The Photo Blog

Jan. 6 2015 10:50 AM

Up Close, Dust Is Cooler Than You Ever Imagined

As Klaus Pichler was moving from his old apartment in Vienna’s seventh district to a new apartment in the second district, he noticed something curious: The dust bunnies in his old living room were red, while the dust bunnies in his old bedroom were light blue.

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Jan. 5 2015 11:12 AM

Capturing a Hallucinatory Period in American History

Roger Steffens describes himself—with a booming laugh that justifies his voiceover credits—as an old hippie. In addition to the stage and film acting he’s done, Steffens is a Vietnam vet who was awarded a Bronze Star and a well-known reggae scholar who is said to own the largest archive of Bob Marley memorabilia.

He’s also a photographer who began shooting in earnest in the late 1960s when he was drafted into the Vietnam War in the psychological operations unit. Steffens worked with refugees and was told to photograph his assignments during the last two years of his service, something he took to heart shooting more than 10,000 frames in Vietnam. Once out of Vietnam, Steffens made his way across the United States, settling in Berkeley, California, where he lived with Tim Page, the war photographer who was seriously injured four times while working in the field and who inspired Dennis Hopper’s character in Apocalypse Now. Page also taught Steffens a lot about photography.

Jan. 4 2015 10:30 AM

Classic Hollywood Films as You Were Never Meant to See Them 

When it came to movie publicity in the 1920s and ’30s, photographers used to stage glamour portraits using large, mounted cameras. In the ’50s, as studios dissolved their in-house photography departments and smaller hand-held cameras using 35mm film were becoming popular, photographers began to take more candid photos on and sell them to magazines like Photoplay and Look, which boomed through the mid-’60s. 

To decide which ones deserved printing, photographers, stars, and publicists relied on contact sheets, many of which were forgotten after they served their purpose. But in her book, Hollywood Frame by Frame, which was published by Princeton Architectural Press last year, journalist Karina Longworth excavates some of those contact sheets, elevating them from a practical tool to an art form, tracing the history of film in the process.

Jan. 2 2015 11:00 AM

When Looking at the Tourists Is Part of the View

Ross Paxton grew up in Whitby, a seaside town in the north of England popular among tourists because it served as the inspiration and setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Paxton was in his hometown a few years ago working on another project about the local culture when he decided to climb aboard a tour bus to take a photo. In the background of his shot stood the ruins of the imposing Whitby Abbey, and in the foreground were tourists frozen in time, looking ahead, as he saw it, “into their future.”

Jan. 1 2015 10:01 AM

These C-Section Babies Were Photographed at Less Than 20 Seconds Old

The first time Christian Berthelot experienced a caesarean birth—or any birth for that matter—was when his wife underwent an emergency C-section to save both her and their son. Berthelot felt like he was living in a parallel universe filled with confusion.

“In the operating room, the parents do not see what is happening on the other side of the operative field,” he wrote via email. “We hear and we waited, we imagined. And then it got there and it was the first time we see our baby.”

Around a week later, Berthelot met Jean-Francois Morievnal, an obstetrician in the hospital where his son had been born. The two spoke about their mutual love of photography and, about six months later, Morievnal proposed the idea that Berthelot begin working on a series about midwifery in the operating room with a focus on caesarean births.

It turned out to be a complicated process. For six months, Berthelot underwent training about how to work in a surgical environment and began seeking permission to take photographs both from the clinic and from the mothers who would be giving birth.

“And there was my mental preparation for what I was going to see,” wrote Berthelot.

Dec. 31 2014 10:15 AM

The 10 Most Popular Behold Stories of 2014

The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With Mental Illness

In 2013, [Liz Obert] decided to begin a series that dealt with the realities of what it means to put on a brave face while simultaneously coping with forms of depression. Starting with herself, Obert took two photos: one that showed the person she chooses to present to the world, and a second portrait that presented an image of how she existed behind closed doors when feeling depressed.

Dec. 30 2014 10:58 AM

Barbie Like You’ve Never Seen Her Before

According to Mattel, every three seconds, a Barbie doll is sold somewhere in the world. Developed in 1959, the iconic doll has as had roughly 150 careers, represented about 40 nationalities, and, this year, even gave an interview to People about her Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot.

She’s also been used as a benchmark of beauty in the real word, something Paris-based photographer Hamid Blad set out to examine in his series “Barbie Blad.”

To make the images, Blad incorporated the 19th-century collodion process, which takes a bit longer for both exposing and developing the images—clearly the dolls have more patience than human models—and results in a more unforgiving photograph. Blad also uses a cold, UV light that strips away some of their artificiality. He then crops them tightly in order to “enable the viewer to enter into the image.”

Dec. 29 2014 10:30 AM

Once a Year, This Town Becomes the Rattlesnake Capital of the Country 

In March 2013, David Kasnic was in limbo: He was living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he’d gone to college, and waiting to start an internship at the Wall Street Journal in New York. It seemed like as good a time as any to photograph rattlesnakes.

Dec. 28 2014 9:30 AM

Explore Iceland’s Natural Beauty With These “Live” 3-D Photos

Chris Burkard has spent a lot of time photographing in Iceland, but during his most recent trip, he saw the country in a whole new way. That’s because he was carrying a Lytro Illum, a camera that doesn’t take your average picture. 

Dec. 26 2014 10:40 AM

Our Seven Favorite Photography Shows From 2014

We see a lot of work researching stories to run on Behold, admittingly the majority of it online. But every now and again we have the chance to head out and see some work hanging on the walls of galleries and museums in and out of New York. Here are a few of our favorites from 2014.

Jen Davis: Eleven Years

Jen Davis has been working on a series of self-portraits that examine body identity for eleven years. It’s fitting then, that she referenced that period of transition and self-reflection as the title of that series “Eleven Years,” that opened at ClampArt last May and has also been published as a book by Kehrer. Looking at a life - anyone’s life - edited down to a small collection images can be a profound experience for both the photographer and viewer. Davis’s images strike a cord for their vulnerability, further enhanced by her talent for composition and beautiful lighting.

Group Show: Up Close and Personal

It is possible to get over stimulated at a show? That’s what I discovered at “Up Close and Personal” at Fuchs Projects in Bushwick, Brooklyn, curated by Ruben Natal San Miguel. Some of the photographs – including work by Alex Prager, Michael Wolf and Dawould Bey – were familiar, others were less known but all were hung, salon style with no sense of hierarchy. It was chilly outside on opening night but the space was packed with many of the exhibiting photographers who came out to one of the artiest neighborhoods in New York City. It felt like a party you were happy to have been invited to.