The Photo Blog

Aug. 12 2015 1:14 PM

These Photos Aren’t Trying to Tell You Anything—That’s What Makes Them So Great

It all started when Muir Vidler was in college and photographing the club scene for a gay magazine in London. He noticed an older man—at least by nightclub standards—named Adrian Delgoffe who was dressed in a leather harness.

“I thought, that guy is the same age as my dad and my dad is at home sleeping on the couch in front of the television,” Vidler said. Delgoffe agreed to have his portrait taken and inspired Vidler to find more people who weren’t “acting their age.” The work eventually became a series “Rebels Without a Pause,” which includes rockers, fetishists, and other entertainers who were having fun on their own terms.

From there, Vidler, whether through assignment or his own personal projects, began documenting unconventional stories around the world including the Israeli death metal scene or a circumcision party for two boys in the Maldives.

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Aug. 11 2015 10:56 AM

Rare Photographs of Jazz Icons From the Archives of Metronome Magazine

Founded in 1881, Metronome magazine became indispensable during the swing era, when it switched its focus to jazz. For decades, it was the best publication for reviews, features, and show listings of the era’s foremost music genre. The magazine struggled to adapt as tastes changed and in 1961 it closed. Getty Images eventually acquired its vast photo archives, but for decades, nobody had explored them until Pierre Vudrag, founder of the vintage photography and poster site, Limited Runs, decided to take a look. His selections from the archives are now featured in a traveling exhibition, “The Metronome Jazz Photo Collection,” which will be on display in New York and Chicago this fall.

Aug. 10 2015 10:17 AM

The Creative and Colorful Desks of Children’s Book Illustrators

Like many parents, Jake Green often found that his favorite books to read to his kids were those that had been read to him as a child. But two years ago, while reading a biography of the of the English author and illustrator John Burningham, who described working in a defining era for children’s books in the 1960s and ’70s, he started thinking about today’s crop of children’s illustrators. Who are the emerging stars of today’s literature, he wondered, and what does their work look like? With the help of editor and art director James Cartwright, Green started finding answers. The result is their book, The Bookmaker’s Studio, which they are currently raising money on Kickstarter to publish.

Aug. 9 2015 9:46 AM

What Makes a Person Decide to Dress Up Like Minnie Mouse? 

Anyone who has spent time around Hollywood Boulevard has seen tourists posing for pictures alongside recognizable pop-culture characters like Spider-Man, Jack Sparrow, and Chewbacca. During a recent stay in Los Angeles, Ken Hermann was inspired to find out more about the people in the costumes and created the series “Behind the Mask.”

The work is in line with some of Hermann’s other portraiture work of conspicuous people, including “Flower Man,” which focused on the men who sell flowers in Kolkata. Many of the ideas come to him during trips away from his home in Copenhagen, where he says he doesn’t pay attention to what is often right under his nose.

“It’s difficult to do things in Copenhagen because I see the same things everyday,” he said. “When I go abroad, I can think about things and why people are doing them.”

Aug. 7 2015 11:17 AM

Photographing What Unites the Borders That Divide Us

Flo Razowsky was working with grassroots communities in the Palestinian territories in 2002 when she saw construction begin on what is now the nearly 500-mile-long Israeli West Bank barrier. “My first thoughts were of complicity: As a Jew, this wall was being built in my name; as a U.S. citizen, this wall was being built with my tax dollars,” she said via email. “My first thoughts were of wondering how prolific such situations were—firstly, nation-state barriers that were being built to keep people out and increasingly, the more research I did, barriers that were being crossed at risk of death in order to maintain survival.”

Aug. 6 2015 11:46 AM

You Can Tell a Lot About a “Pig Ear” From Her Bonnet

If you were a woman living in Brittany during the 19th and 20th centuries, you might have been known as “Pig Ear.” You also probably called the women in the neighboring villages “Sardine Head” or “Sugarloaf.” Brittany, located in the northwest corner of France, was once home to a large number of lace headdresses or “coiffes” worn daily by women, and the inspiration for the unique nicknames.

Charles Freger, fresh off his “Wilder Mann” series that focused on pagan costumes found across Europe, began working on the series about the headdresses for a book, Portraits in Lace, which will be published in the United States on Sept. 8 by Thames and Hudson. The subjects of “Wilder Mann” were, as the title suggests, all men. While on an assignment in Brittany, he decided to focus on women. From 2011 to 2014, Freger worked with more than 50 groups of women in the area creating painterly portraits that highlight the details of the unique attire.

Aug. 5 2015 12:31 PM

When It Comes to Gender Identity, There’s More Than Just “Male” and “Female”

“The seeds for the idea came out of conversations I had with a very dear friend,” said Emily Besa. “It occurred to me that gender expression and identity are not always visible, and certainly not commonly represented in all the nuances and possibilities.” Together with Bernd Ott, Besa created the book All The People, which they are currently raising money on Kickstarter to fund. 

Aug. 4 2015 11:59 AM

Photos of the Pool Hall That Inspired The Hustler, and the Characters Who Haunted It

Helaine Garren was studying photography at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1970 when her professor, Hugh Edwards, assigned her class to turn in a series of photographs. Garren’s thoughts quickly turned to Bensinger’s, a pool hall in her neighborhood that attracted serious players.

Aug. 3 2015 11:52 AM

The Industrious and Diverse Women of the Experimental Music Scene

Maggie Shannon’s idea to photograph the women of experimental music stemmed from the frustrations of a friend, a female experimental musician who was growing more and more frustrated with the disparity in coverage between men and women. Shannon decided to bring attention to the often overlooked group through her series “Noise Girls.”

Although the title implies the women are “noise” musicians, a genre of music often defined by the lack of traditional instruments, Shannon said many of them describe themselves as sound musicians or even performance artists.

“A lot of it is DIY,” Shannon said about the women. “They make their own equipment, record it themselves, produce it, book their own shows and tour.”

Aug. 2 2015 11:00 AM

What Life Was Like in Taylor Camp, Hawaii’s Legendary Hippie Haven 

This post contains nudity.

What separates Taylor CampJohn Wehrheim’s photographs of the alternative community started by Elizabeth Taylor’s brother in 1969—from a typical yearbook are the interviews. Conducted 30 years after the camp was burned down in 1977 and the government condemned it to make a state park, the interviews with members are informative—explaining how people ended up at Taylor Camp—and indicative of the time—delving into how the political climate on the mainland affected their small community. They give a voice to a “hippie culture” that is often stigmatized while providing a glimpse into the seemingly mythological history of Taylor Camp.

In 1969 Howard Taylor owned seven acres on Kauai’s North Shore and invited a group of young men, women, and children who had recently been arrested for vagrancy—the 13 original colonists so to speak—to set up camp there.