Tag Archives: Documentary Photographs

Photo Shows – Debby Besford’s series The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer on show at The Queen of Hungary Norwich

There is no particular order to the photographs. It is intended that the viewer spend time looking at the details of each interior, finding clues that only scratch the surface of the performer’s true identity. Debby Besford, The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer

All photos © Debby Besford

Before I get accused of being London-centric, I’m delighted to let you know that photographer Debby Besford, who I met three years ago in Arles where I first saw this project, is exhibiting work from her series The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer at theThe Queen of Hungary (what a fitting name) in Norwich. The show is open from 12-5pm and runs until 8 July. The work is also available as a book on Blurb.

In Besford’s artist’s statement she notes that: “These documentary photographs show the private interiors of the performers’ bedrooms. They play on the idea of what is real and what is fictional. The home-based domestic interiors are in themselves a theatre where the lives of the performers take on a different persona.

“Collaboration with these women has been a journey of immense trust and respect. I did not seek to deconstruct the female performer stereotype or their bedrooms but to explore how these women have taken on total responsibility for the acceptance of their image as well as the fantasies linked to public representation of their ‘acted bodies’.

“My work investigates a complexity of issues about the representation of the contemporary female, with emphasis on the Burlesque Stage Performer. This naturally led onto questioning both the idea of play between photographer, private space, intimacy, fantasy and the real, as well as the mystique of the performer.” From Besford’s artist statement

To see and read more…


“This body of work has evolved from a deep-rooted curiosity about female sexuality and how this can be expressed in a positive way. The New Burlesque Revival in the 21st Century could be seen as a reaction to women wanting to have fun with their sexuality and celebrate their femininity through a staged persona.

“The attraction for many of these women is that there is no dominant male structure behind these shows and full social and economic autonomy for these women is completely unlike a striptease artist. Both physical and moral integrity are preserved. Burlesque does not involve total nudity.”


All photos © Debby Besford

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Shows, Women Photographers Tagged: burlesque, Debby Besford, documentary, Norwich, photo show, portraits, The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer, The Queen of Hungary

Danny Lyon: The World Is Not My Home

For the past five decades the photographer Danny Lyon has produced a mix of documentary photographs and film – both politically conscious and personal. As the artist turns 70 this year, a new exhibition called The World is Not My Home: Danny Lyon Photographs will celebrate his lengthy career at the Menil Collection in Houston from March 30 to July 29.

In the early 1960s when many photographers where working the poetry of the streets and snubbing their noses at the tradition of “photojournalism,” Lyon embraced both the lyrical potential of photography as well as its ability to raise awareness to current political issues. Some of his earliest images as a staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) documenting the civil rights demonstrations against segregation in the South (later published in the book The Movement) made their way into the mainstream press and also onto SNCC posters and brochures. “My camera was my entrance into another world…I had the rare privilege to see history firsthand.”

The Menil Collection has played an important role in Lyon’s career as it was one of the first institutions to acquire his prints as early as 1974 and the Collection currently holds 246 of his photographs. “Addie and Ted de Menil [Adelaide de Menil and Edmund Carpenter Snow] made a large contribution of my work to the Collection, and that morphed into this larger show,” Lyons said of the exhibition. The photographer’s cousins Leon and Ginette Henkin also gave the Collection 20 vintage prints that Lyons had given to the them in the sixties and early seventies. The World is Not My Home: Danny Lyon Photographs will consist of approximately 45 photographs covering his career from 1962 to the present including recent montages and his Polaroid albums which have never been shown.

Lyon lived in East Texas and Houston for 14 months while photographing within Texas prisons. This work would eventually be published in his 1969 book Conversations With the Dead: Photographs of Prison Life, with the letters and drawings of Billy McCune #122054. Lyon’s virtually unrestricted access to several prisons and their inmates went as far as conceiving the idea of having his book printed by the inmates working in the Huntsville prison print shop. The fruit of this idea, a smaller and necessarily less ambitious book of 15 images called Born to Lose (printed by Don Moss #150590 and with layout and lithography by ‘Smiley’ Renton #189994 and Ed Carlock #192204) will also be on display in this exhibition at the Menil.

John and Dominique de Menil started their collection in 1945, focusing on European painting and American contemporary works including Minimalism and Pop Art. The collection holds nearly 16,000 works of art. “I met Dominique when she was a teacher in Houston,” Lyon recalls. “She knew of my work in the prisons and helped me get art supplies to Billy McCune. In 1974, Mrs. de Menil was one of the first to ever purchase prints from me, and then in 1975 paid for the making of my film Los Ninos Abandonados. She handed me a check and said, ‘Don’t tell anyone.’” Los Ninos Abandondos is a film about street children in Colombia which has been recently been digitally restored and will be shown at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts as a companion piece to this show.

Los Niños Abandonados (1975) – Restored 2012 (Trailer) from Watchmaker Films on Vimeo.

“Dominique de Menil said to me many years ago that there was always something ‘happy and sad’ in my photographs,” Lyon says. “The announcement card shows a man gleaning coal walking down a long and sad railroad track. It could have been taken in America during the Depression, but it was made in China four years ago as part of my Phaidon book Deep Sea Diver. The hymn The World is Not My Home is a sad one, but it also implies an existential relationship to life and the world around us.”

Danny Lyon is an American photographer. He blogs at this address (http://dektol.wordpress.com) where he posts his current work with the Occupy movement, and more of his work can be seen here on his website. The above photographs are from the show The World Is Not My Home: Danny Lyon Photographs, on view at the Menil Collection in Houston, March 30 – July 29. 

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his blog here.

Support the Arts at the Aperture Curated Kickstarter Page

Radiant Labs raised 135% of their original goal in 30 days.

When Kickstarter launched in 2008, it more or less revolutionized the way people went about funding their creative or artistic endeavors. It also popularized a new investment sector long-embraced by non-profits that some experts say has the potential to boost our sluggish economy. By making it incredibly accessible for anyone with an idea to reach out to the world for funding or self-publishing (instead of looking for the ‘right’ institution or donor for a grant). Kickstarter also helped unleash a flood of potential investments and start-ups–some worthier than others.

This is why we at Aperture have started our own Curated Kickstarter page, where we showcase the most promising and exciting projects we find to bring creative people and like-minded investors together. As one Kickstarter user told David Pogue of the Times, “Kickstarter is to Amazon as Craigslist is to eBay,” Michael Critz wrote in an email, “It’s a community.”

So far, four of the projects we’ve selected have been successfully funded.

Emily Schiffer’s “See Potential” will install mural-sized documentary photographs in the South Side of Chicago amid urban decay to bring to light the lack of affordable, healthy foods in the neighborhood and “use public art as a platform to transform urban blight into community engagement.”

Radiant Labs in New York earned nearly $3000 over their projected to goal to get their Long Island City photo lab “up and running and keep analog color and black & white darkroom practices accessible to the community.”

Booklyn, a decade-old organization that provides resources for and unites artists looking to create unique and limited edition books and works on paper, raised over $14,000 to turn their “digital database into a functional, friendly, searchable website.”

Photographer Cara Phillips raised $17,000 to publish her first monograph, Singular Beauty, “a photographic exploration of the world of cosmetic surgery.”

Two other projects await the same:

There’s just over a day left to support Anton Orlov’s Photo Palace Bus, a one-time yellow school bus turned mobile studio and darkroom traveling cross-country in support of analog photography.

And the makers of Hot Spots, a new documentary on Magnum photographer Martin Parr, his creative process and biting humor, following him as he travels through the South for a rare museum commission, are looking to reach their $23,000 goal by February 29.