The New ICP : Still the house that Capa built?

The legacy of social consciousness through photography was a cornerstone of ICP, created by Cornell Capa in NYC.
Once housed way upper East Side in a mansion, then moved to mid-town, and now, its new iteration is right on one of the most historic streets in NYC: Bowery!

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So, what’s different? Well, a lot, and yet the DNA is the same.
From the outside, you can see the floor to ceiling glass walls with an inviting cafe as soon as you go through the door.
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Plus there are huge community work tables, so you can hang, have a snack, contact the world with some free wi-fi. At the same time you are surrounded by current photographic experiences covering the walls.
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The new bookstore stocks more bespoke,small press type publications, as opposed to the range in the old ICP, which contained some of these type of pubs, but went up to high-end limited edition book. And they convinced Sarah Goldberg, one of the most knowledgable, and friendly people, to come back and run the store.
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OK, so the vibe walking in is wholly different, and a way more modern approach from the previous space.
The current exhibit, Public, Private, Secret, curated by Charlotte Cotton, begins with a combination of slide shows and film, bringing up the world of social media, and what becomes our combined messaging.
“The real beauty of the time we’re living through is that we can deploy our self-image in ways that can have radical social implications.”
– Charlotte Cotton, Surveillance Revisited, Guernica

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Between the 2 initial exhibition pieces, is a mirrored walkway so you immediately get into the “look at me, look at you” vibe.
No, it’s not Cartier-Bresson, but more on that in a bit.
So that’s the upstairs.
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The downstairs space has been brilliantly curated to lead the viewer through various stages of communicative transparency, over the last century, although the primary focus (sorry) is from mid-century on.
One of my favorite series was a live streaming, live curated, set of monitors, that centers on specific topics: celebrity, lost persons, hotness, outward contact by social media stars, and morality
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There are square monitors that deliver current messaging, and is a living piece of art.
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Created by Mark Ghunheim, who comes from the world of media analytics, curating on-line messages and mentions for clients, he and his team have now used that skill set to create fluid installations that reflect what is going on now. Like, right now. Brilliant! Deserves multiple visits for this alone.

In a hi-tech examination of a woman stretching, you get to hear her thoughts as you watch her, via headsets.
Incredibly high quality CG images.
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yes, there are some vintage images:
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WeeGee is tucked into a corner as wallpaper, but don’t fret – they have a full exhibition of his work, at their Jersey City location.

And a series of salon cards:
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Another highlight is a grouping of stills from the classic movie Blow-Up.
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The series are the images the protagonist shot, almost by accident, of a possible crime scene, that he illuminates the details by yes, blowing up the images. Note that this series as well, is pinned up by push pins on the wall.
The mix of the precious photographic sensibility, and the lo-key mounting of the exhibit, is art of the new wave, according to Charlotte Cotton, it seems.
Please also see her curated show at the Aperture Gallery “Photography is Magic”

I don’t mean to bury the lead, as it were, as I’ve walked you through some first impressions of the current exhibit.
The fact is that this new look at photography will make many classicists angry. No doubt.
This is not the show of reverence of the Sebastio Salagado massive images. Nor the show of Robert Capa color images. (showing in another ICP venue)
Or even the found Mexican Suitcase images.(also now showing at another venue)
It’s new. and current. and relates to our lives today.
Don’t be afraid.
The directors of the ICP know that it is a bold move, they have even scheduled upcoming exhibits that may be an easier transition for you.
They also have other venues.
Next summer, there is an exhibit called Magnum Manifesto, and you can’t get more classic than that.
Earlier this year, the Tisch at NYU exhibited a retrospective of Robert Frank’s work, all printed on newsprint and pinned to the walls. The concept of showing the images in that manner, took away the fragile, highly insured, rare silver prints, and concentrated on the message of the images. Up for only a short time, it was taken down and burned at the close. The catalog was a Steidl printed newspaper, which sold for $5.
The new show at ICP takes this concept to the next level.

As I mentioned in the very beginning of this post, the apparent message of the original ICP, was one of a social commentary brought forth by the still image.
The art form is shifting, while keeping it’s base.
Embrace this show and it’s concept, as that is how we move the power of photography forward.

A note for those, like myself, who also love the masters, and appreciate our collective visual histories, there are currently incredible groundbreaking exhibits on view now, that will inevitably travel.
Or get the catalogs, all of which are beautifully printed.I’d say buy from the museums, for support,but we all know that Amazon has the best deals. I mix it up. Sometime after seeing a show, I want to do a deep dive and dig in right after the viewing, so purchase from the gift shop on site.
Diane Arbus at the Met Breuer
Danny Lyon at the Whitney
Nan Goldin at MOMA

Mix it up. Enjoy the new work, and try to get your head wrapped around it. Do I love it all? No.
Am I challenged by it? Sometimes. And that’s a good thing.

250 Bowery
New York, NY 10012

Diane Arbus: In the Beginning – Met Breuer Reveals Never Seen Photographs

The images of Diane Arbus are forever burned into my brain.
Her Aperture Monograph was a gift in 1970, and when she took her own life a year later, the photographs of those on the fringes, were forever perceived as a deeper insight into this artist’s mind.

How did that complex photographic journey begin for her? After she and her husband had a successful commercial photography business, she left it and started on the revelatory road that created the work the world is now familiar with.

Diane Arbus. Lady on a bus, N.Y.C. 1957.

Diane Arbus. Lady on a bus, N.Y.C. 1957.

© The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Opening July 12, 2016, is Diane Arbus-In The Beginning, at the Met Breuer (Metropolitan Museum @ 75th and Madison. the former Whitney) you will be treated to over 100 photographs that the public has never seen before.

This expansive show, reveals her early work, shot with a 35mm, and available light.
A huge departure from where she went with a Rolliflex, and on-camera flash.
Sure, the camera has relevance, as it relates to how she shot, but it’s the images she made that is of historic importance here.
But since you’ll ask…..
Traditionally, the street photography of those like Walker Evans, who secreted a camera in his clothing to make his famous photos on the subway, to Helen Levitt who employed a right angle lens to maintain a stealth quality to her photos, kept the photographer at a kind of distance. Anonymous.

Diane Arbus. Jack Dracula at a bar, New London, Conn. 1961.

Diane Arbus. Jack Dracula at a bar, New London, Conn. 1961.

© The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Diane Arbus’s subjects knew that she was in front of them with camera. The photograph became all about the person in the photo, who knew she was right there. Nothing hidden. As this show illustrates, this method of hers came early on. Was it her studies with Lisette Model influenced this? Or maybe just confirmed this direction, and her inner voice.
The 35mm using available light is much more of a quiet statement or tool, than a twins lens reflex with a big flash bulb, that she eventually adopted. Remember though, that the twin lens requires you to look down at a ground glass, and with the 35mm, you look through it directly at the subject.
The exhibit pays homage to that sensibility, as it displays her early work on separate, tall, walls, to give each image the individuality that her subjects had.

You can weave in and out, taking in each image, or go from row to row. The layout allows many viewers to study, and catch it all, without being jam-packed. Well designed exhibition.

Kudos to Jeff Rosenheim who has curated this show with a passion, that is very evident on the walls, and the catalog. The story of how the images came to the museum, and this show came to be, was 9 years in the making.They are part of the museum’s Diane Arbus Archive, acquired in 2007 by gift and promised gift from the artist’s daughters, Doon Arbus and Amy Arbus.

Some of the key things are that all of the images in the main room, were shot with available light. Her later, more well-known work, was shot with a Rolliflex, twin lens reflex, and an on-camera flash. You’ll see that in the last room.

Although the photos in this first room have a real world feel, it’s not documentary, but more conversational. There is a connection with the subjects that is palpable. Diane Arbus is the conduit. You can see the subjects in this set were the beginning of the work to come. Those on the fringes, and their tales told in the light of day, or illuminated by the light of their venue.

One of the repeated themes are her photographs of parents with children. Holding their hands, carrying them, and their interaction. I asked about this recurring imagery since the show was curated, and decisions were made.
Mr. Rosenheim reminded me that at the time, she was the mother of 2 small children, so the subject was a familiar one. Confirming that life concerns helps tell her story. With that emotion illustrated, where did the other photographs get their impetus?

A major item needed to point out is that this entire show of her work, was all printed by Diane Arbus. The previous shows had a mix, or presented prints masterly printed by Neil Selkirk, below.
DSCF5004 There was a common rumor that she was not a great printer, and the Selkirk prints showed what could be made with the negatives. Mr. Selkirk was on hand at the preview, so I asked rumors and he answered:
“Bullshit!” said Selkirk.
That’s one rumor laid to rest.
You can see her brilliant printing skills, not only in the 35mm early work, but in the last room containing a rare portfolio of 10 images. This is the cover of the portfolio, encased in the original plexiglass box.


In this portfolio are her most iconic images. She printed perhaps, a dozen of these sets, and only 4 sold: 2 to Richard Avedon,one as a gift to Mike Nichols, One to Jasper Johns, and one to Bea Fielter, which is now in the Smithsonian. Only $1000.

In between these 2 rooms, there is a sitting area with 3 prime Diane Arbus books: The Aperture monograph, the catalog from the massive traveling exhibit of her life, Revelations, and the catalog from this show. Yep, buy it. I have gone through twice on the first day. Beautifully printed by Rizolli of Spain, take this work home with you and pour over it because it not only has the photographs, but selected notebook pages. There is one of her contact sheets in the book, and that is always a good tell on a photographer. Her vision was consistent.
In this room there is also an intriguing selection of the photographs of her contemporaries, to give you a perspective of what the photography scene was at the time.

Diane Arbus. Kid in a hooded jacket aiming a gun, N.Y.C. 1957.

Diane Arbus. Kid in a hooded jacket aiming a gun, N.Y.C. 1957.

© The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC. All Rights Reserved

This is a show that you will want to see over and over. In the early work, where each photograph gets it’s own wall, you can scan, revisit, and drink in the imagery. The middle room gives you a perspective, and chance to look over tomes of her career. The final room holds the brilliant printmaking, and shares the iconic images you know. Damn, wish I was around and had the $1000!


I’m a huge fan of Diane Arbus. Have been my whole life. This exhibition was highly anticipated, and fulfills every expectation.
The historical importance of this early work cannot be underestimated. It gives an insight to the trajectory of Diane Arbus’s life’s work, while celebrating her skills as a printer. To see a show where every image was made by the photographer, who has passed away 45 years ago, is remarkable.
The hand of the artist is evident, and brings clarity.

Diane Arbus-In The Beginning

The Met Breuer
July 12, 2016 -November 27th, 2016
945 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Phone: 212-731-1675

Oh, and don’t forget to have a look at the original photo paper boxes, that stored the prints. Old school, from the archives.

Messenger Bag Roundup Part 3 : ThinkTank Photo – CityWalker 20

The only way to truly figure out what camera bag works best for you is to determine the gear you need (want) to have with you, when you leave the house/office.
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Is it a full DSLR rig, with 2 bodies and all the glass? Or get small with a mirrorless system? Messenger bags take care of a certain type of shooting set-up, so if you really want to figure out your perfect (or near perfect) bag, take the gear you’ll be needing to carry down to your local brick and mortar camera store, and put your goodies into the proposed bag. And wear it. You’ll see soon enough what works for you.
It’s kinda like trying on a pair of shoes and walking around the store. Wouldn’t hurt to buy your bag from them, either. HAvinga good relationship with your local photo dealer is a great thing to have.
Of course, plenty of places online have good return policies. It’s your time and hassle for that effort. And make sure you can get to things like PhotoPlus Expo, to see and try em all.

The ThinkTank CityWalker 20 has been on my shoulder for almost 2 years now, because I pre-checked. This is a great lightweight, transformer, type of messenger bag, that has been designed by the pros at ThinkTank Photo, with the right amount of pockets, dividers, and comfort, that will bring you lots of use, both as a camera bag, and a daily bag. It’s perfect for street photography, and for the other 50% of your life, when you need to keep the weight and profile, low key.
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It does come with one of the better made foam inserts, as a separate bucket with dividers,that velcros to the bottom of the bag. I personally don’t use it in the bag, but use it to build out shooting systems, and then store them safe and readily available.
I’m careful with my gear, but not precious.
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So, on the inside are 2 interior pockets on either end with a velcro strap on top. In one, I always put a charging battery, and cable in there, and can add my phone, so I have a great little charging station.
In the other pocket, either a SpeedLight for a DSLR, or a 90mm lens, if going mirrorless.
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There is an easy access pocket in the back, that is great for documents, and yes, some snacks. C’mon, sometimes standing at an event waiting on the key action, can make you a bit hungry. On the 2 outside side pockets, you have mesh, so easy to see what you have, and an elastic top to loosely secure whatever you put there.
Many times, I’ll put my sunglasses on one side, and a water bottle on the other. Or if I’m in a working situation, the speedlight may go there for easy access.
Plus, in the interior at the back, a zipped document section, that pretty well mirrors the outside pocket in size.

Then comes the magic front pockets. Each one has a good wide velcro strap to secure the goods in there, nice and tight.
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The front pocket has all of the dividers you want: pens, LensPens (my fave lens cleaner), business cards (yep, people still use em), media card wallet connectors, and just some extra space. I can put a Fuji-X100T in that pocket and it is easy to access, and always at my fingertips.

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The main body of the bag, I can put a Nikon D810 with a 24-70, 70-200mm, OR a sweet 28-300, with room to spare. Plus a smaller prime.
Going mirrorless? OK, a Fuji X-T1 with grip and a 56mm, a 55-140 in the side pocket, and a 14mm on its own. A little light configuration.I can put batteries in one of the front pockets, but more often than not, they are in my pants pockets.

The flap has the ThinkTank silent velcro option, and a buckle, so you can either go loose closure, or the tighter, noisy velcro. Yep, I’m always in silent mode. In addition the top flap has a zipper pocket, for docs or small items. I put a plastic bag with aspirin, wipes,gum, sunscreen packets, chapstick, etc.

The strap is well made, with a good wide webbing, and the shoulder “grip” is adjustable and stay where you want it. They added a thin hand carry strap, and it has come in handy, especially when taking a sit break.And there is also a business card clear window holder, so when you leave it somewhere, people can find you. Don’t ask.

You can tell i have a lot to say about this bag as I’ve used it for over 2 years. It has the high quality that ThinkTank Photo bags all have, and as a lightweight, soft, bag, it’s usually the first bag I reach for when going out on a walk.

from the folks who made it:

And here is a video portrait from ThinkTank on one of their CityWalker users:

What I don’t do with it, is add a tablet or MacBook Air. When this bag has that added weight, plus a power cord/block, the loose structure is not the best for me. So, this does not become my bag for all-in-one office in a bag use.
I have, in the past, moved to a backpack for that added weight. Like the ThinkTank Perception 15. A great working backpack, that I grew to love. More for the versatility, than as a perfect camera bag. Right tool, for right job.
What I carried on July 4th: Fuji X100T (23mm f/2) Fuji X-T1 with a 55-140 zoom, Fuji 14mm, batteries, cards, water bottle, moleskin notebook, Theta S 360º camera, brimmed hat, snacks, lenspen, media car wallet, small gorillapod tripod, with giotto head, phone charger, with cable, business card case, and press credentials.

Oh, here is a shot from the Theta S at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Arcade

Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

For about $100, this bag is a strong recco. One that should be in your repertoire.

Next up, the bag that does it all.

RIP Dave Heath – Friend, Mentor, Teacher: 1931-2016

One of the most influential photographers in my life has passed.
dave heath010
I went to a particular school,Ryerson in Toronto, just to make sure I could learn from him.
We became friends, and what he taught me, is deeply ingrained in my visual thought process.
Here is the obit from NYT.

The following is an article I wrote about his last book, which was an amazing retrospective of his life and work, and the photobook of the year, last year, in my opinion.

When I left LA, there were 95 boxes of photo books that went into storage.
Since moving into a city where space is at a premium, my book purchases have taken a nose dive, and only a very select few make it through the front door. Yes, I’m talking about the printed books, not the ones that live on my iPad.
Today one of the finest books I’ve seen in a long while, showed up in the mail.
Multitude, Solitude The Photographs of Dave Heath51jbvWomarL
Have to call this my choice for Photo Book of the Year. Rare do you find a combination of salient text, along with a full collection of a master photographers work, brilliantly printed, and the book itself, a tightly crafted item.
The size of the book is right, and no images run in the gutter, a pet peeve.
In the front of the tome, you get a history of Dave Heath that helps give you insight into the man. After a full, rich, collection of photographs, including the out of print book, “Dialogue With Solitude” you also get a an insight into the man as a photographer and artist.
And also maquettes (mocked up layouts) of book he made along the way
Do not pass this up before it goes out of print. I have only done one pass with it, and know that many more are ahead. Michael Torosian has been a maker of fine books for years, and his involvement in the is one, assured quality. It does not disappoint. If you care about photography, and want to make a discovery, buy this book.

Sure, I’ll admit that he was one of my teachers. It was after seeing him do a talk, that I decided on my college.
In looking back at his work I can see why we also connected. His vision speaks to me, and I’ll bet it speaks to you as well.
Even as just a solid book, this is a masterpiece. $52? A fantastic deal!

Light Em Up!! Photographing Fireworks Guide

(This is a previously published article, but the fireworks haven’t changed, so it should all still hold true.)

Living in A Powder Keg and Giving Off Sparks!

Continue Reading »


Upcoming Events

Is there an event we should know about?
Let us know on twitter.

Current Exhibitions

  • Met Breuer
  • Diane Arbus-In The Beginning
  • July 12th – November 27th, 2016
  • 945 Madison Avenue
  • New York, NY 10021
  • Phone: 212.731.1675
  • Whitney Museum
  • June 17, 2016 – Sept. 25th, 2016
  • 99 Gansevoort Street
  • New York, NY 10014
  • Tel: 212.570.3600
  • Getty Center
  • Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium
  • March 15–July 31, 2016
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Nan Goldin
  • May 26–August 10, 2016
  • 11 West 53 Street
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel:212-708-9400
  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • Simen Johan
  • May 26–August 10, 2016
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel: 212-414-0370
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • MAY 5 – JUNE 29, 2016
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • KlompChing Gallery
  • Cornelia Hediger, 02/01-07/09
  • June 1st-July 16th, 2016
  • 89 Water Street
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • 11201
  • Phone:212.796.2070
  • Peter Fetterman Gallery
  • Neil Leifer
  • June 4 – September 3, 2016
  • 2525 Michigan Avenue Gallery A1
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • 90404
  • Phone: 310.453.6463
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Crime Stories: Photography and Foul Play
  • Through July 31st, 2016
  • 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
  • New York, NY 10028
  • Phone: 212-535-7710

Is there an exhibition we’re missing? Let us know on twitter.

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