Our Seven Favorite Photography Shows From 2014
We see a lot of work researching stories to run on Behold, admittingly the majority of it online. But every now and again we have the chance to head out and see some work hanging on the walls of galleries and museums in and out of New York. Here are a few of our favorites from 2014.
Jen Davis: Eleven Years
Jen Davis has been working on a series of self-portraits that examine body identity for eleven years. It’s fitting then, that she referenced that period of transition and self-reflection as the title of that series “Eleven Years,” that opened at ClampArt last May and has also been published as a book by Kehrer. Looking at a life - anyone’s life - edited down to a small collection images can be a profound experience for both the photographer and viewer. Davis’s images strike a cord for their vulnerability, further enhanced by her talent for composition and beautiful lighting.
Group Show: Up Close and Personal
It is possible to get over stimulated at a show? That’s what I discovered at “Up Close and Personal” at Fuchs Projects in Bushwick, Brooklyn, curated by Ruben Natal San Miguel. Some of the photographs – including work by Alex Prager, Michael Wolf and Dawould Bey – were familiar, others were less known but all were hung, salon style with no sense of hierarchy. It was chilly outside on opening night but the space was packed with many of the exhibiting photographers who came out to one of the artiest neighborhoods in New York City. It felt like a party you were happy to have been invited to.
The Five Best Photo Series You Might Have Missed This Year
We publish a lot of photo series on Behold, and some can get lost in the shuffle. Today, we’re highlighting five of our favorites that you might have missed.
How a Mother With Amputated Arms Became an Angel in Her Daughter’s Eyes
Martina Bacigalupo was on assignment for the United Nations in Burundi when she heard about a woman whose brother-in-law had amputated both of her arms because she had given birth to a girl instead of a boy.
The story stuck with Bacigalupo. She approached the woman, Francine, one Sunday morning after Mass at the Association for the Rights of Women in Bujumbura. They started meeting on a regular basis and eventually Bacigalupo asked Francine if she’d be willing to collaborate on a photography series about her life.
Finding Inspiration in a Clowder of Feral Cats
In 2013, Jason Houge and his girlfriend began to feed and shelter a group of feral cats in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where they live. As the population grew—at the peak there were around 30 cats—Houge began to take photographs of them with a single lens reflex camera. Many were fearful of the sound the camera made, so Houge switched to his iPhone, shooting in color and then via the PS Express App, converting the images to black and white.
Even with the less conspicuous camera, some of the not so camera-friendly cats still found a way to make photographing them difficult.
Hip-Hop Hustle in the South’s Small Towns
When Jared Soares decided to document the hip-hop scene in Roanoke, Virginia, he wasn’t entirely sure it existed. But he was passionate about hip-hop music, and wanted to see if it could thrive even in a small town mostly known for bluegrass. He also wanted to try doing a long-term photography project for the first time.
Soares, then a photojournalist at the Roanoke Times, didn’t have to look too far. After stepping into a corner store, he saw CDs for sale at the counter. Most were bootleg copies of mainstream hip-hop artists like Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, but among them he found three local albums, with contact information listed on the back. He started calling: The first line was disconnected, the second played waiting music, and the third connected him to Terrance Palmer, who designed cover art for a lot of area artists.
How a French Photographer Captured a Seminal Period in American History
Jean-Pierre Laffont’s extensive photo archive seems almost mythological: How could one photographer cover so many seminal events with such a unique vision?
Laffont arrived in New York from France in 1965, an important time for photojournalists in the United States with both the Watts riots and the Selma to Montgomery marches taking place. But Laffont didn’t have the money to travel around the country to document them—instead, he decided to dig deeper into local stories, specifically in the Bronx and Brooklyn.
“It was so beautiful from the air, but when you were down on the ground the garbage wasn’t collected the city was in shambles, they were throwing the garbage out of the windows,” Laffont said about his first look at New York.
These Beautiful Old Books Are a Bibliophile’s Dream
What It’s Like to Be a U.S. Marshal
The U.S. marshals currently employ just 5,431 people nationwide, but they get a lot done: In 2013, the organization arrested more 110,000 fugitives, moved federal prisoners nearly 300,000 times, and cleared more than 134,000 warrants. Brian Finke witnessed some of that activity first hand over the course of three years shadowing the country’s oldest law enforcement agency.
What Hollywood Movie Sets Look Like When the Camera Stops Rolling
David Strick’s great aunt, Gale Sondergaard, won the very first Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, but it took a while for him to feel comfortable on Hollywood film sets.
“There were plenty of competent adults working the sets and I would have felt like Bart Simpson trying to work alongside King Kong,” Strick said about shooting on set early in his career. “What I did manage to absorb was a sense that the work the grown-ups were doing was a high-stakes deadly serious one, and to some extent a comically inexplicable version of let’s dress up and pretend. I don’t think that sense of confused awe ever left me.”
Some of the World’s Coolest Animals Don’t Have Spines
Photographing animals is never easy, but marine invertebrates—underwater creatures without backbones—are especially tricky: They tend to be small, sometimes they’re transparent, and they’re often quite fast moving. But the effort, Susan Middleton says, is worth it if it helps educate the public about these creatures, which make up more than 98 percent of the known animal species in the ocean and are an important part of our evolutionary history.
“I like to think of humans riding on the ‘shoulders’ of the marine invertebrates—even though most of them don’t have shoulders. We are the beneficiaries of many of their inventions: bilateral symmetry, a central nervous system, respiration, a circulatory system, and on and on. We wouldn’t be here without them; they are the foundation of everything,” she said via email.