Tag Archives: greg miller

DOT.COM at the Guate Photo Festival

LENSCRATCH will be participating in the Guate Photo Festival, coming up in November in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  The organizers asked 4 on-line platforms: LENSCRATCH, Fotovisura, 500 Photographers, and Flak Photo to create exhibitions that will be projected throughout the festival at the La Fototeca Gallery, a converted movie theater with 4 large screens running the 4 exhibitions simultaneously. The event is titled [DOT]COM.

For the LENSCRATCH exhibition, I curated 100 portraits by 50 photographers that have been featured on Lenscratch over the years, and the resulting presentation is LOOKING AT OURSELVES: Portraits featured on LENSCRATCH. Cynthia Henebry’s wonderful image is the poster image for the event.

Today, I am sharing one image from each photographer in the presentation: Looking at Ourselves: Photographers Featured On LENSCRATCH



©Susan Barnett

Thank you to Guate Photo for this opportunity and to all the amazing participating photographers.

Greg Miller

Greg Miller is a photographer’s photographer.  He captures the American Experience with an 8 x10 camera, but also with pathos and realism and beauty. In 2008 Greg received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and his website reflects why–he has numerous stunning projects that reveal a curiosity about a range of cultures and an ease with strangers that combine to create a feast of light and color and intimacy. And today just happens to be Greg’s birthday, so a little celebrating is in order.
Duck River,2008, from Nashville

Born in Nashville, Greg works as a fine art and editorial photographer, with work appearing in publications such as The New York Times Magazine, TIME, People, Fortune, Life, and many more.  He exhibits worldwide, teaches at the International Center for Photography in New York, and gives workshops across the country.  Today I am featuring his project, Waiting For, about that disappearing summer pastime in the back of a pick-up truck watching a movie with someone you love.
Images from Waiting For
Waiting For…
I found this project in my backyard, at the drive-in movie theatre near my house. While waiting for a movie, I fell in love with what has happening all around me: cars full of friends, kids on dates and married couples with children well beyond the romance of earlier years.

I photograph in the time before the movies begin.  By the time the projector’s silver light illuminates the night sky, my job is done.

Joplin: One Year After the Tornado

The satellite images of Joplin, Mo., that are available on Google Maps were taken within the last year, after the devastating tornado of May 22, 2011, that killed more than 160 people. Buildings across the city appear as matchsticks in those aerial views, which have been preserved by the Internet as the picture of Joplin.

But when photographer Greg Miller arrived in Joplin to photograph the city in the days leading up to the tornado’s one-year anniversary, it looked like everything had been fixed. “I had to ask somebody where the damage was,” he says. Miller, who says that Joplin is much larger than he expected and eventually drove out to the areas that are still putting themselves back together. “I realized that not by a long shot has everything been rebuilt.”

For one thing: there are no trees. That was, Miller says, the most dramatic evidence of the destruction. “They had tons of trees in that area and now the trees are either gone or stripped of their leaves,” he says.

It was in a cemetery that the extent of the damage really hit home for the photographer. He figured there were other priorities in the town and no way the people would take the time to right any monuments that had been knocked over—but, even as he thought that, he stumbled upon some men in the process of fixing the place up. “The guys were trying to figure out where the tombstones went. A 500-lb. tombstone, this piece of solid granite, had been tossed maybe 20 feet away,” he says. “Cars, much bigger than 500 lbs., were moved around too; maybe I’m a little numb to the pictures of cars. Seeing that stone…I thought, wow, that must been really a strong wind.”

It wasn’t just a reminder of the strength of the tornado itself. It was also a reminder of the strength of the people. After all, he didn’t actually see cars still piled up in the streets of Joplin. And some people, like a woman thankful for her Habitat for Humanity house who Miller met when photographing her two children waiting at the bus stop, managed to see a silver lining.

And that attitude fit with Miller’s photographic goals. There were still piles of debris, he says, and still empty foundations. There were sad moments to photograph, evidence of loss. But, for one thing, Miller felt like there were so many pictures of that destruction that there was no point making another. And for another, that felt like the old Joplin, the satellite-picture Joplin, not the Joplin of today.

“Definitely there was an upbeat mood in the town. Because of the anniversary, they don’t go to that dark place. They’re staying in this place of like, look, we’re going to make this happen,” he says. “One person I spoke to said it wiped Joplin off the map and then put it on the map.”

Greg Miller is a photographer based in New York City. See more of his work here.

Photographer #343: Greg Miller

Greg Miller, 1967, USA, is a portrait photographer who’s images are a mix of documentary, conceptual and street photography. In 1990 he received a B.F.A. in photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He works on an 8×10″ view camera. By using this technique it forces him to interact with his subjects. He wants his images to convey stories and concentrates on the relationships between people within a single frame. He directs the people in his large-scale scenes and perfected this technique over the years. When people misinterpret his directions he embraces it, as it creates a more believable moment. Greg’s images are sharp, clear and contain a strong narrative. In 2008 he earned a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. The following images come from the series Nashville, County Fair and Asilo.

Website: www.gregmiller.com

Richard Learoyd & Big Cameras

I have a thing for big cameras. You may call me a size queen, but I’m really more of a fetishist of narrow depth of field and extreme detail. I was very intrigued, then, when I first read about Richard Learoyd’s photographs.

Learoyd uses a room-sized camara obscura inside of which he places sheets of cibachrome paper, a direct positive process that results in singular, incredibly detailed images.

© Richard Learoyd, presumably the real photos aren't watermarked

I recently watched online a lecture he gave at ICP back in March. The ICP Lectures website doesn’t let me link directly to the video [much less embed it]. To find it, click on “videos” and then “2011″ on the menu bars on top.

I worked with a large process camera for my Dinuba Sentinel Portraits and wrote on this blog about the process and challenges of working with such a big camera. I’m proud that I was more or less able to reverse engineer his process before seeing this video: a giant camera obscura, a big sharp reproduction lens, high powered strobe lights, and a revolving door to access the room.

Here’s some screen grabs from the talk:

Learoyd's camera obscura, filtered strobe lights

Revolving darkroom door and attached 50" cibachrome processing machine. way cool!

view inside the camara obscura

detail from learoyd photograph

focus point on the eye

I love this instrument here for keeping the model at the plane of focus. He mentions that the depth of field is only about 5mm. This is actually the best part of the talk, around minute 5, where he shows a video of this model, literally trembling before the camera, trying to hold still.

Obviously, I’d love to see these pictures in person. Their detail and quality must be stunning. Extrapolating from the narcotic rush I feel when looking at my own 8×10 contact prints, standing before one of these prints must be a very powerful experience.

The photos themselves evoke fashion photography for me, given that they mostly feature young, thin, attractive, Caucasian women lit by a ring flash. I’m probably being grossly unfair. I’d be a hypocrite for criticizing a photographer for following his personal tastes when casting. I think it’s reasonable to hold back judgment until I see the real thing.

It does get me to thinking about what this process might produce if someone took it out of the studio. Greg Miller did this last year with the Polaroid 20×24″. Again, I wish I could see these prints in person:

© Greg Miller

Greg Miller at work with the 20×24" Polaroid Camera

There’s been a lot of great work over the years made with the 20×24″ Polaroid but this is the first time [that I know of] that I’ve seen someone take it out of the studio.

Awhile back I thought to myself, if I like 8×10″ color pictures so much, why stop there? A good reason to stop there is that 8×10″ is the largest size commercially available in color film [black & white is another story]. Kodak will custom cut their film to whatever size if your order is big enough. It’s something like $30k. That’s a lot for a photographer but not so much for a filmmaker. Keith Canham has been aggregating smaller orders for ultra-large format film and it looks like a batch of 20×24″ was completed just last month. I hope these photos start making their way out into the world soon.

Getting back to Learoyd’s process, he mentions that the Cibachrome paper he uses is 50″. I don’t know anything about processing the paper but I would assume it’s stable and can be kept in a box for later processing. I think you could go out into the field or on the street with a big, light-tight tent, Abelardo Morell-style, and make some really interesting photographs of the world outside the studio. What would Timothy O’Sullivan do?

Timothy O'Sullivan, Carson Desert, Nevada. 1867