With occasional reflection on the perpetual absurdity/intrigue of life and society in general.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Photo Captures Double Lightning Strike - Images of Intrigue

Sometimes, a photographer goes out in search of a good photo--and, because of unforeseen circumstances, he comes back with a great photo, one that gets displayed all over the world.
Links: NPR

Friday, June 18, 2010

Photojournalism - To Win Afghan Trust, Village By Village (NPR) - Images of Intrigue

Photojournalism from Afghanistan - by David Gilkey/NPR
Follow the link to view a 13 image slide show of these extraordinarily poetic, but intensely reflective photographs recently taken on assignment by David Gilkey. There is honesty between the stylistic artistry of the images and the brutal realism of subject matter.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bressonian Quote #11 - Notes from a Master Filmmaker

"(1925?) The TALKIE opens its doors to theatre which occupies the place and surrounds it with barbed wire." - Robert Bresson

Bresson's negative sentiments toward theatre will be clarified in upcoming Bressonian Quotes. His qualm was not with theatre per se, but with the detrimental marriage of theatre and film, and the artistic restrictions it imposes - particularly in defining commercial narrative expectations.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Leon Levinstein, The Lonely Photographer (NPR) - Images of Intrigue

It's the burden of a successful photographer to answer the dreaded question: What makes a great photograph?

But sometimes a photographer will proffer an unsolicited view. Like Leon Levinstein, who, in a1988 interview, gave his thoughts. "A good photograph," he said, "will prove to the viewer how little our eyes permit us to see. Most people only see what they've always seen and what they expect to see. Whereas a photographer, if he's good, will see everything."

And Leon Levinstein, although perhaps an unfamiliar name, was a good photographer.

There's a common canon of 1960s street photographers, which includes names like Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and Robert Frank. They received grants and awards, sought magazine assignments and gallery showings, and their names are always the first to roll off the tongues of photo historians and critics when discussing that era of street photography.

But one photographer, whose work rivals theirs, has remained in relative obscurity by choice; he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. The man, Leon Levinstein, summed it up himself in that 1980s interview. "You gotta be alone and work alone," he said. "It's a lonely occupation, if you wanna call it that." - Follow the link for the complete article on NPR.

To view online or visit a thorough retrospective of his work:

Hipsters, Hustlers, and Handball Players: Leon Levinstein's New York Photographs, 1950–1980
June 8, 2010–October 17, 2010
The Howard Gilman Gallery - The Metropolitan Museum of Art

See the Collection Database for a list of works included in this exhibition.
Download the audio file. MP3 (5.29 MB) - Excerpts from 1988 archival recording, Leon Levinstein talks about his work.
Leon Levinstein (American, 1910–1988), an unheralded master of street photography, is best known for his candid and unsentimental black-and-white figure studies made in New York City neighborhoods from Times Square and the Lower East Side to Coney Island. This exhibition, drawn exclusively from the Metropolitan's collection, will feature some forty photographs that reflect the artist's fearless approach to the medium. Levinstein's graphic virtuosity—seen in raw, expressive gestures and seemingly monumental bodies—is balanced by his unusual compassion for his offbeat subjects from the demimonde.

Born in West Virginia in 1910, Levinstein moved to New York in 1946 and spent the next thirty-five years obsessively photographing strangers on the streets of his adopted home. Early in his career, Levinstein was quoted in
Photography Annual 1955: "In my photographs I want to look at life—at the commonplace things as if I just turned a corner and ran into them for the first time." With daring and dedication to his subject, Levinstein captured the denizens of New York City at extremely close range. He used his superb sense of composition to frame the faces, flesh, poses, and movements of his fellow city dwellers in their myriad guises: sunbathers, young couples, children, businessmen, beggars, prostitutes, proselytizers, society ladies, and characters of all stripes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Perhaps the Greatest Sports Ad ever recorded...

This may be the greatest sports ad ever recorded - 3 mins. long, an insane and eclectic cast, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (badass auteur/director of Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Biutiful - recently premiered at Cannes), probably cost as much as his features, and, my god, the editing! It's a shame it's Nike, but i don't know who else could have pulled it off. Enjoy the media experience - especially Futball fans - and try not to dwell on the shameless marketing indulgence until after soaking in its brilliance a bit.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Poet Peter Orlovsky, Ginsberg's partner, dies at 76 - SF Gate reports

Peter Orlovsky was a sweet and handsome 21-year-old with a troubled past when he met Allen Ginsberg in San Francisco in 1954, and the two forged a relationship that would last for decades and transform their lives.

Mr. Orlovsky, who became a poet in his own right but was always overshadowed by Ginsberg's fame, died Sunday in Vermont. He was 76 and had battled emphysema and lung cancer.

"When Peter and Allen met, they were both troubled," said Gerald Nicosia, a Marin County poet and biographer of Jack Kerouac. "Ginsberg was troubled by his homosexuality and afraid to be a poet, and Peter had come from this family defined by mental illness, and he was living in San Francisco and wondering where his own life was going."

Within a year of meeting Mr. Orlovsky, Ginsberg started writing "Howl," a poem that was first performed Oct. 7, 1955, at the Six Gallery in San Francisco and published a year later. The controversial poem became a seminal work of the Beat Generation.

"Allen was the brains, and Peter was the heart," said Nicosia. " You couldn't be around him without feeling this love radiating from his eyes."

Read more:

Another lost Beat - so sad, so few left to tell the stories from one of our most intriguing generations.