The Photo Blog

Feb. 9 2015 10:35 AM

The Hidden Beauty of American Train Travel 

Although he grew up in New York City, John Sanderson said some of the most impressionable moments of his childhood were family road trips through Pennsylvania and Maryland.

“I always remember looking out the window and feeling fascinated by the landscapes going by,” he said.

So, when he began to build a career as a photographer, Sanderson turned his attention to the American landscape with a focus on the railroad and how it relates to the land from an aesthetic and socioeconomic perspective.

Sanderson began photographing trains when he was 15, inspired by the work of 20th-century photographers David Plowden and O. Winston Link, but, after a period of time, he felt as if he wasn’t contributing anything different to the work already out there. He was inspired by Edward Burtynsky’s exhibit “Manufactured Landscapes” and decided to begin working with large format cameras.

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Feb. 8 2015 10:30 AM

Get Lost in These Mesmerizing Patterns That Do the Opposite of Camouflage 

Romina Ressia’s series, “What Do You Hide?” is a vivid and colorful response to a human tendency to mask our emotions in order to try to blend in. Although she can’t remember exactly what triggered her initial inspiration, the Argentine wrote via email that she was troubled by how we often mask our true identity or “simulate things just to please others or to be loved.”

She began working on the project last year and spent around four months on it. As is the case with all of her projects, she styles each image herself. She wanted to represent camouflage without typical clothing, so she used fabric as a way of dehumanizing the subjects as much as possible. The wigs and accessories are the only things that remind us that these are people.

Feb. 6 2015 10:21 AM

Traveling America in Search of Community

In an age of increasing social media–driven isolation, what does community look like in America? 

That’s the question photographer Alec Soth and writer Brad Zellar set out to answer when they started roaming the country in 2012. Over the next two years, the pair traveled together for weeks at a time, showing up at dances, festivals, and other intimate gatherings to look for signs of social life. In Soth’s exhibition and book, Songbook, which was published by Mack in December, he shows what they discovered—a mix of nostalgia and strangeness that feels distinctly American. 

Feb. 5 2015 10:30 AM

The Best Place in the World to People Watch Is a Car Show in Texas 

For a lot of people who attend the Day of the Drags and the Lonestar Round Up—two annual events for gearheads and classic car junkies—the vintage, souped-up machines are the main attraction.

Feb. 4 2015 11:06 AM

Why Photograph People When You Can Just Full-Body-Scan Them? 

At first glance, Kurt Hörbst’s portraits may simply look like an exercise in Richard Avedon–esque minimalism. But learn more about his process, and it becomes clear Hörbst almost has more in common with a taxonomer than a fashion photographer. In his ongoing project, “People_Scans,” the Austrian photographer’s subjects are collections of visual information in which no detail goes unnoticed.

Feb. 3 2015 10:17 AM

The Hardest-Working Dogs in the World

Andrew Fladeboe’s love for animals began early—one of his first idols was Doctor Dolittle. While he might not have the fictional doctor’s ability to communicate with animals, he certainly knows how to photograph them. He has created a three-part series about working dogs called “The Shepherd’s Realm.”

Fladeboe wanted to focus on something he loved and at first he photographed a variety of animals including bears and leopards, but decided in order for the work to grow, he should narrow his focus on one type of animal.

“Dogs were a natural fit because I could travel anywhere in the world and photograph them,” he wrote via email. “Their wide range of sizes and looks would give me a lot to draw from.”

Feb. 2 2015 11:15 AM

Guess What This Photographer Used to Visualize Language

After completing an installation of photographs based on Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, at the University of Virginia in 2013, Elisabeth Hogeman flew to Giverny, France, to spend three months living at an artist residency in Monet’s gardens where she set out to work on a project that would incorporate the relationship between conceptions of Eden and bodily experience.

The result was the series “Geographic Tongues” made up of five diptychs of highly stylized cow tongues. At face value, they are meant as a reinterpretation of the exterior panels of the original altarpiece in Bosch’s work, specifically an image of the world floating in a nondescript space, divided across two panels with an inscription from Psalms “For he spoke and they were made.”

Feb. 1 2015 11:16 AM

A Glimpse Into Professional Photographers’ Sketchbooks

To many, it might seem that the art of photography is simply a matter of going out and snapping pictures. But there’s a lot more to it, and there’s ample proof in the scribbles, diagrams, and other materials found in Photographers’ Sketchbookswhich was published last year by Thames & Hudson.  

Jan. 30 2015 11:48 AM

These Texans Like to Race Lawn Mowers 

Jennifer Boomer was at a fair a few years ago when she saw a man wearing tennis shoes that looked like cowboy boots and sporting glasses the shape of Texas. He called himself Billy Steed, and he was standing next to a lawn mower—which, he told Boomer, he used to race. Intrigued, she took his portrait, and kept it in the back of her mind to investigate further when she had time. Two years later, in 2013, after some online research, Boomer found herself photographing her first lawn mower race in Menard, Texas, an event put on by the Lone Star Mower Racing Association

Jan. 29 2015 11:14 AM

A Photographer’s Response to the Lack of Women in Our Literary Canon 

One might almost feel the need to whisper while talking about Carrie Schneider’s portraits of women reading, but, to Schneider, the inspiration behind the photographs is something worth screaming about.

Throughout her life, Schneider has been keenly aware of the lack of women represented in the canonization of art and literature, a point raised in Linda Nochlin’s 1971 historical text “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” Motivated by that work, as well as through discussions with friends and colleagues and a criticism published on Slate about lopsided coverage of major book reviews, Schneider wanted to work on a series that spoke to this discrepancy.

“Representing women friends, many of them artists, writers, and musicians reading women authors sought to undermine this dominant cultural narrative,” Schneider wrote via email about her series. Beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2014, Schneider photographed 100 women reading other women’s work in their home. She calls the series “Reading Women.”