Archived entries for photography

Trevor Paglen : Limit telephotography

2007 Open Hangar, Cactus Flats, NV, Distance - 18 miles, 10.04 a

2008 Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center #2, Groom Lake, NV, Distance - 26 Miles

2008 Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center, Groom Lake, NV; Distance - 26 miles

A number of classified military bases and installations are located in some of the remotest parts of the United States, hidden deep in western deserts and buffered by dozens of miles of restricted land. Many of these sites are so remote, in fact, that there is nowhere on Earth where a civilian might be able to see them with an unaided eye. In order to produce images of these remote and hidden landscapes, therefore, some unorthodox viewing and imaging techniques are required.

Limit-telephotography involves photographing landscapes that cannot be seen with the unaided eye. The technique employs high powered telescopes whose focal lengths range between 1300mm and 7000mm. At this level of magnification, hidden aspects of the landscape become apparent.

Limit-telephotography most closely resembles astrophotography, a technique that astronomers use to photograph objects that might be trillions of miles from Earth. In some ways, however, it is easier to photograph the depths of the solar system than it is to photograph the recesses of the military industrial complex. Between Earth and Jupiter (500 million miles away), for example, there are about five miles of thick, breathable atmosphere. In contrast, there are upwards of forty miles of thick atmosphere between an observer and the sites depicted in this series.

via Trevor Paglen.

2010 They Watch the Moon

Nigel Henderson (1917-1985)

Untitled No. 8 (Shattered Glass) 1959 by Nigel Henderson 1917-1985

Chisenhale Road 1951 by Nigel Henderson 1917-1985

Collage 1949 by Nigel Henderson 1917-1985

Heinrich Kühn (1866-1944)

Kühn, Heinrich - Mary and Lotte, Innsbruck-Tyrol, 1908

Kühn, Heinrich - Hans with Bureau, 1905

The Jazz Loft Project: W. Eugene Smith


“Between 1957 and 1965 W. Eugene Smith made approximately 40,000 exposures both inside the loft building at 821 Sixth Avenue, of the nocturnal jazz scene, and of the street below as seen through his fourth-floor window. In a November 1958 letter to his friend Ansel Adams, Smith wrote: “The loft is a curious place, pinned with the notes and proof prints . . . with reminders . . . with demands. Always there is the window. It forever seduces me away from my work in this cold water flat. I breathe and smile and quicken and languish in appreciation of it, the proscenium arch with me on the third stage looking it down and up and bent along the sides and the whole audience in performance down before me, an ever changing pandemonium of delicate details and habitual rhythms.”

via ::The Jazz Loft Project::

We have to evoke a situation, a truth. This is the poetry of life’s reality.

“We often photograph events that are called ‘news’,” Cartier-Bresson told Byron Dobell of “Popular Photography” magazine in 1957, “but some tell the news step by step in detail as if making an accountant’s statement. Such news and magazine photographers, unfortunately, approach an event in a most pedestrian way. It’s like reading the details of the Battle of Waterloo by some historian: so many guns were there, so many men were wounded – you read the account as if it were an itemization. But on the other hand, if you read Stendhal’s Charterhouse of Parma, you’re inside the battle and you live the small, significant details… Life isn’t made of stories that you cut into slices like an apple pie. There’s no standard way of approaching a story. We have to evoke a situation, a truth. This is the poetry of life’s reality.”

History of Magnum | Magnum In Motion

The Political Struggle on the Wall (Brassai)


“Here, chance has worked to magically reveal the symbol of Free France, the double-barred cross of Lorraine, at precisely the moment of the country’s liberation at the end of World War II. Adopted as a countersymbol to the Nazi swastika, the cross had been painted out, presumably during the German occupation of France. The symbolic meaning was perfectly evident to Brassaï, who captioned the photograph, “The political struggle on the wall. General de Gaulle’s Cross of Lorraine, covered over with black paint, begins to reemerge.” — The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Brassai: wall, body, action… space

Brassai Graffiti

Health care acrobats

“Health care for poor New Yorkers, 1890s-style: Medical care in the city’s poorest slums was pretty nonexistent in the late 1890s. So social reformer Lillian Wald—founder of the Henry Street Settlement and namesake of a housing project on Avenue D—established a visiting nurses service. Her Nurses’ Settlement eventually had a staff of about 100 blue-uniformed nurses who went from tenement to tenement offering free or low-cost check-ups and treatment, mostly for immigrant mothers and kids. Rather than climbing all those tenement stairs on their rounds, the nurses simply hopped from rooftop to rooftop, like this nurse is doing here.



via Ephemeral New York.

New York’s Photo League

The Photo League was a New York City–based organization of professional and amateur photographers. A splinter group of the Film and Photo League, it was founded in 1936 by photographers Sid Grossman (1913–1955) and Sol Libsohn (1914–2001). Many of its members were young, first-generation, working-class Jewish Americans.

In keeping with its educational, activist, and aesthetic goals, the League offered lectures, darkroom access, and classes on history and technique, as well as exhibition opportunities. It promoted photography as a fine art and also championed the use of documentary photography to expose social problems and instigate social change.

During its fifteen-year existence, the League was among only a handful of places in New York that offered study in documentary photography, and it was unique in offering inexpensive classes and darkroom access.

The majority of the Photo League images were taken in New York City, but members also took photographs across the United States—for instance, in rural communities in the south—and, during World War II, in Europe, Asia, and Central America. Most of the photographs document ordinary people and everyday life and celebrate democracy in all its diversity. The photographs also include images of poverty and other hardships, which is not surprising given the social conscience of most of the members.

The League published a newsletter called Photo Notes, through which its members’ images, educational philosophies, and ideological stances and debates could be further disseminated.

via The Jewish Museum New York | Overview.

this commanding image of technological utopia became a monument to the transcendant power of industrial production in the early modern age

Criss-Crossed Conveyors, River Rouge Plant, Ford Motor Company / Charles Sheeler (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1883–1965 Dobbs Ferry, New York)

“In 1927, Charles Sheeler photographed the Ford Motor Company’s enormous River Rouge Plant. His most famous print depicts two starkly angular conveyor belts that transported coal into the power plant. In the background piercing the sky are eight tall, narrow smokestacks. Sheeler’s striking image revealed the might of Detroit’s industry, and did so by portraying only one small section of an industrial complex that consisted of nineteen separate buildings covering more than two square miles. The Rouge included a manmade harbor for Great Lakes coal and iron barges, the largest foundry in the world, and ninety-two miles of railroad track.”

Thomas J. Sugrue, The origins of urban crisis


“A realistic painter as well as a photographer, Sheeler rarely failed to uncover harmonious coherence in the forms of indigeneous American architecture. His series of photographs of the Ford plant near Detroit was commissioned by the automobile company through an advertising agency. Widely reproduced in Europe and America in the 1920s, this commanding image of technological utopia became a monument to the transcendant power of industrial production in the early modern age.” via Metropolitan Museum of Art / ”During the 1920s Sheeler found success and recognition as a commercial photographer. In 1927 he was hired by a prominent Philadelphia advertising firm, N. W. Ayer & Son, to shoot the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge auto plant located outside of Detroit as part of a promotional campaign for the new Model A. The immense facility covered eleven hundred acres and was heralded as the largest industrial complex in the world. Sheeler photographed the factory for about six weeks, from late October until the end of November; the result was a series of thirty-two prints.” via National Gallery of Art

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