The Photo Blog

Aug. 6 2014 12:05 PM

New York City Snapshots From Chinatown in the ’80s

Over 30 years ago, Bud Glick set out to photograph the New York Chinese community as part of the New York Chinatown History Project (NYCHP), now the Museum of Chinese in the Americas. The work, along with oral histories collected of the Chinese community was meant to record a part of New York culture that was rapidly changing within a city that was itself rapidly changing. 

Glick worked on the project for a little over three years, from 1981-1984, with a primary focus on the bachelor society, so called because of the disproportionate number of men living in the United States without their wives and/or children.

This culture can trace its roots back to The Chinese Exclusion Act that was enacted in 1882 and excluded all immigration of Chinese laborers into the United States. The bachelor society existed until the act was lifted in 1943; in 1965, the Immigration and Naturalization Act abolished the quota of Chinese allowed into the United States, greatly increasing the population and beginning the end of the bachelor society.


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Aug. 5 2014 11:00 AM

Quirky and Passionate Hobby Groups Photographed in Their Elements

In their book, HobbyBuddies, Swiss photographers Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini celebrate the wide range of human interests and activities in all its splendor, joy, and strangeness. The photographs in the book, though carefully staged like Wes Anderson compositions, show real people from all manner of clubs, leagues, and organizations whose volunteer members are bound by common interests including diving, camping, tattooing, and chess. “It’s a work about all people,” Sprecher said via email.

Aug. 4 2014 2:24 PM

What It Looks Like When America’s College Graduates Move Back Home 

Damon Casarez graduated art school in Los Angeles in the summer of 2012 with more than $100,000 in student loans. For a while, he was getting enough editorial assignments and jobs assisting other photographers to make ends meet. But after about a year, he hit a dry spell. Within a couple of months he’d drained all his resources. “After selling some equipment I had to call it quits and the last resort was to move home. I moved onto my parents’ couch in the living room because my old room was turned into an office,” he said. “After a month and a half being back home, student loans were constantly on my mind. I just started wondering, ‘What is everyone else in this situation looking like?’ ”

Aug. 3 2014 11:35 AM

The Lady Gaga of Myanmar and the Country’s Growing Creative Class

For nearly five decades, Myanmar (also known as Burma) was one of the world's most repressive and isolated states, ruled by generals who stamped out dissent with censorship laws and imprisonment. Now that Myanmar has been released from the grip of the military junta, the country’s generation of young adults is finding new ways to express itself through various creative channels. Diana Markosian, who was living in Yangon, the country’s largest city, after a month-long fellowship in the country, found the changes taking place inspiring. “I think the new generation aspires to a different kind of future. They want the government to follow through with this promise of a new era of openness. You can feel this on the streets in Yangon as more and more youth are daring to emerge from the political shadows,” she said.

Aug. 1 2014 12:11 PM

They Come for the Food, Stay for the Art

Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic, has a vibrant art scene known for, as photographer Jan Caga calls it, “strong personalities.” Among them are the members of the ever-present, unstoppable Pigeon Fleet.

Anyone who frequents the various museum and exhibition openings around Brno knows the Pigeon Fleet. Composed of former arts journalists and older art lovers, its members have made a name for themselves in Brno’s art community for their unrelenting pursuit of a single goal: to “eat as much food and drink as much wine as possible.” Even before events formally begin, Caga said, they can be found at the refreshment table going at it, sometimes taking away extra helpings of free food in bags. What’s more, he said in a statement, they “do not hesitate to loudly criticize the quantity or quality of the food.“

July 31 2014 11:35 AM

Hallucinatory Portraits That Rethink the Ways We Look at Women

Through formal portraiture mixed with plastic flowers, images from Playgirl magazine, reference to nightshade potions, and other source material, Melanie Willhide’s series “Henbane for Honey Bun” takes a hallucinatory look at the ways in which we look at women.

The series took root, so to speak, a couple of years ago when Willhide began photographing flowers. At the same time, she was also making portraits of women in her life she felt were fascinating beyond their physical beauty.

Willhide, who is in her late 30s and a native East Coaster, was also beginning to feel as if she were being forced outside the realm of visibility in Los Angeles.

July 30 2014 2:14 PM

Bringing an Abandoned Canadian Town’s Houses Back Home With These Haunting Photographs

As the title suggests, Sarah Fuller’s project “The Forest of No Return” could be mistaken for a ghost story. That wouldn’t be entirely incorrect. The series, about the “return” of transported houses to their original setting in an abandoned gold rush town in Yukon does have many of the necessary pieces that help form a scary tale.



Even the techniques Fuller used to turn the photographs into a theatrical experience—once used by Louis Daguerre—helped to create a somewhat spooky environment.


July 29 2014 1:36 PM

How Asian Families Learn to Welcome a LGBTQ Child’s Partner

While LGBTQ rights advocates continue to make strides across the country, many LGBTQ individuals still struggle for acceptance and love within their own families. A recent exhibition, “Our Portraits, Our Families,” at the Museum of Chinese in America, presented by the arts and advocacy group the Asian Pride Project, addressed this situation among Asian and Pacific Islander families by presenting their stories through photography. “If we want to change the culture of homophobia in Asian communities we have to help families process the coming out. There's not a lot of information out there though and a lot of API families are immigrant families, so they don't have the language for it. They’re not used to exposing their issues to other people,” said Aries Liao, the founder of the Asian Pride Project. “We thought the Asian Pride Project would give them access and it might help so parents can feel there's a community out there, that there are faces with which they can identify.”

July 28 2014 12:12 PM

The Sights and Sounds of Asia’s Incredible Markets

For as long as Peter Steinhauer can remember, Vietnam has been part of his life. His father was a doctor during the Vietnam War, and growing up, Steinhauer would show his father’s photo slides for extra credit in school. After art school, Steinhauer moved to Hanoi with the intent of staying for a few months. He ended up staying seven years. After that, he moved to Singapore, then back to Vietnam, and then lived in Hong Kong for five years. All the while, markets were a part of the daily fabric of Steinhauer’s life, but it wasn’t until 2013, when he was living Singapore, that it occurred to him to do a project on them. “I don't know if it was an epiphany or what, but it just dawned on me that these markets have so much history in them,” he said.

July 27 2014 11:30 AM

Take a Tour of Tokyo in Miniature

Photographer Ben Thomas first visited Tokyo in 2008 and was completely in awe of the size and scale of it. “The culture, architecture and pop culture are on such an extreme scale. It can be scary, fun and complex at the same time,” he said via email. Thomas thought it would be the perfect location to photograph with tilt-shift lenses, which allow selective focusing to simulate miniature scenes. In 2012, he returned to the city to shoot more photos for his book, Tiny Tokyo. “Anything that makes you look at the familiar differently is a fantastic thing. To look at an image that is instantly familiar, but also just a little bit strange causes you to look a bit deeper and explore the scene with fresh eyes,” he said.