LIGHT ATTACK – Susan Bein

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Light Attack – Susan Bein – Portland, Oregon, Usa

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I took it while waiting in an ugly office. The only thing that was nice was this stream of light, and I wanted to capture its beauty, so my solution was to blur it to reduce it to its essence. It made my wait worthwhile, and allowed me to be ‘in the moment’ and creative in a very non-creative environment while doing a very pedestrian thing, waiting for a bureaucrat to shuffle papers. For me it’s about finding a speck of beauty in the quotidian.

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Out of focus can be such a nuisance for the eye that sometimes photographer’s intentions get as blurred as the image, this is not the case. Susan goes straight to the point and steals light it’s essence: a beautifully painted bright ray. The idea, and the result, is definitely in focus.

Tour de MANHATTAN – Simon Garnier

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Tour de Manhattan – Simon Garnier – New York City, Usa

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I took this picture in one of my Manhattan’s photo walks. It was toward the end of the day, when I usually take my best pictures. I noticed the toys selling guy from 20-30 meters away and this gave me time to observe the biker going around between the legs of pedestrians. As I approached, I knew I wanted to take a picture of that scene, but I needed something more than the toy itself. After 2-3 minutes wait a man, with gilded sandals and shiny green toenails, walked toward the toy. That was the element I was missing. I quickly crouched down and snapped a first picture, but I knew the angle wasn’t good enough. So I decided to put my camera closer to the ground. I only had 1 second to do it, no time to look through the viewfinder: I aimed instinctively.

The picture is a little bit fuzzy because of that (and because it was a bit dark too), but I think it gives the whole scene a sort of illusion of movement that completes the story well.

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Street photography requires fast judgement of people movements, quick decisions and, sometimes, unorthodox camera positions. Not to be missed: framing skills and vision of how the settings and characters will compose by themselves. Garnier gather all of these qualities into a single shot. Strong colors and the original toy stand out in a surprisingly interesting background, where lines and chewing gum residues add an intense city texture.

AMATO OPERA house – BEL CANTO on the Bowery, New York

 

Only 103 seats and all with a perfect view and acoustics, hand painted scenery and originally design costumes, singers and actors that perform for the great passion of music and bel canto, not for money.

Amato Opera house has entertained opera lovers for 61 years of uninterrupted production. Founded in 1948 by husband and wife team Anthony and Sally Amato, grew to become not only a must-go theatre where to appreciate opera in NYC’s cultural scene, but also a reference point for theatre students and singers, thanks to the enthusiasm, creativity and energy of Mr. and Mrs. Amato.

The Marriage of Figaro by Rossini, was chosen in May, 2009, as it started 61 years before at the auditorium of Our Lady of Pompeii church on Bleecker and Carmine Sts., to end an uninterrupted production. Last permanent home was at 319 Bowery, in the East Village.

HAPPY hours – street DRUNKARDS in New York

I used to live in Hell’s Kitchen, NY, before the New Times Square induced cleansing. Drunkards below my windows and drugs dealing at nighttime.

FIGHT club – PEACEFUL Sunday afternoon

They look like you and me: harmless. But you don’t want to get into a fight with them for just no reason. They know boxing, wrestling, kicking, judo, karate and you name it. They’re nice, ordinary guys, they do business and smile, chat and shake hands and like to be photographed, outside the ring. But once they’re in the ring, the hidden beast surfaces, feeding on your blood and the crowd’s roars at the smashing sound of fists hitting your face and breaking your nose. You eventually give up and the fight is over. Winner or loser, it doesn’t make any difference since there’s no money to win, but a sort of inner relief. Yes, because finally you felt alive, away from the supermarket aisle wanderer, from the cubicle dweller, from the diaper changer. And tomorrow is Monday, a week away from another peaceful Sunday afternoon.

Fight Club – the movie, with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

cold, BRUTAL, dark, PHOTOGENIC – Winter in New York

Obvious talks about the brutality of New York’s winters, I definitely agree, but what about the beauty?

NELLA PANCIA DELLA BESTIA – un libro di Michele Molinari


NELLA PANCIA DELLA BESTIA

Dritte e rovesci sulla vita a New York

Collana Le Tracce n°65, 216 pagine.

Cda & Vivalda Editori 2009.

Dodici mesi di cronache e passioni di un italiano che racconta come si vive, si mangia, si dorme, si legge, si fa sesso, si parla, si litiga, si fa sport, si fa politica, non si fa nulla nella Grande Mela, senza mai di scordarsi di confrontare la vita a New York con quella quotidiana di casa nostra.

Nato a Mantova nel 1960, Michele Molinari è giornalista e fotografo free lance. Prima di iniziare a scrivere ha studiato ingegneria e biologia, ama le grandi città ma non può fare a meno degli spazi aperti. Ha vissuto per un quinto della sua vita a New York, dove si è occupato di viaggi, stili di vita e fatti di costume, scrivendo per le principali case editrici italiane.

 

Presentazioni e recensioni; le recensioni su aNobii.

Compra il libro da Feltrinelli, su bol.it; oppure ordinalo nella tua libreria.


CARHENGE – celebrating myth in NEBRASKA

 

Carhenge, along Country Road 59 near the city of Alliance, Nebraska, is a replica of Stonehenge, England. Built by Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father, is formed by American cars all painted in gray spray paint; it was dedicated at the June 1987 Summer solstice.

Frequently used in popular culture, it has made appearances in movies, Omaha by Dan Mirvish, on books covers, Velocity by Nancy Krygowski, and mentioned in travel books, 1,000 Places to See in the USA & Canada Before You Die.

FANTASTIC VOYAGE – a photo book by ARTHUR TRESS

FANTASTIC VOYAGE

Arthur Tress, Photographs 1956 – 2000

 

“I always tried to organize the immense quantity of images and inputs that reached my mind and invade my senses through my camera”. There’s in fact a continuum in Arthur Tress’ works, absolutely one of the most prolific and diversified American contemporary photographers, apparently very different but all tied by dreams and imagination.

“A lot of kids take snap shots, but I grew up in Brooklyn in the 40s and 50s, when being gay and full of ideas didn’t help to make friends. So I was taking pictures that would talk on my behalf”. Young Arthur was hiding away in the “wonders stuffed attic” of the Egyptian Collection at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, or in the nearby dream-like Japanese Garden at the Botanical Garden. With such a background it isn’t surprising that the work that gave Tress notoriety, and is still considered his most representative work, is Dream Collector, developed in the 70s and partly inspired to the Italian Surrealism. “For the making of Dream Collector I wanted to reproduce emotions, fears and expectations. I tried to remember the dreams I had in my childhood and I asked friends and kids in the streets ”.

Tress has never considered image manipulation nor digital photography as an option, he puts big emphasis in the image composition but never used models: “models are boring and unnatural, I prefer ordinary street goers, friends and kids”.

Arthur Tress has never shot fashion or celebrities to make more money. Even in commercial photography he’s always looking for the fantastic as well as seeking a strong tie with his senses. He used to take portraits for Esquire Magazine and now produces many mystery book covers that draw inspiration from the Shadow series. “Back in the 70s anthropologists were talking about shaman’s powers, mental perceptions, nighttime mental journeys and psychologic journeys. I created a mythological figure, a Dancing Shadow, that would have told one of these journeys to the outside world”. Shadow, the photographer’s self shadow, appears in many sequences composed of single images: The Prisoner, The Search, The Journey, The Town, The Labyrinth, The Valley of Marvels, The Ancestors, Initiations, The Pilgrim, Call and Messages, The Magic Flight, Transformations and The Illumination. “Somebody once told me I could have done short movies out of the sequences, but I think there’s enough meaning in every single image: every shot can absolutely stand on its own”.

As a matter of fact there’s no documentary side in Tress’ images, and once organized in a chronological order it’s clear how they reflect the changes in Arthur Tress himself. “I started from a witness-like photography to end up with an image that tells about my magical side. My image has evolved”. This is the main reason why Tress considers contemporary photography trivial: “there’s a big deal regarding snap shots, museums all over the country make huge prints out of an image of people sunbathing on a beach. It might be that photographers, fearing the digital challenge, have gone back to the origin of photography. My work is much more personal and sophisticated”.

Forty-five years of absolutely high quality work, always changing and evolving, gave Arthur Tress the honor of a vast retrospective exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC in summer 2001. “When they told me they wanted to make a retrospective I turned sad and told myself: How can it be? I’m not at the end of my career. And then they also showed my very last works, the ones made with the aid of a crystal paper weight. So, I told myself again: This might be the bridge toward the future: the 3D images I’m working at present time, cutting and pasting to produce something like those pop-ups in kids’ books”.

Maybe this is the secret of Tress’ art: let the day tell us what to do, play with what’s around us, look at the world through a child’s eye.

Michele Molinari

all images © Arthur Tress

 

Fantastic Voyage: 55 color plates, 180 duotone plates, 39 B&W plates.

Male of the Species: The naked man, fetish and dream.

Theater of Mind: A small paper Opera theatre and mind’s games.

Fish Tank Sonata: A fish tank full of weird object and dolls, and the beachm the pond, the ocean as background.

 


THE SKY BOOK – a photo book by RICHARD MISRACH

THE SKY BOOK

“There’s a series of skies where I’ll pick a place on a map, like a Rand McNally map, and go to that place and photograph the sky. What’s in the photograph is not clouds, there’s no horizon line. There’s nothing in there. It’s really atmosphere, light. My idea was that the photographs become a Rorschachs. What gives it its conceptual meaning is the name of the place. Each of the places is keyed by where I took it.”

Richard Misrach

“Not since Alfred Stieglitz photographed clouds in the 1920s has a photographer made so much of the earth’s atmosphere and precious little else …. the results are as emotionally evocative as Stieglitz wanted his cloud “Equivalents” to be, and as purified of quotidian reality as any painting by Mark Rothko or Robert Motherwell.

NYT Book Review

Skies wider than imagination and colors that defy man’s memories: Misrach’s images are broadening the perception of the sky and giving it an identity. It’s the methaphor of a travel toward the quiet meditation, the impulse to fall in a Real image.

Michele Molinari

all images © Richard Misrach

buy The Sky Book

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