Monday, August 31, 2009

"That little ole lonely elevator girl... what's her name and address?" Now we know

A fun piece from a recent NPR broadcast. Have a quick listen to the short piece below.

"One of photographer Robert Frank's most famous images aroused a particular interest from his friend, beat writer Jack Kerouac.

In his introduction to Frank's book of photos The Americans, Kerouac writes, "That little ole lonely elevator girl looking up sighing in an elevator full of blurred demons, what's her name and address?"

Now we know."




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Friday, August 28, 2009

Kitschwich

I think my local baker may have a crush on me? How else to explain this pastry.



Kid Stuff is creepy. Really. It just is.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anger Management

Kenth Anger's 1965 classic, Kustom Kar Kommandos. Start your engines and take out your chamois.


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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote of the Day - John Szarkowski on Atget



Eugene Atget, Versailles, escalier de l'Orangerie, 1901

"Good pictures are not explained by words, and in the case of the best pictures a writer would be well-advised to save his paper"

Fortunately Szarkowski does not heed his own advice. He continues:

"I have no idea where this picture gets its hallucinatory, threatening power. Perhaps it has something to do with the apparent counterclockwise cant of the picture, although the verticals are erect; perhaps it is the brilliant sky, shaped like a sheet of half-burned note paper; or perhaps it is the low vantage point, that suggests that we are crawling toward the stairway on our hands and knees, pulling behind us an intolerable burden."

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Walker Evans and Baseball

When I saw this picture in the New York Times yesterday of Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon, I couldn't help but think of Walker Evans. As far as I know Walker Evans made very few pictures about baseball. I looked and I found only one. This picture has so many of the same physical elements that Evans' was attracted to and wrestled with in his own photographs, including a potpourri of various numbers and letters foregrounded with a human figure.



Winslow Townson/ Associated Press



Walker Evans, Lottery Ticket Shop Signs, Havana, 1933



Walker Evans, Coney Island, New York, 1928



Walker Evans, New York, 1935

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Pictures

Of course it's tempting, and would be probably best, if I only presented posts that had a tidy theme and clear direction. This is not one of them. Below are are a few pictures made during the hazy, hot and humid weekend, just ended, in Columbia County. The highlight of the weekend was some swimming that accompanied a fantastic and speedy boat ride on a crusty, rented motor boat out on the tepid waters of Copake Lake. I cowardly, and wisely, chose not to bring my camera on the boat. It turned out to be an excellent decision.










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Friday, August 21, 2009

Dog Days 6 - The Coney

Two images of the Steeplechase at Coney Island.



Milton Avery, The Steeplechase, Coney Island, 1929




Anonymous, The Steeplechase, Coney Island, 1930's

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Frogger

video

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Would Somebody Kill This Guy Already




The poor soldier from Robert Capa's "Falling Soldier" picture will just not die. He's the Voldemort of the world of photojournalism. The Freddy Krueger of war photography. It seems as if no wizard or hot teenager can ever truly conquer him. This poor man needs a rest. Of course he's not to blame. It appears as if the seemingly endless debate about the "truthiness" of this picture will not unclench it's righteous grip and allow him to go to his final resting place. The big debate, again, of course, is whether or not the picture was "faked." The New York Times weighs in today with an article that you can read HERE. There really is only one correct answer to this never ending question; who cares? This eternal debate reminds me of the sort of discussion that might be had by two stoned, slackers as they examine the relative values of The Partridge Family Vs. The Monkees. Never has so much debate been assigned to a picture of so little interest and minor merit. May he rest in peace.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dog Days 5 -Road Tripping

..."the air was fresh then. The air was so fresh that it burned like a pure white fire in our lungs. To be in that car with all the family on the way to Gram's house was to be alive. I was one and whole; I was right there and nowhere else in my mind."

from Impossible Vacation, by Spalding Gray


I doubt there is a summer rite of passage as popular, or as well and persistently photographed, as the road trip. In fact, when I started to pull images for this posting, I found myself buried under the huge volume of applicable photographs. If possible, one could probably lay down all the prints of pictures on this subject and create a paper road that would stretch from the West coast all the way back to the East. I'm sure that anyone who views this post could easily conjure up another 100 images and an additional dozen or so photographers that I should have included. It also occurred to me that if you had to define the last 80 years or so of American photography you could accurately describe much of it as one long, mobile, examination of the experience of being mobile in America. Or perhaps the subject is so attractive to photographers for all the obvious reasons. Who wouldn't want to try and recapture the experience of that first auto vacation. That unsettling, yet supremely satisfying, thrill of being in unfamiliar territory accompanied by a bright and momentary flash when mobility morphs into an addiction for the feeling of freedom.


THE DESTINATION



Lee Friedlander



Joel Sternfeld, from American Prospects



William Eggleston, from Los Alamos



Lee Friedlander



William Eggleston, from Los Alamos


THE GAS STATION



Stephen Shore, from Uncommon Places



George Tice



William Eggleston



William Eggleston, from Ancient and Modern



Henry Wessel



Robert Frank, from The Americans



THE CAR



Joel Sternfeld, from American Prospects



William Eggleston



William Eggleston, from Faulkner's Mississippi



Lee Friedlander, from Self Portraits



Gary Winogrand



Robert Frank, from The Americans



Robert Frank, from The Americans



Robert Frank, from The Americans



Robert Frank, from The Americans



Robert Frank, from The Americans



Walker Evans


THE ROAD



Joel Sternfeld, from American Prospects



Lee Friedlander



William Eggleston, from Los Alamos



Lee Friedlander



Robert Frank, from The Americans

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Lost Weekend

I'd be lying if I said I was productive in making pictures this weekend. My son is away for a few weeks and we always use his time away as an opportunity to edit and put order to the massive amounts of crap that he tirelessly collects, hoards, stashes and loses in his room during the school year. I only mention this because once we began to clean we couldn't stop. The flood gates had opened and before I knew it we had been transformed into whirling, spastic, domestic, dervishes engaged in a never ceasing "spring" cleaning during the loveliest summer weekend yet. At least it appeared that way from my smudge free side of the window.

I did manage to make it out once briefly to the farmers market down the street. They had the ripest peaches there and some really great looking cherry tomatoes that I'm looking forward to trying as soon as I put the step ladder and paint brush away.


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