The Photographers: Ansel Adams

The featured image has been dubbed “Moonrise, Hernandez” and was taken by Ansel Adams in Hernandez, New Mexico, on November 1, 1941. Ansel Adams is a photographer that I’m just beginning to learn about, though I am somewhat familiar with a few of his more famous photographs, like “Moonrise.” It is a stunning image, one that is, I think, in many ways the kind of photo every landscape photographer hopes to take. Plus, I am somewhat obsessed with photographing the moon, so it’s all there happening in that photo. It’s just beautiful, the church, the cemetery, the modest buildings in the middle of all that space. I love this picture.

There’s another of Ansel Adam’s photographs that I’m familiar with; this one has been titled “Monolith, Face of Half Dome,” and it was taken in Yosemite in 1927. It is the photo that is said to have launched Adams’ career as a professional photographer.

 

Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, 1927, Ansel Adams

 

I’m familiar with this photograph because one afternoon my husband and I were out and about, and we spied a yardsale closing up shop, and there was a big, black and white, framed print sitting there that they hadn’t sold. I said to the guy, “What do you want for that?” He said, “Oh, I don’t know, fifty cents.” So now that print is hanging on our wall. I just thought it was cool. But I kept looking at it and thinking it looked familiar. It’s an Ansel Adams print. It has a tiny scratch that the face of Half Dome hides very well. Best yard sale find ever, so far.

 

You can read more about Ansel Adams and his work at The Ansel Adams Gallery page, and there are also two Ansel Adams Instagram accounts, one here, and here.

I think Ansel Adams’ mastery of black and white photography is phenomenal. Enjoy!

TS

The Photographers: Sally Mann

I think the best way for those who are new to the work of photographer Sally Mann to learn about her work, is by visiting and exploring her website. Here. Some of her work is definitely not for the faint of heart, or an immature audience.

I learned about the work of Sally Mann from the 2005 documentary, “What Remains.” I was completely blown away by her work, her work ethic, her thinking about the “ordinary” as art. This spoke to me on a deep level because this is what I feel, and think, and believe. Poetry is the art of the people, the commoner. To see the beauty in the simple, the plain, the every day, to see the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary and give that light, that is where I think art begins. – TS

The Photographers: Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham New York

 

Photographer Bill Cunningham lived his life completely dedicated to his art in a way that very few artists, working in any medium, seem to these days, or seem to be able to. He lived his life in a way many would consider to be sacrificial for the sake of his art, but he didn’t see it that way. He did what he loved, and everything followed. I find that to be inspiring and somewhat fascinating.  – TS

 

Bill Cunningham’s Work at the New York Times

 

Featured images of Bill Cunningham pulled from internet, credit unknown.

The Photographers: Walker Evans

How I happened to come to know the work of photographer Walker Evans is thus: My grandfather, born in the 1920s, one of seven children, grew up as an Irish-Catholic sharecropper’s son in a place that wasn’t even a place in Mississippi. They didn’t have indoor plumbing, they didn’t have an outhouse, to begin with, they had a latrine. If they didn’t have a mule to pull the plow, the boys took turns wearing the harness and they plowed the fields that way. When I saw this book, “Cotton Tenants” by James Agee with Photographs by Walker Evans, it was a must-read for me, it made me feel closer to my grandfather and helped shed light on a way of life I’d heard firsthand stories about but hadn’t quite fully understood because I was so young when I heard them. I remember going to visit my great-grandparents in Mississippi, all those years ago, they still lived in tin-roof houses with threadbare floors, the linoleum worn through, and a pull chain toilet in the bathroom. My great-grandmother mopped her kitchen floor every day. They had no extra anything and nothing went to waste. The photographs of Walker Evans struck a personal chord with me.

Walker Evans is best known for his work as a “Farm Security Administration” photographer, taking pictures during The Great Depression. Somewhere or another I heard an interview of Evans, when asked about the work of documenting The Great Depression, and of being hired by Fortune Magazine along with James Agee to go get this story about how these poor families were living, what he said was to the effect, paraphrasing, that it was The Great Depression for everybody, and even though he didn’t care for being told what to photograph, he couldn’t afford to turn down the job.

Cover Photo of “Cotton Tenants”: Floyd Burroughs and Tingle (Tengle) children, Hale County Alabama, 1936

 

Lucille Burroughs, picking cotton, Hale County, Alabama, 1936

 

Walker Evans’ work for the FSA is now in the public domain. Walker Evans had previously collaborated with Agee for the book, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” His work has otherwise been collected and documented in numerous volumes. Evans also took photos of urban landscapes, including a series of photographs taken in 1938 when he snuck a camera, hidden under his coat onto the subway in New York. These photos became his book “Many Are Called.”

I am continuing to learn about the work of Walker Evans. To me, his images are stark, evocative of a sophisticated simplicity, without manufactured sentimentality, and feel very much like he is showing us the world exactly as it presented itself to him.
Enjoy. ~ TS

 

Some links:

About Walker Evans

Lee Gallery

Walker Evans Photographs of The Great Depression

Featured Image: Walker Evans Self Portrait on Roof of 441 East 92nd Street, New York City, The Met

 

The Photographers: Adrian Boot

“Tom and Rikki Lee”

They had a wildness that I couldn’t get to in the same way anymore, if I ever knew it.
They had gypsy clothes on, no matter what they wore,
it was how they moved,
how to wear a hat,
and you can’t teach natural cool like that.
They sat with their legs tangled up, their hands were each other’s and his on her foot,
so intimate alone together in a crowd. What are you people doing here anyway?
Waiting on the poetry?
That’s We.

TS, April 2018

 

I wrote this poem about Tom Waits and Rikki Lee Jones after seeing a photo of them tangled up together backstage in London in 1979. It’s an intimate photograph, the two of them seemingly oblivious to the rest of the world. The photo was on Pinterest at the time. A little digging and I found it credited to Adrian Boot.

About Adrian Boot link.

Adrian Boot Gallery at Urban Image.

 

Author Joan Didion, who is a huge fan of The Doors and of Jim Morrison in particular, said, paraphrasing, that in many ways rockstars and music people are the perfect subjects to write about because they’re so used to being in front of an audience they just “live their lives” regardless of whoever is present at any given time. I thought it was an interesting observation, one that I don’t know would hold as true today in the world of twenty-four-seven internet.

If you take the time to look through the gallery of Adrian Boot photographs at Urban Image, you will find some astonishingly candid pictures, in addition to some that are wonderfully theatrical and self-aware.

TS

 

The Photographers: Elliot Landy

Some years ago (2011) I wrote a poem about Levon Helm. Levon Helm was a member of The Band, he was also a pretty good actor. One night, several years after having written the poem about Levon, I was listening to The Band while I was writing. I decided to look around for photos of The Band and this incredible shot of Levon Helm sitting backstage smoking a cigarette came up in the search. The photo was credited to one Elliot Landy. Elliot Landy, is a music photographer who happened to get into that scene in the late 1960s and happened to be around some artists who were well on their way to becoming iconic.

I’ve been a fan of The Band for a long time. If you are also a fan of The Band, there’s a great concert film, titled “The Last Waltz” directed by Martin Scorsese, that I highly reccomend.

Here’s a link to the work of Elliot Landy.

Featured photo: Levon Helm backstage Fillmore East NYC, 1969, photo credit Elliot Landy.

 

Here’s my poem about Levon Helm. Enjoy. TS

 

Strange Ode to Levon Helm

Thin volume
Strange Discourse
Of course
The amber bottle
The alchemical
all chemical
Solution
for resolutions
conventions
the best intentions

but not really. 
maybe.

kick the tires
and light the fires
And Levon can light my cigarette.

Gotta get outta here.

 

 

The Photographers: Margaret Bourke-White

 

Margaret Bourke-White is one of the most famous photographers of all time. I first became aware of her work when I was eighteen years old, during the late 1980s, living in the desert. I happened to find an advertiser’s copy of the first issue of LIFE magazine, upon which a Margaret Bourke-White photo of Fort Peck Dam appears. Inside the issue was a pictorial of the construction of Fort Peck Dam. Ms. Bourke-White was the first female staff photographer at LIFE. She was the first female war correspondent, during World War II, capturing harrowing images from the Liberation of Buchenwald. She was the first photographer to be allowed to photograph Soviet industry inside the Soviet Union. She captured haunting images of sharecroppers during the Great Depression, working together with author Erksine Caldwell (later her husband) on the book “You Have Seen Their Faces.”

Margaret Bourke -White took this famous photo, for LIFE magazine, of Ohio River flood victims in 1937, Louisville, Kentucky.

Margaret Bourke-White for LIFE magazine. No copyright infringement intended Fair Use for commentary.

 

She photographed Gandhi, and the violence of a fractured India. Margaret Bourke-White went places that women did not go, taking photographs of things often thought better not to be seen by women, in a time when women did not work as she worked, as an independent professional photographer and photojournalist. She was a pioneer for women in her field, and as such, an inspiration.

TS

 

Links to Margaret Bourke-White photos:

 Artnet.com

Gandhi, Time Magazine

The Liberation of Buchenwald (This gallery contains graphic holocaust images), Time Magazine

The Partition of India, (This gallery contains graphic images), Time-Life Magazine

Getty Images, 6,903 Images

About Margaret in India

Wikipedia

Margaret’s Autobiography

 

 

Photo by: Oscar Graubner, Margaret Bourke-White on an eagle head gargoyle at the top of the Chrysler Building with her camera, New York, 1935.