2Photography legend Joel Meyerowitz: phones killed the sexiness of the street
One day 55 years ago, Joel Meyerowitz was roaming the streets of his native New York with a 35mm camera when he glimpsed something through an arcade window that stopped him in his tracks. A young woman was standing with her back to him, tenderly grooming her boyfriend’s pompadour with a comb, just as Meyerowitz imagined she had curled the hair of dolls when she was a girl.
As we sit in front of the log fire in his converted barn in Tuscany in the February dusk, Meyerowitz remembers what happened next. “I snuck up as close as I could and tried to capture the intimacy of that moment. I was very shy and it took all my courage – if the plate glass hadn’t been there, maybe I wouldn’t have dared get so close.” In the resulting print, the boy glances from the shadows into the camera with furrowed brow, a moment of pure vulnerability that a split second later might have curdled into rage at Meyerowitz’s intrusion. And, just possibly, the photographer might have got his ass kicked.
Russian Masha Ivashintsova (1942-2000) photographed constantly but never showed her work to anyone. In late 2017, a relative stumbled on boxes of negatives and undeveloped film gathering dust in an attic. Published below, some for the first time, are some of the 30,000 images from the remarkable discovery.
The Sony World Photography Awards, an annual competition hosted by the World Photography Organisation, just announced its shortlist of winners for 2018. This year’s contest attracted nearly 320,000 entries from more than 200 countries. The organizers have again been kind enough to share some of their shortlisted and commended images with us, gathered below. Overall winners are scheduled to be announced on April 19. All captions below come from the photographers.
Diane Arbus was a daughter of privilege who spent much of her adult life documenting those on the periphery of society. Since she killed herself in 1971, her unblinking portraits have made her a seminal figure in modern-day photography and an influence on three generations of photographers, though she is perhaps just as famous for her unconventional lifestyle and her suicide.
Her work continues to spark fierce debate among photographers and intellectuals. Are her portraits — of circus performers, transvestites, mentally disabled people and others — empathetic acknowledgments of a shared humanity, or are they exploitative depictions that seize upon their subjects’ oddities to shock her audience? After her death, many critics who fancy themselves armchair psychiatrists have tried to analyze her impulses, searching for the role these encounters played in Arbus’s psyche.
6Out West: Exploring China’s Farthest Reaches
Borrowing from romanticized notions of the American frontier—a mythos that is synonymous with ideals of exploration and expansion—the photographer Patrick Wack captures a visual narrative of China’s westernmost region, Xinjiang. But while the American West conjures images of cowboys and pioneers, of manifest destiny and individualistic freedom, the Chinese West has not yet been so defined. It is a place of pluralities—of haunting, expansive landscapes, of rough mountains and vivid lakes, of new construction and oil fields, of abandoned structures in decaying towns, of devout faith and calls to prayer, of silence and maligned minorities, of opportunity and uncertain futures. It is a land of shifting identity. In essence, Xinjiang is the new frontier to be conquered and pondered.
Loneliness is New York’s leitmotif. This feeling is palpable everywhere in the city—a place filled with 8 million people, many of whom are immigrants and transplants. There are different shades of it: the loneliness of an Uber driver who fled Venezuela, leaving his family behind, who sighs with relief when I quickly switch to Spanish; the loneliness that emanates from the people I talk to on dating apps; the loneliness of the middle-aged Ukrainian woman at my local supermarket, who tells me in Russian that I remind her of her son, who she left behind in a war-torn country and who she hasn’t seen in two years. Finally, the loneliness of someone who doesn’t believe in a god, someone who is slowly starting to come to terms with the fundamental randomness and uncertainty in our world. All of these people exist on the margins of the fast-paced world that is New York.