The Photo Blog

Jan. 29 2016 10:20 AM

The Last of Mongolia’s Eagle Hunters

The vast, barren landscape surrounding the Altai Mountains in western Mongolia is unforgiving. In the winter, temperatures dip to negative 40 degrees. Only the toughest survive. This is where the world’s 60 or so remaining burkitshi—Kazakh men who hunt on horseback with golden eagles—carry on a centuries-old tradition. 

Jan. 28 2016 10:00 AM

These Brothers Barely Left Their Apartment for 14 Years. This Is the World They Created Inside.

For 14 years, the six Angulo brothers almost never left their Lower East Side apartment, where an authoritarian father kept them hidden along with their mother and sister. They learned about the outside world largely by watching movies, which they imaginatively recreated with their own homemade sets, props, and costumes.  

Jan. 27 2016 10:19 AM

From Clothing to Cars: Living Like It’s 1950 With America’s Rockabillies 

As a child growing up in Chicago, Jennifer Greenburg loved looking through her grandmother’s collection of vintage jewelry, so much that she began a lifelong passion for collecting vintage clothing and furniture. It also helped to shape a project Greenburg would work on for 10 years on the rockabilly culture; it was published as a book, The Rockabillies, by the Center for American Places in 2010.

Rockabillies adhere, both culturally and aesthetically, to a 1950s version of America. They aren’t necessarily looking to turn back the clock on everything from that period, but instead they borrow elements such as clothing, hairstyles or furniture they incorporate into their daily lives.

Greenburg approached the work in a similar manner, by taking pieces of something and putting her own spin on it. She said her work is interpretive, not documentarian, although she made sure her knowledge of the people and culture she set out to photograph was profound.

“I never wanted to be a tourist,” she said about the work. “I don’t like tourist photography if you will. I don’t think you should go into a situation you don’t fully understand and haven’t done extensive research on and take photos because no matter what people assume – and anyone who knows anything about photography knows the camera doesn’t project anything factual – it’s always an interpretation of what’s in front of the lens at the hands of the person operating the camera.”

That’s not to say that the subjects in the photographs weren’t and aren’t real to Greenburg. As a child she had seen rockabillies and to a point idolized them, imagining what it would be like to be a part of their culture. As she began to meet people, first at flea markets where she purchased vintage items, her young thoughts of their positivity were confirmed. When Greenburg began the project, before the Internet was what it is today, she relied on word of mouth to meet more subjects, many of whom also offered her a place to stay while she worked on their portraits; she felt accepted into a big family.

Jan. 26 2016 10:30 AM

Why Are These Subway Cars Sinking Into the Ocean? 

The next stop is … the Atlantic Ocean? Indeed, for more than 2,500 New York City out-of-service subway cars, the bottom of the ocean is the final destination after they were enlisted for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s artificial reef program. Today, the sunken cars have been populated by marine invertebrates, which bring in crustaceans and fish, and ultimately, fishermen.


Jan. 25 2016 10:15 AM

An Intimate Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor as Seen Through Her Home

Catherine Opie never got to meet Elizabeth Taylor. The actress passed away three months into Opie’s six-month portrait project of Taylor’s Bel-Air home, located at 700 Nimes Road, what Opie ultimately named the book of the work, published by Prestel.

Opie and Taylor shared accountant put Opie in touch with Taylor’s longtime executive assistant, Tim Mendelson. She wanted to document the Hollywood legend’s home in the same vein as William Eggleston had done at Graceland.

Imagining is one thing, walking into Taylor’s home for the first time was something else.

“It is overwhelming,” she said. “You’re super nervous because you’re in Elizabeth Taylor’s home and you don’t want to piss anyone off; you want to represent her in a way that feels like an extension of the ability to think about portraiture other than an iconic image of Elizabeth Taylor the movie star.”

The goal of the work was to create a portrait of Taylor through her home and all of the objects found within it. There were closets of clothing, shelves filled with shoes and accessories, an incredible jewelry collection, and of course, the house itself, that Opie described as “elegant but simple: a California Ranch-style house with pale blue and lush lavender carpets and a shimmering turquoise swimming pool.”

Jan. 24 2016 10:15 AM

God Instructed Him in a Dream to Make Guitars and Give Them Away to Kids, So He Did

When Ed Stilley, 85, started making stringed instruments more than three decades ago, he had no idea what he was doing. He’d had no instruction and barely any materials with which to construct them besides some scrap wood from the sawmill where he worked. 

Jan. 22 2016 10:00 AM

How Does a Uniform Affect the Way We See People?

Although Vivian Keulards has studied many different genres of photography, it’s portraiture she feels is her true calling.

“I discovered it’s people I really like,” she said. “When you have your camera you have the best excuse to walk into somebody’s life and to see how they live and what their stories are…that’s what portraiture is for me.”

Keulards is from The Netherlands and became friends with her neighbors who, when they first met, had a 10 year-old daughter named Kat. Over the years Keulards watched Kat grow up; she even came to visit Keulards and her own family when they lived for a few years in the United States. During that trip, Kat, now a young woman, had also joined the navy.

“When I saw her in her uniform, she was a totally different person to me,” Keulards said. Seeing her sparked an idea to begin a series that showed two sides of women in the navy: one in their uniforms at the barracks where they lived and another in their casual attire, photographed in their own homes. She calls the series “Behind Her Uniform”.

Jan. 21 2016 3:15 AM

“Why Do You Own a Gun?”

At first glance, the people in Kyle Cassidy’s portraits couldn’t look more dissimilar from one another. They’re different ages, races, and genders, and they come from all across the United States. But they all have one thing in common: guns.

Jan. 20 2016 11:16 AM

Inside the Fabulous Homes of “Gypsy Queens”

When Sébastien Cuvelier started photographing the grand homes of wealthy Roma people in Romania in 2011, one thing became clear to him right away: In the communities he encountered, women ruled. As a result, they became the focus of his book, Gypsy Queens, which Husson Editions published in 2013.


Jan. 19 2016 10:15 AM

How Many Things Have You Touched Today?

How many things do you touch in one minute? How about an hour? Paula Zuccotti asked people of different ages and backgrounds all over the world to make note of how many objects they touch during a day for her series “Every Thing We Touch.” The photos were turned into a book that was published this past December.

Zuccotti—a designer, and trends forecaster who founded The Overworld, a consultancy agency that specializes on the interaction between culture and technology—was curious to learn more about how our daily interactions come to define ourselves and what she might be able to learn about the things we “need, appreciate, consume, or simply touch.”

“I was amazed at the honest X-rays from our everyday lives that emerged from the photos,” she wrote via email. “As a result, the participants find the exercise very fulfilling in terms of mindfulness. Everyone realized something new about themselves.”

All of the participants in the project were required to record everything they touched on notepads or their phones. Zuccotti admits the project was very ambitions; she’s been working on it for two years now and said finding the subjects, briefing them and ensuring things were done correctly required a lot of communication.