Rick & Co.

If you can’t tell that’s Adam Horovitz AKA Ad-Rock (Beastie Boys) front-and-center with the smirk on his face. Behind him, Mike Diamond AKA Mike D (Beastie Boys) and behind him, Adam Yauch AKA MCA (Beastie Boys). To the right of Mike D is Def Jam Recordings founder, Rick Rubin.

The dude in the front with the white Kangol hat is Joseph Simmons, AKA DJ Run (Run-D.M.C.). To the right of him is Darryl McDaniels AKA D.M.C. (Run-D.M.C.). I’m not seeing Jam Master Jay and I don’t know who the other dudes are.


Laurel Canyon

When I first came out to L.A. [in 1968], my friend Joel Bernstein found an old book in a flea market that said, ‘Ask anyone in America where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you California. Ask anyone in California where the craziest people live and they’ll say Los Angeles. Ask anyone in Los Angeles where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you Hollywood. Ask anyone in Hollywood where the craziest people live and they’ll say Laurel Canyon. And ask anyone in Laurel Canyon where the craziest people live and they’ll say Lookout Mountain.’ So I bought a house on Lookout Mountain.

—Joni Mitchell

via The Selvedge Yard

The Brown Sisters

The NYTimes has a great article on the 40 years of portraits Nicholas Nixon took of his wife and her 3 sisters:

Throughout this series, we watch these women age, undergoing life’s most humbling experience. While many of us can, when pressed, name things we are grateful to Time for bestowing upon us, the lines bracketing our mouths and the loosening of our skin are not among them. So while a part of the spirit sinks at the slow appearance of these women’s jowls, another part is lifted: They are not undone by it. We detect more sorrow, perhaps, in the eyes, more weight in the once-fresh brows. But the more we study the images, the more we see that aging does not define these women. Even as the images tell us, in no uncertain terms, that this is what it looks like to grow old, this is the irrefutable truth, we also learn: This is what endurance looks like.

From 1996-1998 I worked at the Zabriskie Gallery on 57th Street & Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Nicholas Nixon was one of the photographers Virginia Zabriskie represented. I was lucky enough to put on white gloves and thumb through many of the photos mentioned in this article.

Nixon used 8×10-inch film to make 8×10-inch prints, so the details in them were hyper-real. When your film is that big, it doesn’t come in a roll and you can’t fire off a lot of shots (easily). You have to know your shot and have the confidence to shoot it. Nixon is one of those old school photographers who can do it.

No Screen

Sam Byford at the Verge on the Leica M Edition 60:

The M Edition 60 is a special version of the M-P Type 240 digital rangefinder, but there’s a twist — the new model features no screen at all, forcing you to use it as if it were a film camera. “Working with the Leica M Edition 60 intentionally demands the same care and attention as working with an analogue model,” says the company in a statement. “Only the sensor and the entire electronics reflect the state of the art of contemporary camera technology.” The screen has been replaced with an ISO selector dial, which at least means you’ll be able to alter the sensitivity of your photos more often than you could with a 36-shot roll of film.
Over at Co.Design, Adrian Covert and Mark Wilson debate whether this no-screen thing is a good idea:
Adrian: On paper this sounds great. It forces photographers to really think about what they’re shooting and how they’re shooting it. And while I’m all for designs that address issues with faulty user behavior, this is coming at the expense of another feature which has unquestionably helped improve the photographic process: the LCD. That’s a problem.
As with many debates in life, I see both sides.
For me, though, the screen has to stay.

[images taken from The Verge]

A photo filter is like a good screwdriver; a reliable, efficient, easy-to-use tool. But put in the wrong hands it’s potentially lethal.

Wells Baum on Instagram filters:

I stopped using Instagram filters almost two years ago. You don’t need them. The snap should be able to speak for itself, in its raw untouched nature.

But I do believe that some images still need a little pop. And that’s when you should use the VSCO app, Litely, or Snapseed, whichever apps enable you to adjust the strength of filters without making the photo look fake.
This is partially true. Instagram filters can be heavy-handed. I, like Baum, have not used them in a while. I exclusively retouch photos in the VSCOcam app on my iPhone. Like Instagram, it has preset filters. Unlike Instagram, it let’s you decide how much of a filter you want to use (on a 0-10 slider).
There are many philosophies on photography and many different industries in which photography is used, but there’s many professional photographers who don’t let their photographs leave the studio until they’ve been retouched. Annie Liebovitz used to work with one of the masters of retouching—Pascal Dangin—often referred to as the ‘Photo Whisperer’ (It looks as though Liebovitz now works with Alexander Verhave).
Even before the days of Photoshop, photographers like Richard Avedon were obsessive about tweaking their photos (through the old school process of burning-and-dodging).
Here’s one of his marked up photos:

The fact that #nofilter is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram means shit to me and has no correlation to how good a photograph is (because most people are bad photographers).
Sometimes I get out of bed and I look fucking amazing, but more often than not, I need to brush my hair and put on a nice, clean, matching outfit. Photographs are no different. In the absence of the time and means to retouch my iPhone photos in Photoshop on my Powerbook, I use the VSCO app to tighten up my images.
Sure, sometimes the light is right, your timing is perfect and you don’t need to monkey with your shot but most photographs can be improved. The key to retouching photos is if someone looks at your photograph and their first thought is, “That’s a great photograph.” NOT, “Oh, he used the Mayfair filter.”
Photo filters bring to mind a quote a friend from design school told me:
“Helvetica is like a good screwdriver; a reliable, efficient, easy-to-use tool. But put in the wrong hands & it’s potentially lethal.”
—T. Geismar
You can find me here on Instagram.

Photo Booths Rock

Awesome exhibit of photo booth images at my alma mater, Rutgers (via Junk Culture):

He likely hailed from the Midwest, sometimes sported a fedora and smoked a pipe. He dressed in casual plaids or in a suit. His demeanor ranged from jovial to pensive. His hair evolved from thick black to a thinning white widow’s peak. And sometimes, a “Seasons Greetings” sign hung over his head.

We might know a lot about how this man aged, but what we don’t know is his identity or why he took – and saved – more than 450 images of himself in a photobooth over the course of several decades.

My friends know I have an addiction to photo booths. I’m talking about the real ones, with smelly emulsion and fixer (exhibits A and B to name a few).