On Saturday April 5th 2014, there were massive pillow fights in cities around the world as part of International Pillow Fight Day. In NYC it was held at Washington Square Park. For more info go here.
Meet Debra L. Rothenberg, Photographer/Photojournalist:
As I was sitting in my home on the Upper West Side in NYC thinking to some of my most influential photographers, I realized that 3 of the 5 of them are New Jerseyeans, such as myself and they are all women, and extremely strong women with unstoppable passion.
Debra’s first book, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN IN FOCUS PHOTOGRAPHS 1980-2012 hit books stores on October 1, 2013. The Wall Street Journal said it was one of “the best photo books for fall” and The NY Daily News called it “amazing” and it was #2 on the amazon best sellers list for several months.
For more info:http://debrarothenberg.com/
1. Margaret Bourke White. She was one of the photographers whose work I saw first. My mother loved her documentary work and spoke of her images often. When I was younger, I wanted to become the next Margaret Bourke White in the field of photojournalism but it didn’t take long before I realized I just didn’t have the talent she did. She was the first woman to be allowed to cover combat zones during WW11. I had always hoped I would have been asked to shoot in a similar situation but the closest I ever came was a war reenactment. There are so many of her images that stand out to me, but one in particular was shot at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp during liberation in 1945. In 1996, I was the photographer for the March of The Living, an annual educational program which brings students from around the world to Poland, where they explore the remnants of the Holocaust. On Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom HaShoah), thousands of participants march silently from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp complex built during World War II. As I stood in some of the same places she photographed decades later, her images were so clear in my mind.
2. Dorothea Lange is another photographer whose work will always stand out. Her documentary work from the depression era and of the poor was so stark and moving that it’s hard to believe they were shot almost 80 years ago. Her image, “Migrant Mother” from 1936 could easily have been shot today.
3. Lynn Goldsmith. My personal favorite! Her celebrity portraits of some of rock and roll’s biggest icons are so full of life and I don’t think there is a musician that she hasn’t photographed. But the work that I always liked best was her live concert photography. I first became aware of her back in the late 70’s when I was introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen by a high school printing/photography teacher, John Heyn. It was at this time that my life changed and I knew I wanted to be a photographer, and shoot music, especially Bruce Springsteen. I never thought either would happen and I would look at her images daily, often while playing a bootleg cassette of one of Springsteen’s concerts with the lights dimmed-her images always made me feel as if I was AT that concert. I started shooting Bruce as a fan in 1980 while in college and upon graduating in 1984, started my career as a staff photographer for various newspapers in several states. I would still go to his concerts as often as he toured-he was definitely one of my favorite subjects. I was always trying to capture him in the way Lynn did-showing his energy and love of performing-this is the main thing that has stuck with me and what I try to capture with every performer I shoot. When I received a letter from some young teen telling me they love to look at my images while listening to a boot leg of one of his concerts because it made her feel as if she was at the concert, it was a great gift. Shooting concerts has been a huge part of my career and my first book, “Bruce Springsteen In Focus Photographs 1980-2012” was published last October.
4. Diane Arbus. Her images to me were beautiful in a haunting way. What drew me to her work was that most of her subjects were what people described as freaks and loners and I often describe myself that way. As a photographer, we are alone so much of the time-not when we are taking the photos, but back in the days of printing your images in the darkroom and now sitting in front of the computer processing, we have to be ok being alone. She was never afraid to get up close and personal with her subjects-people that may have scared others because they looked different and that helped me to not be afraid to approach anyone.
5. Julie Dermansky. This may not be a name people know YET, but it is only a matter of time. Julie was a very successful painter and sculpture artist when she decided to switch careers in 2004. I had the pleasure of meeting her on the #1 subway in NYC in 2011 and we have been close friends ever since. If there is some action happening anywhere in the world, Julie is there. Climate change and social justice are 2 stories she photographs monthly. This is a woman who can get access to shooting in places that others are denied. For instance, when Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, the town of Seaside Heights was closed off. Local news photographers as well as those from NYC were denied access, yet Julie was allowed to join the state police and took the first image the roller coaster sitting in the Atlantic Ocean-one of the most iconic images of that Hurricane. In Afghanistan, he was asked by a helicopter pilot if she wanted to go up for aerials. Her personality, tenacity, drive and ambition and photographic skills are going to earn her a place in photographic history as one of the greatest photojournalist of the 21st century and I am proud to call her a close friend.
Meet Ian Spanier, Freelance Photographer:
There is nothing original anymore, there’s new, and different, but everything can be traced back to some influence at sometime or another. As photography has changed, mostly through technology at this point, finding your voice has become harder and harder. For me, reminding yourself of your influences is a necessity to stay focused on where you want to go. There’s a reason, at least for me, the masters are the masters. How they affect me now I feel continues to force my eye to a certain place, allow my brain to interpret things I see and create images the way I choose. Limiting this number to just five is not quite accurate, and not listing the great painters that influenced me like Sargent, Hopper, Chuck Close and Homer leaves out much of what formed my vision. Nonetheless, here’s five of my favorites:
1. My ultimate influence is Richard Avedon. Although Irving Penn was really my first influence, Avedon’s images of the American West introduced me to the beauty of loneliness and forced me to teach myself large format photography. His fashion is world-reknowned, and what I think I respond to most about it and use in my own work is that the fashion becomes just a part of the image. As I am primerily a commercial photographer, the opportunity to make artistic images in that world is limiting, it’s about the product. Avedon mastered the mixing of both selling the product and creating an image that could be in any gallery.
2. For my senior thesis in college I wanted to make a study of nighttime. I was a double major in Art and Psychology and was very interested in the mystery of night, and how the invention of the electric light opened up the world of night to humans more than fire or gaslight ever did. Low-light has become an ever-present conversation now with the advancements with camera sensors and faster lenses. Brassai had an appreciation for night, and pushed the envelope of what film could do long before the digital world was even an inkling of an idea. I had found this image on a postcard at a gallery when I was about 19 years old, and it sunk in through my senior year in college when I chose my thesis topic.
3. Along the same line as Brassai, Edward Steichen’s haunting images of New York always attracted me. Being a lover of New York City, his iconic images attracted me always, and as I learned about more of his work, what truly influenced me was the breathe of his work. Steichen, along with many of his peers, shot everything. I have always followed that path. I’ve said in the past that there was no “one” subject for me. I shoot what I see. Steichen, and even more so, Penn, did the same, and always made me know I could do the same. The tendency of putting photographers into categories never fully applied to me, and I’ve always fought it because they were able to do- so can I.
4. My first job in the magazine industry was as the photo assistant in the GQ Magazine photo department. There I met my mentor, Harry Benson. I knew Harry’s work in college, and when he walked into the magazine office for a meeting my mouth dropped open. Soon after Harry and I became friends, and I was fortunate enough to have many lunches and visits with Harry over the years. Harry has witnessed so much history, and his stories influence me always. Photography is very much a game- who is in charge, the photographer or the subject. Harry is a master at getting his subjects to do what he wants. This psychological battle is constant, and being able to witness Harry do this in person was invaluable.
5. Albert Watson is a master lighter. Before I even knew what the difference was between a studio strobe and a Hydrargyrum Medium-arc Iodide(HMI) lights. Watson’s work had an impact on me. Whatever he was doing fit my asthetic and I needed to learn how he made his subjects come alive not only in what they were doing in the image, but the story that the lighting told. I truly believe that successful images are not soley about what the subject is doing, and that the lighting- be in artificial or natural, helps to tell the story of that fraction of time when the shutter button is pressed and an image is burned onto the film or sensor. As I developed my own lighting, Watson’s influence was a constant reference point, the main reason? He understands the sun. For me, understanding the way the sun is in all the many forms we see it not just in time of day and year, but diffused, direct, indirect, broad and tight and so on. Applying that understanding when shooting with or without strobes, modifiers and any light shaping tools was and is key to how I see lighting.
The New York City marathon returned to the streets of the Big Apple after last years cancellation due to hurricane Sandy.
British graffiti artist Banksy is spending a month in NYC on his “Better Out Than In” artist residency. Artworks have been popping up all over the boroughs, including the most recent one a tribute to the Twin Towers.
Over in the Lower Eastside, a crew of four guys were prepping to move Banksy’s “Crazy Horse” to a undisclosed location. At least it was undisclosed to me. As you can imagine, crowds formed as news hit the interwebs.
As the crowd gathered to watch, you could hear people remark on how others climbed the fence and took pieces of the installation. Some wondered why local graffiti artists would deface Banksy’s art.
The crowd grew, and traffic continued to increase, making things a bit tough for the guys from Artcore to do their job. As the front loader was beginning to place the installation onto a flatbed truck, one of the straps snapped and flew into the crowd.
Yes, the rumors are true. There are people already lined up outside the iconic Fifth Avenue store in New York City. Why? Because they just can’t wait for the new iPhone or whatever the company releases during Tuesday’s press announcement. Is this proof that the company still got it or that people will do anything for a $? You decide.