Tag Archives: Last Several Years

Nancy Baron

For the last several years, I have had the great pleasure of seeing Nancy Baron’s photographs featured in the Palm Springs Photo Festival’s slide show, and last week attended the opening of her exhibition,The Good Life, Palm Springs, currently on display at the 825 Gallery/LAAA in Los Angeles.  Nancy offers an insider’s perspective of the high and the low life of desert living, and combines brilliant color with small nuances that make us want to start mixing the cocktails and getting our feet wet.  
Born in Chicago, now living in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Nancy has a background in documentary film making, and her work has been exhibited across the U.S, and published around the world.
The Good Life, Palm Springs
I like to discover and document, without judgement, the exotic
subculture next door, aiming to capture and celebrate the majesty in worlds that
could easily be overlooked, seen as mundane, otherwise misunderstood.
 Backyard Morning

In the time that Palm Springs has been my second home, I’ve found it to be exactly and nothing like what I expected it to be.  Having ridden the waves of economic and cultural trends, the town offers a wide variety of lifestyle choices, not all of which are apparent to the occasional tourist.  The idea of Palm Springs evokes a well-defined image internationally.  These varied definitions are all accurate and, yet, this oasis of layered Americana is often misunderstood.

Golf Course Plane

It’s easy to dismiss the town as a frivolous playground for whomever one imagines its visitors or residents to be.  The truth is, Palm Springs is a brilliant example of the American Dream; springing from nothing out of the desert sand, continually reinventing itself with hope, determination, and the belief that everyone is entitled to The Good Life.

 Bob’s Red Car

Red Sweater

Shaggy Pillows

The Vanity

The Girls

Pink Shoes
 Frank Sinatra’s Stereo
Lee’s Gone, Liberace’s Palm Springs Estate
 Howling Wolf

The Kaufman Papers

Golf Course Palms

Peter’s Hat

El Incidente – 1940s Street Photography in Lima

Another fascinating exhibit right now as part of Lima’s Photography Biennial is a show called El Incidente. In it, the curator shows snapshots taken in Lima from the 1940s to the 1960s by street photographers working for local photo studios.

El Incidente

The game/business worked as follows; a guy working for some photo studio would snap a photo, typically without permission, and then ask the person if they would like to pay for a copy. If the answer was yes, someone from the studio, or the photographer himself would go the next day to the person’s house and deliver the photo.

As a type of vernacular photography I find it fascinating that something like this ever existed. It could only exist in a city that was big enough to be anonymous but not so large as to be dangerous and chaotic, as Lima was soon to become. The photos themselves are don’t break ground aesthetically. There were no Winogrands or Friedlanders lurking in Lima in the 1950s (at least not in this show). Still, the photos offer a fascinating glimpse of  a society and city in transtion.

El Incidente at Casa O’Higgins

El Incidente at Casa O’Higgins

The mounting of the show is fantastic. It’s housed on the ground floor of the gorgeous, restored 19th Century home of Chilean independence leader Bernardo O’Higgins.

El Incidente in Casa O’Higgins

The front room has large blow-ups of some of the photos next to small displays of the original photos themselves. In the back is a giant table with hundreds of photos on display under glass.

El Incidente at Casa O’Higgins

The curator, Daniel Contreras, collected these photo albums himself at various flea markets over the last several years. It wasn’t clear to me if these photos came from the customers or if the photographers themselves kept their own albums. In any event, the show does a masterful job of bringing this genre to life. A display case at the entrance shows a jumble of decaying albums from which some of the photos in the exhibit came.

El Incidente at Casa O’Higgins

As a type or genre of photography, this is totally new to me and fascinating too. I wonder if other cities in other or in other time periods something like this has existed.

My two favorite shows of the biennial so far, this one and Memorias Visuales, both deal with different expressions of vernacular photography in Peru. Both in their own way, as exhibits, do fantastic jobs of bringing to life an era as well as a genre of photography.