Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Damn! Your Dog is Ugly!

From the 'Daily Beast'

"They’re the most tragic bragging rights in the canine universe: the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest crowned a new champ this weekend in Petaluma, California"

A few of the contestants and "winners" below

"O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live."

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mama Clouds

We had some pretty unique weather here in New York on Friday evening. What started off as a typical, humid, summer evening storm morphed into one of the most fantastic skies I've ever seen. I did a quick Google search and learned myself a bit about the "Mama Clouds" that were overhead. According to Wikipedia "Mammatus is a meteorological term applied to a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud. The name "mammatus" is derived from the Latin mamma (udder), due to the clouds' characteristic shape. Mammatus, or "Mama" Clouds, are often indicative of a particularly strong storm or maybe even a tornadic storm." I readied myself for a tornado but had to settle instead for a couple of drinks and a few random thoughts about the "Wizzard of Oz" which I had just seen, for the 30th time, the day before.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Came, Icon, I Gone

By now it has become a standard story in our culture and it follows a prescribed narrative arc that is every bit as certain in it's construction as a haiku poem or a wood frame house. A young individual, attractive and often talented, is launched from "Nowheresville" to a meteoric rise to super stardom. This is followed by public infatuation which eventually transitions to disinterest and often befuddlement when our idols' odd behavior becomes fodder for comedians and tabloids. This is then followed by the idols early and untimely passing. Still, no matter how many times we witness the same story played out along the same plot lines we are always stunned and moved, as we no doubt were yesterday, by it's conclusion.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kodak a Go-Go Man!

Many of us have been feeling melancholy lately about the passing of Kodachrome. Polaroid is on it's deathbed and Kodak is close behind. It occurred to me that flash cubes have been a thing of the past for soooo long now that few, if any, even remember or care about them, or their passing. That's why the world gave us You Tube. Check out this clip Daddios!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What's So Special About This Picture?

Please, dear readers, tell me. I sort of get it. It's a nice enough picture. Elegant, colorful and simple. The subject has dramatic and "haunting," green eyes. Like so many fashion photographs we've seen of attractive, young women in "exotic" clothes. She also looks pissed off and stupefied to have some strange dude creeping around her taking her picture. I have never fully understood the very intense interest and great love affair with this picture. It's arguably one of the worlds most recogonized photographs. On Monday, Kodak, as part of its announcement that it will no longer produce Kodachrome, also mentioned that it has asked Steve McCurry, the photographer who took the picture, to shoot one of the last produced rolls of Kodachrome film. It will then be placed in a Rochester museum for eternity. More interesting than the picture it's self though are the various images and objects that it has inspired.

Above, the original "Young Afghan" by Steve McCurry.

The subject, photographed some 20 years later, holding a copy of the magazine with her likeness on the cover

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kodak Don't Take My Kodachrome Away!

"Eastman Kodak said Monday that it will retire Kodachrome color film this year after 74 years on the market. The company said that Kodachrome sales have plunged since the introduction of both new films and digital technology, and the product now accounts for less than 1% of Kodak's still-picture-film sales. It expects current supplies of Kodachrome film to last until early fall, and it will donate the last rolls to George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y."

All images below are Kodachromes from Mango Falls, a fun site with a boatload of interesting, old Kodachrome images.

The song below, Paul Simon's "shout-out" to the deceased film stock, was was written nearly 40 years ago. I'm actually surprised that Kodak held on to the ghost of Kodachrome for this long. Still, it's always a tad melancholy to see a process or a material disappear.


"When I think back on all the crap I've learned in high school
It's a wonder I can think at all
Though my lack of education hasn't hurt me much
I can read the writings on the walls

Kodachrome, they give us those nice bright colours
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew when I was single
Brought 'em all together for one night
I know they'd never match my sweet imagination
Everything looks worse in black and white


Mama don't take my Kodachrome away, mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome, mama don't take my Kodachrome
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome and leave your boy so far from home
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome, whew whew, mama don't take my Kodachrome away"

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rain in the Brain

Anyone who's been unfortunate enough to be in the North East for the last few weeks knows that it has pretty much been raining constantly, for what now feels like forever. I did manage, in the few occasional breaks we had, to make a few pictures.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day of the Dad

I'm told that Sunday is Father's Day. While Mother's Day touches a collective cultural nerve and stirs up a bounty of media attention, mostly commerce related, I have the sense that Father's Day sits quietly and precariously on a wall, carrying a little more weight than, say, Flag Day or World Juggling Day. So here's a nod to the dads.

Walker Evans with father and grandfather, 1907

Imogen Cunningham, My father at 90, 1936

Henri Cartier Bresson, Coronation of King George VI, Trafalgar Square, London, 1937

Tod Papageorge, Father and Son, Central Park, 1980

Joel Sternfeld, Canyon Country, CA, 1983

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Go To the Movies

Ave Maria by Frank O'Hara

Mothers of America
let your kids go to the movies!
get them out of the house so they won't know what you're up to
it's true that fresh air is good for the body
but what about the soul
that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images
and when you grow old as grow old you must
they won't hate you
they won't criticize you they won't know
they'll be in some glamorous country
they first saw on a Saturday afternoon or playing hookey

they may even be grateful to you
for their first sexual experience
which only cost you a quarter
and didn't upset the peaceful home
they will know where candy bars come from
and gratuitous bags of popcorn
as gratuitous as leaving the movie before it's over
with a pleasant stranger whose apartment is in the Heaven on Earth Bldg
near the Williamsburg Bridge
oh mothers you will have made the little tykes
so happy because if nobody does pick them up in the movies
they won't know the difference
and if somebody does it'll be sheer gravy
and they'll have been truly entertained either way
instead of hanging around the yard
or up in their room
hating you
prematurely since you won't have done anything horribly mean yet
except keeping them from the darker joys
it's unforgivable the latter
so don't blame me if you won't take this advice
and the family breaks up
and your children grow old and blind in front of a TV set
movies you wouldn't let them see when they were young

Stephen Shore

Walker Evans

Walker Evans

Walker Evans




Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Taking of Subway Pictures 1 2 3

With 'The Taking of Pelham 123' clanking arround along in the theaters and our current economy on the fritz, there's been some debate lately about whether or not New York City might revert to it's "bad" or "good old days", depending, of course, on who you ask. I thought it apropo take a look back, or perhaps forward, to 10 great subway photographs made in a time when riding the subway was often infused with a great amount of anxiety and drama. The first 5 pictures are by John F. Conn and were made in the early 1980's. The second 5 are by Bruce Davidson from his book "Subway", published in 1986.

All of the above by John F. Conn

Bruce Davidson, 'Subway' 1986

Stumble Upon Toolbar