The Photo Blog

Aug. 21 2014 1:33 PM

The Baltimore Bottle Cap Factory That Became a Haven for Musicians and Artists 

Since its construction in the 19th century, the Victorian-style warehouse on Baltimore’s Guilford Avenue has been a site for innovation, but in the last 100 years of its history, the nature of that creativity has changed. When it was first built, it was home to the Crown Cork & Seal Co., which used the space to produce bottling machines and about one-half the world’s supply of Crown Cork bottle caps (the invention of its founder, William Painter).

Crown Cork & Seal relocated to Philadelphia in the late 1950s, and by the ’60s, new businesses had moved in, including Copy Cat Printing, which placed a billboard bearing its name on the roof, earning the building its nickname, the Copycat. Most businesses moved out in the 1980s, and gradually the space converted into residences. Today, more than 140 people live in the Copycat, including scores of artists, musicians, and other creative types.

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Aug. 20 2014 11:28 AM

The Clever Photographic Trick That Makes a Family’s Everyday Life Seem Magical

Family histories and memories are often formed through significant events: birthday parties, graduations, weddings. More often than not, however, the quieter, seemingly less significant moments resonate in our minds in a more profound way than any structured ceremony.

A few years ago, Charlotta María Hauksdóttir began looking for a way to capture the subtle, intimate moments families share in their homes and created a series about them, she titled “Moments.”

“I became interested to see how people were being shaped by their homes, creating their home and especially in regards to how children were growing up in the home and what memories they were creating,” she said. “I wasn’t interested in documenting a birthday but more just about how people live everyday.”

Aug. 19 2014 11:45 AM

Here’s Why We Need to Protect Public Libraries

We live in a “diverse and often fractious country,” writes Robert Dawson, but there are some things that unite us—among them, our love of libraries. “A locally governed and tax-supported system that dispenses knowledge and information for everyone throughout the country at no cost to its patrons is an astonishing thing,” the photographer wrote in the introduction to his book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay. “It is a shared commons of our ambitions, our dreams, our memories, our culture, and ourselves.”

Aug. 18 2014 12:03 PM

The Inspiring Desks of Art World Stars 

E. Brady Robinson was waiting to photograph staff members of the nonprofit arts organization CulturalDC for an assignment when she casually took a photo of one staffer’s workspace. She describes that moment as a “happy accident,” one that inspired an extensive journey to capture the spirit of the art world all along the East Coast. Her forthcoming book, Art Desks, collects 57 images of the workspaces of artists, curators, art dealers, critics, museum directors, and others from New York to Miami. “I wanted to create an archive of people who are making important contributions to art and culture,” she said. “I’m interested in the idea of the desk as portrait and the social experiment of navigating the art world.”

Aug. 17 2014 10:44 AM

How One Photographer Overcame His Fear of Death by Photographing It

This photo series is about death and contains images of people before and after they’ve died. 

As a child growing up in Munich toward the end of World War II, Walter Schels was greatly affected by death, having witnessed the casualties of air raids.  

“I was afraid of death and coffins my whole life and I avoided seeing any dead bodies, even those of my parents,” he wrote via email.

Later, when he became a photographer, he worked on a series about birth but was constantly reminded “at the end of this birth will always be death.” He also said that the experience evoked a deep interest in people’s faces, which later influenced his passion for portraiture.

Aug. 15 2014 11:33 AM

The Changing Faces of New York City, as Seen Through One Tribeca Building

In 1984, when Susan Rosenberg Jones moved into a one-bedroom New York City apartment in Tribeca, her rent was roughly $700 a month.

Usually, that line is great at cocktail parties, with a mention of either having been fortunate to find a great deal or a melancholic reminder that things have vastly changed. In this case, it’s a bit of both.

Rosenberg Jones is currently living in a two-bedroom apartment in the same building, part of three high-rise towers called Independence Plaza North. Built in the 1970s and intended for luxury rentals, the complex was ushered into the Mitchell-Lama program since few people were willing to live in Tribeca at the time. Mitchell-Lama was created to provide affordable housing for middle-income residents (bytoday’s guidelines the annual adjusted income limit for a household of two in a non-federally assisted and federally-assisted cooperative development is $85,937.50). As a result, many were artists, writers, teachers, and other working class New Yorkers.

Aug. 14 2014 12:03 PM

This Woman Took a Self-Portrait Every Year in Just Her Birthday Suit

This post contains nudity.

A couple of decades ago, Lucy Hilmer found herself at J.C. Penney buying 60 pairs of lollipop underpants.

She wanted to make certain she wouldn’t run out of them.

In 1974, Hilmer, then 29 and wearing the somewhat gaudy undergarment, took the first of what would become a life-long series of self-portraits titled “Birthday Suits.” She has since added one more image to the series every April 22, her birthday, each time wearing only the underpants, shoes, and socks.

Aug. 13 2014 12:43 PM

The Last Strongholds Against Big Box Stores Are Disappearing

In Vladimir Antaki’s view, small businesses in cities are not just places of commerce. He calls them “urban temples,” and the way he sees it, they’re the last strongholds against an increasingly impersonal world of big box stores and corporate franchises. Its proprietors are the “Guardians” of our “souvenirs and traditions.”

Aug. 12 2014 11:00 AM

Surreal Photos That Capture What World War I Looked Like in Color 

We tend to remember World War I, whose 100th anniversary will be commemorated this month, in black-and-white. But there were a handful of photographers working during the war in color, using an early technology called autochrome first introduced in 1907 by the Lumière brothers. Though their hues are not as true to life as color film, the autochrome photos in Getty Images’ Hulton Archive provide a compelling and novel look at the war and those who fought it.

Aug. 11 2014 12:53 PM

Can These Dignified Portraits Save Abused Greyhounds in Spain?

Once hunting season is finished in Spain, many Iberian greyhounds are abandoned or killed (often hanged) if the dogs have either underperformed or are too expensive to keep until the following hunting season.

A few years ago, Mathias de Lattre learned from his gallerist Alain Biscotti about the dogs and subsequent fight to rescue them. Deeply moved by the story, de Lattre spent nearly two years creating portraits of some of the rescued and adopted Galgos and Podencos breeds of greyhounds. This past spring, de Lattre’s work was exhibited in a gallery in Paris; he also created a book, ¡Salvados! published by HPRG editions.

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