"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Photography

Afternoon Art

jing

Photograph by Jing Huang via MPD.

Afternoon Art

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Photograph by Brittany Carmichael via MPD.

American Splendor

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Ah, now this looks like it’s worth your time. Nicholas Dawidoff’s New York Times Magazine profile of the great Robert Frank:

Sixty years ago, at the height of his powers, Frank left New York in a secondhand Ford and began the epic yearlong road trip that would become ‘‘The Americans,’’ a photographic survey of the inner life of the country that Peter Schjeldahl, art critic at The New Yorker, considers ‘‘one of the basic American masterpieces of any medium.’’ Frank hoped to express the emotional rhythms of the United States, to portray underlying realities and misgivings — how it felt to be wealthy, to be poor, to be in love, to be alone, to be young or old, to be black or white, to live along a country road or to walk a crowded sidewalk, to be overworked or sleeping in parks, to be a swaggering Southern couple or to be young and gay in New York, to be politicking or at prayer.

The book begins with a white woman at her window hidden behind a flag. That announcement — here are the American unseen — the Harvard photography historian Robin Kelsey likens to the splash of snare drum at the beginning of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”: ‘‘It flaps you right away.’’ The images that follow — a smoking industrial landscape in Butte, Mont.; a black nurse holding a porcelain-white baby or an unwatched black infant rolling off its blanket on the floor of a bar in South Carolina — were all different jolts of the same current. That is the miracle of great socially committed art: It addresses our sources of deepest unease, helps us to confront what we cannot organize or explain by making all of it unforgettable. ‘‘I think people like the book because it shows what people think about but don’t discuss,’’ Frank says. ‘‘It shows what’s on the edge of their mind.’’

…When Frank began his expedition upriver into the heart of American ambivalence, photography remained, as Walker Evans said, ‘‘a disdained medium.’’ Only a few American art museums collected photographs. Most of the published images portrayed figures of status. One notable exception was the work of Dorothea Lange. Frank respected her compassion but considered her Dust Bowl pictures maudlin — triumphalist takes on adversity. ‘‘I photographed people who were held back, who never could step over a certain line,’’ he says. ‘‘My mother asked me, ‘Why do you always take pictures of poor people?’ It wasn’t true, but my sympathies were with people who struggled. There was also my mistrust of people who made the rules.’’ That impulse seems particularly potent today, during our charged national moment — our time of belated reckoning with how violent, enraged, unbalanced and unjust the United States often still is. To look again at the photographs Frank made before Selma, Vietnam and Stonewall, before income inequality, iPhones and ‘‘I can’t breathe,’’ is to realize he recognized us before we recognized ourselves.

Afternoon Art

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Picture by Zachary Ayotte via Lover of Beauty. 

Afternoon Art

india

Photograph by Steve McCurry. 

Morning Art

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Picture by Bernard Deschamps via MPD.

Morning Art

zbabs

Picture by Bags

Picture This

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Time flies. I started my tumblr site four years ago today. Man, I love Tumblr. I’ve found so many great sites there, been hipped to so many wonderful pictures.

Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing. Be aware, though, there are some images that are not suitable for the workplace.

[Photo Credit: Mariana Garcia via MPD]

Afternoon Art

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“Girl in Bed” by Irving Penn (1949)

Morning Art

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Picture by Christian Coigny.

Afternoon Art

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Picture by Cyrille Druart via This Isn’t Happiness. 

Afternoon Art

tono

Picture by Tono Stano.

Picture This

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Oh, yeah, the sun is out and the spring is coming into focus.

Photograph by Virginia Mak via MPD.

Morning Art

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Picture by Arixxx via This Isn’t Happiness.

Picture This

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Red Stockings. Cool shot by Fred Herzog, circa 1961.

It’s not winter but it’s not warm yet either. Which one of these things? Ah, spring.

Morning Art

markus

Photograph by Markus Jans via MPD.

Afternoon Art

redstairs

Picture by Bags. 

Afternoon Art

honebear

Photograph by Blake Little

Morning Art

looking

Picture by Juan Eduardo Salas via MPD.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver