Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Part 1-The Books

There is nothing more satisfying than sitting down with a book of great photographs. The stories, the inspiration, the common thread for all of us here.
And of course the books that help teach us what is within us to make better photographs.
I had the list all ready and then today, I was startled by a new entry:
Nothing Personal by Richard Avedon and James Baldwin

Out of print since 1964, this cult classic is being reprinted by Taschen, including a supplemental 72 pg catalog. (I’m told)
I was just at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea NYC, when I saw this showing of original prints, contact sheets, correspondence, pertaining to the book. Before I left the gallery, I bought one,pre-order. Should be shipping beginning of Dec. so you should be good. about $55.

This just in: New Avedon bio coming Something Personal

In the pure fun category, is the Martin Parr coloring book. Yep, line drawings of his most iconic photos for you to color in. Bt wait…you also get a couple of pages of stickers of his photos. about $15.( $12 at Aperture!)
Next up, is the new Helen Levitt book, One, Two, Three, More
A smallish book, which when I first saw it, was underwhelmed by the size.
However the print quality, and the images are superior. Mostly unseen images, the title refers to how many people are in the photographs. A perfect addition to your collection.

Looking for inspiration? Know a photographer on your list who could use some assignments to kick start some visual projects?
This book by Aperture, again, is one of my favorite gifting ideas.
With an assignment per page, it is a fun, way to focus (sorry) your photographing non-paid gigs. With assignments from people like John Baldessari, Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jim Goldberg, Miranda July, Susan Meiselas, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Tim Walker, and many more. How about $18?

Of course, Lauren Greenfield’s Magnum Opus Generation Wealth is a masterpiece as a culmination of insights and images from a 25 year search for answers in what drives the human spirit to strive for wealth. Told from a primarily female perspective, the urge to achieve wealth, or keep the legacy of the money,is a fascinating book, you will look at again and again.Large and in charge, this 6lb tome will run you $56. from Amazon.

A throwback to the 70’s is this collection of goodies from Mike Mandel: Good 70’s
Look at all of the things you get in the Agfa like box!
One of my favorites is the collection photographer baseball cards, complete with stats on the back. Set you back about $88, and well worth it!

and of course, the book I feel should be in everyone’s library: The Family Of Man– the most well attended photo exhibit to this day. Illustrating the human condition, 256 photographers from around the world, showed in the 1955 exhibition at MOMA.

Splurge on the hardbound 60th anniversary edition. Or you are good with the paperback as well. You will not be disappointed. I usually have at least 5 copies of this around to hand out. $35.

Yes, there more this year, but I’ll just trim the initial list to this.
More gift guides coming! Gonna get all gear-y on you as well.

Magnum Partners with Aperture For A Spectacular Print Sale!

Ahh, fall is in the air, come inside, and dress up your walls!

One of my favorite print sales is the Magnum Square Print Sale, and now it’s even better: With a partnership with Aperture, and called Great Journeys, they had added to the image choices in the best way. Some of your favorite images from over 100 photographers.

SOUTHERN AFRICA. Lesotho. School children during a rainstorm. 1981.

© Chris Steele-Perkins / Magnum Photos

What I love about this sale is the low cost of entry. Getting a museum quality print, for the easy price of $100. is pretty great.
Now remember, the prints are 6″x6″.
That allows your to…
A: Buy More
B: commit less wall space to incredible imagery.
C: get someone on your holiday gift list a unique piece of art (once again without making them commit to a large space to hang it!)

There is a time stamp on this sale: It runs from 9AM EST Monday 30 October until 6PM EST Friday 3 November 2017. Signed and estate stamped, museum quality, 6×6” prints from over 100 artists will exceptionally be available for $100, for 5 days only, from And you can order it already matted and framed!

One thing I would advise is to pick images that would live best in the small size. I have found that the size allows me to hang them in key places so I get a great view every time I pass that part of the room. Tile hang a few, perhaps above a light switch you always use, or that empty part of your eye’s view that could use some inspiration.

So here we go:

John Lennon in front of The Statue of Liberty, NYC. October 30, 1974. © Bob Gruen courtesy Aperture
“The U.S. government was trying to deport John Lennon because of his support for the peace movement during the Vietnam War, so I suggested we take a picture at the Statue of Liberty to illustrate that America was supposed to welcome people. Since Lennon’s death, this photo has taken on a new meaning as people think of John Lennon in terms of personal freedom similar to the Statue of Liberty.” – Bob Gruen

Ram Prakash Singh with His Elephant Shyama, Great Golden Circus, Ahmedabad, India 1990

Ram Prakash Singh with His Elephant Shyama, Great Golden Circus, Ahmedabad, India 1990 © Mary Ellen Mark courtesy Aperture
“I’m always looking for something that’s a little on the strange side, some kind of tension or a feeling that is slightly off-putting. This picture of the elephant and his trainer is one of my most well-known pictures from the Indian circus. He had the elephant perform that for me (I think he was showing off). But what makes the portrait work so well is the elephant’s expression. I took several pictures of this act, so much so that the elephant got fed up. He looked at me from the side as if to say, “Ugh, Mary Ellen, that’s enough. This is your last frame.” Afterward, the trainer insisted that I get my picture taken with the elephant’s trunk around me. It was very heavy!”

(this is a particular favorite of mine.)

USA. New York City. 1955. James Dean haunted Times Square. © Dennis Stock / Magnum Photos
For a novice actor in the fifties this was the place to go. The Actors Studio, directed by Lee STRASBERG, was in its heyday and just a block away. “James Dean wasn’t a star when this image was taken. It was days before his breakthrough film came out. He had a passion, but no idea what, if anything, would come of it. He certainly did not know stardom was about to hit. Things weren’t looking bright at the moment; it was a rainy, gloomy day. He was a small, lonely, nobody, on his own journey, walking through Times Square, with big buildings in the background brooding over him. Dennis called him, ‘every man.’ He would say, ‘He’s all of us, wondering what the hell the future will hold.’” – Susan Richards, widow of Dennis Stock

HUNGARY 1968 © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos
“For me, any photographic journey has the possibility of being great. Even if the journey is going to the corner store to buy a quart of milk. Photographic opportunities are everywhere. From the exotic to the banal. The result depends on a photographer’s curiosity, perception and luck.” – Elliot Erwitt[/caption]

And Who doesn’t love a little Wegman in their lives?

Contact. 2014 © William Wegman courtesy Aperture
“‘Contact’ is a photograph I made with my long-legged dog Topper, by positioning his four legs on three pedestals. The pose is not natural for the dog. He had to concentrate and that gives the image its energy.” – William Wegman

James Baldwin at City College of New York. 1978 © Dawoud Bey courtesy Aperture
“In 1978, James Baldwin received the Langston Hughes Medal. The award is given annually to ‘an influential and engaging African-American writer.’ Baldwin, of course, was that and so much more. His words, convictions, and presence within the American conversation about race were ones that I had been deeply touched by. His writings on what it meant to be an artist, and the responsibility that attended to that, have always stayed with me, continuing to shape my thinking about what makes our work so imperative.
‘The artist is distinguished from all other responsible actors in society—the politicians, legislators, educators, and scientists—by the fact that he is his own test tube, his own laboratory, working according to very rigorous rules, however unstated these may be, and cannot allow any consideration to supersede his responsibility to reveal all that he can possibly discover concerning the mystery of the human being.’ (James Baldwin, ‘The Creative Process,’ from the anthology The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948–1985, St. Martin’s Press, 1985.)”- Dawoud Bey

So I’ve already identified my choices, and instead of boring you with whole list, have a run through on this link.

And your local art supply store or framer should be able to cut you a good matte, and the size does exist in pre-made frames. Yes, I have been thorugh this more that once!

Adobe Brings the Creative Cloud Forward – Again!

There are 2 main reasons I will always be loyal to Adobe Lightroom:
Search engine for images
Connection to Photoshop.
Now, what the connection to Photoshop gives you is a constant upgrading of the tools in LightRoom. This new version is way faster on the search, and adds in tools, that honestly, felt a bit MAC like in simplicity.
Wait, was I needing a complex solution?
Nope. What I NEEDED was a great way to share fast on social, a way to catalog and search images to gather them. I have so many photos of lunch (yep, I’m one of those folks), that this new Adobe Sensei function made it way easier to go through my hundreds of thousands of images on LR, and sort them for me.
And that is just a one RAID drive.
The amount of time that function alone saves me is immeasurable. Someone talked to me about a book of these photos. Much better culling through the sorted collection.

I want to try the Adobe Portfolio, although I’m invested in another system. Perhaps this is the time to connect all the dots in one place.
Speaking of dots, the process I go through to post to social, just got a whole lot easier. Not a new idea, but more integrated.

Another key point is the syncing capability. You can edit FULL RESOLUTION images, wherever, and have the same corrections sync with collections. That saves the transfer time.
The test for me will be the amount of images I can transfer at a sitting. Will report back.

One point about the high quality of the search algorithm: A few years back, my mom passed away, and I had been photographing her in the last years of her life. Unique, one of a kind, precious images.
The hard drive died. It was under warranty , so the company gave me a new one, but not the point.
The thumbnail in the catalog gave me the file names, and let me search for the location of the images. I connected eery hard drive I had to the computer. By having the Adobe supplied info, I was able to track copies of every image on a different hard drive I had backed things up to.
Adobe for the win.
And always back up your images multiple places.

Adobe is a premiere digital imaging software company, and always has been. All they do is make it better.

And now, the official report: Continue Reading »

Black Rapid : Check Yourself, Before You Wreck Yourself

You can’t expect all of your gear to last forever.
You buy a new camera every few years, and I’ll bet you have more than 2 camera bags.

Can we talk about one bit of gear that gets used daily? It’s your camera strap.
It’s time to check it out, and make sure it’s up to snuff.

Let’s go back a step: My favorite camera straps are Black Rapid, and when I first saw them a few years ago, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to sling my camera to the side or back.
Man, was I wrong. these straps have save my back, and in a long day on a shoot, like an event or music, these straps have been lifesavers.
Truly my go-to bit of gear. And I’ve tried a ton of em!
They’ve been around for more than a few years now, and continue to improve them.
One of the key contact points, the carabiner, has gone though some changes.

And now, a reality check:

A few friends, and noted photographers who have been heavy users from the start, have had some mishaps using the 1st gen straps.
If you call having your camera and lens fall to the ground from at least waist high, a mishap. An expensive fall.

Why did this happen? Heavy users, with first gen Black Rapid, have seen the metal knob that secures the carabiner to the strap get worn down.(see above on the left)
And when it gets worn down, the carabiner can slip out. And so can your camera.
They have made huge improvements on the new straps and you can see the stronger, more robust machining and design on the latest straps.
You can see the brass locking fitting, the quieter connector, and just a higher quality design.
Still feeling anxious?
You can add-on a Tether Kit and put your mind at ease. Connects your camera to the strap with an extra strap, in addition to the carabiner.

The point is, nothing lasts forever. Straps included.

The good folks at Black rapid have started a <a href=”” target=”_blank”>trade-in program, so you can get upgraded at a discount.

You don’t want to be the person who has a camera hit the sidewalk. Check you gear and then get a new strap.
My straps of choice is the Breathe. The double strap is great, and if I’m rolling with 2 DSLR’s , it’s the way to go. For my mirrorless work, the Breathe is the hit.

Stick with these folks, your back will thank you.

The New Nikon D850 – 45.7 MP of Goodness

Nikon, I just can’t quit you!
Don’t think I ever will.
This new, long awaited D850, coming in at an MSRP of about $3300, (wasn’t that what the D810 was?) clocks in with some amazing specs. OK, first some photos.

Continue Reading »


Upcoming Events

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

Current Exhibitions

  • Getty Center
  • In Focus: Expressions
  • Oct. 7th, 2018
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Stephen Shore
  • November 19, 2017–May 28, 2018
  • 11 West 53 Street
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel:212-708-9400
  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • Sanle Sory
  • Through June 23rdst, 2018
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel: 212-414-0370
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • Through May 5th, 2018
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • Peter Fetterman Gallery
  • JEFFREY CONLEY Reverence
  • Through June 9th, 2018
  • 2525 Michigan Avenue Gallery A1
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • 90404
  • Phone: 310.453.6463

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

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