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Early color Autochromes of New York City, 1900-1930

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The lowly potato changed color photography forever.

In 1903, two French inventors and photographers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, used the potato as the basis for their patented process in creating color photographs, or Autochromes as they were called. It was a simple but ingenious technique—crush potatoes into tiny particles; separate these minuscule starch particles into three; add red, violet and green dye; mix onto a glass plate; brush off the excess; flatten the dyed particles onto the plate between two rollers—thus creating microscopic color filters; fill in any gaps with carbon; brush with light sensitive silver bromide. Now you have a photographic plate ready to take color pictures.

By 1907, the Lumières’ technique had infected the photographic world with “color fever.” Many early color photographers claimed painting was dead. The future was the Autochrome. (Apparently someone forgot to tell Picasso.)

Unlike many of the European or Russian Autochromes from the turn of the twentieth century—which are usually filled with citizens at work or idly posing in narrow streets—these early Autochromes of New York are often empty of people as if the monumental nature of the city’s buildings made humans seem irrelevant, Lillputian, or simply unnecessary. When the city’s residents do appear they’re often blurred, frenetically charged, crammed into market scenes, or watching the camera from the seashore.
 
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Mulberry Street market, circa 1900s.
 
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Balcony overlooking Mulberry Street, ca. 1900s.
 
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Lower East Side, ca. 1900s.
 
More early color Autochromes of New York, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Classical paintings by Leonardo, Michelangelo and Rembrandt recreated with auto mechanics

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‘The Last Supper of Auto Mechanics.’
 
Though I don’t drive, have never owned a car, and take no interest in horsepower engines or miles to the gallon, I still find these photographs by Freddy Fabris of auto mechanics recreating classical paintings quite good.

Fabris first had the idea to create these pictures on a visit to his local garage. Taking his inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp and a selection of the Dutch master’s portraits—Fabris has crafted beautiful, modern and amusing portraits with the kind of blue collar workers, the types these classical artists would have perhaps used themselves.
 
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After Michelangelo—‘The Creation of an Auto Mechanic.’
 
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After Rembrandt—‘The Anatomy of a Car Lesson.’
 
More of Freddy Fabris’ classical portraits, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Black holes: Censorship’s handiwork creates eerie photographs

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Under a black sun farmworkers labor in fields. They harvest crops oblivious to the strange eclipse in the skies above them. On closer inspection the sun is perhaps a spot on the lens. Or a camera fault, or perhaps a mistake in printing. There are more photographs, but here the faces of the farmworkers have been devoured by this black spot—eaten like a cancer. It’s now apparent these black dots, these black holes, have been deliberately made.

During the 1930’s Great Depression the US Government set up the Farm Security Administration to help combat the country’s rural poverty. As part of the FSA’s remit was a photography project set up by Roy Stryker to document the lives of the people who lived and worked on the land.

Stryker hired some of the best photographers of the day such as Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, and Edwin and Louise Rosskam, among many, many others. The photographers were briefed as to what the FSA wanted documented. When the rolls of film were sent back from locations across the USA, Stryker rigorously examined each and every negative. His system for discarding images was brutal—he used a hole punch to pierce any negative he didn’t like—making it unusable.

It is not known on exactly what grounds Stryker rejected an image. Was it aesthetic reasons? Bad teeth, ugly people? Political? Images of farm life that did not coincide with the government’s desires narrative? Whichever—of the 164,000 developed negatives, only around 77,000 were made available for use. That’s a helluva lot of rejected photographs.

Stryker’s vandalism killed many historic and irreplaceable photographs. Of those that remain, Stryker’s hole punch handiwork has created strange yet still compelling images. Some conspiracy theorists suggest the photos were censored because of UFOs, or strange deformities, or odd background figures—and similar flights of fancy. In truth they were probably censored because the reality of human deprivation never sits easy with a government’s self-image.

I think one can safely assume that artist John Baldessari is well aware of these images.
 
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More of striking examples of Stryker’s censorship, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Spellbinding portraits of Native Americans in beautiful, surreal traditional ceremonial costumes

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The person who has the camera and takes the photograph can often influence how we remember things. That’s why it’s always good idea to put on your best face kids, when someone’s taking your picture—you don’t want to be remembered as a sad sack.

Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) had a camera. He took a lot of photographs. Between the late 1800s and the 1930s he took some 40,000 photographs of the many different Native American peoples. Curtis’ first portrait of a Native American was taken in 1895. He photographed Princess Angeline—the daughter of Si’ahl, a powerful American Indian chief for whom the city of Seattle was named. The Princess was down on her luck selling clams to make a living. Curtis paid her a dollar to sit and have her portrait taken. He noted in his journal:

This seemed to please her greatly, and with hands and jargon she indicated that she preferred to spend her time having pictures made than in digging clams.

The son of a clergyman, Curtis was born on his parents’ farm in Whitewater, Wisconsin in 1868. He had two brothers and one sister. When the family moved to Seattle, he set up a photography studio with his brother Asahel. The evangelizing influence of his father’s occupation probably set Edward Sheriff Curtis out on his thirty year quest to document the Native Americans. Curtis literally feared the native Americans were on verge of being eradicated.

The passing of every old man or woman means the passing of some tradition, some knowledge of sacred rites possessed by no other… consequently the information that is to be gathered, for the benefit of future generations, respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost for all time.

Some have criticized Curtis for creating an overly romantic image of Native Americans. Erasing modern objects (clocks, personal belongings) from photographs. Depicting them in traditional clothing. An image that did little to document the contemporary realities of their lives. Despite the criticisms, his work is a connection to the wealth of history and culture which could have undoubtedly been lost. As Laurie Lawlor has written, at a time when Native American culture was being proscribed by government, Curtis was “far ahead of his contemporaries in sensitivity, tolerance and openness to Native American cultures and ways of thinking.  He sought to observe and understand by going directly into the field.”

Apart from the 40,000 photos of over 80 tribe, he also recorded:

10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Native American language and music. He compiled biographical sketches of different tribal leaders, detailed customs, clothes, food, rituals, and tribal folklore. Many of these documents are the only recorded history–though a strong oral tradition remains.

This small collection captures some of the Native American ceremonial costumes which are by turn beautiful, surreal and haunting.
 
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More of Edward Sheriff Curtis’ photographs, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Super-saturated images of cars, corporate logos and mullets at the Daytona 500
03.04.2016
09:13 am

Topics:
Art
Sports

Tags:
photography
Daytona 500


 
On his website, photographer Chip Litherland recently posted a stunning gallery of photographs taken at an iconic American sporting venue under the title “Expired at the Daytona 500.”

A striking feature of the day’s shooting is that Litherland used no digital gear for the shoot and used the event as an occasion to see what happens when he limited his film stock to a bunch of “super-expired” rolls of 35mm film that he had amassed over the years: “This is film expired with dates like: March 1996. November 1975. April 2004. January 1992. October 2006. Expiration dates that are probably older than some of you reading this.”

His work product from that day represent a triumph for good old-fashioned analog methods.

Litherland describes his guerrilla mindset that day:
 

I’m used to rolling up to a huge sports event with a 400mm on my shoulder a suitcase full of Canon pro bodies, an arsenal of lenses, compact flash cards, and strobes. I didn’t have any of that shit. It was just me, a couple bodies clanking together around my neck and kind of a newbie attitude I hadn’t felt in a while.

 
Even if you hate NASCAR, hate auto racing, hate sports, you should really check out these shots. The ultra-vivid colors seems an utterly perfect visual referent for the ultra-American subject matter of sunshine, fast cars, corporate logos, denim, mullets, palm trees, and so on.

I also like Litherland’s final words on the day’s shoot: “All that being said film is a pain in the ass. We have it so easy now.”
 

 

 
Much, much more after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Kid’s play: 8 decades of Helen Levitt’s stunning New York City street photography

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In 1940, a trio of young photographers Helen Levitt, James Agee and Janice Loeb used hidden cameras to film everyday street life in and around 110th Street and Lexington Avenue of New York’s Spanish Harlem. The footage was then edited together by Levitt and released as a short film In the Street in 1948. The film is now associated more with Levitt’s career as a street photographer than with Agee—who had an award-winning career as a novelist and screenwriter of films like The African Queen (1951) and The Night of the Hunter (1955)—or Loeb—who had a career as an artist and was married to Levitt’s brother Bill. Both Agee and Loeb were instrumental in encouraging Helen Levitt’s career as filmmaker and photographer during the 1950s and 1960s.

Born in Brooklyn in 1913 to a Russian-Jewish family who ran a wholesale knitwear distributor, Levitt decided from an early age that the family business was not for her and that she wanted to study photography. She quit school and had an apprenticeship in developing and printing at a local portrait photographer’s studio. At nineteen, Levitt studied with the photographer Walker Evans, a pioneer of documentary photography who was best known for his powerful images of farmers during the Great Depression as published in the book he collaborated on with Agee Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Sometime in 1937, Levitt noticed children drawing with chalk in the streets. She watched them playing unselfconsciously, intensely interested in what they were doing. It was a moment of perspicacity that set Helen Levitt off documenting the children and the street scenes she encountered over the next eight decades—shooting with her eyes for others to see.
 
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More of Helen Levitt’s work plus the film ‘In the Street’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘I’ve got what you want!’: Vintage ads for mail order smut
02.12.2016
10:49 am

Topics:
Advertising
Amusing
Sex

Tags:
photography
porn books
porn ads

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This is how it was back in the sixties and seventies. No Pornhub. No XVideo. No HD stuff. No downloadable porn just a keystroke away. If you wanted to watch a porno flick in Moosefart, Montana, or keep a stash of uncensored 8x10s in your bedroom closet, well you had to check the small ad pages in adult magazines like Follies, Frolic, Nugget, Dude, Rogue, Gent, Knight, Bachelor and Adam. This is how horny young Americans—like your dear old dad and granddad—entertained themselves before the tsunami of free digital pornography starting getting piped into the home like a utility.

Being born, raised and still living in Scotland, my knowledge of yon Americana is informed by what I’ve read in books, histories and what have you. Of course, over here there is obviously a similarity of experience. One man who built his porn empire on mail order adult entertainment is David Sullivan.

Sullivan is an economics graduate who started his adult entertainment empire by selling glossy pix thru the mail. He then moved on to mail order home movies and “marital aids.” Sullivan was so successful that he ended up running 80% of the UK’s adult mail order market. He also owned several sex shops, a line of hardcore magazines (up to 50% of the UK market), successfully produced several pornos and soft core movies—the latter best known for starring the legendary Mary Millington and a host of British comedy talent.  He diversified into newspapers (Sunday Sport) before becoming the largest shareholder in two soccer clubs—first Birmingham, now West Ham.

When working in the adult entertainment business, Sullivan thought of himself as a “freedom fighter.” He was once tried and sentenced to 71 days imprisonment for living off immoral earnings—which is a kind of catchall charge to punish pornographers. He has no “embarrassment” over his time in jail telling the London Evening Standard in 2010:

“I’ve made a lot of people happy,” he says. “If I was an arms manufacturer or a cigarette manufacturer, and my products killed millions of my clients, I’d have a bit of doubt about the whole thing. I was a freedom fighter. I believe in the right of adults to make their own decisions.”

The 1970s were a boom time for adult mail order entertainment. When I was a student at the University of Glasgow back in the 1980s, the campus was split between the men’s union—the Glasgow University Union—and the women’s union—the Queen Margaret Union. While the QMU opened its doors to both male and female students, the men’s union remained until the early eighties, a bastion of male chauvinism. At the time, the “men’s union” was best known for its world champion debaters and for screening something called the “Freds.”

The “Freds” were the Tom and Jerry cartoons produced by Fred Quimby. A couple of these classic animations provided the intermission entertainment between two mail order blue movies screened for the edification and enjoyment of a select band of GUU students. The “Freds” supposedly stopped after the union opened its doors to women, but it was always rumored the “Freds” were still be screening by a group of recalcitrant students somewhere within the walls of this famous baronial building. Fans of the “Freds” went onto become politicians, lawyers, bankers, successful CEOs and apparently even a priest. But with the arrival of video home systems (VHS) the end was nigh for the boom in mail order adult entertainment. And today with the Internet, even magazines like Playboy have stopped bother to publish nude pictures in its pages. So for those too young to remember, and for those who do remember and perhaps did partake, is a small selection of classic adult entertainment ads from the sixties and seventies.
 
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“Privately” printed mags? Oh my, this is not the kinda smut grandpa wanted you to find in that locked box in his basement after he died.
 
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Bernard of Hollywood must have been the place to go for “Authentic, unretouched stags of well known gals before they reached the top. Rare thrillers all.” Sounds like something out of a James Ellroy novel…and the WTF ad with sweaty, wide-eyed hepped-up pervo freak? Looks kinda rapey.
 
More vintage adult ads, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Intimate photographs of post-war Paris
02.11.2016
10:07 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
photography
Paris
1950s
1940s
Robert Doisneau

A young Parisian couple dancing to Bebop in the Bebop Cellar at Vieus Colombier
A young Parisian couple dancing to Bebop in the Bebop Cellar at Vieux Colombier, 1951

“I had fun throughout my lifetime, building my own small theater”
—French photographer Robert Doisneau

 
When he passed away at the age of 81 in 1994, photographer Robert Doisneau had amassed a collection of 450,000 negatives that captured Parisian and French history throughout his 50-some odd years as a photographer.

Tarot card reader and occultist, Madame Arthur, Paris, 1951
Tarot card reader and “occultist”, Madame Arthur, Paris, 1951
 
A female worker at the Ouvrière de Renault, Boulogne Billancourt (the Renault car factory)
A female worker at the “Ouvrière de Renault”, Boulogne Billancourt (the Renault car factory)
 
At the age of nineteen, Doisneau took a job as an assistant to modernist photographer André Vigneau (who spent much of the early 1930s taking photos of fashion models, surely a dream job for a young, aspiring photographer). In 1934 Doisneau accepted a position as a photographer at the Renault car factory. Due to his habitual lateness to his day job, Doisneau was fired—an event that launched his career as a freelance photographer that would last for nearly his entire life.
 
One of Robert Doisneau many photographs of the gargoyle statues of Notre-Dame
One of Robert Doisneau’s many photographs of the gargoyle statues of Notre-Dame
 
Le Pendule (The Pendulum), 1945
“Le Pendule” (The Pendulum), 1945
 
Les potins d'Elsa Maxwell (Parisian gossip queen, Elsa Maxwell) 1952
“Les potins d’Elsa Maxwell” (American gossip queen, Elsa Maxwell, pictured in the center), 1952
 
A young Parisian couple dancing at Au Saint Yves, Paris, 1948
A young Parisian couple dancing at “Au Saint Yves”, Paris, 1948
 
While Doisneau’s name may not be familiar to you, his photograph “Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall)” is one of the most popular—and romantic—photographic images of the entire 20th century. His famous photos of the gargoyle statues that adorn Notre-Dame (one of which is pictured above) should look familiar, too. Doisneau’s post-war images, taken during the 40s and 50s captured candid moments shared by the collective residents of Paris. From members of high-society at parties, to its vagabond “tramps,” street performers, elegant circus clowns, to passionate Parisian youth dancing to “Bebop” in the clubs of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter.

To say that Doisneau’s photographs are stunning, would be to vastly understate the fact that his images easily rank as one of the greatest contributions to the curation of 20th century French history. Doisneau’s work has been the subject of several books such as, Robert Doisneau, by Jean Claude Gautrand and, Robert Doisneau: A Photographer’s Life, by Peter Hamilton. I’m sure you will enjoy perusing the remarkable images that follow.
 
Les Megots (
“Les Megots” (“Butts). A “tramp” harvesting tobacco from used cigarettes in an alleyway in Paris, 1956
 
Coco Chanel,
Coco Chanel “Aux Miroirs” (The Mirrors), Paris, 1953
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Love and Affection: Vintage photos of gay and lesbian couples
02.09.2016
11:39 am

Topics:
History
Queer

Tags:
photography
lesbians
homosexuality

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A couple’s photographic portrait is an affirmation of their relationship. It states for all to see: “We love each other. We care for each other. We are proud of who we are together.”

During the Victorian era many gay and lesbian couples proudly expressed their love for each other in studio portraits. Unlike the common belief that such relationships were “the love that dare not speak its name,” as Oscar Wilde so famously described same sex attraction in his poem “Two Loves,” gays and lesbians often dared to show their love. Indeed, many gay and lesbian couples more or less lived openly together throughout their lives. This was far easier for women than for men as women were expected to live together if they were not married, or to live with the euphemistically termed “female companion.”

Men, no historical surprises here, had their own haunts for meeting like-minded souls. In London these could be found in the “Molly houses” and gentlemen’s clubs or pick-ups haunts at Lincoln’s Inn, or St. James Park or the path on the City’s Moorfields, which was charmingly referred to as “Sodomites Walk.”

Theaters and circuses were also well-known dens of homosexual activity—this can be traced all the way back to Elizabethan England, when male prostitutes plied their trade at theaters.

The armed forces, in particular the Royal Navy was notorious for gay relationships—understandable with all the horny seamen looking for any port in a storm. Apparently word got around.

It is a moot point that the change in public attitude towards homosexuality commenced with the Labouchere Amendment to the Sexual Offences Act in 1885, which “prohibited gross indecency between males.” This was the law under which Wilde was infamously prosecuted and the law that heightened discrimination against gays.

Before that there had been the Buggery Act—against anal penetration and bestiality—which was introduced during the reign of Henry VIII. This led to numerous executions (hangings) and imprisonments. It was briefly repealed, then reinstated by Elizabeth I. However, there were few prosecutions under the act and it was repealed again in 1828—though “buggery” remained a capital offense. James Pratt and John Smith became the last two men to be executed for buggery, in 1835.

The Labouchere Amendment outlawed homosexuality and made it more difficult for gay men to live the lives they desired. Labouchere did not include lesbians in the act as he believed drawing attention to lesbianism would only encourage sapphic desires amongst most Victorian women.

So even when gay relationships were outlawed in England, they still thrived in open secret. In America, the sodomy laws varied from state to state. What one state tolerated or had no opinion about, another state punished. However, as with England in the Victorian era, America gay and lesbian couples would often openly express their love for each other in portrait photographs.

This collection of beautiful, brave people gives us a small visual history of LGBT relationships from the 1860s-1960s. Many of the couples are unidentifiable, but where possible their names have been given. (Editor writes: Mild disclaimer: Of course it’s difficult to say that in all cases these photos are of gay couples.)
 
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Anna Moor and Elsie Dale, 1900.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Empty Porn Sets
01.26.2016
08:51 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism
Sex

Tags:
photography
pornography
Jo Broughton

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Balloons set (2004)

I was once on a porn set. It wasn’t how I had imagined it would be. I was part of a production crew making a documentary about online porn. We were in the upstairs bedroom of a small terraced house in the north of England. Outside all the houses looked the same: red-bricked back-to-backs with cobbled lanes. Quiet streets, half-net curtains hung in windows. In a small bedroom a man who looked like Benny Hill wearing a blonde Beatle wig was directing two young girls in bikinis to cover their bodies with various food products. He was filming their antics for his web channel, telling the girls to squirt more mayonnaise down their cleavage, splatter more beans on their bottoms, get that ice cream all over their chins and so forth. Downstairs Benny’s wife sat by a coal fire patiently knitting, and sipping weak sweet tea.

Behind the fantasy set of latex curtains, paddling pool, ketchup bottles and assorted props was a small dingy room—the kind seen in Britain’s black & white kitchen-sink dramas of the 1960s. The smell of congealing food was nauseating but the girls who were smeared with it were laughing and joking and egging each other on to be more outrageous. Their onscreen activities seemed very unsexual. I was seeing the whole absurd scene—the bare floorboards, the peeling wallpaper, the small tripod lights—not the close-up titillation being broadcast to an excited online audience paying by the minute.

This dissociation between the pornographic image and its creation—between location and use—form part of Jo Broughton’s photographs of empty porn sets.

Broughton was studying a foundation art course at Thurrock, Essex, when she was sent for work experience to London, as she explained in an interview with Jean Wainright.

I thought what I was being sent to was a glamorous fashion shoot when in actual fact I walked into a studio in Hoxton to a nurses set being set up and a girl walking out of a changing room wearing suspenders and stockings, the full monty kit. Quite an abrupt Yorkshireman approached me and asked if I’d ever seen a “fanny up front” and I squeaked “No” and he replied “Well today’s your lucky day”.

[Fanny is British slang for “pussy” not rear end—the difference of meaning once disconcerted English jazz singer Cleo Laine when her American doctor said he was going to give her “a jag in the fanny.”]

Jo was supposed to be doing two weeks work, but dropped out of college and stayed with the studio for two years.

For a long time I had quite a problem with what was going on there, I was quite conflicted. I was green as grass; I’d never ever walked into something like that before…

..It was very contradictory in some respects to have this space where I was safe and had a connection to people that were “family” and yet it’s perceived as very unsafe to other people: it’s a safe industry because they work very safely but it isn’t your desired environment, I wouldn’t desire it for my child to work as a pornographic model. My conflicting emotions stayed with me and I hid it very well, where I’d been and what I’d been doing, for a long time.

She worked as a studio assistant.

...my job was to paint the set, make lots and lots of tea and to sweep up. I was just the dogsbody, to put up the lights; always give Steve a “pop”, meaning I’d have to dump the power on the light packs for him to do the light test. I had to put up the poly boards and all the normal stuff you do in a studio with the content of a sexual nature, which actually was very tame and quite tongue in cheek now.

Having left college and finding herself temporarily without a place to stay, Jo started sleeping on the studio sets at night. During the day she was working as a photographic assistant at major Sunday broadsheet the Observer. Because of how people perceived porn, Jo could tell no one what she was doing or where she was staying.

When I was working as an assistant we would get phone calls all day, somehow people had got hold of the studios number and they would scream obscenities down the phone and make threats. People were repelled and absolutely disgusted by the subject of porn; you just didn’t mention that you worked in the porn industry. So in order not to be tainted by that brush, I didn’t dare mention it when I was at The Observer because you just didn’t knew how people would take it, take what you did.

Then Broughton enrolled at Royal College of Art. She also continued visiting the studio every week and began working as a cleaner there.

I’d had these conflicting issues about these models seen as meat and I was doing all this feminist work and then I became Steve’s cleaner every two weeks. I became this… I don’t know how to describe it, this Igor character, cleaning up after someone. But also, I felt more humanistic towards the models, the industry and suddenly I started becoming more comfortable with it myself. I started to see this more human aspect because I’m seeing bodily fluids and I’m washing things and I’m in contact with almost what the untouchable is. You know, washing dildos and whatever, you’re there, at that point. And suddenly I started to laugh and see the funny side of it and going in and putting the radio on and seeing the set week after week after week, it would change. It made me laugh because you see the set, there’s so much work that goes into those sets and yet it’s still the same subject; tits and arse.

Broughton started photographing the sets at night. She was interested in revealing the reality behind the artificial glossy sex of porn mags.

I’m letting the audience in to see what I saw and also to take the power out of it almost. It is to say this is false, which I suppose pornography is, it’s false. I like the fact that there’s a brick holding up the poly-board that reflects the light, the ambiance coming in, the floor boards coming in. For me it’s really important to have those elements, also it shows humanistic elements of imperfections. Because in the magazines that its published in that would all be cut off and straightened and it would all be very glossy, so that was important. Also, I wanted to show the space I had this relationship with, that was important to me as well. This space doesn’t really know what’s going on, a table doesn’t know it’s a table, a porn set doesn’t know it’s a porn set and that’s almost what I was trying to do.

Each of Jo Broughton’s photographs was taken on a porn shoot. The bed sheets are crumpled and stained, stockings and shoes lie on the floor, discarded sex toys and lubricant are visible. The frame is devoid of people, only the evidence of sexual performance and the illusion of passionate intimacy remain.

More of Jo Broughton’s work can be seen here.
 
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Christmas November Set (2003)
 
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Nurses (2002)
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bruce Lee: Intimate photos of the martial arts legend and his young family
01.15.2016
10:44 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies

Tags:
photography
Bruce Lee
family

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Maybe it’s because I’ve become so used to seeing images of Bruce Lee from his movies—ripped, sweating and flashing his martial arts skills at some no good bad guy—that I find these photographs of Mr. Lee with his wife Linda and children Brandon and Shannon utterly charming.

Having grown-up with a wall covered in Bruce Lee posters and spent far too much time trying out nifty martial arts moves on anyone fool enough to let me, these pictures show Mr. Lee as just an ordinary Dad—doing what every doting parent does: playing with his kids, posing for that holiday portrait, showing off the newborn, or celebrating birthdays.

Of course, he would never dance like anyone else’s old man—as the mighty master of Jeet Kune Do was also an exquisitely graceful dancer who—in between waiting tables during his youth—gave dance classes. Which makes me think someone out there’s got a damn fine story to tell the grandkids about how Bruce Lee once taught them to dance the Cha-Cha-Cha.
 
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More of Bruce Lee and family, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Punk Under Reagan: Texas in the 80s
01.13.2016
12:45 pm

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
photography
punks
new wave
Houston

A scenester named Kevin Johnson (in the white glasses) dancing in the crowd at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
A scenester named Kevin Johnson (in the white glasses) dancing in the crowd at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
 
Houston-based photographer Ben DeSoto has been snapping photos in and around his nativeTexas for four decades. Back in the early 80s, DeSoto ended up interning as a photographer for the Houston Post. One of his favorite assignments was getting to take photos at a new club called The Island in Houston. Or, according to his editor, the place where they play that “new fangled” punk rock music. A place that already become a home away from home for the young DeSoto. The photos he took went on to become part of a documentary series called, Punk Under Reagan.
 
Female hardcore fans up in front of the stage at a Circle Jerks show in Houston, early 1980s
Female hardcore fans in front of the stage at a Circle Jerks show in Houston, early 1980s
 
Fans waiting for the Alien Sex Fiend show at Axiom, late 80s
Fans waiting for the Alien Sex Fiend show at The Axiom in Houston, Texas, late 80s
 
The Axiom in Houston, Texas back in the day
The Axiom in Houston
 
DeSoto has said that the experience of taking photos for the Post made him feel “uncomfortable in a comfortable way,” and I’m sure a large number of you reading this remember exactly what that felt like. Luckily for us, DeSoto soldiered on and came away with candid images that allow the viewer to step inside long-gone clubs like The Island, The Axiomand Raul’s in Austin, along with other spots whose walls attempted to contain performances by national acts like Fugazi, Black Flag and Nirvana, and the collective beer-soaked enthusiasm of Houston’s hooligan youth.
 
A punk band on the stage of Raul's in Austin, Texas, 1980
“The Next” onstage at Raul’s in Austin, 1980
 
Punks getting down at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
Punks getting down at The Island in Houston, Texas 1982
 
Devo fans hanging out in Houston, 1980s
DEVO fans hanging out in Houston
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Stunning vintage portraits of Canada’s First Nation People
01.07.2016
11:14 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
photography
Alex Ross
Blackfoot
First Nations

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Chief Owl—Blackfoot circa 1886.
 
During the 1880s, Canadian Alex Ross photographed many of the First Nations people who lived around Calgary. In particular, Ross documented many of the men, women and families of the Blackfoot—mainly of the Siksiká Nation—and the Tsuu T’ina—or as they were originally called, Sarcee.

Ross started his photographic career as an assistant in Winnipeg, but decided in his early 30s to relocate to Calgary and establish his own studio. The practicalities of taking pictures in situ—carrying equipment out on location where one was open to the vagaries of the weather—led to a boom in such studios, where backcloths could replicate any South Sea island, summer palace, or traditional suburban drawing room. Add to this the possibility of owning a seemingly permanent portable reminder of a loved one, family member or even deceased relative made photography a very profitable business.

Unlike some of his business rivals, Ross took a growing interest in the local First Nations and between 1884-91 he started photographing as many of the indigenous peoples as possible. He also photographed various of their camps across the Alberta province.

In 1891, Ross unexpectedly closed his business down. He died three years later in 1894 at 43 years of age. The Glenbow Archives own 125 of Ross’ original photographs—from First Nations people to family portraits, country scenes and livestock which they describe as “a brief but important visual record of the last two decades of the 19th century.”

Today there are 634 officially recognized First Nations governments, or bands, spread across Canada, “roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.” The total population is more than 850,000.
 
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Blackfoot children, date unknown ca. 1886-94.
 
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First Nations man and his wife, 1886.
 
More of Alex Ross’ photographs of First Nations people, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The forgotten mole men of Vienna’s sewers

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Long before Orson Welles (as Harry Lime) was chased thru Vienna’s subterranean sewers in The Third Man, the city’s labyrinth of tunnels, waterways and culverts offered a secret refuge to many of the homeless poor.

The story of those who lived amid the squalor and effluence may have been long lost had it not been for the work of journalist Emil Kläger and amateur photographer Hermann Drawe, who in 1904 started documenting this secret world. With a local criminal as their guide, Kläger and Drawe descended into the city’s lower depths. In case of attack, they carried knuckledusters and guns—police could offer no protection here.

Drawe photographed these men huddled together under staircases, piled like stones in culverts, or wandering across the dark waters of the River Wien—lost men who lived, slept, smoked, ate, fought each other and shared dreams of a better future. Sometimes with their help Drawe would reconstruct certain scenes—a robbery, a fight—based on testimonies collected by Kläger. They also visited and documented the lives of the homeless men, women and children who lived in the Christian hostels above ground.

Between 1905 and 1908, Kläger and Drawe presented their work in a series of lectures—the photographs shown as slides to Kläger’s commentary. The authorities tried to stop them. This was not how the they wanted Vienna to be seen—this jewel of the Hapsburg Empire, the city of Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, of waltzes, Art Nouveau, Kings, Queens, and Sachertorte.

The public disagreed. The men gave over 300 lectures. It led to the publication of a book of their work, Durch die Wiener Quartiere des Elends und Verbrechens (Journey through the Viennese quarters of crime and despair) in 1908. 
 
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Residents of ‘The Fortress.’
 
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Men sleep on piles of rubble.
 
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Sleeping under a spiral staircase.
 
More of Drawe’s photographs, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Gorgeous color photographs of Paris from over a century ago
12.14.2015
01:34 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
photography
Autochromes
Albert Kahn

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In 1909, millionaire banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn traveled to Japan on business. He was accompanied by his chauffeur and the photographer Alfred Dutertre, who he commissioned as his own personal Instagram to document his travels. Upon his return to his home in Paris, Kahn looked through the dozens of photos Duterte had snapped and decided he wanted to create “a photographic record of the entire Earth.” He therefore commissioned four photographers—Leon Gimpel, Stephane Passet, Georges Chevalier, and Auguste Leon—who were despatched, under the stewardship of project manager Jean Brunhes, to the four corners of the world with the simple directive to capture “a unique cinematic and photographic testimony of life of the people of the world.”

Using Autochrome Lumière—an early color photographic process that created color images with dyed potato starch on glass plates—and some early movie cameras, the photographers created an historical record of over 50 different countries between 1909 and 1929—taking 72,000 color photographs and shooting over 600,000 feet of film.

They documented in true colour the collapse of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, the last traditional Celtic villages in Ireland, and the soldiers of the First World War. They took the earliest known colour photographs in countries as far apart as Vietnam and Brazil, Mongolia and Norway, Benin and the United States.

Kahn was an idealist. He believed documenting the world through photographs and movies he could create a cross-cultural understanding between nations and bring global peace. Neat idea. However, with the Wall Street Crash in 1929, Kahn was forced to abandon the project. He died in 1940 leaving behind one of the most important and extensive historical photographic archives.

In 1914, Paris was one of the cities documented by Kahn’s four photographers. They captured the “City of Lights” on the very brink of the irreversible changes wrought by the First World War.
 
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More incredible color photos of Paris from 1914, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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