The Photo Blog

March 20 2015 12:07 PM

Balancing Ballet and Motherhood With Grace

Performing as a prima ballerina in one of the country’s best ballet companies can be grueling, but for at least three dancers from the San Francisco Ballet who have children, the hard work doesn’t end on stage. 

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March 19 2015 11:46 AM

Using Photography to Explore What It Means to Be Masculine

Portraiture is, by nature, intimate. It invites the viewer into a private moment shared by the photographer and subject. In her latest work, “Every Breath We Drew,” Jess Dugan invites the viewer to reflect on her vision of the masculine identity. She also asks a more fundamental question about identify: How much of it is informed by our relationships to other people?

“I think that comes a lot from my own experience in the world in that I’ve always looked very masculine,” said Dugan. “I’m part of trans community; I’m not a lesbian and I’m not a gay man but I hang out in those spaces. I think I’m hyper aware of how my identity changes in different contexts.”


March 18 2015 11:00 AM

Finding “Swagabond” Fashion in L.A.’s Skid Row

For many, Downtown L.A.’s Skid Row is famous for having the highest concentration of homelessness in the country. But for Géraldine Freyeisen—who first came to the area to work as an assistant for a documentary, Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home, which follows the lives of eight homeless people who live there—it became a kind of home. 

March 17 2015 11:00 AM

Portraits of the 21st-Century Family 

Crowe finds the families she shoots primarily through word of mouth. She prefers to allow the series to guide her, rather than placing any type of parameter on who she decides to photograph.

“The project keeps evolving on it’s own and will continue to be what it’s going to be,” she said. “I don’t really force anything. I’ll be walking down a street and think, ‘I need to do a bodybuilder family!’ ”


March 16 2015 11:00 AM

The Midwest’s Quirkiest Bowling Alleys 

The number of bowling alleys in the U.S. has been in decline for decades, and the number of Americans joining bowling leagues has dropped significantly, as Robert Putnam highlighted in his seminal book, Bowling Alone. But things might not seem so dire if you look at the photos in Williams’ series, “Bowling: The Midwest,” which celebrate the quirky alleys still standing in Middle America, and the dedicated owners who want to keep them going. 

March 15 2015 10:47 AM

The Mysterious Life Magazine Photographer Who Loved Animals

There isn’t a lot that we know about Nina Leen, a Life magazine staff photographer from 1945 until the magazine switched from a weekly publication to a monthly one in 1972, and whose images appeared on more than 40 of the magazine’s covers.

In John Loengard’s book Life Photographers: What They Saw, Leen, who died in 1995, discusses growing up around Europe and having a variety of childhood pets, including a monkey and some snakes. She also mentions that one of her favorite early jobs was working as a photographer in a zoo. Indeed, her imagery of animals is some of her best-known work. She was also be drawn to a variety of eccentric people and subjects, a combination seen in her behind-the-scenes with Ringling Brothers in 1949.

March 13 2015 10:45 AM

Porn Stars From the Neck Up

The AVN Adult Entertainment Expowhich is held in Las Vegas each January, can be overwhelming. It’s the largest pornography industry trade show in America, a four-day-long flurry of autographs, photographs, and sex paraphernalia leading up to the AVN Awards, the so-called Oscars of pornography. Roger Kisby was there on assignment for BuzzFeed this January, and in addition to capturing the events in all their crazy glory, he wanted to cut out some of the noise to capture the humanity behind the glitz. 

March 12 2015 11:37 AM

Photographic Proof That New Yorkers Will Read Books Absolutely Anywhere


Born in the Bronx, Lawrence Schwartzwald has an almost Woody Allen–esque love for New York: He’s a lifelong walker who enjoys people watching and takes breaks to read books in cafés. For years he worked in restaurants primarily to free up his time to be able to read and attend literary events and poetry readings in the evenings.



In the early 1970s, Schwatrzwald picked up a copy of Andre Kertesz’s On Reading and felt inspired looking at the black-and-white candid images of people reading around the world and wanted to do something similar. But it wouldn’t be until many years later that Schwarzwald would pick up a camera—around age 40—and decide to snap a few pictures at some of the literary events he was attending.


A friend admired his work and suggested he start shooting more. During a brutal heat wave one summer, Schwartzwald took a picture of a long line of people waiting to buy air conditioners on the Upper West Side and ended up making his first sale; the photo appeared on the front page of the New York Times. From there, he started taking photographs of celebrities.

March 11 2015 10:25 AM

Stirring Images From Japanese Photographers Reflecting on the National Tragedy of 3/11


Four years ago today, an earthquake and tsunami hit the Tōhoku region of Japan, sweeping away whole towns, killing thousands, and triggering a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant. The events of that day have come to be referred to as “3/11.”



The first exhibition exploring the response of Japanese photographers to 3/11, “In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11,” which will be on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from April 5 through July 12, is a testament to the power of the medium to record and reflect. 


March 10 2015 1:24 PM

What It Was Like to Be a Gay Man in 1970s San Francisco

Hal Fischer’s 1977 book, Gay Semiotics, is a tongue-in-cheek look at gay life in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. If the same type of work were attempted today, say in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen or Chicago’s Boystown or even in the Castro, the work wouldn’t walk the same fine line of artistic expression and anthropology. That’s because Fischer was uncovering a way of life that wasn’t celebrated outside of the gay world.

“I was exposing something and I was celebrating it by using text and a certain way of photographing in a very deliberately artificial way to disarm it, to not make it threating,” Fischer said. “This isn’t Mapplethorpe doing S&M work, this is a 180 degree opposite.”

The work feels like a precursor to some modern-day blogs that combine street photography and portraiture—like The Sartorialist or Advanced Style—but with a focus on the various subcultures within the gay community. In the work, Fischer provided a humorous take on the various subtle methods of communication and identification gay men partook in during that time: donning handkerchiefs to identify sexual preferences or how to properly wear cowboy attire to fit into the archetypal Western prototype.