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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

levittHelen Levitt, a major photographer of the 20th century who caught fleeting moments of surpassing lyricism, mystery and quiet drama on the streets of her native New York, died in her sleep at her home in Manhattan on Sunday. She was 95. . . .

“Ms. Levitt captured instances of a cinematic and delightfully guileless form of street choreography that held at its heart, as William Butler Yeats put it, ‘the ceremony of innocence.’ A man handles garbage-can lids like an exuberant child imitating a master juggler. Even an inanimate object — a broken record — appears to skip and dance on an empty street as a child might, observed by a group of women’s dresses in a shop window.

“As marvelous as these images are, the masterpieces in Ms. Levitt’s oeuvre are her photographs of children living their zesty, improvised lives. A white girl and a black boy twirl in a dance of their own imagining. Four girls on a sidewalk turning to stare at five floating bubbles become contrapuntal musical notes in a lovely minor key.

“In Ms. Levitt’s best-known picture, three properly dressed children prepare to go trick-or-treating on Halloween 1939. Standing on the stoop outside their house, they are in almost metaphorical stages of readiness. The girl on the top step is putting on her mask; a boy near her, his mask in place, takes a graceful step down, while another boy, also masked, lounges on a lower step, coolly surveying the world.

“‘At the peak of Helen’s form,’ John Szarkowski, former director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art, once said, ‘there was no one better.'” (more @ NY Times)

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“In the early to mid-19th century . . . the Upper West Side of Manhattan was open countryside, with large estates, white picket fences and wagons trundling along a rutted road already known as Broadway.

“Photographic evidence of that era is scant, as most studios offering the newfangled daguerreotypes were located several miles away at the island’s populated lower end and focused, literally, on that area. But one rural scene, recently discovered in New England, is going up for sale at Sotheby’s on Monday. It’s believed to date to 1848. . . .

“As the Sotheby’s picture predates the laying out of Gotham’s numbered cross streets, the exact location is unknown, but a notation on the back, signed by ‘L.B.,’ identifies it as on ‘the main road … called a continuation of Broadway.’ . . .

“Sotheby’s estimates the presale value of the daguerreotype at $50,000 to $70,000.” (more @ NPR)

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Wall built from gravestone fragments, Remu Shul (Synagogue) cemetary, Kraków, Poland.

The Remu [also: Rema, Remuh] synagogue (acronym for Rabbi Moses Isserles) is located in Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter of Krakow, and was founded in 1553 by Israel Isserles.  The Remu was considered to be the ‘Maimonides of Polish Jewry’ and was known for his universal outlook, his extensive Talmudic and secular knowledge, his manner of study, and his humility. . . .

“The adjacent Remu cemetery was used until 1799, and contains the graves of the Remu and his family. . . . After [World War II], the cemetery was restored and pieces of broken headstones which could not be matched were used to make a memorial cemetery wall.” (more @ New Cracow Friendship Society; Full photo; May, 2008)

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viewmaster_red_with_reelFirst introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, “the iconic [View-Master] reels of tourist attractions, often packaged with a clunky plastic viewer and first sold to promote 3-D photography, are ending their 70-year run after years of diminishing sales. . . .

“Scenic discs are no longer a good fit for the Fisher-Price division of toy maker Mattel Inc., a spokeswoman said, and the company stopped making them in December. Fisher-Price, based in East Aurora, N.Y., will keep making better-selling reels of Shrek, Dora the Explorer and other animated characters, spokeswoman Juliette Reashor said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.” (more @ MSN)

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babeltalesscreamingdreamers

Photo: Peter Funch (more @ V1 Gallery; via The Daily Dish)

[“The City that Never Sleeps,” indeed!]

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From photographer Simon Høgsberg, a new work, We’re All Going To Die – 100 Meters of Existence, shot from the same spot over the course of 20 days during the summer of 2007, features 178 people walking across a railroad bridge on Warschauer Strasse in Berlin. One hundred meters wide, the image is scene in panels that progress by scrolling, or sliding, along the bottom of the main panel.

Also from Germany, another set of interactive photographs, “Naked People,” offers a revealing look at 24 German men and women of varying sizes, ages and occupations, whose clothing vanishes with a click of the mouse. By my admittedly loose translation, the project asserts that clothing, broadly accepted as a social signifier, offers only illusion, telling us little or nothing about a person’s true character. Finally, by confronting us — after a mouse-click — with the person now undressed, the project asks if even unclothed an individual’s character remains unfathomable. (Both series via The Daily Dish)

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nea“Unemployment rates are up among working artists and the artist workforce has contracted, according to new research from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Artists in a Year of Recession: Impact on Jobs in 2008 examines how the economic slowdown has affected the nation’s working artists.  The study looks at artist employment patterns during two spikes in the current recession – the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2008.  This downturn reflects larger economic declines: a Commerce Department report last week noted a 6.2 percent decrease in the gross domestic product in the last quarter of 2008.

“Among the findings:

  • Artists are unemployed at twice the rate of professional workers
  • Unemployment rates for artists have risen more rapidly than for U.S. workers as a whole
  • Artist unemployment rates would be even higher if not for the large number of artists leaving the workforce
  • Unemployment rose for most types of artist occupations
  • The job market for artists is unlikely to improve until long after the U.S. economy starts to recover” (via mediabistro)

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