Tag: america

In the July 1983 issue of Life magazine, writer Cheryl McCall and photographer Mary Ellen Mark published “Streets of the Lost,” an in-depth article and photo essay on Seattle street kids. In the piece, McCall and Mark tell the story of a group of homeless and runaway teens—Tina, a 13-year-old prostitute with dreams of diamonds and furs; Rat and Mike,…

To mark the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, the New York Times has launched a new series dubbed “Caught in Poverty.” For the inaugural article in the series, journalist Trip Gabriel and photographer Travis Dove visited McDowell County, “the poorest in West Virginia…emblematic of entrenched American poverty for more than a half-century.” On visiting McDowell County, what…

I experienced an odd moment of synchronicity this morning. After reading “Death Stares,” Tamara Kneese’s essay for The New Inquiry that examines selfies, narcissism, and death in the digital age, I then came across this passage from photographer Mike Mandel’s Myself: Timed Exposures, published in 1971:

During World War II, propaganda was an indispensable tool for both the Allies and the Axis. In Germany, for example, the Nazi newspaper Storm SS acted as a mouthpiece for the Third Reich and a forum for propagandist imagery. Kultur-Terror (pictured above), illustrated by Harald Damsleth, is a perfect example. In this image Damsleth, a Norwegian cartoonist who contributed countless…

In 1991 photographer Angela Kelly visited Rainbow House, a Chicago shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Like most shelters, the temporary residence affords women, many who are mothers, a moment to collect themselves and figure out how to start over — which is not exactly a simple task with easy answers. Kelly became aware of…

In a December 1991 National Geographic article titled “Pittsburgh–Stronger Than Steel,” journalist Peter Miller and photographer Nathan Benn examined the city during the final days of its second Renaissance. Readers were given a glimpse of Pittsburgh in the wake of Big Steel’s collapse, and shown what the city had to offer outside of manufacturing.

In Thomas M. Johnson’s Lakewood: Portraits of a Sacred American Suburb, he pays homage, in part, to William Levitt’s idyllic vision for planned living in postwar America. Introduced by a passage from D.J. Waldie, author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir, Johnson’s take on the suburban dream is quickly boiled down: “He’s picturing the place where stories of working-class aspirations…

In 1987, Manny Crisostoma, a photographer for the Detroit Free Press at the time, began documenting the students at Southwestern High School in Detroit. The students were a racially diverse group and hailed from an inner city school that was just five miles from the Detroit Free Press newsroom. His close proximity to the school allowed Crisostoma to follow the…

This coming January marks the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, a milestone pointed out to me by photographer Stacy Kranitz in an interview that I’m currently working on. Kranitz’ work, which is particularly focused on photographing the people of Appalachia, is threaded with the omnipresence of poverty in her subjects’ lives. What’s perhaps most striking about poverty in…

On Saturday, I discovered a copy of William A. Haviland’s Cultural Anthropology and a chapter from the book centered on the formation of groups in various cultures. As I was leafing through the pages, the way I often do, I waited for some aspect of the book to catch my attention as I read passages, chapter titles, and photograph captions.…

In “Closed,” artist Andy Leipzig takes Edward Hopper’s iconic “Nighthawks” painting from 1942 and bathes it in the reality of post-recession America. Gone are the nighthawks themselves — the solitary man with his back to the window, the man and woman sitting side by side, and the busy soda jerk behind the counter — and in their place an empty restaurant…

Late last month I came across a copy of The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson, the marine biologist and conservationist whose writing is often credited with advancing the modern environmental movement. What’s refreshing about this edition, however, is that Carson’s words appear alongside a collection of photographs, most notably the work of Charles Pratt, a photographer known for his…

Of the thousands of photographs that Charles “Teenie” Harris took in his lifetime — from candid portraits of Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, and George Benson to his documentation of the Civil Rights movement and his work for the Pittsburgh Courier — this image of children in Bedford Dwellings getting ready to go trick-or-treating is by far one of my favorites.…

When I started dating my wife back in the mid-1990s, we used to go with her grandma on Sunday nights to a bingo hall run by the Sons of Italy in Arnold, Pennsylvania. It was always fun, and often a spectacle. Men and women were seated at long banquet tables throughout the hall, a dozen bingo sheets laid out before…

Last Thursday photographer Bill Eppridge, who was 75, died in a hospital near his home in Danbury, Connecticut after a short illness. Eppridge, who took countless memorable photographs during his decades-long career, was widely known for his image of a slain Robert F. Kennedy lying on the kitchen floor of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, with busboy Juan Romero…

In Tracking Time, photographer Camilo José Vergara‘s 40-year project that documents the evolution of poor and segregated communities in America, the imagery is most often focused on buildings. In a short film put together by the Getty Museum, Vergara explained his approach by saying he “realized that the buildings had the imprint not just of the people who live in…

For whatever reason, Warhol’s Gun (1981) came to mind today. Like so much of Warhol’s simplistic, graphic-design based art, it’s an image that’s always appealed to me. But beyond the actual stark aesthetic, I’m not sure what it is that I like about the work. There’s no doubt that social media and its economy of “Likes” has made me more…

From the annals of American dystopia, Sandow Birk’s The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles, painted in 1995, is “a series of five landscape paintings based on Thomas Cole’s series ‘The Course of Empire.’ The series follows the course of Western Civilization as epitomized by the City of Los Angeles, from prehistoric times to the present day, to an imagined…

In John Philip Falter’s “Sunday Gardening” painting, originally published on the July 1, 1961 cover of the Saturday Evening Post, the contrast is blatant to say the least. We see the tidy neighbor, Mr. Jones, tending to his neatly trimmed hedges against the backdrop of a well-manicured lawn and freshly painted home. His neighbor, however, a man named Red, is…

In Steven Rubin’s Vacationland, a photography collection that examines life in rural Maine over a 30-year period starting in the early 1980s, an essay by Patricio Maya Solís introduces the work. The essay, titled “Why Do Hipsters Grow Mullets?,” places the aesthetics depicted in Rubin’s photographs into a larger, more current cultural framework. Specifically, Solís focuses on the way that pop…