Fast Forward

Lauren GreenfieldMijanou and friends from Beverly Hills High School on Senior Beach Day, Will Rogers State Beach, 1993 (63.1997)

I was Homecoming Queen. I was Junior Princess. The seniors voted and I won for Best Physique. I was very flattered. You’re more easily accepted if you’re pretty. People with good looks get away with much more than somebody else would. I think I’m a beautiful person inside, but I really don’t care about my appearance.

I lost my virginity when I was eighteen. That’s pretty rare. Kids now are having sex at twelve or thirteen years old. Even in the fifth grade, little girls dress provocatively, wearing tight bodysuits and everything. I think the younger generations are getting more and more corrupted and crazy. Kids here are exposed to so many things. It’s not necessarily just L.A., but because this is the center of everything -the center of television. The media influences kids. Hip-hop has influenced so much -fashion, kids’ attitudes, everything. Kids try to be like who they see on TV, who they think is cool. So that’s what they dress like. They all wear Adidas and baggy jeans and stuff.

You go to clubs now and everybody is just too cool. They are “hard”. They all have this attitude, this front that they put up. The whole attitude is being hard and being tough and being cool. “It’s phat.” “It’s cool.” “It’s dope.” It the jargon. It all comes from hip-hop. Those are the words that they use in all the raps. Hip-hop has been a huge influence on kids and the way this generation is.

The biggest pressure is fitting in. It’s real hard when you try to be your own person. You are really influenced by your friends. You want to dress like them. You want to be like them. It’s hard to find your own individuality. Especially at Beverly Hills High School. Everyone is really judgmental, very clique-y. There’s pressure to have a car when you turn sixteen and to have everything your friends have. If you saw the parking lot at Beverly High. There are BMW’s, Jeeps, Range Rovers -you know, fifty thousand-dollar cars driven by sixteen-year-olds. For me, not always growing up in Beveryly Hills and stuff, I felt like I didn’t fit in.

I was different because my family struggled a lot, as many families do, but in Beverly Hills you are in a place where kids have no financial problems and can have anything their heart desires. They can go shopping, get whatever they want, always have money to go out to eat, for movies -so much money all the time. It’s hard. I was raised very spiritually by my father and mother. I was grateful for what I had and that I was even able to go to that school. I mean, I was different for them. They lived in these huge houses and could have just basically everything they wanted. Every Easter, go to Hawaii. Winter, go to Aspen.

All the rich Bevery Hills families know each other. So-and-so’s parents are friends with so-and-so’s parents. We lived south of Beverly Hills, where the apartments are. I lived in an apartment where I shared a room with my brother. Sometimes I felt prejudice from the parents who would rather have their kids go out with the kids of families they knew -who lived north, in the big houses. Even the parents wanted the kids to stay friends with the wealthy kids.

I grew up in Costa Rica, which was very different, where you stay as a kid. You’re a kid, you listen to you parents, and you do thing you are supposed to. But here, kids never listen to what their parents say. Kids pretty much end up making their own decisions.

You grow up really fast when you grow up in L.A. L.A. is so fast-moving, and kids really mature at a young age. It seems like everyone is in a rush to be an adult. It’s not cool to be a kid.

Lauren Greenfield, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood. New York: Knopf/Melcher, 1997, pp. 64-5.

Now on view: GENERATION WEALTH by Lauren Greenfield at ICP Museum, September 20 – January 7, 2018.

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Fern, Fungi, Fun: “What a Wonderful World”

Jeannette Klute (1918-2009), Luna Moth, ca. 1950 (2354.2005)

Jeannette Klute (1918-2009), Wild Larkspur, ca. 1955 (2009.89.5)

Jeannette Klute (1918-2009), Trout Lily, from the “Woodland Portraits” series, ca. 1950 (2345.2005)

Jeannette Klute (1918-2009), Jack in the Pulpit, ca. 1950 (2349.2005)

Jeannette Klute (1918-2009), Pitcher-plant, from the “Woodland Portraits” series, ca. 1950 (2359.2005)

Jeannette Klute (1918-2009), “Woodland Portraits, Plate 4,” ca. 1955 (2009.86.2)

Rochester born Jeannette Klute attended the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics (predecessor to the Rochester Institute of Technology) and the University of Rochester. While still a student the trailblazing Klute began her long career at the Eastman Kodak Company. At Kodak she worked in the Research Laboratories, was head of the Visual Research Studio of the Color Control Division, and managed the Photographic Technology Studio.

“The first month they were sending people out for job interviews, but not me,” she recalled in a speech at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1984. “I asked how come? The head of the department said, ‘Oh, there are no jobs for women in photography.’ My world fell apart.”

Ms. Klute took it upon herself to go out for interviews, and every week on her day off, she walked to the offices of Eastman Kodak Co. to ask for a job. For a long time, she never made it past the personnel office. Then, one day, in the pouring rain, decked in her finest navy blue suit, she stalked to the offices and was sent straight to the sixth floor for an interview.
“The man took a look at me with the rain dripping off my hat and said, ‘If you want a job that bad, you’ve got it,’” she recalled. “There was a celebration in the neighborhood that night.”…

“She was really like my college education,” said Barbara Erbland, who assisted Ms. Klute in the lab at Kodak for many years. “She taught me everything — about light, color, about people … how to live well.”… “Her lab consisted of all women,” she said. “I think it was by intention. She believed women had brains. We worked very well together.”…

Lugging a 4-by-5 Graflex single-lens reflex camera wherever they went, Erbland ventured into swamps and tide pools… “She taught me you don’t make do, you make things happen,” said Erbland. “You’re not a victim.”

Back in Rochester, the two sought out swamps and woodland for Ms. Klute to take her photographs — or, as she put it, to “make pictures.”
PHOTO GALLERY: In memory of Jeannette Klute, a ‘Renaissance woman,’ by Philip Anselmo, August 2009

In the early 1950s Klute had photos in three exhibitions (including Color Photography, 1950, and Abstraction in Photography, 1951) at MoMA. In 1954 a colorful portfolio of plant photos were published by Little Brown and Co. in a book called “Woodland Portraits.” (Photographic portraits of plants in their natural environment, a kind of wildlife.) Klute’s artistry, technical expertise, and love of nature can be seen in these large, beautiful dye transfer prints.

Sources, citations, and further reading:
PHOTO GALLERY: In memory of Jeannette Klute, a ‘Renaissance woman,’” by Philip Anselmo, August 2009.

Guide to the Jeannette Klute collection at RIT.

Jeannette Klute (1918-2009), Spinulose Wood-Fern, from the “Woodland Portraits” series, ca. 1950 (2353.2005)

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September 11, 2001

Jeff Mermelstein, Red cube, September 11, 2001, (80.2002.10)

Jeff Mermelstein, Statue, September 11, 2001 (80.2002.8)

Jeff Mermelstein, Frame, September 11, 2001 (80.2002.11)

Browse ICP’s complete September 11 Archive here or here.

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A Walk Up Fifth Avenue: Martin Munkacsi’s New York Street Shots

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Empire State Building, New York], ca. 1934 (2007.10.171)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [National Recovery Administration flags and pedestrians on Fifth Avenue, New York], ca. 1934 (2007.110.178)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Singer sewing machines in storefront window, Fifth Avenue, New York], ca. 1934 (2010.110.174)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [New York Public Library and 500 Fifth Avenue, New York], ca. 1934, (2007.110.170)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Fifth Avenue and flag pole at 42nd St., New York], ca. 1934 (2007.110.175)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York], ca. 1934 (2007.110.177)

Martin Munkacsi’s photos of a bustling midtown Manhattan were made along the west side of Fifth Avenue, and presented, perhaps in the order that they were made, as a walk uptown. This eight block walk is book-ended by two buildings that were designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and completed in 1931. (Therefore they were only a few years old when these photos were made.) Beginning at the Empire State Building, walking north past the Best & Co children’s clothing company, 372 Fifth Ave. and their National Recovery Administration (the short lived, 1933-35, New Deal Federal agency, “We Do Our Part”) member flags; past Singer sewing machines in the Singer store window at 396 Fifth Ave.; past a Dutch angled New York Public Library and 500 Fifth Ave. (a mini Empire State Building, designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon); past a crowd of mostly men in the middle of midtown at midday around the beautiful base of a flag pole, a monument to the short lived (anti-corruption and gun-carrying reformist) New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel (1879-1918); and ending at the corner of Fifth and 42nd, facing upper Manhattan. There’s little evidence of the Great Depression, when these photos were made the unemployment rate in the United States was at it’s highest, along fashionable Fifth Avenue.

These glass plate negatives were stored in this box:

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Agfa glass plate negative box: New York Street Shots], ca. 1934 (2007.110.168)

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“And we both laughed. John laughed a lot.”

The large loft on West 18th Street that John Cage shared with Merce Cunningham was a simple, sunny, skylit living-working studio. It was divided into a sleeping area, a working space with a desk right off the kitchen [] and an area for playing chess that was literally overgrown with plants. There was a long row of south-facing windows and a large central skylight.

There was a cat in the loft that he and Merce named “Rimpoche Taxicab.” [] Everything was fun with John Cage – he was extremely serious without ever taking himself seriously. In his twilight years John was preserving his early work and making new work, drawings of smoke and river rocks and new compositions; receiving friends and pilgrims; and always cooking.

The chess board is one that he played at with Duchamp; the tool box photographed with all the little screws and nuts and bolts was from his first prepared piano piece in 1937. It was a magical day for me: the guru and his disciple. I said to him: “You know John, reading your book Silence at eighteen had a profound effect on me. And your encouragement over the years has meant more to me than you can imagine.”

Without hesitation, he answered in his even high-pitched voice, “Yes, many people tell me that.” And we both laughed. John laughed a lot. He was goodness and generosity personified.
He wasted nothing. Everything was grist for his extraordinary mill and he was appreciative of everything.

He took nothing for granted. He talked about how fortunate he and Merce were to have the space, how much he appreciated any kind of recognition. He was gentle, serious, hard-working, brilliant. He was also endlessly quotable: “Avant-garde is a consumptional necessity as we’ve used up all the rest.” and “Anything can be art, all you have to do is change your mind.”

Photographs and words by David Seidner (1957-1999). Artists at Work: Inside the Studios of Today’s Most Celebrated Artists. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1999. pp. 42-49

John Cage, was born September 5, 1912.

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Water is Work

Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940), [Worker soaking silk skeins in boiled water to free it of gum, Madison Silk Company in Barnert Mills, Paterson, New Jersey], March 1937, (856.1975)

Henry Ries (1917-2004), Restoration of Ancient Books, September 1948 (354.1990)

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), Ahmedabad, India, 1967 (265.1994)

Hiroshi Hamaya (1915-1999), Diving for seaweed, Fukui, Japan, 1958 (icp.1986)

Wu Yinxian (1900-1994), Picking Agar, Guangdong, China, 1978 (171.1988)

Wu Yinxian (1900-1994), Fruit Growers, Guangxi, China, 1973 (168.1988)

This is a Labor Day blog post featuring photos of water and work. “The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City…”(

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Labor Day

Sol LibsohnIron Worker Rigging a Section of Standpipe, New Jersey, 1948 (240.1983)

Esther BubleyPainters on the Brooklyn Bridge, 1943-50 (244.1983)

Harold CorsiniWelder Joins a Pipe During Construction of Refinery, 1943-50 (246.1983)

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