Barbara Morgan, “Martha Graham”

Barbara Morgan, “Martha Graham”, Performance “Letter to the World”, 1940

“Letter to the World” is an American modern dance piece created by Martha Graham in 1940 exploring the life and work of the poet Emily Dickinson, one of Graham’s favorite poets. It is an introspective work that, in Graham’s words, investigates Dickinson’s inner landscape. The main narrative rotates around the struggle of the One Who Dances and the Ancestress, who embodies the poet’s Puritan tradition and death, creating a combination of dances and spoken lines.

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The Black and White Collection: WP Set Five

“I want to fulfill myself in one of the rarest of destinies. I have only a dim notion of what it
will be. I want it to have not a graceful curve slightly bent toward evening but a hitherto unseen beauty
lovely because of the danger which works away at it overwhelms it undermines it. Oh let me be only utter
beauty I shall go quickly or slowly but I shall dare what must be dared. I shall destroy appearances the
casings will burn away and one evening I shall appear there in the palm of your hand quiet and pure like a
glass statuette. You will see me. Round about me there will be nothing left.” 

-Jean Genet, The Thief’s Journal

 

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Four

“But the very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art –it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure– photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac’s Paris. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget’s Paris.

Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry. Although the activities of some photographers conform to the traditional notion of a fine art, the activity of exceptionally talented individuals producing discrete objects that have value in themselves, from the beginning photography has also lent itself to that notion of art which says that art is obsolete. The power of photography –and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns– is that it confirms both ideas of art. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.”
Susan Sontag, On Photography

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The Black and White Collection: WP Set Three

Suxteen Men Standing

“I did not care for the things that most people care about– making money, having a comfortable home, high military or civil rank, and all the other activities, political appointments, secret societies, party organizations, which go on in our city . . . I set myself to do you– each one of you, individually and in private– what I hold to be the greatest possible service. I tried to persuade each one of you to concern himself less with what he has than with what he is, so as to render himself as excellent and as rational as possible.”
Socrates

 

Gloria Grahame

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Gloria Grahame in Fritz Lang’s 1954 “Human Desire”

Gloria Grahame Hallward, born November 28, 1923, was an American film star, singer, and stage and television actor. After appearing on Broadway for several years, she was signed to a contact with MGM Studios in 1944 . Two years after her film debut in “Blonde Fever”, she was given the role of flirty Violet Bick, saved from disgrace by Stewart’s George Bailey,  in the 1946 “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Her contract was then sold to RKO Studios in 1947 which featured her in several film noir pictures, portraying beautiful, flawed but seductive, women.

Gloria Grahame received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role portraying Ginny Tremaine in the 1947 “Crossfire”, a film noir drama based on the theme of anti-Semitism. In 1950 she appeared with Humphrey Bogart in Columbia Pictures’ film “In a Lonely Place”, garnering praise from critics. Her very short role of nine minutes playing southern belle Rosemary Bartlow in the 1952 “The Bad and the Beautiful” won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Grahame appeared in two films directed by Fritz Lang: the 1953 film noir “The Big Heat”, a crime drama co-starring Lee Marvin and Glenn Ford; and the 1954 film noir “Human Desire”, playing the femme fatale Vicki Buckley opposite her jealous film husband played by Broderick Crawford. As her film career began to wane, Grahame returned to the stage and made several guest appearances on television, including “The Twilight Zone” and “The Fugitive”.

After an initial bout with breast cancer in 1974, which had gone into remission, Gloria Grahame was again diagnosed with its return in 1980. Despite her failing health, she continued to work on stage in England and the United States. At the age of fifty-seven in 1981, Gloria Grahame was admitted to Saint Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, where she passed a few hours after admittance. She is buried at the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. For her work in the film industry, Gloria Grahame has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An account of Grahame’s final years of life, based on recollections of actor Peter Turner, was presented in the 2017 film “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”.

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The Ginger Man

Photographer Unknown, (The Ginger Man)

“Come here till I tell you. Where is the sea high and the winds soft and moist and warm, sometimes stained with sun, with peace so wild for wishing where all is told and telling.”
J.P. Donleavy, The Ginger Man, 1955

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Carl Van Vechten

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Carl Van Vechten, ” Bessie Smith Holding Feathers”, 3 February 1936, Restored by Adam Cuerden, Library of Congress

Accomplished photographer, Carl Van Vechten was an author, critic, and a supporter of Harlem Renaissance artists. After moving to New York City, he was hired by The New York Times as an assistant to the music critic. In 1908 Van Vechten became the Paris correspondent for The New York Times, returning in 1909 to become the first American critic of modern dance. In the period from 1913 to 1914, he worked as the drama critic for the Times.

In the early 1930s, Carl Van Vechten began photographing his large circle of friends with a 35 mm Leica camera, given to him by the Mexican painter Miguel Covarrubias. His earlier career as a writer with the New York Times and his theater connection through his actress wife provided him with access to new and established artists and cultural figures of the time. His portraits were usually busts or half-length poses in front of backdrops, using an assistant for lighting setups but developing his own photographs.

His portfolio of photographic works was a ‘who’s who” of America’s cultural icons of the early to middle 1900s. His portfolio includes images of Eugene O”Neill, Gertrude Stein, actress Anna May Wong, Langston Hughes, Pearl Bailey, and many others. His works were exhibited at Bergdorf Goodman in 1933, at the annual Leica Eshibitions between 1934 and 1936, and at Museum of the City of New York in 1942 and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1951.

Carl Van Vechten felt srongly that his work documenting the period of the 1900s should be availabe for scholarly research. With that in mind, he donated, during his lifetime, his collection of manuscripts, clippings, letters, and photographs to several university libraries. He remained an active photographer and writer until his death in 1964. The Library of Congress acquired Van Vechten’s assistant of twenty years Saul Mauriber’s collection of 1,400 photographs in 1966. The Museum of the City of New York also holds an extensive collection of over 2,000 images.

David Seidner

David seidner from of fleeting and lasting interest

David Seidner, Title Unknown, “Dancers” Series, 1993, Gelatin Silver Print

American photographer David Seidner was known for his portraits and fashion photography. He had his first cover photo published at the age of nineteen; and at the age of twenty-one he had the first of many solo exhibitions of his work in Paris. He was under contract for Yves Saint Laurent in the 1980s and his work included fashion shoots for the French and Italian editions of leading magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair among others.

Seidner’s immense cultural knowledge influenced his timeless images. His nudes evoked Greek classical sculpture; his mid-1990s portraits were inspired by John Singer Sargent, Boldini and Valazquez; his portraits of artists recalled classical busts of Roman emperors. In its evolution, his work became more simple and pure, ending in his “Orchid” series shot with an auto-focus camera and color negative film.

David Seidner’s portrait of Helena Carter was selected for the millennial exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, as one of the 100 great photographs of the century and received the 1999 Alfred Eisenstaedt Photograph of the Year Award. He had over a dozen solo exhibitions and was in many group shows at the Whitney Museum and the Pompidou Center in Paris. David Seidner died of complications of AIDS on June 6, 1999.

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Andreas Feininger

 

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Andreas Feininger, “Skeleton of Gaboon Viper”, 1952

Son of the late acclaimed artist Lyonel Feininger, American photographer Andreas Feininger was born in Paris in 1906, and graduated with highest honors in architecture from schools in Germany. At that time, Feininger was using a camera as his mechanical sketchbook for a reference aid in creating his building designs.

After a year’s work in France for architect Le Corbusier, followed by a struggle to find employment in Stockholm, Feininger turned his attention full-time to photography. He sold his first photos in 1932 and moved with his family to the United States in 1939. Feininger became a staff photographer in 1943 for LIFE magazine where he completed more than 430 assignments in a twenty year span.

Feininger’s works are known for their technique and panoramic grandeur. Such timeless images as the “New York Landscape Seen From Eight Miles Away in New Jersey”, taken in 1947, are notable for their harmony, balance, and grand scale. Through Feininger’s trained eye, the intricacies and beauty of both the natural and man-made world were magnified and intensified. His images revealed a new aesthetic of order and geometric perfection from the span of bridges to the symmetrical perfection of the skeleton of a carbon viper.

Ezra Miller by Mikael Joansson

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Mikael Joansson, “Ezra Miller”, from Interview Magazine November 2017

Mikael Jansson is a leading fashion photographer/director currently living in London and working worldwide. During the mid-nineties he gained notoriety creating epic features for some of the leading avant-garde publications of the era. He is renowned for his technical prowess and emotionally charged images, spanning across all genres. Among his influences he credits legendary master photographer Richard Avedon who he worked with in the late eighties. Mikael Jansson’s spirit of adventure and travel has taken him to spectacular locations around the world on assignment for publications such as W Magazine, Vogue, Vogue Paris and Vogue Nippon. He regularly contributes to Interview Magazine, shooting celebrity cover features as well as influential actors, musicians and designers.

The Black and White Collection: WP Set One

Mythology is not a Lie. . .

“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth–penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

 

Minor White

Minor White, “Tom Murphy (San Francisco)”, 1948, Gelatin Silver Print from the Series “The temptation of Saint Anthony is Mirrors”

Minor Martin White was an photographer, theoretician, critic and educator. He combined an intense interest in how people viewed and understood photographs with a personal vision that was guided by a variety of spiritual and intellectual philosophies.

Starting in Oregon in 1937 and continuing until he died in 1976, Minor White made thousands of black-and-white and color photographs of landscapes, people and abstract subject matter, created with both technical mastery and a strong visual sense of light and shadow.

Minor White taught many classes, workshops and retreats on photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology, California School of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in his own home. He lived much of his life as a closeted gay man, afraid to express himself publicly for fear of loss of his teaching jobs. Some of White’s most compelling images are figure studies of men whom he taught or with whom he had relationships.