Tag Archives: Profile

Recording Modernism: The Work of Ezra Stoller

If modernism sought to give us Le Corbusiers machine for living in, photographer Ezra Stoller, who died in 2004, used the camera as a machine for living through. His work was not only so comprehensive that it documented modernisms rise, but was a part of the modernist movement itself. Now, a new book Ezra Stoller, Photographer aims to showcase both the images that made him famous, and those that tend to get less exposure. Co-authored by his daughter Erica Stoller, who manages Esto, the photographic agency he founded in 1966, and architectural writer Nina Rappaport, the tome presents Stoller’s iconic images alongside lesser known industrial photography that has a strikingly different focus from his shots of buildings alone.

Ezra Stoller Esto. Photo: Peter Aaron

Portrait of Ezra Stoller with slide glasses, circa 1975.

Like the spaces he captured, his work is clean, simple and elegant. In one frame Stoller could distill the essence of a structure, as if he knew how to perfect the architects dream. His shots of Eero Saarinens TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport, for example, seem both fluid and solid at oncea feeling often hard to experience in the building itself. squido lense . Stoller was known for being meticulous, pedantic even. With large format cameras, a Deardorff in the 1930s and 1940s and a Sinar in the 1950s and 1960s, as we learn from the book, he would reportedly stay in spaces for days before he photographed, and would often turn up to shoot just after a building was finished. Among architects, his name was used as a verb; to have a design Stollerized was seen as a great honor. Indeed, his client list reads like a whos who of mid 20th Century architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson and Louis Kahn, to name but a few.

It may come as a surprise, then, to learn that Stoller didnt consider himself an artist. Trained as an industrial designer at New York University, Stoller came into the workforce during the Great Depression, a factor that saw him eschew a design career for one behind the camera, a discipline he had no education in. A move perhaps stemming from his token perfectionism: he didnt have too many industry-related connections and hated the idea of working for another architect. He saw photography as a practical way to excel.

Ezra Stoller Esto

Fortune Magazine Cover, Jan. 1947.

He decided that this was going to be the medium that he could best speak about architecture, Erica Stoller says. By moving to the side he felt that he could contribute more. He got to be involved with architects making decisions, she adds.

Sometimes projects for magazines such as Fortune, other times commissions for companies such as IBM, Stoller’s lesser-known images are part social realism, part modernist idealism. In these posed shots we see the working man as hero, the working woman as heroine, and both at the center of the industrialist dream. They are optimistic, sharp, beautiful, and they show us the true breadth of his work: he was not just an architectural photographer but an industrial and portrait photographer too. They are images of industry in America, and he is really focused on the worker in motion, Rappaport says. This was all post-war. It was a time of prosperity, and he really captures this.

Ezra Stoller, Photographer will be published by Yale University Press on Nov. 19.

Imaginary Universe: Richard Kolker’s Computer Generated Images

London-based artist Richard Kolker has been working exclusively with computer generated imagery (CGI) for the last six years. But the fact that he comes from a traditional photographic background, having previously worked as a commercial photographer for Getty Images, would surprise no one: Kolker’s imagined pictures of still lifes, interiors and landscapes are rendered with such precision and clarity that they appear like true, documentary shots.

Inspired by the online virtual world Second Life and games such as World of Warcraft, which both rely heavily on GCI, Kolker sought to create images that were the antithesis of the aesthetic found in these programs. “I wanted to create images that reflected a more mundane nature, as opposed to the more fascinating environments people were experiencing through the anonymity of an avatar,” he says.

TIME Magazine

Richard Kolker’s computer generated image featured in the Oct. 29, 2012 issue of TIME.

That quieter mood is seen in the image created for Kolker in this week’s education-themed issue of TIME. For a story that examines the potential of free online courses to upend traditional higher education, Kolker created a dark image of an empty classroom. “A lot of my photos have this dark shadowy entity to it,” he explains. “I wanted to convey the emptiness with this classroom image—like all the life has been taken out.”

Kolker’s images typically take a couple days to create. And while the method may be seen as unconventional, he says the process itself feels similar to actual shooting. “I build a model like I would with plastic or cardboard, and I light it as I would in real life—but just with digital tools,” Kolker says. “And then I photograph it with a computer tool [Maxon Cinema 4D] that has a shutter speed and aperture—so in many ways, it’s fairly conventional.”

For the most part, Kolker relies on his self-described “vivid imagination” to conceptualize pictures, although he’ll use an actual photograph as a starting point from time to time. In one series, “Reference, Referents,” Kolker looked to famous works by artists whose pieces recalled photographic elements, including David Hockney, and tried to recreate the perfect picture that might have inspired said work.

He still carries cameras around when he travels, but says he never takes pictures anymore, preferring to continue his CGI work. “The whole world is shifting from analog to digital, and I love thinking about this digital code that you can use to create images of places around the world without ever having to go there,” Kolker says. “I love the total freedom of it—the ability to create whatever it is in your imagination or fantasy.”

Richard Kolker is an artist based in the U.K. See more of his work here

 

Pete Souza’s Portrait of a Presidency

The long view of history tends to be the judge of a presidency. As we approach what President Obama hopes will be the midpoint of his tenure in the Oval Office, it is too early to draw conclusions on his legacy as Commander in Chief. What we do know is that Obama’s first term has been a historic one: the first African American to hold the county’s highest office, Obama and his Administration have battled a recession, passed health care reform and legislation to end the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, formally ended the war in Iraq and brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

Through adversity and triumph, public victories and private setbacks, chief official White House photographer Pete Souza and his team of photographers have relentlessly documented the actions of the President, the First Lady and the Vice President since Obama took office in early 2009.

As the President runs for a second term, LightBox asked Souza to reflect on his time photographing Obama and share an edit of his favorite images that he and his staff made during the President’s first term; the photographs offer a fascinatingly candid insight into the life of the President while painting a portrait of Barack Obama the man, husband and father.

“I tried to, in putting together this edit, not only to show some of the high points or low points of his presidency thus far, but pictures that help people understand what he’s like, not only as a President but as a human being,” Souza tells TIME. “And how he relates to other people, how he relates to his family.”

Souza’s process is aided by his long-standing working relationship with Obama — one that precedes the presidency. They met on Jan. 3, 2005, Obama’s first day in the Senate. For Souza, then a staff photographer at the Chicago Tribune‘s Washington bureau, it was the first day of a yearlong assignment to document the new Senator’s time in office.

As the assignment evolved, Souza — who had worked as a White House staff photographer during President Reagan’s second term — began recognizing something special about the Senator. An inkling of things to come, or potential for the future. He began looking for moments that would prove valuable in the course of history, photographs that would define Obama’s early years to those who only knew his legacy.

“I was looking for things that I knew that if he ever became President you would never see again,” he says. “[Obama was] walking down a sidewalk in Moscow in 2005 and no one recognized him. I realized that if he ever became President, you would never, ever see a photograph like that. The odds of becoming President are obviously pretty slim, but I knew he had the potential. And you can’t say that about too many people.”

Souza continued to photograph Senator Obama, who quickly became presidential-candidate Obama and then Democratic-nominee Obama. With Obama’s 2008 election victory, Souza returned to the White House as chief official White House photographer and director of the White House Photography Office.

The photographs that Souza has taken extend the lineage of White House photography that began in the 1960s, first in a somewhat scattered way during John F. Kennedy’s Administration and then more officially with Yoichi Okamoto, Lyndon B. Johnson’s photographer. Okamoto is considered the first photographer to capture the presidency with an eye for history. Souza is quick to acknowledge and praise his work and that of others who have followed, including David Kennerly (Ford), Bob McNeely (Clinton) and Eric Draper (George W. Bush).

An all-digital workflow is one thing that differentiates Souza’s work from the majority of his predecessors. Although he wasn’t the one to move the process to digital — Draper, Bush’s photographer, made the switch from film to digital — Souza made the first official portrait of an incoming President with a digital camera. The Obama Administration has understood the insatiable appetite for imagery that the digital age has wrought and embraces Flickr as a means of disseminating presidential photography.

The Administration encourages sharing behind-the-scenes photos now, he says. “[It wanted] to establish a way to become more transparent than any other Administration, so every month, we upload a new batch of behind-the-scenes photos. The response has been overwhelming.”

But alongside the ease brought by the digital era came one difficulty: the Presidential Records Act prohibits Souza and his team from deleting any photographs. ”One of our bigger challenges is just the storage of all these images,” he says, noting the immense difficulty the team will experience moving millions of digital files to the National Archives at the end of Obama’s tenure.

Souza’s work with the President follows in the golden age of photojournalism’s best traditions, when photographers working for magazines like LIFE established relationships and spent inordinate amounts of time shooting beautifully crafted images of public figures.

“I spend a lot of time with [the President], around him, on vacations, sometimes on weekends, depending on what’s going on. He’s used to me being around,” Souza says. As his friend P.F. Bentley described it, “When the President is on, I’m on. And when the President’s off, I’m still on.”

Souza recalls one meeting that he missed because it had been rescheduled unbeknownst to him. “I was a little upset with the President’s secretary for not telling me that they had moved the meeting up, and [the President] heard us talking and he said, ‘What are you talking about? You were in that meeting.’ He’s so used to me being there that he thought that I had been in the meeting that I wasn’t even in. So I took that as a compliment.”

His access to Obama’s inner circle and day-to-day routine stems from the trust he built during their relationship prior to the presidency. “I’m there to seriously document his presidency. I’m not looking for cheap shots, and I think that’s the kind of relationship any White House photographer should have with the President they’re covering,” he says. “That they have a level of access and trust that will lead to important photographs for history.”

Souza is aware of the significance of the photographs he and his team are taking, but he’s also focused on capturing the small and incidental moments that make the Obama Administration unique. “There are days that you certainly think about the importance of what’s taking place — you’re serving an important role in visually documenting this period of time for history,” he says. “But at the same time, a lot of the pictures that tell you a lot about a President are not [made] during those times. They’re when he’s having a private moment with one of his daughters, or when something unexpected happens that may not be, you know, important in terms of history’s sake.”

“I think that’s what keeps you on your toes. You never know when those moments are gonna occur, because they don’t always occur when big things are happening,” he says. The image of Obama playing in the snow with Sasha and Malia is a testament to Souza’s approach. The photograph is not simply of the President but of a moment shared between a father and his daughters.

These personal images round out Souza’s portrait of the President and give it greater depth. While preparing this edit for LightBox, he acknowledged that it was hard to present what a presidency is about in just a handful of pictures. “I don’t gravitate toward any singular image right now,” he says. “I try to look at a body of work, and so I’m proud of this edit that I submitted. To me, it’s all these photographs together which tell you something about this man, this President, and I guess to a certain extent, about me and what I think is important.”

Although Souza’s edit comprises more than 100 images, it is by no means a comprehensive record of Obama’s time in office. “I’m sure that I left out some important moments,” he says. “I don’t think I included anything from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, and that’s historic in itself — he won the Nobel Peace Prize. But it just didn’t fit in with the series of pictures that I wanted to present.”

Says Souza of the President: “He has certainly created history just by being the first African-American President. Hopefully in future generations, we’ll soon have a woman President or a Hispanic President, and it won’t matter that much. But I think that if you’d ask him, he wants to be remembered for the things that he’s done.”

For Souza, it’s difficult at this point to reflect on the last four years and the photographs he and his team have made. “One of the difficult things, doing this every day, is having a chance to really sit back and take it all in. Putting these photos together helped that a little bit,” he says. “You’re a little bit overwhelmed about everything that happened in four years, because a lot of stuff has happened. I hope there will come a time where, when I’m not doing this job any longer, I’ll be able to sit back and reflect on everything that he’s been through and everything that I’ve been through.”

An exhibition of Souza’s work, The Obama White House — Photographs by Pete Souza, is on view at the Leica Gallery in New York City from Oct. 5 to Nov. 10, 2012.

Dan Winters in a Thousand Words: An Ode to a Friend by Nick Offerman

Ironically, I have been asked to describe this photographer with 1,000 words. Given the profound affection I feel towards him and his work, it will be a challenge to wrap it up so briefly. Humor, beauty, erudition, skill, generosity, fun. There’s six.

Travis Smith

Dan Winters

Dan Winters and I had exchanged a few sincerely firm handshakes in 1999, but it was at the bachelor party of a mutual friend in July of 2000 that I feel we first truly took each other’s
measure. Dan and I were to appear as fellow groomsmen in the impending nuptials, and I clearly recall a gratifying sense of relief when I was told that, instead of the traditionally misogynistic stripper fete complete with uncomfortably soused fraternity brothers, Dan would be leading we grooms-buddies on a hike to a swimming hole in his native Ventura County. “God damn”, I thought, “this Dan guy might be all right.” I didn’t know any of the guys except the groom, but having been brought up properly in a fine, rural Illinois family, I was reasonably certain I knew just how to comport myself in this situation. I arrived at the location with a canvas army backpack filled with ice and a case of Coronas. To my relief, my new compatriots quickly confirmed that I had acted appropriately in the arena of refreshments, then Dan took one look at my vintage World War 2 backpack and told me the exact Allied campaign in which it had been utilized, as well as the year the Swiss switched over from canvas to leather shoulder straps. A crush began to blossom in the springtime of my heart. He said, “C’mon. You guys are gonna love this place.”

We hiked, rather arduously, albeit enjoyably, up a rocky, switchback trail for about an hour, to arrive, astonished, at an altitudinous landscape, the likes of which I had only previously seen in an Ansel Adams calendar. The “swimming hole” was but one perfect basin in a series of boulder-strewn pools that had been created over the millennia by a small creek burbling ever deeper into the granite hill. One deep, round hole, complete with cascading waterfall, allowed for a 20-foot cliff-dive into its emerald water. Having spent most of my life in the relatively flatter environs of the Midwest, this magical setting Dan had gifted upon us fairly beggared my imagination. It seemed much more suited to a scene in which Bilbo Baggins might be found engaged in a chin-wag about finger-jewelry with a thin, lisping, somewhat amphibious chap, than one in which seven men in their 30’s lay about sipping cold cervezas. However other-worldly it might have seemed, we were not in a fantasy. We were simply in the place where Dan had taken us.

Dan Winters

Brooklyn, 1987

Soon thereafter, Dan visited my woodshop, pointing out all the right materials and jigs, and we giggled like cub scouts over a myriad of jack planes, spokeshaves, bandsaws, and especially my 1943 Delta drill press, the clear “hottie” amongst my arsenal of machines. Curves for days. We had a drawn-out discussion about floor sweeping techniques. No shit. Once again, he knew more about my tools and their inner workings than I could ever hope to learn, for you see, this man is lovingly obsessed with all of the implements mankind has created, using nothing but ingenuity and elbow-grease. He is fully enraptured, and luckily for us, he has a penchant to make us see what he sees as well. Dan Winters is in love with a telephone pole! It sounds silly until you see the picture he has taken of it. Then you say, “Oh…Jesus. Wow.” A suspension bridge, a firearm, a salad fork or an engine will possess him until he has taken it into the embrace of his lens and spun it about the dance floor for all of us to countenance, until we have perceived the message and realized the poignant beauty that caused him to pick up his camera in the first place.

The many-colored layers of his talent and his fascination do not stop at leather saddles, hand tools and carburetors. Dan’s portraits of human beings, from anonymous citizens to luminaries, are deceptively simple renderings of personality and nuance. They are pregnant with pathos. I’ve never seen photos of celebrities that made them seem like such, well, human beings. He suggests that the viewer really think about the person depicted, in a different way than we’ve been taught by modern fashion. His haunting plates of honey bees are shot with the efficient scrutiny of the entomologist combined with a surrealist’s elan. The works on paper are laced with specific meaning and emotional truth, in turns beautiful, humorous, and chilling. He takes on sumi-e black ink painting and writes an entire poem with three strokes of his brush. The longer I’ve known Dan Winters, the more I am astonished at the breadth of his ability to convey relevant and powerful emotions with his images.

I’ve seen Dan break into a sweat simply from the enthusiasm he feels for a conversational topic. Our world, and the people living in it, excite him. He will not be contained. When he’s shooting, Dan begins to behave like a hound who has caught wind of a coon. His pulse quickens and his eyes are never still, evaluating the light, the composition, the subject, until he locks in through the lens and then his eye never wavers. He makes photographs in the same spirit with which he’ll drive you to Lockhart, Texas in his cherry 1964 Chevy pickup, give you a tour of the three greatest barbecue joints in the world, then actually show you how to eat the barbecue. “Take a bite of brisket. Amazing, right? Now take a little bite of the jalapeno. Right?” Right, indeed. Dan Winters is a genius at tasting life who loves to share his gifts with the people, and that makes you and I a couple of lucky bastards. 1,000 words. Insufficient.

Nick Offerman is an actor, writer and carpenter currently starring in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. Click here to see more of his carpentry work.

A retrospective exhibit of Dan Winters’ work will be on view at the Jepson Center in Savannah, Ga. from Sept. 14 to Nov.11. Winters’ book, Last Launch, was recently featured on LightBox.

Martine Franck: 1938 – 2012

Martine Franck, an esteemed documentary and portrait photographer and second wife of Henri Cartier-Bresson, died of cancer in Paris on Aug. 16 at the age of 74. A member of Magnum Photos for more 32 years, Franck was a co-founder and president of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation.

“Martine was one classic Magnum photographer we could all agree with,” said photographer Elliott Erwitt. “Talented, charming, wise, modest and generous, she set a standard of class not often found in our profession. She will be profoundly missed.”

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1938, Franck studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. In 1963, she began her photographic career at Time-Life in Paris, assisting photographers Eliot Elisofan and Gjon Mili. Although somewhat reserved with her camera at first, she quickly blossomed photographing the refined world of Parisian theater and fashion. A friend, stage director Ariane Mnouchkine, helped establish Franck as the official photographer of the Thtre du Soleil in 1964a position she held for the next 48 years.

As her career grew, Franck pursued a wide range of photographic stories, from documentary reportage in Nepal and Tibet to gentle and evocative portraits of Paris’s creative class. article writing submission . Her portfolio of the cultural elite includes photographic peers Bill Brandt and Sarah Moon as well as artist Diego Giacometti and philosopher Michel Foucault, among others. In 1983, she became a full member of Magnum Photos, one of a small number of female members at the legendary photographic agency. Cable Deals In My Area . Balancing her time between a variety of stories, her work reflects an innate sensitivity to stories of humanity.

In a piece published in the Guardian in 2006 about her time photographing a Buddhist monastery in Nepal, Franck chose to highlight a photo (slide #2 above) of an elder monk sitting with a young apprentice.

“I was there for an hour, just sitting quietly in a corner, observing,” she explained. “The picture is somehow a symbol of peace, and of young people getting on with old people. Although I didn’t think that at the timein the moment, it’s just instinctive. Afterwards, maybe, you realize what the photograph means.”

Her humanitarian work paired her with numerous social humanitarian organizations and was heralded for the truths it revealed. But her name was also often associated with Henri Cartier-Bresson.

In an interview on Charlie Rose, Franck recalled her first time meeting her future husband in 1965.

“His opening line was ‘Martine, I want to come and see your contact sheets,’” she recalled. They married in 1970.

Throughout her career, Franck served as a powerful advocate, both for Magnum and for the continued legacy of her husband. Serving as the president and co-founder of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Franck ensured that the spirit of his work survived.

Franck continued to work on her own photography, participating in group projects with Magnum, including “Georgian Spring.” As recently as this April, Franck’s expansive collection of portraits were exhibited in Paris at the Galerie Claude Bernard.

Magnum photographer and President Alex Majoli described Franck as a dear friend and a steady foundation within the photo agency. “Magnum has lost a point of reference, a lighthouse, and one our most influential and beloved members with her death,” he said in a statement released by Magnum over the weekend.

She is survived by her daughter, Melanie.

Martine Franck: 1938 – 2012

Martine Franck, an esteemed documentary and portrait photographer and second wife of Henri Cartier-Bresson, died of cancer in Paris on Aug. 16 at the age of 74. Comcast Deals . A member of Magnum Photos for more 32 years, Franck was a co-founder and president of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation.

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1938, Franck studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. In 1963, she began her photographic career at Time-Life in Paris, assisting photographers Eliot Elisofan and Gjon Mili. Although somewhat reserved with her camera at first, she quickly blossomed photographing the refined world of Parisian theater and fashion. A friend, stage director Ariane Mnouchkine, helped establish Franck as the official photographer of the Thtre du Soleil in 1964a position she held for the next 48 years.

As her career grew, Franck pursued a wide range of photographic stories, from documentary reportage in Nepal and Tibet to gentle and evocative portraits of Paris’s creative class. Her portfolio of the cultural elite includes photographic peers Bill Brandt and Sarah Moon as well as artist Diego Giacometti and philosopher Michel Foucault, among others. In 1983, she became a full member of Magnum Photos, one of a small number of female members at the legendary photographic agency. Balancing her time between a variety of stories, her work reflects an innate sensitivity to stories of humanity.

In a piece published in the Guardian in 2006 about her time photographing a Buddhist monastery in Nepal, Franck chose to highlight a photo (slide #2 above) of an elder monk sitting with a young apprentice.

“I was there for an hour, just sitting quietly in a corner, observing,” she explained. “The picture is somehow a symbol of peace, and of young people getting on with old people. Although I didn’t think that at the timein the moment, it’s just instinctive. Afterwards, maybe, you realize what the photograph means.”

Her humanitarian work paired her with numerous social humanitarian organizations and was heralded for the truths it revealed. But her name was also often associated with Henri Cartier-Bresson.

In an interview on Charlie Rose, Franck recalled her first time meeting her future husband in 1965.

“His opening line was ‘Martine, I want to come and see your contact sheets,’” she recalled. They married in 1970. Throughout her career, Franck served as a powerful advocate, both for Magnum and for the continued legacy of her husband. Serving as the president and co-founder of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Franck ensured that the spirit of his work survived.

Franck continued to work on her own photography, participating in group projects with Magnum, including “Georgian Spring.” As recently as this April, Franck’s expansive collection of portraits were exhibited in Paris at the Galerie Claude Bernard.

Magnum photographer and President Alex Majoli described Franck as a dear friend and a steady foundation within the photo agency. linkwheel . “Magnum has lost a point of reference, a lighthouse, and one our most influential and beloved members with her death,” he said in a statement released by Magnum over the weekend.

She is survived by her daughter, Melanie.

Homai Vyarawalla: India’s First Female Photojournalist

Besides capturing the last days of the British Empire, Homai Vyarawalla was one of the key visual chroniclers of the post-independence era, tracing the euphoria and disillusionments of a new nation as India’s first female photojournalist. For years her vast archive chronicling three decades of Indian history received less attention than the Indian work of her international contemporaries, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Margaret Bourke-White. But a new retrospective titled “Candid, The Lens and Life of Homai Vyarawalla“ at Manhattan’s Rubin Museum of Art is finally paying tribute to her groundbreaking work.

Born in Navsari, Gujarat in 1913, Vyarawalla learned photography from her boyfriend Maneckshaw Vyarawalla. Her training at the Sir J. J School of the Arts, Mumbai influenced her pictorial sense as did the modernist photographs she got to see in second hand issues of LIFE magazine. Her early portraits of everyday urban life and modern young women in Mumbai show these influences, but since Vyarawalla was unknown and a woman, these were initially published in the Illustrated Weekly and Bombay Chronicle under Maneckshaw’s name.

In 1942 Vyarawalla moved to Delhi to join the British Information Services. There she photographed a significant meeting when Congress members voted for the partition of India. Vyarawalla also documented the rituals of Independence, the building of dams and steel plants and the state visits of the most famous names in 20th-century history, including Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ho Chi Minh, Marshall Tito and Russian leaders Brezhnev and Khruschev.

In 1956 Vyarawalla captured the first entry of a young Dalai Lama into India for TIME-LIFE. High-society magazines like Onlooker and Current requested her for “pictures of good looking women.” Not surprisingly, they published large spreads on the visits of Queen Elizabeth I and the fashionable U.S. First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

Getty Images

Homai Vyarawalla

But Vyarawalla had a style of her own, too. Once, while waiting for Mrs. Kennedy to emerge for a photo shoot in 1962, a colleague of Vyarawalla whispered to the photographer: “She isn’t dressed properly as yet!” Though Vyarawalla was from the westernized Parsi community where women also wore dresses, she mostly dressed in a saree on assignment. Formal attire offered respectability in conservative times when she was the only woman among photographers. Her colleagues, many of them younger, nicknamed her “mummy.”

At a time when candid photography was favored, she got the best shots but was unobtrusive and respectful of the dignity of her subjects. She captured her favorite subject favorite subject Jawaharlal Nehru, who was India’s first Prime Minister, in playful and vulnerable moments. Ironically, her most famous photographs of Gandhi were taken during his funeral in 1948. Vyarawalla loved black and white, and she processed her own images and believed that the choice of monochrome preserved them for posterity. And more than 50 years later, it’s easy to see why.

Candid, The Lens and Life of Homai Vyarawalla is on display at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City through Jan. 14, 2013.

Sabeena Gadihoke is associate professor of video production at Jamia University in Delhi and is the author of Camera Chronicles of Homai Vyarawalla.

Finding Art in Google Maps: Jenny Odell’s Satellite World

For the average person, Google Maps is a website used to locate an address on a map, find directions from one place to another and see what areas around the world look like from a bird’s eye perspective. But for artist Jenny Odell, Google Maps is a tool to see, cut up and re-imagine her world in a new, photographic way.

Odell grew up in the Bay Area, and not unlike many in the area, was born to parents in the tech industry. After studying English in undergrad, Odell went on to receive her M.F.A. in photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. Interested in the complexities of technology—its progress and efficiency models, alongside the hiccups and mistakes inherent in web applications like Google Maps—Odell found inspiration in the two seemingly divergent paths.

Her project Satellite Collections, created from 2009-2011, uses the satellite view on Google Maps to find objects as diverse as airplanes, basketball courts and even water slides from places all over the world, which Odell then compiles into pictures—a selection of which is on view at Breeze Block Gallery in Portland, Ore. The photographer is often unaware of ‘where’ she is on the map, but then again, it’s not really important to her. “By working with the map labels turned off, I’m free to move about and explore freely,” says Odell. ”This work is about a greater idea of space. I’m interested in the strangeness of a particular site or location.” After making her selections, she makes screen grabs of the items and then brings the files into PhotoShop to cut them out of their surroundings. Final square-shaped images of 144 empty parking lots, or every basketball court in Manhattan, tell a story of our world from a perspective unusual for the human eye.

Odell’s most recent project, Signs of Life, which she began this year, expands on her previous projects and explores life from Google’s satellite view. This time around, the focus is our collective preoccupation with stuff both tangible and not: movies, cell phones, alcohol, marriage counseling and weight loss are just a few of the topics to fall within Odell’s examination.

Jenny Odell is a San Francisco based artist. A solo exhibition of her work will be on view from Aug. 2 to 30 at Breeze Block Gallery in Portland, Ore. See more of Odell’s work here.