The Photo Blog

Sept. 26 2014 11:17 AM

Competitive Animals and the People Who Handle Them

The first time Toby Coulson saw an animal show—a competition where breeders show off their best specimens and judges “examine each paw, claw, beak, and ear looking for the animal with the perfect dimensions”—he was struck by the people in white coats who handled the animals.

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Sept. 25 2014 11:00 AM

How to Genetically Modify a Tomato and Other Things We Eat

The genetic modification of foods is not the sort of topic that inspires ambivalence. When Murray Ballard first visited the John Innes Centre in Norfolk, England—Europe's “largest independent research facility for the study of plant science and microbiology”—he thought he’d already picked a side. 

Sept. 24 2014 11:56 AM

The Love Story Between a Squirrel and a Horse, Told in an Adorably Surreal Photo Essay

There’s nothing more heartwarming than a love story between a horse and a squirrel. Asia Kepka didn’t know this at first—her series on the unconventional couple, Horace the horse and Agnes the squirrel, began when a friend brought over two masks. Kepka and her girlfriend Lynn Dowling put them on, gave them names—Agnes is named after Dowling’s late mother; Horace after a Hollywood actor and ex-neighbor of Dowling. Kepka then set up a camera to take a photograph of the couple seated on a red couch enjoying some accordion music. 

“I’m always drawn to older people and coming up with characters,” Kepka said. “So when I saw them I thought of them as a lovely middle-aged couple who had fallen in love.”

Sept. 23 2014 11:30 AM

A Rope Mistress, the Rubber Master, Sadomasochist Sisters: Portraits in Kink

These photographs contain sexual themes. 

Danny Ghitis became interested in the fetish, BDSM, and kink communities for the same reason he became interested in rock climbing: They both inspired a bit of discomfort, but also a bit of curiosity.

In 2011, same-sex marriage had recently been legalized in New York, 50 Shades of Grey was on everyone’s bookshelves, and Ghitis, a “straight, vanilla guy,” realized that he knew very little about sexual and gender identity. He decided to explore.

Sept. 22 2014 1:10 PM

One Photographer’s Beautiful and Devastating Response to Climate Change

Almost a decade ago, David Benjamin Sherry began taking trips through the American West. Although he grew up around the Catskill Mountains, once he began photographing the terrain on the other side of the country, he knew he was on to something. He felt drawn to the classic landscapes around Yosemite National Park and Death Valley, as well as the work of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. 

“The pictures, they just spoke to me and it felt like a natural thing for me to be doing,” Sherry said.


Sept. 21 2014 11:00 AM

Sometimes You Just Need to Print Your Photos the Old-Fashioned Way 

There is something almost old-fashioned about the ways in which Mark Steinmetz works. He’s the kind of photographer who brings around his film camera and prints much of his work in his darkroom. Even his images have a type of quiet quality—they’re easy to get lost in and the titles offer little more than basic information.

Steinmetz is fine with the slower pace of working with film photography, and boasts a prolific career that includes gallery representation around the world as well as the publication of numerous books, including ones about Paris and Italy, life in Tennessee and Georgia (he currently lives in Atlanta); and a new book, The Players,is coming out from Nazraeli in early 2015.

Sept. 19 2014 11:51 AM

This Is All That’s Left of New York’s Once-Thriving Borscht Belt 

For middle- and working-class Jewish New Yorkers, the Catskill Mountains were a paradise within reach. Beginning in the 1920s, the area, which became known as the Borscht Belt, thrived as hundreds of summer resorts emerged, offering food, leisure, and entertainment catered specifically to that population. 

Sept. 18 2014 12:37 PM

The Movies May Have Forgotten About Them, but Black Cowboys Are Thriving

American movies and media may have forgotten the role of black Americans in cowboy culture, but the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo certainly hasn’t. The all-black rodeo was created in 1984 by entertainment producer Lu Vason in order to “uncover the cultural past of the black cowboy.” It’s been traveling the country ever since.

Sept. 17 2014 11:06 AM

Inside the Exclusive World of Members-Only Clubs

Don’t even think about inviting Beatrix Reinhardt to join a club. The New York–based, East German–raised photographer doesn’t want to be a part of anything labeled “members only,” but it hasn’t stopped her from photographing society’s exclusive interior spaces—what she calls an addiction—for more than 10 years.

It all began in 2003, while she was an artist in residency in Canberra, Australia. “After work, my colleagues wanted to grab a beer and a lot of them insisted on going to a club, essentially because the beer was cheaper,” she said. Fascinated by the amount of members-only clubs she saw in Australia, Reinhardt began photographing the interior spaces beginning the ongoing series “Members Only.” Since then, she has added images from around the world, including the United States, India, China, Spain, and South Africa. 

Sept. 16 2014 12:59 PM

Ethereal Views of Earth From Way Up High 

While reading a Japanese guidebook about Bolivia in the mid-’90s, Asako Shimizu noticed a small black-and-white photograph of a salt flat with a seemingly endless horizon. The memory of the image stuck in her mind for 10 years until finally, in 2006, she was able to visit the South American country where, inspired by the image, she created the series “On Her Skin.” 

Shimizu went to the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni, which covers more than 4,000 square miles and is roughly 12,000 feet above sea level. If you have friends who have visited, chances are your Facebook timeline has been filled with trippy photographs that play off the optical illusion of people balancing on odd objects or holding a mini version of fellow travelers in the palm of their hands.