May 22, 2013
May 20, 2013
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave,
find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities
and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
All good things are wild and free.
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so.
Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters
compared to what lives within us.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Photographs by Danny Lyon
Quotes by Henry David Thoreau
May 18, 2013
I remember when the Salvation Army had that warehouse in Hell’s Kitchen, way over by the water, and honey over here had the fake Visa cards. He was generous and rather stylish so good times were had by all for two months during the Fall of 19 Ninety Four. That was the season of Salsoul classics on cd, dance your ass off in the apartment before heading on out to Factory. And while once upon a time I had been wearing Timberlands, Levis, and crop tops, after I had seen Nadja Auermann on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar getting her dragon, her drag on, honey child I had never seen such glamour for all my life and I was—
enraptured, enamored, enthralled, entranced—I was en too deep and it was just me diving into a pool of turquoise shimmering aqua du jour only no, it was not, it was stumbling drunk into Barneys back when it was on Eighteenth, a shelter from the darkening skies that came earlier and earlier each day. And I had to, I needed color like nothing ever before I was, yes, I was and I had to have it like give it to me and it was electric pink and neon orange glosses from the Prescriptives counter like my candy store like the best place on earth, and I slid those precious liquids across my lips and slipping and sliding wild, wet and wild colors like my 80s dreams and I was blonde, was I blonde? Mmaybe not. But I was up in stilettos and baubles from Coco Canal and that was back when dudes had there wares spread out on sheets along the streets like Twenty-Third and Sixth, and we’d be walking along when a marvelous belt called me out my name: Girl take me home and I’ll dance along your hips all night and day and night. Whatchu say, baby girl?
I took it home and my closet was most grateful for the times I’d take it out and make it twirl. I think—but I am not sure—I was wearing it that day back in Two Thou, summer was it, and I was in Chicago, yes, I was and there I had been, staying on the campus of that school not knowing a single person or where to get food so I took it to the streets. And it was all big hair, big curls, and a fingerwave around my hairline, and it was me floating along like a butterfly in a grey jersey Margiela skirt that dusted the pavement as I swept along. And a black tank top, really more a muscle shirt, and it had long sleeves that I snapped off and It sat like black canvas, a simple sheath, a satiny shield along my chest and yes there it was my faux Chanel belt belly dancing as I strolled down the street.
Mighta been distinct, obvious, oblivious, I could be. It’s rather yes so I pay it no nevermind and when honey rolled up all on me, I had the strangest feeling things were playing out from a script I had not yet read like the days pages from Another World back when it was on NBC. He was stringy, stringbean, white boy with a British accent, and he had been up, up like Dracula haunting the night, and the eightball was gone and now he, could he bum a smoke, and I said, “Take me to get something to eat.”
And so we proceeded, well he proceeded to lead me and I was pleased, see how helpful men will be, and me he took me to this little boulangerie that had seats in the piazza outside a red brick church with white accents that gave it a birthday cake kinda vibe. And we sat there, him telling me how he had some weed and we should get up after I get done with me day and I’m smiling saying, Suuuure maybe, sounding like I don’t know just yet, but you know I never had any intention of checking honey ever again.
But why ruin his day? It had just begun, and he sat there smoking my cigarettes, eating nothing, smoking away, and the day would just begin and it would become nothing so much as a vague haze of beige in my memory, lots of white folk, lots of books that were handmade, making the book something of a craft, reminding me of where it all began, right, like I was ten and I—
had decided it was time. I would write this book, a collection of short stories about Mr. Crocodile, who had this B&B, and all the characters that came and went, went and came, and I decided to illustrate it with colored pencils. It was done on looseleaf paper. And the covers were made of cardboard, which I then wrapped in sea blue tissue paper, and I drew the title real big: THE HOTEL IN SOUTHHAMPTON on it, and I bound it with gold pushpins that ate away at the tissue paper.
I had it for awhile, and then like everything else ~ bon voyage. And I sent it to wherever these things go, maybe a portal through another dimension. But it’s always happening, whether I know it or not, and it occurs to me that means there are countless opportunities to jump frequencies, vibe from one dimension and the next, go across time and space and be this vibe, this vibration, this feeling, this energy, this source, this voice whispering in my ear and I smile like oo you know, and you do and thas what makes it worth alla every thing in the end.
The End, it’s true.
May 17, 2013
Photography records what we forget, offering a map back into the past into lives we would never otherwise know, if not for the camera to record their existence. We are all anonymous, until we are not. We keep records to prevent the inevitable erasure as time slips through our grasp. We are fortunate not only that the photographer was there to record what was, but that historians exist today to dig through the rubble of time and unearth the forgotten.
Nostalgia: The Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas II, Captured in Color Photographs by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (Die Gestalten Verlag) takes us back to the turn of the twentieth century, during the final years before the final days of an empire that spanned several centuries. Prokudin-Gorskii was a pioneer of photography in Russia, and a pioneer in color photography itself. As Dr. Stelle Blasche writes in the book’s introduction, “Very little has been written about his life history. Like so many of the artists and architects of pre-revolutionary Russia, he has been forgotten, leaving a blank space in photography that remains to this day.”
With the publication of Nostalgia, we are treated to a long-overdue retrospective of the artist’s work, a story of so many lives that would be changed forever in a matter of a decade’s time. Prokudin-Gorskii studied chemistry in Russia before traveling to Berlin and Paris to learn about chemistry, photomechanics, and spectral analysis. He returned to Russia in 1901 to study color photography in a country where the medium of photography itself was little known. Driven to compete with the developments in Western Europe and the USA, Prokudin-Gorskii presented his work to the Imperial Technical Society with the aim of garnering financial support for his project. By 1908, he had reached Czar Nicholas II, presenting color projections of photographs that included a portrait of celebrated author Lev Tolstoi.
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
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 10, 2013
Twelve by twelve inches. A cardboard slipcase for a twelve-inch album. Vinyl. The way it all began. When turntables were the way music was orchestrated in the era of mass reproduction. And so it was, and it had been, that the photograph was part of that experience, the sleeve being the perfect place upon which to project, a veritable canvas, a movie screen, a silent and simple place for a single image upon which to consider the songs recorded on A and B sides. And once upon a time, not so long ago, the music pressed was a thing to behold unto itself, perhaps the height of the era being the jazz albums that had been produced.
Jazz Covers I and II by Joaquim Paulo with editor Julius Wiedemann (Taschen) Is an impressive compendium, taking us back to the way it was, when you could gaze upon the photograph, the way in which the artist designed to complement the energy of the album, each cover design being a distinct in the way it sets the tone through the visual iconography of the creative director, who integrated the image into a larger frame, using line, text, and form to produce a visual rhythm all its own.
Read the Full Review at
Le Journal de la Photographie
May 8, 2013
We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth
at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know
the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.
Photographs by Stephen Mallon
Quotes by Pablo Piccaso
May 7, 2013
Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting.
The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.
People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live
because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly.
I never fall apart, because I never fall together.
They always say time changes things,
but you actually have to change them yourself.
Photographs by Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen
Quotes by Andy Warhol
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
May 6, 2013
It was two summers ago: 2011, to be exact, when I first saw the photograph. It was an image of an older woman laying in bed, her hand reaching forward and clasping the hand of the photographer.
With one hand he managed to take the photograph while being in part of the image itself. The intensity of the image, the skill it took, to the power that transcends the moment, it drew me close. I could feel her hand clasping my own and somehow I was drawn into the photograph like Alice through the looking glass.
And so it began. But I did not know. Where it would go, for the circle has no beginning or no end once we set forth. The photograph remained in my memory. It’s effect could not be forgotten, undone. Months later that I re-approached photographer Eric Johnson about writing a story about his grandmother, Mrs. Idell Marshall, for Le Journal de la Photographie.
I didn’t know what or why; I just needed to know more. My curiosity can be insatiable and journalism is nothing if not a license to ask questions that polite society might otherwise ignore. To ask questions is to express interest. To listen and to learn and to consider from where the fascination stems and what truths can be discerned.
And so it was that we began to talk, and as we spoke, stories began to surface. From the depths, they came alive. Little by little, from memories that had receded into the distance, things untold. Justice to be served. Truth to be spoke. It began in death, as so many things do, only this was not death as I had thought death was, but a revolution too.
The completion of a circle as it spins round, the snake eating its tail, no beginning and no ending but it is here that I entered and I—
—saw it. Heard it. And I knew.
“Pull up a chair and sit down,” the voice told me as I looked through the doorway at the kitchen table. I was inside the photograph, here, in this space. I was returning to from whence I came: Books. That’s all it has ever been.
It had been years, long enough to forget. Long enough to remember that I never thought of making a book again. Never thought of it until it called to me: “Pull up a chair and sit down.”
“Eric! This is a book!” I gasped through a hazy glow of rose.
Eric is cool. He smiled and said, “Okay.”
And so it began.
Just like that. In his grandmother’s last days, Eric stood before her with a camera. She, who never liked being photographed, became so powerful she transcended the planes of reality. Three dimensions into two and then back into three. Through time and space, she called to me. Maybe not to me, specifically, but I cannot help but listen when I hear things.
It began a year ago. Photographs and stories and stories and photographs were like puzzle pieces without a cover image. It began because it never ended and there was work to be done. And there was no intention, except love and respect, patience and trust. Patience as I have never known. Trust in being able to not know, being able to listen.. to the space in between the words.. so that I could begin to write them down. And, now, one year later, the circle turns once more.
We come to this. By way of faith. By way of belief. By way of an understanding for which there are no words but in the photograph, the spirit remains. Forever eternal. Forevermore. Grandmother Power. Power as the dictionary defines it first and foremost: the ability to act or to produce an effect.
Transcendence is beyond the rational, as well it should be. Transcendence is not a thing of the mind but the connection to a higher plane. It speaks through the soul, and it is heard in the heart, and finally, ohh finally, it reverberates in words that give it physical form. But it is not physical, nor rational; it is beyond our ability to comprehend through logic. It is meaning without reason and it calls to me and to it I answer and dedicate my life to it.
To this. To something I cannot full express. But it begins with gratitude for each and every breath. For the darkness that has brought me into the light. For Eric Johnson, Mrs. Idell Marshall, and the entire clan.
And for Paola Gianturco whose commitment to the magnificence of the female spirit I honor with these words. Grandmother Power. I thank you.
Read Eric Johnson’s Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
More about Grandmother Power,
the inspiration for this post
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.