Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekend Video

For anyone who missed it, here are Jay Z & Alicia Keys performing "Empire State Of Mind" before last night's Game 2 in the World Series at Yankee Stadium. The ball players expressions are priceless - a mixture of bemusement and enjoyment! And it did the trick for the New York Yankees who went on to win the game 3 -1 to tie the series at 1 -1.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I don't know how I missed this one. But seeing as this is turning out to be the week of The Year in Pictures "Believe It Or Not" edition, here is a photograph that from all accounts I've read is not a fake.

Melissa and Jackson Brandt had set the auto-timer on their camera while posing by Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park in Canada. Just as the shutter was about to click, the squirrel popped up in the foreground, becoming yet another unwitting star of the internet.

According to Melissa: "We had our camera set up on some rocks and were getting ready to take the picture when this curious little ground squirrel appeared, became intrigued with the sound of the focusing camera and popped right into our shot." The picture was submitted to the website of National Geographic magazine and from there began to make its way round the world.

The couple appeared on The Today Show where Matt Lauer grilled them over the picture's authenticity, but after further investigation he apologized and declared he was satisfied that the picture was real and un-doctored.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weekday Video

Assuming this is not made using any special effects, this is one of the most amazing videos I have seen in terms of both content and cinematography. (Once the video has started, I suggest you click the button that comes up to the right of the HQ button at the bottom of the picture to view this full screen.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Robert Maxwell

Just over five years ago, the photographer Robert Maxwell began doing a series of portraits for The New York Times Magazine called “The Originals”. The idea was to highlight creative individualists who all had a certain style and the series jumped out of the gate at a high level and has been cruising along up there ever since. Maxwell’s pictures don’t try to knock you over the head with gimmicks or surprises. He’s more of a traditionalist, but lately his classicism has reached a new depth. He’s still absorbed with surface but it’s now balanced with an equal interest in what’s beneath. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photographer looking so deeply into people’s eyes both literally and figuratively.

This past weekend’s portfolio on the stars of the film “Precious” is a great example. But in particular I would draw your attention to the two pictures of the movie’s star, Gabourey Sidibe – one on the cover and one inside. What stands out for me is the amazing dignity and presence with which he has photographed someone who is so overweight. I’m not an apologist for obesity, but at a time where issues of weight, health, and body image, are being hotly debated – these pictures present an interesting and artful talking point.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Picture of the Week

To end the week on a more positive note, this photograph by Joseph Holmes was recently released on the website 20 x 200. For those who don't know about it, 20 x 200 is the brainchild of gallerist Jen Bekman and offers prints by a range of upcoming photographers starting at $20 for editions of 200 8 x 10s and going up to $2,000 for much smaller editions of large prints.

I wrote about Joseph Holmes when he photographed my desk for his series on work spaces and he's a frequent and therefore much appreciated commenter on this blog - so I was doubly pleased when I saw this charming picture. What I like about it is the naturalness of the photograph combined with the originality of the image. It's an everyday scene made fresh and resonant by a photographer on top of his game. (To appreciate it more fully do click on it to get the larger size.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apparently Not The Party of The Year

I was bicycling uptown yesterday past the Whitney and saw the now obligatory roped-off tented entrance that signifies PARTY! As my invitation must have been lost in the mail I didn't think too much about it. And then these party pictures popped up on the internet.

It turns out it was the Whitney Art Museum Gala (sponsored by Versace), but in spite of the good weather, doesn't it look like everyone wished they were at home watching Game 3 of the Yanks-Angels? While the pictures were uncredited on Fashionologie this is clearly not a photographer you want to invite to cover your next event.

So while I have never done a Hall of Shame, I think that photographically this deserves it.

One last piece of advice for next year, not only should the Whitney have someone standing by to say "Cheese!", a big plate of gooey Brie with salami and crackers might not be a bad idea for most of the guests!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Read this..

Also this:

Statement from Srinandan R. Kasi, VP and General Counsel, The Associated Press

Striking at the heart of his fair use case against the AP, Shepard Fairey has now been forced to admit that he sued the AP under false pretenses by lying about which AP photograph he used to make the Hope and Progress posters. Mr. Fairey has also now admitted to the AP that he fabricated and attempted to destroy other evidence in an effort to bolster his fair use case and cover up his previous lies and omissions.

In his Feb. 9, 2009 complaint for a declaratory judgment against the AP, Fairey falsely claimed to have used an AP photograph of George Clooney sitting next to then-Sen. Barack Obama as the source of the artist’s Hope and Progress posters. However, as the AP correctly alleged in its March 11, 2009 response, Fairey had instead used a close-up photograph of Obama from the same press event, which is an exact match for Fairey's posters. In its response, the AP also correctly surmised that Fairey had attempted to hide the true identity of the source photo in order to help his case by arguing that he had to make more changes to the source photo than he actually did, i.e., that he at least had to crop it.

After filing the complaint, Fairey went on to make several public statements in which he insisted that the photo with George Clooney was the source image and that “The AP is showing the wrong photo.” It appears that these statements were also false, as were statements that Fairey made describing how he cropped Clooney out of the photo and made other changes to create the posters.

Fairey’s lies about which photo was the source image were discovered after the AP had spent months asking Fairey's counsel for documents regarding the creation of the posters, including copies of any source images that Fairey used. Fairey's counsel has now admitted that Fairey tried to destroy documents that would have revealed which image he actually used. Fairey's counsel has also admitted that he created fake documents as part of his effort to conceal which photo was the source image, including hard copy printouts of an altered version of the Clooney Photo and fake stencil patterns of the Hope and Progress posters. Most recently, on Oct. 15, Fairey’s counsel informed the AP that they intended to seek the Court’s permission to withdraw as counsel for Fairey and his related entities.

The AP intends to vigorously pursue its countersuit alleging that Fairey willfully infringed the AP's copyright in the close-up photo of then-Sen. Obama by using it without permission to create the Hope and Progress posters and related products, including T-shirts and sweatshirts that have led to substantial revenue. According to the AP's in-house counsel, Laura Malone, "Fairey has licensed AP photos in the past for similar uses and should have done so in this case. As a not-for-profit news organization, the AP depends on licensing revenue to stay in business." Proceeds received for past use of the photo will be contributed by the AP to The AP Emergency Relief Fund, which assists staffers and their families around the world who are victims of natural disasters and conflicts.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brandi Carlile

I've been writing about Brandi Carlile for a while and now her third album, "Give Up the Ghost" has just been released. It's a relief when an album by a relatively new artist lives up to their early promise and "Give Up the Ghost" more than meets expectations.

As you can see from these two clips, Carlile is a mix of country and rock - heavier on the country part and with a terrific high register that radiates genuine feeling. There's a slicker promo for the album on YouTube than you can click to here to hear her talk about the album, but I prefer the authenticity of these live clips (of which there are hundreds on the web) because it seems like the preferred way you would want to see her and the band.

No fancy frills, dancers, or light shows at these concerts. This is music for the un-photoshopped!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The big news in the world of street fashion photography is that Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) left – who had an exclusive arrangement whereby they had first rights to show his pictures from the collections. Not letting the grass grow under their feet, promptly signed Tommy Tom (of the blog Jak & Jill), and so now we have the pleasure of seeing two completely different visions at work on the same ground. (Sart’s pictures now go straight to his own blog.)

Schuman – we know – is a classicist, an elegant August Sander of the street creating beautifully composed character studies. Tommy Ton is a cross between Lartigue and Martin Parr - capturing action, color, and detail. He has a thing for shoes which seems to veer somewhere between obsession and humor, but it takes a certain madcap genius to be so focused, not to mention an ability to crouch down at a woman's knees without being slapped.

My reaction on seeing most of his shoe pictures is “Ouch!”, but these pictures capture the difference between the world of fashion and the rest of the world better than anything. So if you’ll trust me that my own particular obsession is photography and not feet, here’s a selection of what promises to be a wonderfully idiosyncratic archive!

And a selection of some of Tommy Ton's other pictures:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From my iPhone - The High Line

Much praise has been heaped upon The Highline since it opened this past spring. For those who haven’t heard about it, the High Line is a 1.5 mile section of the former elevated freight railroad of the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan. It had fallen into disrepair and was slated for demolition until an incredibly creative and determined group of conservationists came up with a plan to redesign and plant it as an aerial greenway. Running from the Meat Packing district to Chelsea, it has now taken on the relaxed and artsy characteristics of those neighborhoods and in the process become one of New York City’s newest tourist attractions.

It’s a well known phenomenon that you never get to see the things in your own city that tourists do, so after the umpteenth visitor to the gallery told me they had been to see The High Line, I finally just walked out of the gallery to make my first visit.

The charms of The High Line reveal themselves gradually. If you enter at its current northernmost entrance on 20th Street your first thought is “what’s the big deal?”. It’s just a planted stretch of old railway. But as you walk south, passing beautifully designed benches, a multitude of different plants, and a cross-section of lovers, loafers, tourists, and the just curious – you realize that as much as anything it’s an experience. I guess in its own way it’s a work of art combining nature, cityscapes, people watching, and the opportunity to take a break. There are ample places to lounge, smooch, nap, snack, or read, and more photo-ops than a night on the town with Lindsay Lohan.

Then as you continue southward you come face to face with the new Standard Hotel which strides the Highline like the Colossus of Rhodes. A couple of art installations later you reach the end at Gansevoort Street at which point you can descend or go back the way you came.

While it will surely be interesting at different times of the year, I imagine spring to fall is the best time to visit and so for those New Yorkers like me who just haven’t gotten around to a visit, I’d recommend you go on one of the remaining blue sky days promised in the next week. And if you really want to treat yourself to something new and good, add on a visit to the Standard Grill – New York’s latest hip restaurant, but one that lives up to the hype!