The Photo Blog

Sept. 15 2015 9:36 AM

Ansel Adams’ Rare Photos of Everyday Life in a Japanese Internment Camp

Ansel Adams was already world-famous for his groundbreaking black-and-white photographs of the American West when he was invited by his friend Ralph Merritt to document the Manzanar War Relocation Center, a Japanese internment camp, where Merritt was director. It was a risky career move for a man so thoroughly established as a landscape photographer, but Adams was compelled to witness life there and make a record of it. Fifty of his photographs are on display in the Photographic Traveling Exhibitions show, “Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams,” which is at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles from Oct. 8 to Feb. 21.

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Sept. 14 2015 9:51 AM

A Century of Stunning West African Portrait Photography 

In the 1880s, just a few decades after the first photographs were taken in Africa, African and American photographers traveled the continent catering to elites. “There were African photographers who appropriated that medium right away and they developed a sense of portraiture that echoed other artistic traditions in West Africa,” said Yaëlle Biro, who curated the exhibit “In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with African photography specialist Dr. Giulia Paoletti. The exhibit’s 80 photographs span a century of work from Senegal to Cameroon and include work from both professional and amateur photographers.

Sept. 13 2015 11:35 AM

Instagram and Getty Want You to Follow These Three Photographers

Ismail Ferdous’ family expected him to pursue a career in business, but it was more important to him to follow his passion: photography.

“I became a photographer because I had a passion for human interest stories,” he wrote via email. “I realized that photography is a powerful tool for telling stories. I believe when people really pursue their passions and pursue what they believe in and what they love, genuine results will come out of that.”

Sept. 11 2015 10:41 AM

What the School Day Looks Like Around Europe 

While working in his Amsterdam studio across the street from a school, Raimond Wouda noticed a few different rituals from when he was a student. He decided to dig a bit deeper and, since 2002, he has photographed European schools in the Netherlands, Italy, and Poland.

When he began the project, the images were taken with a large-format film camera he fixed to a tripod on a ladder to get a high vantage point that showed more of what was happening. He shot remotely, focusing on the student interactions between classes as they mingled in the hallways, by their lockers, in cafeterias, and other group spaces. He repeated the process around the Netherlands for more than five years, eventually creating a book of the work, School, published by Nazareli Press.

“I thought because the environment was so typically Dutch I didn’t expect other countries to be interested,” he said. But the opposite seemed to be the case. The work was exhibited just once in the Netherlands but in France, for example, it has been shown 34 times. He realized there was a larger audience attracted to the universality of the photos, and began trying to document schools in Italy and Poland.

Sept. 10 2015 11:08 AM

Slowing Down Time at a Place Designed for Speed  

There’s something fairly subversive about photographing a car plant at a complete standstill, which is precisely why Edgar Martins wanted to try it. In his book, 00:00.00, which Moth House will publish in November, activity appears to have been mysteriously halted at BMW’s usually bustling plant in Munich, Germany.

Sept. 9 2015 12:26 PM

Imitation Is the Highest Form of Flattery for These Americans and Europeans 

Naomi Harris remembers the thrill of visiting Europe when she was in her 20s and returning home with something special that wasn’t available in North America. Today, you don’t need a plane ticket to track down those unique items; you simply need access to the Internet.

“We are able to go online and learn about one another and there aren’t as many differences,” Harris said. “It’s harder to be unique and harder to have your own culture be unique and stand out because we are all using those things that make a Frenchman a Frenchman or a Dutchman a Dutchman; everyone wants to be the same. Or maybe it’s more: everybody is the same whether they want to be or not.”

Sept. 8 2015 9:52 AM

Dancers Aren’t Just Elegant, They’re Athletes 

In Matthew Brookes’ book, Les Danseurs, which Damiani published in July, 20 male dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet look like powerful sculptures carved out of stone. Photographed in sharp black-and-white against a simple backdrop, they focus simply on the forms of the dancers’ bodies and their physical prowess.

Sept. 4 2015 10:05 AM

Bleakly Captivating Photos of California’s Wildfires

Wildfires have been ravaging California with terrifying frequency in the midst of its historically terrible drought. The sheer power of these blazes is fearsome, but it can also be bleakly captivating. For more than a year, Stuart Palley, who Eric Holthaus interviewed for Slate in July, has been documenting the fires by day for news organizations, and capturing them by night in these mesmerizing photographs.

“I kind of grew up with these fleeting memories of fire around me,” Palley recalls. Palley was raised in Orange County, California, before he left the state for college and grad school. As a kid, Palley remembers occasionally having to leave the area due to fires and heading into the desert because the ash aggravated his asthma. When he returned to his home state and took an apprenticeship with the Orange County Register, Palley found himself around fires once again.

“I got sent to a fire by the newspaper out in northern San Diego County,” Palley said. “I got there, and almost within five or 10 minutes of arriving, I’m watching a probably million-dollar home burn to the ground.”

Sept. 3 2015 11:31 AM

If You Liked Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, You’ll Love Lewis Carroll’s Wonderful Photographs 

Lewis Carroll is known for his beloved classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but fewer people know Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s—Carroll’s real name—other great contribution to the arts: photography. In his book, The Photographs of Lewis Carroll: A Catalogue Raisonné, which the University of Texas Press published in August, Carollian scholar Edward Wakeling corrects that. For the first time, it collects all of Dodgson’s known photographs in one place.

Sept. 2 2015 11:24 AM

Mesmerizing Photos That Capture the Thrill of Reading

Ellen Cantor and her husband have amassed an untold number of books in their many years together. But, as is the case for many book owners, she hasn’t exactly read them all. Among the ones she has, there are 12 that hold a special meaning for her—some that she had read as a child and others that were childhood favorites of her mother. With that in mind, Cantor created the series “Prior Pleasures,” for which she has now photographed 25 classic childhood books.

“When my parents passed away I started thinking of memory and time and place and what’s important and the concept that people will always be reading but the way they read will change dramatically,” she said. “There was something I wanted to capture about these books.”