Tag Archives: Washington Post

SW Regional SPE: Brenda Biondo

Sharing photographers that I met at the SW Regional SPE Conference hosted by the Center of Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado….

When I met Brenda Biondo and spent time with her terrific project, Once Upon a Playground, I realized that it had so much potential–as a teaching tool, as a museum exhibition, and as a book. As a teaching tool, it was a great reflection of how a project forms, from a few photographs and ideas, growing into significant research of a subject adding additional layers of insight and thought. As Brenda states, she discovered that no institution is documenting objects of play, and her project may one day, be an important historical record.  Her museum options range from Children’s Museums, The Museum of Play, the Smithsonian, and a host of other options.  Finally, the book dummy that she shared in Colorado is a thorough and fascinating look at the history of playgrounds. Publishers, where are you?

Brenda received B.A. degree in communication arts from James Madison University in Virginia. After working in corporate communications in Manhattan and Washington, DC for a decade, she left the corporate world to focus on freelance writing. As a writer, she had her work published in The Washington Post, The Denver Post, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Weekend magazine and many other publications. In 2004, she decided to discontinue writing in order to concentrate on fine art photography. Her work has appeared in group and solo shows throughout the country, including exhibits at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO; the Hubbard Museum for the American West in Ruidoso Downs, NM; the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, CO; and the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA. A native New Yorker, Brenda now lives in a small Colorado town at the base of Pikes Peak with her husband and two children.

Once Upon A Playground 

This was the first project I started after turning 40 and having my first kid. Even though I had been taking photographs for more than two decades, I had never pursued it seriously until then. As I was thinking about subjects I could shoot with a baby in tow, I began noticing that the local parks I visited with my young daughter hardly ever had the type of equipment I had grown up with. 

For the past nine years, I’ve worked on this project on and off, traveling around the country photographing whatever old playground equipment I can find in schoolyards and public parks. I see this series as a type of cultural archeology, because playgrounds have played such a prominent role in the lives of American children for generations. The classic metal and wood structures were a distinctive element of the American landscape for most of the 20th century and are part of the personal histories of most Americans over the age of 30. 
The towering metal slides, spine-jarring seesaws, colorful spinners and other classic equipment was gone from most playgrounds. As I started focusing on these childhood icons, I realized that the equipment designs often reflected the popular culture of the times, with geometric metal and wood apparatus of the early 1900s supplemented by pieces in the shape of cowboys and Indians, Wizard of Oz and Charlie Brown characters, rocket ships and satellites, motorcycles and geodesic domes during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. 

Unfortunately, it gets harder to find this equipment with each passing year. When schools and towns renovate their playgrounds, the old equipment is almost always hauled away to the scrap yard. As far as I can tell, no institution — hello, Smithsonian — is collecting and preserving this equipment. I can’t remember how I stumbled across the first playground catalog on eBay, but I began buying them whenever one came up for auction, not really sure what I would do with them but knowing they provided historical context for my photographs. 

After several years, I had nearly two dozen catalogs, published from 1920 through 1975, along with a growing pile of historical playground postcards. I’ve recently combined the historical documents with my photographs and created a book on Blurb to show to potential publishers. All the elements of the book are viewable on my website, www.onceuponaplayground.com.

Articles | November 2012

Some interesting articles and reviews from the past two months.

Afghan policemen patrol during an operation near the border with Pakistan ©
Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

Observer: : The Month in Photography | The Observer New Review’s monthly guide to the 20 best photographic exhibitions and books

Sara Hussein: Tweeting from the front line (AFP blog)

Freelance photographer Phil Moore has been filing great work for AFP from Kivu region in Democratic Republic of Congo (I’ll share links to some of the work later this week)… Was fascinating to read about his experiences working in DRC on the AFP’s Correspondent blog…

Photo © Phil Moore / AFP

Phil Moore: ‘I love you very much, that is why we are here’ | Phil Moore on working in DRC

Robert King on working in Syria…

Photo © Robert King

Vice: The Man Who Was There | Robert King has been covering the FSA so long they named him ‘Haji Memphis’

Why we need war correspondents.

Terry Anderson:  Running Toward Danger | ‘Why the world still needs war correspondents.’

New York Times: Using War as Cover to Target Journalists

WaPo and NYT public editors on ‘controversial’ Gaza photos…

Washington Post: Photo of dead baby in Gaza holds part of the ‘truth’

New York Times: Photo Caption Should Have Been Better. But ‘Orwellian’? No. | NYT’s Public Editor defends Tyler Hicks’s Gaza photo caption.

Not your average war correspondent… crazy story…

Sunil Patel: I Went to Syria to Learn How to Be a Journalist…And Failed Miserably At It While Almost Dying A Bunch of Times (Vice)

“Attack—Eastern Front WWII,” 1941, © Dimitri Baltermants, Russian, born Poland, 1912-1990.

PDN: War Correspondence | ‘This month the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) will open an exhibition that promises to change the way photographs of war are seen, understood and written about.’

FT: War and Peace 

Lightbox: War/Photography by Geoff Dyer

Lightbox: This Means War: A Look at Conflict Photography

Telegraph: The unique advantage of female war reporters in Muslim countries

Wired: HBO’s Witness Goes Inside the Pulse-Pounding World of Conflict Photographers 

Fast Company: HBO’s “Witness” Looks At The World’s Deadliest Places Through The Lens of Photojournalists

Photo © Sara Terry

Lens blog: Coming to Terms With the Legacy of War | The Aftermath Project, Putting Together Its Fifth Book

Wired: War Reporters Train in the Bronx, Complete With Blood, Smoke and Gunfire

Cover photo © Ben Lowy

Forbes: Why Time Magazine Used Instagram To Cover Hurricane Sandy

Kenneth Jarecke: Instagram, the Devil, and You (photographer’s blog)

Kenneth Jarecke: Great Job, You’re Fired (photographer’s blog)

Fast Company: An Intimate Portrait Of Innovation, Risk, And Failure Through Hipstamatic’s Lens

Jon Levy: Foto8 is Leaving Home

Five interesting articles from Guardian’s 80 page supplement ‘Photography Masterclass’ from a week or so ago…

Photo © Antonio Olmos

Antonio Olmos: Street Photography (Guardian) ‘Trust your instincts, be brave and alert to every possibility and wear sensible shoes – all that pavement pounding will pay off eventually …’

Martin Argles: Photojournalism (Guardian) Even as technology advances, the role of the photojournalist will remain the same: to expand our awareness of the world

Suki Dhanda: Portrait photography (Guardian) |A powerful portrait must connect the viewer to the subject. Beyond technique and timing, observation and empathy are vita

Eamonn McCabe: Landscape photography  (Guardian)| Good landscape photography does not require epic surroundings – beauty can be found on your doorstep if your eyes are open to it

Guardian: Photography: an ever-evolving art form | Our photography critic examines the changing landscape of a thriving medium

Petapixel: Photojournalists Reflect on Documenting Obama’s Reelection Campaign

Wired: Photographs Are No Longer Things, They’re Experiences

Business Insider: Photographers Will Soon Be The Most Valuable People In The News Room

Lens blog: An Inside View on Documentary Stories

David Campbell: Thinking Images v.25: The politics of the individual against the white backdrop (David Campbell’s blog)

Guardian: Magnum Revolution – review | ‘Magnum photographers provide a compelling visual record of violent uprising from Budapest 1956 to the Arab spring’

Evening Standard: Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present 

Guardian: Photography: is it art? | | ‘From the earliest days of photography, practitioners took their inspiration from paintings. But as a new exhibition at London’s National Gallery shows, the link went both ways’

Guardian: Light from the Middle East offers a true reflection of a complex region | ‘A new exhibition at London’s V&A offers insights from within cultures that are more often photographed and reported from the outside’

Harlem, New York, 1947 © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Guardian: Henri Cartier-Bresson: who can beat the master of monochrome? | ‘An exciting new London exhibition pits Henri Cartier-Bresson, famous for eschewing colour in his photography, against some of the best colour photographers of our time’

ABC News: AP Photographer Walt Zeboski Dies at Age 83

Petapixel: Canadian Photogs Now Officially Own the Copyright to All of Their Photos

Guardian: Enrique Metinides: photographing the dead for Mexico’s ‘bloody news’

PDN: Photographers on Their Favorite Image from Robert Frank’s The Americans

Lightbox: The Americans List: A Salute to Robert Frank

PDN: 8 Dos and Don’ts for Crowd-Funding Campaigns

PDN: How to Survive and Conquer Portfolio Reviews

MediaStorm Field Guide

ADWeek: Time Moves to Responsive Design

BJP: Kodak releases iPhone app for professional film photographers

BJP: Inaugural Photoreporter festival finances photographers

Forbes: Do Not Trust This Joel Sternfeld Photograph

Photo Brigade: Holiday Photo Gift Guide 2012

Visual Culture Blog: London Photography Map

Guardian: The best photography websites, publications and galleries

Lens blog: An Outsider’s Life in Pictures and Boxes | The Still Unfolding Legend Vivian Maier

© Doug Ricard

Lightbox: Street View and Beyond: Google’s Influence on Photography

Lightbox: From Photography to Film: Stanley Kubrick Enters the Ring

Lightbox: The Bechers on Display at Paris Photo

LA Observed: LA Times wins $266,000 from photographer David Strick

Telegraph:  Portraits of a woman | ‘What makes a portrait of a woman unforgettable? We asked eight leading female photographers to identify their favourite.’

BBC: Photographer Dody Weston Thompson dies aged 89

Art Daily: Phillips de Pury & Company announces highlights from its London November Photographs Auction

Mary Beth Meehan, Suzanne & Eli

Mary Beth Meehan, Suzanne & Eli

Mary Beth Meehan

Suzanne & Eli,
Brockton, Massachusetts, 2010
From the City of Champions: A Portrait of Brockton, Massachusetts series
Website – MaryBethMeehan.com

Mary Beth Meehan is a Providence-based photographer whose work explores issues of identity, culture, and community. Her current series, City of Champions, looks at the changing post-industrial U.S. through the eyes of her hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts. The series is featured in the current issue of 6Mois Magazine and will be exhibited at the Griffin Museum of Photography in January, 2013. With support from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, twelve photographs from the project were printed as 14-foot banners and mounted on buildings in Brockton’s distressed downtown core, sparking community-wide conversations about evolving urban identities, community dislocation, and the possibilities for social change. Her work has been published in 6Mois, LeMonde, DoubleTake, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Sunday Globe. Meehan teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Andrew Spear

With gun control a heated topic in the upcoming election and horrific events in Colorado recently, the idea that someone would want to own a machine gun still is beyond my comprehension. Photographer, Andrew Spear is exploring that phenomenon in his on-going project, Knob Creek.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Andrew works a freelance photographer, in addition to creating documentary and fine art work. Often choosing to pursue personal projects near home, much of his work reflects his surroundings as he attempts to understand both the communities he lives in and the relationships he builds with others.  His work has been exhibited at the Houston Center for Photography in Houston, Texas, the Annenberg Space for Photography in New York City, and was presented at LOOKBetween in Charlottesville, VA. His clients include Esquire, TIME, Mother Jones, The Washington Post Magazine, Le Monde’s M Magazine, The New York Times, Smithsonian, US News and World Report and The Wall Street Journal amongst many others.

Knob Creek: Twice a year, thousands of gun enthusiasts descend upon the former Naval munitions testing ground outside of West Point, Kentucky to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights at the largest machine gun shoot in America. Used in the early 20th century, the property tested many of the large scale weapons used in World War I and II before being sold in 1963. Now, the Knob Creek Range is one of the last places in the country where privately-owned class III automatic weapons can legally be fired. This is an ongoing body of work.

Lucas Foglia, Alex with Gourd

Lucas Foglia, Alex with Gourd

Lucas Foglia

Alex with Gourd,
North Carolina, 2009
From the A Natural Order series
Website – LucasFoglia.com

Lucas Foglia was raised on a small family farm in Long Island and is currently based in San Francisco. A graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Art, Lucas exhibits and publishes his photographs internationally. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Pilara Foundation and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Fine Art, and has been published in Aperture Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, British Journal of Photography, Contact Sheet, and PDN’s 30. His first book, A Natural Order, is available from Nazraeli Press.

E. Brady Robinson

There are an infinite amount of approaches to portraiture, and one that is incredibly revealing and insightful is to look at personal spaces.  E. Brady Robinson has explored this approach in her terrific series, Desks as Portraits: An Inside Look at the DC Art World . I first met Brady as a co-exhibitor at the Lishui Photography Fesitval in China this past fall.  Her exhibition was greeted by the Chinese with great success and it garnered her the Grand Prize in the American Life exhibition.

Brady has a long roster of exhibitions, has been featured in a myriad of publications, and her work is held in many significant collections. She received her MFA in Photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and
BFA in Photography from The Maryland Institute, College of Art in
Baltimore, Maryland . Brady  maintains a studio in Washington,
DC and Orlando, Florida. She is Associate Professor in the School of
Visual Arts and Design, University of Central Florida. Brady is also working to make Fotoweek D.C., running November 9-18th, a huge success.

Images from Desks as
Portraits: An Inside Look at the DC Art World 

Desks as Portraits: An Inside Look at the DC Art World documents the desks of artists, curators, collectors, art critics, dealers, museum directors and taste makers in the District. This project has become a “six degrees of separation” in the DC Art World. One photo shoot leads to another in which Brady asks for recommendations and names of possible subjects. Further introductions are made and invitations accepted which allows her private access to people who are making significant contributions to contemporary art and photography in DC.

This series explores the concept of desk as portrait combined with the social experiment of navigating the DC art world. Robinson plans to continue this series in new markets at home and abroad. This work has been featured in The Washington Post, Channel One Russia TV and won Grand Prize in the “American Life” exhibition in the 2011 Lishui Photography Festival.

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

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

  • Forty years after AP photographer Nick Ut took the iconic ‘napalm girl‘ photograph in Vietnam, photographer David Burnett writing for the Washington Post reflects on an exposure that could have been his. He was standing mere feet away from the scene, surrounded by journalists, re-loading film into his Leica when he missed what became a most emblematic moment. The entry seems like it might have been a good fit for Will Steacy’s collection Photographs Not Taken, which features similar essays from photographers on moments that never became their pictures.
  • “Radical change in the photography industry during the past five years has ignited an explosion of photo collectives,” writes James Estrin for the New York Times’ LENS Blog. He explores this recent trend after witnessing an impressive presentation by the newly formed Grain collective at the Look3 Festival in  Charlottesville, VA last month. The post offers a good bit of context for this May, 2012 Wired piece: “7 Budding Photo Collectives You Need To Know.”
  • New Yorker’s PhotoBooth profiles Underage, an exhibition of work from six emerging photographers in their late teens and early twenties on view at Photoville, an exciting, week-and-a-half-long photography happening which kicks off in Brooklyn this Friday, June 22,  and features 60,000 square feet of exhibitions, hands-on workshops, nighttime projections, a “photo dog run,” and a “camera garden.” Find daily programming here.
  • Time‘s LightBox goes “Behind the Cover: Capturing the American Dream,” exploring the process of the photo shoot for the birds-eye-view cover image by Jeff Minton that illustrates Jon Meacham’s article, “The History of the American Dream,” for this week’s magazine. They also profile Mike Sinclair, whose photographs accompany the same article inside the magazine. His current exhibition, Public Assembly, is on view at Jen Bekman Projects in New York City until June 23, 2012.
  • A few things on street photography this week. Blogger and photographer Blake Andrews, who is interviewed by LPV Magazine here, reviews Cedar Pasori’s recently published “50 Greatest Street Photographers Right Now,” with an extensive selection of images. PetaPixel posts the highly informative video by Portland-based photographer Jimmy Hickey, “How to Photograph Complete Strangers” and the free 31-day “program” and e-book by street photographer Eric Kim, “Overcoming Your Fear of Street Photography in 31 Days.” This fall, we’re very excited to be publishing a monograph by Doug Rickard, “A New American Picture,” which offers a radical rethinking of street photography–photographs re-taken in Google’s Street View.
  • Fototazo does another Book Discussion Group Recap on Gerry Badger’s collection of essays, The Pleasure of Good Photographs, this time focusing on “Without Author or Art: The Quiet Photograph,” exploring the restrained work of Stephen Shore, among others.
  • The Fotojatka festival that traveled to cinemas around the Czech Republic last week screening audiovisual photography slideshows is now offering them free on their website featuring work by Kristoffer Axén, Nikos Economopoulos, Erwin Olaf, and Reiner Riedler.

Behind the Cover: America’s Undocumented Immigrants

In Spring 2010, four undocumented students trekked 1,500 miles from Miami to Washington to press passage of the Dream Act, a bill that would offer a path to permanent residency for immigrants who came to the country as minors and achieved certain educational accomplishments. Moved by their courage, Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist who was part of the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize winning team for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting, revealed that he, too, was an undocumented immigrant in an essay published by the New York Times Magazine last June.

A year later, Vargas finds that immigration in America has seen little progress, as he writes in this week’s TIME cover story. On the cover, photographed by Gian Paul Lozza, Vargas stands before 35 other undocumented immigrants living across the country. “They’re living in America—but only in the shadows,” Lozza says. “They’re very much in the dark.”

It was important for TIME’s photo editors to show just how many cultures are represented by America’s undocumented immigrants. ”They come from so many different countries, religions and backgrounds,” Lozza says. “We wanted to bring that diversity to the light. This is not just a problem for Latinos, as we hear about often, but for every culture from around the world.”

It was a poignant topic for Swiss-born Lozza. “For me it was fun to see how motivated the kids were, and how much they wanted to learn,” he says. “They have dreams of being teachers, doctors, lawyers—it was fascinating that they all want to do something for other people.”

Read more on Jose Antonio Vargas in this week’s issue of TIME.

Gian Paul Lozza is a photographer based in Zurich. See more of his work here.