Vincent van Gogh once said, “Stars are the souls of dead poets, but to become a star you have to die.” Vivian Maier (1926 - 2009) was an amateur photographer who had no desire to share her work with anyone during her life, and kept a treasure trove of over 100,000 prints, negatives, and films in five storage lockers in Chicago. By several twists of fate, they ended up in the hands of a few collectors who recognized their unique quality, and are now shown in books, documentaries, museums, and galleries throughout the world.
Apr 07, 2014
Published: Feb 01, 2014
The idea for Phil Pantano’s photographic series, “The American Worker,” walked into his office at a local steel mill in Lackawanna, New York, where Pantano holds a day job as a computer analyst. The man who came through the door was Jay “Elvis” Borzillieri, a fourth-generation steelworker whose father died in the mill. It doesn’t matter to the story what Elvis stopped in for that day, but when Pantano looked into his face a flash went off in his mind.
It is probably true that a photographer, through almost single-minded devotion to a place, can help make it known, understood, and appreciated. But the converse is also true. A place can make a photographer. Its beauty, its landscape, its human dimensions, its impact on the creative spirit can mold or shape a photographer—both as artist and person. That’s been the experience of fine art photographer William Davis in his 45-year symbiotic relationship with Northern New Mexico and the small town of Taos.
Gerald Hill has been involved in photography for over 37 years and often explored creative work while employed in the aerospace industry in Wichita, Kansas. In 2003 he began to exhibit in several galleries that sold his landscape images, many shot in western states. Hill recognized that a grounding in art is essential to making effective photographs, and he made time to take classes with artist Charles H. Sanderson, who encouraged him to consider photography as his means of self-expression, and to learn the basics of visualization so he could capture his subjects with greater impact. As Hill went deeper into his studies he saw results: his compositions became both more dynamic and more personal.
Susan K. Johnston
Dec 04, 2013
Published: Oct 01, 2013
A few years ago I was reorganizing a closet and discovered cardboard boxes tucked into a dark corner. Much to my surprise, I found dress boxes and shoeboxes filled with photographs from the 1940s and early ’50s. I had forgotten that when my father died I inherited his personal photographs. That afternoon and long into the night, I sat on the hallway floor looking at the pictures and reliving some of those moments. It was like discovering buried treasure, a forgotten family heirloom.
He stands in about 3 feet of roiling surf, wetsuit jersey glistening from repeated dunkings. The sky above Oahu’s North Shore is deep blue. Undertow currents grasp his legs—eroding sand beneath his swim fins—as water rushes seaward to build the next huge wave. He holds his bulky waterproof camera housing tightly, faces west toward the setting sun and checks the long tether attached to his wrist. He turns his head to watch the wave rise ever higher—a towering blue-green monster that’s starting to curl, white spume blowing off its top. He braces himself as best he can against the forces raging around him, points the camera toward the golden Hawaiian sunset, and waits as tons of water begins to curl over him, forming a tube. At what he hopes is the right instant, he fires off several shots and prepares to be pounded and rag-dolled by the massive wave.
There are stories we tell to explain ourselves, to clarify who we are, and to account for why we are who we are. And no matter what the apparent subject of these stories, what they are always really about is the past. “The past is never dead,” William Faulkner said. “It’s not even past.”
Jul 02, 2013
Published: May 01, 2013
Several years ago I decided to take on a challenge of focusing on macro photography right in my own backyard. No, I do not reside in the Sierra mountains or adjacent to a national wildlife refuge or conservation area. I live in a typical South Florida suburban subdivision surrounded by homes and asphalt. South Florida doesn’t even offer much in the way of seasons. Yet, I am amazed at how many unique images I have captured over the past several years.
Actor Richard Gere is best known for his roles in over 40 films, but few may be aware he is also an avid photographer and collector. Taking pictures on his many trips to India was always more of a personal project, until photography book and exhibition designer Elizabeth Avedon happened to notice a 3-foot stack of beautiful 8x10 photos in his loft. “A lot of these photographs I didn’t show anyone because it was such a private experience for me,” Gere recalls. “I had no interest in sharing them.” Fortunately, Avedon was able to convince him they needed to be seen, and these and other photos have been exhibited around the world and published in his book, Pilgrim.
Russell R. Caron
Mar 07, 2013
Published: Feb 01, 2013
As a busy and successful wedding photographer, opportunities to make inspirational photographs outside of that genre were somewhat limited. Having recently attended a professional workshop, the WPPI Road Tour in Boston during the summer of 2011, I learned from presenter Dawn Shields about the personal project she embarked on that led to her winning the prestigious WPPI 2010 Album of the Year Award. I was inspired; I saw the need to keep the love and passion of all photography alive within me by finding a personal project of my own.
Jim Lynch and J...
Feb 07, 2013
Published: Jan 01, 2013
Two years ago New York photographer Jim Lynch wanted to experiment with a 10-minute time slot on his weekly radio program at WUSB, Stony Brook, New York. He e-mailed David Gray, a California writer, a picture he had made and said, “Have at it—tell a story.” Jim alerted the audience to view the image at his website. David banged out a tale inspired by the image and read it on the air. We’ll let the creators of the project tell it from there.—Editor
Will and Deni McIntyre spent the first 25 years of their photographic lives shooting magazine stories and subjects for books in 70 countries. When international travel was curtailed after 9/11, they segued into movie work and long-form storytelling. In 2000, a friend in the equestrian community moved to Wyoming to become head wrangler at the A Bar A Guest Ranch. “We went out as guests to the A Bar A,” Deni says, “and fell in love with the rugged landscape and glinting light. That and the ranch folk we met drew us back over the next few years to give photographic workshops and create a website for the ranch.”
Arthur H. Bleich
Nov 16, 2012
Published: Oct 01, 2012
By day Jules Aarons worked as an astrophysicist, unraveling the mysteries of celestial communications; weekends he roamed the West End of Boston photographing its vibrant street life; nights found him in the darkroom, transforming his images into works of art.
When he died in 2008, at 87, Aarons had made his mark as both a pioneer of the Space Age and a documentary photographer who had taken thousands of stunning street pictures over a span of three decades. Though he had the mind of a scientist, his eyes were those of an artist.
Orest Macina says he is “a self-taught photographer interested in painting with light to capture the beauty all around us in vivid colors.” He holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Computational Chemistry, and has worked in the pharmaceutical field. He first became interested in photography in high school, though his interest lagged through college, graduate school, career, and marriage.
Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio are a photographer and writer couple who explore fascinating and focused subjects. One of their past books featured what 30 families in 24 countries ate during a week; another was about robots and their masters. Each of their books required challenging photography and extensive interviewing.
Their latest achievement, entitled What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets, explores the foods and lives of 80 individuals. Photographs show what they ate in a recent day, food lists plus lively texts provide context for their diets and Peter added pictures of daily life. In their travels through more than 30 countries, Peter and Faith covered people shopping, cooking, dining, their recreation, and more in various venues. The couple are organizers extraordinaire.