May 16, 2013
Books and photographs. Photographs and books. The historical record reflects the times as they were lived by those who were there. And here we are, some four decades later, reflecting on punk as it first came up on the streets of New York, along the Bowery, at CBGBs, a mélange of artists, performers, and personalities making for great photography, for stories that are shared and collected, for memories rediscovered and truths being told. For those who were there, and those who missed it, Just Chaos! takes us back to a time and a place where you damn sure better do it yourself, cause if you don’t ain’t no one else.
In the windows and intimate niches of BookMarc, New York, now through May 23, Roberta Bayley has installed selections from 13 photographers of the era:, many which have not been seen before this exhibition. Featuring the work of Bayley, Janette Beckman, Stephanie Chernikowski, Lee Black Childers, Danny Fields, Godlis, Julia Gorton, Bobby Grossman, Bob Gruen, Laura Levine, Eileen Polk, Marcia Resnick, Chris Stein, and Joe Stevens, the photographs featured here are curated with an eye towards style, inspired by the energy of the era as it manifested in the world at that time. “It’s all based in poverty,” Bayley reflects. Everything was D.I.Y., do it yourself.
Fashion, music, style, photography—all of it came as an expression of the truth: after the hippie movement sparked, it became mainstream and lost its edge. Punk came out of that void, all claws and fangs and guitar strings, spikes and torn clothes. It was street, strung out and sexy. It was the artist as anti-hero, a Romantic poem at the end of the second millennium AD. It was about the absolutes of individualism, of speaking your own voice and saying F the system.
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
May 9, 2013
White on White on White on White. I didn’t even mean to write any of that, but the words came tumblinn out after I looked—but could not find—a scan of the photograph I’m wanting to write about. So I hear Malevich in my head, Russians chanting in tongues and paint brushes stroking along reminding me of the Invisible Man, but that’s another story, for another time.
This one is begins, last night, speaking two men in from Mexico City, and they’re looking at the photographs on the wall, lined one after another after another in rows, becoming a lyrical poem, an ode, a sonnet of Shakespearean proportions only it’s all in photographs. Still images flickering at eye height. One after another, each like chocolates on a candy box and you think but you don’t know and you feel and you ask so I go, I flow into a reverie, the way it happened to me, it’s like poetry and I’m on stage and I like it like this because it’s natural, I hear the words and I am charged to write or to speak and if I could sang, lawdamercy but no, best I can do is dance .. but thas an aside.
Back to my point of alla this is yes, it was a photograph. I drew pictures in the spaces between the words, stringing along a little song that never spilled its secrets. Felt like it was a trailer, a preview, a fan dance, smoke and mirrors, except at one point i said something or other, and I saw the men draw their collective breaths ~
And oo ahh, success, yes it was mine, I could taste it, and I had forgotten how it had been only it had never been as good as this. Yes so I told them, how I heard the words, “Pull up a chair and sit down” as I felt myself like Alice going through the looking glass and standing at the kitchen door, and it was my moment, but still the story spun gold from my lips and I continued on, never finishing but I circle back to that photograph, and then I turn around, and there it is, right behind me on the wall, punctuating my sentence like an exclamation point.
And it’s this, of course. Of how it shall be, that you cannot see, but it is always there when you look ~*~
May 7, 2013
“The dress is the last thing that goes into the photograph. It must be like it was already there somehow. The photographs are of real families, realistic situations. It is not the fabulous, perfect, rich, pretty, successful—this is not contemporary. That is 90s, 80s, for the galloping economy. GREY makes sense today. It is younger, fresher, up to date,” Valentina Ilardi Martin says of her vision for Grey Magazine, a sumptuous compendium of fashion photography, fiction and poetry that has been published in a hardcover periodical every spring and every fall since 2009 and features photographers including Martin Parr, Nan Goldin, Sarah Moon, among many more.
The photograph comes first for Ilardi Martin, whose native Roman passion for the grandeur of everyday beauty belies each story produced in the book. She is nothing if not a womanist by nature, honoring the power and influence of the female mind, body, and heart.
She explains, “I wish to educate people on how to improve their dressing habits, what to choose to buy for the next season, how to style it with their own wardrobe and how to wear it for the best result. Every styling seen in GREY magazine is meant to be analyzed from the viewer and eventually reworked on an individual base. It’s meant to be an example that can be modified or adapted as a realistic suggestion for the upcoming season. I am not interested in a bizarre appearance. GREY is a magazine for a real, contemporary woman.
”When I plan a fashion shoot I start with the choice of the photographer. The idea will be constructed around his style, which at GREY is very precise and recognizable. I tend to keep the same contributors when possible to strengthen our visual direction. I choose photographers who are already GREY. Deborah Turbeville, Erwin Olaf, Todd Hido—they all have different styles while keeping a very defined identity and a very correct approach towards the woman. I like photographers who can understand emotions and portray the subject in front of them for what it really is. We show a great woman as an inspiration, we know them as human beings, not just as subjects for photographs. In accordance with the photographer we develop the story, the location, the casting. Sometimes the subject comes first, sometimes the place.It depends on many factors, mainly inspiration. When everything is in place, then, we think about the ideal clothes, the appearance, hair, makeup, mood. Only then. My aim and focus is now to bring to the reader something they can relate to, accept, love and be driven to, something they’ll try to emulate, because that is a selection of real, amazing, nowadays situations.”
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness.
And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.
No human relation gives one possession in another—
every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love,
the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.
Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
And think not you can direct the course of love,
if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
Photographs by Jamel Shabazz
Quotes by Khalil Gibran
May 3, 2013
A month ago I was asked to write a small piece, a tribute to the great Gigi Giannuzzi on the occasion of the forthcoming publication of TROLLEYOLOGY, a ten year retrospective of one of the greatest illustrated book publishing houses to ever exist. I won’t look back, I won’t re-read what I wrote. I shall begin again, speaking from my heart.
Gigi is dead. Long live Gigi. His spirit is eternal. I knew this, as I know so many things that are without words and yet I am charged to find a way to express the ineffable. Gigi is (not was) a force of Nature, a triumph of the will, a prince among men. He walks the earth with the express purpose of bringing light into the dark.
He does this, as only he can. He produces books, book unlike anything the world has seen before. Books that take on some of the most difficult stories to tell, the beautiful dreams and horrific nightmares that cannot be erased when we close our eyes. We cannot and will not look away. Gigi understands the photograph, the heart of the photographer, the witness who bears evidence, proof, and testimony of the ephemeral made eternal. Gigi makes us look. He makes us understand. We are all complicit in the damnation of the world, and we are all charged with its salvation.
Though Gigi has passed from the mortal plane into the spirit world, he is still here and his legacy carries forth, not only in what he has achieved but in how we carry on. And it is here the opportunity arrives to show heart. TROLLEYOLOGY is on Kickstarter. It doesn’t ask for much, just for each one of us to do our part. And what that is, you may discover when you step into a world, a world that lies right outside your door, when you open your eyes and see it anew.
April 12, 2013
The High Priestess is the guardian of the unconscious. She sits in front of the thin veil of unawareness which is all that separates us from our inner landscape. She contains within herself the secrets of these realms and offers us the silent invitation, “Be still and know that I am God.”
The High Priestess is the feminine principle that balances the masculine force of the Magician. The feminine archetype in the tarot is split between the High Priestess and the Empress. The High Priestess is the mysterious unknown that women often represent, especially in cultures that focus on the tangible and known. The Empress represents woman’s role as the crucible of life.
In readings, the High Priestess poses a challenge to you to go deeper – to look beyond the obvious, surface situation to what is hidden and obscure. She also asks you to recall the vastness of your potential and to remember the unlimited possibilities you hold within yourself. The High Priestess can represent a time of waiting and allowing. It is not always necessary to act to achieve your goals. Sometimes they can be realized through a stillness that gives desire a chance to flower within the fullness of time.
April 9, 2013
Light From the Middle East: New Photography (Steidl) begins with a portfolio from Abbas, a collection of images inset discreetly on the page. Humble. Quiet. Telling stories without saying a word. Bringing us, deep inside a land shrouded in veils. The first photograph is titled “Hands dipped in the blood of the ‘martyrs’ call for revenge. Tehran, January 1979.” We see death, destruction, violence, passions inflamed by religion and politics, a fervor at a pitch that is distinctly Middle Eastern in temperament.
The intensity is felt but not always understood for when the telling is done by outsiders, it is a matter of interpretation. But when the storyteller is of the people and place, of the time and the moment these energies connect, contract and expand, from the way in which the light falls and a shadow is cast, a camera in the hands of an insider is worth a thousand at the gates.
Light From the Middle East presents photographers whose work has depth and dimension, layers of meaning woven together from image to image, showing us the many facets in the evolution of a culture as it rides the cusp of revolution in the new millennium. The volume is fresh, the images and text woven together expertly. We are introduced to three motifs: recording, reframing, and resisting through the creation of the photograph. For it is the medium itself tat allows for multiple platforms, for the means to transcend the physical world by turning three dimensions into two.
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
April 3, 2013
It’s been a long time… I shouldn’t have left you. Not that you’d know it since I’ve been posting on the regular here for four years but—
Four years is a long time to be lost. Lost and found and back to the beginning that never ended and the end that never began as the ouroburo spins like Dead or Alive, round and round.
I ramble, I often do. I’ll make it short and sweet, cause I gotta go. Today I am pleased to announce the re-launch of my website, MissRosen.us
I created the site when I set forth on my own back in summer 2009, thinking I knew which end was up. I didn’t, but you couldn’t tell me ishh. I was no longer listening. I had long since gone deaf.
But, the Universe being what it is, made sure I got my come-uppance and undoubtedly, yes. It was a mess—chaos in it’s most glorious sense. The other day, Mr. Brown mentioned The Sublime. Then DJ Disco Wiz tweeted, “Know how sublime a thing it is To suffer and be strong..”
That’s how it went down. And down it went. Now I’m on the upswing and I begin where I am, starting fresh. I re-launch, remix, rebrand, release, refresh, renew, regenerate, do-re-mi e.t.c.
I thank each and every one who has stood by me through .. this (smile). The clouds are gone. Let the sun shine again.
April 3, 2013
Document. What we have. What we do. Create and collect and trade keepsakes, images and stories set down in print, a pleasure and a joy for the senses. The thrill of the page, thick between fingers that turn one after another; the inks spilled lavishly into rich and evocative pictures; the stories told by craftsmen of the word; the best magazines are collections that embody the spirit of the era, a feeling of the times, an energy that inspires and realizes the greatness of life.
Partners in publishing, Nick Vogelson and James Vasari understand this, and have realized it in Document Journal, a twice-yearly volume that allows artists full creative expression. All the world is a stage, cast upon the page in a wild and wonderful creative collective that the publishers describe as a family, includes Jack Pierson, Vince Aletti, Maripol, Bruce Benderson, and many more. Every story told is a history of our time, a look at the way in which that print, images of who we are and how we live, stories of what is happening, what it all means—these things situate us in the here and now, while transporting us to other realms.
Document recognizes this. In the second issue, which releases March 15, there is a feature story on the destruction of the Baghdad National Library. Books, documents, historical records, wiped out, destroyed in the fires, yet despite the damage and destruction, preservationists are working to restore the remnants. The photographs look like topographical maps, landscapes of a lost history, of a shared identity of a people erased when he United States decided to invade Iraq, now ten years ago. This is the new history, the evidence that is our Document, and this stories lays in a larger landscape of the telling of our world.
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
March 31, 2013
March 29, 2013
March 26, 2013
I first met Janette Beckman back when we were working on Made in the UK: The Music of Attitude, 1977–1983, a retrospective of her career documenting the Punk, Mod, Skinhead, 2 Tone, and Rockabilly culture in the UK. Of course, it turned out I knew her from way back when only I didn’t know it yet. See, she shot a Police album cover and that photograph became a poster that my babysitter hung on the wall. Perhaps it was one of the earliest images that took on an iconic quality in my developing mind. I didn’t know it then but that love of looking at photographs would change the course of my life.
Flash forward. I meet Janette and discover she is one and the same as the photographer behind the lens of some of Hip Hop’s most indelible images. I’m watching my life in reverse, like Memento with its snapshots, and the haze is coming into focus as I sift through Janette’s archives. Archives of what? Attitude. Don’t matter if it’s London or New York, punk or hip hop, it was the same vibe. Do it your own damn self. That stays an inspirational vibe.
I remember when Janette showed me a copy of her first book, Rap, with Bill Adler, a paperback with my honey Big Daddy Kane on the cover. Published in 1990. It took me back and brought me forth and from this, Janette’s third book was born. The Breaks: Stylin’ and Profilin’ 1982–1990, which she kindly allowed me to subtitle after her original subtitle, Kickin It Old School, appeared as the name of a corny Jamie Kennedy movie coming out at the same time. Man, what were the chances of that happening?!
Janette has photographed the likes of… EVERYONE. Check out this list, it is legendary: Afrika Bambaataa, GrandMaster Flash and the Furious Five, the Fearless Four, the World Famous Supreme Team, Lovebug Starski, Salt’n’Pepa, Run-DMC, Stetsasonic, UTFO, Roxanne Shante, Sweet T, Jazzy Joyce, Slick Rick, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. and Rakim, EPMD, NWA, Ice-T, 2 Live Crew, Tone Loc, Gang Starr, Ultramagnetic MCs, Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, Special Ed, Leaders of the New School, Jungle Brothers, Beastie Boys, Rick Rubin—and more! Hell, honey, even shot Jomanda! That’s for real. Got a love for you. You know, I just had to do this interview…
How did you get into shooting Hip Hop?
Janette Beckman: I was working for a British music magazine called Melody Maker when I saw my first Hip Hop show back in 1982 in London. The show featured Afrika Bambaata, Grandmixer DST, Futura 2000, Dondi White, breakdancers, and double dutch girls. It was absolutely mind blowing—we had never seen anything like it—and it seemed to me to be the new Renaissance in music, art, fashion and dance.
Being from the UK punk scene what did you make of it?
JB: The punk scene in London had reached it’s peak and I think everyone was looking for the next new thing. Hip Hop was much like the UK punk scene when it first started: so creative, groundbreaking, and in many ways both movements came from the streets—art and music created by “working class” kids who were inventing new things never seen before.
What was Hip Hop like back in the days, when artists were first getting record deals, but still didn’t have the marketing machine behind them?
JB: When I first arrived in NYC in 1982, Hip Hop was new and fresh. It seemed to me as an outsider coming from UK that the artists were free to do what they wanted, the music came from the streets and really told stories of what was happening in peoples lives, from the political like “The Message” and Public Enemy, to the raps about love, girls, sex, sneakers.
Anything seemed possible and the small record companies were much more interested allowing the artists to have creative freedom from the way they dressed to the beats and the raps. There was an amazing creative energy—riding on the train hearing some kid rhyming, seeing girls wearing the first giant hoop earrings, the fake LV outfits, the new way to lace your sneakers, the graffiti. Of course this was before MTV, stylists, the Internet started to dictate the way you were supposed to look.
Looking through The Breaks, I am totally blown away. You shot some of the photos that have long been burned into my brain. What was your favorite shoot, and why?
JB: My favorite shoot was for the British magazine The Face. They asked me to photograph the emerging Hip Hop scene and sent me out to Queens on a warm summer day in 1984 to photograph a group called Run-DMC. I took the subway to Hollis where Jam Master Jay met me at the station and walked me to the leafy block where they were hanging out with some friends. I just took out my camera and started shooting. The photo of Run DMC and posse is one of my favorites because it is such a moment in time. Totally unposed.
Please talk about shooting Eazy E, as I find this photo so touching. No profiling, no posing, no gangsterism in Eric. I love it…
JB: I was working on the final shots for my first book and had traveled to LA to shoot the important West Coast scene. NWA were recording their new album in a studio in Torrance and had agreed to have me shoot them. There was an alley at the side of the studio and I asked the group to pose for me. I only took a couple of shots of each of them.
We were talking about the recording. They liked my British accent and asked if I would be up for reading some lyrics on their album (it turned out to be lyrics about how to give the perfect blow job, which I thought maybe would not be right for my debut in the recording industry).
What do you think about the way Hip Hop has changed—as an economic force, a global culture, an art form, and a way of life for so many people of all ages?
JB: Hip Hop has really changed the world. I love the idea that people are rhyming in Africa, India, France in every language. What some people thought was a fad is a now, thirty years later, a worldwide phenomena used for advertising, soundtracks, TV, billboards. Artists like M.I.A, Ben Watt, and Santogold are mixing Hip Hop with their own beats and making some thing completey new—much like Hip Hop artists took disco and R&B beats and made them their own. And still kids on the street around the world are keeping Hip Hop real.