Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Fall (and Rise) of Jennifer Lawrence

This was the visual that stuck with me long after the disappointment of a boring (and puerile) Oscars, and after checking in on Facebook I see I was not the only one. Via Trey Speegle, a post on how artist P.E. Sharpe challenged other artists to do their own interpretation of the fall of Jennifer Lawrence. Top - the original photograph by Kevin Winter of Getty Images. Middle - Peregrine Honig's response; and bottom - Sharpe's own version.

If you're going to trip and fall in front of millions if not billions of viewers, probably best to do it on your way to picking up an Oscar!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Storm

This is what the gallery looked like at 9:30 p.m. last Monday when Sandy caused the Hudson to spill over onto West 23rd Street. Amazingly, we only took in about 4 inches of water, but as we have learned over the last week, that's enough to cause havoc and require a virtual re-building of the gallery.

Our plan for now is to re-open with a show of selected works by gallery artists as soon as the space has been put back together. We did this during the summer when we were only open by appointment and trust me - we know how to make it interesting. After that we will resume with Hendrik Kerstens whose planned opening was so rudely interrupted.

Hendrik - who proved himself a prince among men by helping to save not only his own work but that of every other artist in the gallery - was staying at The Standard Hotel downtown and had to be evacuated to our home. A wonderful experience that made me feel that as long as my son is at college and his room empty it's a great way to get to know your artists!

Stay tuned for news of our re-opening. And I hope all those less fortunate than we were are on their way to recovery.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fame High this Friday


Outside of my gallery life, I am a passionate film lover and I recently became a co-executive producer of the documentary FAME HIGH.

The film opens tomorrow at the Quad Cinema in New York for one week in order to qualify for the Academy Awards and has already received a rave review from the L.A. Times.

FAME HIGH, captures the in-class and at-home drama, competition, heartbreak, and triumph during one school year at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), also known as "Fame High", a place where talented teenagers reach for their dreams of becoming actors, singers, dancers, and musicians.

In FAME HIGH we follow a group of novice freshman and seasoned seniors struggling to find their voice - not only in their art but in life - with the help of, and sometimes in spite of, their passionate and opinionated families. Each student has sacrificed countless hours to become artistically good...but will they become excellent and be satisfied both personally and professionally?

"Are our dreams worth the sacrifice?" This questions is as relevant to these young artists as it is to their parents. In a time when performance-based entertainment is commonplace, it is safe to call FAME HIGH, "the facts behind the fiction." Overnight success is a myth, and FAME HIGH shows that the reality is nothing trumps endless hours of hard work.

Producer/Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy and cast members will be present for brief Q & A's in the LOBBY following the Fri. 10/12 6:15 show.

You can buy tickets for the screening here.

I hope many of you can make it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

One Year ...

It's hard to believe it's been a year since Steve Jobs died. With his ubiquitous presence in our lives and the omnipresence of his image and products and the continued growth of Apple he seems to hover above us like The Wizard of Oz.

To those of us in the visual world life simply wouldn't exist in the way it does without Apple. I would guess most of us spend more time on some kind of Apple device than we do with most humans and that our interactions with these devices are more productive than most other hours of the day. This is not an endorsement of withdrawing from human interaction! My one (and only) beef with my wife is how much time she spends checking e-mail on her iPhone, but again I'm not a Conde Nast editor-in-chief!

But Steve Jobs was not only a visionary and a business man - he was as great a friend to photography as the medium has ever had. Today, on the one year anniversary of his death, Apple put up this moving tribute on their landing page with nothing else to distract the viewer. In case you're not going to today I'm sharing the video.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Carly Ries

For anyone who has visited the gallery, you know how great my two associates are. However, you might not know that my associate director, Carly Ries, is also a talented photographer in her own right who has been working in her off hours on a photographic project making moving portraits of breast cancer survivors.

The first publication of a picture from this series appears in next month's Fitness Magazine (see above) but more of this work can be seen on Carly's website. Half the job of taking a good picture is when you press the shutter. But as this picture attests, the other half is everything you have to do to be in the position to press the shutter.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Sartorialist at Danziger Gallery

Because you can't have too much of a good thing, tomorrow we open our second show of photographs by Scott Schuman - The Sartorialist. The opening is on Friday and all are invited.

Comprised of 37 pictures taken since our last show - most of which appear in Scott's new book "Closer" - the work shows his continuing evolution as a photographer. The compositions are more varied, the human element more pronounced, and the work now seems to belong as much to the ethnographic school of photography and the tradition of August Sander, Penn's "Worlds in A Small Room", and Avedon's "American West" series as the world of street fashion.

Scott - who is both modest and smart - told me recently that he didn't really think his work would be appreciated until 40 years after the pictures were taken. It's a short show, due to previous commitments we had made for the fall but from today through September 15 you can judge for yourself. But I'll post more pictures tomorrow.

And yes. That's me in the picture above taken from The Sartorialist's blog. Proud to be seen in all my finery!

Monday, August 20, 2012


I don’t know what took me so long but I’ve now become a huge fan of Instagram. I was never much of a Facebook type – a little too self-referential for my taste – and I would rather read a blog if you have something to say. But for those of us who like to look at pictures and communicate visually Instagram is both eye candy and soulful at the same time. It takes a combination of the eye, the heart, and the mind to compel you to post a picture. And then your friends can not only see what you're up to but what kind of a snapper you are.

Your more knowledgeable Instagram friends will tell you who might be worth following. Nick Knight, The Sartorialist, Tim Barber, and Tierney Gearon are just a few of the serious photographers using Instagram as well as companies like Alexander McQueen, LOVE Magazine, and Chanel. Every company will soon have their own Instagram account. It's so much less intrusive than any other form of social media.

Now of course I want to get more than the meager 26 followers I have after one week – so please follow me. Just search jamesdanziger. And I’ll look forward to following you!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Jenny Danziger. 2000 - 2012

Photograph by Elliott Erwitt

It's not everyday that a $5 dog found on and picked up at a kill shelter in rural Virginia goes on to live on Park Avenue and be photographed by some of the world's top photographers, but in her relatively long and always happy life, our dog Jenny had the pleasure of being photographed by Elliott Erwitt and The Sartorialist. She had an outsize personality and an even bigger heart and will be deeply missed by just about everyone who knew her.

For my 50th birthday, my wife surprised me by commissioning Eliott Erwitt to photograph Jenny with our kids. While I wasn't there for the secret sitting, apparently Erwitt startled the children even more than Jenny by getting down on his hands and knees and barking at Jenny before each picture!

Photograph by Elliott Erwitt

Several years later, I persuaded Scott Schuman to photograph our brood for a Christmas card and the result, with Jenny focused on something out of frame, captured her perfectly.

Photograph by The Sartorialist

One of my own favorite pictures of Jenny was taken in Bellport where Jenny liked nothing more than to go exploring and get as dirty as possible! I always thought she looked like she had been face-painted to look like a tiger in this snap!

As one of my son's friends was kind enough to text me after hearing the news of Jenny's passing "She was the best dog ever!"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

George Tice and Gaslight Anthem

For this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, George Tice was commissioned to photograph the indie band Gaslight Anthem. It was a good pairing - the band considered to be the righteous heirs of the Springsteen tradition photographed by New Jersey's unofficial photographer laureate.

In there increasingly multi-media world that is the new reality of magazines, there is also a nice short video which you can see below which not only shows the shoot but presents a well edited selection of the pictures that Tice is so rightly renowned for

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Seeing Stars

For fans of Jack Pierson and the website 20 x 200, there's a new edition released today of two drawn images of stars.

I'm pleased to say I snagged the first print in the large (16 x 20 inch) edition but that still leaves 49 large prints at $600 a pop as well as some rapid sellers in the smaller sizes. (Quite a bargain as Pierson's work goes well into six figures.)

For those unfamiliar with Pierson's work, the statement on 20 x 200's website is a pretty good description:

Jack Pierson makes photographs, word sculptures, installations, drawings and artist’s books that explore the emotional undercurrent of everyday life, from the intimacy of romantic attachment to the distant idolizing of others. Many works register as melancholic, their beauty speaking to nostalgia for dreams left unfulfilled. Using friends as models, Pierson has consistently engaged star culture through his work, whether the stars are from the screen, stage or art world. Refusing cynicism or irony, Pierson relates to his viewers by seeming to admit his own attraction to the fantasy life depicted in his artworks.

Check his work out online. His range and imagination are incredible. And for those unfamiliar with 20 x 200, it's a two year old website dedicated to selling affordable art prints by decent artists at super-reasonable prices.

P.S. This is a totally unpaid endorsement!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Return of the Weekend Video

In true Olympic spirit, The Year in Pictures proudly presents the latest viral video - Australian Michelle Jenneke's pre-race warmup routine in the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championship in Barcelona last weekend.

Not just a pretty face (and figure) the 19-year-old dominated her event - the 100-meter hurdles. And while Jenneke is not competing in the London Olympics, until her chance in 2016 sports fans will have to be content with what the video creators described as "an overt celebration of Jenneke and her dancing and running presented in gratuitous slow motion, and with an awful song over it." (Awful song version above, slow motion version below.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Storm in Pictures

There's nothing like a good storm to bring out the best in photographers and yesterday's mega-storm in New York City was a doozy! Among the best shots were the landscape above by Inga Sarda-Sorensen.

And this Instagram shot taken from a plane leaving LaGuardia by former Giants football player Dhani Jones.

This anonymous picture has a dramatic "noir" feel.

And lest you don't believe that squirrels use their tails as umbrellas, check out this other photo below from a previous snowstorm!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Evelyn Hofer

59th Street, New York. 1964.

It's always interesting to see the work of one photographer through the eyes of another and I often point out work that I think would interest various artists I represent. I recently got a big thumb's up from The Sartorialist (Scott Schuman) on the work of Evelyn Hofer - whose first New York retrospective we are opening on May 10.

During her lifetime, Evelyn was called “the most famous unknown photographer in America” by New York Times critic Hilton Kramer - an accurate description because fame was simply not an issue for her. Prickly, reclusive, and a perfectionist, her interest – which I think is the same as Scott’s – was to dignify and appreciate every person she photographed in beautifully composed images.

Alternating between color and black and white, Evelyn was most active in the 1960s and 1970s, but her pictures look older than that. Two of Scott’s favorite pictures – one of a French and one of a New York policeman have an old time glamour that make them look like they could have come from Hollywood movies of the 1940s.

Looking at these photographs Scott said “I see something that makes me wish I had been shooting at that time and place.” - which is exactly what I think people will say 50 years from now looking at Scott's pictures!

The Evelyn Hofer show opening is on Thursday, May 10, 6 - 8 p.m. at Danziger Gallery, 527 West 23rd Street, and all are welcome.

Paris, 1967.

Phoenix Park on a Sunday. Dublin, 1966.

Lee Krasner's Shoes. Pollock Studio, Long Island. 1988.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Color Chart

If you ever wondered why a certain shade of blue is called "royal" - British VOGUE's helpful and witty chart should explain why. The magazine noted every outfit worn by the Queen over the last year and found that 29 per cent of the coats, dresses, suits and hats she wore over the last 12 months were predominantly blue..

Although not a color, floral was next with 13 per cent, followed by green and cream each at 11 per cent. Pink and purple - 10 per cent - red, yellow, orange - four per cent - and black - two per cent - were next.

Whatever the color choice, it's clear the Queen is aware of the visual impact she makes - a boon to royal photographers.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Sweet Note

There are many wonderful things in the iGavel auction of photographs from the collection of Dody Weston Thompson (ending tomorrow - Tuesday - so act fast.) Dody was the ex-wife of Brett Weston, a protege of his father Edward Weston, a co-founder of Aperture, and a skilled photographer herself.

The Weston men were legendary womanizers, but there is one auction lot in particular which sheds an endearing light on Brett's character. A Christmas card he sent to Dody showing himself in front of his new ranch house has the handwritten inscription on the reverse "A happy Xmas for Dody - with warm memories of five wonderful years, Brett. PS am sending you a thousand dollars in a few Days."

I don't really know much about their relationship, but there seems to me to be a fondness and a generosity to the note not often found in cards to the ex!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When Harry Met Eleanor

Eleanor Callahan, wife and muse of the late Harry Callahan died yesterday at the age of 95. I don't think there was a photographer who loved his wife more or longer than Harry Callahan loved Eleanor. The couple met in 1933 when both were working at Chrysler in Detroit. She was 17 and he was 21 and for more than 50 years Harry photographed her the way his hero Ansel Adams photographed mountains - with respect, and awe, and love, at all times of the day and night and in all kinds of weather.

Eleanor's plain beauty made the photographs timeless. Her faith in her husband's taste and judgment allowed the most intimate pictures. Here's hoping that a match made in heaven continues where it began.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

And the winner is ....

Watching the Oscars has always been a major pleasure and unmissable tradition for me. (And I've seen the awards in quite a range of places.) I've been a guest at Swifty Lazar's famous party at Spago in L.A., hosted an Oscar bash with my wife at The Mercer Hotel, and watched my good friend Doug Wick get the Oscar for Best Film (for "Gladiator"). But if I had to pick my favorite way to view, I think snuggling in bed with your family or loved one is the best of all.

Recently though the speeches seem to be getting more mundane. Perhaps it's the weight of the fashion choices and instant judgment that makes the participants less spontaneous. Perhaps the winners themselves are less joyous. To see what I mean click here to watch my absolute favorite moment - Roberto Benigni's acceptance speech for 1999's Best Foreign Film, followed moments later by his surprise win for best actor.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chico and Rita

This past weekend, inspired by a great review in The New York Times, I went to see the animated movie "Chico and Rita". A full length feature set against the Cuban music scene of the late 1940s and 50s, the film is a love story not only of its two protagonists but also to Havana, Cuban jazz, and creative film-making.

Directed by Fernando Trueba, the filmmaker responsible for the cult Cuban jazz documentary “Calle 54”, and designed by Javier Mariscal, a Spanish graphic artist and designer, the film is so true to life that at first you wonder why it wasn’t simply made as live action. An early car chase scene is so realistically done you actually find yourself flinching, but the quirky hand-drawn animation quickly wins you over.

The music, combining Cuban jazz standards with new compositions by the great pianist and composer, Bebo Valdes, sticks with you long after the film is over – as does the sultry sexiness of the animated Rita – who gives Jessica Rabbit a run for her money (while displaying the full frontal nudity which is really the only reason the movie would not be child-appropriate).

While the film moves as far afield as New York and Las Vegas, the other star is the exquisitely rendered and vibrantly colored Havana. The filmmakers spent several months shooting on location in Havana, and their attention to detail produces a feeling that is both realistic and seductive. I can’t wait to visit Cuba.

While foremost a love story, the film doesn’t sugar-coat the place and time. Chico and Rita, both black Cubans, have to deal with discrimination and exploitation as they work their way up the commercial ladder and without giving anything anyway, their story is bittersweet.

Most surprising of all, though, “Chico & Rita,” has been nominated for an Academy Award as best animated feature – usually the sole province of family oriented fare. In a film year generally acknowledged as one of the most lackluster, it will be interesting to see if “The Artist” and “Chico and Rita” show that breaking out of the box sometimes gets you to the Oscar stage.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Keeping Up With The Web ...

An interesting piece in today's New York Times (click here) about the most watched video on YouTube. Over 417.6 million views! Hard to fathom when you see what it is.

Meanwhile, as those who know me can attest, I'm not much of Facebook user (this blog being my outlet). But I find the pictures people post interesting and have recently been struck by how many people are now using Facebook as on online gallery to showcase photographs by other people that have resonance for them. Quite often you find accidental themes emerging from random posts - most recently I noticed this underwater theme. A wish for warmer times? A feeling people are drowning? Or a more optimistic feeling of floating? You be the judge of this pictorial zeitgeist.

Top photo by Phiippe Paoli; second photo by Seth Casteel, and bottom, this classic fashion photograph for VOGUE in 1948 by the late Toni Frissel.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again!

I have been quite rightly called out for not keeping this blog up to date. But I’ll explain. Two things. One – it takes a lot of time and the gallery has been very busy. Two – if something really interesting or fresh comes around, I’ll let you know. This month there have already been a couple good things passed on to me which I’ll now share with you.

First (courtesy of my brother) – a series of colorized photographs by Swedish artist Sanna Dullaway. While Dullaway’s main business is restoring old family photographs, she has taken to re-imagining iconic images with enough skill and verisimilitude that the issue it addresses is not colorization (of course it’s weird and disrespectful, but occasionally effective) but about the power of black and white photography. In a world of color, it’s amazing what effect black and white has. (Perhaps this why the film “The Artist” has taken such a hold on people.) Dullaway’s motive is simple. She writes on her Flickr site: "Hi. I take coloured photographs. If I stumble upon colourless photographs I colour them." If only everyone were so honest!


Second, my friend and bike coach Angela Sherry introduced me to the work of Bootsy Holler. A Los Angeles based editorial and fine art photographer, Bootsy has created her own personal time machine by inserting herself in her old family photos, but not before painstakingly costuming and making herself up in period appropriate get up.

Her series, Visitor, takes the Zelig-ian fantasy but transports it to a personal and emotional place where we can visit those we loved, or never knew.

In my gallery, people are constantly questioning the use of photoshop, which is something I don’t really pay much attention to. There aren’t many photographers these days not using that or some other kind of digital intervention in one way or another. It's just another tool and when it works it’s great and when it doesn’t it sucks.

That's Bootsy on the left.

That's Bootsy behind the screen door.

For more Bootsy click here.