The Photo Blog

May 12 2015 11:25 AM

Get Lost in These Escher-Esque Doorways 

The strange doorways and hallways in Austin Irving’s series, “Not an Exit,” are, in fact, perfectly functional spaces that will take you from Point A to Point B. But framed in a particular way, Irving transforms them to look like Escher-esque puzzles leading nowhere—or, perhaps, to some bizarre alternate dimension.

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May 11 2015 11:31 AM

Vladimir Putin’s Biggest Fans Are College Students Who Worship Him Like a Pop Star

For the college-age men and women in Bela Doka’s series, “Fan Club Putin,” the Russian president is more than just a politician. Like a rock star or a famous athlete, he’s a beloved personality, an icon who adorns T-shirts and bedroom walls.

May 10 2015 1:22 PM

Pairing Up: Photographing Life in Groups of Two

One of the hard parts about being a prolific photographer, as Melissa Ann Pinney can attest, is the amount of work you create that is never seen, sometimes even by your own eyes.

A few years ago, Pinney began looking through a lot of her photographs and noticed that many of them spoke to the idea of someone having a pair: a sibling, friend, partner, etc. She had her friend, the author Ann Patchett, over to her studio to show her the work and they discussed turning it into a book.

This April, Harper Design published the finished result of that visit, Two, and Patchett wrote about their initial encounter in Pinney’s studio in the introduction.

“Standing in her studio, looking at the sets of figures and objects on the corkboard, the girl in the red cape alone with her shadow, two Amish men staring at the sea, I was struck with both the comfort and the tension these pictures contained. Doesn’t everyone lean towards another? Even as we’re alone, don’t we seek out some other half to fill in our story?”

Those weren’t questions that Pinney was necessarily asking herself while she was taking the photographs. As is the case with all of her projects, Pinney said she never intentionally, or consciously, created work with Two in mind.

May 8 2015 11:49 AM

This Is What Recess Looks Like Around the World

When James Mollison thinks back on his childhood in Oxford, England, most of his memories are set on the playground, the place where kids learn—in ways that are sometimes exhilarating and sometimes terrifying—how to relate to other people.

In his book, Playground, which was published by Aperture in April, Mollison explores that universal place of childhood development, through photographs of playgrounds around the world. 

May 7 2015 10:26 AM

Can You Guess What These Photographs of the “Milky Way” Are Made From?

Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources. For Maija Tammi, more than one muse helped shape her series “Milky Way,” which is made up of photographs of semen and breast milk that look eerily like outer space.

Tammi is part of the Finish photography collective, 11. Each year, the 11 photographers challenge themselves to create new work based on a theme. In 2014, “space and sex” was the chosen subject with the idea that most people are really only interested in those two things.

The first jolt of inspiration about how to make new work around that theme arrived after Tammi saw the movie Taxidermia, which made a reference to semen as stars in the sky. She then began reading about various theories of the origin of life and was attracted to the panspermia hypothesis that describes how the “seeds of life” travel throughout the universe; collisions between planets and other bodies carrying these seeds help form new organisms. Tammi also read about the Greek Goddess Hera and the myth that her spilt breast milk formed the Milky Way. Finally, the Sambia people of Papua New Guinea, who believe boys become men partly through the ingestion of semen, also helped shape what would become “Milky Way.” She then needed to find a way to translate these ideas into work.

May 6 2015 11:18 AM

New York City Is Surrounded by Timeless Architecture, but You’ve Never Seen It Like This

In 2013, while walking around Manhattan, Marc Yankus took a photograph of the Goldman Sachs building that stands along the Hudson River in Jersey City. When he got home to look at the image, he was struck by its sharpness and the detail of the building he could see.

“It was fascinating because I felt I could feel the image,” he said.

Over the next couple of years, Yankus decided to bring what he saw and felt into a series “Buildings” that, although distinctly different than his previous work, maintains his sense of timelessness and what he calls his “non traditional” photography.

“My work is a fine line between fiction and documentation,” he said. “I am documenting New York City but it’s also an imaginary New York City. What I see, maybe others don’t see it because I’m looking at it in a different way.”

May 5 2015 11:27 AM

Being Part of a Lesbian Family in the Deep South Still Means Living in Limbo

When Carolyn Sherer started photographing lesbians and their families in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2011 many chose not to show their faces. They were scared, they said, of losing their jobs or being discriminated against in other ways. Other people she asked to participate in her series, “Living in Limbo,” refused to be photographed at all. But Sherer, who is a lesbian, was determined to make members of her community in Birmingham seem less invisible, in part because she hoped that letting others see them would help them become fully recognized and protected citizens.

May 4 2015 11:08 AM

To Honor Her Father After He Died, This Woman Photographed Chickens 

For much of her decades-long photography career, Jean Pagliuso has focused her lens on models, actors, and other glamorous personalities, working for publications like Mademoiselle and collaborating with major film studios. In the past 10 years, she’s widened her interests outside the strictly mammalian to include chickens, owls, and raptors. Her photographs of the winged creatures are on display in the exhibition “Poultry and Raptor Suites” at New York’s Mary Ryan Gallery until May 9. 

May 3 2015 10:20 AM

What Do People Pray For? 

Sharon Boothroyd is married to a vicar, so it’s not uncommon for her to spend time in church. A few yeas ago, she found herself next to prayer cards left behind by parishoners and started to read them.

“I thought it was an interesting way to see inside people’s hearts and minds,” she said. Curious, she started visiting other churches but was unable to find more cards—so she decided to visit some online prayer forums. The more she read, the more she started playing around with imagery in her mind, eventually beginning a series that connected the prayers with photographs for the series “They All Say Please.”

At first, Boothroyd said she approached the series by placing herself into the shoes of the person who wrote the prayers, which resulted in the creation of work of a more illustrative style. She said that chance always plays a part in her work and one of the earlier images she created was lost when her hard drive crashed—“I probably sent out a prayer to get it back, but it didn’t work”—and she was forced to rethink how to make a new photograph. It helped launch the work into a more abstract direction that left open the interpretation not only to Boothroyd but also to the viewer.

May 1 2015 10:48 AM

Intimate Photos of a Family Coping With Parkinson’s 

A few years ago, Abby Kraftowitz met Tammy Copeman at an office supply store in Pittsburgh. Kraftowitz was immediately drawn to Copeman’s openness, especially the stories about her mother, Eleanor, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s eight years earlier. “For whatever reason I felt I needed to listen to her,” Kraftowitz said. 

The Copemans live in West Virginia, about a three-hour drive from Pittsburg. A few weeks later, Kraftowitz, on a camping trip in the area, decided to visit.

“When I met Eleanor I thought, I really need to get to know this family,” she said. “There is something so beautiful about Eleanor. I kind of fell in love with her and felt I need to connect with the family. However strange that sounds, that’s how it started.”