Sheng Qi


Sheng Qi, Memories (Mother), 2000 (9.2004)

The photograph is part of Hand series (2005) by Chinese photographer Sheng Qi. In 1989, in protest of the massacre at Tiananmen Square, he cut off his left pinkie finger, which he buried it in a porcelain flowerpot to be able to leave part of himself in China. The photograph, through reductive simplicity (background color with the close up of the artist palm that held tiny black-and-white ID photograph), shapes our perception by the introspection and unique manner of recreating a memory and past moment in time. Mother, with photographs Me and Mao, also included in the ICP collection, reinforces the notion of the past bringing us to the future. Parts of the family and parts of body that shape the new independent country. Referring to the photographic language of ID photographs enclosed in the frame of photograph serves as a mirror for our identities that we can look through and shape ourselves. The photograph was included in the exhibition Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, which was co-organized by ICP and Asia Society.

–Kasia Gumpert, ICP-Bard 2014

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Road Trip


Stephen Shore, Presidio, Texas, February 21, 1975 (2007.30.2)


Lewis Baltz, Park City, interior, I, 1979 (863.1986)


William Christenberry, The Bar-B-Q Inn, Greensboro, Alabama, 1977 (2010.23.2)


William Eggleston, Memphis, ca. 1972 (226.2003)


Lee Friedlander, Kansas City, 1965 (644.1984)

The road trip has been closely intertwined with the history of photography, especially in the United States. Given the fact that a large number of people had access to both the Model-T and the Brownie around the same time makes this an unsurprising statement. The road trip has even become a mode of working, a medium in itself. The desire for discovery and adventure plays a big role in the development of this form. Countless photographers have used this as strategy for making their work, perhaps unaware of the primordial relationship between the car and the camera. Both are machines born out of the hand of mankind, tools we have created to help us see the world, to get to know it. The most important discovery though, is that one that happens throughout the journey, first in the photographer, as he moves and navigates time and place, and then in the spectator, who goes on his or her own journey while looking at the pictures.

Xavier Luján, ICP-Bard 2014

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Presidents’ Day

unidentified_photographer_2012_95_14Unidentified Photographer, [John F. Kennedy taking presidential oath of office under Earl Warren, Washington, DC], January 20, 1961 (2012.95.14)

As the month of February marches on and continues to pile on the snow, many of us look forward to Presidents’ Day as a small mid-month break from our daily routines without thinking much about the day itself. Enacted by Congress in 1879 as a federal holiday to celebrate the birthday of George Washington, it was originally held on Washington’s birthday on February 22. It wasn’t until 1971 that the date was moved to the third Monday of February.

unidentified_photographer_2012_94_31Unidentified Photographer, [John F. Kennedy delivering State of the Union address to joint session of Congress, Washington, DC], January 14, 1963 (2012.94.31)

Given the fact that the new date of the holiday was now earlier in the month, many assume that the move was intended to bring it closer to Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 and make it a more inclusive holiday to honor the office of the President. The name of the holiday, however, was never officially changed by Congress. Each state has its own official name for the holiday, with some states choosing to keep the day George Washington’s birthday (or some variation thereof) and others calling it Presidents’ Day. Whatever the name, the third Monday of each February is a day to celebrate the birthday of George Washington, the office of the President, and maybe the day off of work as well.

mcavoy_thomas_d_1211_2005Thomas D. McAvoy, [Franklin D. Roosevelt drinking wine and smoking a cigarette during the Jackson Day Dinner], 1938 (1211.2005)

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaders in the American Civil Rights Movement: SCLC

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s advocacy and implementation of boycotts and non-violent protests characterized the American civil rights movement. Having played a significant role in the organization of the March on Washington, the Selma Voting Rights Campaign and the March to Montgomery, and the Chicago Freedom Movement (among countless others), the SCLC worked hard to represent many different narratives in the civil rights movement. The beginnings of SCLC can be found during the Montgomery bus boycott, a 381-day protest initiated by Rosa Parks’ refusal to leave her seat for a white man. Following the Montgomery bus boycott, the group reorganized and established formal leadership, electing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as their president on this day in 1957. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is pictured below in SCLC’s headquarters in Atlanta.

fernandez_benedict_j_78_1990Benedict J. FernandezDr. King in his office at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Headquarters in Atlanta, ca. 1967, (78.1990)

SCLC’s advocacy of non-violence had and continues to have an influence on the strategies adopted by many other groups fighting for justice and equality.

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Love Is in the Air


Dyke Action Machine, Gosh, We Always Knew Lesbian Families Rule, 1992 (1193.2000)


John Loengard, Florette and Jacques-Henri Lartigue, 1981 (189.1987)


Bill Wood, 50th Anniversary, 1956 (2010.14.183)

cowin_736_1990Unidentified Photographer, [Groom and Bride], ca. 1920s (736.1990)

eisenstadt_alfred_319_1989Alfred Eisenstaedt, Lunch hour at river Seine just below Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, 1963 (319.1989)

strauss_zoe_2013_74_3Zoe Strauss, Ken and Don, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2007 (2013.74.3)


Charles H. Traub, “N.Y.C. on the Edge,” Marine Park, Brooklyn, NY, 1988 (477.1991)

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shirley Temple Black, 1928-2014


Unidentified Photographer, [Shirley Temple dancing with Bill Robinson in the film The Littlest Rebel], 1935 (1162.2005)

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Woman’s World


Mickalene Thomas, Lovely Six Foota, 2007 (2009.33.1)

This selection of works by three contemporary American female photographers Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, and Mickalene Thomas respond to images of African American women. Seen through the lenses of their cameras, they share and make visual commentary of the issues surrounding the images they see of themselves as African American women in history, science, fashion, and media. This has been a major concern in mainstream American culture. By bringing attention to these issues, these artists look to make positive change through awareness.


Carrie Mae Weems, You Became a Scientific Profile from the “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried” series, 1995-96 (835.2001.1)


Lorna SimpsonPartitions & Time, 1991 (2.1998.h)

These three women have taken full advantage of using archival images. They look at misconstrued images and create a dialogue about how American history dictated the negative representations and stereotypes and how they continue to affect the identity of this culture. Carrie Mae Weems uses found Louis Agassiz slave daguerreotypes as a way to remind viewers that Africans American slaves were often seen as science experiments. Some of these representations have had a long lasting and severe impact on how African American have been presented long after slavery. Lorna Simpson looks at memory and Mickalene Thomas mixes fashion and sexuality.


Lorna Simpson, 9 Props, 1995 (8.2005)


Lorna Simpson, Untitled (melancholy dame/carmen jones), 2001 (2008.11.1-.2)

Simpson, Weems, and Thomas explore new ways to look at identity through the use of images and words, but they also tell a story with the titles of their pieces, which tie together the power of words and images. We have intermixed the titles to create another piece through poetic statement.

You Became a Scientific Profile


Partitions & Time

Lovely Six Foota.
I’ll call you

Untitled (melancholy dame/carmen jones).

My gift to you

9 Props.

Kim Weston, ICP-Bard 2014

Posted in Fans in a Flashbulb | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment