Charles H. Traub: Beach portfolio

Charles H. Traub, Beach, 1975 (294.1981.a)

Charles H. Traub
, Beach, 1974 (294.1981.c)

Charles H. Traub
, Beach, 1975 (294.1981.d)

Charles H. Traub
, Beach, 1974 (294.1981.f)

Charles H. Traub
, Beach, 1974 (294.1981.g)

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Weegee Wednesdays: Ladies of Liberties

Weegee, Statue of Liberty, ca. 1955 (3372.1993)

Weegee, Statue of Liberty: Swing, baby, it’s a free country ain’t it?, ca. 1955 (3357.1993)

Weegee, [Statue of Liberty], ca. 1961 (5912.1993)

Weegee, [Man climbs 85-foot ladder to secure torch on the plastic Statue of Liberty erected at Times Square for the Sixth War Loan Drive, New York], November 30, 1944 (15443.1993)

A Helping Hand for Miss Liberty
Last night the torch of the Liberty statue erected in Times Square for the Sixth War Loan Drive began to spark, and a patrolman noticed it was swaying. A civilian worker is shown climbing an 85-foot extension ladder borrowed from the Fire Department. Cables were strung up to secure the torch. Police said there was no danger that the 15 ton plastic [Statue of] Liberty would fall. [PM, December 1, 1944, Vol. V, No. 144, p. 32]

Weegee, [Sixth War Loan Drive, Times Square, New York], November 30, 1944 (15440.1993)

Weegee, [Explosion on Columbus Avenue, New York], February 17, 1943 (15216.1993)

This 30 – foot section of wall was blown out yesterday by an explosion caused by a defective heater in the Catholic Youth Organization gymnasium, 88 Columbus Avenue. Tenants in nearby apartment houses said the blast, which occurred about 2:30 A.M., knocked them off their feet or out of beds. Streets in the vicinity were covered with shattered glass, and traffic was rerouted. A large section of the boiler landed in the southbound lane of Broadway. The ceiling of the Gem Dancing Academy in the same building caved in, creating panic among 50 couples on the dance floor. Police and firemen quickly got everyone out safely. The CYO gym was completely wrecked and the blast damaged the rear of the building, as bricks from the shattered wall piled up. Four persons were treated for minor injuries. [PM, February 18, 1943, Vol. III, No. 211, p. 32]

The gymnasium of the Catholic Youth Organization, 88 Columbus Avenue, damaged by an explosion. Looking east to the thirty-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty that stood on top of the Liberty Warehouse at 43 West 64th Street (just East of Broadway). The statue is now in the Brooklyn Museum. At the end of West 64th is Harperly Hall, an apartment building (41 Central Park West). On the far right: the West Side branch of the YMCA (5 West 63rd Street).
[The Weegee Guide to New York, pp. 332-333]

Weegee, [Woman wearing a Statue of Liberty costume], ca. 1943 (15584.1993)

To commemorate the 130th anniversary of the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, from France, on June 17, 1885: several photos made by Weegee of the Statue of Liberty. Well, maybe not the Statue of Liberty, perhaps a Statue of Liberty, or several Statues of Liberties…

Weegee Wednesdays is an occasional series exploring, and sometimes just enjoying, the life and work of Weegee.

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June 15: Nature Photography Day

Started in 2006, The North American Nature Photography Association celebrates nature photography on June 15, during Nature Photography Day. Below a small selection of “nature photographs” from the ICP Collections:

William Edward DassonvilleGolden Gate Bridge from Sausalito, ca. 1937 (2008.104.9)

John PfahlAustralian Pines, Fort De Soto, Florida, 1977, (416.1984)

Brett WestonTrees and Water, High Sierra, 1962 (2012.119.60)

Wu YinxianShuangjian Mountain Peak, Anhui, 1965 (165.1988)

Ernst HaasCommunication, Nevada, 1692 (77.1976)

Hidekazu IwaseBrilliance, 1989, (37.1994)


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MEOW! Artists and Their Cats… (part 2)

Michel Auer, Jane Evelyn Atwood, 1983 (336.1988)

Barbara Morgan (1900-1992), Berenice Abbott [1898-1991] with Cat, 1942 (543.1986)

Unidentified Photographer, [Weegee, 1899-1968, and kitten], ca. 1958 (22649.1993)

Nearly five years ago (about 36 years if you were a dog) I (put the cat among the pigeons and) made this, it was the cat’s whiskers and/or meow, classic blog post: MEOW! Artists and Their Cats…
And now, after five years of careful editing and revising; five years of fishing in and ferreting around The Museum System database, (perhaps the elephant in the room is that every cat photo is a good photo); after five years of afternoon cat naps; after half a decade of monkeying around and being busy as a bee, and thinking that a cat in gloves catches no mice… Since all cats are grey in the dark, I’m (an eager beaver and a sheep in photographer’s clothing) ready (if every dog has its day, then every silly blog post has its day) to let the cat out of the bag and unleash (like casting pearls before swine) another instant classic (like a dog and pony show) blog post: a trio of photos, each featuring a cat and a photographic artist, in alphabetical order…

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Weegee Wednesdays: “Coney Island Revisited”

PM, June 9, 1941, pp. 16-17

74 years ago yesterday:
Coney Island Revisited… Pictures and Words by Weegee

I had been waiting three hours to get a picture of the official first lost child of the new season when a man came over to the Park Department attendant with this boy and said, “Lost child.” Pretty soon his wild-eyed mother came up and took him away, the child was making such a rumpus, and the mother seemed so excited about it all, that I didn’t want to bother them to ask their names and address. PM Photos by Weegee




First aid for ripped slacks. I don’t know how Mama happened to bring along her needle and thread, but I didn’t pose the picture. You don’t have to do that to get amusing pictures at Coney. I go out every summer to photograph the crowds. They’re always the same – and always different. One difference from 1940 and yesterday was the number of soldiers in uniform on boardwalk, looking over the gals on sand below.

PM, July 22, 1940

(Of course the June 9, 1941 page spread is the sequel to the above supernacular spread. Unfortunately, in 1941 we don’t learn what Weegee ate and drank, unlike in 1940: two kosher frankfurters, two beers, five more beers, malted milk, two root beers, three Coca Colas, two glasses of buttermilk, and five cigars. Nevertheless, Weegee made several great photos for the second summer in a row at a scorching Coney Island.)

Weegee’s New York, 1948 (A million peeps on the beach [on] of a summer afternoon, is normal…)

Weegee's New York from ICP on Vimeo.

Weegee’s New York, 1948
(Several summers later Weegee revisited Coney Island with a 16mm camera to film what became the second part of Weegee’s New York.)

Weegee Wednesdays is an occasional series exploring the life and work of Weegee.

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Strangeness and the ordinary

Toby Old,  Hooker’s Ball, Copacabana, NYC, 1976 (274.1995)

Toby Old,  Xenon Disco, NYC, 1978 (69.1995)

Toby Old,  Body-building Championship, Syracuse, NY, 1980 (64.1995)

Toby Old,  FDR Psychiatric Hospital, Montrose, NY, 1988 (76.1995)

Toby Old,  FDR Psychiatric Hospital, Montrose, NY, 1989 (60.1995)

Toby Old,  Tavern on the Green, NYC, 1994 (270.1995)

Photographer Toby Old was inspired by the wonders of darkroom photography at the age of five, the moment his father magically created an image on a white sheet of paper. However, he didn’t start his professional career as a  photographer until the 1970s, several years after he was drafted in the Army and worked as a dentist in Minnesota. In 1975 he decided to move to New York and become a professional photographer. New York City was a brewing center of art and Old immersed himself in a world of artists, photographers and writers. Over the years he was inspired by and met with people such as Robert Rauschenberg, Mary Ellen Mark, Robert Frank and Allan Ginsberg, among many others.

Starting in the late 1970s, Old began a series of photographs that covered the dance scene of New York. For several years he would go to parties and clubs and photograph the people, their splendorous outfits and atmospheres of sex, drugs and steaming dance floors. While the use of flash in Old’s work creates a directness of the subject and scene, the presence of the photographer is very quiet. In his series of dance parties in New York his subjects are absorbed by the electricity of their surroundings; the clenched teeth of a female bodybuilder is gazing upward, past the photographer; and patients of the FDR Psychiatric Hospital sometimes look straight into the camera, and yet it seems they only see themselves. Toby Old has been able to capture the essence of his surroundings which can result in painfully direct as well as hilarious images of people caught in a moment and absorbed by their action or a situation. In a tradition that resembles Weegee, Lisette Model and Diane Arbus, Old magnifies the ordinary and highlights the eccentricity in a career that has spanned over forty years.

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“Patience Is What You Need to Take Cat Pictures”

pm_1941_07_13bsm copy
pm_1941_07_13bsm copy 2
Ralph Steiner, “Patience Is What You Need to Take Cat Pictures,” PM Weekly, July 13, 1941, pp. 48-49 (photos by Thurman Rotan, Torkel Korling, Ruth Bernhard, and R.L. Doty, etc.)

Cats are like children in that most people like them. Many people photograph them. They both are easy to photograph: they aren’t camera shy, and they assume an infinity of expressions and positions. There should be a wealth of good pictures of cats and children, yet there isn’t. It has taken a long time and a lot of searching to assemble the few good cat pictures you see here.

To make good photographs of cats the photographer does not have to be a great mind, a deep thinker, or a super-sensitive artist. He (or she) just has to be patient enough to wait until his (or her) subject is most expressive of some cat quality that appeals to him (or her). Cats can be wise, foolish, elegant, awkward, playful, serious, tame, wild, social, independent, active and passive. They can react like humans to a situation, and some of their expressions can resemble ours.

Cat photographers should use their own observation to add to this catalog of cat facets. They should then use it as a guide to more interesting and more cat-like pictures.

(Patience is what I need to make blog posts, this post was started about six years ago… More importantly, PM was typically prescient and helpful…)

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