The Photo Blog

Oct. 31 2014 11:00 AM

These Are America’s Spookiest Homes

In the last couple of years, Seph Lawless has photographed abandoned places including malls, factories, and houses to illustrate the costs of globalization and the impact of the Great Recession. Inherently, they’ve been pretty haunting images. But the photos in his new book, 13: An American Horror Story, of empty homes that have seen murders, suicides, and other strange occurrences are downright creepy. And he’s taken them for no other reason than to freak out his viewers. 

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Oct. 30 2014 11:19 AM

These Machines Might Save Your Life

Reiner Riedler’s series “The Lifesaving Machines” was inspired by a late night vigil for his newborn son who was in a neonatal intensive care unit. The first time he entered the room, he was surprised by his emotions: a mix of serenity, confidence and security.

Soon thereafter, Riedler began photographing  some life-saving machinery while they were in use in a hospital in Vienna, but he quickly realized that wasn’t going to work.

“There was no legitimate reason for me as a photographer to disturb the work of doctors and nurses,” he said.

Oct. 29 2014 12:47 PM

From Outrageous Uniforms to Shoulder Calluses: Life in a Marching Band

Walker Pickering was a self-described band nerd. He played the tuba in the marching band throughout high school, and, convinced that one day he would become a high school band director, entered college as a music major.

“I learned pretty quickly I didn’t want to do this at all,” he said. “I was like, what is all this music theory about?” He quickly shifted majors, began studying graphic design, and eventually graduated with a degree in photography.


Oct. 28 2014 11:00 AM

The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With Mental Illness

For many years Liz Obert woke up, got dressed, went to work, and acted as if everything was fine. Once she returned home, however, she found herself lying around depressed, feeling hopeless and full of dread. Diagnosed in her early 20s with depression, Obert said she tried therapy and medication, but nothing seemed to work until around five years ago when a psychiatrist diagnosed her with bipolar II disorder and put her on mood stabilizers.

Although she’s had a few medication tweaks since then—“that’s kind of the life of someone who has bipolar”—Obert said she has for the most part been in a good place.

Oct. 27 2014 12:58 PM

What Happens When a Photographer Joins the Circus

Some children dream of running away and joining the circus, Norma I. Quintana dreamed of photographing it.

In 1999, Circus Chimera, a one-ring operation, came to Nappa, California, where Quintana lives. Initially, she thought she’d only photograph the Oklahoma-based group for a few days. But after becoming “totally seduced by the circus world,” she devoted nearly a decade of her life to it.

Oct. 26 2014 11:02 AM

What Different Countries Look at for Target Practice

Herlinde Koelbl was on assignment to photograph the German Armed Forces, she was struck by a shooting target she saw bathed in light. “[It]was just a silhouette of a human being and a lot of holes. With the light in the holes, you could imagine how it is to be shot. It was death and aggression and power and also some beauty in this case,” she said.


Oct. 24 2014 11:00 AM

Getting Intimate With San Francisco’s Drag Scene Pioneers  

Aunt Charlie’s Lounge is a small, windowless establishment in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, an area once known for its nightlife and LGBTQ attractions. Today, the crime rate is 35 times higher than anywhere else in the city, and Aunt Charlie’s is the neighborhood’s only remaining gay bar. Still, its evening-length drag show continues, and, without a stage, the drag queens perform among the audience, making for an intimate show.

Oct. 23 2014 11:08 AM

Seeing the Familiar in Black and White

Already known for her color work documenting her friends and familyTina Barney decided to mix things up and look at the familiar subject with a completely different eye: black-and-white film. That series, “Silver Summers,” a nod to the gelatin silver fiber prints that display the work, will be on view at Janet Borden in New York City through Dec. 30.

Barney compared shooting in black and white to learning a new language, saying she had to retrain her brain about how to work with what she feels is a more nostalgic medium.

Oct. 22 2014 11:04 AM

Do All U.S. Presidents Look the Same? What About Japan’s Prime Ministers?

The aesthetics of official portraits of world leaders are no accident. As Alejandro Almaraz demonstrates in his series, “Portraits of Power,” they’re precisely constructed compositions, created with the intention of reinforcing the authority of their subjects. 

Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM

Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America

Sage Sohier’s series, “At Home With Themselves: Same-Sex Couples in 1980s America,” was, in many ways, ahead of its time. Today, apart from a few dated fashion choices, the photos of gay couples in domestic settings don’t seem that shocking. But when Sohier began shooting the series in 1986, AIDS and sexual promiscuity seemed to be the only headlines about gay people.

“My ambition was to make pictures that challenged and moved people and that were interesting both visually and psychologically,” Sohier wrote via email about the project. “In the 1980s, many same-sex relationships were still discreet, or a bit hidden. It was a time when many gay men were dying of AIDS, which made a particularly poignant backdrop for the project.”