The Photo Blog

April 15 2014 11:04 AM

Portraits of Baltimore’s Voguers 

Since its birth in the New York ballroom scene of the 1960s, voguing has made a few notable entrées into mainstream culture, such as Madonna’s song “Vogue” and the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning. But French artist Frédéric Nauczyciel’s portraits of modern voguers highlight the ballroom scene’s continued relevance as an underground culture, one that serves as a platform for self-expression for queer people of color in urban communities across the globe.

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April 14 2014 11:02 AM

You’ve Never Seen Group Portraits Like These

Neal Slavin has a unique perspective on human relations. As a photographer who’s specialized in group portraiture for four decades, he has captured the strange, fascinating, and often humorous sociological phenomena that occur when people pose for a photograph together.

April 13 2014 11:07 AM

Capturing the Eccentric Moments of Everyday Life

Thomas Alleman began writing for a political tabloid in Lansing, Mich., in the early 1980s. Although he liked the writing at the weekly, he wasn’t impressed with the photography. So he began to teach himself to take photographs; he modeled his style after artists he admired, like Sylvia Plachy and James Hamilton. He turned out to be a quick learner.

April 11 2014 11:13 AM

Touching, Beautiful Portraits of Rescued Farm Animals

Like many animal lovers, photographer Sharon Lee Hart is concerned about the mistreatment, abuse, and neglect of animals. But for her book, Sanctuary: Portraits of Rescued Farm Animals, Hart decided to tell a different kind of story about animals that have seen hard times. “Folks are disturbed by images that depict abuse and torture that can occur on factory farms, and I don't blame them. It is unbearably disturbing, but I think those types of images are essential because they inform the public about the horrors that are occurring,” Hart said via email.

April 10 2014 10:42 AM

Defining Cool, From Steve McQueen to Audrey Hepburn

Joel Dinerstein has whittled down the definition of “cool”: a person who shows a “relaxed intensity.” Together with co-curator Frank Goodyear III, Dinerstein is responsible for the “American Cool” exhibit on view at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington through Sept. 7. The exhibit represents, through portraiture, people whose relaxed intensity has made them icons of cool within their generations.

April 9 2014 11:05 AM

A Quiet yet Profound Look at the American West

A fascination with the American West has been a central inspiration for so many artists, including Robert Adams. For more than half a century, Adams has walked, photographed, and lived the frontier landscape: from majestic redwood forests to asphalt rimmed tract homes. “The Place We Live, a retrospective of Adams’ work organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, mixes a sadness over environmental destruction while cherishing unexpected moments of beauty, often within the frame of a single photograph.

April 8 2014 11:04 AM

A Contemporary Portrait of Native America

Matika Wilbur was living in Seattle in December 2012 when she decided to sell most of her possessions and embark on an epic photographic journey. Since then, she’s been on the road working on “Project 562” with the goal of photographing all the federally recognized tribes in the United States. (There are now 566.) With support from Kickstarter donors and several grants, she’s traveled nearly 100,000 miles and visited about 200 tribes, capturing beautiful images and important stories along the way. 

April 7 2014 11:01 AM

A Homeless Boxer’s Mansion

The Albany Bulb, a former landfill situated on a fist-shaped peninsula that juts into the San Francisco Bay, is a lot of things to a lot of people. Though managed by the city of Albany, Calif., the Bulb has long existed in a sort of gray area where anything goes. For graffiti artists and sculptors, it’s an open studio. For dog walkers and teenagers, it’s a space for unregulated recreation. For several dozen homeless people, it’s home.

April 6 2014 11:03 AM

Challenging and Strange Portraits of Femininity

Photographer Juno Calypso had focused primarily on creating portraiture based on a traditional aesthetic of beautiful, flawless women, when one evening she decided to use herself as a stand-in model to prep for an upcoming shoot. To make things more comfortable for herself in front of the camera, she began making funny faces and poses. When she showed the work to her class and was greeted with laughter, she found herself inspired in a more profound way than when she had shown the more conventional, hyperfeminized portraits.

April 4 2014 11:02 AM

An Iceberg’s Majestic Journey

When Simon Harsent was 11 years old, he painted a picture of the Titanic crashing into an iceberg. He doesn’t remember why he did it, but he knows that it was the start of his fascination with painting, which later evolved into a love of photography. Looking back on it later in life, Harsent became interested in how major events—the sinking of a ship, for instance, or the beginning of his photography career—are determined by a series of small incidents. It’s an idea he explores in his book, Melt: Portrait of an Iceberg, which shows how icebergs transform throughout their lifetime.