Hate Is Ugly

Stan Wayman, [Taunting boys during new integration program in Charlotte, North Carolina], 1957 (1871.2005)

Stan Wayman, [Dorothy Counts endures hostile taunts in auditorium of Harry Harding H.S during integration], 1957 (1872.2005)

A.Y. Owen, [Mrs. Marge Lucas hurls epithets during integration at Kentucky Sturgis School], 1957 (1866.2005)

Francis Miller, [Elizabeth Eckford, turned away from entering Central High School by Arkansas National Guard by order of Governor Orval Faubus, is followed by hostile whites, Little Rock, Arkansas], 1957 (1873.2005)

Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, International Center of Photography

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Cats, Animals Help Society, London, by Martin Munkacsi

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Cat sitting on sign for the Animals Help Society, London], 1932 (2007.110.495)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Woman with cat outside Animals’ Help Society, London], 1932 (2007.110.499)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Cats, Animals Help Society, London], 1932 (2007.110.492)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Cats, Animals Help Society, London], 1932 (2007.110.493)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Feeding fish to cats, Animals Help Society, London], 1932 (2007.110.498)

Martin Munkacsi (1898-1963), [Cats in front of fireplace, Animals Help Society, London], 1932 (2007.110.496)

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All Together Now

Neal Slavin, Staten Island Ferry, Liberty Island, NY, (207.1985.a)

Neal Slavin, Holland Tunnel, Jersey City, NJ, (207.1985.l)

Neal Slavin, New York City Transit Authority, Brooklyn, NY, (207.1985.i)

Neal Slavin, International Twins Association, Muncie, Indiana, (207.1985.d)

Neal Slavin, Product Managers, AT&T Long Lines, Somerset, NJ, (207.1985.n)

As a Fullbright Fellow in 1968, Neal Slavin spent a year photographing intensely in Portugal, primarily focusing on “fatalism.” A fraction of those photos were published in a book called Portugal, published in 1971 by Lustrum Press. Slavin’s photos of collections of people were inspired, in part, by a photo of a troop of Boy Scouts discovered while researching a project about media, publicity, and public acceptance. Of particular interest was the “public posing” or presentation of oneself within a congregation of other people. A few days after seeing the Scouts preserved in a photo, Slavin photographed, in color and black and white, the Flushing Volunteer Ambulance Corps, in Queens, NY. To proceed in color, not in widespread use in the 1970s, for the information that it provided, was an immediate decision. The photos were made for a book, When Two or More Are Gathered Together, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976). By 1977 the photographer had spent about four years photographing groups. This project was informed by the photographer’s work as a post card photographer in the southern United States and perhaps even informed by photographing paintings and sculpture at the Guggenheim Museum. (Most of the photos in the 70s were made with a 2 1/4 Hasselblad and a few with a 4×5 view camera.) August Sander (1876-1964) was a favorite photographer. The project in a Spring ’77 synopsis:

The audio clips are from an outstanding Neal Slavin presentation at ICP on March 10, 1977.

All photos © Neal Slavin; the photographer’s website.

Neal Slavin, Cemetery Workers and Greens Attendants, Union Local 365, SEIU AFL-CIO, Ridgewood, NY, (207.1985.j)

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Revisiting Atget’s Gardens

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Saint-Cloud, 1922-27 (printed 1922-27) (2009.79.11)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), [The park at Saint-Cloud], 1905-15 (Printed 1919-27) (2008.112.15)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Versailles – Vase par Ballin, 1902 (2012.100.9)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Versailles, Fontaine de Diane (détail), 1901 (Printed 1901-27) (2008.112.36)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Versailles, Le Remouleur par Foggini (Parterre du Nord), 1901 (Printed 1901-27) (2008.112.37)

In the fall of 1979 ICP celebrated its Fifth Anniversary “with exhibitions of the work of two giants of 20th century photography: Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Both men represent the integration of documentary and aesthetic concerns which symbolize ICP’s own position.” (Press release, 10/1979.) The Atget’s Gardens exhibition “represents the first time that a selection of Atget’s photographs of the royal parks and gardens of France have appeared in one place. Curated by Jacqueline Onassis and William Howard Adams.” (icp.org) Atget died 90 years ago today.

On an early Saturday morning, November 17, 1979, before the museum opened, a public presentation was held with William Howard Adams, Berenice Abbott, and Alan Trachtenberg. The audio clips, below, are from this gathering.

William Howard Adams asks Berenice Abbott about meeting Atget for the first time, more than 50 years ago, in Paris. Abbott speaks about: meeting Atget while she was working with Man Ray in 1926; she was inspired to find him immediately after seeing his photos; buying prints from him; she recommended that everybody buy prints from him; Atget’s sadness that was the consequence of the death of his partner Valentine Compagnon; going into the darkroom with Atget and more…

Cornell Capa asks Berenice Abbott how she fell in love with Atget’s work and what was the motivation and passion behind bringing the photos and glass plate negatives back to the United States [in the spring of 1929] and why did she spend over forty years working with the photographs. (It was love at first sight.) Abbott replies that Atget was the “only photographer I ever got excited about.” And “I was just crazy about his work.”

Asked by a member of the audience about the influence that Atget’s photographs had on her own photographs Abbott says your passion comes from your subject, mostly; that she didn’t fit in with her contemporaries (Steiglitz, Adams, Strand, Weston) in the American school of photography that was like a closed corporation; photographing New York was the only reason that she returned to New York; and that you should “take the shadows as they come.”

To be continued…

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Trianon, 1926 (2011.52.7)

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John G. Morris (1916-2017)

Cornell Capa, John G. Morris, 1964 (2011.31.4)

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A Strikingly Beautiful Downtown Nocturne: Naked City (annotated)

Weegee (1899-1968), “Naked City,” 1945 (2011.75.2)

Weegee (1899-1968), “Naked City,” 1945 (2011.75.2)

This month marks the 72nd anniversary of the publication of Weegee’s Naked City. The book begins with a bang. The first photo (after a pair of surprising and amusing photos on the end pages of the author at work – putting on boots and typing) is of New York City at night: a dark sky, Brooklyn Bridge, cars on cobblestones, a building with a Central Vermont Terminal sign, round street lights, a cluster of buildings, and a bolt of lightning apparently striking the skyscraper on the far right. A suitable introduction to Weegee’s Naked City. Printed on the upper left of the page spread is lower, or southern and eastern, Manhattan, places of work, after or before work. This photo, foreshadowing the rest of the book, is a view of New York City that most people don’t see, that will be illuminated by a flash of light, might be shocking, and is one of the most noir-ish photos in the book. A well-done rare landscape.

Weegee (1899-1968), “Striking Beauty,” July 27, 1940 (98.1982)

The three skyscrapers are, from left, City Bank Farmers Trust Co., 20 Exchange Place (built 1931); the City Services/AIG Building, 70 Pine Street (1932); and the Bank of Manhtaan Trust Building, 40 Wall Street (1930). In the center foreground is the Central Vermont Terminal, Pier 29, the East River. (The Weegee Guide to New York, pp. 12-13)

Weegee (1899-1968), [Bolt of lightning apparently striking the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, New York], July 27, 1940 (2009.16.1) Perhaps the only known negative is a 4×5 negative of a photograph – a cropped “Striking Beauty.”

New York Daily News, July 29, 1940, p. 18

Strike Two. This remarkable foto shows a brilliant bolt of lightning apparently striking City Bank Farmer’s Trust Co., at 20 Exchange Place, during Saturday night’s storm. The fotog shot foto on South St., near Brooklyn Bridge. (Foto by Arthur Fellig.)New York Daily News, July 29, 1940, p. 18

New York Herald Tribune, August 4, 1940

Heat-Wave Nocturne in Downtown New York. Herald Tribune – Acme.New York Herald Tribune, August 4, 1940

77 years ago today, July 29, 1940, was the first time this image appeared in print in the New York Daily News. There were two titles in different editions, “Striking Beauty” and the more common “Strike Two.” Shortly afterward, it was printed in the Sunday gravure section of the New York Herald Tribune on August 4th, 1940.

This series, Naked City (annotated), of blog posts will attempt to provide context, images, and objects related to the photos in Weegee’s “Naked City.”

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Buenos Aires Above and Below Ground

Jim Dow, Main Entrance, Retiro Station, Buenos Aires, 1989 (199.1999.4)

Jim Dow, Telegram Office at Railroad Station, San Luis, Argentina, 1989 (119.1999.8)

Jim Dow, Platform at Peru Station, Subway Line “A,” Buenos Aires, 1898 (199.1999.9)

Jim Dow, Subway Car Interior at Primera Junta Station, Line “A,” Buenos Aires, 1989 (119.1999.1)

As those of us in the New York metropolitan area navigate through a public transportation “Summer of Hell” – it might be a good time to look at photos of subways, buses and trains from around the world. Although initially referring to the repair work in Penn Station and its consequences, complaints about surface and underground transit and the politicians who pull the purse strings are likely to run, like the subways and buses themselves, 24/7.

In these majestic (and largely people-free) photos, mostly made in Buenos Aires, rail travel appears alluring, paradisaical, perhaps timeless, and very well-lit. (The atmosphere is more Antarctic and the pace glacier, a “Winter of Heaven” in the southern hemisphere, compared to our overstuffed, subterranean inferno.) The Subterráneo de Buenos Aires or Subte, began in 1913, the six lines extend for 33.5 miles. (Wikipedia)

This is the premier post of a new Subway Series looking at international subways, trains, and other forms of (mostly) underground public transportation and commuting. Inspired, in part, by the current state of public transportation in the NYC metropolitan area and our “Summer of Hell.”

The photographer’s website can be found here.

Jim Dow, Gallery at Once Railroad Station, Buenos Aires, 1989 (121.1999.6)

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