The Photo Blog

March 25 2015 11:00 AM

Remembering the Wild Times at Brooklyn’s DIY Venues 

In the last few years, skyrocketing rents and neighborhood changes have killed some of Brooklyn’s favorite DIY, or “do-it-yourself,” music venues. This month, they go one more celebratory send-off with an exhibit, “RIP DIY,” which was on display at Brooklyn’s Cloud City. Featuring the work of 20 photographers, it showed these independent venues during their glory days, when the bands were loud, the drinks were cheap (and often available for those underage), and the party seemed like it might never stop.

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March 24 2015 11:00 AM

Mothers Photographed With Their Day-Old Newborns  

Before Jenny Lewis had her first child, the only stories she heard about giving birth were terrifying. “It was like ‘Oh, God, how am I going to get through this?’ ” she recalled.

But Lewis’ experience turned out to be a positive one, so she decided to begin a project that captured the emotions of new motherhood, 24 hours in. This month, she published One Day Young (Hoxton Mini Press), which includes 40 of the 150 portraits she took in the homes of new mothers with their babies.

Lewis began the series by hanging leaflets around the London borough of Hackney where she lives, offering a free print to anyone willing to pose for her should they happen to be home a day after delivering their baby. She wanted the work to be as organic as possible so she didn’t pre screen anyone.

“I didn’t want to persuade people or impose myself on them,” Lewis said. “It had to come from them: If you fancy doing it just call me when the contractions start and I’ll plan on it. If you don’t fancy it just let me know.”

Once Lewis had finished with the portrait, she would post it online.

March 23 2015 11:42 AM

A Pensive Look at Childhood Fun

Photographs of children, especially children playing, tend to be a little hokey and predictable. That’s a pitfall that Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky try to avoid in their series, “The Children,” which makes summertime play look half magical/half nightmarish.

The photos were taken last year, when the creative duo was invited to teach filmmaking and live as artists-in residence at a summer camp. They were also asked to make a record of camp activities and their young participants. This series was what emerged.

March 22 2015 10:14 AM

The Memories That Make Us Cry 

What would you do if a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you to come into a studio and cry while he photographed you?

Georges Pacheco asked this question of people on two separate occasions in 2005 and 2006 at the Centro Português de Fotografia in Portugal. Enough people said yes to create the series “La memoire des larmes.”

It was time consuming to try and find people, but that wasn’t the only hurdle. “It was also never certain that they would be able to cry,” Pacheco wrote via email.

March 20 2015 12:07 PM

Balancing Ballet and Motherhood With Grace

Performing as a prima ballerina in one of the country’s best ballet companies can be grueling, but for at least three dancers from the San Francisco Ballet who have children, the hard work doesn’t end on stage. 

March 19 2015 11:46 AM

Using Photography to Explore What It Means to Be Masculine

Portraiture is, by nature, intimate. It invites the viewer into a private moment shared by the photographer and subject. In her latest work, “Every Breath We Drew,” Jess Dugan invites the viewer to reflect on her vision of the masculine identity. She also asks a more fundamental question about identify: How much of it is informed by our relationships to other people?

“I think that comes a lot from my own experience in the world in that I’ve always looked very masculine,” said Dugan. “I’m part of trans community; I’m not a lesbian and I’m not a gay man but I hang out in those spaces. I think I’m hyper aware of how my identity changes in different contexts.”


March 18 2015 11:00 AM

Finding “Swagabond” Fashion in L.A.’s Skid Row

For many, Downtown L.A.’s Skid Row is famous for having the highest concentration of homelessness in the country. But for Géraldine Freyeisen—who first came to the area to work as an assistant for a documentary, Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home, which follows the lives of eight homeless people who live there—it became a kind of home. 

March 17 2015 11:00 AM

Portraits of the 21st-Century Family 

Crowe finds the families she shoots primarily through word of mouth. She prefers to allow the series to guide her, rather than placing any type of parameter on who she decides to photograph.

“The project keeps evolving on it’s own and will continue to be what it’s going to be,” she said. “I don’t really force anything. I’ll be walking down a street and think, ‘I need to do a bodybuilder family!’ ”


March 16 2015 11:00 AM

The Midwest’s Quirkiest Bowling Alleys 

The number of bowling alleys in the U.S. has been in decline for decades, and the number of Americans joining bowling leagues has dropped significantly, as Robert Putnam highlighted in his seminal book, Bowling Alone. But things might not seem so dire if you look at the photos in Williams’ series, “Bowling: The Midwest,” which celebrate the quirky alleys still standing in Middle America, and the dedicated owners who want to keep them going. 

March 15 2015 10:47 AM

The Mysterious Life Magazine Photographer Who Loved Animals

There isn’t a lot that we know about Nina Leen, a Life magazine staff photographer from 1945 until the magazine switched from a weekly publication to a monthly one in 1972, and whose images appeared on more than 40 of the magazine’s covers.

In John Loengard’s book Life Photographers: What They Saw, Leen, who died in 1995, discusses growing up around Europe and having a variety of childhood pets, including a monkey and some snakes. She also mentions that one of her favorite early jobs was working as a photographer in a zoo. Indeed, her imagery of animals is some of her best-known work. She was also be drawn to a variety of eccentric people and subjects, a combination seen in her behind-the-scenes with Ringling Brothers in 1949.