Vik Muniz’s Memory Rendering of 3-D Screening

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Vik Muniz, Memory Rendering of 3-D Screening, 1989/95 (155.1998.7)

Vik Muniz didn’t start out wanting to be an artist or a photographer. He claims there are few photographs of him growing up in Brazil because his family did not believe in photography.

The first book Muniz purchased in New York was The Best of Life, a compendium of iconic images from the legendary magazine. He gradually realized that he could draw images in it from memory, resulting in this series.

These ushered in a career of experimentation with the ways that photography can alter our perceptions of time, distance, detail, material, and memory.

When his 1998 show at ICP was reviewed in Artforum, Katy Siegel wrote, “The marks and distortions insert Muniz as a palpable presence in his dense photography; both makers and viewers finally exist inside the images, leaving fingerprints and seeing things that aren’t there.”[1]


[1] Siegel, Katy. “Vik Muniz.” Artforum International 37, no. 4 (1998): 122+.

Muniz, Vik. The Photographers Lecture Series, March 29. 2006. New York: International Center of Photography. http://lectures.icp.edu/archive/videos/2006/Muniz2006.html

Christian Erroi, ICP-Bard 2013

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1939 Tour de France

Today marks the end of the 100th edition of the Tour de France, arguably the most famous bike race in the world. Much has changed. here are images captured by Robert Capa during the 1939 Tour, which was won by the Belgian cyclist Sylvère Maes, who also won the 1935 Tour.

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Robert Capa, [René Vietto and  Sylvère Maes, Tour de France], July 1939 (2012.58.199)

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Robert Capa, [René Vietto, Tour de France], July 1939 (2012.58.209)

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Robert Capa, [Romain Maes, Tour de France], July 1939 (2012.58.193)

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Robert Capa, [Resting cyclist, Tour de France], July 1939 (2010.85.229)

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Robert Capa, [Tour de France cyclist and spectators], July 1939 (2012.58.173)

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Ed Kashi Challenges Stereotypes with “Aging in America”

Today is the kickoff of the National Senior Games, a biennial, nineteen-sport competition for men and women over the age of fifty.  Since its inception in 1987, the Games have attracted thousands of athletes from across the United States to compete in both team sports and individual events such as cycling, swimming, and track & field.

In 2001, photographer Ed Kashi attended the Games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  His photos from the event later became a part of a larger project undertaken with writer Julie Winoker.  The resulting film, Aging in America: The Years Ahead, examines what it means to live in the “new old age.”  Through a series of personal vignettes, the film breaks down stereotypes of the elderly and challenges our assumptions about the culture of aging.

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Ed Kashi, A sprinter crosses the finish line during a track event at the 2001 Senior Olympics. In fifteen years, the Senior Olympics has grown from a modest experiment to a national phenomenon drawing more than 12,000 athletes in dozens of events, 2001 (2006.40.45)

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Ed Kashi, Pole-vaulters in the 75+ category relax as they wait for their turn. Natural attrition thins the ranks in the highest age categories, 2001 (2006.41.5)

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Ed Kashi, A pole-vaulter in the 70+ category defies gravity at the 2001 Senior Olympics., 2001 (2006.40.26)

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Looking Back at the Metropolitan Opera

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Weegee, [Metropolitan Opera House distortion], ca. 1966 (12937.1993)

July 16 is the start of the Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Recital Series. Founded in 1883, the Opera is now in its 129th season.

In the 1940s, Weegee photographed the Metropolitan Opera, resulting in one of his most famous images, The CriticHis photos illustrate how much the Met has changed–and stayed the same–over the past seventy years.

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Weegee, Metropolitan Opera House Rehearsel, 1944 (126.1982)

Members of the Metropolitan Opera’s male chorus rehearse their parts for the opening night of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, in which they appear as Knights.

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Weegee, [Costume designer at Metropolitan Opera, New York], ca. 1944 (7339.1993)

It was not only the singers who wore gowns. The opera’s attendees dressed opulently, many of the women draped in jewels and fur coats. People came to the opera to see and be seen.

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Weegee, Mrs. Cornelius V Whitney, ca. 1944 (7369.1993)

Eleanor Searle, the third wife of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, was an opera singer herself.  The Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, now in its twenty-fifth year, was named in her honor.

Of course, the opera was not without humor:

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Weegee, I Don’t Know If He’s Admiring Her Shoulder or Going to Take a Bite, Sherry Salon at Met, Met Opera, ca. 1943 (7366.1993)

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The Family Portrait

The family portrait has been a popular genre of photography since its very beginning. First captured in daguerreotypes, early family portraits required the subjects to sit posed and completely motionless in a studio for an uncomfortably long period of time. Technological advances in photography have allowed for more informal, inexpensive, less-time consuming, and easier to produce family portraits, enabling them to become the common convention that they are today.

morse_ralph_1485_2005Ralph Morse, [Family of Pvt. Raymond Carlton, home on leave after basic training, Warsaw, North Carolina], 1941 (1485.2005)

unidentified_photographer_2009_36_1Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Man and Woman], ca. 1845 (2009.36.1)

figueroa_jose_2011_37_9José A. Figueroa, Mi familia, despedida en calle 17, La Habana (My family, farewell 17th Street, Havana), 1965-67 (2011.37.9)

weston_brett_423_2003Brett Weston, Portrait of Weston Family, Los Angeles, 1935 (423.2003)

cowin_774_1990Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Family Group], ca. 1930s (774.1990)

sievan_lee_32_1990Lee Sievan, Family Portrait on Cherry St., 1957 (32.1990)

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The Camelia by Consuelo Kanaga

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Consuelo Kanaga, The Camelia, 1927 (7.1982)

This simple flower still life is of the camelia, which was designated as Alabama’s state
flower in 1959. Consuelo Kanaga shows the white bloom having been cut with a single leaf and placed in a glass of water, as if to decorate a tablescape. Considering her portraits
of Alabama resident Annie Mae Merriweather, Kanaga may have spent considerable time
in the state and/or within the southeastern United States where this originally-Asian flower is cultivated. Not a typical still life, Kanaga approaches the flower in a similar way as she does her portraits: providing a close up, showing the flower’s form with fairly even lighting. Showing its loose petals unfurling and the thick, glossy leaf with deep veins, it’s almost as if Kanaga wants the viewer to know the flower intimately.

Qiana Mestrich ICP-Bard 2013

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Independence Day

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Henri Cartier-Bresson, New England, July 4, 1947

Independence Day. “This woman explained to me that the flagpole over her door was broken but ‘on such a day as this, one keeps one’s flag on one’s heart.'” I felt in her a touch of the strength and robustness of the early American pioneers.” –Henri Cartier-Bresson

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