I’ve been a little bored with the internet lately. Everything kind of seems the same, you know? Stripes, maxi skirts, etc. But then I ran across Nat Geo Found, a curated Tumblr from National Geographic’s archives showcasing rare photos from the last 125 years. The thing that really makes me stampy? (Read: Excited enough to stamp my feet and make the neighbors mad.) They’re selling prints! And they’re affordable! Seriously, wow. I’m personally a huge fan of the seahorse above.
Category: Photo Love
Betti Richard, American sculptor, born 1916, in her studio.
Brenda Putnam, American sculptor, 1890-1975.
“All my life I knew I was loved and protected but it did not prepare me for life and what was ahead of me. The tragedies, the disappointments, the challenges and how to live with them were difficult.
“At 85, I think about life differently. I can look at my past life like watching an old silent film. I can’t change anything but I can remember and wonder and think about what if I was more prepared, stronger, wiser, more experienced. Then something inside of me says ‘forget it, try to enjoy the rest of your life.’
“That is what I am trying to do. I don’t want to waste precious days still ahead of me.”
— Regina Titus
New York Times columnist David Brooks recently reached out to readers over 70 to contribute to a new project: The Life Report. Encouraged to share life stories, failures, joy and wisdom, this collection of narratives really resonated with me; the excerpt above from 85-year-old Regina Titus left me feeling hollow, sad, hopeful, and most of all, that it needed to be shared.
I’ve really enjoyed reading every story collected. Read more remembrances at The New York Times.
And aren’t those photos amazing? More portraits of twentieth century female artists can be found via the Smithsonian Institution’s Flickr.
Can you believe these portraits are from the ’20s? Man Ray was definitely ahead of his time — and it doesn’t hurt that his subjects were the most avant garde artists, poets, writers and thinkers in the city. Oh, Paris in the ’20s…I can only imagine. (And I still haven’t seen that Woody Allen movie! On my list.)
[Via Mondo Blogo]
If you’re not familiar with Pictory Magazine, you should be. (Pictory = picture + story) This collection of curated galleries and stories document love, loss, family, travel, and our lives and culture in big, gorgeous photos. Anyone can submit a photo story on the continually changing social documentary themes, then the best work from the community is curated into polished photo essays.
I was recently part of the curation process — on behalf of Etsy — for a collaborative project with Pictory on the subject of “handmade” and the art of craftsmanship. The virtual gallery is now live. Here a few of the winning entries to whet your appetite. Beautiful stuff.
Watercraft by Heather Perry
Carefully, methodically, and very precisely, Buster Prout of Bowdoinham, Maine, constructs a gunning float, a boat used for hunting duck. This model is specific to Merrymeeting Bay. Buster Prout is the last of the bay’s gunning float builders, and for each full size boat he crafts, he creates a precise and tiny model, exactly 1/8th scale. He is a gentle man, with an artist’s hand. They are elegant crafts, and a good sculler can move the float through the rushes silently, and sneak right up on the birds. At best, a hunter might bag a limit. At worst, one spends a day in a remarkable place, in this handmade, remarkable boat.
What Lives in the Body by Meera Sethi
Once a week for two years, I have sat down at a table in a natural history museum, picked up a scalpel and a pair of tweezers, and—gently, carefully, meditatively—created a study skin out of a bird, or two, or three, that has been killed by its unsuspecting flight into a window of a skyscraper. On this day I prepared a Wilson’s flycatcher (a slight, somewhat unprepossessing bird notable for being new to me and for turning out well despite being incredibly small), a Savannah sparrow, and a Gray-cheeked thrush. They were all good to me; no one’s skin tore, no one’s wings sat crookedly. It was quiet, without even the radio on to disturb the hush, and there were no visitors all day. I felt restored when I left.
Fur Trade by Harriet Andronikides
For the past 40 years, my father has been working as a furrier in the Garment District in New York City. This neighborhood was once the heart of the fur industry, thriving with craftsman from all backgrounds and nationalities. However in the past decade, the craft of making fur coats and accessories has vanished, leaving my father as one of the last few artisans left in the Fur District. The sewing machinery, tools, and collection of coats themselves are a beautiful example of American craftsmanship.
This cat’s expression says it all. In this case, “all” meaning “let’s get manicures and eat olives and maybe root through a dumpster afterward.”
[Via Atlantic Treefox]
Long before I was a cat lady, I was a dog person. And I still am. I grew up with dogs, I empathize with dogs: I love dogs so strongly and deeply that some people can’t understand it. But I do. I’d do anything to save one, to rescue one from an abusive owner or to make sure that it was safe and well-fed. In fact, I can’t even read or watch even the most casual story about animal cruelty because it upsets me so, so much.
And that’s where Martin Usborne’s “MUTE: The Silence of Dogs in Cars” comes in. Far from portraying abusive situations, he wished to observe the emotions that dogs feel upon being left in the car. An hour or a minute, the dog has no idea when its beloved owner is returning, and this brings out a lot of potential angst, insecurity, sadness and anger. I was really moved by the results (especially knowing that these were fictional situations). Here he explains the thoughts behind his project.
I was once left in a car at a young age.
I don’t know when or where or for how long, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don’t matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back. It seems trivial now, but in a child’s mind it is possible to be alone forever.
Around the same age I began to feel a deep affinity with animals — in particular their plight at the hands of humans. I remember watching TV and seeing footage of a dog being put in a plastic bag and being kicked. What appalled me most was that the dog could not speak back. Its muteness terrified me.
The images in this series explore that feeling, both in relation to myself and to animals in general. The camera is the perfect tool for capturing a sense of silence and longing: the shutter freezes the subject for ever. The dog is truly trapped.
When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark. What I didn’t expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-coloured pencils I was surprised to see so many shades inside.
[Sent to me by my lovely friend Diana.]
I’ve had the tattoo itch as of late…it might be time to finally commit to my all-seeing eye tattoo. Or antique lace. Or…so many other things!
Looking at all of the evenly spaced tattoos on Liam’s chest — inked there by the talented Thomas Hooper — makes me realize how much more I like the spaced strategy (vs. having sleeves). It’s so much more traditional…you never see old men with full sleeves: just one or two on the bicep or forearm, Popeye style. I can dig.
I live vicariously through Grass Doe’s beautiful, outdoorsy photos. I need a vacation, bad.
“Time ticks by; we grow older. Before we know it, too much time has passed and we’ve missed the chance to have had other people hurt us. To a younger me this sounded like luck; to an older me this sounds like a quiet tragedy.”
“…And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened. “ — Douglas Coupland’s Life After God
Photos by Andrew Miksys.
I think I could live with any paint color on my walls if it was peeling (even cream or mustard yellow, and that’s saying a lot for me). Decay means that a building has been aged like a wizened, stinky cheese — my favorite. Here’s to rooms that show their years.
I just discovered that Roberta’s is more than pizza. In this case, “more” means exotic, gooey seafood artfully arranged on pristine white plates. Never mind that I don’t even know what food is shown in the last picture. I’m just know that I want to eat it, based on these photos.
And that caviar? Killing me softly. If it tastes as good as it looks (I’m kind of a seafood noob), I’m a goner.
The stillness of Glen Erler‘s work moves me. Who needs fireworks when a loop of string in a patch of silent sunlight can be so utterly captivating? It reminded me of a Billy Collins poem on silence.
Now it is time to say what you have to say.
The room is quiet.
The whirring fan has been unplugged,
and the girl who was tapping
a pencil on her desktop has been removed.
So tell us what is on your mind.
We want to hear the sound of your foliage,
the unraveling of your tool kit,
your songs of loneliness,
your songs of hurt.
The trains are motionless on the tracks,
the ships are at restn the harbor.
The dogs are cocking their heads
and the gods are peering down from their balloons.
The town is hushed,
and everyone here has a copy.
So tell us about your parents—
your father behind the steering wheel,
your cruel mother at the sink.
Let’s hear about all the clouds you saw, all the trees.
Read the poem you brought with you tonight.
The ocean has stopped sloshing around,
and even Beethoven
is sitting up in his deathbed,
his cold hearing horn inserted in one ear.
Google Street View is a bit of a habit, perpetual voyeur that I am. I’ll often check in to see if the street view of my old apartment building still shows my elderly neighbor sunbathing topless on the sidewalk, or if the fried chicken place I once frequented still exists. However, the 9 Eyes of Google Street View is a bit more pithy than my casual nudity check-ins. This collection of seemingly random Google street images catalogs the beautiful, the weird and the sad: pregnant horses crossing a meadow, robberies, laughing children, cars on fire, prostitutes listlessly walking the side of a deserted highway, aliens and the glory of one man’s euphoric gesture. I highly recommend checking it out.
[Originally posted on the Etsy Blog. Read it!]
“I like women who stub their lipstick smeared cigarettes out in uneaten fried eggs,” Miles Aldridge writes. “There’s something attractive about this kind of vile gesture… or is it just me?”
Striking, right? I’m pretty into the photos that accompany fiction in the New Yorker (my favorite subway read). Jessie Wender posted her top ten photographs, with quotes from the artists, that didn’t make it into an issue this year. This beauty is one on the list. Check out the slideshow here.
Talk about ahead of its time! Hara Kari, a satirical French rag from the late ’60s, had some of the most absurd, controversial and provocative covers of the decade…that are still pretty risqué today (at least if you’re squeamish about nudity). Check out the entire backlog (and trust me, there are some odd ones) here.
If you’re in need of an endless scroll of antique pieced quilts, dogs from the 1930s, rustic interiors and all kinds of handmade one-offs, you should probably saunter over to Old Chum. What a visual smorgasbord!
It’s been entirely too long since I mined my Flickr favorites for inspiration. I find myself drawn toward landscapes of all kinds these days — chipped and faded paintings, dark photographs and sometimes even the real thing. (Just gotta make that trip upstate for leaf peeping before they’re all gone.) Enjoy.
So, truth be told, I’ve been making continually less effort for Halloween over the last few years. I used to go all out in college (Jerri Blank!), but the last couple costumes I’ve worn have been hastily pulled from my closet on Halloween eve — loud lady at the casino (garish jacket, chips in a plastic cup, teased hair), the Bjork/swan hybrid, skeleton face-paint. This year, I got nothing.
However! Thorsten Brinkmann’s Masks of Everyday Beauty series has me thinking about how much I actually need to speak and, y’know, breathe, at the annual Halloween party. I’ve got plenty of things to cover my head with, robes aplenty and no other costume ideas, so I’m erring on the side of “hell yes.” Something to muse upon!
Oh man. I know I’ve been majorly cat obsessed since I got my kitties, but my first love has always been dogs. Have you ever seen such expressively groomed pups? The last one reminds me of Patti Smith or Iggy Pop! (And the pompadoured poodle is, obviously, Uncle Jesse from Full House. “Have mercy!”) Find more of photographer Tim Flach’s work in his new book (which I desperately want), Dogs Gods.
This has got to be the most accomplished sand sculpture I’ve ever laid eyes on. Whoever created this monumental bust obviously realized that this was a once in a lifetime sculpture and documented it for posterity with this photograph — that’s now for sale on eBay. Check out the details: I see the words “grains of sand,” “cast up by the sea” and even Teddy Roosevelt’s face. Wow!
[Via Anonymous Works]
Jonathan Levitt’s lens finds all the beautiful, serene moments that make me sigh with contentment.
Be sure to check out more of his work at Grass Doe. It’s like therapy for your eyes.
I am from Iowa; not a farm, as many have assumed, but a series of small towns in the Eastern half (so, in short, I’m familiar with the FFA, tractor day at school and pigs, but not in the butchering sense). I was born in a village of less than 100 people that contained a bar, a general store, a handful of houses and a jaw-dropping, massive Catholic church where my parents were married; no police station, post office, or banks existed. My family progressively moved to larger towns, though never with more than 5,000 people in total. I’m a small town girl at heart, though I was itching to get out as soon as I realized that there was more out there to see and do. Going to college really put the nail in the coffin on leaving the state and running away from everything that seemed “provincial,” “ignorant” and too close for comfort for my highfalutin, cocky younger self.
Now that I live in New York, going back to Iowa is something I relish, and I try to visit as much as I can. I appreciate my state, the food, and its citizens’ quirks ever so much more now that I don’t live there — funny how distance is necessary to make you appreciate those things. Besides going to see my family and friends, I go to soak up the atmosphere (and go thrifting). Not only is it beautiful — fields and open sky as far as the eye can see — but everyone is so earnest, helpful, polite, friendly and nice to a fault. People honestly care how you are, will stop to help you fix a flat, start a conversation about your lovely rose bushes and always wave from behind the wheel of their vehicle, regardless of the fact that they probably don’t know you. Farming may be a dying way of life, but the positive attitudes and hardworking people remain. It’s the little things.
This series of photos by Neil and Susanne Rappaport documented the citizens and oral histories of Pawlet, Vermont, a small town that seems quite familiar to my own experience. Known as the Pawlet Visual Census and Community History Project, “The idea for the project grew out of Neil’s desire to broaden his visual record beyond landscape studies and documentary narratives of a vanishing way of life. He wanted to achieve a portrait of the whole town. Life in Pawlet at that time revolved around the fewer and fewer remaining dairy farms and a growing influx of newcomers whose numbers had increased considerably in twenty years. The goal was to photograph everyone who was willing, seen in as many groupings that make up a community as possible, to create a precise image of the community as it entered the decade of the eighties, an image of great value for the generations to come.
“Each of the approximately seven hundred portraits coming from this project over ten years is a collaborative endeavor. The participants made the choices about how to be seen, what to include in the picture, and where it should be taken. Neil acted as a guide toward the final moment when all the pieces came together. With his camera he focused the eye of the future, creating a “time capsule” for the resident of the twenty-first century to ponder. The images are individual messages of great variety, but when viewed collectively validate a shared identity and sign of continuance.”
[Via Nothing is New]
To nose-numbing nights ahead. Let’s build the pyre high.
[Beautiful images via Duskin.]
Justine Kurland’s traveling tribe of artful nudes make me feel good about my womanly body and its place in the world. Climbing mountains naked, however, remains to be seen (yowch). Count me in for the forest frolic, though!
More Russian love! Believe it or not, these sumptuous, color soaked images were taken a century ago, from 1909 to 1912. According to the Big Picture, “Photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. He used a specialized camera to capture three black and white images in fairly quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, allowing them to later be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images.”
The thing that strikes me most about these portraits, besides their composition and the vibrancy of the colors, is the wide range of cultures and costuming within one (enormous) empire. Those two women at the top — that’s practically Renaissance-style, and only a century ago! It’s sad that so much traditional costuming has drifted away —perhaps resurrected from the back of the closet during high holidays — resulting in a homogenous blob of Calvin Klein t-shirts, muumuus (God love ‘em!) and cuffed jeans. Sigh. Oh, for a world where it’s not an ironic statement to wear a turban (for me, at least).
Another note: the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog is such a great concept for a news source. Telling stories through huge, incredible pictures with minimal commentary? Maybe it’s the future of narratives, as attention spans shorten and visuals become so thoroughly entrenched in the internet landscape. My two cents!