Tag Archives: Life

In Memoriam: Photographers Who Died in 2012

In the universe of serious, meaningful photography, the chance to honor the lives and careers of peers, colleagues and, occasionally, heroes in an end-of-year “those we lost” tribute comes with a grim, one-time-only satisfaction: namely, the opportunity to see, in one place, the work of photographers who would otherwise never, ever be shown together.

Like politics, death can sometimes make for strange bedfellows.

Where else would, say, Cornel Lucas’ glamorous Hollywood portraits feel so right alongside LIFE staffer Lee Balterman’s edgy depictions of Sixties’ unrest? In what other context would a black-and-white image of Nehru by India’s first woman photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla (a.k.a, “Dalda 13″), not seem out of place beside Jim McCrary’s famous 1971 Tapestry portrait of Carole King?

Of course, it’s hardly just the variety of photographers we lost in 2012 that’s so striking, but the cumulative power and excellence of their work.

Dody Weston Thompson, for example, who died in October at 89, not only worked as an assistant with titans like Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, but collaborated for years with her husband, Brett Weston. Over a five-plus-decade career, from the 1940s into the early 2000s, she forged friendships with many of the signature artists of the century (Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Georgia O’Keeffe and others) while always doggedly — and joyfully — pursuing her own creative vision.

Another formidable woman, Eve Arnold, died early in 2012 at the age of 99. The Philadelphia native joined Magnum in 1957 and for decades produced indelible portraits of celebrities (Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe), political and cultural figures (Malcolm X, Jackie Kennedy, James Cagney) and the disenfranchised (migrant workers, prostitutes). Named a “Master of Photography” by ICP in 1995, Arnold lived in England until her death in January.

On staff at LIFE for 24 years, Michael Rougier was, according to magazine lore, the only unknown photographer who ever walked into the LIFE offices and was hired then and there. (He had smuggled pictures of a then-camera shy Eva Peron out of Argentina.) Rougier — who has a peak in Antarctica named after him; he tumbled down its side while on assignment for LIFE in the 1960s — died in January at the age of 86. Another LIFE photographer, Lee Balterman, whose work chronicled some of the signature events of the roiling Sixties (the ’68 Chicago convention, the Detroit riots) as well as the beauty and rigor of the arts, died in January at age 91. Ken Regan, who died in late November (nobody seems to have known his real age), made striking portraits of most of the biggest names of the 1960s and ’70s, including Dylan, the Stones, Hendrix and Muhammad Ali.

Prize-winning combat photographer Horst Faas, whose work across almost a half-century with the Associated Press helped redefine what war photography could (and perhaps should) look like, died in May. He was 79. In February, another award-winning war photographer, Rémi Ochlik, was killed by Syrian artillery fire while covering the siege of Homs in that country’s civil war. Ochlik, a World Press Photo honoree in 2012, was just 28.

The man who won both the Pulitzer Prize and the World Press Photo of the Year in 1963 for his image of a self-immolating monk in Saigon, Malcolm Browne, died in May at 81.

( Read Patrick Witty’s interview with Browne, “Behind the Burning Monk.” )

More than a few fine-art photographers passed away in 2012. Among them: New Jersey native Jan Groover, whose work has been shown at MoMa in New York, the Cleveland Museum of Art, ICP, the Corcoran Gallery and many other places; the self-taught, Kolkata-born Prabuddha Dasgupta, whose fashion work spanned more than three decades; and Arnaud Maggs, whose conceptual work — and especially his portraits of famous subjects, presented in grid-like formats — earned him acclaim in his native Canada and internationally.

Martine Franck, who died of cancer in Paris at 74, was a Magnum photographer for more than three decades who began her career in the early 1960s, assisting the great LIFE photographers Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili. Magnum’s president, Alex Majoli, eulogized his friend and colleague with the simple and moving observation that the agency had “lost a point of reference, a lighthouse, and one of our most influential and beloved members.”

In September, Pedro Guerrero died in Arizona at the age of 95. For five decades in the middle part of the 20th century, Guerrero (an art school dropout) worked closely with Frank Lloyd Wright, chronicling the architect’s projects in photographs.

French-born Michelle Vignes, who co-founded the International Fund for Photography and Fotovision, worked as a photo editor in the early days at Magnum and was among the most important chroniclers of the pivotal social movements of the 1960s and ’70s (the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee; the Black Panthers; Vietnam War protests), died in October at 86.

Richard Gordon, whose pictures are in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, SFMOMA, the Getty Museum, the Corcoran Gallery and other major institutions, died in October in Berkley, Calif., at 67.

Chilean street-photographer Sergio Larrain, who was invited by Cartier-Bresson to join Magnum in the late ’50s, but abandoned his camera in the early 1970s in order to pursue what became an increasingly solitary spiritual quest, died in February at the age of 80. Another Latin American photographer, the Argentine Horacio Coppola, who was documenting his native Buenos Aires as early as the 1930s, died in June at 105.

Walt Zeboski, who covered four California governors and other political power players in the state, as well as Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign for the Associated Press, died on November 12. He was 83.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, a Japanese-American who first learned photography while interned at Colorado’s Amache Internment Camp during World War II, died in February at 90. A key figure in the post-war movement (across all of the arts) that saw Eastern and Western sensibilities melding and, occasionally, clashing to such vivid effect, Ishimoto won numerous awards — including the Moholy-Nagy twice.

A photographer whose fashion work was published primarily in Harper’s Bazaar in the 1950s and ’60s and who was still working into her 90s — using contemporary digital technologies to manipulate her images — Lillian Bassman died in February at the age of 94.

Known primarily for an iconic image of Beat-era legends Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg and others outside City Lights bookstore in San Francisco in December 1965 — made when he was just 22 — Bay Area native Larry Keenan worked as a photographer for the next four decades. He was an accomplished commercial photographer, but also made a point of continuing to shoot the counterculture as it evolved from the ’60s into the 21st century.

Wilhelm Brasse, a Pole and a prisoner at Auschwitz during the Second World War, was a professional photographer forced by the SS to document everything from the work performed by fellow inmates to the horrific medical experiments conducted by Nazi doctors at the notorious concentration camp.

Paula Lerner was just 52 years old when she died in March from cancer. Lerner, who often worked on commercial assignments to help finance the photojournalism projects that were her passion, was the principal photographer for Behind the Veil, about the lives of women and girls in contemporary Afghanistan.

In a career spanning 50 years, South Africa’s Alf Kumalo tirelessly (and artfully) chronicled the abuses of apartheid. He died in October at 82.

Known primarily for her pictures documenting the women’s movement of the 1970s and its high-profile leaders (Steinem, Friedan, Abzug), Bettye Lane also covered other people and events of the fraught era, including antiwar rallies and the stirrings of the modern environmental movement. She died in Manhattan in September at 82.

Architectural photographer Susan Carr died in early September in Chicago. A leader of the education programs at the American Society of Media Photographers, Carr was 49.

Robert McElroy died on February 22 in White Plains, New York. A photographer for Newsweek for almost 20 years, he was best-known for his pictures of the vibrant art “happenings” of the 1950s and early ’60s.

Stan Stearns — whose portrait of 3-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s coffin in 1963 poignantly distilled a nation’s grief — died of lung cancer in March. He was 76.

Juan Antonio Serrano, a documentary photographer and brother of the Ecuadorian Interior Minister, Jose Serrano, was stabbed to death in the city of Cuenca in southern Ecuador. The murder was, evidently, not associated with his photography work. Serrano was 34.

Steve Schapiro, Then and Now: Rare Images from a Photography Legend

Just the list of people Steve Schapiro has photographed during his career reads like a Who’s Who of the most influential politicians, celebrities and newsmakers in American history over the last five decades. But that Schapiro captured his subjects during their pivotal and seminal moments—Robert F. Kennedy during his 1968 presidential campaign; Marlon Brando on the set of The Godfather; Andy Warhol and muse Edie Sedgwick in The Factory, among others—lends his photographs an added significance. They aren’t just remarkable portraits of remarkable people, but snapshots into our country’s historical and cultural milestones.

Schapiro’s output over his more than 50-year career has been prolific, and many people have probably seen one of his photographs whether they realize it or not. But his new book, Then and Now, gives readers a look at Schapiro’s lesser-known work; the majority of pictures have never been published. “There were so many pictures that I loved but didn’t fit with the format of my previous books, so this was a chance to bring forth that work,” he says. The book is comprised of single images shown over a spread, as well as spreads of disparate images that share a composition or theme—one such example has a portrait of Martin Scorcese holding a gun and grapes on the left page, and a portrat of Mia Farrow holding a baby on the right. “I wanted to make a book that was interesting on every page,” says Schapiro. “That evolved into the idea of working with double pages where one picture worked with another.”

Schapiro first took an interest to photography at 9 while at summer camp. He fell in love with “the magic of photography” in the dark room, where he became fascinated by how pictures came to life after being dipped in various formulas. But it wasn’t until he discovered Henri Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment, as a teenager, that his interest really took hold. He began trying to capture his own decisive moments on the streets of New York City, before going to study the formal aspects of photography under W. Eugene Smith.

In 1961, amid the height of the Civil Rights movement, Schapiro started working as a freelance photographer for publications such as LIFE, Rolling Stone, TIME and Newsweek. Over the next 10 years, which Schapiro calls “the golden age of photojournalism,” he would cover the decade’s most significant events, including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 march in Selma, and later, King’s abandoned motel room after this assassination, as well as the “Summer of Love” in Haight-Asbury and Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. “It was an incredible time to be a photojournalist because there was more of an emotional flow—an ability to do more emotional pictures that captured the spirit of a person,” says Schapiro of the period. “I was able to spend a lot of time with people—Bobby Kennedy went to South America for four weeks and I got to go with him. When I got really sick there, Ethel Kennedy brought me Bobby’s pajamas to wear. Bobby was someone who I became friends with, but everyone who worked with him loved him.”

Despite his success as a photographer, Schapiro maintains that he hasn’t taken his most important picture yet—and doesn’t have any idea what it might be. In the meantime, there’s one subject who continues to elude him: “President Barack Obama. I would love to photograph him.”


View more of Schapiro’s work here.



Art for Sandy Relief: Iconic, Collectible Photographs to Benefit Hurricane Sandy Relief

20×200, in collaboration with TIME’s photography editors, has launched Art for Sandy Relief, a curated collection of Hurricane Sandy benefit editions. The photographs showcase both milestones and the mundane, characterizing the ever-changing and now ever-changed landscape of the authentic New York. Art for Sandy Relief comprises one of the largest art-fundraising efforts for Sandy to date. Twelve photographs in all, these museum-quality prints of New York and New Jersey are available until Dec. 16th.

“It’s an incredible honor to collaborate with TIME’s photography editors who have handled Sandy coverage with such grace and impact,” says Jen Bekman, 20×200’s founder and New York native. “We’re also thrilled to work with so many legendary photographers in service to a cause so close to us. This initiative is particularly significant to the 20×200 team since we are a New York City-based business and so eager to contribute to the rebuilding of the region. Partnering with artists to support institutions and causes that we believe in has been an important aspect of our program since its inception in 2007. This project is an extension of that practice, amplified considerably with the incredible resources and support from TIME.”

The images are works by notable artists; each reference the storms’ impact indirectly and are affecting works suitable for hanging in the home or as an addition to an existing collection. From a dramatic black-and-white ‘30s Manhattan cityscape by Alfred Eisenstaedt via the LIFE Picture Collection to a ‘70s Staten Island sunbather by Christine Osinski, these photographs are instantly iconic, reminders of all that seeks revitalization in the regions hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.

These 12 archival prints are priced from $60 for an 11″x14″ print to $10,000 for a 60″x80″ print. To maximize the amount donated, all net proceeds from these special benefit editions will go to six local charities: Architecture for Humanity New York and New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, Project Hospitality with the Staten Island Advance, Donors Choose Fund to Help Schools Impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Safe Space, and Red Hook Initiative Hurricane Relief Fund. These specialized organizations are dedicated to repairing infrastructure, helping schools and businesses get back up and running, and rebuilding family homes in the communities directly affected by the hurricane.

TIME has deployed reporters and photographers throughout the tri-state area since Sandy hit. Also, TIME’s parent company, Time Warner, has contributed $1 million to relief and recovery charities already. Richard Stengel, TIME’s managing editor, announced Art for Sandy Relief in his editor’s letter in the magazine that hits newsstands Monday, November 19th, saying, “In addition to documenting the devastation, we are determined to help those affected by it.”

Visit 20×200.com/time for more information on the photographs being offered. All images are available only until Dec. 16th.

Legacy in Leaves: The Vietnam War Remembered

When Binh Danh was a child he noticed the impression of objects left on a grass lawn over time. This observation, combined with an early fascination with science and a personal legacy of war—Danh immigrated to the States as a child refugee from Vietnam—would later coalesce into the series of images for which he is most widely known. Danh appropriates iconic images of the Vietnam War and prints them on organic material such as leaves and grass, using a unique printing process he calls Chlorophyll printing. The images—ethereal and fragile, endowed with a sense of heart-wrenching loss—speak poetically of memory, impermanence and the remnants and aftermath of war.

April 30th marks the 37th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the official end of the Vietnam War. For Danh, a Vietnamese American, the legacy of that conflict is complex and profoundly personal: photography is his means to connect with the painful shadows of that legacy by empowering a narrative that grounds him in his own identity. “It’s something that my parents I think want to talk about, but it’s difficult for them to communicate because they have such a direct relationship to what happened,” he says.

The artist uses two different processes to create his images. The first resembles traditional black and white printing where a negative is placed on a living patch of grass or leaf. Like the imprint of a hose on a green lawn, light-blocking material removes the green chlorophyll pigment from organic matter. The image transfers when the dark portions of the negative block light, removing the pigment, while the transparent sections keep the underlying portion of the grass or leaf alive. In the second method, grass is cut and layered on a board to form a canvas onto which the artist projects a positive. The clear part of the transparency that lets sunlight through gets washed out, forming an image.

In an ode to the impermanence and fragility of memory, it is impossible to chemically fix the photograph like a silver gelatin print. The artist recommends pressing the material in a book to retain color, and displaying and storing them away from direct sunlight. However, Danh takes this a step further and casts his work in resin, which, for him, becomes a way to preserve the leaf to hold onto that memory. “I feel that when we forget about the memory of war, war can happen again,” he says. “And of course in this country we forget very quickly.”

Binh Danh is an artist presented by Haines Gallery in San Francisco and Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, Ariz. See more of his work here.

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.

What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann – Thursday May 13 2010 at 10 pm ET

Atlanta Garbage Disposal Repair . personalized picture football .

What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann Thursday May 13 2010 at 10 pm ET 80 minutes Directed by Steven Cantor A Stick Figure production Oscar-nominated and Emmy Awardwinning filmmaker Steven Cantor captures American photographer Sally Mann as she undertakes her latest project, What Remains a provocative photo series that contemplates death and decay, and Americas attitudes towards dying. Ductless Air Conditioner . Along the way, Cantor paints a revealing portrait of the artist as she returns to her family home in Virginia and speaks candidly about her own feelings toward death, her personal life and career trajectory.