Tag Archives: Mary Ellen Mark

Julia Dean: Forty Years Behind the Camera

A dozen years ago, photographer Julia Dean changed my life by asking me to teach at her photography school, The Julia Dean Photo Workshops in Los Angeles. Over the past thirteen years, Julia has taught hundreds of classes, thousands of students, and exposed the Los Angeles community to photographic luminaries and educators such as Keith Carter, Duane Michals, Mary Ellen Mark and many others too numerous to count.  Her school has created a photographic community in Los Angeles, a place to share portolios over a glass of wine, a place to hear lectures, experience wonderful exhibitions, and take a broad array of classes (160 offered each year). Julia’s desire to open our eyes, to see one world, and to bring attention to those who have no voice has been remarkable.  Her generous and enthusiastic spirit is infectious and I feel so lucky to be her friend.  So today I celebrate a woman who has spent a lifetime engaged, enthused, and involved in photography.


Julia has spent the last year revisiting negatives and spending month upon month in the darkroom creating beautiful silver prints in preparation for a 40 year retrospective of her work that opens at the Julia Dean Gallery in Los Angeles tomorrow night, December 15th.  I am featuring work from her General Stores project today — she recently rediscovered the negatives and printed the images for the first time for the exhibition.  Julia is also offering photographs from the exhibition for sale online at a special anniversary price on her site.


Forty Years Behind the Camera: A Retrospective

When I worked as an apprentice to Berenice Abbott’s in 1978, I was 23 years old. Berenice was 80. 


She taught me how to print, among many other photographic skills. She taught me about life in Paris in the 20s, about working with Man Ray, about meeting and photographing people like Eugene Atget, James Joyce, and Jean Cocteau. She even taught me how to do the Charleston. 


I remember using an 8×10 camera with 8×10 film and an 8×10 enlarger. The film had to be processed in complete darkness, one sheet at a time, in 8×10 trays that you lined up just right so you knew what to do in the dark. 


images from General Stores

I learned how to bend light with my hands under an enlarger, how to add light, how to subtract light, how to make a print look just like our eyes saw the subject when the picture was taken. I learned that photography renders 10 tones compared to the hundreds of tones that our eyes can differentiate. I learned that it can take hours to get one good print.

I also learned how to flatten the prints, how to retouch the dust spots, and the patience it takes to produce one beautiful black & white fiber base print.

 I was asked recently what the difference is between the traditional role of film and the digital era. It is very simple. It is much easier to be a photographer today than it was in the past. (Photographers before me would say the same thing!) Though today’s cameras are much heavier than my Leica M6 and have more buttons, once you learn your tools, digital photography makes life quicker and easier.

I don’t look down on those who didn’t learn the hard way. I wouldn’t have minded an easier path myself. But I am grateful for knowing what I know about photography that digital shooters will never know: the craft of the black & white print. 

To me, there is no more beautiful craft in photography than the black & white print from a black & white negative. I learned from a master and for that I am eternally grateful. Printing is a dying art that I hope I never give up, even if I, too, have embraced digital. This retrospective exhibit is in honor of the beautiful black & white print.

Features and Essays | 8 June 2012

Yuri Kozyrev has recently been to Libya for a road trip with a Time writer Abigail Hauslohner…Great work as always…

Photo © Yuri Kozyrev

Yuri Kozyrev: After The Revolution: Libya (Lightbox)

Alixandra Fazzina’s Flowers of Afghanistan featured recently both on Lightbox and CNN Photo blog… This Lightbox opener is really stunning…

Photo © Alixandra Fazzina

Alixandra Fazzina: Flowers of Afghanistan (Lightbox)

Alixandra Fazzina: Flowers of Afghanistan (CNN)

Kozyrev’s Afghanistan series which ran on latest Time magazine, includes a frame that gave me a flashback earlier this week…

Yuri Kozyrev: Afghanistan Now (Lightbox)

Seamus Murphy: Death and Love: The Poetry of Afghanistan’s Women (VII)

Christopher Morris: America’s Last Living POW (Lightbox)

Really enjoyed these Gillian Laub’s prom portraits on Lightbox.. Actually prefer to Mary Ellen Mark’s recent Prom series… Location portraits far more interesting than the sterility of studio…There’s a video too, in which Laub talks about the assignment.

Photo © Gillian Laub for TIME

Gillian Laub: Last Dance: American Proms (Lightbox)

New Yorker Tim Fadek based in Berlin, currently spending some time in Athens…quite an opener to this slideshow…

Photo © Timothy Fadek

Timothy Fadek: Something’s Rotten in China (Foreign Policy)

Here are links to Moises Saman’s Egypt work in three different places… Take your pick…Impressive work..

Photo © Moises Saman

Moises Saman: Egyptian Elections (Magnum)

Moises Saman: Egypt’s Choice (NYT)

Moises Saman: Egypt (Newsweek)

Giorgios Moutafis: Syria’s Free Army (Newsweek)

Seamus Murphy: Syrian Spring (VII Magazine)

Oliver Hartung: Signs of Syria (NYT Lens)

Photo © David Chancellor

David Chancellor: Predator and Prey (New York Times Magazine)

Damon Winter: Learning to Heal, One Memorial Day at a Time (NYT)

Tyler Hicks: Islamists in Northern Mali (NYT)

Kiana Hayeri: Young Women in Iran (NYT Lens)

Irina Ruppert: Tracing Memories in Kazakhstan (Lightbox)

Michael Zumstein: Looking Forward in Liberia (Newsweek)

Dominic Nahr’s Sudan Border Wars, some of which was published in Lightbox, includes Photojournalism Links’ first Image of the Month, posted end of May. Plenty of other great frames as well.  Do take a look…

Photo © Dominic Nahr

Dominic Nahr: Sudan Border Wars (Magnum)

Goran Tomasevic: Nuba Mountains (Guardian)

Phil Moore: DRC Crisis (Al Jazeera)

Andrea Bruce: Afghan Americans (NOOR)

Kadir van Lohuizen: The Cold End of the World (NOOR)

Jon Lowenstein: The Masks We Wear (NOOR)

Photo © Mae Ryan

Mae Ryan: Pentecostal Rehab Aids Adddicts in Russia (CNN)

Maxim Dondyuk: Tuberculosis Epidemic in Ukraine (CNN)

Davide Monteleone: Portraits of Russian Activists (New Yorker)

Giuliano Camarda: The Return of Los Indignados (Foreign Policy)

Joseph Rodriguez: Portraits from Another America (New Yorker)

Tom Stoddart: Britons (Reportage by Getty Images)

Peter Dench: The Diamond Jubilee (New Yorker)

Martin Parr: Up and Down Peachtree (Magnum)

Chris Steele-Perkins: Xiangshawan, Mongolia (Magnum)

Photo © Adam Dean

Adam Dean: Burma: Winds of Change (Panos)

Lana Slezic: Young in Old Delhi (Newsweek)

Ivan Kashinsky and Karla Gachet: A Tasting Tour of Salts Around the World (Smithsonian)

Shiho Fukada: Great Hall of the People, China (Panos)

Andrew Testa: Binge Britain (Panos)

Seamus Murphy: Growing Body Parts (VII)

Photo © Tomas Bravo / Reuters

Tomas Bravo: Mexico’s Front Line (Reuters)

Don Bartletti: Mexicali’s Hotel of the Deported Migrant (LA Times Framework)

Doug Rickard: A New American Picture (Daily Mail)

Anders Petersen’s Soho work that we featured in the Tearsheet of the Day posts…here on CNN Photo blog…

Photo © Anders Petersen

Anders Petersen: Soho, London (CNN)

Kate Holt: Life on the Margin (zReportage)

Andrew Dickinson: Fighting the Addiction (zReportage)

Renee C. Byer: Picking Up the Pieces (zReportage)

Laura Pannack: Ukraine (Independent)

Photo © David Alan Harvey

David Alan Harvey: Rio (CNN)

Graham McIndoe: Missing Posters (NYT Lens)

Jeremy Suyker: Generation Wave: The Burmese Youth Fighting for Democracy (Foto8)

Jan Brykczynski: The Last Primeval Forest (Foto8)

Photo © Rebecca Norris Webb

Rebecca Norris Webb: My Dakota (Lightbox) Same in New Yorker

Richard Misrach: Cancer Alley (Lightbox)

Christine Osinski: Staten Island (Lightbox)

Always loved this image…Exhibition on at the recently re-opened Photographers’ Gallery in London’s Soho…

Photo © Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky: Oil (Guardian)

Zanele Muholi: South Africa’s Lesbian Community (New Yorker)

Myra Greene: Race and Identity (NYT Lens)

Baptiste Giroudon: Hello Mister President (Photographer’s website)

Simon Roberts’ Let This Be a Sign on shown in Swiss Cottage as part of the London Festival of Photography. Still need to pop down there, as I was busy on the private view night… Here’s some of the work on BBC website…

Photo © Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts: Let This Be a Sign (Telegraph)

Theodore Kaye: Turkey: Kyrgyz Nomads Struggle to Make  (Eurasianet)

Photo © Zed Nelson

Zed Nelson: Hackney (BBC)

Elizabeth D. Herman: Tracing Present Scars to Past Traumas (NYT Lens)

Delpire & Co. Opens @ Aperture, Throughout NYC

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Aperture Gallery was abuzz Wednesday evening, hosting the much-anticipated New York City launch of Delpire & Co., the citywide, multi-venue retrospective of the life and work of legendary editor, curator and publisher, Robert Delpire. Following presentations in Arles and Paris, Delpire & Co. arrives to New York City with representation at six venues throughout Manhattan.

Aperture’s Wednesday opening was the first of the week (followed by Thursday night openings at the French Embassy, and Gallery at Hermes), welcoming a strong roster of photography legends and pillars of the photographic community. Sarah Moon, Mary Ellen Mark, and Josef Koudelka were in attendance, standing alongside their own seminal works on view, as well as celebrated photographers Bruce Davidson and Susan Meiselas. Multiple films by filmmaker/photographer Sarah Moon were on screen, including 1970’s TV spots directed by Moon for Cacharel (7 min), as well as “Le Montreur d’images (The Go-Between)” (2009), her feature length documentary on husband Robert Delpire.



Peter Barberie
, Curator of Photographs for the Philadelphia Art Museum was in attendance Wednesday evening, as well as Jeff Hirsch of FotoCare, and Wendy Byrne, former designer for Aperture Foundation. Special thanks to exhibition producer Mike Derez, and Project Coordinator Agnès Gagnès of Idéodis.

Delpire & Co. runs through June at venues throughout the city. Like us on Facebook to view a full album of photos from the opening.

›› Click here for details on all the exhibitions and events.
›› Join the conversation on Instagram and Twitter using #Delpire
›› The New Yorker presents a stunning and concise slideshow summary of books and photographs from among the displays at Aperture, Hermès, Pace/MacGill, and Howard Greenberg.

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

  • LightBox presents an essay written by Tim Hetherington, who was featured in Aperture issue 204, from the new book Photographs Not Taken, one year after the photographer’s death in Libya. The collection, compiled by Will Steacy (one of Aperture’s Green Cart Commissioned photographers), also features essays by Roger Ballen, Ed Kashi, Mary Ellen MarkAlec SothPeter van Agtmael and more. Additionally, PDN features an 8 image retrospective by Hetherington, whose work is now on view at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York (through May 12, 2012).
  • This week in commentary: LPV Magazine  digests Instagram articles by Om Malik, the New Yorker’s Ian Crouch and New York Magazine’s Paul Ford, finds out, “Facebook Buys Instagram, Some Photographers Sad.” APhotoEditor reads Paul Melcher‘s poignant article on La Lettre de La Photographie alongside Marc Andreessen‘s WSJ piece “Software Will Eat The World,” and explores “how a company with 13 employees and no profits [Instagram] can replace a now bankrupt company [Kodak] that once employed over 120,000 people with annual sales of $10 billion as the ‘manufacturer’ of a device to bring photography to the masses.” In related news, NPPA opens a mobile phone photo contest, calling for entries through Sunday, April 22, 2012, while Magnum Photos has deployed another team to Rochester to document the once-vibrant home of Kodak as part of their Postcards From America series.
  • Poynter investigates the controversy over the Pentagon delaying the LA Times from publishing photographs of US soldiers posing with the body parts of Afghan corpses, a story which has since elicited over 2000 comments on the Times’ website.
  • Sophie Calle, featured in Aperture issues 191 and 142, talks to the Guardian about her best shot from the series Voir La Mer, in which she “took 15 people of all ages, from kids to one man in his 80s, to see [the sea] for the first time.” She photographed them from behind so as to not obstruct their initial encounter, and she captured the entire process, including their reactions, on video. Her current exhibition, Historias de Pared (at Museo de Arte Moderno Medellín through June 3, 2012) is reviewed on Fototazo.
  • In honor of Albert Hoffman’s infamous Bicycle Day (April 19), LIFE Magazine shares a number of never-before-published dream-like photographs that were to accompany an original 1966 article titled, “New Experience That Bombards the Senses: LSD Art.”
  • American Suburb X shares journal entries from William Gedney on “Kentucky, Sex and Diane Arbus,” alongside scans of the archival material culled from the Duke University Rare Books and Manuscript Library.  Speaking of rare books, ICP Library profiles some of the innovative and experimental photobooks they found and photographed at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair last week.
  • Time Magazine releases their annual list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World,” alongside a portrait gallery of 24 of the honorees.  Included this year is artist Christian Marclay, of the monumental video installation recently purchased by MoMA, The Clock, and the 2007 Aperture monograph Shuffle, which takes the form of a deck of cards. The Clock will be shown for free this summer from the middle of July to mid-August at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium. Stake out your places now!

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

  • The New York Times covers Mary Ellen Mark’s series Prom, first featured in Aperture issue 187, now a monograph by Getty Publications, and shares a trailer from Martin Bell’s accompanying documentary. The Sunday Review publishes an essay by Mark, “Prom Night,” and posts a slideshow of images from the series. LensBlog follows up with a Q&A with the photographer on shooting with one of five existing, finicky, but rewarding 20×24 Polaroid Land Cameras for this series and her earlier monograph Twins (Aperture 2005).
  • In their weekly Modern Art Notes Podcast, ArtInfo‘s Tyler Green talks to Mitch Epstein, who he calls “one of America’s most prominent and most honored photographers,” about shifting focus from American Power to trees in New York City, now on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in Chelsea. Epstein will be in conversation with Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla of the Shared Vision collection at Aperture on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
  • “Is your phone’s camera the only camera you need?” asks the Wall Street Journal, profiling new apps and accessories that make that possible. They also share cell phone snapshots by professional photojournalists, and invite readers to do the same.
  • “In an environment where seconds count, there are glorious triumphs and heartbreaking defeats,” writes Michael M. Grynbaum for LensBlog on staff photographer Richard Perry‘s hectic images from the New York City subway. Can’t help but think back to Bruce Davidson’s series from the 1980s and resulting monograph Subway (Aperture 2011), save for the striking dissimilarities between now vastly different transit systems.
  • Simon Bray shares a few key points on Phototuts+ on “Why Returning To A Photographic Location Is Such A Good Idea,” whether it’s months, weeks, days, or hours apart. It’s something Richard Misrach did when he began a three year project photographing the same scene from his from porch at all hours of the day for the monograph Golden Gate, which is soon to be released by Aperture as a stunning 16×20″ oversized edition.
  • Fototazo interviews Luca Desienna, Chief Editor of Gomma Magazine, on the occasion of the announcement of the eight winners of the call for entries for their exciting new publication of black and white photography MONO, Volume 1 (November 2012). Lightbox at Time shares a slideshow of images by the winners and explains briefly what entailed Gomma’s “search for the best  new black-and-white photographers.”
  • The National Press Photographers Association launched a new blog, Ethics Matters, opening up the often circular discussion on how much image manipulation is too much, focusing specifically on new HDR technology which allows cameras to combine multiple frames into a single image, often for a more saturated color effect. This, as Aperture is in the process of acquiring a HDR camera for our own digital media reporting purposes. Stay tuned!

Eleonora Ronconi

The first photograph I discovered from Eleonora Ronconi’s Once Upon a Time project was the one featured below. As Renée Zellweger stated in the movie Jerry Maguire, this image had me at hello:

It is night time, a little ominous, and the boy, with no parent in sight, is alone, pulled to the light and pulled to something he desires, and in effect, it represents something in all of us. It’s cinematic and compelling.

Elonora was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and after spending four years in medical school, shifted gears and began a career in conference interpreting. She is fluent in many languages, including photography. Eleonra has taken workshops with Eddie Soloway, Mary Ellen Mark, Sam Abel, Ed Kashi and Jay Maisel and has been exhibiting in solo and group shows for the past several years, and is currently the online featured artist for the Verve Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in Palo Alto, California and continues to explore her dual passions.

Eleonora’s series, Once Upon a Time, was created over the past three years during visits to a variety of state and county fairs, carnivals, and summertime attractions.

Once Upon a Time: Of all my memories of childhood, I most cherish the trips my father and grandfather made with me to amusement parks. Perhaps these are more poignant as they both passed away when I was still young. We shared our love for popcorn while we listened to the carousel melody, and we had a lot of laughs when cotton candy remnants got stuck on my face. As most kids of my generation, I was an avid reader, and I created stories full of intrepid characters and riveting adventures like those in Alice in Wonderland and Lord of the Rings. These parks were the perfect place to bring this world of fantasy to life. The whoosh of the wind, the screeching of the metal and the kids screaming -all fueled my imagination. Beneath the obvious, I could hear hidden voices that called from inside plastic creatures, sleeping giants waiting to be awaken for one more thrill. It was a delightful time spent with them. My excitement rekindled their own joy and wonder for life.

As an adult, I began to revisit some of these memories and parks, just after sundown, when tired families were heading home. Twilight evokes an ominous feel to the parks and the absence of people opens a space for me to create my own stories, just like when I was a child. There is a stillness that allows me to bring back my memories. I feel the echoes of my childhood and my family, and, even though they are no longer physically here, their presence is still palpable.

These photographs represent my past and my present. Not only do they remind me of fun and fantasy, but also of fear and uncertainty. The empty spaces remind me of what I have lost, but they also invite me for one last ride, one last adventure before the lights go out.

Photographer #353: Benjamin Goss

Benjamin Goss, 1977, USA, is a portrait, documentary and fine art photographer who has been living and working in Sweden for the last nine years. He completed several workshops given by Mary Ellen Mark, worked as one of her assistants for a short period and attended a three-semester fine art photography program at Broby Grafiska in Sweden. His project Breathe began as a protest against the current digital image consumption for which he uses a Kodak 8×10″ view camera from 1904 with silver gelatin paper. The strong black and white portraits are made with exposure times that last from several seconds to one or two minutes. Värmland is an ongoing project focusing on his environment in the countryside of Värmland, Sweden. Benjamin was fascinated by the contrast of the US and Sweden and photographs the people and things from an outsiders perspective. The following images come from his portfolio New Work and the series Breathe and Värmland.

Website: www.benjamingossphotography.com

Southern Hospitality at LOOK3 Charlottesville

By Paula Kupfer

In every sense, the sun shone brightly on Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. As our naturally ventilated automobile (read: no AC) made its way from New York, hundreds of photographers flocked to Virginia for three days of photo discussions, talks, and exhibits at LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph. Blame it on my short history of photo festival attendance, or perhaps consider it a testament to the uniqueness of this particular gathering, but Look3 carried a vibe more akin to a summer camp reunion than a meeting of industry professionals. The atmosphere was relaxed, the setting pleasant and casual—the green, Southern town a welcome change of scenery for most city dwellers—and the festival seamlessly organized and smoothly run. Charlottesville’s quiet charm was underscored by the practical layout of the pedestrian plaza, which Look3 attendees and photo exhibitions took over for three days of lively conversations and encounters.

The subject of this year’s festival—the fourth incarnation of Look3—was “home,” and it coursed through the weekend with a force that could only be matched by the desire, on such hot, summer days, to run off the pedestrian plaza and wade into the river. (Arguably the most popular part of the festival, the swimming hole, surrounded with its earthy banks and green foliage, became a drifting haven for Look3 attendants. Camera toting, bathing suit-clad folks gathered on the banks, while small groups floated up and down the stream.)

The theme was especially palpable throughout the talks and slideshow presentations on the festival program: Prom, Mary Ellen Mark and Martin Bell’s quirky, humorous film, recalled the awkwardness and uncertainty of this ritual celebration, while Gillian Laub’s slideshow about her grandparents brought back memories of our own, crazy uncles. Chris Anderson engaged the audience with photos of his latest project, focused on his family; Ashley Gilbertson passionately reminded his audience of the difficult challenges faced by soldiers returning home from the front lines; and LaToya Ruby Frazier presented a lyrical poem and photographs of her hometown, Braddock, Pennsylvania, and her artistic collaboration with her mother. The eclectic, sincere conversation between Sally Mann and Nan Goldin, probably the most anticipated and memorable of the weekend, turned the stage of the Pavilion Theater into someone’s living room, and us into invisible spectators, witnesses to this most frank of exchanges between two legendary photographers. Among its many twists and turns, the heart-to-heart revealed unexpected affinities between the two strikingly different women.

Photographs and videos of war and conflict were prominent throughout—a different kind of reflection on “home.” The slideshow presentations on the last evening showcased thought-provoking projects by Peter Van Agtmael, presenting visual reportage from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the U.S.; Richard Mosse, juxtaposing footage from military helicopters (à la Wikileaks’s “Collateral Murder”) with screens of war-themed videogames played by recovering soldiers at the Walter Reed Medical Center; and Erin Trieb, combining her own voice with black-and-white photographs to evoke the strenuous return home of a soldier.

Standout satellite exhibitions included Prime Collective’s Prime Show exhibition at Random Row Books, which held an early morning opening enhanced by coffee and pancakes, and Luceo Images’s Altered States: The Way We Live Now at The Bridge Collective Arts Alliance—both showcasing documentary projects by young photographers.

The presentation of Jacob Krupnick’s “Girl Walk//All Day,” a music video of dancer Anne Marsen boogieing her way through New York’s public transport system, closed the festival on a celebratory and lighthearted note. As the film ended, Marsen herself poked her head out from under the projection screen, launching an impromptu dance party amid enthusiastic applause.

Without a doubt, the festival succeeded in capturing the present-day pulse of photography and set high stakes for 2012.

Paula Kupfer is a Brooklyn-based photographer and writer, and the Editorial and Circulation Coordinator for Aperture magazine.