Astrid Kirchherr: Beatles photographer dies aged 81

Kirchherr, who took the first photo of the band, is credited with helping develop their visual style.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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Astrid Kirchherr: Beatles photographer dies aged 81

Kirchherr, who took the first photo of the band, is credited with helping develop their visual style.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

SPECIAL DISCOUNT UPDATE:


Astrid Kirchherr: Beatles photographer dies aged 81

Kirchherr, who took the first photo of the band, is credited with helping develop their visual style.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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Photographer Chris Makos Sews Photos Just Like Andy Warhol Did

ALL SEWN UP: Art projects, baking, Marie Kondo-worthy cleaning — many started their days of self-isolation with lists of must-do activities that quickly dissolved into hours of Netflix and Instagram. But that was not the case with photographer Chris Makos. He recently reached into his memory banks and returned to sewing photographs, while squirreled away in his country studio.
Growing up watching his mother sew on her Italian Necchi sewing machine, Makos said he was always fascinated by how you could take two things and with just a bit of sewing make something new. After practicing the technique with paper as a boy, Makos started sewing together photographs in 1976.
A former studio assistant to Andy Warhol, Makos shared the technique with the Pop artist. Warhol bought a Bernina sewing machine to keep at it with the help of Makos’ friend Michele Loud, who sewed together most of the photographs. Warhol continued to make sewn photographs until his death in 1987.
Makos explained why he first shared the idea with Warhol: “He needed something new to do with his photos. I thought it would be a perfect fit, because Andy was all about multiples.”
Makos has stitched together various personalities including Man Ray, David

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Stars pay tribute to photographer Peter Beard found dead in woods

Stars are paying tribute to “visionary artist” Peter Beard who was found dead in woods near his cliff-side home on Sunday.
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Victor Skrebneski, Celebrity Photographer, Dies at 90

Fashion and celebrity photographer Victor Skrebneski, who photographed personalities including Orson Welles, Cindy Crawford, David Bowie and Bette Davis and shot glamorous photos for the Chicago Film Festival, died Saturday of cancer in Chicago. He was 90. “Working with Victor was one of the great privileges of my modeling career,” said Cindy Crawford in a […]

Variety

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Laura Whitmore criticises photographer at airport after Caroline Flack’s death

The Love Island host says she was photographed against her will as she arrived in South Africa.
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McCartney’s tribute as photographer behind classic Beatles albums dies

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have paid tribute to the photographer behind some of The Beatles most famous album covers, who has died aged 82.
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A Visionary Photographer Reaches a Career Pinnacle

With his largest, most revealing retrospective and a major traveling exhibition, German photographer Thomas Struth’s continuing evolution is on display.
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Basta Surf Teams With Photographer Gray Malin on Resort Collection

SURF’S UP: Basta Surf will soon tout wearable art for an upcoming resort collection.
The swimwear company is set to deliver in November a collection in collaboration with photographer Gray Malin, known for his images of dreamy beach scenes. The collection fuses prints used from Malin’s photographs onto Basta Surf swimwear.
Malin and Basta Surf founders Emily Ford and Samantha August pored over Malin’s image collection and ultimately narrowed it down to prints that were blown up to create patterns for the collection. One was shot in Australia overlooking the beach on New Year’s Day and captured a giant wave rolling through. The other print was shot in Lisbon and captures beachgoers, picking up the bright colors from the clothing and umbrellas dotting the landscape.
“One really celebrates the water and one really celebrates the beach,” Malin said.
The collection, in which everything is reversible, consists of nine pieces. A one-piece swimsuit will retail for $ 218, two-pieces for $ 235 and a halter jumper with neon tassels is $ 398.
The line will be carried in Barney’s, Shopbop and Neiman Marcus, among other retailers.
“We both clearly have a love of travel and that’s executed so beautifully with this product and the quality is what we both do

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Photographer Captures Breathtaking Images Of Conjoined Twins Before Surgery

Three-month-old Maria Clara and Maria Eduarda Oliveira Santana are conjoined twins from Salvador, Brazil. They are currently awaiting surgical separation in Goiânia, Brazil and living at the Casa do Interior de Goiás — a center that provides lodging and food to patients and their families.

Earlier this month, family photographer Mateus André had the opportunity to photograph the twins and speak to their parents, 20-year-old Denise Borges Oliveira and Caique Santana Ramos dos Santos. André told The Huffington Post that the family is “very poor” and “going through a lot of problems.”

“I met them by chance, when my wife and I were spending some days in Goiânia,” he said. “We were walking in the city, and I saw a story on TV asking for donations.” Wanting to help the family, he visited the couple with their daughters at the center. 

“The girls’ condition is not easy, the place is poor, and they need and will need many donations,” André said, explaining that the parents have to take turns sleeping so that they can care for the twins. But, he added, “in spite of all difficulties they face, the family can be hopeful with the awaited surgery, and they really believe in a better future.”

Because the girls share a liver, the surgery is risky, but the medical staff is optimistic. The photographer said he still keeps in touch with the parents and the girls’ progress via WhatsApp.

André said he wants to use photography to bring attention to children and babies with physical and intellectual disabilities. “I have a very big responsibility to show other sides of childhood, because reality is full of faces, and the ones that need more attention are those people who are treated by society as insignificant people,” he told HuffPost. “Photography has the power to break such concepts and truly draw attention to something valuable, since these people are not alone in the world.”

Keep scrolling to see André’s stunning photographs.

 

Also on HuffPost:

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Photographer Captures Bewitching Images Of Mongolian Child Jockeys Racing Across The Steppes

Purevsurengiin Togtokhsuren is just 13 years old, but he’s already a seasoned jockey. This year marked his fifth time competing in the horse races of Naadam, Mongolia’s annual summer festival. The festival celebrates the three “manly arts” of Mongolian society — horse racing, wrestling and archery. 

Johannes Eisele photographed Purevsurengiin on July 8-11 during the Naadam races in Khui Doloon Khudag, near Ulaanbaatar.

Purevsurengiin’s parents sent him to work as a jockey after a severe winter in 2010, the AFP reports. Mongolian child jockeys usually earn about $ 250 a month for their families, while their coaches pay for their food and school.

Mongolian races are far longer than Western ones, and Naadam courses can be anything from 15 to 30 kilometers long (nine to 18 miles) depending on the age of the horse. Despite a strong performance in 2014, Purevsurengiin came in 30th place in this year’s race.

UNICEF has raised concerns about the safety of child jockeys. Two children were killed and 24 more were injured in the 2013 Nadaam races. “The use of children as jockeys for the purpose of making profit or entertainment is a violation of children’s right to protection from exploitation and harmful labour and places them in great danger,” it said in a statement. 

 

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Photographer Carolyn L. Sherer Documents ‘Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South’

Carolyn L. Sherer began photographing lesbians and their families in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2011.

Still one year before President Barack Obama even announced his support for same-sex marriage, the risks for these queers in the south — which could (and still can) range from intimidation to physical violence — were high. In fact, many of the subjects chose not to reveal their faces in Sherer’s photos.

Now, “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” has become an important historical document that shows the public LGBT families exist and thrive in all parts of America — even its most conservative pockets.

The Huffington Post spoke with Sherer this week about the legacy of the project and what she was trying to accomplish by bringing visibility to these experiences. Check out photos from “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” along with Sherer’s interview below.

anonymous
Anonymous

What was your overarching vision for this “Lesbians Living In The Deep South”?
In terms of content, my work is about authenticity and a search for common humanity in marginalized groups. I am interested in exploring issues of identity and always work in series to document individual stories to create a composite portrait of a community.

In this case, a specific incident inspired me to put a face on my previously invisible lesbian community in Birmingham, Alabama. When my friend was keeping vigil by her partner’s hospital deathbed, the brother of her beloved locked Kay out of their home. The police had to let her into the house to get a change of clothes to wear to the funeral. Worse, at the memorial service their close heterosexual friends said they did not know the couple was gay — or that gay people could be treated that way in Alabama. I realized that the distinctly southern “don’t’ ask, don’t tell” culture had to end.

ilian andrienne
Ileana and Adrienne

Conceptually, I fretted about how to make the work in a way that the participants could feel safe. I departed from my tradition of environmental portraits to make studio shots. Yes, the format provides the viewer the opportunity to focus on intimacy and relationships, but it was also a practical decision in terms of protecting participant privacy. It’s important to understand that this work was created in 2011 in a deeply conservative southern state. I did not know the potential for consequences, and at the time it felt quite risky to many of the women I approached. Each family decided to face the camera or not, and whether to include any children in the family. They were given complete control of their environment, choosing what to wear and how to stand. While being photographed, participants were asked to focus on their feelings about three words delivered in series: Lesbian, Pride and Prejudice.

lesbians
Anonymous

kate claire
Katie and Claire

Who are the individuals featured in these photographs?
40 lesbian families with diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds — all with roots in the Birmingham, Alabama area. The act of participation in most cases was a decision to come out of the closet — at least in more public circles.

It was my coming out story too.

kay barbara
Kay and Barbara

kc diedra
KC, Deidra and Christian-Taylor

Did these families have any hesitation or worries about taking part in this series?
Initially, yes, many of my friends refused to participate due to fear of consequences. After the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) agreed to show the work and I got public endorsements from the Birmingham Museum of Art and Southern Poverty Law Center, things loosened up considerably. The value of the early support of BCRI can’t be underestimated. Remarkably, this work was already on the walls in 2012 when President Obama and the NAACP endorsed gay marriage. It attracted nearly 17,000 visitors in a two-month run and prompted much private and public dialogue about who is entitled to equality.

marge shirley
Marge and Shirley

mary polly
Mary and Polly

Why is visibility such as this important for LGBT people living in the south?
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is hosting travel of “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South” as part of its mission to advocate for human and civil rights. In spite of the fact that they live in the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, the LGBTQ community in Alabama lacks a single law protecting them from discrimination. People do still lose jobs and child custody because of their sexual or gender identity. I hope that individuals living in liberal areas of the country can remain aware of the implications of making equality a state’s rights issue.

I want the viewer to feel a quiet intimacy, and wonder about the reality of the lives of the people they see.

mary rebecca
Mary and Rebecca

hassan
Hassan, Cadesia, Lee, Joette and Tony

Want to see more from Carolyn L. Sherer and her series “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South”? Head here.

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Photographer Noah Jashinski’s Imperfect Perfection

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For black and white analogue photographer Noah Jashinski, art is a physical manifestation of honesty. In his upcoming exhibition, Seventy-Two Hours, he portrays two parallel cinematic series of raw photographic images. His subjects, two different women, are stripped bare and intimately exposed in a way that would be shocking if it weren’t for the innate humility that radiates throughout the work. Stepping into his world, you can feel the adoration in Jashinski’s eye as he documents relationships, lust and human nature in their purest forms.

Jeffery: Can you give us a glimpse into your artistic process?

Jashinski: My focus when I walk into any project is building trust and making sure both the subject and I are in a positive mental state. It doesn’t matter if I have the best equipment, a huge budget, no restraints, or even the most gorgeous person in the world; if the bond and transparency isn’t there, it all becomes meaningless and borders on mundane. Pretty is pretty. There is no escaping that fact, but pretty for the sake of pretty is not only stale, but can almost become new form of “ugliness” because it feels like a lie. If there is no emotional connection or authenticity within the frame, it becomes unattractive, no matter how technically beautiful the location or person may be.

I want to make sure that whatever is being documented is coming from an open, real place. Ultimately, I usually only spend about 25% of the time or less actually shooting; the rest is spent bonding over cigarettes and coffee. Coming from a film background, I have a tendency to treat my camera as though I were filming a documentary. While we talk and throw around ideas, I usually keep the camera peeled to my face and walk around, waiting to be shown what I am not even aware I am looking for. Once I find the angle or the frame I want, I usually set up a tri-pod and proceed to treat the photo more like a painting. We continue to talk and laugh and converse and I just wait for that split second, that exhale, to show itself. It is then I that I will take a single frame, maybe two, and then start the process again. Shooting on film forces me to slow down and treat each shot with care due to its high cost, but I have become accustomed to and now embrace that restriction. It helps filter out the unnecessary.

Jeffery: What was your goal in putting this show together?

Jashinski: Los Angeles is an amazing city for art and culture, but photography, primarily, black and white film photography, is not something generally seen on the front lines as far as galleries and general attention. Outside of select places like Fahey/Klein gallery, finding a home for edgy, unedited photos, is not an easy feat. Whether it is stubborn or not, I refused to present this series if it had to be edited or changed for content. That is why I was so excited and grateful to partner with Art Share L.A. for “Seventy – Two Hours”. They not only allowed me to show my work as it was intended to be seen, but they are an amazing non-profit organization that supports youth and the arts. All the standard gallery proceeds, which usually go into someone’s pocket, go directly back into their programs.

Jeffery: Is each story of a girl completely different or are they somehow related?

Jashinski: Without a doubt there is a relation between the two vignettes, but I think more than anything, that relationship is coming from me and not from the women. Each of them has their own unique energy, vulnerability and strength that comes through.

Jeffery: Why did you decide to exhibit these two subjects together as one whole?

Jashinski: I chose to exhibit these two women together because I felt there was a certain aesthetic in each that truly exhibits the soul of the project. They are similar enough to not be jarring and seamlessly transition from one story to the next. I think both the woman and the location in each vignette significantly guided the trajectory. Working with Tate is Los Angeles yielded far different results than working with Remy in Oakland and San Francisco. Both women are over a decade apart in age, which I felt projected different stages of a woman’s emotion, comfortability, and strength. While in Los Angeles, Tate and I had more control over locations, it being our hometown. Though we primarily improvised and took a very “wing it” approach each day, we still were able to choose where and when we wanted to shoot. With Remy, in Oakland, we were completely at the mercy of the location, the weather and where we were staying. We shot in a loft that I had never seen before. I feel very fortunate to have ended up in the location we did, but I still had far less control. There is experimentation and quietness to the work with Tate. With Remy, there’s a sense of strength, sureness and raw emotion.

Jeffery: How do you hope to inspire others through your work?

Jashinski: I hope to inspire other artists, as well as women and people as a whole. On an artistic level, I want to show that you don’t need to control and micro-manage every bit of your work. That you can let go and embrace what the world provides. You don’t need expensive or equipment or a ton money. If you can build trust and authenticity, especially in collaborating with another person, your work will go further than you could imagine. Also, all of the photos are completely untouched; no photoshopping or retouching. I want everyone to see the beauty in the real and the beauty of imperfections. The texture, movement, and folds of the skin, the strength of presenting yourself to the world as you are and loving yourself for it. I find both these women, in and out, to be some of the most beautiful souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. They are both very different body types and have different energies, yet that has no bearing on how uniquely gorgeous they are. That is what I want people to take away from this. The real is beautiful. Morning face can be the most captivating thing you have ever seen. I work a lot with water, whether it be a bathtub or a pool, and I think the reason for this is my desire to wash away all control; wash away the makeup or the hair products. I just want to be left with something and someone who isn’t lying to the camera in any way.

Seventy-Two Hours at Art Share LA, Friday, May 22nd, 8:00 pm, 213.687.4278, 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90013, artsharela.org

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At Met Gala, ‘HONY’ Photographer Shoots Pics Of Catering Staff And Others Who Don’t Get A Spotlight

Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind the immensely popular Humans of New York site, has a special talent for getting strangers to open up to him. And while he usually prefers to shoot and interview ordinary people he encounters on the streets of the city — so far, he’s photographed more than 5,000 New Yorkers — last night, he focused his lens on one of the most extraordinary events in Manhattan: the Met Gala. Unsurprisingly, while there was no shortage of star power at the ball, Stanton’s interest remained in those whose faces and names you don’t know off the top of your head.

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Can You Really Know All Your Facebook Friends? This Photographer Tried to Find Out.

This post originally appeared on Slate.
By David Rosenberg

tanja

Willow & Foris Williams, Gorham, Maine, 2013. Relationship: friends, family friends, met through Toby and Lucky Hollander. Years known: 25-30.

Like many Facebook users, Tanja Hollander realized that when she was sharing information on the social network, some of the people reading her posts she was in constant communication with, while others she barely knew. Some, she didn’t really know at all. She wondered: “Am I really friends with all of these people?”

That question would evolve as she traveled through 43 states and five countries, averaging two weeks of travel per month, to photograph every one of her Facebook friends for her project Are You Really My Friend (she didn’t include people she added since beginning the project in 2011). She is currently trying to figure out how to translate this project into a March 2017 show at Mass MoCA that will include all the portraits plus accounts of her experiences both on the road and via social media since she began the ambitious undertaking.

“That’s what I’m obsessed with right now, trying to visualize all the data,” Hollander said about the intriguing connections that come up when meeting people for the project. “All of these experiences I’m having to me are almost more important than taking the picture of the people. So how do I visualize all of these experiences besides saying go to my Instagram feed or let me tell you this cool story?”

All of the portraits for the project have been shot on film, which in some ways might seem like a paradox for a project that delves deep into the modern, digital oriented virtual world. For Hollander it’s the only thing that made sense, although she does bring along an iPhone and digital point and shoot camera for backup.

“It’s not like I’m going back to film,” she said. “I never left film. I went from records to an iPod. I’ve always shot film and it’s funny because I’m doing a super tech project—I’m not a techie at all—I came kicking and screaming into even using Photoshop.”

Most photographers will tell you that shooting film also slows things down. To keep things casual and less intimidating for her subjects, Hollander travels by herself with no light kits and no assistants, armed only with her Hasselblad camera, a couple rolls of film and a tripod. Not only does it bring down the tension for her subjects, it has also affected Hollander.

“I’m a much nicer person now because you have to be,” she said about making the portraits. “You can’t be a jerk when you go into someone’s house to take a picture.”

Working on the project has also reshaped Hollander’s definition of what a friend is, although she isn’t convinced there is much difference between online relationships and those based in “reality.” She said friends have always represented different roles from those you might only run into at an art show to those with whom you share more intimate details of your life.

“The word friend is hard because Facebook took it and corporatized it,” she said. “I’m a person who loves meeting people and I’m always introducing people … I would say I definitely have a connected network of people and I think Facebook just mimicked what I already had and made it easier to connect with people.”

So far, the majority of people Hollander contacted about participating in the project have agreed to sit for her. Her sister and her wife liked theirs; her parents, not so much (“I don’t think they really understood what I was doing and it was the first time they’ve seen themselves portrayed in this way.”) Hollander said she tries reaching out to people few times about taking their portrait and if they don’t have the courtesy to respond to her request, she unfriends them.

She made a conscious decision to shoot her exes last, something she might end up changing. “I’m starting to think that’s not the best idea to save all the people I don’t want to see,” she laughed. “It’s going to suck the last six months!” She added that simply going into each home is emotional enough.

“The emotional part is hard because I never know what situation I’m going to walk into, even with close friends. You never know what’s happened in the last couple of days—and when I’m there, I’m in it!”

See more photos on Slate.
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Laserwolf: The Extraordinary Life Of A Water Photographer

Imagine starting your work day at a beach every morning. The ocean is your office. Your work hours depend on whether or not it’s sunny outside. Your colleagues are surfers and your only real responsibility is to chase waves. You’re headquartered in Hawaii, but every now and again you get sent out to Tahiti or Bali for business trips.

This is the life of Laserwolf, a water photographer.

selfie

The 28 year old has a more traditional name, but he doesn’t like revealing it. The mysterious moniker works well for his freelance photography business, which is based on the idyllic and vicious North Shore of Oahu. His work has been featured in Surfing Magazine, Surfline, Stab Magazine, Hawaii’s Freesurf and Eastern Surf Magazine.

If you ask him how he got the pseudonym, he might tell you he was raised by laser-shooting wolves — although his answer, he admits, really depends on his mood.

superma

Above photo courtesy of Jaredd Bell.

underwater

Stepping into the world of surf photography is no easy feat, especially in a town that equates itself to the Hollywood of the surfing industry. The North Shore’s bone rattling waves and jagged, shallow reef are obvious obstacles, but the unspoken pecking order of photographers is a less apparent hurdle.

The Banzai Pipeline, for example, is one of the world’s most photographed and challenging waves. “You can’t just swim out to Pipeline and start shooting pictures,” Laserwolf told Huffington Post. “You have to wait your turn and give priority to the veteran [photographers] who have been shooting there for years.”

banzaii

anthonywalsh

“I call this one beginner’s luck because I nailed it my first time shooting out at Pipeline,” Laserwolf said of the photograph above.

On a good day at Pipeline, dozens of surfers scramble over each other to catch a wave, while surf photographers scramble to get a shot of the day’s best ride. Beginner photographers and hobbyists, according to Laserwolf, are at the bottom of the pecking order. If you try to cross the invisible boundary, a warning bark from one of the higher ups will put you back in your place.

“For the most part, everyone knows the order and respects it,” Laserwolf said. “You just have to figure out how you’re going to position yourself.”

lip

Sometimes, finding the right angle for the perfect shot means positioning yourself in dangerous sections of the wave. The photo above is an example of a unique, albeit risky, photo op Laserwolf discovered while shooting in Tahiti.

“This is probably my favorite photo that I’ve shot,” he said. “I’m up in the lip of the wave looking down on the surfer inside the barrel. I don’t know how I didn’t get sucked over.”

badplace

Consider the angle of the photo above. Laserwolf captured this photo just as the surfer swipes by and the wave closes up. “This is a dangerous place to be,” he points out. “The surfer is much closer than he appears and the lip of that wave is about to come crashing down on me.”

During the winter season on the North Shore, waves reach up to 25 and 30 feet, making it both dangerous and difficult to both tread water and successfully point a camera.

ropes

“This is something cool that people never get to see,” Laserwolf says, pointing out the rope-like tubes in the photo above. “Those are little tornadoes that run along the back of a wave. When one of these grabs a hold of you, there is no escaping it. You will be sucked over and slammed to the bottom of the sand.”

swim

Above photo courtesy of Damea Doresy.

below

Above photo courtesy of Damea Doresy.

Weather is one of the most challenging details of water photography, according to Laserwolf. All of the elements need to line up for an ideal day of shooting. Wind, lighting, swell direction, and the size of the surf combined can either make or break a photo shoot.

Every morning, Laserwolf checks the surf conditions to evaluate which equipment to bring out. If the waves are big and barreling into hollow tubes, he uses a fisheye lens to get close into the wave while still getting a wide angle. Smaller days call for a longer lens.

When all of the elements work in his favor, Laserwolf captures incredible moments.

laserwolf

“I got up really early to shoot the sunrise this morning,” he said. “The sky was on fire with all sorts of reds, pinks and oranges.”

laserwolf

gavin

“This is Gavin Beschen. He’s my favorite surfer to shoot. He has tons of style, which makes my job really easy.”

gf

duckdive

Still early in his career, Laserwolf admits that water and surf photography is just enough to pay his bills. As a freelancer, he shoots for free and hopes publications will accept — and pay for — his work. “It’s full on starving artist vibes,” he said.

He aspires to be like established photographers Jim Russi, Brent Bielman and Zak Noyle, and hopes to one day land a job as a staff photographer for a magazine.

But for now?

“I’m grateful to just be in the ocean,” he says. “It’s where I’m most comfortable, so to be able to call it my office really is a blessing.”

tunnel

Want a daily dose of Laserwolf’s photography?
You can follow him on Instagram at @Laserwolf_Photo or visit his website at LaserwolfPhoto.com.
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An Interview With Photographer Leonard Nimoy

2013-11-21-LeonardNimoy.jpg

Jason Landry: Where does Leonard Nimoy the photographer go for inspiration?

Leonard Nimoy
: It pops up. I don’t go to any particular place looking for it. It has to arrive. It’s the kind of thing that has to touch something in me when I read or see or hear something that’s relevant.

It’s unpredictable, as it should be. I try not to force an issue because then the work feels forced, too intellectual, and not spontaneous — not out of the subconscious or the unconscious. I’m working very hard at trying to be in touch with the creative process rather than the intellectual process.

JL: From what I have read, you started making photographs as a teenager and built a darkroom in the family bathroom. At what were you pointing your lens back then?

LN: Family members, mostly. I still have a photograph that I did of my grandfather on the banks of the Charles River. I shot it with a camera that I still have, a bellows camera called a Kodak Autographic. It was one of these things that used to flop open when you pull the bellows out on to the track. These cameras were made with a little lid on the backside that you could open and inscribe something on the back of the film as a kind of a memory of what the photograph was. I never used the autographic feature, but I did use that camera to take pictures with, then I built an enlarger using that camera as the heart of it. I found a suggestion for that idea in a Mechanix Illustrated magazine: how to build your own enlarger using a metal lunchbox. For the light housing, I used one of those lunchboxes that had a dome-shaped top and I put a sock in there and a seventy-five-watt light bulb and cut a hole into the bottom of the lunchbox, mounted it onto a make-shift wooden frame, mounted the camera onto that, and then used a couple pieces of glass for the negative holder. I was able to take a photograph with that camera and then enlarge it with that camera.

JL: Going back to Robert Heinecken, was there anything specific that he taught you or might have said to you that left a lasting impression?

LN: Yes. As I mentioned, he was very strong on “theme,” and if you wanted to be a photographic artist, you should not be just shooting pictures willy-nilly, and at anything you just happened to see or come across, but stick to his or her thematic thrust. And as an example, he said if you are walking down the street with your camera, and you see a person falling out of a high building, you don’t shoot a picture of that falling person unless the theme of the work that you’re working on has to do with the affect of space on the human figure. If you simply shoot it because it was happening, you have moved to photojournalism.

JL: “There’s poetry in black and white.” You said that in an interview once when describing black and white photography. Is the use of black and white a nostalgic thing, or a way that photographs should be displayed based on the subject matter?

LN: It has to do with nostalgia and subject. I grew up doing my own printing. Always enjoyed it, always enjoyed going into the darkroom and experimenting with a print. I did not move into developing or processing color. I stayed with black and white. I still think to this day that I prefer to work in black and white if it has to do with poetry or anything other than specific reality. I have worked in color when I thought it was the appropriate way to express the thought that I was working on. My Secret Selves project had to be in color. It was so specific to the individual and what they were bringing to the portrait session. Color is more specific and black and white is more poetic.

JL: For many years you were on the other side of the lens. How does it feel to be behind the lens directing your subjects through photography?

LN: It’s liberating for me. I don’t have to perform — don’t have to take on other identities. It’s using a different part of my creative process, which I enjoy. It’s refreshing.

JL: What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned through photographing people?

LN: How to make a subject or model comfortable in front of my camera. The other is that people come in all shapes and sizes in their psyche, and not just in the physical and metaphysical sense, but in their psychological condition. And it’s a search — you are searching constantly to find out who this person is. What is it that you want to extract from this person? There was this wonderful video of Richard Avedon taking a portrait of an actor, and he said to his subject (paraphrasing), “think of nothing…just let your mind go totally blank.” And he takes the picture. And then I asked myself, what is Avedon looking to show here? Is he thinking that by telling this person to think of nothing that something wonderful or something special is going to emerge? Thinking of nothing could also make for a very dull picture. It could also create a blank canvas for people to project into. Every photographer has to find their own way into this territory. It’s a life-long search. I don’t think anyone every perfects it and is done with it. It’s a work of art and it’s never complete.

JL: If you were advising a young photographer today, what would your words of wisdom be?

LN: Stop worrying about the nature, design or qualifications of your equipment. Master your equipment so you know how to get the shot you want, but above all, search for the reason to be taking pictures. Why are you taking pictures? Why do we shoot pictures? I say the same thing to actors who want to develop a career as an actor. You must master your craft and then put it aside and concentrate on the more difficult aspect of the work. What is it that you want to do with that craft? What do you want to express? What do you want to explore? What do you want to find out? What do you want to present to people? Those are the issues that you have to search for.

Check out the rest of this interview in the book: Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography.

And check out Leonard Nimoy’s photographic projects at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA.

(Portrait of Leonard Nimoy with Shekhina. Courtesy the Artist and R. Michelson Galleries.)
Arts – The Huffington Post
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