November 22, 1963

2013_25_1Unidentified Photographer, [John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, John Connally, and Nellie Connally in presidential limousine, Dallas], November 22, 1963 (2013.25.1)

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth president of the United States. Check out Chief Curator Brian Wallis’s current exhibition JFK November 22, 1963: A Bystander’s View of History for more images of JFK and aftermath of his death as well as Dan Solomon’s installation Witness, photographs of bystanders extracted from the background of Abraham Zapruder’s home movie of the assassination of President Kennedy, at the ICP School.

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The Cowboy

America’s fascination with the cowboy dates back to the 1850s, when the West was expanding and the demand for beef was rising. “Cowboy” quickly became an iconic term and was glamorized and romanticized by the tradition of Wild West shows, rodeos, and eventually Hollywood’s production of the Western. The cowboy archetype, a handsome man outfitted in boots with spurs, his stetson filled to the brim with manliness and bravery, is one of the most epochal of American imagery. ICP’s collection includes a fair number of cowboys, here are just a few.

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Leonard McCombe, [Clarence Hailey Long, foreman of the JA Ranch, Texas], 1949 (1099.2005)

This portrait of Clarence Hailey Long was printed in 1949 in LIFE magazine. Inspired by the image, Leo Burnett, an advertising executive for Phillip Morris, changed the Marlboro campaign to include photographs of cowboys. The new imagery dramatically increased sales.

stettner_louis_448_1982Louis Stettner, Horse and Cowboy, Rockefeller Center, NYC, 1974 (448.1982)

Louis Stettner, an American photographer, is famous for his street scenes of everyday, average life in both Paris and New York City. However (and unfortunately), a rodeo star with his beloved horse in Rockefeller Center is not an everyday, average sight, nor would it have been when it was taken in the 1970s.

haas_ernst_52_1976Ernst Haas, Stuntman with mustang on the set of The Misfits, 1960 (52.1976)

Ernst Haas, a Magnum photographer, took this photograph on the set of the movie The Misfits. Directed by John Huston, and starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, the film was about a divorced woman, a cowboy, and his friend in the Western Nevada desert.

mark_mary_ellen_454_1993Mary Ellen Mark, Rodeo, Big Spring Texas, 1991 (454.1993)

Mary Ellen Mark, like Louis Stettner, is also well known for her photojournalistic images of everyday American life. This photograph, part of her In America series, shows a young boy, decked out in a miniature version of the iconic cowboy gear, presumably waiting to compete in a junior rodeo competition.

levinthal_david_2009_97_01David Levinthal, Untitled, 1994 (2009.97.1)

This optical illusion by David Levinthal, is from his series The Wild West. Using a blurring technique, appropriately small scenery, and the right angles, Levinthal is able to almost fool his audience into thinking they are viewing a photographic portrait of a real, live, American cowboy, and not the plastic toy that it is in reality.

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Celebrating Martin Munkacsi

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Martin Munkacsi, [Fred Astaire], 1936 (2007.110.2320)

In his day Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963) was one of the most famous photographers in the world; his elegant and dynamic pictures of models, actors and athletes inspired photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Avedon. His career began in Hungary as a sports photographer and he later moved to Berlin, where he worked for the magazines Biz, Uhu, Die Dame, and Vu. By 1934 he had made his way to New York, where he worked for Harper’s Bazaar. Munkacsi helped redefine fashion photography by having his models move naturally (often outdoors) instead of posing perfectly still, giving his images a vitality and informality previously unseen in fashion photography. Cartier-Bresson wrote of a Munkacsi photograph of three children running to the ocean, “I must say that it is that very photograph which was for me the spark that set fire to the fireworks . . . it made me realize that photography can reach eternity through the moment . . . ” After Munkacsi’s death Avedon wrote, “Today the world of what is called fashion is peopled by Munkacsi’s babies, his heirs.”

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Martin Munkacsi, [Woman with peignoir], 1936 (2009.6.33)

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Martin Munkacsi, [Katharine Hepburn, Hartford], 1935 (2009.6.23)

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Martin Munkacsi, [Woman in rowboat], 1928 (2009.6.39)

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Martin Munkacsi, [Jeanette MacDonald swimming], 1930s (2007.110.2499)

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Castro Street Fair, San Francisco, 1980

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Paul Fusco, San Francisco, California, 1980 (7.1981)

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Paul Fusco, San Francisco, California, 1980 (8.1981)

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Paul Fusco, San Francisco, California, 1980 (14.1981)

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Paul Fusco, San Francisco, California, 1980 (17.1981)

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Paul Fusco, San Francisco, California, 1980 (18.1981)

The Castro Street Fair is an annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender street festival and fair, held in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District, the Mecca of gay life and the social center in the city. Harvey Milk (1930-1978), a politician for gay rights and the unofficial “Mayor of Castro Street,” organized the first street fair in 1974. A gay man who owned a camera shop on Castro Street who often repeated his philosophy that gays should buy from gay businesses, Milk organized the fair to attract more gay customers to the area. The fair celebrated its fortieth anniversary last month. Over the past four decades it has maintained its festive roots and evolved into a major fundraising event for the neighborhood’s nonprofits. To honor Harvey Milk, the organization has posted a short found footage clip of him discussing the 1976 street fair.

Paul Fusco, member of Magnum Photos since 1974, photographed the fair on August 17, 1980.

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Micha Bar-Am and Israeli Life

bar-am_micha_181_2002Micha Bar-Am, Kibbutz Givat-Haim (Ihud), 1973 (181.2002)

bar-am_micha_180_2002Micha Bar-Am, Opening night, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 1966 (180.2002)

bar-am_micha_197_2002Micha Bar-Am, Parade, Beersheva, 1973 (197.2002)

bar-am_micha_186_2002Micha Bar-Am, Arab Wedding, Peqi’in, Galilee, 1966 (186.2002)

bar-am_micha_182_2002Micha Bar-Am, Train to Jerusalem, 1970 (182.2002)

Micha Bar-Am is an Israeli photographer who has documented Israeli wars and conflicts for over fifty years. His work is published in countless books, magazines, and newspapers including the Israeli magazine Bama Hana, Life, and the New York Times. He is a member of Magnum Photos, and his work has been shown in museums and galleries internationally.

Much of Bar-Am’s photography follows the action of the Israeli Army; he often documented from the soldiers’ perspective. These images are sometimes hard to view, as they portray combat, death, and destruction. Bar-Am’s larger portfolio, however, includes many photographs taken of Israeli men and women attempting to live relatively normal lives despite the ongoing emotionally and physically damaging repercussions of the conflicts. These photographs have become evidence of the humanity that continued to exist through war and a constantly changing political landscape.

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The Forest of Fontainebleau

The first known photographic image of the forest of Fontainebleau (French: Forêt de Fontainebleau, or Forêt de Bière, meaning “forest of heather”—lying sixty kilometers southeast of Paris) is a daguerreotype by an anonymous photographer from around 1845, which can be found in the collection of Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It reminds us how rapidly photographers came to join the Barbizon School of painters who, since the development of painting in the open air, invaded the forest of Fontainebleau to work directly from nature. While giving rise to hundreds works of art—followed by the Impressionists in the 1860s—they turned the forest into the most popular site in the art world throughout the nineteenth century.

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Probably by W.H. Harrison, [Forêt de Fontainebleau], 1870s (83.1999)

As soon as photographs were being produced on paper—a more suitable process for shooting pictures outside—the dialogue between the new medium of photography and painting began to take place in the forest of Fontainebleau. When the railway arrived, the forest became more accessible and Gustave Le Gray, a photographer trained as a painter, found his way in 1849; he was the first to significantly improve the paper negative and emphasize all its aesthetic potential.

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Eugène Cuvelier, Pres de Carrefour de l’Epine, 1860s (2010.118.8)

Instead of carrying his paint box and easel, landscape photographer Eugène Cuvelier took his camera through the streets of Barbizon and along the trees of the forest of Fontainebleau. His carefully composed and richly printed photographs show similarities with the pre-Impressionist paintings of his painting friends from the Barbizon School with who he shared an aesthetic milieu: while Cuvelier was drawing inspiration from the paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-François Millet and others; his photographs contributed to their vision and influenced the painters.

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Eugène Cuvelier, Pres de Carrefour de l’Epine, 1860s (2010.118.5)

While most of his work is made in his beloved forest and home in Barbizon, Cuvelier’s photographs shown here are made in the forest of Carrefour de l’Épinette, in the northwest of France. The image below pictures the river in Moret-sur-Loing, on the other side of Fontainebleau. These three photographs reveal the same intimate aspect that we recognize in the photographs of the forest of Fontainebleau and are imbued with the reserved silent poetry that we can find in his still lives and portraits of his city.

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Eugène Cuvelier, Rivière au Loing a Moret, 1860s (2010.118.7)

Eugène Atget, who was interested in places with historical associations and did several landscape studies, arrived at the forest in the end of the nineteenth century, making photographs of the Château of Fontainebleau and its surroundings.

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Eugène Atget, Fontainebleau, Cavalière des Brigands, ca. 1898-1927 (2009.79.12)

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Don’t Forget to Vote

moore_charles_176_1991Charles Moore, [Voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery], 1965 (176.1991)

Today is election day in the United States. If you are eligible, don’t forget to vote.

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John Albert, [Voter registration reminders displayed in drugstore windows, New York], 1947 (2012.121.21)

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Jacob Riis, Patriotic Election in Beach St. School, ca. 1890 (242.1982)

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Robert Capa, [Man voting in the election run-offs that would put into power the leftist-liberal Popular Front coalition government, Saint-Denis, France], May 3, 1936 (2443.1992)

ewald_wendy_3798_1992Wendy Ewald, Election day, 1982 (3798.1992)

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