The United States Postal Service (USPS) will release a sheet of 15 “Earthscape” stamps in 2012 celebrating the beauty of the country from “sea to shining sea.” The images, using photographic platforms from ultralites to satellites, focus on natural, agricultural, and urban landscapes from virtually every region. Release is tentatively scheduled for October, 2012, in conjunction with National Stamp Collecting Month.
What do Harry Houdini, bats, Duke Kahanamoku, teddy bears, and the Masters of American Photography have in common? All will be honored this year with special philatelic releases by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The photo masters release, first in a new USPS series called the Classic...
Photographers who also love to travel are probably most prone to this collecting imperative. High on my list was Peru. For those who have traveled there, Machu Picchu was probably a primary destination. And why not? Machu Picchu is one of the few Incan sites to remain essentially intact following the 16th century Spanish conquest of the Kingdom of the Incas—for the simple reason that the invaders never found it.
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.
The Ojibways, inhabitants of the Lake Superior Region for some five centuries, had a name for tribal bands that lived on the south and north shores of the lake they called Keche Gumme. They were called Keche-gumme-wi-ne-wug—Men of the Great Water. If there is one non-Native American who deserves to be an honorary member of those lake dwellers, it’s nature photographer Craig Blacklock.
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.
“In 1938, aided by widespread publicity from Hine’s photographs, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act that, in part, established more stringent child labor regulations.”
The slight 56-year-old man who appeared at the Empire State Building construction site in New York on a spring day in 1930 probably failed to impress the workers he’d been hired to photograph. The 4x5 Graflex Lewis Wickes Hine carried seemed outsized in his hands. His thick, owlish glasses and demeanor contributed to the accurate impression that he was or had been a schoolteacher.