Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Service of Sights, Some Better than Others

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Alistair Steinberg at Museum of Illusions

I’ve always enjoyed historic house tours. How good they are depends partly on the docent but the experience is rewarding regardless for the peek at how people lived in the day, the art they collected or the décor, gardens and architecture they chose.

The other morning, on WOR 710 AM, Len Berman and co-host Michael Riedel mentioned a tour of Madison Square Garden that they thought was a waste of time and money. What’s the point, they said, of visiting an empty arena and seeing a virtual Billy Joel concert for $30+ a ticket? The Expedia description notes, in part: “This exciting 75 minute guided tour celebrates over 130 years of Garden history and gives exclusive access inside this legendary venue.”

Austen and Alistair Steinberg @ Museum of Illusions

Nancie Steinberg recently posted great photos on Facebook taken at the Museum of Illusions in NYC. They made me want to visit. Be sure to bring someone with you to take best advantage of the photo ops–her sons are in photos above and at right and her husband also enjoyed the illusions.

Laura Feasey recently covered some curious museums in “Mood Upswing,” in The Wall Street Journal. Like the Museum of Illusions, they also offer countless opportunities to take fun photos and post them on social media. In fact, that was the approach of her article–they were super Instagram-able. She reported that the cost of each is around $35.

If you’re in LA, you might want to wait in line at the Broad Museum to see Yayoi Kusama’s installation that “features LED lights reflected endlessly in a mirror-lined room.”

In NYC at the Color Factory you’ll see “a dive-in pit filled with 500,000 pastel blue balls. Other top draws: the conveyor belt of pick-your-own macarons and, less delectably, a collection of fake vomit.” Feasley chose to add The Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco for its photogenic pool of sprinkles and giant gummy bear.

Color Factory. Photo: designboom.com

You have only a month to visit The Museum of Pizza at the William Vale hotel in Brooklyn, NY. with its “ ‘cheese cave,’ made of silicone, a ‘pizza beach,’ and a space for ‘pizza meditation.’” The exhibit closes November 18. Opening in LA in December is 29Rooms, a frequent pop-up sight that in the past included “a human snow globe and walk-in womb meant to simulate the in-utero experience.” It arrives in L.A. in December.

Launching museums designed to inspire selfie opportunities where visitors promote it on social media is 2018 marketing-smart. But don’t all the signature sights around the world from the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building serve the same purpose? Except for the inspiration what’s the difference? Have you visited some memorable sights—terrific or disappointing? Can any collection of things become a legitimate museum? Have you noticed that traditional museums increasingly offer unorthodox exhibitions that resemble those in Feasey’s aticle?

Museum of Ice Cream

Service of Sticking to the Rules

Monday, May 4th, 2015

camera 1

I read about an Italian photographer–Giovanni Troilo–whose first prize in the Contemporary Issues category was revoked by the organizers of the World Press Photo competition because he’d staged the winning images in his “The Dark Heart of Europe” series. Staging was against the competition’s rules.

First PrizeHenri Neuendorf reported in “World Press Photo Winner Giovanni Troilo Busted for Faking and Stripped of Prize,” on artnet.com: “In a statement Lars Boering, the managing director of the Amsterdam-based organization, said ‘We now have a clear case of misleading information and this changes the way the story is perceived. A rule has now been broken, and a line has been crossed.’” Neuendorf credited The New York Times with breaking the story.

What did he do? Troilo lit the back seat of a car in one of the photos of a couple supposedly making love. Turns out the man was his cousin. Another was staged in a Brussels photo studio, not in the town supposedly featured: Charleroi, Belgium. How was he discovered? Because the Charleroi Mayor saw his photo essay and objected to the negative portrayal of his town and observed that some of the photos weren’t even taken there.

styling photo shootWhat interested me was that other photojournalists felt he should have nevertheless been awarded his first prize. Neuendorf wrote: “New York-based photographer Yunghi Kim conceded ‘I don’t fault the photographer, it just seems World Press is having an identity crisis.’”

Do you agree with Kim–that there was wiggle room to let Troilo keep his first prize and that the competition’s judges were too harsh? Or was World Press Photo competition management correct in awarding the prize to the second place photographer?

no big deal

Service of Time vs. Result: Is it Worth It?

Monday, April 27th, 2015

clock 2

I wonder if anyone remembers my dinner parties of yore: After a 60 hour week at work I’d spend all Saturday making a complicated main dish from scratch. As I saw my guests swallowing the food which was gone in minutes, I’d wonder whether those hours of prep were the best use of my time. Would anyone know the difference if I’d simply roasted a chicken? Would they have had a better time?

An actor friend immediately related to this. It takes hours and sometimes days to set up what becomes just a few minutes of film. Does the general public get the nuances? Do they add up to an Oscar or a great review?

photog shooting living roomIt’s the same with still editorial photo shoots. You warn homeowners that it could take all day to get three good shots of a single room after a team styles and lights each to perfection. The homeowner is baffled. Do those who see the result in a magazine or online realize the effort that went into what’s on the page? Are the editors trying to impress their readers or other editors?

photog shooting modelA friend who works with models says some will tell her, as they arrive on a job, “I’ll be done in an hour, right? I’m meeting a friend.” She’ll tell them “Cancel your date; you’ll be here for hours.” The results are in catalogs and on Instagram and in fashion magazines. Had the session been shot in a flash would anyone be the wiser?

Too much time spent on a project must be treated like shoes that don’t fit: More than annoying but forget it and move on. Do you always spend the right amount of time for each task? Do you feel that there are some elements of a project you could deep six and nobody would know the difference? Are some projects time sponges and there’s nothing you can do about it?

shoes that hurt

 

Service of Nostalgia II

Monday, July 30th, 2012

kodakcolorama

Christopher Bonanos wrote in New York Magazine, “When it was removed in 1990, few tears were shed, except maybe at Kodak.” He may have been right. I was the exception to prove the rule.

He referred to the 18 x 60 foot Kodak Coloramas in Grand Central Station. He noted: “…the big glowing billboard came to be seen not as a great piece of Americana but as kitsch unworthy of the terminal’s Beaux-Arts architecture.”

kodaksurfersIn the day, you couldn’t miss the Colorama if you entered the station’s central hall. My dad would let me know when there was a particularly spectacular image I shouldn’t miss, which may be one of the reasons I was particularly fond of the display. A loyal subscriber to National Geographic, he, too, took spectacular photos and appreciated others’ work. My nephew Edward also has a photographer’s eye.

grandcentraloldThe exhibit of prints at the New York Transit Museum annex at the back of Grand Central [open through October] is part of the great station’s 100th anniversary celebration. The prints didn’t grab me, nor did they make me feel nostalgic and I don’t think that they do the Colorama’s images justice. How could they? They aren’t oversize backlit transparencies.

And there was something else I saw in the images selected for the exhibit that I didn’t notice when looking up at the originals from the marble floor or if I did, the detail made so little impression that I don’t recall. In most, there were people taking photos of others. It makes sense as Kodak sold cameras and film. Amateur photographers weren’t in all the shots in the exhibit-there was one of deer on snow where I couldn’t find a shutterbug anywhere, even peeking out from behind a tree.

Photography has made huge strides since Kodak, now defunct, ruled. For most of the Colorama’s 40 years, you wouldn’t see photography sold at art shows and people didn’t collect it. Photoshop didn’t exist for the amateur in the 1950s and I doubt that digital photography was a beam in anyone’s eye.

I’m grateful to the exhibit for reminding me of something I shared with my dad, of my first camera–a simple Kodak box–and how much I, too, still love taking pictures. Do you remember the Kodak Colorama? What exhibits have strummed nostalgic strings for you?

coloramadisplay2

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