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The Characters of Paris

Travel can tell you more about who you are than it might about the places you visit, and can be the best way to look for who you were. A decade after I lived in France, this felt like the perfect summer to revisit and revaluate, to dust off old memories and sentiments of a place that was once familiar and yet foreign. Who changed more, I wondered while crossing the Atlantic, myself or Paris? While I was away, I soon discovered, Paris had become warm and friendly, outgoing and uninhibited. It was more expensive than I recalled but also more beautiful, as rainy patches gave way to brilliant sunshine. Café culture was as seductive as ever, and the lifestyle, as I remembered, seemed less exhilarating but more enjoyable. The pace of life is … [Read more...]

Medina to Prada: An Arranged Marriage

This past Sunday morning I was in Morocco, in Fez for the World Sacred Music Festival taking photographs along the way. The next day, Monday morning, I was in New York, a stop-over between flights, walking with my camera. Today, Tuesday, now, I am back home in Los Angeles, joining images together, thinking I'd be writing a framing paragraph of straightforward information about the origins of these jolts of color. I thought that this was going to be a comparison about fashion, maybe even a snarky one: a comparison between the authentic Medina quarter of Fez -- a maze of shops and residences, mosques and fountains, artisans and palaces -- and the Dover Street Market which I came upon on 30th and Lexington, where I pressed 5 and … [Read more...]

Desert Series, Selection_Three

Desert Series, Selection (1991-2000), Photography by Brian Forrest — Two Roads, 1992 Dark Field, 1992 Tissue, 1996 Fence 1997 … [Read more...]

Memorial

For the many and the singular whose lives have been swept away through fear, anger and pride.   All Photography © Nancy Cantwell   … [Read more...]

Signs of Our Time

Melrose Avenue Graffiti, Photography by Michael Varhol — I found Graffiti Girl, the work of street artist Common Cents, on Melrose Avenue and was drawn in by her old school Betty Page sexiness and her enticing pose.  With her face half hidden behind an alluringly raised shoulder and spray can at the ready, she symbolizes the inherent illicitness of graffiti and street art, both in its uncensored content and often unauthorized use of public spaces and private property. Like the artists themselves, Graffiti Girl keeps her identity hidden, exemplifying the art form’s seductive outlaw aura while inviting viewers to live a little dangerously themselves. The temporariness of the work, which can appear and disappear within the space of an … [Read more...]

The Photograph in a Post-Digital World

What Is a Photograph?, International Center of Photography (ICP), January 31–May 4, 2014 — Owen Kydd, installation view of Knife (J.G.), 2011 What Is a Photograph? is the latest exhibition to open at the International Center of Photography (ICP), and its title asks one of the most relevant questions facing not just photography but art today. Opening coincidentally after the Aperture Foundation published a new book of essays by John Berger titled Understanding a Photograph, this is the topic du jour for photography in a post digital world. Despite reviews suggesting that the ICP exhibition answers none of the questions it poses, the twenty-one artists it represents, ranging from young makers to some well-established old-timers, do … [Read more...]

Desert Series, Selection_Two

Desert Series, Selection (1991-2000), Photography by Brian Forrest — Landing Strip, 1994 Badwater Path, 1994 Circles, 1998 Twin Trees, 1996     … [Read more...]

Rincón, Puerto Rico (Overexposed Series), 2013

Overexposed, Rincón, Puerto Rico, 2013. Fujifilm Instax Mini … [Read more...]

The Great Confluence

 Revisiting the Maha Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, 2013 — A Nag Baba who has taken a vow to stand one leg for 9 years Last year from January 14th to March 10th the Kumbh Mela, thought to be the largest religious gathering on earth (estimated at over 100 million attendees in 2013), was held on the banks of the Holy 'Sangam'-the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and where the mythical Saraswati River is believed to run deeply beneath. A holy dip into the waters is understood to cleanse the soul and free the adherent from their past sins (karma), and thus becoming eligible for liberation from the cycle of birth and death. As such the Mela is attended by millions of devotees and Sahdus, who leave their haunts, caves, temples, and … [Read more...]

West of Western

Michael Varhol moved to Los Angeles from Washington D.C. in the late 70's; a move where the boundless sprawl impressed his eye with a continuum of never ending blandness. "The long boulevards and avenues seemed to blend into a bland, building-after-building architectural continuum, with no center of focus, like Ed Ruscha’s “Every Building on the Sunset Strip". The only things that rose above the horizon line were the palm trees, billboards and the occasional cluster of tall buildings."   West of Western was his first collection of black and white L.A. photographs all shot west of Western Avenue, in the last quarter of the 20th century. When introduced to the work of Max Yavno's galvanizing black and white imagery of Los Angeles from the … [Read more...]