Bruce Davidson

One of my favorite albums from my youth is Ill Communication by the Beastie Boys.

This is the cover:

The photograph was shot by Bruce Davidson. I didn’t know about him until now, but after some quick Google Image searches, I’ve discovered he’s an amazing photographer (he’s still alive at 84):

Chiara Obscura

California Today: An Analog View of California:

John Chiara does his photography from scratch.

Even as taking pictures has gotten simpler, Mr. Chiara, 46, constructs his own box cameras — known as camera obscuras — that draw in light through a small hole onto photographic paper.

His biggest camera is the size of a small elephant, which he hauls on a trailer and positions in front of his subjects.

To take a photograph, he squeezes his body inside the camera and pulls a trap door behind him. He positions a sheet of photographic paper as large as four feet by six feet and then manipulates the light and length of exposure.

A single picture takes about half a day.

Chiara’s photos have an amazing, imperfect, analog feel to them.

They’re not even square. I love it.

DeSoto on Valencia

DeSoto automobile from Instagram

Taken from Instagram

From Wikipedia:

The DeSoto make was founded by Walter Chrysler on August 4, 1928, and introduced for the 1929 model year. It was named after the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. The DeSoto logo featured a stylized image of the explorer who led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States (Florida, Georgia, and Alabama), and was the first documented European to have crossed the Mississippi River.

The Paradox of Photos

The Story Behind the Black Lives Matter Photo Seen Around the World:

Jonathan Bachman’s recent photo of a Black Lives Matter protester in Baton Rouge being arrested, which he took for Reuters, is one of those wire photos destined to become an iconic image. The woman, Ieshia Evans, seems to have a serene power over the police officers taking her into custody, and the lack of any other protesters in the frame give the photo a surreal tinge, as if it’s taken the combined might of the Baton Rouge Police Department to arrest a single black woman.

It’s an incredible photo to be sure, but what can make photos seem surreal is because of all the information not included in the frame: The sounds, smells, tension in the air, the weather. We aren’t seeing what happened leading up to and after the shot.

Photos are a paradox: their power resides in both what they show and what they leave out.

‘We all get dressed for Bill.’

Over the weekend New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham died. As someone whose father bought the Sunday New York Times every weekend, Cunningham was a part of my life before I knew who he was.

When I moved to the East Village in 2000 I continued my father’s habit of buying the Times every Sunday. My girlfriend (now wife) loved fashion, so I’d always hand over the Fashion section to her which always had a grid of Cunningham’s fashion shots above the fold.

Jacob Bernstein did a great write-up on Cunningham:

Mr. Cunningham was such a singular presence in the city that, in 2009, he was designated a living landmark. And he was an easy one to spot, riding his bicycle through Midtown, where he did most of his field work: his bony-thin frame draped in his utilitarian blue French worker’s jacket, khaki pants and black sneakers (he himself was no one’s idea of a fashion plate), with his 35-millimeter camera slung around his neck, ever at the ready for the next fashion statement to come around the corner.

Nothing escaped his notice: not the fanny packs, not the Birkin bags, not the gingham shirts, not the fluorescent biker shorts.

In his nearly 40 years working for The Times, Mr. Cunningham snapped away at changing dress habits to chart the broader shift away from formality and toward something more diffuse and individualistic.

He was a unique man:

He didn’t go to the movies. He didn’t own a television. He ate breakfast nearly every day at the Stage Star Deli on West 55th Street, where a cup of coffee and a sausage, egg and cheese could be had, until very recently, for under $3. He lived until 2010 in a studio above Carnegie Hall amid rows and rows of file cabinets, where he kept all of his negatives. He slept on a single-size cot, showered in a shared bathroom and, when he was asked why he spent years ripping up checks from magazines like Details (which he helped Annie Flanders launch in 1982), he said: “Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom is the most expensive.”

If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend the the documentary, Bill Cunningham New York. I watched it a few years ago and loved it.

If you have Amazon Prime, it’s included in your subscription (hat tip, Jason Kottke).