Thursday, May 27, 2010

Weekend Video - Memorial Day Edition

I get a lot of press releases suggesting I put various things on this blog but this one seemed straightforward and appealing and it's happening tonight in Brooklyn. The e-mail said:

Hi there,

My name is Jenny and I work with Rooftop Films (, a summer film series dedicated to showcasing new, independent films and emerging bands in unique outdoor locations. This is our 14th year of Underground Movies Outdoors.


Thursday, May 27


NY Premiere! A quirky slacker road movie comedy about a man and his hamster.

Directed by Jeff Mizushima


On the roof of Brooklyn Technical High School (29 Fort Greene Pl., Fort Greene)


8:00 Doors Open

8:30 Live Music by Natureboy

9:00 Films Begin

Following was this synopsis:

Etienne! tells the story of Richard, a shy type who spends his days taking care of his best friend, Etienne, a dwarf hamster. One day Richard finds out that his hamster has terminal cancer. The veterinarian recommends euthanasia before the animal begins to suffer. Before he lets his best friend go, Richard decides to take Etienne on a bicycle road trip and show it the world.

I dug up the trailer above on YouTube. And if my daughter wasn't in the middle of studying for exams, you would probably see us there. (She loves hamsters.) Maybe we'll even sneak out!

I'll be back next week with some serious photography.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Water

Photographs by Geoffrey Swaine/Rex Features.

Impressive - but in a different way from the Gursky water shots. These pictures from London's Daily Mail show a Canada goose minding a brood of 40 goslings on the Thames river. Although these geese 'creches' - where the offspring of different parents get mixed up - are not uncommon, ornithologists say this is one of the largest they have seen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Didn't I?

In the “why didn’t I think of that?” category – Andreas Gursky’s latest work, which just finished showing at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, presented blow-ups of the world’s oceans printed as large as 100 x 140 inches.

Gursky had not taken these pictures himself. They were satellite pictures of the earth that the artist had worked on and cropped to make the ocean the central point of the composition. But interestingly, he now joins his compatriot Thomas Ruff (and numerous others) in making appropriation his new methodology.

The Gagosian Gallery cleverly obfuscated the point in their press release:

In the new Ocean series, Gursky has for the first time relinquished his position behind the camera to work with satellite images of the world as his raw material, creating contemporary mappe del mondo on a scale befitting the cosmic grandeur of the subject. In their darkly nuanced surfaces, he has worked to reconcile the division between the machine eye and the human eye, continuing the debates and practices begun in the nineteenth century regarding photography and the issue of artistic expression versus objective science.

However it does nothing but underscore the fact that so many people are Warhol’s children.

Today, The New York Times reported that the Los Angeles County Museum had acquired four of the pictures.

They were as sublime as the Rothko Chapel,” Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, said, referring to the Houston landmark. “They are also satellite photography, which is a breakthrough for the artist.”

Mr. Govan was so taken with the suite of works that he persuaded two trustees — Steven F. Roth, executive vice president of the World Oil Corporation, a family-owned company in Los Angeles, and another trustee who wants to remain anonymous — to buy four of them for the museum. Mr. Govan declined to say what they paid. The gallery was asking $680,000 each.

Although this series was created before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill this spring, Mr. Govan said he considered the subject of oceans “a total obsession of our age,” adding, “It’s so urgent, yet there is a timelessness to these photographs.”

He also said that he was reminded of a historical precedent. Just as 19th-century museums often had a globe of the world and a map of the stars as the linchpin of their displays, these photographs, he said, are the 21st-century equivalent. “This is our globe,” Mr. Govan said.

The museum does not have a specific space to show the Gursky images at the moment. However, Mr. Govan said he planned to have a space designed for them in the middle of its historical collection.

“They will be the centerpiece of our global museum,” Mr. Govan explained. And though the works show only tiny bits of continents and coastline, he added, to him, anyway, “the museum itself becomes the rest of the picture.”

So ... $680,000 x 4. There was obviously a big discount. But still, not bad for reprinting someone else’s pictures. One part of me feels this is out of whack, but another part sees the power and quality of the work. As always, the point is - I didn’t think of it (and neither did you)!

Click on this image for greater detail.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekend Video

With over 7 million views on YouTube, many of you might have already seen this. It's 12 year old Greyson Michael Chance's performance of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" at a school recital at the Cheyenne Middle School in Edmond, Oklahoma. In addition to his amazingly original interpretation, there's also the pleasure of watching the gradually building reaction of his classmates!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Group Shot

Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA

There's nothing like a good group photograph! Note the precision with which the braided uniforms have been positioned and the perfect symmetry of the composition. Yesterday, in the midst of waiting to see who would be Britain's new Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth II posed for an official photograph with the Grenadier Guards in Wellington Barracks after presenting the regiment with their new colors.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Postcard from London

As you can probably see, I'm in London (for the week). I'll give a full report when I'm back.

Pip pip!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Weekend Video

A change of pace here. Adobe just released Photoshop CS5 and their new Content-Aware Fill takes digital retouching to a new level. Is there an annoying person or object in the background of your picture? Simply lasso the object you want to remove, select the Content-Aware Fill option, and let the program work its magic.

There are dozens of other nifty features, but this one looks like the killer app.

Photoshop CS5 is $699 for the new program and $599 for an upgrade from previous versions.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Night At The Museum

Patrick Robinson of The Gap. Photo: Tommy Ton for

As anyone in the business will tell you, there's nothing harder than shooting the red carpet at an event. But when gave the assignment of covering Monday's Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute gala to Tommy Ton, he had the intelligence to move away from the pack and the eye to capture a more relaxed and interesting point of view. Here are a small selection of his pictures - the rest can be seen here.

Mila Kunis

Alexa Chung

Chanel shoes

Lady Gaga performing inside the Met.

I did say I was going to refrain from posting my own pictures ... but as I was walking the dog the night before the above event, I passed the Met just as they were erecting the canopy for the gala. It all seemed so surreal and strangely lit I hussled home to get a camera to record the scene.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I ♥ Marilyn Minter - Part 2

A week ago, I had the pleasure of going with Allure Magazine’s Picture Editor, Nadine McCarthy, to Marilyn Minter’s studio for a pizza lunch. Nadine had commissioned Minter before, and as alert readers will remember I have already raved about Minter’s work. (Click here) but I had never met the artist and Nadine had never been to her studio.

It was quite an experience! The minute you walk into the studio, you feel you’ve gone through the looking glass and entered an artsy version of Santa’s workshop. There’s a merry bustle of activity as young assistants and painters go about their work.

It wouldn’t be giving anything away to say that much of the painting is done by assistants (mostly her former students) who Minter has trained in her specific painting technique which consists of layering enamel paint on aluminum and then finishing it off with fingertips to soften the paintbrush lines. But the basis of all of Minter’s recent work is all photography and her trademark pop color images of mud splashed stilettos, glittery facial features and body parts are pinned up all around the large studio.

It takes a particular talent to come up with something as fresh and distinctive and timely as Minter’s work and the more I look at it, the more important and accomplished I feel it is.

Minter, meanwhile, is a bundle of energy, charm, intelligence, and extroversion. Completely without pretension or vanity – when I asked if she felt any kind of association with that other famous alliterated Marilyn she replied – “I was born in 1948 when nobody even knew who Monroe was!”. I asked if she would autograph a skateboard of my daughter’s – one of three she designed for Supreme – and she immediately zoomed off to find just the right red marker with which to sign it in a way that was both beautiful and personal.

She was also happy to let me snap away, so I can share these pictures with you.

Marilyn Minter and Nadine McCarthy.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday in New York City

Back in New York (nearing 90 degrees) and biking to work I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of sunbathers on The Great Lawn. I'll get back to real photography next week!