and random collection of photography and commentary by James Danziger, owner of the Chelsea gallery Danziger Projects. I love Danziger's style and this blog is the type that makes you wish you could follow the author around for a couple days and see what he sees.

Modern Art Obsession is based on the collector side of the art world, written by Michael Hoeh, a Wall Street art lover. The blog is extensive and jam packed with links. It truly lives up to it's name.

Best of all for me, 5b4, Jeffrey Ladd's blog about photo books. What's not to love about this theme? Thorough and exhaustive reviews...Ladd clearly has intense love for his books.Check out the Photobook Exchange link that takes you to Ladd's site of books offered for sale or trade.
Summer Wish List....Part 2

In May I posted a wish list of five photo exhibits I wanted to see on a planned day trip to New York in June. I only managed three out of five on the list....Heavy Light @ ICP, Architecture of Authority @ Aperture, and W Eugene Smith @ Silverstein.

I missed Bernd & Hilla Becher @ MOMA, because the museum was closed (Tuesday), and we didn't have time to see Robert Mapplethorpe's Polaroid's @ Whitney

So, here is my new list for a second NYC day trip this summer....

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

Polaroids: Mapplethorpe
May 3- September 7 @ Whitney Museum

Two shows at The Metropolitan...

Framing a Century, Master Photographers, 1840-1940
Through September 1st
Framing a Century

Photography on Photography: Reflections on the Medium since 1960
Through October 19th
Photography on Photography

And some promising Chelsea shows....

When color was new: Photographs from the 1970's
Julie Saul Gallery
July 7- September 6
Show Details

Asako Narahashi
Half Awake and Half Asleep in the Water
Yossi Milo
July 17- August 22
Show Details
(Narahashi was one of the photographers presented in Heavy Light)
Like Breath on Glass
Whistler, Innes, and Art of Painting Softly

Here is an exhibit in New England I would like to see for two reasons. Primarily because it is being shown in the Stone Hill Center, a new addition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. The Stone Hill Center was designed by Tadao Ando, the revered Japanese master of meditative spaces and harmonious designs that incorporate primarily underground space that greatly reduces the impact on the visual landscape. There is a second phase to this expansion that will include an even larger building and a reflecting pool. I've never had the privilege of experiencing an Ando building first hand, and this is reason alone to visit this exhibit in my opinion.

Second is the tie in this show has to photography history and the crossroad collisions that occurred among photographers and painters in the late 19th century as photography began to assert itself as an art medium. For the most part, it was photographers who mimicked painters, the Pictorialists such as Henry Peach Robinson, who emulated painting in their work, much to the chagrin of Straight photographers such as Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans.

This exhibit is a display of blurrily luminous scenes which give the impression of under or over-exposed and poorly focused photographs....leading to the question....were these painters influenced by Pictorialist photographers? The show even includes several landscapes painted by a young Edward Steichen. The painting shown above, Across the Salt Marshes, Huntington, is from 1905, the same year Steichen helped create Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession with Alfred Stieglitz,a gallery that helped bring art photography, primarily that in the Pictorialist style, to the same level of appreciation in America as painting and sculpture.

New York Times Exhibit Review

Edward Steichen

Tadao Ando
Walk with Weegee

The New York Times Arts section on Friday June 20th includes the Weekend Explorer by John Strausbaugh with an excellent piece on Weegee and a guide to visiting the places in the Bowery where Weegee performed his documentary magic. In addition to visiting the International Center of Photography, which currently houses some 20,000 of Weegee's photographs, Noir lovers can visit such places as Weegee's last apartment building at 451 West 47th Street in Hell's Kitchen. This building was owned by the photographer's companion Wilma Wilcox, whose trunk filled with undiscovered Weegee documents and photos was recently purchased at a yard sale in Kentucky.

Crime was Weegee's Oyster

Kentucky Yard Sale

World Wide Polaroid

Nathalie Bergstrom
is quite impressive considering she is only 19 years old. She has collected self portrait Polariods sent to her from all over the world and curated her own show entitled World Wide Polaroid. Nathalie used Flickr and other venues to find people using Polaroid film and asked them to send her a self portrait. She had an overwhelming response from photographers who all share her love of this dying film medium.

This was my contribution to the exhibit....a scanned goopy 669 negative

Nathalie's description of her show...

"Worldwide Polaroid is a tribute to the Polaroid film and its history.
It's an exhibition who's the product of collected self-portraits
from all over the world. A last goodbye to a whole photo epoch."

This show runs from June 14th to September 6th in Sundsvall Sweden

photo courtesy Nathalie Bergstrom

Nathalie Bergstrom's Photography
"I look to the horizon and I see the future..."

Mike Smith in the Quin Quag video in the Mike's World show at ICA.
Smith,spoofing a new age wellness center promotional video, utters those words in total deadpan seriousness, and then looks off camera towards the future. Without a doubt my favorite part of the Mike's World show, mostly because I am currently collecting horizons...

I got a bitter sweet surprise in the mail a few days ago. My friend Sharon Clarke mailed me some goodies from her recent visit to see the Street & Studio exhibit at the Tate Modern in London. Sharon knows I love and collect photo show ephemera, so she sent me the show guide and two postcards, and that is the sweet side for sure.

The bitter pill comes from knowing I will not get a chance to see this show in the flesh. If I had my way, I would go to London 3 or 4 times a year just to see the art exhibits, eat incredible Indian food at Hot Stuff, and hang out in Sharon's English garden, but until the day someone offers me a traveling photo critic job with a nice expense account, my visits to London will be few and far between.

The Street & Studio exhibit looks outstanding. It's the first exhibit to explore the urban photographic portrait through the parallel development of two venues:the street and the studio. The categories in this show include Passers-by, the encounters with anonymous passers-by on the street as in the work of Walker Evans, Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Joel Sternfeld. Classification & Storytelling explores documentary and street photography between the two world wars, and includes the work of Brassai and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Characters presents the work of Philippe Halsman's studio portraits of celebrity's jumping, as well as the street photography of Weegee and Diane Arbus.

There are over 100 photographers represented in this show, and in focusing on portraiture work across a time-line from Stieglitz and Coburn up to the contemporary works of Rineke Dijkstra and Martin Parr, the show focuses on how the behavior of both photographers and subjects has changed radically over the years.

In the photo above, the postcard on the left is a portrait of Edward Steichen from Philippe Halsman's Jump/Photographs series, and the postcard on the right is Victoria Line by Wolfgang Tillmans

Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography
Tate Modern, London

thru August 31st

Street & Studio Details
I had a chance to see these shows last week, and I strongly recommend all of them...

Trisha Donnelly
thru August 3rd
Institute of Contemporary Art, Phila. Pa.
Trisha Donnelly

W. Eugene Smith: The Art of History
thru August 1st
Silverstein Gallery, NYC
The Art of History

Richard Ross: Architecture of Authority
thru July 31st
Aperture Gallery, NYC
Richard Ross

Artists See Artists
thru July 19th
Deborah Bell Gallery, NYC
Artists See Artists

Deborah Bell always presents a fine show in her tiny space in Chelsea, and this exhibit continues that tradition. This is a nice collection, presented in chronological order, with very interesting combinations of photographer and subject.I found myself circling the room over and over again.

Liu Zheng
thru July 31st
798 Avant Gallery, NYC
Liu Zheng

Also saw these shows just before they closed. I highly recommend checking out the work of both of these photographers if you can...

Susan Hockaday: Vessels
Soho 20 Gallery, NYC
Susan Hockaday

Justine Cooper: Terminal
Daneyal Mahmood Gallery , NYC
Justine Cooper
I spent last weekend helping to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of the parents of my best friend of 40 years, Randall Updegrove. All of his siblings were in town and I hadn't seen any of them in well over 15 years or more. We spent hours catching up and reminiscing about old times. Randall's parents were married one month and four days before my parents in 1958, and Randall was born one month and a day before I was in 1959. In 1968, his family moved onto the same street that I lived on, and we spent countless hours hanging out at each other's houses, seamlessly blending into one another's families. Randall and I have stayed in touch continuously for 40 years, and his parents and siblings are a second family to me.

Randall's brother Mark is a writer and presidential historian, and the author of Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House. The cover photo of this book is the historic five president portrait taken by David Hume Kennerly, the pulitzer prize winning photographer. Mark and Kennerly are personal friends from their working relationship at Time Magazine.

We spent lot's of time during the weekend discussing politics, history, and photojournalism, and the events of our childhoods and especially our memories of those events as we remember them from the media coverage. My first vivid photo journalistic memories are those from Robert F Kennedy's assassination in 1968. The images and audio recordings of the event were so powerful and stunning to me at the age of nine. I am sure that this scrapbook I assembled at the time was my attempt to organize and make some sense of the chaos of that week.

This is a portrait I took of Mark Updegrove and his son Charlie at the 50th Anniversary party of his parents. Charlie is about the same age as Mark was when I first met him...

And this is a portrait of Robert F Kennedy taken by David Hume Kennerly in 1968...

Second Acts, by Mark K Updegrove

David Hume Kennerly

J Randall Updegrove Photography

Two recent shows had me genuinely laughing out loud throughout the gallery. The first was Mike's World at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and the second was Bill Wood's Business at the International Center of Photography in New York. I saw Mike's World on a Sunday afternoon, and Bill Wood's Business two days later, and while these shows are completely different in presentation, they are amazingly similar as well.

Mike's World is a mid-career survey of three decades worth of output from artist Michael Smith, including video, TV, puppet shows, and installations....including work with many collaborators over those years such as Joshua White, William Wegman, and others. This is a hilarious tongue in cheek look at chasing the American Dream during the 70's and 80's, including a failed Disco Lighting business called Mus-co, reproduced exactly as it appeared in it's final days, a new age wellness centre called QuinQuag("I look to the horizon and I see the future"), a government approved Home Fallout Shelter Snack Bar, fully replicated complete with detailed architectural drawings and sketches, and archival footage of Mike's public access television show Interstitial: "a show about art for artists and people interested in art".. There is so much to see, a floor plan is provided to help navigate the various displays. This is one of the most inventive and insanely creative shows I have ever seen.

Two days later I went to ICP to see Heavy Light: Recent Photography & Video from Japan, and found the Bill Wood's Business exhibit on the lower level. Bill Wood owned a successful photography business in Fort Worth, Texas from the late 1930's until his death in 1973. This show is curated by Diane Keaton and Marvin Heiferman, and is presented as hundreds of closely assembled 8 X 10 black and white photographs depicting a slice of Americana via Forth Worth, Texas in the late 1950's. The sheer variety of subjects ranging from morbid to preposterous is jaw dropping and laugh inducing. There are subtleties and repetitions here that can only be appreciated by a third or fourth tour around the room.

Mike's World

Bill Wood's Business

Bill Wood's Review in Village Voice

Heavy Light: Photography & Video from Japan has been at the top of my wish list of photo exhibits ever since the first of many press releases caught my eye. This show at International Center of Photography was fresh and unique and ably served the shows intention of providing quality Japanese work that has not received wide exposure in the United States. The show is presented on two floors and incorporates a wide range of work by 13 photographers. Nakagawa Yukio's photographs of his nationally known Ikebana work presented both stunningly beautiful and borderline vulgarity in his attempts to permanently collect his temporary works of art. A nice balance to this theme were the whimsical Vegetable Weapons series by Ozawa Tsuyoshi.

Narahashi Asako's series half awake and half asleep in the water worked extremely well along side Suzuki Risaku's Kumano series depicting a Shinto fire ceremony pilgrimage. Both of these series require viewing as a whole and especially in Risaku's work, in sequence, to be fully appreciated. As in most of the work in this show, the explanatory text must be read in order to understand the presented series, and that is particularly true of Risaku's Kumano

The best people photography was the work of Hiroh Kikai and Tomoko Sawada. Kikai interviews strangers he meets on the streets of Tokyo and then photographs them in poses of their choosing with his medium format Hasselblad. His black & white photography is in the style of August Sander's portraits. Sawada on the other hand has only one muse, and that is herself. Her previous works include photobooth and yearbook photography that satires Japanese homogeneity and conformity. Her School Days works shown in this exhibit are remarkable and are easily the show favorites from what I could see in the reactions of viewers.

Roberta Smith, in the New York Times, calls this show "average, or a little less". I couldn't disagree with her more, and it makes me wonder what she was looking at. I saw a unique cross section of Japanese culture as seen through contemporary photographers, presented in a well balanced and thoughtful way.

Heavy Light Details

Narahashi Asako

Hiroh Kikai

Suzuki Risaku

Tomoko Sawada

I was 9 years old in June of 1968, and Robert Kennedy's assassination was the first major news event that I remember being consciously aware of.I was 4 when JFK was shot, and the event and days that followed are just vague snippets of memory. On the other hand, I have vivid recollections of listening to the audio replays of the chaotic scene moments after RFK's assault. That would have been the table top radio in the kitchen, tuned into KYW News Radio. 1060 AM out of Philadelphia.I have no specific recall of watching television that week, but I clearly remember that audio coverage, and in particular, the cries to "get a doctor over here".

I collected images from the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Evening Bulletin. (In those days Philly had a morning paper...Inquirer, and an evening paper...Bulletin). This was the one and only time in my childhood that I saved news images in a scrapbook. Never did it again, even for the moon landing.

I think I made a strong connection to the ages of RFK's children. At the time, I would have already been or soon to become an alter boy in the Catholic church, and the image of Robert Kennedy Jr. serving as an alter boy at his father's funeral was surely the most powerful image of the group for me. I can still remember studying the pain on his face and wondering if I would have been capable of doing that.

This is without doubt the first time that photo journalism made an impact on me personally and emotionally.
It's great to see one of my Flickr contacts

It's great to see one of my Flickr contacts become the Democratic Presidential nominee...That's right...Barack Obama is on Flickr!
I stumbled across his name on my homepage a couple weeks ago, added him as a contact, and got a nice message in return...

Thanks for taking the time to look at Barack's photos on Flickr, chpaquette! We appreciate your support--let's keep up this great energy!
-Annie @ Obama HQ

Everyday, Annie is posting photos from the campaign onto the Obama Flickr account. It is a fascinating look at the day to day moments and events. As of today, Barack has over 4700 Flickr contacts. To me this is just one small example of the brilliant grassroots connection the Obama campaign has made with all types of people across this country.

Barack Obama on Flickr

I think I need to get to more yard sales. A woman in Kentucky bought an old steamer trunk that contained letters and 210 vintage black & white photos that had been stored for many years by Wilma Wilcox, the long time companion of the photographer Weegee. Although there were no previously unknown prints among the collection, it is still a very important find of original prints and documents, and has been obtained by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

I like the connection between this discovery and a similar discovery of Diane Arbus photos by Robert Langmuir of Philadelphia. I recently posted about the Lost Diane Arbus collection of photographs taken at Hubert's Dime Museum & Flea Circus. Weegee strongly influenced the work of Diane Arbus, and together they helped change the course of modern photography and what types of photography are considered art.

Both of these chance discoveries occurred in 2003. The Weegee discovery will help enhance the expanding contemporary photography collection of the Indianapolis Museum. Most of the previously known volume of Weegee's work is stored at the International Center of Photography in New York City
The Arbus discovery was recently previewed at Phillp's de Pury in New York City in anticipation of an auction. That auction never occurred due to a legal battle being waged over an ownership dispute.

More about Weegee

Indianapolis Museum of Art

New York Times Story
This image was selected to be in the Phillyist Framed photography show, opening June 27th at Studio 34 Yoga

I'm thrilled this photo was's one of my favorite portraits.
Working on a concept.....Collected Horizons

New York Times Magazine, June 1st, Cover story on Tyra Banks as the next big female branded self. The photography is by Ruven Afanador, who is an excellent fashion and glamour specialist. As usual, the re-toucher is not acknowledged, but my money would be on Pascal Dangin (and company), who regularly does work for the Times magazine.
The interesting element here for me is the "keeping it real trend".... but how real is real? Pascal Dangin did the work for the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, and he has been quoted as saying...
"Do you know how much retouching was done on that job? was a challenge to keep everyone's skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive."
This portrait of Tyra has all the faux/real trademarks....the just out of the shower wet hair, the selective freckles, the slightly unkempt eyebrows, and the invisible cosmetics.
If you can get your hands on an actual copy of the magazine, this is a fantastic study in "find the photoshopping". It doesn't take a very keen eye to find the brushwork here. There isn't a wrinkle in sight. Just follow the areas where you would normally see age lines....scan across the surface of the skin and see the textural changes, or more accurately, lack of any texture at all. If I was teaching a photoshop class, I'd be using this portrait as a case study.

Ruven Afanador

Campaign for Real Beauty

Pascal Dangin