Doug Menuez: Documenting Silicon Valley 1985-2000

A remarkable, yet ‘quiet’ revolution was unfolding in the mid 80s in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA – a singular era that would radically change communications, cultures and ways of being in the connected, wired (and wireless) world. By then, I was just beginning to enjoy my computer classes in school, cracking acronyms like RAM and ROM and keying away in the BASIC language. On the other side of the planet, over a period of fifteen years, American photographer Doug Menuez stepped into the ideas rooms, work-spaces, group meetings, pep-talks, lunch and launch huddles inhabited by late twentieth century technology tribesmen and tribeswomen, who cumulatively, in their own ways, wanted to change the world. And, they did. In training his lenses on the likes of Steve Jobs at NeXT, John Sculley at Apple, John Warnock at Adobe, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove at Intel, Bill Joy at Sun Microsystems, Bill Gates at Microsoft, and Marc Andreessen at Netscape (among many others), Munuez remained an observant, insightful and privileged witness to a very significant period in human technological, design and engineering innovation, and mapped the key architects and soldiers who laid the foundations of what will be later dubbed ‘Silicon Valley‘. In recognizing the archival importance of his project, Stanford University Library acquired his images ten years ago. Take a look.

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19th Century Photo-portraits: ‘Invisible’ mothers and visible babies

A rather curious form of portrait photographs emerged from about the mid to late 19th century – a ‘form innovation’ necessitated by a frailty of early photographic technologies viz. low emulsion sensitivity, and, consequently lengthy exposure times. The subject had to stay still for a fairly long stretch. Photographing adults was less of challenge then, but when it came to restless, excitable babies and children, the mothers were often cloaked or ‘disguised’ as supports for them, to get them to be calm and still. Mothers often covered themselves in black (or other) cloth to hold their children upright for the benefit of the camera. Sometimes the babies were propped upright from behind with the parent’s hands. Extra long child garments were also used to help hide the mother’s legs and body. The resultant images are a telling commentary on 19th century norms and photographic practice, however strange you may find them in the 21st. Take a look.

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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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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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