Robert Burley (Canadian, b. 1957). Art Photo Studio: Closed Due to Retirement, Toronto, Canada, 2005. Inkjet print. © Robert Burley. Courtesy of the Ryerson Image Centre

Robert Burley (Canadian, b. 1957). Art Photo Studio: Closed Due to Retirement, Toronto, Canada, 2005. Inkjet print. © Robert Burley. Courtesy of the Ryerson Image Centre

We alive today are witness to the transformation of the world, from a place of physicality to a more conceptual space, a space that is as infinite as it is vast. With the promulgation of digital culture, the photograph has been liberated from the page. No longer is it an object held to is physicality. Now it exists in its ability to exist immediately and simultaneously everywhere at once. Art in the age of digital reproduction has virtually destroyed an industry, and forever altered the form. It is now that the days of film, paper, and processing  have been rendered obsolete, though they retain their charms so much so that the ubiquity of photography now allows us to reconsider our assumptions of the art. So much so that it becomes a subject worthy of contemplation and veneration itself. Stand witness to the death knell of an industry and record its last days for posterity.

Robert Burley traveled the world with a 4×5 field camera to document the factories that were shutting down en masse. The Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era (Princeton Architectural Press) presents seventy-one of Burley’s large format photographs inside and on the grounds of the plants that were closing down. Alongside the photographs are brief texts that set a tone for the story of worlds going, gone, slipping forevermore into oblivion, and we feel a sense of the complete vastness of this loss in the large scale buildings, estate planning, and the detail of design itself. From the buildings we see the very life of business itself.

The people. They are gone. There is nothing more to be done. Befitting it is, then, that Hurley should include George Eastman’s suicide note, found on his bedside table that read, “To my friends my work is done why wait?” And then we turn the page, and we see a double page spread of crowds standing outside of Buildings 65 and 69 at Kodak Park, in Rochester New York. In the second frame, the buildings are imploded. It was October 6, 2007. Through Burley’s camera we witness the detail of the debris and notice the bulldozer nestled into the back corner, ready to get to work. Though the buildings are gone, the land is good, and the show must go on.

As Burley notes, “By 2012 a number of smaller companies had begun to establish themselves in the Park, namely those started by former Kodak employees who had taken early retirement or been laid off as the company downsized. Soon this cluster of modest businesses, with operations ranging from manufacturing solar cells to making spaghetti sauce, employed about 6,500 people, a figure outnumbering Kodak’s remaining Rochester workforce.”

It is all rather grim, for those who remember , who enjoyed the countless options that working in film and papers could once afford. From some angles it appears we fixed something that was not broken, but the end result was the same. People voted with their wallets, and the time and expense of film dug its own grave. Yet at the same time, they continue, now in a new and unexpected way. The 4×5 camera is alive and well, standing tall before buildings no longer needed to serve the world. Now it is not a matter of industry, but of the individual, or the artists and the authors and the publisher, all of whom have a story to tell.

The Disappearance of Darkness is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is a photography book. It exists only in print. In inks on paper at a time when people declaim, “Print is dead!” and yet, the medium lives on. It speaks now, more than ever, to people who understand the importance of the tangible. Of that which is to have and to hold, which exists in real time and space, and is non-transferable. Of the very idea that the mechanical reproduction holds a value we did not previously esteem. Of an understanding of the edition, printing of photograph in book form, of the ways in which the very act of turning the page teaches us how to look at the world.

Originally published 28 February 2014
L’Oeil de la Photographie

“Robert Burley: The Disappearance of Darkness”
is on view at the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY,
now through January 4, 2015.


Requiem for Mike Brown

October 5, 2014


Artists are here to disturb the peace.
~ James Baldwin


press PLAY


The Great Pyramid of Giza by Kermit Roosevelt, 191

Russian textiles

Tony Ray-Jones, New York, 1963

Tony Ray-Jones, New York, 1963

Love is nothing other than finding the truth.
~ Rumi

Photograph: Bronx, New York City, New York / July 20, 1972 Members of the New York street gang Savage Skulls strike a pose reminiscent of West Side Story. The trademark of the primarily Puerto Rican gang was a sleeveless denim jacket with a skull and crossbones design on the back.  Based in the South Bronx neighborhood of Hunts Point, the gang declared war on the drug dealers that operated in the area as well as running battles with rival gangs. By Jean-Pierre Laffont.

Photograph: Bronx, New York City, New York / July 20, 1972
Members of the New York street gang Savage Skulls strike a pose reminiscent of West Side Story. The trademark of the primarily Puerto Rican gang was a sleeveless denim jacket with a skull and crossbones design on the back. Based in the South Bronx neighborhood of Hunts Point, the gang declared war on the drug dealers that operated in the area as well as running battles with rival gangs. By Jean-Pierre Laffont.

In the tradition of Alexis de Tocqueville comes Photographer’s Paradise: Turbulent America 1960-1990 (Glitterati Incorporated), the first book by French photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont.

Weighing in at 392 pages with 359 four-color and black-and-white photographs, two gatefolds, and an introduction by Sir Harold Evans, Photographer’s Paradise is nothing short of a publishing tour de force that is equal parts news and art. The book launches on Thursday, October 9 from 6-8pm at Clic Gallery, New York. Hosted by David Elliot Cohen, Mr. Laffont will be making remarks at 6:30pm to speak about his life in photography, and its culmination in this incredible volume of work. Please RSVP to with “Photographer’s Paradise” in the subject line.

Christiane Celle, the founder and owner of Clic Gallery, states, “I’ve known the wonderful Jean-Pierre Laffont for many years as a result of my friendship with his daughter, Stephanie. I’ve always had great respect for him and his work, but I was fascinated to see his extensive catalog of images representing American life. Photographer’s Paradise has given me a much broader representation of Jean-Pierre’s skill to create an emotionally-moving photographic history. His portraits are both educating and inspiring. I’m pleased and excited to bring his book launch to Clic Gallery on October 9.”

Photographer’s Paradise is a testament to the power of photojournalism to shape the course of human events. As the media rose in power during the second half of the twentieth-century, it was a call to action for many to bare witness to history firsthand. Mr. Laffont found himself on the front lines, something he did with a presence of mind few can lay claim to bare.

Mr. Laffont’s wife and business partner Eliane Laffont has worked with him throughout his career, first as his agent, and then again as his editor. The Laffonts’ shared professional history gave them the knowledge and depth necessary to edit through hundreds of thousands of images that Mr. Laffont had amassed as he traveled all over America.

Read the Full Story at THE CLICK.

finding the truth

October 2, 2014

     Chuka and Dubem Okonkwo in London photographed by Janette Beckman, 1979

Chuka and Dubem Okonkwo in London photographed by Janette Beckman, 1979

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
~L.M. Montgomery, from Anne of Green Gables

live with lions

October 1, 2014

E. 3 st., 1967 James Jowers

E. 3 st., 1967. James Jowers

But luxury has never appealed to me,
I like simple things, books, being alone, or with somebody who understands.
~ Daphne du Maurier

Christopher Makos

Christopher Makos

Photographer, author, vagabond. Christopher Makos has been training his eye on the world’s stage since he came to this earth, creating an understanding of life that integrates everything into a cohesive whole. Whether people, places, or things, Makos’ gift is his ability to embrace them all as subjects of beauty befitting himself. For Makos is nothing if not a presence, a force to be reckoned with.

The author of 21 monographs. Makos’ work has been exhibited around the world since 1975. He first burst onto the photography scene with his 1977 book White Trash, which was recently re-released by Glitterati Incorporated in a deluxe edition titled White Trash Uncut. The book, at once raw and luxurious, chronicled the New York City pink scene, interspersed with portraits of Uptown Boldface names.

Makos 21st monograph, Everything: The Black and White Monograph (Glitterati Incorporated), is a sumptuous retrospective of three decades in the artist’s illustrious career. Weighing in at 352 pages, with 248 photographs, Everything is printed in quadrotone for the richest, most effective reproduction of Makos’ work. The oldest photograph in the book was a taken in 1973. It is a single foot set bare upon the beach in Ditch Plains, Montauk, New York. The journey of a thousand miles had begun. Everything stands as a testament to a life lived in the present tense, forever creating itself anew with every click of the lens.

Everything will launch at Lord & Taylor, New York, on Thursday, October 9 from 6-8pm. Hosted by Manhattan magazine, the event will include a book signing, as well as a fashion presentation, fashion style, a photo booth, grooming stations, and a live DJ. All are welcome to attend, and to RSVP with the subject line “Everything” to

Everything can be seen as a photo-biography, if you will. Here are portraits, landscapes, nudes, snapshots, studio shots, cars, dogs, horses, from Fire Island to Ascot, Mallorca to Moscow, Morocco to Puerta Vallarta, Giza to Palm Springs, as well as portraits of everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Queen Elizabeth II, from Man Ray to Jean-Michel Basquiat, from Tennessee Williams to John Lennon.

The Lord & Taylor launch is the only New York public appearance Makos will be making this Fall, as he tours the world presenting his original collaborations with Ports 1961 and Kiehl’s, featuring some of his most iconographic images. He chats with The Chic about his life in photography.

Read the full story at THE CHIC.

i will seek my home

September 29, 2014

Thomas Worthington Whittredge - The Glen - 1862

Thomas Worthington Whittredge – The Glen – 1862

Whatever purifies you,
is the right path.

reflections in the water

September 27, 2014

Mark Rothko, Light Earth and Blue

Mark Rothko, Light Earth and Blue

She is richest who is content with the least,
for content is the wealth of nature.

Sissy Spacek by Howard Schatz

Sissy Spacek by Howard Schatz

The craft of acting is not what is seems. The actor is charged with a sleight of hand, so to speak. They must so embody their role that they cease to exist, and what remains is merely the surface of what once was. The actor dips below the surface and travels all the way down to the bone, to the space where boundaries cease to exist anymore. And when they re-emerge they are a character completely their own, words written on paper given voice through their lungs.

The actor’s craft is to become one with the spirit of another soul so that they transform, by all means possible, our understanding of the world. Photographer Howard Schatz intuitively understands this and has used his gift for portraiture to capture the actor’s gift for recreating life’s experiences. In Caught in the Act: Actors Acting (Glitterati Incorporated), Schatz presents a magnificent array of emotional moments.

As Academy Award winning actress Sissy Spacek reveals in her interview with Schatz, “The thing that gets me going about acting is that you’re really exploring yourself/ I think as human beings we all share 360 degrees of emotion, and when you are exploring a character, you are really exploring yourself. You are finding in yourself qualities that help you illuminate this character you are trying to create, and I love that. There’s so much preparation that goes into building a character. But when a scene as really taken off, when the scene plays you, when you get caught up, this life force grabs you.

“I have always thought of it as catching a moving train. You see the tracks and know the train is coming, and as you are getting up to speed and the train comes along and if you are fortunate, you can grab hold and it just takes you away. Sometimes you get hit by the train, you get run over. That’s not so good. But I always have a laugh when the director says, ‘Okay, just do again what you did then,’ and I think, ‘What happened? Where am I?” When a scene plays you, you don’t know what happened. You just take this trip.”

This trip is something we experience as viewers of the form, whether it is film or photography, the reaction bears fruit of the same tree. We are voyeurs, observers, an audience whose eyes insistently feast on creations from the lives of artists. As consumers of art we are equally charged to investigate the roots of the tree that nourishes our minds and hearts. Howard Schatz sat down with The Click to discuss his experiences of the photographic arts.

Read the full story at THE CLICK.

~ 5775 ~

September 25, 2014

Sam Flores

Sam Flores

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Jason Nocito

Jason Nocito

Photograph by Mai Lucas

Photograph by Mai Lucas

Mai Lucas is an independent spirit that travels the globe in search of the beauty of every day life. She is drawn to the people whose souls live and breathe on the streets we cruise and the sidewalks we strut. For more than twenty years, Lucas has been documenting the look of urban style as it finds itself moving from continent to continent.

The Parisian native has made her name in fashion, magazines, and advertising, working for clients including Bouygues, Liberto, Comme des Garçons, Xuly Bet, and Vania, and photographing celebrities including as diverse as Amy Winehouse, Celia Cruz, Dwyane Wade and Tricky. Lucas has also been photographing music festivals such as AfroPunk, as sources of culture and pride that transcend the more capitalistic expressions of music for the youth in the twenty-first century.

Lucas sits down with The Chic to reflect on her passion for style as it is most intimately expressed by the people who step in front of her camera lens. The Starter, as Lucas named herself, has had a hand in shaping the look of the world by giving us an intimate and emotional space to gaze upon the beauty of the human race.

Of her first foray into photography, Lucas recalls, “When I was young a friend of my father had a Canon camera and wanted to get rid of it. My father took it and gave it to me. I started taking photographs when I was fourteen years old. It started out with photographs of my friends at school. I became the official photographer for the youth of my generation.

“I went to the School of the Louvre and started freelancing for magazines when I was eighteen. I was hired to illustrated an article on Hip Hop and graffiti for a men’s fashion magazine because most of my friends were in the local scene.

“When you grow up, you become aware that everyone has a personality; photography is one of the ways to capture people as characters. It’s like a movie. ‘This one looks like a queen, this one look like my hero.’ I wanted to be able to show the diverse people around me to the world.”

Read the full story at THE CHIC.

the voice of the heart

September 22, 2014

Wangechi Mutu

Wangechi Mutu

You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it.
That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies,
that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer,
and understand, for all that is life.

a moment of reverence

September 21, 2014

     Tibilisi Botanical Gardens, Georgia. Anna Bogush

Tibilisi Botanical Gardens, Georgia. Anna Bogush

By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest;
and third by experience, which is the bitterest.


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