1Picture of the Week
by Zehra Beşli
2The Simple Guide On If You Should Go to Photography School
Deciding if you should go to photography school takes more than looking at its perks. First, you will have to realize who you are, where you are coming from, and where you want to go. Looking at the outrageous amount of money you will have to spend in order to attend university, the answer should be based first and foremost on what your needs are and what the school can offer you in order to satisfy those needs. Our society is pushing the belief that college education is intrinsic to a successful career, but modern facilities and prestigious professors won’t be justified as long as they are not essential in achieving your personal goal. Once you realized that, the decision is actually not that difficult.
3Pictures of Death
Photography owes much of its early flourishing to death. Not in images depicting the aftermath of violent crimes or industrial accidents. Instead, through quiet pictures used to comfort grieving friends and relatives. These postmortem photographs, as they are known, were popular from the mid-19th through the early-20th centuries—common enough to grace mantelpieces. Many can be viewed anew at online resources like the Thanatos Archive.
Historians estimate that during the 1840s, the medium’s first decade, as cholera swept through Britain and America, photographers recorded deaths and marriages by a ratio of three to one. Budding practitioners had barely learned to handle the bulky machinery and explosive chemicals before they were asked to take likenesses of the dead: to bend lifeless limbs into natural poses and mask tell-tale signs of sickness, racing against rigor mortis.
4At the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, a Fresh Look at Urban Photography
“Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography” showcases the work of ten Latino photographers, focusing mostly on images they made from the 1960s to the early 1980s.
Documenting urban decay and the persistence of the people who live within it is a staple of photography. Familiar though such tropes may be, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography offers something fresh, in artistry and in technique.
The wide-ranging exhibit showcases the work of ten Latino photographers, focusing mostly on images they made from the 1960s to the early 1980s. That was a period when American cities were undergoing wrenching demographic and economic changes. “As middle-class populations shifted to the suburbs and new highways cut through thriving neighborhoods, many cities began to experience economic and social disintegration, especially in black, Latino, and working-class communities,” the exhibit notes.
Full Exhibition Release
5Portrait of a Couple in Love and in Transition
Last year, Michelle Ainsworth and her partner, Jennifer Lee, made the decision to undergo gender-confirmation surgery together. Lee, who’d wanted to have the surgery ever since she came out as transgender, five years ago, underwent the procedure in January of this year, while Ainsworth, who has been living openly as transgender since 2013 but has wrestled with the idea of surgery, is scheduled to have it this September. Geraldine Hope Ghelli’s photo series “Born Twice” is an astonishingly intimate account of the beginnings of their joint transition. Many of the pictures are imbued with the shy giddiness intrinsic to adolescence, that time of life when all one desires is immediate change. “I’m the oldest teen-age girl you’ve ever met,” Ainsworth told me recently.
Hundreds of photographs by artist Vivian Maier, a Chicago nanny who constantly took photos in her spare time and was unknown until her negatives were found in the late 2000s, have been donated to the University of Chicago.
Nearly 500 prints, which have never been exhibited or published, have been donated to the university along with one of the artist’s cameras. Even though Maier has had several exhibitions, gallery shows, and even a documentary made about her work, this is the first time her photos will be given to a research center.