Eye Candy

Steve Schapiro: Photographing stars and everything else

Barbara Streisand. 1969

My first encounter with American photographer Steve Schapiro was via his portraiture work of the talented Barbara Streisand. Iconic portraiture that captured the spirit of a generation. And over the years, having seen a fair amount of his work while tracing his photographic lineage to two huge personal ‘heros’ of mine – Henri Cartier Bresson and W. Eugene Smith, it is clear to see that Schapiro is one of a rare breed of ‘photojournalists’ with an uncanny knack for capturing ‘the decisive moment’. Like Eugene Smith before him, Schapiro does wrap his photographer role around his activitist self, and not many do that any more. Here is a glimpse of some of his ‘celebritygraphs’ and a few ‘activitigraphs’.

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Tim Mantoani: Photographing the Photograph and the Photographer

Bob Gruen: John Lennon, penthouse apartment, New York.

Over a period of 5 years, Brooks Institute alumnus, San Diego (USA) based Tim Mantoani photographed iconic photographs in the hands of their equally known (well, almost) photographers. Shot on the rare and huge Polaroid 20×24-inch format, covering about 150 photographers, this project is fairly unique, with a strong archival framework. The published book also contains a little hand written ‘story’ about the picture at the bottom of each photograph. If you have ever wondered “who took that picture?”, Mantoani has a massive Polaroid answer for you. Take a look.

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Bryan Lewis Saunders: Self Portraits under the Influence.


90mg Abilify (after 3 months usage 3x maximum dose)

Bryan Saunders, a fine arts graduate of the East Tennessee State University, USA, subjected himself to ‘artistic clinical trials’ of various substances which are known and not so known ‘mind benders’. In wanting to re-configure perceptions of the self, while articulating the self via media, Saunders resorted to the intake of the likes of Xanax, Ambien, Cephalexin, Loritab, Crystalmeth and such, over a period of time. The results are ‘psychotropic’, to say the least. Saunders suffered some cerebral damage after these experiments. Please, please do not try this at home, office, or anywhere else for that matter. What is of interest is the visual re-construction and re-presentation of the self in each case.

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National Geographic Photo Contest 2012: Entries

Danielle Lefrancois: Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Canada

Last year the National Geographic Photo Contest saw more than 20,000 entries from over 130 countries. This year there are three categories, like before: People, Places, and Nature. Amateurs as well as professionals are sending in their entries for 2012. Take a look at some of them.

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Iphoneography, Instagram and Rear-view Mirrorism

When I first laid my eyes on Iphone generated imagery replete with ‘Instagrammatic’ filters, I could not help but think of ‘Mcluhanesque’ strains of determinism as made well known by his thought from 1967: “we look at the present through a rear-view mirror, we march backwards into the future”. Iphonegraphy and Instagrams’ wistful longing for time past, as made clear by their rabid recall, or should I say redial, of Polaroid and Kodak Instamatic aspect ratios, colour and exposure sensibilities, coupled with an even more peculiar recall adherence of wanting to be ‘painterly’, made me reflect on the rear view metaphor as not being concerned with just the immediate past, but also to deepen the metaphor to be inclusive of the distant past as well. It could also be reflective of the complex (and stressful) weave of the immediate, where we could seek to find firmer ground, by engaging with the comforting known rather than the frightening not-known. The examples here are from the Los Angeles Mobile Arts Festival. Take a look.

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Rare photograph manipulations before Photoshop: 1855-1950.

Two-Headed Man: Unknown, American ca. 1855 Daguerreotype

It is quite curious for us to look back at an age of visual practice which did not have the tools that we take as an assured presence now. From anonymous daguerreotypers (about 1855) to Oscar Rejlander (very often credited with one of the earliest articulations of manipulated photographs – 1857), the century that was to follow saw the imaginations and skills of myriad ‘trick photographers’ come to the fore. The George Eastman House and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have in their collection some of the early ‘imagineering’ that occurred much before the Knoll brothers changed the image making world in the latter half of the twentieth century. Take a look.

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Gregg Dunn: Neuroscience Painting

1. Cerebellar Lobe

Gregg Dunn, neuroscientist, is a lover of Japanese Edo scroll and screen painting. He discovered that the elegant forms of neurons in our brains can be painted expressively in the ‘sumi-e’ style. Neurons may be tiny in scale, but they clearly posess the same beauty seen in traditional forms of far eastern minimalist painting traditions. Dunn offers a unique persepective to our ‘skull tissues’ of neurons, glial flares, hippocampus, the cortex, synapses, and ganglion. Take a look.

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23rd National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Winners

Fernanda Credidio: Walking Beyond. San Pedro Atacama, Chile

Over 10,000 entries were submitted from all over the world, in these four categories: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place; and Spontaneous Moments. The stunning photographs captured an assortment of places, wildlife, and people that make traveling memorable. Here is a sampling of the best of the entries.

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Justin James Muir: Portrait photographer and ‘A Book Of Beards’

Portrait photographer Justin James Muir conceived the ‘Book of Beards’ after he moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA, where he perceived what he called a ‘bold beard culture’. His friend Mike, who is featured on the cover suffers from cancer, and all the proceeds from the ‘Book of Beards’ go to cancer aid along with covering Mike’s medical bills. Take a hairy look.

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