The Photo Blog

Jan. 7 2016 10:54 AM

The Hands of Legends

Every photographer who shoots musicians occasionally shoots the musicians’ hands. But few have considered them as extensively as Joseph A. Rosen.

Jan. 6 2016 10:48 AM

This Polish Photographer Knocked on 20,000 Doors to Find Out How Her Fellow Citizens Lived

Who hasn’t peeked into an apartment as a neighbor exits, allowing for a quick glimpse inside as the door closes? Or gone to a local open house to investigate a home you might have passed hundreds of times but never knew what was inside. A friend of mine told me that she and her mother used to walk around their neighborhood in the evening when the darkening sky and illuminated picture windows made it easier to see what was inside.

Operating under a much less creepy method, Polish photographer Zofia Rydet spent two decades photographing the interior of Polish homes for a series titled “Sociological Record.” It’s an ambitious body of work that includes roughly 20,000 homes, made even more ambitious because the photographer began the work when she was 67.

The idea for the project took root when Rydet visited an office filled with cubicles in Jelcz, Poland. Fascinated by the employees’ working spaces that were decorated with newspaper clippings, personal photographs, religious images, and even erotic posters, Rydet began to question the ways in which we as a collective people define our private spaces.

The project took her to more than 100 villages and cities in the Polish regions of Podhale, Upper Silesia, and Suwalki. Eventually she also took photographs around Europe and in New York.

Jan. 5 2016 10:16 AM

Finding the Beauty in Life at Dallas’ Many Estate Sales

There are a lot of estate sales in Dallas, just ask Norm Diamond, who started visiting them a few years ago. For him, they perfectly the cycle of life: You can find objects from a potty chair to a funeral receipt. When he goes, he brings along his camera and, provided the light is right, photographs some of the objects that call out to him. Others times, he purchases the objects and takes them home to his makeshift studio and photographs them there.

“I look for items that reveal something about the person who owned it,” he said. “They also hopefully give some sort of comment about the life we live and the events that have shaped us as a country.”

An average week finds Diamond at six to 10 estate sales. He sorts through thousands of items looking for ones to add to his ongoing series “What Is Left Behind.” He said he prefers to spend around $10 or less for an object but will pay up to $30 if it’s really special.

Jan. 4 2016 11:04 AM

Documenting a Friend’s Daily Life With Asperger’s Syndrome

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have Asperger’s syndrome, a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. Kelsey is one of them. For the last two years, Christian Wilbur has been photographing Kelsey, a high school friend he met when they were both in the viola section of the school’s chamber orchestra. 

Jan. 3 2016 10:18 AM

What Does It Really Mean to Come From Appalachia?

When Aaron Blum moved from West Virginia to attend graduate school at Syracuse University, he quickly realized his fellow students knew little about his home state.

“In earnest they would ask stereotypical, slightly offensive questions such as ‘Why do you have your shoes or teeth?’ or ‘Do you guys really eat road kill?’ ” he wrote via email.

Although he had grown up in West Virginia, Blum said that for most of his life he had misunderstood his own history. Before heading to Syracuse, he had spent an evening with his grandmother who told him about his Irish heritage; Blum had always thought he was German.  

Dec. 31 2015 10:41 AM

The Five Best Photo Stories You Might Have Missed This Year 

This year was big for hype surrounding Detroit's so-called comeback story—we're looking at you, New York Times—but Dave Jordano's book, Detroit: Unbroken Down is an important reminder that the city wasn’t invented yesterday. Hardworking residents have stuck with the Motor City through good times and bad, and in this August story, they’re given their deservedly front-and-center place. –Jordan G. Teicher

Between the Syrian refugee crisis and debates in the U.S. about immigration, 2015 was, in a way, defined by borders, making Flo Razowsky's series “Up Against the Wall,” about the physical structures that demarcate them, all the more timely. “I think considering the actual structures allows us to consider the global connections of power—why these structures exist, who builds them, to what ends, and who is impacted by them,” she told me when I interviewed her for Behold. –Jordan G. Teicher

How can you not love a project that began at Copenhell? Jacob Ehrbahn, a Danish photojournalist, was assigned to cover the heavy-metal festival by the newspaper Politiken. He loved the images and decided to travel around Europe to other festivals where he eventually took more than 14,000 images he whittled down to 67 for his book HeadbangersThe photographs are vibrant, exciting, and a lot of fun to look at. Ehrbahn wisely kept his camera away from his face while taking the shots. “You could end up with a camera in your brain,” he said. –David Rosenberg

There are plenty of stories about gentrification and the changing faces of cities. Janet Delaney doesn’t see change as a negative but feels a more evolved look at how the old and new can coexist is a better thought process. Few cities bring this adjustment more to mind than San Francisco. Delaney’s look back at the SOMA neighborhood in the early 1980s is a gorgeous remembrance of what the area once was. “I’m not nostalgic,” she said. “But I find one of my major commitments to photography is its ability to provide a way of time travel so we can hold the past in the present.” –David Rosenberg

When it comes to vintage photography collections, the bigger and weirder the better. (Case in point.) Earlier this year, we featured a project from collector W.M. Hunt of quirky vintage group photos that have the double pleasure of not just being strange but being relatable as well. Everyone has had to pose for an uncomfortable class pictures or a forced team photos, so everyone can appreciate the awkwardness of the moment and the charming absurdity of this collection. ­–Miriam Krule

Dec. 30 2015 11:28 AM

Can Actors Help Teach Doctors How to Be More Empathetic?

While doctors spend years in school learning how to properly treat patients, it’s medical actors, or “standardized patients,” who help teach them diagnostic and interpersonal skills that they will eventually apply with their own patients.

When Corinne May Botz learned about these actors, she became fascinated by the notion of “playing sick,” especially the ways in which it relates to the theater of medicine and early medical and psychiatric photography.

“I was sick a lot as a child and grew to hate doctors as a result,” she wrote via email. “So the concept of being paid to act sick and the fact that standardized patients give feedback to medical students struck me as empowering and pointed to agency and subjectivity of the patient.”

Dec. 29 2015 10:55 AM

Beautiful, Fleeting Moments of the World’s Best Dancers in Action 

Lois Greenfield—like her subjects—is at the top of her field. Throughout the course of her career, she’s photographed the greatest dancers in the world, and her photos of them are among the best around. Her book, Lois Greenfield: Moving Still, which Chronicle Books published in November, showcases photographs from the last two decades. 

Dec. 28 2015 10:01 AM

What’s Become of New York’s Great Cultural Spaces? 

History is everywhere in New York City, but it’s easier to see in some places than others.

In Unforgotten New York: Legendary Spaces of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde, which Prestel published in September, writer David Brun-Lambert, designer David Tanguy, and photographer John Short explore what’s become of more than 40 spaces that were hugely influential in the great cultural movements of the 1950s through the 1980s.

Dec. 23 2015 10:37 AM

The Ancient Beauty of Israel’s Many Churches

Christians may only make up around 2 percent of Israel’s population, but its strong presence can be felt in its Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Maronite Catholic, and Greek Orthodox communities. Their places of worship and community reflect that diversity, and in Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land, which Arcade Publishing published in November, author David Rapp and photographer Hanan Isachar highlight 33 of them.