The Photo Blog

Feb. 10 2016 11:16 AM

This 1940s New York Paper Wasn’t a Top Seller, but It Ran Great Photographs 

During its brief lifetime, there was no mistaking PM New York Daily for any other newspaper. The tabloid, which existed between 1940 and 1948, didn’t run advertisements. Catering largely to workers and unions, it was an unabashed crusader against economic and racial inequality, fascism, and, as its first issue stated, “people who push other people around.” And it gave more space for photographs than any of its competitors.


Feb. 9 2016 10:48 AM

“As Time Goes By” Captures the Stark Reality of Aging 

One of photography’s most powerful tools is its ability to create a tangible record or memory of who we were and who we have become.

When Barbara Davatz began photographing her series, “As Time Goes By,” in 1982, she didn’t think it would turn into a 30-year project. When she met the couple Nicola and Kurt, she was struck by their similar appearance of blonde crew cuts and black attire. She took their portrait, and soon thereafter began shooting similar couples; Der Spiegel published the work packaged as a series about a youthful “new bohemia” style.

Davatz kept busy over the years with other work, but was approached by different magazines and museums interested in publishing or exhibiting the work should she decide to continue taking portraits of the original couples. She continued with the series in 1988, 1997, and 2014.

“As the years passed, I began thinking about the work again, becoming very curious about the diverse biographical and physical changes I imagined could have occurred in the meantime and gaining confidence in the potential strength of the new work,” she wrote via email.

Because she didn’t set out to work in defined intervals, the work became a kind of irregular family reunion. Over the years she paid attention to her subjects’ lives from afar: reading about them in newspaper articles about art shows or music and theater reviews but only caught up with them when the portrait session would take place. “I have always thought of them fondly, as my ‘photographic family’ and I have always been very curious to see what kind of people they brought into the new series (into the family!) each time.”

Feb. 8 2016 11:05 AM

These Photos Make America Look Like One Big, Weird Town  

The United States may be immense and immensely diverse, but in Carl Corey’s ongoing series, “Americaville,” disparate pockets of the country seem to coalesce around the same bizarre aesthetic, like they’re neighborhoods in one big, weird town. 

Feb. 7 2016 11:06 AM

This Is What the First Super Bowl Looked Like

Today, the Super Bowl is an entertainment and sports juggernaut. But 50 years ago, it was a different game. In fact, it wasn’t even called the Super Bowl at the time. On Jan. 15, 1967 the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs faced off in the first ever AFL–NFL World Championship Game in L.A. The Packers represented the National Football League and the Chiefs represented the American Football League, a younger league that would merge with the NFL by 1970. The game is now called the first Super Bowl.

Feb. 5 2016 12:24 PM

For Photographers, Living Life Is a Constant State of Preproduction

Around six years ago, during what he describes as a “dark time” in his personal life, Gregory Crewdson left New York for the Berkshires, where he’d spent a large part of his childhood at his family’s home in Becket, Massachusetts. For a few years, he didn’t produce any photographs.

“It’s very difficult to be an artist who is not producing work … [it] can make you feel part of you is dead, or at least dormant,” he said.

Instead, he spent his time out in nature: hiking, swimming, and skiing. During one of his cross-country skiing treks, he ventured into a trail deep in the woods where he had a flashback to childhood.

“I came to the edge of a frozen lake, and the light came through the trees and it was just like I woke up,” he said.

Ready to take pictures, he knew the next series had to take place in Becket. The trail on which he had this reawakening also became the title of the body of work, “Cathedral of the Pines.” It is on view at Gagosian Gallery in New York City through March 5.

Turning the ideas that were developing in his mind into actual images took a bit of time. Crewdson breaks his process down into three clear and familiar parts: preproduction, production, and postproduction. He describes preproduction as a time when “life and the artistic process are very intertwined in my daily routine.”

Feb. 4 2016 12:02 PM

The Charming Record Stores of Southern California

For lovers of brick-and-mortar music stores, the businesses in Mike Spitz and Rebecca Villaneda’s book, The Record Store Book: Fifty Legendary and Iconic Places to Discover New and Used Vinyl, which Rare Bird Books published in April, will feel like home.


Feb. 3 2016 12:11 PM

How Do Our Homes Shape Our Identities?

When Patty Carroll’s husband was transferred to London in the 1990s, the Chicago couple expected a few culture shocks. For Carroll, already an established artist and photography professor, the cultural shift became an identity crisis as she became known more as Mrs. Jones—her husband’s last name—than Patty Carroll.

“Even though I was teaching, my identity was really through my husband,” she said. “And I realized it wasn’t just just me but the tradition of being in that traditional society; that’s really how you were known before your own identity.”

The bulk of Carroll’s photographic work was rooted in American culture: from hot dog stands to Elvis impersonators and life in Florida resorts. In England, she decided to work through her feelings by taking pictures of a model who she painted white and on whose head she placed domestic objects as a way of hiding her. “She became sort of a person you know through this stuff she was wearing,” Carroll said. It proved to be the first of a three-part series she titled “Anonymous Women.”

The couple then moved back to the Chicago area and bought a 1950s ranch house, which Carroll fell in love with the instant she discovered the original pink kitchen from 1951. Feeling conflicted about her own identity, she began obsessively decorating the home, filling the house with furnishings she found while visiting antique shops.

“It was like finding pieces to a puzzle and I didn’t know what the puzzle looked like yet,” she said.

During this time, Carroll’s niece and goddaughter, a marine, was sent to Iraq; it created an enormous sense of anxiety and fear for Carroll and the rest of the family.

Feb. 2 2016 1:28 PM

Photographing Beauty and Peril in the Arctic

Ever since he was a kid, Sebastian Copeland dreamed of the Arctic he read about in the books of writers like Jack London and in the accounts of explorers like Ernest Shackleton. As an adult, he’s become one of the best-traveled explorers of the region and combined his passion for photography, activism, and adventure into a unique career. His book, Arctica: The Vanishing North, which teNeues published in September, features 200 photographs depicting both the beauty of the region and the threats it faces from climate change.

Feb. 1 2016 2:24 PM

The People Who Call New York’s Affordable Housing Developments Home

New York City may have some of the most expensive real estate in the country, but the city has also been a pioneer in affordable housing policy. Over the course of 2½ weeks between the fall of 2014 and summer 2015, David Schalliol, an assistant professor of sociology at St. Olaf College, was commissioned to visit all five boroughs and photograph nearly four dozen affordable housing developments for Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City, which Princeton University Press published in November. At baby showers, sewing classes, and bingo sessions, he captured a side of affordable subsidized housing that many New Yorkers rarely see: One that is functional, positive, and social.

Jan. 31 2016 11:01 AM

Seeing New York City in the ’70s and ’80s Through the Eyes of Blondie’s Legendary Guitarist 

There is a nostalgic love affair with the photographs of New York in the 1960s and ‘70s, specifically the art, music and nightlife scene that thrived there during that time.

Chris Stein, a Brooklyn native and one of the co-founders and guitarists of Blondie, studied fine arts, including photography, at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in the late 1960s and ‘70s. SVA was a “hipster breeding ground” back then and it proved to be an influential place for him. While there he noticed a flier for the band the New York Dolls, decided to check them out and – to cut to the chase - became involved with the New York underground music scene, eventually meeting Debbie Harry with whom he formed the band Blondie. He also always carried around his camera.

In 2014, on the 40th anniversary of the founding of Blondie, Rizzoli published a collection of the images Stein took during the 1970s and ‘80s, the bulk of which are of Harry whom he also dated, titled, Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk.