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Jenna Pope: Photographs of NYPD brutality at vigil protesting the killing of Kimani Gray

This week, Brooklyn has seen a community come together for vigils and demonstrations in protest over the shooting of Kimani Gray by the NYPD.

16-year-old Gray was shot by 2 officers patrolling East Flatbush in an unmarked car around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

The autopsy report, released Wednesday, said 7 bullets were removed from Gray’s body, 3 of these had entered his body form the rear. Police claim they shot Gray after he had allegedly pointed a .38-caliber Rohm revolver in their direction.

The police allegations have been contradicted by the only civilian eye-witness account that claims Gray was “unarmed.”

From this it is apparent that the NYPD have the power to kill who they want, when they want, without interference or sanction.

This can not and should not be tolerated.

The shooting deepened tensions between the Community and the NYPD, with the police response to the local vigils and marches criticized as being insensitive, over-the-top and brutal.

While a Brooklyn community comes to terms with the unfettered violence of the NYPD, one mother still waits for her teenage son to come home.

We send sincere condolences to Kimani’s mother, Carol Gray and her family.

Kimani Gray R.I.P.

The activist and freelance photographer Jenna Pope attended a vigil for Kimani on Wednesday night.

Jenna was there to show respect for Kimani, support the community, and to photograph the vigil.

The night ended in a police riot, with Jenna badly injured and in need of hospital treatment.

This is part of her account and some of her photographs from that night, and I ask you check out Jenna’s photographic report over at her blog site.

This week, there have been vigils and marches in response to the NYPD shooting and killing Kimani Gray in Brooklyn. I was there on Wednesday, and although the vigil and march started out peacefully, the cops decided to block us from using a crosswalk while we were on the sidewalk, and continued agitating the whole night. I believe that’s what we call a “police riot.”

I was only able to photograph the beginning of the march since there was a quick end to my night when I was hit by a thrown object. An arrest was happening to my left, and I was hit on the right side. I received a concussion and was driven to the hospital in an ambulance where a doc put 5 stitches in my head. I have no idea what it was, or who threw it. If it was one of the many young, rightfully angry friends of Kimani Gray, then I honestly can say I would not be angry with them. Instead, I am angry that the NYPD shot 11 rounds at 16 year old boy, hitting him the back and killing him – which is what cause this outrage in Brooklyn.

If we want to seriously change the world, then we need more activists and photographers like Jenna Pope to bear witness to the truth, to give a damn and make a difference.

If you want, you can support Jenna Pope fight for justice, one photo at a time, by donating here. Thanks.
More of Jenna Pope’s photographs, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Punk As Fuck’: A film on the powerful & iconic photography of Steve Gullick

‘A good photograph,’ says Steve Gullick, ‘is one that looks great, one that captures an interesting moment in time, one that tells a story, or in the case of a portrait, offers an insight into the subject.’

This is could be a description of Gullick’s own photographs—his beautiful, inky black portraits that are amongst the most recognizable and iconic images of the past twenty years.

Gullick was influenced ‘Mainly by the dark imagery of Don McCullin and Bill Brandt. I tried to infuse my photos with a similar drama—I spent all of my spare time in the darkroom working on getting good.

‘It was more difficult with color but when I started printing my own color stuff in the late 1990’s I was able to match the intensity of my black & white work.

These photographs have captured succeeding generations of artists and musicians from Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Bjork, The Prodigy, through to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Richard Hawley

‘Photography is magic. The ability to capture something forever that looks interesting to you is magnificent.’

Now an exhibition of his work Punk as Fuck: Steve Gullick 90-93 is currently running at Indo, 133 Whitechapel Road, London, until 31st March, and is essential viewing for anyone with a serious interest in photography, music and art

To coincide with the exhibition, film-maker Joe Watson documented some of Steve’s preparation for the show, and interviewed him about the stories behind his photographs.

For more information about Punk as Fuck and a selection of Gullick’s brilliant work check his website.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘The Day the Clown Cried’: Behind the scenes of the infamous Jerry Lewis film
12:24 pm


Jerry Lewis

This is a guest post from Tabitha Vidaurri, a writer and comedinette from Brooklyn

In 1971 Jerry Lewis infamously directed and starred in a film about the Holocaust titled The Day the Clown Cried.  For reasons that are still unclear, Lewis chose to depart from his trademark slapstick formula and play the role of Helmut Dorque, a German circus clown who ends up leading Jewish children to the gas chamber.

The film was never finished or released for obvious reasons (not even the French were behind him on this one). Apparently Lewis has refused to talk about Clown in interviews, which I find odd—you’d figure a comedian famous for falling down and making stupid faces would jump at the chance to discuss his utterly humorless movie about a clown in a WWII German concentration camp!

In the behind the scenes footage (see below) we get a glimpse of Lewis fulfilling his duties as a director: leading the film crew, checking the cameras, and dancing around wearing a neck brace. Ambient sound has been added to enhance the overarching sense of alienation, except it isn’t really necessary because this is footage of Jerry Lewis talking to Nazis.

This slideshow of rare production stills shows a gratuitous number of photos of Lewis in full clown makeup, and to escalate the creepiness of him posing with children he presumably later leads to their deaths, the sequence is set to doo-wop music performed by Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners.

Since the videos are absent of dialogue, here’s an excerpt from the script  to give you a little taste of the abyss:

(screaming at top of voice)
Come back, damn you, come back.  The
children… they’re laughing.  They’re
laughing. I am a clown.  I am a clown.

He turns back to the children and again bows.  He quickly leans down, looks at his reflection in the puddle, and scoops up a handful of mud which he plasters on his nose to make a bulbous, artificial proboscis.  He turns back to the children and in pantomime, pretends to see a fly buzzing about and tries to swat it.  The imaginary fly buzzes closer.


As the “fly” lands on his nose.  He looks cross-eyed at the mud blob, then swats at it.  The blob falls off.

To cleanse yourself of this massive, historical failure I suggest taking a shower and then watching The King of Comedy.

This is a guest post from Tabitha Vidaurri. Follow Tabitha on Twitter


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Sex, guys & videotapes: Meet Amy Gwatkin, London’s most transgressive artist (NSFW)
01:09 pm


Amy Gwatkin

“They’re being brave and so am I,” explains photographer/artist Amy Gwatkin in her impeccable Queen’s English, sat in her white walled studio, pretty much bent double in her chair with nerves.

We are watching unedited footage for her new film installation Risk Assessment, which opens tomorrow night in Dalston. On the screen, in black and white, a fleshy, pale, aged man’s shoulder twitches and shakes with an effort that can only be called self-explanatory. “We’re being brave together—the one cannot exist without the other, the voyeur needs the exhibitionist, the exhibitionist the voyeur.”

“I’m not exactly an artist,” she continues. “Most of the year I spend interviewing people about shoes… photoshoppping already beautiful teenagers…” The otherwise employed fashion photographer (whose work has recently appeared in Dazed & Confused, EXIT, and The Independent, among others) pauses, letting us acknowledge what looks a lot like the old man’s petite mort. “But for a month of two every year I have the chance to make something that isn’t for anyone else—and I keep on coming back to this project involving naked men. First of all photographing them, now filming them.”

In 2010, Gwatkin posted an ad in the notorious casual encounters section of Craigslist (the world’s favorite sexual sewer). It read, “Exhibitionists Wanted.” Out of over 90 responses, she picked out ten that didn’t immediately scream “murderer”—EXCESSIVE CAPS LOCK AND BAD SPELLING BEING THE DEAD GIVEAWAY THEIR (sic)—and set about photographing these masturbating strangers, at their homes, at her studio, and even in the bushes of Hampstead Heath.

She then spent weeks with the resulting images, “obsessively” photographing, zooming in, and reprogramming them, in a way she concedes was partly about distancing herself from the subject and the experience. “The effect it created was almost overwhelming, like a vortex. At some point all the men became an amorphous mass. It was difficult to differentiate between the bodies.”

The resulting “vortex”—144 black and white prints forming a large, neat rectangular collage—was titled Nothing Happened (an allusion to the kind of questions she was asked whenever she described her work-in-progress). When I first laid eyes on this unique, powerful work of art, at the private view two years ago, an enthralled crowd milled about beneath it all night long, as if it were a stained glass window in a cave.

Gwatkin considers Risk Assessment her most significant work since. If in Nothing Happened, the participants’ bodies and identities were smudged and even obliterated, here they are given much more autonomy. Gwatkin acknowledges that she in turn is no longer hiding from the experience, the taboo. Everything is, to put it mildly, a lot less oblique, though Risk Assessment never fails to still somehow straddle that not-famously-fine line between the beautiful and the grotesque.

Now you can enjoy the linked, well, “teaser,” exclusively prepared for Dangerous Minds. Be warned, it’s pretty strong stuff.

Risk Assement runs as part of the show “FOR” (also featuring the work of Bella Fenning and Anna Leader), at SixtySevenA, at City Studios, 67a Dalston Lane, London E8 2NG, Tuesday 12th March 6-9pm, and runs until 28th March. By appointment only.

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
‘I do not wish…my nose nailed to other people’s lavatories’: Dame Edith Sitwell on ‘Naked Lunch’

It was John Willett’s review of William S. Burroughs Naked Lunch, in the Times Literary Supplement, that led poet and writer, Dame Edith Sitwell to make her famous statement about the book, in 1963.

Willett was a writer, critic and, most importantly, translator of Bertolt Brecht’s plays. His translations so impressed the playwright that it led to their collaboration on the Berliner Ensemble’s historic 1956 London season. Yet, for such a seemingly radical critic and writer, Willett hated Naked Lunch and made his thoughts well known in a review headlined “Ugh!”:

“[Naked Lunch] not unlike wading through the drains of a big city . . . [It features] unspeakable homosexual fantasies . . . ...such things are too uncritically presented, and because the author gives no flicker of disapproval the reader easily takes the ‘moral message’ the other way…..If the publishers had deliberately set out to discredit the cause of literary freedom and innovation they could hardly have done it more effectively…”

Appearing not long after the controversial trial and publication of D. H. Lawrence’s infamous Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960, it seemed to many of England’s older and moneyed class that their world was under very real threat from the Barbarians at the gates.

One such figure, was Dame Edith, who upon reading Willett’s review fired off the following missive to the TLS:

To the Editor of the Times Literary Supplement

[published 28 November 1963]


I was delighted to see, in your issue of the 14th instant, the very rightminded review of a novel by a Mr. Burroughs (whoever he may be) published by a Mr. John Calder (whoever he may be).

The public canonisation of that insignificant, dirty little book Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a signal to persons who wish to unload the filth of their minds on the British public.

As author of Gold Coast Customs I can scarcely be accused of shirking reality, but I do not wish to spend the rest of my life with my nose nailed to other people’s lavatories.

I prefer Chanel Number .

Edith Sitwell, C.L.

What Dame Edith failed to grasp was that to a generation of young, free-thinking individuals, this letter was the perfect encouragement to go and buy the book.

Though Mr. Burroughs and Mr. Calder had made no small an impression at the Edinburgh Festival in 1962 (though arguably upstaged by the legendary spat between Communist poet Hugh MacDiarmid and Beat writer Alexander Trocchi), it is fair to say, this letter was amongst the best publicity they could have had for Naked Lunch.

Edith Sitwell is sadly neglected today, and her poetry, biographies, and one experimental novel are now mainly left to the reading lists of academics. Yet once, Edith and her brothers Osbert and Sacheverell, were the English Avant Garde—but time, fashion, politics and a World War soon usurped their position.

The poem mentioned in her letter, Gold Coast Customs (1930), was Sitwell’s own (almost Ballardian) tale of the horrific barbarism lurking beneath the artificiality of civilized humans in the city of London.

The following clip is of Dame Edith discussing her life, her parents and Marilyn Monroe, in 1959.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘Whaur Extremes Meet: A portrait of the poet Hugh MacDiarmid


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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