Tag Archives: Elisabeth

The Loving Story: Loving v. Virginia and the Photographs of Grey Villet

More of Grey Villet’s LIFE photographs of Richard and Mildred Loving are presented in a special gallery at the new Life.com.

Nancy Buirski and Elisabeth Haviland James, the team behind HBO’s The Loving Story, were secretly hoping to get a little more material when they went to show an early trailer of their documentary to the family of the movie’s subjects in the summer of 2010. The film tells the story of Richard Perry Loving and Mildred Loving, the serendipitously named couple behind the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, who were exiled from Virginia for violating the state’s anti-miscegenation laws. (The case overturned all such laws, making interracial marriage legal nationwide.) Buirski, the film’s director and writer, and James, her co-producer, already had a treasure trove of video footage of their subjects, but they thought a few more family snapshots would provide a nice touch.

Peggy Loving, the couple’s daughter, was impressed by what she saw. She told Buirski that she did have some family photographs, left the room and returned carrying 70 10-by-13 prints taken by photojournalist Grey Villet in 1965 for LIFE magazine.

Buirski, who has worked both as a photo editor at the New York Times and as the director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, immediately recognized what she saw. “Elisabeth and I just looked at each other,” she says, “and I think we might have even had tears in our eyes.”

It’s not unusual for a documentary film to rely on photographs to illustrate history, but The Loving Story demonstrates a unique way of doing so. Because Buirski had unearthed Villet’s photos, she was able to use the work of a single photographer to tell the story. And, for the most part, the photos used in the film are scans of the actual vintage prints owned by the Loving family. Buirski says that consistency allowed her to escape from the constraints of documentary style: rather than show a picture to go along with a specific point in the narrative, she was able to set a consistent mood and even, in some cases, to let the images speak for themselves without help of a voiceover.

The photographs also allowed the filmmakers to show the human side of the Lovings’ story, something that was not as present in the video footage. Most of the video used in The Loving Story was filmed by Hope Ryden, a cinema-verité filmmaker who had taken an interest in the case. The Lovings were initially reticent to participate. They were living in Virginia illegally and, rather than attempt to cast themselves as Civil Rights heroes, they were, as Mildred Loving puts it in one of Ryden’s interviews, just “trying to get home.” The couple was convinced by their lawyers, Bernard Cohen and Philip Hirschkop, that Ryden was trustworthy; even so, Buirski feels that the Lovings put up walls when confronted with movie cameras and microphones.

Not so with Villet’s still camera. “A photojournalist like [Villet] tends to be able to disappear in a story like that,” says Buirski. As such, the photographs he took are more intimate than the video was. Rather than answer questions about legal matters, the Lovings kiss, hold hands and play with their children.

“[The photographs] opened up a window on their love,” says Buirski.

The Loving Story premieres on HBO on Feb. 14, at 9 p.m. ET.

An exhibit of Grey Villet’s photographs of the Loving family that were discovered in the course of filming is also currently on view, through May 6, at the International Center of Photography in New York City.

Guido Steenkamp and Seconds 2 Real

I love street photography and the German and Austrian collective, Seconds 2 Real, is one of my favorites. Guido Steenkamp shared that Seconds 2 Real will be opening an exhibition, Facination Street, in Berlin on October 15th. The show will run for two weeks, showing more than 100 prints at Meinblau Kunsthaus.

As a teaser, I thought I’d share a few videos from their site and the participating photographers have images below. Kay von Aspern was featured on Lenscratch earlier this year.

Image by Mario Cuic

The Role of Women in Photography at SVA


Mermaid swimming away, Weeki Wachee, 2003. © Lisa Kereszi

The Role of Women in Photography: Are We There Yet?
Thursday, September 22, 2011
6:30 pm

School of Visual Arts
209 East 23 Street
3rd floor amphitheater
New York, NY

Free with a valid college ID, $10 for general public

Elisabeth Biondi, former visuals editor at The New Yorker and currently an independent curator, will be moderating a discussion panel on the current role of women in photography at SVA. The panel includes photography critic and Aperture magazine contributing editor Vince Aletti, Aperture contributing writer Lyle Rexer (whose book The Edge of Vision was published by Aperture), as well as photographers Martine Fougeron, Lisa Kereszi, and Sarah Silver. The event is being presented by SVA’s MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media Department, in partnership with Professional Women Photographers.

Favorite Shoots with Elisabeth Biondi

The New Yorker has a wonderful series of images by a number of photographers that discuss their relationship with Elisabeth Biondi, who has been the photo editor at The New Yorker since 1996, soon after the magazine started to use photography, until his recent departure.

“A photograph is an entity. You don’t crop it, you don’t butcher it, you don’t plaster text over it, you treat it with dignity.”

Photograph by Robert Polidori, from “Gorgeous George,” in the issue of March 26th, 2001.

The execution of this photograph permanently changed my working methodology. To be honest, the subject—a temporary lighting treatment on the George Washington Bridge—is something I would never have contemplated shooting on my own. Probably sensing this, Elisabeth got me involved in a conversation in which we both described our mental projections of what the resulting photograph should look like. By the end of our office session I had actually penciled in a crude drawing of the shot that I was to seek.-Robert Polidori (Read more).


Elisabeth Biondi by Elizabeth Avedon | La Lettre de la Photographie

LCD TVs .

Elisabeth Biondi in her Condé Nast office – photograph by Enrico Bossan

“A photograph is an entity. You don’t crop it, you don’t butcher it, you don’t plaster text over it, you treat it with dignity.”

Read the full interview at La Lettre de la Photographie

INTERVIEW: “Interview with Lewis Baltz – Photography is a Political Technology of the Gaze" (1993)

Tract House no. 13, 1971By Jean-Pierre Greff and Elisabeth Milon The photographer Lewis Baltz, originally from California, has spent the past thirty years, mainly in urban and suburban surroundings, bringing out what would otherwise remain below the surface, marginalised, rejected or that indeed that would exist solely as a transition between two states, between two moments or places. south dakota foundation repair . yeastrol . north carolina foundation repair . In terms of

Two books by Mariken Wessels



The last artist book Mariken Wessels published was a narrative of found material she discovered in an Amsterdam shop. Elisabeth – I Want To Eat is an assemblage of old photographs, postcards and letters that describe a young woman’s life budding and then, rather shockingly, leading towards depression and, what I read as, an implied suicide. It is a reconstruction which blends some fact with loads of interpretation.

In one of the letters translated from Dutch, Elisabeth’s aunt, in an attempt to help Elisabeth think differently about her life writes, “But unpicking yourself, that can be done, why am I doing this, couldn’t I do it better (for me and for everyone else) in a slightly different way? Each little thing builds the whole. In accordance with the same system as all matter is built up from molecules and atoms.” This suggestion of parsing and twisting the events of her life is also the strategy Wessels employs in these works. We grapple with trying to understand this life presented to us through only a few pieces of ephemera which insists that our own twist of psychology intervene.

Wessels’ newest artist book, Queen Ann. P.S. Belly Cut Off from Alauda Publications is a look into a life of a woman named Anneka.

Anneka appears to be a woman haunted by loneliness and obesity yet she puts forth a fun-loving and warm, if at times slightly demented, demeanor. When we are shown recent images of her, she (or the artist) has painted their surfaces with adornments such as brightly colored hats or veils or cut out parts of herself in the pictures with shears. In some, she adds a second coat of lipstick or nail-polish that transforms her into an over-the-top eccentric where we might question her sanity.

In one image from which the title refers, she writes, “In a way I really do feel like a “Queen.” I think that fits. Although lacking the wealth but perhaps like our image of famous queens, Ann is also slightly lonely, unsatisfied, and displays vengeful violent streaks which in this case, she plays out on her own image rather than others. She seems to mock even her own ideas of beauty in how she “improves” the picture makes herself presentable – all ribbons and bows with make-up dripping from her eyes.

In both Queen Ann and Elisabeth, sexuality is an overt presence. In Elisabeth a suite of scratched nude photos (think G.P. Fieret) is presented, perhaps made as self-portraits or by a lover. In Queen Ann, photography as a somewhat transgressive act is also included – that of what appears to be a middle interlude of stills from a sex film (with Ann as the star?). This is followed by a more recent image of Ann holding an image of herself as a young attractive teenager – the weight of wishing for the past is felt.

Although melancholy in overall tone, Ann’s unique character and playfulness outshine her underlying problems with aging and self image. The last images, shot on super-8 film, show her running and twirling, arms outspread, in a forest. A smile is sensed through the grainy and blurred image just before she disappears behind a stand of trees.

As with many contemporary books from The Netherlands, both of these are beautiful objects. The care and attentiveness to “the book” is felt but never trumps the content. In Elisabeth, English translations from Dutch type-written on green tissue paper are loosely laid in are a wonderful touch, and Queen Ann includes a sealed glassine envelope of 4×6 inch snapshots. It isn’t clear if this last element, the glassine, is meant to be torn open or whether the images are meant to be viewed through the translucent paper (the metaphoric haze of memory?). You decide. Maybe in that case, collectors should buy two.

Daniel Schumann’s Elisabeth und Wilhelm

dallas teeth whitening . Daniel Schumann‘s project Elisabeth und Wilhelm unites contemporary portraiture of his grandfather and images taken from family photo albums. The transition from the appropriated imagery to the more mediated photographs doesn’t always feel fluid and intuitive, however, regardless this series is a compelling examination of familial heritage seen through two distinctly different photographic tacks.


From Elisabeth und Wilhelm
Daniel Schumann


From Elisabeth und Wilhelm
Daniel Schumann


From Elisabeth und Wilhelm
Daniel Schumann


From Elisabeth und Wilhelm
Daniel Schumann


From Elisabeth und Wilhelm
Daniel Schumann