The Photo Blog

Sept. 4 2015 10:05 AM

Bleakly Captivating Photos of California’s Wildfires

Wildfires have been ravaging California with terrifying frequency in the midst of its historically terrible drought. The sheer power of these blazes is fearsome, but it can also be bleakly captivating. For more than a year, Stuart Palley, who Eric Holthaus interviewed for Slate in July, has been documenting the fires by day for news organizations, and capturing them by night in these mesmerizing photographs.

“I kind of grew up with these fleeting memories of fire around me,” Palley recalls. Palley was raised in Orange County, California, before he left the state for college and grad school. As a kid, Palley remembers occasionally having to leave the area due to fires and heading into the desert because the ash aggravated his asthma. When he returned to his home state and took an apprenticeship with the Orange County Register, Palley found himself around fires once again.

“I got sent to a fire by the newspaper out in northern San Diego County,” Palley said. “I got there, and almost within five or 10 minutes of arriving, I’m watching a probably million-dollar home burn to the ground.”

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Sept. 3 2015 11:31 AM

If You Liked Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, You’ll Love Lewis Carroll’s Wonderful Photographs 

Lewis Carroll is known for his beloved classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but fewer people know Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s—Carroll’s real name—other great contribution to the arts: photography. In his book, The Photographs of Lewis Carroll: A Catalogue Raisonné, which the University of Texas Press published in August, Carollian scholar Edward Wakeling corrects that. For the first time, it collects all of Dodgson’s known photographs in one place.

Sept. 2 2015 11:24 AM

Mesmerizing Photos That Capture the Thrill of Reading

Ellen Cantor and her husband have amassed an untold number of books in their many years together. But, as is the case for many book owners, she hasn’t exactly read them all. Among the ones she has, there are 12 that hold a special meaning for her—some that she had read as a child and others that were childhood favorites of her mother. With that in mind, Cantor created the series “Prior Pleasures,” for which she has now photographed 25 classic childhood books.

“When my parents passed away I started thinking of memory and time and place and what’s important and the concept that people will always be reading but the way they read will change dramatically,” she said. “There was something I wanted to capture about these books.”

Sept. 1 2015 10:36 AM

Photographing London During an Era That Defined What It Means to Be Cool

In 1966, Time, accompanied by a vibrant, colorful cover, proclaimed London to be “The Swinging City.” That era, one that defined cool, still resonates, even if its fleeting moments are hard to re-create, says Zippora Elders, who is curating the exhibition “Swinging Sixties London: Photography in the Capital of Cool,” at the Amsterdam photography museum Foam. The exhibition, which closes Sept. 2, is celebrating the era by looking at “the transformation the capital underwent in the decennia after the war, from a grim, shattered city to an international and lively epicenter for style, culture and fashion.”

“The energetic atmosphere, the optimism, the feeling that one can become whatever or whomever they want to be, the careers of these self-made models, photographers and actors who were originally working class … of course that’s attractive!” she said.

Aug. 31 2015 11:26 AM

The Men Who Make Manhattan’s Flower District Blossom

This winter, Maggie Shannon, like many New Yorkers, was feeling a little tired of city life. She wanted to go somewhere where she could be surrounded by green. Turns out, it wasn’t as hard to find as she thought: One day, her boyfriend surprised her with a trip to Manhattan’s flower district, a cluster of plant merchants on 28th Street between 7th Avenue and Broadway.

Aug. 30 2015 10:31 AM

The Beautiful Old Signs of Paris Are As Elegant As the City Itself 

Starting in her early 20s, Louise Fili spent years wandering the streets of Paris, photographing the beautiful old signs she saw along the way. She was beginning to discover graphic design at the time, and her documentation of the vernacular signs was for for her own reference and enjoyment.

Aug. 28 2015 11:02 AM

A Photographer Who Documented Katrina’s Destruction Returns to Take Pictures of the Exact Same Spots

This week marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which ultimately killed at least 1,836 people, forced 1.5 million people to evacuate the region, and did an estimated $81 billion of property damage. In 2005, Carlos Barria documented the destruction. This year, he returned to locate some of the people he’d met.

He was able to track down a few of them, but had difficulty finding others. To help him with his search, Barria had brought along some of the prints he had initially taken and began to revisit some of the locations captured in those images.

Barria began to play with the lines of the prints and how they fit into the modern day locations, photographing them with the older images and capturing the differences 10 years later.

Aug. 27 2015 11:04 AM

Finding the Perfect Time of Day to Photograph America’s Changing Cities 

Photographers often speak about the joys of shooting during the “magic hour,” typically an early morning or late afternoon moment when the world seems surrounded by a soft, golden hue.

Lynn Saville knows this time well, although her definition of it extends even earlier to when the first bits of light come up in the morning and even later when the last ones fade into night. It’s during these moments when Saville, often armed with a digital medium format camera (she also uses an SLR) documents these lonelier moments. Her recent collection of this work, Dark City, will be published by Damiani in October.


Saville said some of her earliest memories of nature’s magical ability to play with light occurred as a child when her parents took sabbatical in Italy and she crossed the Atlantic with them by boat.  

Aug. 26 2015 11:35 AM

Shifting the Focus From Detroit’s Decaying Buildings to Its Resilient Population

Dave Jordano grew up just north of Detroit. When he left, after graduating from the College for Creative Studies in 1974, the city was still vibrant; the downtown office buildings were full of employees, the streets were bustling, and shops were open. 

Aug. 25 2015 10:00 AM

Why It Took 10 Years to Create These Magnificent Images of Europe’s Churches

After two decades of work as a photographer, Markus Brunetti was feeling underwhelmed, uncreative, and bored.

To mix things up, Brunetti, along with Betty Schoener, his “partner in work and life,” built a truck, left home, and began traveling around Europe. It was meant to last one year, but has since turned into a decade-long way of life that they say is “open-ended.”  

Like many tourists traveling around Europe, the couple was impressed by the seemingly endless number of churches they encountered; a visual definition of “background noise.” Although they were the subjects of countless tourist snapshots, Brunetti began to imagine them as a larger project—a photographic exploration of the churches that he calls “Facades.”