Over the course of her career Helen Levitt found no shortage of off-the-cuff comedy playing out in New York's streets. It's fitting then that Tim Davis shared Levitt's images with his photography students as examples of both levity and joy in the medium.
Inside the Cargill Meat Solutions slaughterhouse in Schuyler, Nebraska, is an area reserved by law for federal meat inspectors. Inside that area are a break room, two offices for veterinarian-supervisors, and locker rooms. Inside the men's locker room was my locker.
We live today in a world of systems. The way that we work and learn, communicate and socialize, conduct our finances and engage with our governments—all these fundamental aspects of our lives are increasingly mediated through digital networks of information.
Scientists in Karl Deisseroth's bioengineering lab at Stanford recently announced Clarity, an imaging technique rendering thick animal tissues transparent, along with a visually stunning image of a mouse brain turned clear. Clarity unmasks the camouflage of dense surrounding tissue.
Imaging technologies enable detection of frequencies far beyond the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. These have radically extended human perception, allowing us to peer deep into our cosmic environment. This photograph of the cosmic microwave background, or CMB, visualizes our primeval origins, what is believed to be radiation shortly after the birth of the universe.
Italo Calvino, the Italian writer, began his tribute to Roland Barthes in La Repubblica with a horrific image of defacement. Barthes, Calvino noted, had been disfigured beyond recognition by the accident that had killed him on February 25, 1980, lying unidentified for hours in the hospital.
Photography is working its mojo on Mumbai. Proving this is Focus, the city's first photography festival, which ran for two weeks last March. Tapping into citizen pride, the event peppered the conceit of "the city" across a multi-site program that encouraged people to engage with photography's pivotal role in modern life and contemporary art discourse.
This photograph was made by an unknown photographer in 1970 or 1971. The title could be A Dream Fulfilled. It is not a new acquisition: I have kept this photograph—it is large, at fortyseven by seventy inches—in my office for the past two decades.
I've always been obsessed with images of women listening to records. My favorites are scenes from Fassbinder films. At the conclusion of his first feature, Love Is Colder Than Death (Liebe ist kälter als der Tod, 1969), a female gangster lies on the floor in a stark white bedroom in front of a turntable.
I've loved Robert Adams's work for a long time, but I kind of just discovered him again—his understanding of the West, and all the processes, plans, and things that have been done to its landscape. I think his work jumps out at me now because it's so deeply political, in such a concrete, unspoken way; especially his book What We Bought: The New World, which, to me, documents the long tail of manifest destiny.
These images by John Chiara and Matthew Brandt are the most recent additions to our collection. I was drawn to them by their common sense of urgent exploration of the principles of photography. These young artists have both found their inspiration in the very origins of the medium— the use of lenses, light-sensitive material, and the different chemicals that make latent images visible.
The East Village block where Saul Leiter lives and works is a short walk from any number of reminders of what the neighborhood used to look like—the Strand Bookstore, the pierogi emporium Veselka. In mythic times this was a landscape hopping with artists who frequented the Cedar Tavern and the Club, among them Richard Pousette-Dart, who early on encouraged Leiter to continue his explorations with a camera.
We tend to think of photography as a silent medium, but visual artist and composer Christian Marclay, known for his projects that explore the interplay of image and sound, reveals the sonic dimension of images. For his project Shuffle (2007), Marclay photographed musical notation found in everyday miscellany —on signage, clothing, and objects—eventually publishing the photographs as a deck of cards.
It was sometimes hard to take seriousness seriously in the 1960s and '70s. Robin Kelsey considers a group of artists who turned to games, whimsy, and clowning around as vehicles for their work. In the 1960s and '70s, a bevy of artists experimented with photography as a means of making art from play.
Photogeliophobia: Fear of Funny Photography— A Diagnosis
What is it about photography and its history that makes so many photographers suppress their sense of humor? Xanthias: Master, should I tell the usual jokes which always make the audience laugh?... Dionysus: Don't you dare, unless you want to make me sick.
Austrian artist Erwin Wurm's principal medium is sculpture, but his ephemeral works are often realized through his use of photography. His One-Minute Sculptures, an ongoing series begun in the late 1980s, are documented performances carried out according to Wurm's instructions and characterized by playfulness, slapstick, absurdity, and an engagement with the ordinary.
Are our information-age lives all play? Brian Droitcour considers John Gerrard's computer graphics simulations and Jon Rafman's investigations of online role-playing games and Google Street View. What is play? We can think of it as work's opposite.
Jacques Tati's legendary 1967 film is a masterpiece of physical comedy and a send-up of modern living. Visually generous and shot in 70mm, the film continues to resonate with still photographers. Playtime (1967) is the great labor of love crafted over three years by the maverick French filmmaker Jacques Tati.
On March 18, 1990, one of the most brazen art thefts of all time took place at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Two men dressed in police uniforms made off with thirteen of the museum's treasures, including Jan Vermeer's The Concert (1658-60), Govaert Flinck's Landscape with an Obelisk (1638), and three works by Rembrandt.
Human beings are shaped by desire. We hope and yearn for what we do not have, driven by thoughts of the people, things, and experiences we covet. Our longings may appear as cravings; conversely, they may crop up as but innocent ripples, pleasantly skimming the surface of consciousness.
Why should Thomas Mailaender, a contemporary artist known for his impudent provocations, want to present us with photographs of students climbing on the roofs and walls of colleges at the University of Cambridge in the mid-1930s? The Night Climbers of Cambridge was first published in 1937, by Chatto & Windus, a respectable publishing house in London.
Japan's Showa period lasted sixty-four years, from 1926 to 1989. Kazuyoshi Usui's Showa 88 is set in a world that doesn't exist, projecting twenty-four years into the future of an era that has long since ended: it is a speculation on what things would be like if the Showa period had continued to the present day.
James Mollison's projects are defined by original, conceptual conceits applied to serious social or environmental issues. His 2010 book Where Children Sleep recorded children's sleeping spaces across the world and socio-economic strata.
Bruno Ceschel considers a group of photographers from Switzerland driven to play. In a letter collected in his book On the Aesthetic Education of Man, philosopher Friedrich Schiller discussed the role of art in eighteenth-century society.
In Fotocronache: Photo-Reportage, an amusing treatise on photography published in Italy in 1944, Bruno Munari staked out his position regarding the meaning of the picture-essay. Munari had been art director of the illustrated weekly Tempo from 1939 to 1943, and had mastered layouts for other Italian periodicals covering fashion, literature, and aviation; he was aware of the modern currency of photography and capable of engineering words and pictures on a page.
In her Drape series, Eva Stenram plays with found images, pinups from the 1960s. The title refers to the curtains that are a pervasive element of studio pornography. This is digital montage with a particular set of rules. Although Photoshop allows images to be combined in infinite ways, Stenram works only with what is already found inside the original frame of the photograph.
Dr. Julius Neubronner's Miniature Pigeon Camera 1903
Nadar famously produced the first aerial photographs in 1858, when he floated above Paris in a hot-air balloon with camera in tow. Approximately fifty years later, German pharmacist Julius Neubronner devised a way to literalize the term for such pictures: "Vogelauge Ansicht," or bird's-eye view.