Writer, Curator and Brand Strategist
@ Miss Rosen
based in New York City
Sara Rosen portfolio on Visura - a professional network to connect with photo editors and art buyers, and build photography portfolio websites. Visura members, like Sara, share photojournalism, art photography, landscape, travel photography, portraits and more. Sara has 0 projects, 111 community news posts, and 0 images shared in the photo stream.
Miss Rosen is a journalist, curator, and brand strategist specializing in art, photography, and contemporary culture. She has contributed essays to books by...
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
| V. Feature
Written by Sara Rosen
“Only in New York, kids, only in New York.”
American columnist Cindy Adams’ famed bon mot could easily caption any number of photographs in the archive of Arlene Gottfried. Whether partying in legendary 1970s sex club Plato’s Retreat, hanging out at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café with Miguel Piñero, or singing gospel with the Eternal Light Community Singers on the Lower East Side, Arlene was there and has the pictures to prove it.
“Arlene was a real New Yorker who thrived on the energy of the city, roaming the streets and recording everything she felt through a deeply empathetic and loving lens,” Paul Moakley, Deputy Director of Photography at TIME observes.
“The number one thing going for me is the email. We get so many submissions. That’s the most fun part. I’m in constant contact with people from all around the world everyday. They’re sending me photos no one has ever seen before,” Ray Potes, the publisher of Hamburger Eyes, reveals. “I feel like I’m not putting them out fast enough.”
With this great wealth of content, Potes decided to make a change. After 16 years of putting out one of the greatest photography zines ever made, he switched it up, launching Hamburger Eyes as a monthly for 2017. The first two issues (No. 24 and No. 25) officially debut at Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair from February 23–26, 2017.
Still providing the high-quality selection and sequencing of classic and cutting-edge street photography that has established the zine as the spot for fresh street photographers to come off, the monthly editions are distilled to the purest essence of the form, each featuring five artists who are given twelve pages each. All the work is black and white, creating a timeless effect, reminding us that the beautiful, strange, surreal, and silly moments of life are for the ages.
Los Angeles native and photographer Sean Maung is releasing his eleventh zine, All Knowing, a love letter to the people of his hometown. From block parties in Venice to alleys on Skid Row and Paisa bars in East Hollywood, Maung celebrates the skaters, sex workers, gangsters, hippies, and working class folks that give the city its flavor.
For All Knowing, Maung set up a makeshift photo studio on the corners of major intersections at Crenshaw & Slauson, Normandy & Beverly, and Santa Monica & Western. He invited anyone who caught his eye to pose for a portrait, his way of showing love for the people who inspire his quest for the perfect shot.
In addition to the street portraits and snapshots of daily life, Maung hooked up with local personalities like rapper Vince Staples, Spanto, founder of Born x Raised, IG personality Isabella Ferrada, and hustlers like Casanova, who is trying to make it in the world of R&B. No matter where he goes, Maung easily connects with people form all walks of life as his day job teaching substance abuse classes to parolees keeps him on point. Ahead of the zine release, we speak to Maung about his love for LA’s live side.
Sunday, February 19, marked the 75th anniversary of the Japanese internment, whereby the United States government set up ten camps during World War II to inter some 120,000 innocent Japanese American citizens and legal residents in the wake of the attack on Pearly Harbor. Each and every one of these men, women, and children were held prisoner against their will, without being charged with a crime, given a fair trial, or convicted of breaking any law.
The government, acting under the orders of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, claimed such a blatant violation of the Constitution was a measure to protect “against espionage and sabotage.” The government determined the criterion included any person with who was 1/16 Japanese or more, or any orphaned infant with so much as “one drop of Japanese blood” could be imprisoned.
When punk hit San Francisco in the late 70s, it spawned a vibrant underground movement that embraced the Do-It-Yourself ethos of the era. Local bands like the Mutants, the Avengers, the Germs, the Sleepers, and the Cramps made their way on the scene alongside bigger bands from New York, London, and Los Angeles, attracting a fresh crop of rebels, artists, and creatures of the night.
Jim Jocoy was a student at UC Santa Cruz when punk came to town. He dropped out of school, got a job at a copy store, and hit the clubs at night with camera in hand. From 1977 to 1980, he created a body of work that was only shown twice at the time: once at San Francisco State University and later at William S. Burroughs’s 70th birthday party. His photos were kept in deep storage for decades until Thurston Moore brought the work to the public eye with the publication of We’re Desperate (powerHouse Books, 2002), a celebration of the style of the times.
Fifteen years later, Jocoy returns with his second book, Order of Appearance (TBW Books), a sumptuous monograph featuring 44 never-before-seen photos. The book unfolds as a film would, with kids getting ready then heading out, hitting the sweat-drenched clubs and stumbling through after hours until they’re back on the street and the sun comes up.
Ahead of the book release, we speak to Jocoy about his memories of the scene.
In the course of his lifetime, British scientist and inventory William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877) developed the process for drawing with light, inventing the very first process for creating photographic images in 1834, which was revealed to the public in 1839. Considered one of the greatest polymaths of the Victorian age, his “salted paper” and calotype processes earned him the name of “father of photography.”
Over the course of his life, Talbot produced 4,500 unique images that exist today as 25,000 negatives and prints. Over the course of four decades, Professor Larry J. Schaaf examined and organized the Talbot Catalogue Raisonné, an online catalogue of work available for study and use. The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford officially launched the Talbot Catalogue Raisonné last week with the first 1,000 images now available to the public. The full catalogue will be online by 2018, with updates made weekly in the interim. giving the world an incredible look at the Victorian age.
There are those times when I do not have words, when the emotion is to visceral to translate into ideas. For those times, I am grateful for conversations I've had, for those incredible opportunities to ask questions and listen instead.
Cacy Forgenie blessed me years ago, agreeing to share his photographs and his thoughts in an interview. In rereading it, I'm reminded how great art art is: how it not only speaks to the moment but is, in fact, timeless.
"I don’t seek these images, I stumble upon them. If something is in progress I run towards it, I chase it," Cacy said. How fortunate we are that he was not only willing to look; he was willing to see.
On February 1, Donald Trump kicked off Black History Month with a breakfast meeting where he quixotically announced, ”I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”
The public quickly took note, wondering if the President was aware that Douglass had died in 1895 at the age of 77. Not to be missed the head scratching and jokes is the fact that Douglass continues to be one of the most prolific, influential Americans of our time. In recent months, his work has inspired the publication of two new books, a magazine, and an exhibition of photography and art.
Crave fave Awol Erizku has made headlines worldwide as the artist who photographed Beyoncé’s pregnancy photographs. The superstar wowed the world on the first day of Black History Month when she posted a portrait of herself on Instagram wearing nothing but a bra, panties, and veil, showing her bare belly swelling with life, with the announcement that she and Jay Z are expecting twins. That post, which set the internet aflame, now has more than 9.2 million likes.
Seated in profile in front of an enormous wreath, Beyoncé evoked the goddess of fertility and the rites of spring. Yesterday, ARTNews reported that a source close to Nina Johnson gallery, Miami, revealed that Awol Erizku confirmed via text that he took the photograph.
The Gordon Parks Foundation has named photographer Devin Allen as one of two inaugural recipients of a new fellowship program. Allen, who was born and raised in West Baltimore, catapulted to national fame when his documentary photograph of an unidentified black man running from a phalanx of police made the cover of Time magazine in May 2015 – only the third time the work of an amateur photographer had ever received such prominent placement.
The photograph was taken on April 25, 2015, as Allen documented the Baltimore uprising in the wake of the extrajudicial execution of Freddie Gray. Allen, who grew up just five minutes away from the site of Gray’s fatal encounter with the police on April 12, told Crave last year, “People don’t understand Baltimore. They only think of ‘The Wire’…it’s worse than that. But we have a strong community. My city is real. There’s no sugar coating. It’s a small city. In twenty, thirty minutes I can be anywhere. You see the issues the people face. That’s why I love it so much. If you’re from Baltimore you can make it anywhere.”
Some photographs are so emblematic that all you need to do is say the word and you can see the image in your mind’s eye. Think of Marilyn Monroe standing atop a subway grate as a gust of air whips her white dress up over her thighs. She smiles with joy as a random man on with approval at his good fortune to be passing by. This image, created to promote Billy Wilder’s 1955 film, The Seven Year Itch, is better than the movie itself—but it did what it set out to do: it put audiences in the seats.
For the better part of the twentieth century, before the advent of digital technology allowed people to preview movies any time or place, the film still was the critical vehicle to promote and publicize a film to the world at large. The image selected had to be the perfect cocktail of art, advertising, and iconography, eliciting an emotional response that came about through elements of surprise, allure, and mystery. “Who the what now?” would be the best way to describe the initial response—so that the film still could fill in the blanks in a manner that you would never forget.
It was written. And then it was lost. But prophecies must reveal themselves. This is the story of serendipity, of miracles, of discovery that can only happen by the right person at the right time in life.
Yuri Dojc was born into one of the few surviving Jewish families in Slovakia in 1946. During the war, the nation had eagerly aligned itself with Germany, seizing Jewish businesses, closing schools, and carting the peoples off en masse to concentration camps where few lived to return. His parents escaped such a fate by fleeing to the mountains and hiding in a bunker outside a village that kept their presence a secret.
After the war, the Jews who returned or remained were careful to hide their identities. Dojc remembers, “You have to understand the history. Being a Jew was unpopular. You don’t tell anyone. You hide that because if you tell them, you might not have any friends. No one in their right mind would come out and do this.”
“I picked up a camera because it was my choice of weapon against what I hated most about the universe: racism, intolerance, poverty. I could have just as easily picked up a knife or gun, like many of my childhood friends did,” American photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) revealed.
Parks understood that photography possessed the power to change the way we see and understand the world by speaking a language entirely its own. Seeing is believing, as the old saw goes, which is why representation matters. But representation is only the first step; truth is the pinnacle to which great artists aspire to reach.
Parks was not only a master of the medium, he was an activist using his work to propel political and social change throughout the twentieth century. He decided to become a photographer while working as a waiter in a railroad dining car, after observing passengers read picture magazines for pleasure. At the age of 25, he purchased his first camera and began to shoot, never putting his weapon down until the Lord called him home.
If the soul of America made a sound, it would sing the Blues from dusk til dawn. It is, deep beneath the plastic veneer of appearances, the truth about the human condition: joy and pain, love and grief, triumph and tragedy mixed together into a sparkling cocktail of art. The Blues pulls you under and it makes you realize that you are not the only one who has ever been done dirty and gotten hurt. The blues pulls you up out of your funk, keeping you company as it soothes your weary heart.
Photographer Joseph A. Rosen has been photographing Blues musicians for 40 years, taking portraits of the legends of our time including James Brown, B.B. King, Al Green, Les Paul, Mavis Staples, Eubie Blake, Maxine Brown, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., and Pete Seeger, among others. He has compiled these photographs in Blues Hands (Schiffer), which hones in on the visual expression of music through the way they play their instruments. Rosen speaks with Crave Online about his work on this project.
As we enter a brave new world filled with threats unfolding against the citizens of this nation by the very hand of the government it purports to serve, we can look to the recent past to find inspiration in the power of the people and their will to speak truth to power by any means necessary.
From race relations, policy brutality, and war to gay rights, abortion, and housing, ever issue facing the common man and woman was addressed by organizers who understood the power of mass protests. Civil disobedience, a term coined by no less that Henry David Thoreau in an essay of the same name penned in 1849, takes the high road of political activism. Grounded in the moral welfare of the people, it is a practice that is American at its core, for this country was founded upon the refusal to accept state-sanctioned abuse that openly violated human rights.
In the Tao Te Ching, Leo Tzu observes, “Nature does not hurry, but everything is accomplished,” recognizing the way in which the Universe works, for what is meant to be occurs as it naturally unfolds through human experience. Perhaps artists are particularly sensitive to the times in which they live, as the zeitgeist flows like a channel throughout the air we breathe.
1969 was a pivotal year in American history. It was the year of the Stonewall Riots, which occurred in New York, when patrons at the Stonewall Inn fought back against the police during a raid at 1:20 am the morning of June 28. At that time homosexual acts were illegal in every state in the nation, with the exception of Illinois. As a result, the police frequently abused their power, targeting gay people and destroying their lives—until one night in when the people stood up and fought back.
That same summer, at 19 years of age, American photographer Anthony Friedkin was traveling through Europe, thinking about what he would like to do as an artist. Friedkin, who had been honing his craft as a photographer since he was 11 years old, recalls, “I asked myself what would be the most complicated, challenging, difficult subject for a photo essay—and I decided on The Gay Essay for a lot of reasons. There is anger I still feel today when people suggest gay people are insufficient or lacking something that heterosexuals have. The audacity to judge and put down people and the conceit to say God told you this is what you are supposed to do! We all have our own unique sexuality, like your fingerprint.”
Ming Smith is the quiet storm, her photographs evoking the soul of Billie Holiday’s music in photographic form. She has lived as an artist all her life, creating a body of work that captures the mysterious beauty of eternal truth. “Images outlive us,” Smith observes, and at the same time, without them, things disappear and the moment is gone. In this way, photographs become not only a work of art or an artifact—they become part of the collective consciousness that defines human experience.
“Something flows through you,” Smith explains. The photographer becomes a channel open to the world, transforming three dimensions into two then delivering them so that we may feel and understand their point of view. Smith’s perspective is as singular as she is. The first African-American woman to have her work collected by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Smith is a pioneer, an innovator, and a rebel imbued with ineffable elegance.
On April 4, 1968, James Earl Ray assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thirty-one years later, in 1999, a jury of six whites and six blacks found the United States government guilty of assassination and wrongful death in the murder of Dr. King in civil court (the full transcript can be downloaded here). Yet the case received virtually no press coverage nor is it taught in most schools, despite the fact that children are given a day off to honor of one of the nation’s most important freedom fighters.
You might ask yourself, Why is that? For the answer, we can turn to the words of Dr. King himself. In Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (1967), he explained, “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”
Fortunately, we live in the Information Age, where vast stores of verified facts can be accessed free of charge. We are no longer dependent on the “education” system to teach us how or what to think, what questions to ask, or how to learn. One of the greatest treasures we have today is easy and immediate access to credible sources, delivered straight to our fingertips. We can live the dream in a way Dr. King could never have imagined when he spoke in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
When the future is bleak, denial only delays the inevitable—and can often make our fall from grace that much harder. But for those who cast illusions to try to comfort themselves, the wise advise us to read “the writing on the wall.”
It’s a telling phrase that speaks to the truth about graffiti: it has been here as long as humanity has used written language as a means to record our reality. Writing on the wall is inherently subversive in a culture that supports the creation of private property, particularly in the public realm, for it reminds us that the desire and need to communicate will trump the attempt to reign it in. To leave a written mark behind not only transgresses the law, but it is also a silent scream, cry, or whoop of laughter let loose in the world.
Israeli photographer Yoav Horesh remembers a formative moment many years ago while walking with his father through a pedestrian mall in downtown Jerusalem on the way to buy new shoes. “A block behind us, a guy came running down the street, shooting an AK 47 and throwing hand grenades. My father pulled me into an alley, and in three or four minutes, everything was over. [The gunman] was probably shot dead; the ambulances came. Then my father said, ‘Okay, we’re going to buy shoes now.’”
“Is it right or not? I don’t have an answer,” Horesh observes, pondering the implications of an immediate return to normalcy. But the question remains. It is a question that has affected Horesh in ways he’s just beginning to actualize through his work as a photographer, which takes on the subject of trauma with thought, concern, and tremendous care.
The longest-running art fair in Los Angeles, photo l.a., returns for its 26th season, January 12-15, 2017 at The REEF, located in the historic LA Mart building. Bringing together over 10,000 attendees from the global arts community, photo l.a. has blossomed into an unparalleled global showcase of photographic art since its inception in 1991. Showcasing works from the history of the medium, the fair features more than 80 exhibitors including Crave faves Monroe Gallery of Photography, the Lucie Foundation, and the School of Visual Arts.
The 2017 edition launches with an opening night benefit gala honoring Weston Naef, founding curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum on Thursday, January 12, from 7-10 p.m. Naef’s appointment ushered in a new era for photography in Los Angeles, as acquired the stellar collections of Sam Wagstaff, Arnold Crane, and Andre Jammes for the Museum. During his 25 years at the helm, Naef supervised more than 100 exhibitions and 50 publications, many of which he authored.
Although the photographer usually stands behind the camera, they are present in every shot they make, from the choice of subject matter and the framing to the moment of release and the selection of the print from hundreds, if not thousands, of others that remain unseen in the archive. Every photo taken and shown bears the eye of the photographer, just as every painting and sculpture bears the hand of the artist. We can consider the photographer many things: provocateur, mastermind, or more “objectively,” witness to scene they are recording for posterity.
The photographer as witness is a popular conceit celebrated in Western art as it embraces the impossible ideals of detachment, neutrality, and independence from the subject and the creation of the image. It carries the noble, even heroic, connotations that elevate the photographer to a status all their own. This response was most recently seen after Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici took a picture of Turkish police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas moments after he assassinated Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov. While the world lay agog at the perfectly orchestrated act of a cold-blooded killer, many in the photography and art worlds took the opportunity to disassociate, waxing rhapsodic about the aesthetics of the image and the valor of Ozbilici.
The beauty of liberation is that it is a deeply personal affair, requiring none but ourselves to realize. In many ways, it is a test of courage more than anything else: do we have the faith and the will to choose freedom from the known? For artists, the answer is always, “Yes!” That’s what makes them who they are; they cannot be contained by preexisting ideologies. Pablo Picasso knowingly advised, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them alike an artist.” And sometimes all it takes to break the rules is to discard them hand over fist.
In early 1972, Iwan Schumacher had been living in south London, where he had been teaching photography at an art school. He bought a Canon half-frame camera that allowed him to take 72 pictures, as opposed to 36, on a regular 35mm roll of film. The camera was small enough to travel everywhere he went, quickly becoming a diary of his daily experiences. Later in the year, Schumacher returned to Switzerland to assist on a documentary movie and started to work on his first film. All the while, he continued to take photographs, amassing an archive of more than 3,000 images.
For a photography aficionado, there is nothing quite so thrilling as looking at contact sheets. It is like reading a diary, delving into private realms that were not meant for public consumption. Like the old drafts of a novel or the prior recordings before the master tape, the contact sheet tells the story of how it happened—how we got to this place. It is a narrative all its own, one that few will ever know, unless the photographer blesses us with a view.
Then, what we see is magical: that heart-stopping, breathtaking moment like in the theater when an actor breaks the fourth wall. It is an acknowledgement of the very construction of it all: the recognition that everything we see has a history and a reality that we rarely ever know. The contact sheet seduces with what it reveals—all that has been hidden from our sight now appears.
Photo: Contact Sheet featuring MONTGOMERY- MARCH 25: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. seen close from rear, speaking in front of 25,000 civil rights marchers, at conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery march in front of Alabama state capital building on March 25, 1965. In Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Stephen Somerstein/Getty Images)
Cuba, the Violet Isle—a name known to few for the rich color of its fertile soil, is an island that has captivated the imagination of the world through a tumultuous history that has played a significant role in the political machinations of the twentieth century. It is a land has emerged in the twenty-first century as a complex nation coming to terms with a fate that is yet unforeseen. As we reflect upon the country’s future, we may look to its recent past, to its people and its landscape.
Over the course of 15 years, photographers Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb made 11 trips to the Violet Isle, each of them documenting different corners of the country. While Alex Webb focused on the country’s street life, Rebecca Norris Webb turned her attention to the displays of animal life, exploring tiny zoos, pigeon societies, and personal menageries. Together, they published Violet Isle in 2009 with Radius Books and while the book has since sold out and gone out of print, they continue to share the work in exhibitions around the world.
American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe would have celebrated his seventieth birthday this year. It’s impossible to fathom the loss that his premature death had cost not only the genre of photography but the entire world of art. Like the great iconoclasts of yore, Mapplethorpe deftly employed the classical traditions of the medium and applied it to subjects that caused even the most sophisticated among us to bat an eye. His brilliance with lighting and composition set the stage for contemplation of more provocative ideas, subverting the way in which beauty dazzled the mind t make us reconsider our beliefs and prejudices.
Like Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, Mapplethorpe is a photographer’s photographer, pushing the formal elements to the furthest reaches of beyond. In doing so, he was able to transcend the boundaries between commercial and fine art. In the same vein, Juergen Teller has built a body of work and a reputation for operating in both worlds without corrupting either side of the equation. There exists a natural affinity between both photographers: the drive to excel.
Could there be anything greater than combining your passion and your love—and get paid for doing so? American photographer Henry Horenstein would emphatically say “No.” Horenstein (b. 1947) got his start in the 1970s, studying under seminal artists Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White. It was Callahan who gave him the best advice of his life.
As a young student, Horenstein wondered what he should photograph. Callahan asked him what he liked to do and Horenstein replied, “I like to go to the racetrack and bet on horses, and I like to listen to country music.” Callahan offered sensible advice: “Why not photograph the races and the music? Even if you make lousy pictures, you’ll have a good time.”
From this simple directive came a lifetime of work that has resulted in over 30 books, including a basic manual on black and white photography that has been used by aspiring photography students for more than thirty years. He has traveled the world, capturing moments far and wide, from Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner backstage at Boston’s Symphony Hall to an unexpected scene of camel coitus in Dubai.
American photographer Susan Meiselas joined Magnum Photos in 1976, after creating Prince Street Girls and Carnival Strippers, two bodies of work that explored the female experience in its multifaceted forms. At Magnum, Meiselas leaped into an entirely new realm after reading about the assassination of Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, the editor of Nicaragua’s La Prensa newspaper and a leading opponent of the country’s Somoza regime, which had been in power since 1936.
In 1956, after two decades of rule, Anastasio Somoza Garcia was executed. His first son, Luis, assumed the presidency and his second son, Anastasio (“Tachito”) became Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Together they begin a regime marked by brutal repression of the citizenry, while working with the United States, providing a base of operations so that America could meddle in the affairs of Latin American governments.
Although the Federal court ruled for a delay in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on November 14, the police action against unarmed protestors gathered at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, continues to escalate with acts extreme force.
Most recently, on the evening of Sunday, November 20, as temperatures dipped down to 26 degrees Fahrenheit, law enforcement officials blasted hundreds of people with water cannons near Oceti Sakowin camp. Video can be seen at The Guardian.
Standing behind a barbed wire fence, militarized police dressed in riot gear also launch concussion grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas, injuring 300 people; 26 were taken to area hospitals, while 21 year-old New York resident Sophia Wilansky, who was air lifted to County Medical Center in Minneapolis, where she has been undergoing extensive surgery to save her arm from amputation after being hit by a grenade.
Since August 10 of this year, thousands of activists from across the United States have come together at Standing Rock to protest the construction of DAPL. Calling themselves “Water Protectors,” the activists are unarmed, using peaceful means of protest against the destruction of sacred lands and the environment. The response of the federal, state, and local governments have included a 12-day “No Fly Zone,” sound cannon blasts, tear gas and pepper spray, and hundreds of arrests on trumped up charges.
This Thanksgiving, we invite you to give real thanks to the people risking their lives to protect the water supply of 17 million Americans in four states. Here are some ways you can stand tall with Standing Rock.
Harlem. The name speaks for itself, eliciting images of African-American life in its many-splendored forms throughout the twentieth century. Harlem came into vogue as the Great Migration sent thousands of southern black folk up north beginning in 1905. By the 1920s, the neighborhood became a focal point for artists from all walks of life, giving birth to the legendary Harlem Renaissance.
Harlem, which had originally been developed in the nineteenth century as an exclusive suburb for the white upper class, was home to stately homes, grand avenues, and places like the Polo Grounds and the Harlem Opera House. With this backdrop, a new culture came forth, one that celebrated African Americans and Afro Caribbean arts and history.
But with the Great Depression and the deindustrialization of New York City after World War II, Harlem fell victim to de facto segregation practices like red lining, which denied services like banking, insurance, healthcare, mortgages, credit cards, and retail to the black community. Adding to this, there was an influx of drugs in a war waged by the Nixon White House designed to corrupt and criminalize African American communities.
By the 1970s, Harlem, like much of New York’s black and Latino communities, had been decimated, left as a shell of its former glory. Yet at the same time, it was a strong, committed community, one built by Mom and Pop businesses going back decades. This was the Harlem that photographer Queens-native Dawoud Bey (b. 1953) documented for his first completed project, Harlem USA, made between 1975-1979.
Pieces of a Man (Art Voices Art Books), the newest monograph by legendary photographer Jamel Shabazz, is a tremendous undertaking, taking us around the world and across time, yet always able to center on what we all share as human beings. The title speaks to the way in which each of us are so many things in this life and on this earth, with each photograph capturing a facet of our infinite complexity. The book, like the individual, proves that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, and yet sometimes we feel fragmented, or must only reveal one part of ourselves, and still remain authentic to our souls.
Pieces of a Man is a story of love and loss, of joy and pain, of life and death and rebirth with each page. It’s like listening to a classic album like What’s Going On—absolutely overwhelming and yet, you want to listen to it over and over. Shabazz talks with Crave, providing us with a treasure trove of insight and inspiration.
We have entered the Anthopocene Era, marked by the turning point when human activities began to make a significant global impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems. Many place the starting point with the Industrial Revolution, when mass production became the norm, and the machine rose to prominence as evidence of humankind’s ability to dominate nature—without thought or concern to the long term.
We’ve been riding this train for two centuries, quick to ignore evidence to the contrary, lest it cause us any intellectual or physical discomfort. The human impact on the planet is marginalized or excused while the changes to climate are carefully swept under the rug. The increase in extinctions and the decline in biodiversity go unremarked.
As Alduous Huxley observed in Vanity Fair in 1928, “”The colossal material expansion of recent years is destined, in all probability, to be a temporary and transient phenomenon. We are rich because we are living on our capital. The coal, the oil, the phosphates which we are so recklessly using can never be replaced. When the supplies are exhausted, men will have to do without…. It will be felt as a superlative catastrophe.”
“My definition of art has always been the same. It is about freedom of expression, a new way of communication. It is never about exhibiting in museums or about hanging it on the wall. Art should live in the heart of the people. Ordinary people should have the same ability to understand art as anybody else. I don’t think art is elite or mysterious. I don’t think anybody can separate art from politics. The intention to separate art from politics is itself a very political intention,” Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) told Der Spiegel in 2011.
Ai Weiwei rose to global prominence in 2011 Chinese authorities arrested him at the Beijing Capital International Airport, although no official charges were ever filed. He was placed under 24-hour supervision, accompanied by two guards who never left his side, then released after 81 days. It was a very different outcome from that of his father, the poet Ai Qing, who spoke out against the government in 1957. The whole family was exiled to a labor camp when Ai Weiwei was just one year old, then transferred to the remote province of Xinjiang, where he was forced to perform five years of physically demanding work in his 60s.
Crave fave Martíne Gutierrez, the Brooklyn-based artist and performer we profiled in Faces of Photography during Art Basel Miami Beach last year, returns with True Story, a new exhibition of video and photographic work featuring pop-star alter ego Martine, on view at Boston University Art Galleries now through December 11, 2016.
As Martine, Gutierrez delves into the realm of feminine archetypes taken from popular sources such as classic Hollywood films, fashion photography, and music videos to explore the construction of gender and identity in modern life. Like Cindy Sherman, Gutierrez lives on both sides of the camera, becoming both artist and muse. Casting herself in different roles, Martine embodies some of the most seductive and alluring images of the feminine, revealing the ways in which the body becomes the work of art itself, ready to be cast in the shape of our ideals.
Frida Kahlo is one of the most famous artists in the world, recognizable by face as well as name. But, when pressed to name another Latina artist, many would give pause, so underrepresented these women are in the history of art. The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, has taken strides to correct this with Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, on view now through December 31, 2017.
Presenting over 260 works by more than 100 artists from 15 countries, Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 is the first history of experimental art practices by Latinas including Lygia Pape, Ana Mendieta, Marta Minujín, Zilia Sánchez, Feliza Burztyn, Sophie Rivera, and Margarita Paksa, among others.
The exhibition centers on the politicization of the female body, which has long been a topic in both life and art where it has historically been treated as an object to be owned and controlled, more often than not. Perhaps this could be due to the absence of women from the spaces that created the rules and representations themselves—but with their arrival on the scene, the balance of power began to shift.
From the top of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke, delivering a sermon to the world, one that resonates in our mind’s ear whenever we hear the words, “I have a dream.” The timbre of his voice is permanently imprinted on our soul, his words among the most patriotic ever spoken. On the eighth anniversary of the brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, Dr. King’s testimony was centuries in the making, calling forth the ancestors of this country’s earliest days.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter,” Dr. King warned. There is an exquisite horror to the dying soul that lurks within the living body, feasting upon flesh and bone. It has been said that silence equals death; to speak against injustice and oppression is the essence of what it means to be American. These are the words that photographer Radcliffe “Ruddy” Roye carries within himself, revealing on his Instagram: “It is a creed I live by at whatever cost.”
Photo: Ruddy Roye. Blood, Sweat and Tears (Ryan), Morton Street, Newark, NJ, December 19, 2015 Archival pigment print on metallic paper, printed 2016, 35 x 35 in Edition of 10; Signed by photographer verso
You know that moment, when the camera comes out and you have the instinct to compose yourself in some altered state. Really it’s fake but we’ve seen it so often we think fake is real, these posed, perfectly composed presentations of “self.” Truly they are fictions of our imagination, the dream of who we want to be, who we see ourselves as, and how we would like to be seen.
But then, the photographer knows what he wants to see, and will take the picture at will, your desires be damned. “Not Yet!” you might cry out, in an attempt to control the scene. But it’s too late. Your moment turned out to the moment before you pulled it together.
Photographer Ari Marcopoulos understands this. His photographs are taken in the meantime, in between times, capturing how things are rather than how we want to seek to re-present reality. His new monograph, Not Yet (Rizzoli), is a glorious collection of iconic and never-before seen photographs made from the 1980s to the present that take us along his paths through life.
The concept of “race” is a political, social, and economic construct designed maintain a system of double standards that sees one group benefit through the oppression and exploitation of everyone else. Its roots were planted in the Virginia colony during the late 1600s, when political leaders found themselves loathe to give up their bond servants, and the children born unto them, after their period of servitude had been completed. At the same time, it became clear peasants were as difficult to govern in the New World as they had been in the Old. Peasants were prone to band together and rise up against the ruling class, with no thought towards the fact that their ancestries differed from one another.
Desperate to find a solution to these quandaries, the leaders of Virginia invented a new group of people, legislating “whites” into existence in 1691. Under these new laws, they established the concept of race, where “whites” were given certain rights that “blacks” were denied. Divide-and-conquer is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and the played the card for it all it was worth. At the close of the seventeenth century, race was beholden to legal and economic control, weaving injustice into the fabric of the nation before it even existed as such.
“It’s a world, someone’s face. When I capture it, I see the future of the world,” revealed the legendary Malian photographer Malick Sidibé (1936–2016). Indeed, Sidibé captured the future as it came into its own, chronicling the beauty and spirit of the people of his native land right as the country won its independence from France in 1960, after nearly a century of colonial exploitation and oppression.
Born in the village of Soloba, Sidibé was the first member of his family to attend school. Here, the boy who began life herding animals and working the land, found himself drawn to art, becoming masterful. By high school, he was doing charcoal drawings for official events and his talents were soon recognized by the Institut National des Arts de Bamako, in the nation’s capital.
For those of us with the gift of sight, we rely heavily on the visual world to guide our thoughts, ideas, and our life. “Seeing is believing,” the old cliché asserts, somehow missing the mark that belief is an act of faith as well. “Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear,” Edgar Allen Poe warned, instilling the necessity of doubt in our sense, as well as in his very words.
For sight is a sense perceived not only with the eyes, but with all the faculties of the mind, body, and spirit working as one. The very fact that the retina inverts the world so that it appears upside down and requires our brain’s ability to reverse this information is evidence of the fact that the optical world may not be what it appears. Yet, such is our dependency on sight that we rarely doubt the initial impressions it makes.
“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding,” Plato wrote in The Republic circa 380 B.C.
Empathy is both an emotional response, as well as a cognitive one. We can both feel what another experiences, as well as perceive it through rational thought. To be empathetic is a challenge some refuse to accept, but for those willing to open themselves, it is a two-fold process. First there is simply the ability to understand that which is not our own, and to refrain from manipulations that would adulterate its truth. Once we are able to do this, the next step comes: to share this truth in a responsible way, one that allows us to use our personal gifts in the service of the cause, while maintaining integrity and authenticity above all.
American photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon (b. 1942) understand this, and has dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth. Working in the style of New Journalism, in which the photographer fully immersed himself in the milieu in which he worked, Lyon uses emotional and cognitive empathy to delve beyond the surface of the world and capture something much deeper and far more profound, something so visceral it goes beyond words and cuts straight to the soul.
The Hamburger Eyes crew has been on the scene since 2001, when it launched their first issue of 30 xeroxed pamphlets. Over the years, the zine has become on the illest photography magazines in the world, combining the documentary approach of National Geographic and LIFE magazines with the relentless intensity of a graffiti writer bombing the scene.
Dedicated to the pictorial history of both unseen and iconic moments of everyday life, every issue of Hamburger Eyes illustrates its motto perfectly, capturing “The Continuing Story of Life on Earth” to a T. Printed in black and white, and designed with the photographs running full bleed, every page is fresh, crisp, and clean.
Over the years, Hamburger Eyes has expanded to take on publishing photograph books, zines, and magazines, with more than 100 titles to date in its catalog. It includes works by the core members of the collective including Ray Potes, David Potes, Stefan Simikich, Brian David Stevens, Jason Roberts Dobrin, Ted Pushinsky, David Uzzardi, Michael Jang, and Uri Korn. The titles alone are enough to draw the eye, whether Slag Hag (John Oliver Hodges) or Sweat Stains (Mark Murrmann), you might just wonder, “What’s inside?”
“Lucky Man Speier,” they call him, and this is true. At the tender age of 88, native New Yorker Len Mitchell Speier is receiving his due with his first solo exhibition of photographs, Nearly Everybody, currently on view at Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York, now through October 29, 2016. Drawn from an archive that spans six decades, the show features 48 vintage photographs made in New York and Europe between the 1960s and ‘80s.
As with many things in his life, Nearly Everybody came about through the fortunes of fate. Following the success of her recent exhibition Bacalaitos & Fireworks at the gallery, Speier asked photographer Arlene Gottfried if she could introduce him to Daniel Cooney; Gottfried said it was okay to use her name so Speier did just that.
Cooney remembers, “The call came out of the blue. After we spoke, I Googled and not much popped up. I went up to visit him at his apartment and that was it. It was an amazing moment.”
“There are no secrets that time does not reveal,” Jean Racine wrote. With the benefit of hindsight, it has become evident that punks are true embodiment of the counterculture movement. They never sold out and they never said die. They just keep on keeping on, D.I.Y.
Photographer David Godlis arrived on the New York scene in 1976, camera in hand, carrying as much film as he could reasonably hold in the pockets of his black jeans without looking indiscreet. He usually shot without a flash, using the techniques of masters like Brassai, who had famously photographed Paris at night forty years prior and inspired Godlis’s masterful eye.
Exiled for “malicious hooliganism with exceptional cynicism and extreme insolence” at the age of 21, Slava Mogutin was the last political dissident from the former Soviet Union. As an openly gay man living under a repressive regime, he was outspoken and unrepentant, calling out the hypocrisy and corruption of the government publicly. In 1994, Mogutin attempted to register officially the first same-sex marriage in Russia with his then-partner, American artist Robert Filippini. The attempt made headlines around the world, but only further fueled his persecution by the authorities. Forced to flee his country in 1995, he came to the United States and quickly blazed a trail as one of the most important contemporary artists of our time.
Ten years ago, Mogutin released his first monograph, Lost Boys (powerHouse Books), a powerful and provocative collection of portraits and landscapes taken in his native Russia. Intuitively combining porn, kink, and fashion into a seamless blend of intense sensuality and fearless sexuality, Mogutin’s work has helped to redefine the depiction of masculinity worldwide.
The March on Washington took place on August 28, 1963, marking the twelfth anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till. Till was just 14 years old when he was lynched in Mississippi, an event so heinous that it became a pivotal catalyst for the next phase of the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1963, less than five years before he would be assassinated the United States government, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the top of Lincoln Memorial and delivered a speech, a speech so powerful that you can hear it in your mind’s ear as you read his words: “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”
But where have we come in decades since this speech? We live in an era where extrajudicial executions are a daily operation at the hands of police departments around the country. Where these brutal murders are brazenly broadcast on television with complete disregard—or perhaps intention—to involve a permanent state of PTSD in our countrymen and women. Where protests are called unpatriotic in as much as some in this country pledge allegiance to a flag that represents the politics of the Confederacy.
Once an image is firmly embedded in the mind’s eye, it is difficult, if not impossible, to shake the belief that it is “true.” All too often we mistake sight for fact, believing that what we are being shown is what actually occurred. Yet so much of what we see is presented to use secondhand, filtered from sources we have not vetted to the fullest extent. We easily mistake fiction for fact when we are told that what we see is evidence of criminal activity.
How many times has misinformation been presented as fact? It is impossible to know, for rare are the cases when sources admit to their error without a powerful public outcry demanding it be so. We are conditioned to believe these things do not actually occur, that neither the government nor the media would betray its citizenry for ulterior motives. And yet, with the Freedom of Information Act, we begin to learn just how frequent deceptions and counter operations regularly occur.
Over 150 years ago, during the Civil War, the great American abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave a speech titled “Pictures and Progress,” which spoke to the ways in which images shaped our understanding of life. Douglass was speaking at a time when photography had just arrived, creating a type of immediacy comparable to the revolution of the Digital Age. With the advent of photography, the ability to capture moments from life and reproduce them en masse imbued this brand new medium with a superpower: the ability to become agents of justice.
Whereas art had been used as a tool of the upper class, photography leveled the playing field by becoming the first democratic art to find itself in the hands of the people. Anything and anyone could become a subject in its own right, including facts that had been hidden from plain sight. Images have the ability to convey meaning and understanding in ways that words never could, for “seeing is believing,” as the old saying goes. As it turns out, this applies to both first and secondhand experiences. Images have the ability to bear witness and speak truth to power, to right the wrongs of injustice and become a vehicle for change.
The last words of Vincent Van Gogh float through my mind as I crack the spine of Destroy This Memory (Aperture). It’s entirely too much, and yet, not nearly enough, but if photographs may be an elegy, Richard Misrach has produced one of the most haunting poems for the dead and gone, the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Eleven years ago today, Katrina began as an interaction between a tropical wave and a tropical cyclone in the Bahamas. It quickly intensified into a Tropical Storm and made its way westward, gaining strength over the Gulf of Mexico. On August 29, it touched down in southeast Louisiana, becoming the most destructive natural disaster in United States history. Ranked one of the five most deadly hurricanes in the nation, with more than 1,800 dead, Katrina decimated the city of New Orleans.
The U.S. Army established Fort Scott in 1842, as they began crossing expanding the nation’s boundaries by expanding onto Native American territory. It was officially laid out as a town in 1857, during a period of violent unrest infamously known as “Bleeding Kansas.” Prior to the Kansas’s admission as a free state to the Union in 1861, abolitionist and pro-slavery factions violently fought for control. Throughout the Civil War, the conflict blazed, but the war settled things and Fort Scott became one of the premier cities on the American frontier in the years leading up to the turn of the twentieth century.
Although Kansas was always a free state, it was among 35 states in the nation to put Jim Crow laws on the books following the Civil War. Once again Kansas found itself at the center of national conflict, as its segregation laws focused on education, requiring separate schools for black students. It was not until 1954, with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (Kansas) that the policy of “separate but equal” was declared unconstitutional.
San Francisco has always been the spot, a bold peninsula jutting out into the Bay, going all the way back to 3,000 BC when the Yelamu tribe of the Ohlone people lived on the land. It’s had quite a history, quickly becoming a popular port during the California Gold Rush that made the town one of the most notorious places on earth. The city soon built up, literally and figuratively, as wealth accumulated and new communities took hold. Then the earthquake of 1906 struck, laying the city to waste.
But you can’t keep a good city down, and it rebuilt itself to withstand disaster. Not one San Francisco bank failed in the 1929 stock market crash. At the height of the Great Depression, they had the cash and the clout to construct the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge, as well as transform the island of Alcatraz from a military stockade to a federal maximum security prison that was home to no less than Al Capone.
Talk about showing out. San Francisco did it well, and as the 1930s gave way to the 1940s a new look came into vogue. Film noir brilliantly described the look of high contrast, high drama scenes of daily life. It was the perfect counterpoint to a world at war, a nation fighting on two fronts, neither of which were on home turf. There was an edge, one rendered tenderly, invoking the beauty of black and white film as nothing else ever could.
Sartorial style and splendor is synonymous with black culture. No matter where you go on this earth, rest assured the men and women of African descent have are freshly dressed, so much so others are quick to knock it off, as though copying was not a cardinal sin. Such are the perils of creativity: not everyone can be an originator or a pioneer. But for those who are, one thing is clear. The attention never stops. The heads will turn, the jaws will drop, and the tongues with clack because invariably style dominates.
The Photographers’ Gallery, London, understands this and present Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity now through September 25, 2016. Curated by Ekow Eshun, the exhibition features works from taken from artists working around the world over the course of the past century, Starting with a rare series of outdoor studio prints made in 1904 from the Larry Dunstam Archive, thought to be taken in Senegal. Taken more than a century ago, the young men are nattily dressed in the latest European clothes, belying a love for the three-piece suit and accessories.
American photographer William Eggleston (b. 1939) is deeply attuned to the poetry of life, to the spaces in between the words that bridge mind, body, and soul. His photographs are alive with great swaths of color and mood, of atmosphere and feeling that goes beyond words. They are fragments spun in the web of time, captured by Eggleston with a precision that belies his mastery of the medium.
In celebration, the National Portrait Gallery, London, presents William Eggleston Portraits, the first comprehensive museum exhibition of his work, on view now through October 23, 2016. Showcasing over 100 works, the show features portraits of Eggleston’s friends, musicians, actors and rarely seen images of his family, revealing for the first time the identities of many of the sitters who had previously been anonymous.
“Sell the public flowers… things that they can hang on their walls without being uptight,” Robert Mapplethorpe determined. His astute business sense was rivaled only by the subversive delight he took in imbuing the glory of nature with the darker side of life. It was in his pictures of flora that Mapplethorpe found a place contrast showcase the forces of beauty, sex, and death without leaving a trace.
Unlike his nudes and BDSM scenes, the only flesh exposed here are the tendrils cut off from their source of life, consigned to a slow death inside a vase. But for that moment the flowers are fresh and full of life, for that moment that contain all the promise of presence in the here and now, as their petals burst open and perfume fills the air, that is the moment Mapplethorpe captured for eternity.
Have you ever had a night out that you never wanted to end, so you hopped from place to place hoping they’d stay open ‘til you ran out of steam? Have you ever had a day that turned into a weekend? Or maybe even a week? What is the day became a lifestyle? Then where would you go? These are important questions, people.
Vienna knows this. They know it well. Well enough to give a name to it: Branntweiner. It’s a dive bar, and it’s ready to go. Some spots open at 5 in the morning for their clientele. Others open at 9, and still others that don’t get going until later on, but what they all have in common is their willingness to provide 24-hour service to the folks who love themselves some alcohol. Because at a certain point, there comes a turn, and that’s when the liquor takes first place and it won’t ever come down. And that when things take on a grim cast, but, still, the party continues on.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit and laid to waste so many lives in the city of New Orleans. The home and studio of photographer Herman Leonard (1923–2010) was destroyed when the 17th Canal Levee broke near his home. The storm claimed 8,000 silver gelatin prints Leonard had made; fortunately, Herman’s crew had gathered the negatives and placed them in the care of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. But Leonard’s time in New Orleans had come to a close after nearly a quarter of a century on the local jazz and blues scene. Leonard relocated to Studio City, California, where he spent his final years re-establishing his business.
And what a business it was. Leonard recounted his early years in an interview with JazzWax, recalling, “I opened my first studio on Sullivan Street in New York's Greenwich Village in 1948. I worked free-lance for magazines and spent my spare time at places like the Royal Roost and Birdland. I did this because I loved the music. I couldn’t wait to be with Lester Young at a club and hear him and photograph him playing his music. I hoped that on film I could preserve what I heard. It didn’t hurt that I got into the clubs for free. My photographs helped publicize the clubs, so owners let me in.”
Michael Gross has had his finger on the pulse of high society, documenting their luxurious lifestyles for more than three decades. With a chair in the front row of the fashion shows for a decade, Gross delved into the corners of the world that few had known with his seminal book, Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women (William Morrow, 1995), exposing the underbelly of the industry at the height of the supermodel craze.
The book had been Richard Avedon’s idea. Gross had a column in The New York Times and was writing long form pieces for New York magazine, including a cover story detailing the historic rivalry between Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Gross had been thinking of expanding the story into a book but Avedon, who had been a major source, thought no one cared about ancient beef between Carmel Snow and Diana Vreeland. Instead, he suggested a book on the modeling industry, which no one had ever done before.
Viennese anatomist Josef Hyrtl (1810–1894) had the touch, such was his ability to work with human bodies after death. As a student, his dissections and injections were widely admired; as chair at the University of Prague, he authored Handbook of Topographic Anatomy, the first textbook of applied anatomy. A man free of mind, if you will, Hyrtl sought to discredit phrenology, an old fad that had come back into vogue, which supposed the shape and size of the cranium indicated the character and mental abilities of the brain within.
Hyrtl collected the skull of Caucasians across Europe, looking for diversity in size and structure to deconstruct pseudoscience with fact. How the skulls came into his possession was a mixed bag: some were criminals, some were poor, and others may have been dug out of their graves. Some are identified by name, profession, and age while others remain unknown, their conditions varying in terms of quality of preservation.
The Mütter Museum, Philadelphia, acquired 139 skulls from Hyrtl’s collection in 1874. Flash forward 130 years: photographer David Orr received access to the lot, creating portraits of a distinct and revealing nature. Each skull has been photographed head-on, then mirrored on one side, to create a vision of perfect symmetry. Orr photographed all the skulls, then made a selection of 22 for Perfect Vessels, at the Mütter now through January 5, 2017.
Speaking with Crave Online, Orr discusses the ways in which the skull meets the ideal conditions for a vessel, being a container, a craft in which to travel, a conduit for powerful energy, and a beautiful form that was once utilitarian but is now regarded as art. There is an elegant eeriness to this, something rather Gothic and Romantic about the idea of discovering a hidden level of beauty in the remains of strangers. We may never know this side of ourselves, never be able to see the face beneath the face and the home of the mind. This is where Orr’s photographs bridge the divide.
Hailing from the Caribbean island of Grenada, photographer Raphael Albert (1935–2009) moved to London in 1953 where he became a freelance photographer working for black British newspapers. One of his earliest assignments changed the shape of his destiny, as he covered the Miss Jamaica beauty pageant for West Indian World.
Inspired by the spirit of the times Raphael began hosting local beauty pageants for black women before packed crowds at the legendary Hammersmith Palais in West London, a tradition that continued for more than three decades, into the 1980s. With titles like Miss Black and Beautiful, Miss West Indies in Great Britain, and Miss Grenada, Albert cast aside the European standards of beauty in order to shine a spotlight on the inherent beauty of the African race, showcasing women of all skin tones, hair types, and facial features in the mix.
Photographer Sean Maung walks the streets of his native Los Angeles, camera in hand, eye on the scene, capturing a captivating collection of personalities that populate the city’s streets. Since 2010 he has been putting out a series of zines that are equal parts gritty and lush, with titles including Put That on Something, Fascinations, and Peep Show. Maung reveals, “I have always thought of zines like mixtapes. I have complete control of what I produce and show, and that’s empowering.” Maung has just released G-Body, his tenth zine. He speaks with Crave about his work.
When did you begin taking photos, and what inspired you to become a photographer?
Sean Maung: I started taking photos in 2005. I have always been inspired by people and places. I have spent a lot of time working for community based organizations and that has connected to me many different walks of life. Photography is another way to connect with people from all types of backgrounds.
Are all the photos in G-Body taken in Los Angeles? If so I’d love to get your thoughts on the city. What is your LA?
The majority of the photos are from LA. There are like five photos from other places, but the rest are LA. As for LA, and what the city is to me: I grew up in an area that some identify as mid city and others say is the Westside. The city to me is about the cross pollination of race/ethnicity/sub-cultures/class that has created and inspired how I take photos and make art. So when I shoot in LA, it’s a product of my upbringing and experiences, and a product of being aware of the overall pulse of the city and the cultural dynamics of the city.
“Sure. I’d like to live regular. Go home to a good looking wife, a hot dinner, and a husky kid. But I guess I got film in my blood. I love this racket. It’s exciting. It’s dangerous. It’s funny. It’s tough. It’s heartbreaking,” the great photographer Weegee said. Born Usher Fellig in 1899, what is now the Ukraine, he was renamed Arthuer when the family immigrated to New York in 1909. He first took up photography at age 14. By 1935, he quit his day job—and how blessed we are for it.
As Weegee told Bomb Magazine in 1987, “In my particular case I didn't wait 'til somebody gave me a job or something, I went and created a job for myself—freelance photographer. And what I did, anybody else can do. What I did simply was this: I went down to Manhattan Police Headquarters and for two years I worked without a police card or any kind of credentials. When a story came over a police teletype, I would go to it. The idea was I sold the pictures to the newspapers. And naturally, I picked a story that meant something.”
Weegee was the best kind of journalist: he was a man of the people, for the people, and he did it right. He understood the gritty glamour of his milieu and the power of the photograph to tell the story instantaneously. He bore witness with the eye of an artist and the speed of a professional, always he first on the scene. “News photography teaches you to think fast,” Weegee observed, and at a time when newsprint was the main mode of visual communication, he dominated.
“If you were to ask me to define a photograph in a few words, I would say it is a fossil of light and time,” observes Daido Moriyama. “When I take photographs my body inevitably enters a trancelike state. Briskly weaving my way through the avenues, every cell in my body becomes as sensitive as radar, responsive to the life of the streets… If I were to give it words, I would say: ‘I have no choice… I have to shoot this… I can’t leave this place for another’s eyes… I have to shoot it… I have no choice.’ An endless, murmuring refrain.”
Born in 1938 in Osaka, Japan, Daido Moriyama has risen to become one of the most pre-eminent fine-art photographers working today. He began his career as a freelance photographer in 1964, frequently shooting around the American military base in Yokosuka. He began publishing books and showing his work in 1968, and by 1974, his work was being show at the Museum of Modern Art, NY.
As witness to the changes that transformed Japan after World War II, Moriyama’s photographs expose a side of his native land that few outsiders know. With the development of cities and the cold, brutality of urban life, Moriyama’s work reveals the darker side of Japanese life. Occupying a space between reality and illusion, Moriyama’s grainy black-and-white photographs take on a surreal effect, showing us the intense, chaotic nature of the world in which we live.
Nat Finkelstein was a photographer with the photo agencies PIX and Black Star during the 1960s. He was a successful mainstream photojournalist, published in major media outlets. In August 1965, Nat was assigned by Life Magazine to photograph protesters in Washington DC. The protest – known as the Assembly of Unrepresented Persons—was designed to link opposition to the Vietnam War with support for voting rights to create a broader peace and freedom movement. Urged on by a young woman holding a “DEFEND FREEDOM” sign, the protesters tried nonviolently to enter the Capitol to present a “Declaration of Peace.” But police intervened and a melée ensued—with Nat Finkelstein there to capture every frame of it.
After the protest, Nat gave his negatives to a messenger from Life’s Washington office. Those negatives promptly disappeared. For almost 30 years they remained missing and this hole in the historical record persisted. But fortunately, the contact sheets of the images Nat captured that day were recently re-discovered. Below is Nat’s story, as he lived it.
Defend Freedom Photographs and Story by Nat Finkelstein First published by The Blacklisted Journalist, 2004
The Free Press is free only to the man who owns the presses. —A.J. Leibling, The Press
Liberty is murdered when the Free Press is Murdoched
It was the eighth of August ’65.
There’s hardly a person still alive who remembers that date and time and year when insurrections were here and the protest was clear: all comparisons stop there.
REPRESENTATION MATTERS: HONORING “WOMEN AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT” Miss Rosen for Crave Online
“Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again,” Rosa Parks asked decades ago, reminding us that the fight for Civil Rights cuts through the flesh, down to the bone, and into the very marrow of the United States of America.
Rosa Parks’s words are all too prescient this week, all too knowing of the agonies faced by citizens at the hands of the state, as the extrajudicial executions continue day after day after day. The horror of the killings is further compounded by their intimacy. Consider the murder of Philando Castile, livestreamed by his girlfriend Diamond Lavish Reynolds; in maintaining her composure and her calm in the face of a panicked officer of the law who killed without warning or provocation, Reynolds not only saved the life of her daughter and herself, but she risked everything to broadcast evidence of the crime to the world.
Reynolds’s actions remind us that although black women are rarely given the credit they deserve by the media, the history books, or core curriculum—they have always been at the heart of the movement for truth and justice. In tribute, the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, presents Women and the Civil Rights Movement, on view now through October 30, 2016.
Photo: Declan Haun (American, 1937−1994) Picketing the Courthouse, Monroe, North Carolina, August 26, 1961 Gelatin silver print (photograph) Museum purchase, in memory of Alice R. and Sol B. Frank, and with funds provided by Patricia L. Raymond, M.D.
Danny Lyon does it like nobody else. Born in Brooklyn in 1942, he transformed photography into one of the most astounding arts of documentary possibilities. A self-described “dissenter in my own country,” Lyon took to the edges of American life to document the country from the inside out, removing the veils of appearance politics to reveal the truth about this country in black and white like no one before—or since.
A self-taught photographer, filmmaker, and writer, Lyon’s work exemplifies the best aspects of New Journalism. Forsaking the industry’s so-called “objectivity” in favor of using the media as a means to an ends greater than the story itself. Whether on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement or behind the bars of the Texas State Penitentiary, Lyon used photography to bear witness to causes, movements, and historical moments that were happening in the here and now.
“In my vocabulary there are two bad words: art and good taste,” German-Australian fashion photographer Helmut Newton (1920–2004) observed. He believed, “ Some people's photography is an art. Not mine. Art is a dirty word in photography. All this fine art crap is killing it already.”
With this freedom from the restrictions of art and good taste, Newton charted his own course, one that redefined the genre of fashion photography itself. Born in Berlin to a Jewish family, he purchased his first camera at the age of 12 and began working at the age of 16. But as the Nazis rose in power and enforced the Nuremberg laws, Newton’s family came under fire. His father lost control of the factory he ran and, following Kristallnacht, was briefly interned in a concentration camp, before the finally family fled the country that same year.
“I feel I’m anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren’t self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear,” American photographer Cindy Sherman (b. 1954) told The New York Times in 1990, offering profound insight into the artifice of the image itself.
Sherman has made it her life’s work to create a body of photographs in which she becomes a diverse array of societal archetypes almost exclusively available to white women in modern life. Working alone in her studio, Sherman becomes the mastermind of her enterprise, acting as author, director, make-up artist, hair stylist, wardrobe mistress, model, and photographer—all with one goal in mind: the creation of an image that transcends our assumptions about the feminine.
Light shines through the darkness, illuminating all in its path. Light is the source of the visible world, whether in our everyday existence or in the creation of a photograph. It is light that makes seeing and recording sight possible, and so it is a wonder to behold. It is an energy that guides as well as stuns, and in this way, light is a force of reckoning.
American artists Doug and Mike Starn understand this very fact, and began a series of photographic explorations of the relationship between nocturnal moths and sources of light. The ill-fated moths are drawn to their deaths, as the Starns capture their last moments on earth in a series of photographic prints titled Attracted to Light. A selection of works from this series are on view in Starn Brothers: Absorption of Lightat 516 ARTS, Albuquerque, NM, now through September 17, 2016.
Politicians leave a paper trail by which we can reflect on the historic record as it was put into play by policy decisions that are criminal minded. In 1970, New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan took a proposal to the Nixon White House that he described as “benign neglect.” Moynihan advocated for the government to withdraw from dealing with the systemic issues plaguing the African American community, and in doing so, services were suspended in neighborhoods where they needed it most. In its place Moynihan advocated for increased surveillance and “studies,” much like the nonsense he was pedaling here.
But this being Tricky Dick Nixon, the message was warmly received, ushering in more than a decade of psychopathic patriarchy—which included the blind eye turned as landlords hired arsonists to burn down buildings in order to collect the insurance money, leaving neighborhoods in ruins. A war was being waged in plain sight, but there was nothing that could be done until the land was ravished completely. Between 1970 and 1980, 44 census tracts in the Bronx lost more than half of their buildings to fire and abandonment, with seven tracts losing a staggering 97%.
Who goes to war—and why? It’s a daunting reality, one that people around the world face, over and over again, their stories disappearing in the wind. We know only so much, and so we rely on the people who survived to pass on knowledge, to record the facts, a staggering responsibility few undertake. But there are those who use the camera to document the visible world so that at the very least we may glimpse the cold hand of death sweeping across the land like a machine. It’s hard. Numbness is the first consequence. Nothing is real anymore, nothing besides survival itself.
In 2011, photographer Michael Christopher Brown traveled to Libya to photography the Revolution that began on February 17. It was his first war, and he spent a year armed with a camera on the battlefield. Hailing from a military family that dates back to the Revolutionary War, Brown is an eleventh generation American patriot charged to put his life on the line—but for what? This is the central question of Libyan Sugar (Twin Palms).
“When I was a kid, I played baseball and you heard the sound the bat made when it really connected with the ball; you knew you had a great hit. It’s the same with photography: sometimes you hear that click of the shutter and you know you’ve caught something really special,” observes American photographer Bruce Davidson (b. 1933).
Davidson, a member of Magnum Photos since 1958, authored some of the most seminal monographs of the twentieth century including Brooklyn Gang, East 100 Street, and Subway. He is now the subject of a new book, Bruce Davidson: Magnum Legacy by Vicki Goldberg (Prestel), which explores the photographer’s life work in photography. Davidson speaks with Crave about his work and about the magic of photography that kept him hooked in a career that spans six decades.
South African photographer Singarum “Kitty” Jeevaruthnam Moodley was born into an Indian family in the province now known as KwaZulu-Natal in 1922. At the age of 35, he left his job working as a machinist in a shoe factory to establish Kitty’s Studio, a family-run photographic studio in the mid-sized city of Pietermaritzburg, which he ran for three decades, until his death in 1987.
After his death, many of the studio’s negatives were purchased by the Campbell Collections in Durban, now part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Those deemed incompatible with the historical collection were culled from the archive and some 1,400 negatives were ultimately acquired by Columbia University professor Dr. Steven C. Dubin—and thus a legacy has been cultivated and preserved.
Dr. Dubin has co-organized a new exhibition of work, Who I Am: Rediscovered Portraits from Apartheid South Africa, now on view at The Walther Collection Project Space, New York, through September 3, 2016. The portraits were taken between 1972 and 1984, offering a new look at the history of South Africa. A passionate community activist and fervent opponent of apartheid, Kitty’s photographs speak to the love and high regard he held for his fellow wo/man.
Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family was first published nearly forty years ago, on August 17, 1976. Weighing in at 704 ages, the book was a heavyweight moment in publishing, a triumph of American literature in the late twentieth century. Roots tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an African boy sold into slavery and brought to the United States in the 18th century, tracing the family’s lineage all the way to Haley himself. The story is a masterful work of reportage, one that earned Haley a Pulitzer Prize in 1977.
That year, ABC TV staged a landmark event. From January 23–30, it aired a twelve-hour mini series over eight consecutive nights. The nation was spellbound and followed the show to the very end. One hundred million people tuned in for the finale. That’s right. 100 MILLION—almost half the country! To this day, the finale of Roots holds the distinction of being third highest rated episode of any kind in television history. Never had American television taken on African American history like this. With a cast that included LeVar Burton, John Amos, Ben Vereen, Louis Gosset, Jr., Leslie Uggams, and Vic Morrow, Roots took a docudrama approach to filming, creating a singular style the influenced later productions. Winning 9 of its 37 Emmy Awards nominations, Roots set the bar for great television.
Forty years later, Roots has returned, with a remake that aired May 30–June 2, 2016, on History, A&E, and Lifetime. Starring Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Lawrence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Anika Noni Rose, and T.I., the remake 8.5 million people on the opening night, the biggest draw for a cable miniseries in three years. The remake dropped characters added to the 1977 series that were not in the book, like Ed Asner’s Captain Davies, the savior of white guilt, while adding layers of realism to the depictions of African tribes, life on plantations, and life for black soldiers in the Union army.
In 1971, America photographer Larry Clark published Tulsa with Lustrum Press, owned by Ralph Gibson, sparking a wave of controversy across the nation. The book, which features fifty black and white photographs taken by Clark in 1963, 1968, and 1971, reveal the dark side of American youth culture in the heartland of America. Drugs, sex, and guns were front and center, as much the subject of the book as the people themselves with Clark a participant, rather than a voyeur. He brought a new level of authenticity to his work, and in doing so Tulsa changed the very nature of documentary photography itself.
Forty-five years after the book’s release, a new exhibition of photographs adds a new layer of perspectives to the story of this work in Unruly Bodies: Dismantling Larry Clark’s Tulsa at the California Museum of Photography UCR ARTSblock, Riverside, now through January 28, 2017. Curated by graduate students from the History of Art and the Public History Program, Unruly Bodies speaks to the new generation reflecting on the past, reflecting on Clark’s watershed moment in contemporary photography, pairing his work alongside that of Danny Lyon, Bill Eppridge, and W. Eugene Smith to critical effect.
It was one of the most controversial fights in boxing history: Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston, for the 1965 title of WBC Heavyweight Champion. It was a hotly anticipated rematch, one made all the more fervent by recent history. Just a year earlier, Cassius Clay beat Liston and taken the title with a technical knockout. Two days later, Clay publicly announced he was a member of the Nation of Islam and adopted the name Cassius X before taking the name that would make him one of the most famous men on earth on March 6, 1964.
When the rematch came along, it was more than a boxing match. It was an epic vision of self-liberation. By aligning himself with the practices and politics of the NOI, Ali was vilified. Perhaps that’s why the only thing they could do was deny the facts. Two minutes and twelve seconds. That’s all it took. Midway through the first round, Liston through a left and Ali countered with a right, an “anchor punch” he learned from actor Stepin Fechit, of all folks. Liston went down on his back, rolled over, tried to rise, and fell back again. It was a wrap for Sonny. But you couldn’t tell his fans nothin’. They called it “Phantom Punch Fight” and yelled, “Fix!” sounding like a 1960’s version of Donald Trump.
Photo: Photo: Neil Leifer (United States, b. 1942). Muhammad Ali reacts after his first round knockout of Sonny Liston during the 1965 World Heavyweight Title fight at St. Dominic’s Arena in Lewiston, Maine, May 25, 1965.
“There shall be no solution to this race problem until you, yourselves, strike the blow for liberty,” Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) advised, reminding us that the power lies within. A political leader, publisher, writer, and orator, Garvey understood that words could change the world. “The pen is mightier than the sword, but the tongue is mightier than them both put together,” he rightfully observed.
Garvey’s ideas inspired generations to embrace a Pan-African perspective of the world, invoking the spirit of the Black Power movement decades in advance. The seeds he planted took hold after his death, finding their way on to the global stage in full glory.
Photographer Kwame Brathwaite was born in Brooklyn in 1938, to a politically active family hailing from Barbados. Together he and his brother Elombe Brath, now deceased, joined the African Nationalist Pioneer Movement (ANPM) in the late 1950s. By 1961, they created the South-West Africa Relief Committee in the South Bronx to support the fight for independence in Southern Africa. At the same time, the brothers were producing jazz concerts at legendary locales including Club 845 in the Bronx and Small’s Paradise in Harlem. Brathwaite began photographing the concerts, promoting them, and organizing cultural activities like art shows and African dance performances in tandem, dedicating himself to serving the cause.
“I’m most interested in finding the strangeness and irony in reality. That’s my forte,” American photographer Mary Ellen Mark (1940–2015) observed, very much aware of the gift she brought to the world. Her passion for the camera and the way in which it captured the curious sides of life can be seen in her life’s work. For five decades, Mark was a singular figure in the medium, producing a series of work that speaks to her love for humanity in its infinite forms.
Attitude: Portraits by Mary Ellen Mark, 1964–2015, now on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, through June 18, 2016, presents nearly 40 works from the artist’s singular archive. Melissa Harris, editor-at-large at Aperture Foundation, curated the show, selection works from Mark’s famous series, each of them sparkling with life and revealing an intense curiosity about the nature of our days and nights.
“I am an invisible man. No I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe: Nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids - and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, simply because people refuse to see me,” Ralph Ellison wrote in his 1952 novel, Invisible Man. A classic of twentieth century American literature, Ellison explores the complexity of being a black man living under Jim Crow laws in the United States.
At the same time, one man was making visible previously unpublicized worlds, the world of African American experience. That man was photographer Gordon Parks, and the medium to reach the masses was LIFE magazine. Parks and Ellison were friends as well as comrades in the struggle, using art as a means to raise consciousness.
Sometimes, the light is right and the Manhattan grid finds itself aligned with the rays of the sun as they shine down from the sky above on one tower standing alone. This is New York. Record scratch. Say what? It’s uncanny how absence becomes the presence of the erased. Once there was two. Then there was none. Now there’s one. It’s hard to know what to make of it.
New York is a city that proves the only constant is change, and if you live here long enough, it becomes the height of surreal estate. Take the neighborhood of Tribeca, the triangle below Canal Street. By the mid-nineteenth century, it was a bustling commercial center for industrial business. But the 1960s, most businesses had left, and Tribeca emptied out into a gorgeous ghost town. Attracted to light and space, artists soon found themselves with incredible lofts for living and working. As with the path of gentrification, soon thereafter the wealthy capitalized on the developments made, turning Tribeca into downtown’s most exclusive zip code.
Nearly a century ago, in 1926, the electron microscope was a brand new phenomenon that took the world by storm. With a beam of accelerated electrons, it can achieve magnifications up to 10M times in size, illuminating infinite worlds never known before. It was in that same year that German graphic designer Carl Strüwe made his first photograph through a microscope. With the eye of an artist rather than a scientist, Strüwe recorded the formal genius of Nature in all her glory, revealing the glorious rhythms, patterns, and shapes that are both biological in design and captivating in aesthetic.
A self-taught photographer, Strüwe dedicated the next three decades of his life to Formen des Mikrokosmos (Forms of the Microcosmos), which resulted in a set of 280 microphotographs, and in a 1955 book of that name. His intensive study, which concluded in 1959, elevated microphotography to an art. In Strüwe’s work, we see a bridge to abstract art in a space mediated by Nature herself as order emerges from the chaos.
Photo: Carl Strüwe. Plankton. Upper: Algae colony (Asterionella), lower: 2 Volvox colonies, 1952. Gelatin silver print, printed late 1950s 23 5/8 x 19 11/16 in. Edition 1 of 2; Titled and stamped by photographer verso. Courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
In the United States of America, there is a hidden one percent, the one percent the lives behind bars, incarcerated in the belly of the beast. One any given day, 2.2 million men, women, and children live within one of the more than 5,000 locked facilities located across the nation. Mass incarceration comes with a price tag of $70 billion per year that is thrust upon the taxpayers, while private corporations line their pockets with profits.
The prison industrial complex exploded in 1980, under the auspices of President Ronald Reagan, who reaped what Richard Nixon had sewn a decade before when he created the “War on Drugs” as a cover story to destroy minority communities. Over the past 36 years, the prison system has quadrupled in size, creating a crisis level event that is hidden from public sight.
It was 1974 when photographer Steve Schapiro got the call. Michael Pittman was on the phone. As Schapiro remembers, “He asked me, ‘Would you like to photograph David Bowie?’ and before he finished the sentence, I said, ‘Yes!’” Bowie was big, a shooting star. Schapiro didn’t know what to expect, but that just made things more interesting.
A LIFE photographer, Schapiro photographed the greats from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali to Marlon Brando and Ray Charles. Schapiro’s photographs capture the essence of his subjects, leaving us with a piece of their soul that exists to connect and reconnect us to the profound humanity that lies deep in the flesh. With Bowie, the connection Schapiro made was as good as it gets.
Photographer Henry Horenstein remembers the 1970s well: “When we were in our early 20s, we didn’t have that much to do. I’d go out, drink beers with friends, I had girlfriends (or tried to get them), and I had a dog. I had a personal life. I don’t have that anymore. Life is too busy.”
A student of Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White, Horenstein has been making photographs since the early 1970s. He observes, “Over the years I’ve photographed many different types of subjects, even animals and the human form. But I’ve always returned to my roots as a documentary photographer. More than anything, I like a good story. And I try to tell one in a direct way, with humor and a punch line, if possible.”
Seydou Keïta, one of the greatest portrait photographers of the twentieth century, was born in Bamako, Mali, in 1921. He did not attend school and at the age of seven became an apprentice carpenter to his father and uncle who, in 1935, gave him his first camera, a little Kodak Brownie.
By 1939 he was already making a living as a self-taught photographer, and in 1948, opened his studio on the family plot in a bustling district of Bamako, not far from the station. Keïta recalls, “…my father gave me the land with the house behind the main prison. And that’s where I opened my studio. It’s a place where no one wanted to live because of the ‘spirits’ that threw stones in the night. Even today if you sleep in that house and you turn off the light a great gleaming white horse spirit might appear.”
“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary,” the great British photographer Cecil Beaton said and his archive is a testament to depth of his commitment to this belief. With a career that spans six decades, from the 1920s through the ‘70s, Beaton was an arbiter of style and poise who captured the soul in a series of remarkable portraits that make him one of the best to wield the camera. Each photograph is the perfect moment in time, created as a collaboration between subject and artist. With a collection of sitters than includes everyone from Elizabeth II to Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote to Mick Jagger, Lucian Freud to Pablo Picasso, a sitting with Beaton was legendary, as the artist became as celebrated as those he photographed.
Beaton Photographs by Mark Holborn (Abrams) is a sumptuous compendium of 275 color and black and white photographs, paying tribute to the master in large format. As Holborn observes in the editorial note, “You can lose yourself in the Beaton Studio Archive. Towards the end of his life Sotheby’s acquired from Beaton a hundred thousand photographs and negatives, together with his albums. Immersing yourself in this huge collection can change your view of this prolific figure. In many ways Beaton came to represent a dandified view of an Englishman: fond of his tailor—the trousers always cut a little too tight—but seemingly unblemished by ill fortune. Even on the battlefield he found views of exquisite abstraction. This persona was an invention. He was a virtuoso who, through his inherent sense of design, successfully disguised any sense of mid-century angst. Elegance, it appears, was his shield.”
The border between Kazakhstan and Russia is 4,254 miles long. It assumed its current shape in 1930, and became an international border in 1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved. Along this border were closed cities—restricted military zones—that had been concealed from the public at large. These cities, Priozersk (formally known as 'Moscow 10') and Kurchatov (“The Polyglon”), did not appear on any maps until “discovered” by Google Earth.
During the Cold War, these cities became the sites for covert testing of nuclear weapons and long distance weapons. Kurchatov was the site of more than 400 tests. The government claimed it was uninhabited, but that was a cover story. Locals played a vital role in the project, as scientists silently documented the effects of radiation and pollution on them and their livestock. Not surprisingly, Kurchatov has the highest incidence of cancer anywhere in the world.
“Nobody looked at him. He passed on unsuspected and deadly, like a pest in the street full of men,” Joseph Conrad wrote in The Secret Agent, a political novel. First published in 1907, the story is set in London in 1886 and recounts an anarchist’s failed plot to bomb the Greenwich Observatory. It is considered to be among the first literary portrayals of terrorism, anarchism, and espionage. For over a century, it’s been widely regarding, ranking as the 46 best book of the 20 century by the Modern Library. On the other side of the coin, it has been said that the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, kept a copy by his bed during his teenage years.
Undoubtedly a book of its caliber has seen many forms, including Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 film, Sabotage. Now it’s artist Stan Douglas ‘s turn. He re-envisions Conrad’s classic in Stan Douglas: The Secret Agent, a film installation on view at David Zwirner, 519 West 19 Street, New York. The gallery will present a survey of Douglas’s photographic works spanning his career at 537 West 20th Street. Both shows are on view now through April 30, 2016.
Artwork: Stan Douglas. Still from The Secret Agent, 2015. Six-channel video installation, eight audio channels, 53:35 min (loop) with six musical variations, color, sound. Overall dimensions vary with installation. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York.
“I went into photography because it seemed like the perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today’s existence,” Robert Mapplethorpe said, becoming himself one of the greatest and most controversial figures to ever master the form. Best known for his classical black and white portraits, nudes, and flowers produced in the 1970s and ‘80s, Mapplethrope rose to critical and commercial success before becoming a lightening rod for controversy and censorship in 1989, the year of his death.
Three decades later, his legacy endures, continuing to provoke, trigger, alarm, and disturb. “I don't like that particular word 'shocking.' I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them,” he observed, creating a body of work that is as complex and compelling as it is polarizing and provocative.
Nestled into vacant lots sprinkled across the South Bronx, Spanish Harlem, and the Lower East Side are little slices of home for the Puerto Rican residents of New York: a casita (“little house”) and surrounding gardens. Casitas first sprang up in the late 1970s. At the time there were hundreds of vacant lots and abandoned buildings scattered across the city, the result of arson schemes that reduced much of New York to rubble. Resilience was essential to existence, and with that in mind, a number of middle-aged African American and Puerto Rican residents were inspired to reclaim the land for flower and vegetable gardens.
Realizing this was a positive thing, Koch administration established Green Thumb program in 1978, which allowed residents to lease the abandoned lots for a dollar a year while also supplying tools, seeds, and fencing for the gardens. It is within these gardens that the casitas lie, sparkling like gems under the city’s sky. A form of Caribbean vernacular architecture, casitas are constructed of wood and consisting of one or two rooms. The exteriors are painted in bright, vivid colors of the island: red, turquoise, and yellow abound. They also enjoy glorious names like Villa El Gato (“The Cat’s House”), El Balcón (“The Puerto Rican Veranda”), and Rincón Criollo (“Creole Corner”).
What’s Going On? 1969–1974 by Ken Light (Light Squared Media) opens with three memos to the Acting Director of the FBI sent in 1971 and ’72. The subject is the author himself. His movements were being monitored and sent up the chain of command. Light got his start in 1969 photographing for alternative newspapers and magazines, documenting the protests across the nation. He caught the National Guard fully outfitted in gas masks and assault rifles marching across a college campus in Columbus, Ohio, in 1970, as a riot broke out protesting the invasion of Cambodia. The stark images from the riot, as well as the other protests Light photographed, were published far and wide, helping to define the times.
The attention his photographs drew caused concern from the Cleveland and Cincinnati Student Activities Committees, the agencies behind the memos to the FBI. Though one memo is largely blacked out, but the information that is released states, “Considering the fact that LIGHT is associated with the ‘Underground Press’, it is felt an interview with him could prove embarrassing to the Bureau.” The final memo reveals that Light had been investigated, and the conclusion was “…the activities of LIGHT appear to be confined to the anti-war, anti-draft, and anti-establishment areas, and no information has been developed which indicates membership to a subversive organization of a propensity for violence. LIGHT therefore has been deleted from the Cincinnati Adex and active investigation has been discontinued.”
The South Bronx is a world unto itself, a place unlike anywhere else in the world. It has fought its way back from near decimation at the hands of the U.S. government and its racist policy of “benign neglect,” proving that once again that the community holds together when the center falls apart. The South Bronx is not only a community it is the vital heart of active industries and manufacturing enterprises of the Port Morris and Hunts Point neighborhoods as well, showing that small, family-based businesses are alive and thriving in this part of the city.
Photographer Martine Fougeron moved to the South Bronx in 2009. “I’m adventurous,” she reveals. “I needed space near the water. We have with fresh air and a new view of Manhattan. It’s kind of raw, but there are beautiful nineteenth-century buildings and the sky can be seen in 360 degrees. It’s a good, quiet neighborhood.”
As a resident, Fougeron quickly discovered the local industries, some dating back over a century, others recently established. From industrial steel production, scrap metal recycling, auto parts and scaffoldings, to artisanal family trades such as baking, printing, and hand-made bedding, what these trades all have in common is their mastery of the craft itself. In 2011, she began to create The South Bronx Trades, a photographic series which is still in progress today. Here, Fougeron witness to the people who make the Bronx one of the strongest places on earth. For all the battles its citizens have fought, a new one looms on the horizon, one potentially more devastating than what has come before—if such a thing were possible.
A barrier 1,969 miles in length runs through the southwestern desert separating Mexico and the United States, a physical symbol of the international politics of the new millennium. It is not one continuous wall, but rather a series of walls and fences strategically placed to inhibit the illegal border crossings. The barriers were built as part of three larger “Operations” in California, Texas, and Arizona enacted by President George W. Bush in 2006 with the intention to create a border protection/anti-terrorism/illegal immigration triple threat.
For the past decade, the wall has been a source of great debate, a subject that inflames the hearts of countless Americans on both sides of the issue. More recently, the wall has been invoked by Donald Trump, who cast it in a starring role in his campaign, stating, “I would would a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
The border wall is more than a symbol of the power to divide; it is a symbol of the ability to control minds. The United States is a country populated exclusively by the descendants of immigrants and survivors of genocide; when Trump invokes the creation of a great wall he overtly aligns himself on the wrong side of history.
In a curious confluence of events, photographer Richard Misrach and composer Guillermo Galindo have collaborated on Border Cantos, a new exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, California, now through July 26, 2016. The exhibition features 36 monumental landscape photographs by Misrach alongside 17 hand-crafted musical instruments created by Galindo from found objects recovered from the border. A discarded food can becomes the resonating chamber of an instrument modeled on a single-stringed Chinese erhu; empty shot gun shells are strung together to create a variation of a West African shaker. Accompanying the artwork is a sound installation featuring three pieces composed by Galindo made from the sculptures on view, bringing the experience of crossing the desert to life in a way that alternately be stills and overwhelms.
“I am beginning to believe that that nothing is quite so uncertain as facts,” revealed American ethnographer and photographer Edward S. Curtis, a revealing observation for a man who dedicated his life to the preservation of a vanishing race. Born in 1868, near Whitewater, Wisconsin, Curtis left school in the sixth grade. Soon after that, he built his own camera, fostering a trade that would grow to be a calling by his life’s end. Beginning in 1906, Curtis set forth on a quest to create a comprehensive record of Native Americans, declaring, “ I want to make them [live forever. It’s such a big dream I can’t see it all.”
None less than J. P. Morgan himself financed the project with $75,000. Morgan’s terms were precise: the work was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs. The funds were disbursed over five years and were to cover only the fieldwork (and not the writing, editing, or production of the volumes). Curtis received no salary for the project, which was to last over three decades. In total, Curtis took over 40,000 photographic images from over 80 tribes west of the Mississippi River, from the Mexican border to northern Alaska. He also recorded tribal lore, history, traditions, ceremonies, and customs, as well as biographies of tribal leaders.
The Gowanus Canal of Brooklyn is named for Gouwane, the chief of the local Lenape tribe called the Canarsee, who lived on the shorelines in the 1630s. Back then it consisted of a saltwater marshland and meadows filled with fish and wildlife, making it an ideal location for locals to live. The locale was well situated within the New York Bay, which is located snuggly between Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey. The newly arriving Dutch colonists immediately seized the opportunity to take ownership of their “discovery”; the Dutch government issued the first land patents in Breukelen for the area in the early 1630s, and by 1639, in one of the city’s earliest recorded real estate deals, the area was purchased for the construction of a tobacco plantation.
Over the intervening centuries, the Gowanus Bay grew into an economic hub. In 1849, the Gowanus Canal was constructed, transforming the creek into a 1.8-mile-long commercial waterway, making it a center for maritime and commercial shipping. The neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Park Slope sprang up to support the rapidly growing industrial development, including stone and coal yards, cement works, chemical plants, factories, gas plants, and sulfur producers, all of which produced environmental pollution. The sewage in the new buildings drained downhill, directly into the Gowanus Canal, as well as being a waste channel for outside neighborhoods as well.
Nick Brandt has been documenting the vanishing African landscape since 2001, creating some of the most haunting images of a disappearing world since Edward S. Curtis traversed the Great Plains one hundred years ago. His epic photographs have been presented in a series of books that underscore Brandt’s devotion to his work. Inherit The Dust, Brandt’s newest work, shows the impact of progress on the natural world, using the ability of the camera to both capture and transcend time so that we may consider the interplay between the past and present. Brandt placed a life-size panel of one of his animal portraits in areas they used to roam, areas that today have become factories, dumpsites, underpasses, and quarries, reminding us of the speed at which the landscape can be decimated. The sense of before and after is particularly poignant when one considers Brandt has only been making these photographs since 2001.
Inherit The Dust (Edwynn Houk Editions) has just been released to coincide with a series of exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Berlin, among other cities. The inaugural show is currently on view at Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, now through April 30, 2016 (a schedule appears at the end of the story). Brandt speaks with Crave about the work.
Arlene Gottfried is a New York original. Hailing from Brooklyn, Ms. Gottfried moved from Coney Island to Crown Heights when she was just ten years old, living in the area during the 1960s, as white flight and Civil Rights changed the face of the neighborhood. In the 1970s, Gottfried lived in the Village while studying photography at F.I.T. After her father had died, the family moved to the Lower East Side. Back then, it was a Puerto Rican neighborhood, rich in traditions native to the island, which, when combined with local influence, produced its very own style: Nuyorican.
Nuyorican is rhythms, horns, strings, and winds—or it is simply spoken word filling the air. Best exemplified by Miguel Piñero’s Nuyorican Poet’s Café, it is a state of mind in the place to be. Nuyorican is a street vendor selling fried codfish fritters and fireworks on July 4, announcing his wares as he made his way up and down the street shouting: “Bacalaitos y Fireworks!”
“Once Upon a Time in Kazimierz” is the story of a Jewish family in 1930s Poland. Dark shadows abound, portending the inevitability of fate that retrospect affords. Conceived as a visual novella by photographer Richard Tuschman, each image is made through a meticulous process that marries miniature dioramas with life-size models, reaching new heights in staged photography. The work is currently on view at Klompching Gallery, Brooklyn, now through April 2, 6016. Gallery Owner Darren Ching speaks with Crave about Richard Tuschman.
“What I really try to do is photograph people at rest, in a state of serenity,” Irving Penn revealed. The artist’s intuitive ability to discern the moment of effortless repose appears time and again in his work, whether taking portraits of famous figures or when creating images of anonymous archetypes. Penn’s ability to bridge the distance between commercial and personal work enabled him to experiment in both arenas as a means to inform each other, producing a series of works that have their own private dialogue with one another.
On view now through April 16, 2016, Masters Projects, Brooklyn, presents Irving Penn: Women, Warriors, which brings together posed nudes from 1949-50 with ethnographic portraits in Africa and the South Pacific made through the 1970s. It is in these two series that we can see Penn using his talents and techniques to push the boundaries of classical photography.
American photographer Carrie Mae Weems got her first camera when she was 21 as a birthday present from her then-boyfriend. She remembers, “At that point politics as my life, and I viewed the camera as a tool for expressing my political beliefs rather than as an art medium.”
Over the past four decades, Weems has developed a complex body of art that employs photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation and video to explore the complexities African American life and history in her artwork. It is a mission she has chosen, and to which she has dedicated her life. Weems observes, “Despite the variety of my explorations, throughout it all it has been my contention that my responsibility as an artist is to work, to sing for my supper, to make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world, to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the roof-tops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specifics of our historic moment.”
Picture it: Massapequa, 1973. In a little Jewish and Italian enclave just outside of New York City, glamour and glitz was flourishing, nourishing itself, eagerly yearning for its close-up, in full hair and makeup. Homes were styled to the nines, as outlandish décor provided the perfect backdrop for a cast of characters delightfully parading about. A young Meryl Meisler was there, camera in hand, to document the lives of her friends, family, and neighbors.
Two years later, she moved to the city to be a freelance illustrator, tripping the light fantastic at nightclubs including CBGBs, Studio 54, Hurrah, Xenon, among other hot spots. All the while, Meisler captured it all on film, creating an incomparable collection of photographs of the era. A selection of 35 black and white prints is now on view in Meryl Meisler at Steven Kasher Gallery, New York, now through April 9, 2016. Meisler speaks about those heady days of the 1970s.
As fate would have it, they were destined to cross paths. In 2011, while a freshman at The New School, New York, Mark Woodward met Antonio Romero, who was an RA in the dorms. Woodward had played rugby while growing up in Hong Kong. He played soccer with Antonio and remembers, “a funny story that lead to a bloody nose.”
Over winter break, Antonio began to transition to Angelita (Lia for short). Woodward was captivated by what was unfolding before his eyes and reached out to her on Facebook with an open heart and mind. From that initial encounter, a connection was made and a compelling collaboration had begun. Lia began her transition in January 2012; in the spring of that year, Woodward began to take photographs of her experience with the intention of capturing the totality of her experience in both the significant and the everyday.
In speaking with Black Panther Party leader Eldridge Cleaver, Gordon Parks observed, “You have a 45mm automatic pistol on your lap, and I have a 35mm camera on my lap, and my weapon is just as powerful as yours.”
A noted photographer, musician, writer, and film director, Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was a great humanitarian who used his craft to advance the cause of African Americans in fine art and in popular culture. Photographing for Life and Vogue magazines as well as directing the 1971 film Shaft, Parks helped to redefine the image of African Americans in the mainstream media. In many ways, Parks’ life embodies the spirit of the American Dream, as he used his talents to rise out of rural poverty any become one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. As Parks rightly observed, “The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed.” Parks lived by those words, and in doing so, has created one of the most enduring bodies of work the world has ever known.
Appalachia that stretches across the eastern United States, running from New York down to northern Mississippi. The former hunting grounds of the Cherokee and other indigenous groups, Appalachia became home to colonists seeking to escape oppressive British rule. Later, it was marked by the routes and hideouts of slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad. Growing into a center of abolitionism, more than a quarter million southern mountaineers joined the Union army during the Civil War.
But it was after the war that things began to change, as Appalachia was recognized as a distinctive cultural region in the late nineteenth century. Large-scale logging and coal mining firms brought industry to the region, taking advantage of the abundant natural resources of the land. Miners were recruited from southern prison conscript labor, local subsistence farms, African American communities in the south, and even towns and villages throughout Europe.
Despite the profits made by the mining and logging companies, the people of Appalachia have long struggled with poverty, as health care and educational facilities failed to meet the communities’ needs. At the same time, the region became a source of enduring myths and distortions about its inhabitants. As the media began focusing on sensationalized stories like moonshining and clan feuding, Appalachia became seen as America’s white ghetto, home to an uneducated and violent underclass.
Artist. Editor. Revolutionary. Anton Perich has been exploring the boundaries of art and culture since the late 1960s, when he lived in Paris. Upon arriving in New York City in 1970, Perich charted his own path that included, among many things, the invention of an electric photography machine in 1977–87. The work was truly ahead of its time, as the mechanization of the work of art had not yet been embraced by the world. Perich speaks with Crave about ingenious invention, one which prefigured the very era in which we live.
What was the inspiration for electric photography?
Anton Perich: The inspiration was TV. The old-fashion cathode tube. I didn’t grow up with television in former Yugoslavia. I watched some in Paris where I was in the late ‘60s. It was magic, French TV with sensual overtones, with sexual undertones. In the ‘70s, before building the painting machine, I did lots of photography and video. I really loved the video image, and I wanted to paint and create photography with electricity. I realized then that the future of image would be electric and not chemical. Immediately after completion of the machine I produced some very large photographs with the machine. About 5×6 feet, ink on paper. Looking at them today, they definitely told the future of the electric image. They look like they were made with Photoshop today, and not 35 years ago.
In 1963, the Kamoinge Workshop produced their first portfolio of photographs taken by members who made up the group. The portfolio included a statement that read: “The Kamoinge Workshop represents fifteen black photographers whose creative objectives reflect a concern for truth about the world, about society and about themselves.” Accompanying that were the words of member Louis Draper, who elegantly wrote: “Hot breath steaming from black tenements, frustrated window panes reflecting the eyes of the sun, breathing musical songs of the living.”
A collective was born. The word Kamoinge is derived from the Gikuyu language of Kenya. Translated literally, it means “a group of people acting together.” This spirit of camaraderie and family suffused the development of the group, which included Roy DeCarava, Anthony Barboza, Louis Draper, and Shawn Walker. Early meetings were held in DeCarava’s midtown Manhattan loft. The following year, they rented a gallery in Harlem on Strivers Row, where they held meetings and hosted exhibitions. When the gallery closed, they moved the meetings to other members’ homes in the city, keeping their bonds intact throughout the years.
In 2004, founding member Anthony Barboza was selected President, and set out a course to create a photography book showcasing the group’s legacy. Together with fellow member Herb Robinson, Barboza has edited Timeless: The Photographs of Kamoinge (Schiffer). Featuring more than 280 photographs taken over fifty years, Timeless is an extraordinary collection of work that reminds us that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
"One must be of one’s time and paint what one sees,” observed French painter Édouard Manet. This ability to distill the timeless moment in the present tense is the artist’s gift to humanity. The passion to pursue this path throughout one’s life is many times inspired by a muse, but a person, place, or thing that sets the soul aflame. For artist Mickalene Thomas that inspiration is found in a private world that includes Thomas herself, her mother, her friends and lovers. From this circle, works of art have emerged, explorations of the impulse to create, innovate, and observe. A selection of these works is currently on view in Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and tête-à-tête at Aperture Gallery, New York, through March 17, 2016.
Born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1971, Thomas began studying art at after-school programs at the Newark Museum and the Henry Street Settlement in New York. She and her mother developed an intense relationship during her teens, as her parents struggled with drug addiction, and Thomas dealt with her sexuality. While studying for her MFA from Yale Art School, Thomas began to photographer herself and her mother, a pivotal experience for her development as an artist.
Photography books have a remarkable way of speaking without ever uttering a word, of bringing back to our earliest days, looking at picture books. The immediacy of the image captures our attention like nothing else, and we learn through silent observation about the world. To add words to the experience is to create context, to shape experience and imbue understanding. As such, most photography books keep the text in the front or the back, to be taken separately from the sequence of images themselves. The result is a feeling of silence akin to being in a gallery or museum.
But not all books take this approach. There are those who see the book as a collaboration between image and word, bringing together the photographer and the poet in a duet beneath the covers. In 1955, Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes co-authored The Sweet Flypaper of Life, an intimate paperback that told the story of life in Harlem from the perspective of an older woman who is a fixture in the community. Through Hughes, she introduces us to the people on the scene, sharing their tragedies and triumphs, giving voice to those who we would otherwise know not.
Inspired by this historic book, photographer Thomas Roma collaborated with his son Giancarlo for their second book together: The Waters of Our Times (powerHouse Books). Now in its second printing, this time in hardcover format, The Waters of Our Times is designed with the same size, layout, and font as The Sweet Flypaper of Life, sharing its idea: the story of New York through the lens of an older woman. This time, the story takes place in Brooklyn, the home of both Roma men.
In 1969, Ralph Gibson moved to New York and founded Lustrum Press, which published classics such as his own The Somnambulist (1970) and Tulsa by Larry Clark (1971). The author of more than 40 monographs, Gibson returns to the world stage with his latest volume, Political Abstraction (Lustrum Press/The University of Texas).
Political Abstraction refers to a recent series of color and black-and-white photographic diptychs made in over eight countries, which were born out of a response to the search for visual identity in the digital age. As Gibson observes, “Even though the photographs are made in different countries, they all look like they could be taken around the corner. I travel the world and I see the same picture wherever I go. I always have what I am working on in my mind and I will see reflections of it in the world’s reality. I’m projecting that on to the surface of reality. I think many photographers do that but they are not aware of it.”
As a photographer, Gibson works for himself, but as an author, he creates a new space of communion with the audience. He observes, “When I’m taking photographs, I’m in a dialogue with myself and testing my perceptual apparatus in the world. But I agree with Marcel Duchamp that an artist has a responsibility for the work to be seen. If I am going to make a book, I’m relating to an audience because I am forced to acknowledge that the objects I am creating will inspire a perceptual act in an among themselves. I make books as a way of mapping out my own course through my intelligence. A book is a map of the mind.”
Shot exclusively on an iPhone, these photographs combine the vernacular of modern life with the technique of a master of the medium. Robert Herman then geo-tagged the photographs, and that data appears as the caption to the work. The incredible specificity creates another layer of context, bonding the work of art with the technology that made it possible. Herman speaks with Crave about The Phone Book.
1975 marked the turning point in American landscape photography with the exhibition “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape”. Reduced to their essential topographic state, the photographs stripped away aesthetic mystique and forced people to confront the cold, hard facts of urban and suburban reality, while offering an either objective or critical perspective of the subject in the work. The exhibition had an incredible effect on photography as a whole, influencing generations of artists in both the United States and Europe.
At the same time, Bevan Davies had been working in New York, taking large-format black-and-white architectural views of downtown New York. Davies, who had studied photography with Bruce Davidson at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s, went on to be mentored by none other than Diane Arbus later in the decade. After a period of work as a street photographer, documenting the odd and unusual misfits who roamed the city’s streets heavily in those days, Davies turned his eye to the buildings themselves.
Established in 1889, Pine Ridge is the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890) and the Wounded Knee Incident (1973). Home to the Oglala Lakota, one of the seven tribes of the Great Sioux Nation, Pine Ridge is the eighth largest reservation in the United States. Yet despite its size, only 74K acres are suitable for agriculture. With a per capita income of about $6K, the unemployment rate is at a staggering 90% (versus 10% for the rest of the country). The life expectancy for men is 48, roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia, and the infant mortality rate is five times the national average.
The United States policies toward the Oglala Lakota have always treated the natives of this land as the enemy within. Twenty Congressional Medals of Honor for Valor were handed out after the Wounded Knee Massacre, in which more than 300 prisoners of war were slaughtered. Considered the end of the Indian wars, the United States government had only just begun its occupation and systemic destruction of the surviving generations.
In 2005, photojournalist Aaron Huey began documenting Pine Ridge as part of a story about poverty in America. As he writes in the afterword to his monograph, Mitakuye Oyasin (Radius Books), “In the beginning, it was all just statistics…. Over time it became clear to me that these statistics came from a deep historical wound. And then my photographs of Pine Ridge became a story about a prisoner of war camp, a story about genocide, a story about stolen lands…. I have stumbled into something sacred on Pine Ridge. It took my eyes a long time to see that, but my heart knew it right away.”