Posts Tagged ‘photographer’

I had a kooky friend in high school who claimed she could analyze you from your description of your favorite scene. At first, I described something sunny with flowers and little brooks and birds singing in trees. Her analysis: I was conventional, appreciated safety.

I was offended and said I had other favorite scenes. I described a stormy ocean with huge waves and dark clouds racing above, driftwood tossed on a rocky shore. She didn’t want to accept that one. She didn’t believe it. Added that I sounded like I had a split personality.

All of which is to say that I do like both kinds of scenes but that for taking pictures, I really prefer sunlight. Here are a few recent photos. Mostly sunny, mostly Rhode Island.

I have a favorite here. It is not perfect by photographer standards, but I love it. Can you guess?

























































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Image: Brittani Sensabaugh
Billboard at 66th and International, East Oakland, California.

The billboards that photographer Brittani Sensabaugh has been putting up in East Oakland, California, are specifically intended for people in the neighborhood, generally people of color. But they are such positive images, I think they speak to us all.

Sarah Medina writes at 7×7, ” ‘Loving yourself unconditionally and eating healthy is a revolutionary act — especially where I come from.’

“That’s the message behind a host of new billboards that have been popping up around the West and East Oakland neighborhoods. Brittani Sensabaugh, 27, an East Oakland photographer, has made it her mission to document America’s most dangerous neighborhoods. The project began when Sensabaugh noticed the prolific negativity behind the advertising in the East Bay’s poorest districts, where signs sell cigarettes, HIV testing and ‘ugly homes for cheap.

” ‘Not only do we not have access to healthy habits in these communities, but there’s no advertising telling us how to access a healthier lifestyle. We need to see uplifting, positive imagery in our communities,’ explains the young photographer. …

“Rather than be associated with a large name brand, Sensabaugh decided to pay for all the billboards herself and reach out to minority-owned businesses to help her spread her uplifting message.

“Mandela Marketplace, a non-profit organization that works to build health and wealth in low-income communities of color, was her first ally, and a collaboration with Yoga Love, an African American-owned yoga studio in North Oakland, is in the works [as of November 2016]. ‘That way the money stays within the community,’ Sensabaugh explains.

“The results are inspirational billboards that stretch from the corner of 73rd and International in East Oakland to the West Oakland BART station. And while the missives are different on each board, their meaning is constant: Love yourself. Heal yourself. Love is greater than fear.

” ‘The reaction has been powerful,’ says Sensabaugh. ‘I’ve had women cry when I show them the billboards. They’ve never seen our people looking so wonderful.’ …

“See more of Sensabaugh’s work and contribute to her billboard campaign at brittsense.com.”

More at 7×7, here.

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I learn a lot from well-researched murder mysteries set in foreign lands. And ever since Kate’s Mystery Books got me hooked on Eliot Pattison’s The Skull Mantra, the nomads in the mountains of Tibet have intrigued me.

That is why I loved Diane Barker’s photographs at the Global Oneness Project, which creates beautiful “Stories of the Month” about endangered cultures. (Maybe you saw my post on saving a language, here.)

For the photo collection on the Dropka, Barker writes, “Tibet has the youngest and therefore some of the highest mountains on earth. Journeying there, I have found a landscape of awesome beauty with the average altitude being 14,000 feet, an extreme and savage climate. It strikes me that it takes a tough and resilient people to flourish in these conditions, and also that perhaps the vastness and solitude of the landscape has encouraged Tibetans’ natural bent for visionary mysticism and unique brand of Buddhism.

“I have been photographing Tibetans for a number of years — deeply inspired by a culture that places spirituality at the heart of life. I have been most moved by Tibet’s Drokpa, or nomads, who until recently comprised an estimated 25 percent to 40 percent of the Tibetan population. …

“On trips to Tibet from 2000 to the present, I have been privileged to stay with nomad families in Amdo and Kham in eastern Tibet, and have found myself totally smitten by their wild earthiness and independent spirit as well as their friendliness, hospitality, and sense of fun. The nomad women, particularly, have impressed me, holding life together and doing most of the work. …

“Traditionally, the Tibetan nomads were very free, forming tribal communities to protect and support each other in their harsh environment where the major threats included weather, disease, bandits, wolves, or snow leopards. But this beautiful earth-based way of life is dying …

“From 2006 on, I have seen fewer nomadic encampments and the land in many areas has an empty, abandoned feeling. … I sense that the loss of the Drokpa way of life will have impacts beyond what we can imagine. As rangeland ecologist, Daniel Miller, writes …  ‘Who will pass this indigenous knowledge of the landscape on to the next generation if nomads are settled in towns?’ ”

More explanation, plus Barker’s amazing photos here.

Photo: Dropka.org

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I added Ello to my social media a while ago but am only now beginning to explore it. A kind of Facebook without ads, it seems to be preferred by people in the arts. Lately, Ello has been publishing interviews with particularly interesting users.

Here are excerpts from Ello Chief Marketing Officer Mark Gelband’s interview with Ben Staley.

“Ben Staley is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, storyteller, photographer, and professional adventure-haver. His striking portraits and nature photography are a constant source of inspiration to the Ello team. …

“Mark: I started paying really close attention to your work when you were documenting the film you’re making about ships and welders. Could you tell us more about that project?

“Ben: The project is called ‘Starbound’ and it’s about a boat of the same name. The boat is a catch processor that fishes on the Bering Sea. It’s a top performer but the factory was outdated and inefficient and they were losing money. The construction project would lengthen the boat, making it as environmentally friendly as possible and saving the jobs of the 100+ crew members. The owners are doing it for the best reasons. They could have taken the easy way out and and saved a lot of money up front and had no risk, but they undertook this incredible challenge because they care about the environment and their employees and their families. …

“For me as a storyteller it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture this process and tell their story. The family that owns the boat are incredibly committed and hardworking people and they will willingly spend more money and take on this risk to do things the right way. …

“Picking a 240 foot-long boat up out of the water, cutting it in half and sticking 60 foot section in the middle, welding it back together and putting it back in the water. All in the space of a couple months. The hard work, skill and craftsmanship are incredible. …  I’ll be making the first trip to sea with the boat later this summer and hope to have the doc done by end of year. …


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You probably know about Humans of New York and the photographer Brandon Stanton, who gets strangers to tell him how they really feel. I was reminded of his work when I read this NY Times story about an artist and musician who invited strangers to answer offbeat questions about their lives and then used the material to write songs for them.

Reporter Alex Vadukul attended a gallery exhibition of the work in February.

He writes, “The crinkled papers pinned across the small Chinatown gallery’s walls …  contained scrawled drawings and questions: ‘Do you know your limits yet?’ ‘Most recent Google query?’ and ‘Were you ever involved with the occult?’

“They were not pointlessly esoteric. Grey Gersten, an artist and musician, had designed them to gather information he then used to compose songs about strangers; individuals filled them out for him two summers ago during rapid 20-minute song-making appointments for his project, ‘Custom Melodies.’ …

“Mr. Gersten, 32, worked from an impromptu music studio inside the Mmuseumm, a peculiar contemporary museum the size of an elevator shaft in the narrow Cortlandt Alley in TriBeCa, where people handed him the papers through a window opening. The forms, posing questions personal and abstract, helped him explore a concept: Can you bottle a stranger’s essence in a song? The resulting compositions were played publicly at the Chinatown Soup gallery on [Feb. 5, 2016] and varied from ambient and sonic to poppy and feverish.

“People wandered through the space studying the papers on the walls, but a few sought their own original forms. …

“Josh Koenigsberg, 31, who sat for a song appointment, also tracked down his form at the gallery. … He recalled: ‘It was like going to a doctor’s office, except you filled out the last dream you had or the last time you got goose bumps. And he studied your form like he was a doctor.’ (One man at the event described it as a ‘takeout window for music.’)

“Another participant, Philip Weinrobe, 34, found his form hanging beside the gallery’s busy bar. It indicated his earliest memory was ‘sitting in a playground and looking up,’ that his favorite advice is ‘measure twice, cut once,’ and that at the time his last Google search was, ‘Why aren’t my marigolds flowering?’ ”

More here.

Photo: Emon Hassan for The New York Times
At a Chinatown gallery in February, visitors read forms people filled out so Grey Gersten could write customized songs.

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The uncle of my co-worker from Ghana is a very fine photographer who chronicled much of the last days of colonialism and the beginning of independence in his native land.

Another colleague was reading an article about the uncle’s new book in the Washington Post and thought, “Could they be related?” They are.

Nicole Crowder wrote at the Post, “In 1957, after over a century of colonization, Ghana gained independence from Britain. Just 30 years prior, in 1929, photographer James Barnor was born in the country’s capital Accra — then the Gold Coast colony — and over the course of a career that spanned more than six decades would become one of Ghana’s leading and most well-known photographers.

“Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Barnor created a definitive portfolio of street and studio portraiture depicting societies in transition: images of a burgeoning sub-Saharan African nation moving toward independence, and a European capital city becoming a multicultural metropolis.

“Ghana in the 1950s was experiencing a radiance of post-colonization as well as its ‘heyday of Highlife,’ a fusion of traditional African rhythms, Latin calypso and jazz influences that would soon spread across Ghana’s borders to West Africa and beyond. … Barnor captured all of this energy, playing at once artist, director, photographer and technician, by offering a well-rounded portrait of Ghanian life from many walks of life.

“On Oct. 8, Autograph ABP and the gallery Clementine de la Feronniere [released] the book ‘Ever Young‘ showcasing Barnor’s extensive archive, followed by a corresponding photo exhibition in Paris through Nov. 21.”

More at the Washington Post.

Photo: James Barnor/Autograph, ABP
Nigerian Superman, Old Polo Ground, Accra, 1957–58.

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Taking pictures is a personal expression. I imagine it is a bit personal even if you are taking a standard shot of something like the Washington Monument. What catches your eye has a lot to do with who you are, and there is only one of you.

Libby Kane captured that idea in a December Business Insider story about homeless photographers. Kane reported, “In early June, Jason Storbakken distributed disposable cameras to 10 homeless residents of New York City.

“Storbakken, the director of chapel and compassionate care at The Bowery Mission and author of Radical Spirituality: Repentance, Resistance, Revolution, directed each photographer to capture ‘things they hoped others might see.’ …

“The photos from this project have been curated into a show called ‘Through My Lens,’ which will spend the next year in various locations around New York City. …

“As the photographers returned with their images, Storbakken sat down with them in his office to do some light editing through web editor Picasa and to add their statements to each photo.”

See 17 of the pictures at Business Insider, here. More on the project at OneGlimpse.org.

Photo: Sean Collins
“This was on the subway platform. There is a reggae band in the back singing ‘Three Little Birds.’ The little girl is dancing with her daddy. Watching this interaction gave me a lot of joy.” 

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