This Week in Photography Books: Hinda Schuman

  Have you ever seen “The Godfather Part III?” Be honest. Have you ever sat through the whole thing? I didn’t think so. (I watched it back in the day, but that was a long time ago.) Well-before Sofia Coppola became known as the director of such films at “The Virgin Suicides,” and the excellent “Lost in Translation,” she appeared as a vastly under-qualified actress, playing a lead role in the final film in her father’s trilogy. Sometimes, as Americans, I don’t think we grasp the reach of our culture. Our cinematic and television history has impacted kids growing up across the planet. Take Norway, for instance. I’m currently binge-watching the brilliant “Lillyhammer” on Netflix, starring all-time great Jersey guy Steven Van Zandt, also known as Little Steven from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and as Silvio throughout the entirety of “The Sopranos.” Like his buddies Bruce and Jimmy Iovine, he’s become a full-fledge superstar in his own right. I’ll spare you any further, in case you want to catch up, but there are Sopranos and Godfather references sprinkled throughout, even though the entire production was Norwegian, beyond Mr. Van Zandt. (Who also served as writer and producer.) But back to my original question. The reason you have likely NOT watched “The Godfather Part III” is that before the internet, someone mentioned that they heard from their cousin that it was long and terrible. (Or maybe just terrible.) “The Godfather Parts I and II” are rightfully known as masterpieces of 20th Century Art. They were as good as the medium of celluloid cinema can get. So why make Part III? Sometimes, you’ve got to know when to quit, people. You want to leave the stage while they’re still screaming your name.
(Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!) That’s what
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This Week in Photography Books: Ira Block

  In life, the only constant is change. (If that isn’t a hell of a koan, I don’t know what is.) Life moves in cycles, as do orbits. The wheel of karma turns, and eventually makes its way back around for everyone. What was once young becomes old, and then dies. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but most of us avoid contemplating our mortality. Denial works for Climate Change, sure, but also for the slow decline of our mental and physical faculties as we push the boundaries of aging. Take baseball, for instance, It was once considered America’s pastime.
Mickey Mantle.
Babe Ruth.
Hank Aaron.
Willie Mays. These were the most famous guys in the country. A generation of Baby Boomers grew up idolizing their favorite ball players; rhapsodizing about the mythical Ebbet’s Field in Brooklyn, a Mecca for the fuzzy memories of a generation. (Including my own father.) Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I followed baseball on par with football and basketball. I liked the before-and-since-putrid New York Mets, who were briefly good, and won the World Series when I was 12. I stopped watching baseball in earnest about 15 years ago, during the steroid crisis. Something about seeing smug Barry Bonds get away with it, and cynical San Franciscans defending his awful behavior, soured me on the sport. That was about the time the Mets choked their way out of contention two years in a row under Willie Randolph, and again, they’ve only been good two or three times in 30 years. Now, it seems the Mets are cursed by the ghost of Bernie Madoff. The team owners, the Wilpons, profited heavily from his schemes, and were forced to pay massive fines that have since crippled their team. But really,
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This Week in Photography Books: Tara Wray

  I saw the greatest Kung Fu movie the other day. New stuff.
Nothing vintage. Netflix had been nudging me to watch “The Bodyguard” for a long time, as Chinese action movies are strong in my personal algorithm. (I don’t know why I resisted.) Oh, sweet algorithm.
You know me so well. “The Bodyguard” not only features living legend Sammo Hung, but it was the first film he directed since the seminal “Once Upon a Time in China and America.” (Thank you, Wikipedia.) Sammo plays a fat, old, retired super agent, but his weight is not his biggest problem. Unfortunately, Sammo’s character, Old Ding, is suffering from serious dementia. Like, so-bad-he-lost-his-own-granddaughter level dementia. (And they never found her, setting up his tragic backstory, some of which was unspooled in a short, wonderful, animated sequence.) What’s that?
Have I ever seen a fat, old, senile action hero before? No.
I have not. I mention all of this because the final battle scene takes place between Sammo and three massive, nasty-looking, fully-tatted-up Russian gangsters, presumably trained in Sambo and jail-fighting. One had a knife as big as a sword, and in fairness, Sammo did take them on one at a time, but then he (SPOILER ALERT) kicked each of their asses and killed them individually. I mention this here because last night night, after dinner, I was telling my son about all this, and how cool it was that Sammo beat up three Russian bad guys. (An old guy! Who knew?) Theo looked at me like I had a fork sticking out of my ear. “It was in the movie, right? I mean, it was staged.” Then my wife piped up, trying to save me embarrassment.
“I think he means the choreography was really good, honey.
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This Week in Photography Books: Steven Bollman

  The internet’s out, so I’m grumpy. Yesterday, it was the electricity. That’s life here in the Rocky Mountains. (And in New Mexico in particular.) You learn quickly that everything is a trade-off. On the one hand, we have the nature and the culture, both among the most unique and astonishing in the US. On the other, we have the poverty and incompetence, which compete daily in a twisted dance of darkness. If you study ancient religion and philosophy, it’s clear that different groups of humans, in disparate parts of the planet, came to an understanding of the power and ubiquity of opposites. In places as widely spread as Far East and Southern Asia, the Middle East and Peru, iconography or words developed to specifically describe the phenomenon. We’ve all seen cheesy tattoos of the Yin Yang symbol, but that doesn’t strip it of its import. We Jews have the separation of Earth and Sky in the opening of Exodus, and the Chavin de Huantar culture, in the Andes, made art in which graphic lines had two purposes: strands of hair also functioned as snakes. These days, when someone wants to discuss dualistic thinking, without any nuance, they describe it as being black and white. (We’ve all said it: he or she doesn’t understand complexity, and only thinks in black and white.) Ironically, as any photographer knows, black and white photography is all about shades of gray. Tonal range is defined by it: how many different gray tones have you produced to create a rhythm with your whites and blacks? Black and White photography was the gateway for almost all art students, before the 21st Century. It was the first language you learned, before moving on to color. These days, only a tiny percentage of photographers learn one
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This Week in Photography Books: Sigrid Ehemann

  It’s cool to be funny. Funny has power. It’s why a female comic with frizzy hair and a high-pitched voice went from little-known, to globally famous a few months ago. As I don’t regularly watch The Daily Show, (despite what a recent column suggests,) I certainly hadn’t heard of her before the Huckabee-Sanders-Kerfluffle of 2018. (Try saying Huckabee-Sanders-Kerfluffle five times fast. I could only make it to four.) Anyway, I was re-watching “Back to School” with my son last night, and unsurprisingly, it held up. (As did “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which we saw last month.) Rodney Dangerfield, a fellow Jew, was a genuinely strange-looking guy. From our contemporary vantage-point, there is no f-ing way that anyone who looks like THAT would ever be the romantic lead in a comedy. Ever. But still, Rodney pulled it off, bug-eyes and all. (Seriously, he bugged out his eyes A LOT.) And Sam Kinison, another not-looker with very strange style, (and crazy hair,) also held his own on the screen. (They don’t make them like that anymore.) Funny has gravitas because it is often a coded way of speaking truth to power. (Or in Ms. Wolf’s case, not-so-coded.) Funny allowed Donald J Trump to become the third most powerful man in the world. (Xi Jinping, Putin, then Trump, if we’re counting.) Trump uses funny to disarm, but also because it allows him to say and do terrible things, and then deny he meant them. “I was only kidding. Locker room talk.” “I didn’t openly mock a disabled person, even though they caught it on tape.” “God, why are you so serious. Can’t you take a joke?” Funny is entertaining, and Trump honed his entertainment skills on NBC for ten-ish years before being famous
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This Week in Photography Books: John Divola

  Growing older isn’t sexy. (And it isn’t always fun.) I rolled my eyes in deep mockery when I heard the millennial term “adulting” for the first time. As a bona fide adult, (with two kids, a mortgage, student loans and car payments,) I thought it was a cheeky way to trivialize how hard it is to keep all those balls in the air at once. But as I thought it over, I realized it was kind of an absurdist word for an absurd concept. Growing up. Most people stop growing, physically, by the time they’re 18. Just yesterday, in the newspaper, I saw an 18 year old referred to as a “man.” Personally, I’d say an 18 year old boy, or a kid, but the Santa Fe New Mexican obviously disagrees. People can grow, physically, by getting fatter or building muscles, but we mostly use it to refer to the process by which we get taller, and then it stops for a while, before we begin to shrink. But growing, emotionally, is a process that need not be bound by age. Rather, in my experience, it’s a mentality. Are you willing to look carefully at your flaws and weaknesses? Are you willing to admit when you’re wrong and apologize meaningfully? Are you curious about how your life might look if some of your flaws became strengths? It’s that kind of attitude that allows people to grow, no matter their age. And it can take positive forms too, of course. What have I always been dying to learn?
What would I like to try before I die?
Where am I desperate to visit, and am I willing to move mountains to make it happen? You get the point. Personally, I like being 44. Since I turned 40, I
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This Week in Photography Books: Kristine Potter

  “I would argue that Manifest recapitulates the dehumanizing role of division in the conquest of the Frontier, by divorcing agency from lifeworld.” –Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, November 2017, in the official essay for Manifest   You might need to read that quote a couple of times to understand it. I’m pretty bright, (so they tell me,) and I’m still not sure what it means. In effect, I’m tipping my hand about the book I’m reviewing today, but we’ll get to that later. (As always.) Rather, I’d like to focus on the use of language itself up above. One of the things that distinguishes this column from other spaces that investigate photography is that I endeavor to come across as a “regular” guy. We talk about big ideas, sure, but I wrap them in jokes, or Pop Culture references. There was a time when I was a fan of flowery similes, but after the NYT got a hold of me, I began writing clause-packed sentences dense with information. (Like this one.) Even so, it’s important to me that the language I use is accessible, as I want people to understand what the fuck I’m talking about. In the tradition of the great inscrutable Frenchmen, (Derrida, Foucault,) some writers, and their attendant writing, rather aim to create barriers around their concepts. They utilize words like solipsistic, tautology, hermeneutics. I’m sorry, but most Trump voters, the populi to his populism, would get angry reading a sentence like the one I lead with today. (And in fairness, the sentence that followed it DID include the word solipsistic.) It makes people mad to feel like they don’t understand something. That they’re dumb.
That you’re smarter than they are, and you know it. I think that feeling, that sense of inferiority, of being
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This Week in Photography Books: Donald Weber

  Hi everyone. How’s it going? Did you miss me? I took last Friday off, as you may have noticed, as once a year Rob gives me a break from the weekly deadline. This time out, I wisely eschewed email and social media, got in the new family cruiser, and headed North with the wife and kids to Colorado for a little R&R. Or that was the plan, at least. We had a great vacation; maybe the best ever. It was fun, and filled with lots of family QT, (including swimming in pools and springs,) but relaxing it was not. As it happens, my 10 year old son has become addicted to basketball over the last six months. At first, he was just watching it on TV, LeBron James in particular. Then, about three months ago, he got interested in playing, and has been insanely obsessed ever since. It’s all he talks or thinks about, and if he’s not practicing at the court, he’d like to be. (Just so you can visualize, our local hoops are behind the volunteer firehouse, next to an irrigation ditch and a goat/sheep pen.) Luckily for Theo, there was a great park across from our motel, with a pristine basketball court, and another in the tourist district of the town we visited, so we played there too. I dragged my tired, 44 year-old-carcass to the court three times a day, including in the blazing Rocky Mountain mid-day sun, to make him happy. Also, because it seemed karmically appropriate. I learned about sports from my Dad, and as I’ve written over the years, it has been a massive passion since childhood. I played three sports going up, (one per season, including basketball,) and watched endlessly on TV. (Which I still do.) I even blog
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This Week in Photography Books: Claire Rosen

  Imagine an alien planet, teeming with life. There are plants, trees, rivers, oceans, and lots of creatures. Bunnies, of course, but also lizards, horses, orangutans, beetles, rhinoceros, and thousands of other species. (Or their alien-planet equivalent.) Then, all of a sudden, (in geo-time,) a new species emerges, called the Krackstock. These Krackstock are rapacious, and begin churning through the planet’s resources. Soon, they enslave the chicken, cow and pig-like creatures, and set up death camps for each species. After the ritualized killing, at massive scale, the Krackstock would then eat their victims. Eventually, most of the existing species were in peril, as was the health of the entire eco-system of the planet. (I don’t know, let’s call this fictional planet Narcinon.) If you were watching a movie, a great early-George-Lucas-style sci-fi flick, wouldn’t the Krackstock be the bad guys? They’d have to be, right?
Devouring an entire planet? We’d hate the Krackstock, and actively root against them, as some Super-Bunny came along to save the day! (I’m guessing you’re on to my sly metaphor by now…) According to all science, we, humanity, are living in a burning building of our own making, yet many actively deny it’s even happening. (Frog, meet pot.) As Climate Change seems so enormous, yet not-sinister, it’s a menace that might make Earth uninhabitable for almost any life. How is this not a greater priority for people? I think it’s exactly because the problem is immense but faceless. It seems like there’s nothing to be done, but that’s not true. Sure, you can install LED lights and save electricity. Put in solar panels. Eat less meat. Buy a more gas-efficient or electric car. Minimize your use of packaging. Recycle.
Re-use. But there’s one, concrete maneuver that you don’t hear enough about… Planting
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This Week in Photography Books: Katsu Naito

  Once upon a time, Billy and Sally Bunny were frolicking in the front yard. Behind them, Aspen trees swayed in the light breeze; the leaf-flutter shadows dancing on the wall. (Yes, bunnies know what shadows are. Duh! What did you think, bunnies were dumb, because they have small brains?) Sally Bunny had her back to the trees, and the rich, red fence behind them. Billy Bunny faced her, his back heels sitting on the concrete steps that divided the front yard in two equal parts. (Of course bunnies can do math. Get with the program!) Sally and Billy faced off, and then Sally pounced at Billy, her front legs a blur, like vintage Cassius Clay, as they forced Billy back. “I didn’t have to step back, you know. I wanted to,” he taunted. “You wanted to? Are you fucking kidding me? I made you step back. My Bunny-Fu is far too quick for the likes of you. Puny bunny,” Sally replied. “Oh yeah, let’s go again. Again, I say. Again!” The bunnies resumed their positions, and upon some instinct-driven signal, Sally pounced, and Billy retreated. Again. “I did it again! Admit it. You’re no match for me.” “Whatever. You’re faster. A better bunny-fighter. I get it. You win. Satisfied?” “Not really. When you put it like that, it takes all the fun out of it,” Sally said. “Fine. I’ll try again. You’re the best bunny fighter I know. Much quicker than I will ever, ever, ever be. (Pause) Is that better?” “I’ll accept it.” “Do you think the humans know we can see them,” Billy asked? “What do you mean, do the humans know we can see them?” “Standing there at the window. The four of them. Do you think they
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This Week in Photography Books: M L Casteel

  Last Friday, my dog died, and I sold my car. In the same morning. By Monday, I had a better car, and a profound sense that a new phase in my life had just begun. You can dismiss it as Taos-New-Age-mumbo-jumbo if you like, but in my experience, our lives are almost always divvied up into chapters. You move.
Take a new job.
Break up with your spouse.
Have a falling out with your friends. Sometimes, the delineations between one iteration of our “self” and another are hard to parse. Other times, like last weekend, it’s impossible to miss the signs. (Especially as I traded up to a much nicer ride.) By now, if you’ve been reading this column for a long time, you’ll know I had privilege, comfort and safety in my childhood. My father was a lawyer when I was young, so we had a nice house, and nice cars. Harvey drove a Mercedes, a BMW, and a Porsche at different times, back in the 80’s and 90’s. (Now, it’s a sensible, 4 cylinder Honda SUV.) Throughout my childhood, it was always assumed I’d be a lawyer, like him. Everyone I knew, adult-wise, was a lawyer, doctor, dentist, accountant, stock-broker, bond-trader, or something of that ilk. Ending up as an artist, living in New Mexico, was a pretty hard left-turn. (If I had told my 15 year old self where I’d end up, I think he would have had a nervous breakdown.) But the one thing I never, ever, ever would have considered doing as a career? Going into the military. If you’d told the 15 year-old-me to make a list of professions, soldier would have been at the bottom of the list. For real. Following orders. Shaving your head. Getting yelled at. Sleeping
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This Week in Photography Books: Barbara Diener

  Nobody likes a know-it-all. It’s the reason some people hated Barack Obama so much. (Including my own aunts and uncles.) Obama was so confident in his intelligence, so suave in his mojo, that he never really thought to mask either. Some people, insecure though they may be, find that sort of attitude arrogant, and the use of mental acumen as “professorial.” (Despite the fact that being a professor is a high-status job, the term is normally used as a pejorative.) Arsene Wenger, the legendary Arsenal soccer coach, who stepped down recently after 22 years, (it wasn’t voluntary,) was painted with the same brush. With his oversized glasses, big 90’s suits, and weird Gallic accent, he was an easy target. (I still maintain that Sacha Baron Cohen imitated Arsene in “Talladega Nights.”) Beyond the perception of arrogance, the other main irritant is that people don’t like being “lectured.” It’s a subset of reality that people don’t like to be told what to do in general, but they hate being “lectured.” In college, a lecture is a positive experience. It’s where you go to learn, and hang out with friends and colleagues. Lectures are where we build community. As an opinion columnist, (and long-time professor,) I’m always in that place; trying to inform, but not lecture you or get preachy. It’s always best to stop before enough is too much, but knowing there’s a line, and then trying to find it, is tricky. I try to keep the direct-admonitions and from-on-high-proclamations to a minimum, but I don’t avoid them. Today, for instance, I want to go back to that word: community. It’s something many of us crave, and it needs to be watered and nourished when it does spring into being. But man, getting people
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This Week in Photography Books: Philip Trager

  One of our readers sent me a powerful and arresting email today. I’m not going to divulge details, but a man wrote that he’d been deeply affected by the information in Laia Abril’s book last week. I don’t get emails like that often, so props to the sender, but it also ratifies my decision to continue to use this platform to talk about real ideas. Things that matter. Rob encouraged me to write this way back in 2010. (That’s right, I’m celebrating my 8th anniversary next month.) And I’ve stuck by it ever since. Take today’s book, “Photographing Ina,” for instance. It’s odd that I’m reviewing it, as it’s been on my shelf for a couple of years now, still in plastic wrap. It had been sent in a small shipment by Steidl, (a rare occurrence,) and I’d reviewed another by Philip Trager, along with a sister book of NYC images by Richard Sandler. (An NYC double-double back in 2017.) For some reason, I’d never looked at this one. The light hitting the plastic caught my eye, otherwise I would have kept right on past. (I was returning my first choice book to the stack, as it was also by Dewi Lewis, and I didn’t want to repeat publishers back to back.) The cover is pale green, like sun-bleached St Patrick’s day decorations. The image, cropped and vintage, features a young-ish woman with eyes closed OK.
I was curious. The book opens with little warning, and then set of images of a woman in older middle age, who’s photographed in a variety of ways, including mirrors. Are they digital composites, or clever placement of objects in the real world? I guess, (correctly, I later find,) that the woman is Ina Trager, and the photographer is
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This Week in Photography Books: Laia Abril

  Sometimes, in life, people find themselves in what is known as a “no win” situation. Basically, it means you’re fucked.
(No matter what you do.) Take Michael Cohen, for example. I remember the first time I saw him on TV, vociferously defending his boss, Donald J. Trump, in the summer of 2016. “What a clown,” I thought. “A buffoon. A caricature of a wanna-be gangster.” I knew so many guys like that back in Jersey, because the real mob kids didn’t need to front. As we all know, his boss did become President, and it appears Cohen was an actual criminal, not just a Fugazi. (Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t a very good one, as he was so easily caught, once they started looking.) Setting aside one’s personal political beliefs, this is Peak-American-Absurdity right here. Rudy Giuliani, another NYC 80’s player, and formerly “America’s Mayor,” has now inserted himself into the mess, and went from “we’re going go wrap this Mueller investigation up shortly” to incriminating his client on Fox News in two short weeks. Compared to the Scaramucci era, two weeks is practically an eon. But back to Cohen.
The rock, and the hard place. MC is currently facing a long prison sentence, (for campaign finance and potential money laundering violations,) or he has to roll over on Trump, the Number 1 worst thing a fixer can possibly do. It’s a long stint in jail, or turn Rat.
Snitch.
Traitor. Can’t say the guy doesn’t deserve it, but he’s most certainly facing no good options. (And I hate that he gives Jews a bad name.) There are worse situations, though.
Far worse, if you can believe it. Can you imagine being a mother, with cancer, and being told you can’t get an abortion to
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This Week in Photography Books: Matthew Brandt

  Within the African-American community, the idea of reparations is a popular one. (As far as I understand it.) The plan, which calls for a massive payment to be made to all African-American descendants of slaves, is not without precedent, as West Germany paid reparations to Jews after World War II. After hundreds of years of breaking up families, and precluding community from emerging naturally, the actions of Southern Whites are still felt today, and can explain the vast chasm in income inequality that exists. It’s also an idea that gets lots of Conservative White People angry as hell, as it contravenes their sense of “individual responsibility.” Not to mention, money for reparations would clearly come from taxes on all other Americans, including White People. Hopefully, most of us have seen Dave Chapelle’s hilarious skit on Reparations, or the one with Clayton Bigsby, the blind, black white supremacist. Chapelle used humor to both present these ideas, and also slough off any sense that they might happen IRL. Some ideas are too radical to seem possible even in the 21st Century. Short of the US Government dispersing Billions of dollars to try to level an unequal playing field, it is often left to individuals with power to do what they can to boost those who come from less-privileged circumstances. If Diversity Matters, but is hard to achieve without concerted effort, then it makes sense to pay attention to the people who are putting their money where their mouths are. (So to speak.) In this case, I’m thinking of the New York Portfolio Review, which is presented by my editors at the NYT Lens Blog, in conjunction with Photoville’s Laura Roumanos, and hosted by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in NYC. I attended the event on Saturday,
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This Week in Photography Books: Jo Ann Chaus

  Control is an illusion. Human beings, IMO, see themselves as far more important to the Universe’s ecosystem than we actually are. It explains why we took over Earth, subjugating all other species to our needs. (Seriously, did you see that viral story about the baboons escaping from a Texas research facility by boosting over barrels?) We are far from the only intelligent life form here, yet we act as if we are. Perhaps I’m not telling you anything you didn’t know, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as I work to sublimate my ego. (I’m not trying to get all Buddhist on you, but I have been enjoying the Dalai Lama’s Twitter feed lately.) What could be more 21st Century than the Dalai Lama, and the President of the United States, spreading their ideas around the planet, in real time, via an app created by (likely) stoners in NorCal? Basically, I’m suggesting we’ve reached “Peak Absurdity” in 2018, and it’s time to admit that none of us know what the fuck is going on. Not me.
Not you.
Not anyone.
(Especially not DT Junior. Boy, does that kid seem dim.) Here’s the hard truth: not everything makes sense, and the good guys don’t always win. While that might be a great synopsis of “Westworld” Season 1, it’s also an apt description of our Global times, with authoritarianism on the march in so many places. And that reality is the impetus for today’s book review, as I recently put down “Sweetie & Hansom,” a cool, self-published photobook that showed up in the mail a few months ago, by Jo Ann Chaus. I met Jo Ann at Photo NOLA in December, and we hit it off. As I wrote in my post-review-review, she is a Jewish
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This Week in Photography Books: Jo Ann Chaus

  Control is an illusion. Human beings, IMO, see themselves as far more important to the Universe’s ecosystem than we actually are. It explains why we took over Earth, subjugating all other species to our needs. (Seriously, did you see that viral story about the baboons escaping from a Texas research facility by boosting over barrels?) We are far from the only intelligent life form here, yet we act as if we are. Perhaps I’m not telling you anything you didn’t know, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as I work to sublimate my ego. (I’m not trying to get all Buddhist on you, but I have been enjoying the Dalai Lama’s Twitter feed lately.) What could be more 21st Century than the Dalai Lama, and the President of the United States, spreading their ideas around the planet, in real time, via an app created by (likely) stoners in NorCal? Basically, I’m suggesting we’ve reached “Peak Absurdity” in 2018, and it’s time to admit that none of us know what the fuck is going on. Not me.
Not you.
Not anyone.
(Especially not DT Junior. Boy, does that kid seem dim.) Here’s the hard truth: not everything makes sense, and the good guys don’t always win. While that might be a great synopsis of “Westworld” Season 1, it’s also an apt description of our Global times, with authoritarianism on the march in so many places. And that reality is the impetus for today’s book review, as I recently put down “Sweetie & Hansom,” a cool, self-published photobook that showed up in the mail a few months ago, by Jo Ann Chaus. I met Jo Ann at Photo NOLA in December, and we hit it off. As I wrote in my post-review-review, she is a Jewish
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The Lost Rolls America Archive

  Last week, I said I like to shake things up. And I meant it. So today, we’re going to pivot away from book reviews, and bring you a special feature about the Lost Rolls America Archive, a project led by NYU professor Lauren M. Walsh, and photojournalist Ron Haviv. I wrote a piece about the endeavor for Lens in late 2016, just as it was getting started. The gist is that Fuji offered to develop and scan one roll of lost or forgotten film from anyone in America. All you had to do was dig the film canister out of your couch cushions, or the back of your fridge, and send it in. (Apparently, the archive is now closed.) They sent back the scans, and then each person picked one (or more) of the photos to be included in an archive of lost images from contemporary America. (And occasionally beyond, as you’ll see below.) Now that the Lost Rolls America archive has gathered steam, there are several hundred images posted online, in a database of forgotten moments. Lauren and Ron were kind enough to answer a few questions about the project, and mass-culture-photography in general. They also allowed me to edit the following series for you, as a way of looking for through-lines in the burgeoning archive. There’s an exhibition of images from the LRAA in an airstream in Los Angeles this week, in conjunction with the MOPLA, so if you’re in SoCal, go check it out. (Photo credits: All images copyright Lost Rolls America Archive, and the photographer. The photographers are as follows: Rikki Reich, Ed White, Russel Gontar, Stephen Desroches, Scott Ellerby, Jessica Lipkind, Jeremy Harris, Jonathan Schaefer, Mary Croft, Beth Urpanil, David Burnett, Terry Bliss, Philip Maechling, Orquidea, William Bennett, Beth Urpanil, Nora Continue reading "The Lost Rolls America Archive"

The Lost Rolls America Archive

  Last week, I said I like to shake things up. And I meant it. So today, we’re going to pivot away from book reviews, and bring you a special feature about the Lost Rolls America Archive, a project led by NYU professor Lauren M. Walsh, and photojournalist Ron Haviv. I wrote a piece about the endeavor for Lens in late 2016, just as it was getting started. The gist is that Fuji offered to develop and scan one roll of lost or forgotten film from anyone in America. All you had to do was dig the film canister out of your couch cushions, or the back of your fridge, and send it in. (Apparently, the archive is now closed.) They sent back the scans, and then each person picked one (or more) of the photos to be included in an archive of lost images from contemporary America. (And occasionally beyond, as you’ll see below.) Now that the Lost Rolls America archive has gathered steam, there are several hundred images posted online, in a database of forgotten moments. Lauren and Ron were kind enough to answer a few questions about the project, and mass-culture-photography in general. They also allowed me to edit the following series for you, as a way of looking for through-lines in the burgeoning archive. There’s an exhibition of images from the LRAA in an airstream in Los Angeles this week, in conjunction with the MOPLA, so if you’re in SoCal, go check it out. (Photo credits: All images copyright Lost Rolls America Archive, and the photographer. The photographers are as follows: Rikki Reich, Ed White, Russel Gontar, Stephen Desroches, Scott Ellerby, Jessica Lipkind, Jeremy Harris, Jonathan Schaefer, Mary Croft, Beth Urpanil, David Burnett, Terry Bliss, Philip Maechling, Orquidea, William Bennett, Beth Urpanil, Nora Continue reading "The Lost Rolls America Archive"

This Week in Photography Books: Gabe Wolf

  Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t easy. You’d think it would be, as the phrase has become a parody
of a cliché of an aphorism. I dispense advice here, almost weekly, and pontificate on issues big and small. (Politics. Economics. Art. Racism. War. Movies. Sports. Family.) I’ve found it’s easier to give advice than to take it. Nobody likes to be told what to do, so teaching and inspiring work better without sanctimony. Part of how I try to stay fresh is to force myself to grow and change, even though it’s hard. (Just the other day, I reminded a family member that not doing things, just because they’re hard, is the opposite of the artist mentality.) But with respect to taking my own advice, (which I could be better at,) this week, I accepted help from a friend, when all my traditional instincts were pushing me to figure it out on my own. I’ve had print-head issues lately, and have to make a new portfolio for the NYT Portfolio Review later this month. I was on the verge of paying a fair amount of cash for mediocre machine prints, when my buddy was offering to use his considerable expertise, badass printer, and high-end-Hahnemuhle paper for free. My wife and friend both pointed out that it seemed reasonable and wise to accept his offer. To take the help: better prints, no money. But every part of me, which isn’t used to asking for favors, was trying to find a way out. Then I remembered a comfort zone
is the place where we do what we always do. Our patterns and habits. So I shut up for a moment, thought about it, thanked my friend profusely, and started thinking about some great presents to buy him to
Continue reading "This Week in Photography Books: Gabe Wolf"