The Photo Blog

June 19 2015 11:03 AM

The Faces That Keep The Rocky Horror Picture Show Alive

While taking a photography class at Los Angeles City College, Lauren Everett was given the assignment to shoot five portraits of people involved in a specific subculture. At that point she had only seenThe Rocky Horror Picture Show a few times as a teenager, but a friend’s roommate had been involved with it for years.

“I remember thinking it was fun and also really adult because I was so young,” she recalled. “I was like, oh, what was that about?”

Six years and hundreds of portraits later, Everett has published a book, People Like Us, which includes images of members of “shadow casts” around the country. The cast members dress up as characters in the film and recreate what’s happening on screen. This September marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the film, whose cult following is traced back to 1976 at the Waverly Theatre in New York when Louis Farese, a kindergarten teacher from Staten Island, screamed to the character Janet who was walking in the rain to “Buy an umbrella you cheap bitch.” Dori Hartley is credited as being the first person to come dressed as a character, in 1977, as Frank-N-Furter, setting off four decades of the theatrical/cinematic experience. Everett notes today, the film is regularly playing on 86 screens in the United States and 10 overseas.

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June 18 2015 11:05 AM

There’s Something a Little NSFW Hidden in All These Photos 

In 2010, Ruben Brulat packed up his 4-by-5 large format camera, put some clothes in a backpack, and left on an epic journey through Europe to Asia. For the next 1½ years he traveled by train, truck, donkey, and foot to places he’d never seen before. Along the way, he met a lot of people, both locals and fellow travelers. Some of them became the subjects of his series, “Paths,” which he had had already begun while visiting Nepal.

June 17 2015 12:06 PM

Living With a Rare Disorder That Causes Dwarfism and Immunity From Cancer

A few years ago, Charlotte Schmitz, a German photographer based in Istanbul, read about a 2011 study in the journal Science Translational Medicine about a group of people who were living with Laron syndrome, a rare form of dwarfism that also appeared to cause immunity to both diabetes and cancer. News of the study, developed over two decades by Jaime Guevara-Aguirre in a small village in the south of Ecuador where nearly one-third of people known to have Laron live, quickly spread around the world.

In an interview with ABC News in 2011, Guevara explained that he noticed that this area of Ecuador had a high rate of cancer, yet none of these patients were dying from it. “I’m talking about a total of 135 names that I can think of. None of them has ever died of cancer,” he said. “To me the possibility that that is a coincidence is almost none, because every single family in this case has at least one or two or three relatives that have died of cancer.”

Schmitz, who lived in Ecuador as a university student, wanted to meet the people profiled. She went back in 2012, and, through contacts with both her friends and her host family, was able to meet the villagers. Yet, after being visited by countless journalists since the story broke, the villagers were somewhat reluctant to be interviewed. 

June 16 2015 11:00 AM

These Scenic British Destinations Are More Than Just Pretty Landscapes

There’s nothing like spending time away to make you look at your own home in a new light.


That’s a fact to which Simon Roberts was able to attest after spending a year in Russia. Ever since he’s been back in his native England, his work has largely focused on the social landscapes that define the national character, from city council meetings to elections to Victorian-era pleasure piers.

June 15 2015 10:34 AM

When a Technical Mishap Leads to Beautiful, Otherworldly Photography 

The lifeblood of Christy Lee Rogers’ otherworldly underwater photography is improvisation, so it’s appropriate that the idea for her latest series, “Celestial Bodies,” came from a technical mishap. Rogers was sending a photograph to a friend in an email, when, somehow, a duplicate of the image ended up alongside it in reverse. She liked the way it looked, and decided to try intentionally creating the effect.

June 14 2015 10:18 AM

Capturing the Chaotic, Psychedelic Vibe of L.A.’s Endless Raves

Michael Tullberg dove into California’s rave scene just as it was beginning to take shape in the 1990s, befriending many of the area’s major promoters and DJs. Beginning in 1996, he saw a shift as music moved from parties in clubs and warehouses to DIY experiments at the mountains, beaches, and deserts around L.A. These raves were popping up all over the country, but the epicenter of the new culture—which had its own unique sound and fashion—was in Southern California. Tullberg is currently raising funds on Indiegogo to support the publishing of his book, Dancefloor Thunderstorm, which collects photos he sold to music magazines at the time, along with new writings and interviews.

June 12 2015 10:28 AM

These Amazing Photos of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Sat in a Box for Decades

To the extent that she has been celebrated and discussed, it may seem there is little room for fresh insights into the life and work of Frida Kahlo. But more than 60 years after her death, a recent cultural moment surrounding the surrealist artist, expressed in a string of new exhibitions and books dedicated to her, is proving there is still territory to explore.

June 11 2015 10:12 AM

The Best Way to Overcome Your Fears Is to Photograph Them

By his own account, Phil Toledano was leading a charmed life. But, in 2006, his mother suddenly passed away. A few years later, his father, as well as some of his aunts and uncles did too.

“It was an extinction event in the Toledano family,” he said. “When it happened, I became apprehensive. What else did life have in store for me? What other dark terrible turns? I began to worry about it more and more and I thought ‘fuck it, I can just worry about it, I have to confront this fear, whatever it was.’ I wanted to anticipate the worst things that could possibly happen to me.”

Against the advice of his wife, Carla, who feared working on this project might push an already fragile Toledano over the edge, he began a photo series—a journey really—that dove straight into those fears. A book of these photos, called Maybe, was released by Dewi Lewis Publishing this month.


June 10 2015 12:37 PM

The Many Faces of Living With Debt in America

As was the case with many working professionals following the 2008 economic collapse, Brittany Powell found herself drowning in debt. While she had used credit to help build up her business, she began to rely on credit to pay even her most basic needs in San Francisco.

In 2012, unable to contend with her consumer debt, she filed for bankruptcy and, although she initially felt shame around that, she was surprised at the ease in which the entire process unfolded.

“In a world where you have to represent yourself as being successful in order to be successful, it was something I was ashamed of,” she said. “Debt carries so much weight in your life and then you file and nothing changes. It’s a weird phenomenon, something almost that never existed. That abstraction is interesting to me and I began to feel good talking about it, to not be ashamed about my life and my career.”

June 9 2015 11:07 AM

From Four-Leaf Clovers to Gray Underwear, the Quirky Things That Bring Us Luck 

When Mark Menjivar was in middle school, he’d always put his left shoe on before his right, and he’d always make a wish at 11:11. A few years ago he was in a bookstore in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when he opened up an old volume called 1000 Facts Worth Knowing and found four four-leaf clovers pressed inside.

“Finding that was so much better than finding money because of the possibilities that exist inside it. I started thinking about luck in my own life,” he said. “Then I started talking to people and the more I talked the crazier, funnier and more interesting stories I heard.”