Wednesday, July 17, 2019

IDA WYMAN, AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER, 1926 - 2019




Ida Wyman at Burbank Airport, Los Angeles, 1950.
Photograph by Simon Nathan.


Ida Wyman, an American photographer and member of the Photo League, passed away in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Saturday, July 13, 2019. Read The New York Times obituary here.

The daughter of Jewish immigrants from Riga, Latvia, Wyman was born March 7, 1926, in Malden, Massachusetts. She soon moved to New York, where her parents ran a small grocery store in the Bronx.

Always curious about people and how things work, she obtained her first camera at age fourteen and joined the Walton High School Camera Club. There she met Life magazine photographer Bernard Hoffman, who encouraged her to pursue a career in photography. She credits Hoffman for helping her become a nationally published photographer in a time when few women did this work.

She became ACME Newspictures first "girl mailroom boy." She soon was promoted to the position of printer and joined the all-male printing staff. She soon decided not to pursue work as a news photographer and instead pursued picture magazine photography. She would assign herself photographic narratives and soon sold her first story to Look magazine. When men returned from military service in 1945, Wyman lost her ACME job and started her career as a professional photographer.

In 1946, Wyman married Simon Nathan, an ACME photographer. Through the suggestion of Nathan's friend, Photo Magazine photographer Morris Engel, Wyman joined the Photo League, an influential cooperative of New York photographers who believed, in Wyman’s words, “photos could be used to effect change.”

"I considered myself a documentary photographer, and the league's philosophy of honest photography appealed to me," Wyman wrote.

Melanie Herzog, author of "Ida Wyman: Chords of Memory," stated in 2014 that Wyman’s photography is "eloquently composed and visually compelling.” She writes: “While people within their social environment are most often the focus of Wyman's photographs, she attended as well to details — architectural embellishments, commercial signs, utilitarian objects — that balance a composition, provide visual interest, and ground these images in their time and place."

In 1948, Wyman travelled across the United States and Mexico by bus. She planned the trip around assignments and places she wanted to visit. Traveling alone, she went from New York City to Mexico City, stopping at places because she liked the name and was curious to explore them.

She was selling work to Business Week, Fortune, Colliers, the Saturday Evening Post, and others but wanted work for Life. Under the advice of Life editor Ruth Lester, 23-year-old Ida traveled alone to Los Angeles, where fewer photographers were competing for assignments.

In Los Angeles, she became known as "the girl photographer who worked for Life magazine." She photographed a range of subjects from tea parties to rummage sales along with movies stars such as James Cagney, Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Ronald Reagan, and Bonzo the chimpanzee. In 1950, she covered the famous Senate race between Helen Gahagan Douglas and Richard Nixon. From 1947 through 1951, Wyman completed nearly 100 assignments for Life.

With the absence of affordable healthcare and the birth of her first child, her career was put on hold while her husband's continued. After a decade of homemaking —- "I was a good mother...but I also was a good photographer" —- she worked as a photographer of scientific research projects at Haskins Laboratories in New York and later as chief photographer for the Department of Pathology at Columbia until 1983. She continued to work as a freelance photographer until the 1990s, when the years of carrying heavy equipment took its toll on her back, and she turned to stock photography.

In 2006, Wyman moved to Madison to be near family. In 2008, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art ran an exhibition "Individual Experience: The Photographs of Ida Wyman." This September, the Crossman Gallery at University of Wisconsin - Whitewater will present a collection of her work.

"Details of the daily life of children and adults, at work, at play, have always gripped me,” she wrote. “My lively curiosity to see and know was a strong motivator in my shooting a well as for assignments. The camera has been the door through which I entered the lives of people I met. Despite the technical wonders of photography, I believe that a single camera, coupled to heart and mind, can still reveal the beauty of our fellow humans on their daily rounds."

Wyman's work is in the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library Photography Collection and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The Monroe Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represents Ms. Wyman.

She is survived by brother Ira (Judy) Wyman of Livingston, MT; son David (Patricia) Nathan of Birmingham, AL; daughter Nancy Nathan of Madison, WI; granddaughter Heather (Potter) Garrison and great-grandchildren Noah and Caleb Garrison of Fitchburg, WI; as well as additional family and friends lucky to know her independent, honest, inquisitive, and creative spirit. Ida is preceded in death by her parents, Rebecca and Joseph Wyman, and brother Morris Wyman. 

A graveside service was held on Tuesday, July 16th am with Rabbi Betsy Forester. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be sent to Beth Israel Center, 1406 Mound Street, Madison, WI 53711.




©Ida Wyman
Men of the Garment District Read of President Roosevelt's Death, NYC, 1945


The New York Times: Ida Wyman, Whose Camera Captured Ordinary People, Dies at 93

The UK Guardian: The pioneering female photographer Ida Wyman – in pictures

Photo District News: Obituary: Ida Wyman, Photographer for Life, Chronicler of America, 93

Art Daily: Monroe Gallery of Photography announced the death of photographer Ida Wyman


View a selection of Ida's photography here.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

40th anniversary of Church Rock Uranium Spill



Via New Energy Economy


"This weekend the Diné community and allies will gather to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Church rock uranium mine spill. To remember and honor loved ones lost. To pray, walk, learn, and to continue the struggle for healing and justice. The Church Rock uranium mill spill occurred on July 16, 1979, when United Nuclear Corporation's Church Rock uranium mill tailings disposal pond breached its dam. 1,100 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and approximately 93 million gallons of acidic, radioactive tailings solution flowed into Pipeline Arroyo, a tributary of the Puerco River.

We will be there. We encourage all who can attend to join in solidarity and support. We must sustain the gaze and honestly face the legacy of environmental racism and devastation tied to our nuclear dependence. In New Mexico 30% of our electricity is still generated from nuclear - a number we must work together to reduce." More information here

©Nina Berman
Residents from Navajo communities gather on Uranium Remembrance Day, Church Rock, NM July 16, 2016


The current exhibition "Living in History" features  photographs from Nina Berman's Aftermath Project.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Images speak louder than words

© Steve Schapiro: I'm Still Alive”, Chicago, 2017


Via The Albuquerque Journal

By Kathaleen Roberts / Journal Staff Writer
Sunday, June 30, 2019 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When visitors walk through Santa Fe’s Monroe Gallery, they often say great photojournalism has been relegated to the legacy of World War II and the civil rights movement.
“Living in History” aims to correct that misconception while the press is under continued attack.

Opening on Friday, July 5, the exhibition showcases images documenting subjects and events from the 21st century, including the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Black Lives Matter protests, the Syrian refugee crisis and the U.S.-Mexican border immigration and refugee crisis, among others

“This profession is alive and well, although it’s under tremendous duress,” Michelle Monroe, co-owner of the Santa Fe gallery, said.

The effect of the constellation of platforms available across the internet, social media and cellphones within the past 30 years has diluted and scattered both information and images that used to be concentrated in newspapers and Life magazine, she said.

“There’s material from the Arab Spring; there’s material about the surveillance state post-9/11,” she added.

The prone Chicago protester in Steve Schapiro’s “I’m Still Alive” photo wears a T-shirt encapsulating the Black Lives Matter protests roiling across the U.S. in reaction to the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

“He’s making the statement that they have survived, that they are forces to be reckoned with,” Monroe said.

Nina Berman’s “Aftermath” shows 2016 Uranium Remembrance Day in Church Rock. Residents of Navajo communities were calling for an end to uranium mining. One of the largest nuclear catastrophes in U.S. history occurred in 1979 when the dam at the site broke, discharging more than 1,000 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and 93 million gallons of radioactive tailings solution into the Rio Puerco. Mining on Navajo land ended, but calls to revive it continue. Residents march to honor all those who died and were sickened by uranium mining and to demand a thorough cleanup and compensation.

Robert Wilson’s 2018 photo of religious leaders being arrested near San Diego for protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies sums up the issue in a single frame.

“They’re leaders from all faiths,” Monroe said. “He was traveling with the caravans through Mexico. In order to get these shots, (it’s) what people are compelled to do.”

Ashley Gilbertson’s 2015 photo of Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees leaping from a raft near Scala on the island Lesvos, Greece, captures the desperation of the immigrants in the choppy Agean Sea. The exodus of refugees from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe of more than 1 million people represents the largest movement of people since World War II.

Whitney Curtis caught police officers in riot gear confronting a man with raised hands during a Ferguson protest.

“For us, it looks like a Goya” painting, Monroe said. “But it really looks like the younger generation of civil rights photographers.”

The show features images surveying the past 20 years through the lenses of eight photojournalists.

“It’s a very difficult show,” Monroe said. “The last 19 years have been pretty rough.”

People “leave crying, but they love it.”


If you go
WHAT: “Living in History”
WHEN: Reception 5-7 p.m. Friday, July 5. Through Sept. 22.
WHERE: Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: Free at monroegallery.com, 505-992-0800




Thursday, June 27, 2019

LIFE: Six Women Photographers

Margaret Bourke-White, photograph from “Franklin Roosevelt’s Wild West,” LIFE, November 23, 1936
© LIFE Picture Collection, Meredith Corporation


Via The New York Historical Society


For the editors of LIFE—the first magazine to tell stories with photographs rather than text—the camera was not merely a reporter, but also a potent commentator with the power to frame news and events for a popular audience. For decades, Americans saw the world through the lens of the magazine’s photographers. Between the late 1930s and the early 1970s, LIFE magazine retained few women photographers as full-time staff or on a semi-permanent basis. LIFE: Six Women Photographers showcases the work of some of those women and how their work contributed to LIFE’s pursuit of American identity through photojournalism. The exhibition features more than 70 images showcasing the extraordinary work created by Margaret Bourke-White, Hansel Mieth, Marie Hansen, Martha Holmes, Nina Leen, and Lisa Larsen.

How were these women part of a larger editorial vision? What topics did they cover, and how did their work reflect—and sometimes expand—the mission of the magazine? The exhibit reveals these photographers’ important role in creating modern photojournalism and defining what LIFE editor-in-chief Henry Luce called the “American Century.” Curated by Sarah Gordon, curatorial scholar in women’s history, Center for Women’s History, and Marilyn Satin Kushner, curator and head, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections; with Erin Levitsky, Ryerson University; and William J. Simmons, Andrew Mellon Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Women’s History.


LIFE: Six Women Photographers is proudly sponsored by Northern Trust. Generous support provided by Joyce B. Cowin, with additional support from Sara Lee Schup and Jerry Speyer. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.



June 28 – October 6, 2019

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street)
New York, NY 10024

Phone (212) 873-3400

Related: The Guardian
'Just the tip of the iceberg': revealing Life's early female photographers



Friday, June 21, 2019

Art Shay Photography Exhibit Illustrates 1960s Civil Rights Movement



Via The University of Memphis


Art Shay
Martin Luther King speaking at Soldier Field in Chicago during a large "freedom rally" which focused on housing discrimination, 1966




June 20, 2019 - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis and the Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM) will co-host an opening reception for the exhibit If I Had A Camera - Art Shay: Activism, Civil Rights and Justice Sunday, June 23, at the AMUM from 2-5 p.m.

The exhibition will be open to the media at the opening reception. Media will be permitted to photograph and/or film portions of the exhibit for broadcast purposes.

About the Exhibition

The exhibition, which is open to the public from June 24-Oct. 5, features the photographs of Art Shay (1922-2018), a Chicago-based freelance photographer whose work appeared in Time, Life, Sports Illustrated and many other national publications. In the 1960s, Shay photographed America’s landmark civil rights movement, reflecting a struggle that is not only history but also continues today.

The exhibition includes photographs depicting the 1965 voter registration effort in Fayette County, Tennessee, and the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis.

In addition to the series on the civil rights movement, the exhibition includes photographs of celebrities and historical figures such as Robert Kennedy, James Baldwin and Richard Nixon, and historical events such as the protests surrounding the 1968 Democratic Convention.


Regular museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.




View Art Shay's photography here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WORLD REFUGEE DAY JUNE 20, 2019




In a world where violence forces thousands of families to flee for their lives each day, the time is now to show that the global public stands with refugees.

2019 Theme: #StepWithRefugees — Take A Step on World Refugee Day

Around the world, communities, schools, businesses, faith groups and people from all walks of life are taking big and small steps in solidarity with refugees. This World Refugee Day, we challenge everyone to join together and take a step with refugees. Join the movement.

Why Do We Mark International Days?

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. More information available here.


International Rescue Committee
On World Refugee Day #StandWithRefugees.






Tuesday, June 4, 2019

New York Mets Honor Tony Vaccaro on 75th Anniversary of D-Day




Via US Department of Veteran's Affairs



On June 6th, the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, two WWII D-Day Veterans, Judge Bentley Kassal (103) and Photographer Tony Vaccaro (96) will be honored by the Mets during the mid-day game at Citi Field.


Tony Vaccaro served in the Army, attached to the served with the Intel Platoon of the 83rd Infantry Division, 331 Regiment, Headquarters company, to land as part of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. Vaccaro self-assigned himself the role of photographer while serving in the Army. He was a soldier through the occupation of Germany in 1949 and then transitioned from WWII combat photographer to fashion and personality photographer.

Vaccaro has always lived in the moment, prepared to capture the next human story with his camera. He’s also very good with words, vividly evoking scenes from various periods of his own life. He has known and photographed scores of celebrities and legendary people in the arts like the composer Shostakovich and the French Mime Marcel Marceau and stayed friendly with many of them for decades.

Vaccaro has taken thousands and thousands of photographs, his most famous are Kiss of Liberation (1944) and GI Dead in Snow (1945). In his Long Island studio, the walls are lined with folders of negatives that are in the process of being digitalized. Hanging on the wall are some of his personal favorites, that include a portrait --- of JFK taken at the White House.

Vaccaro went on to make images for the immensely popular LIFE and LOOK Magazines. He married a Finnish model and had two sons. Later, successful and well known, he worked independently.

Today, Vaccaro is kept busy with shows of his work. He is currently still working at his Archives in Long Island City and has many exhibitions all over the world. He let go of his Archives five years ago and let his family take care of his work. HBO did a documentary on Tony Vaccaro called ‘Underfire’ and it was nominated for outstanding documentary at the 2018 Emmy’s. The human stories of his images are timeless and appreciated now as much as they were a generation or two generations ago.


View Tony Vaccaro's photography here.

Friday, May 31, 2019

China sought to bury news of the protests. Jeff Widener’s images conveyed the bloody reality



Jeff Widener/© AP 
A lone man stops a column of tanks near Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989, Beijing, China



Via The Washington Post


"It has been nearly 30 years since I witnessed the horrific events of June 4, 1989, when Chinese soldiers fired upon pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square. Though many memories of the protests stir in my brain, it is the laughter that haunts me to this day.

On the evening of June 3, 1989, I stood with two other Associated Press photographers, Mark Avery and Liu Heung Shing, in a small dark office cluttered with humming picture transmitters and strewn camera gear. Low on staff, we had to draw straws to decide who would work the first night shift. I was the lucky victim.

The plan was to monitor the ongoing protests at Tiananmen Square in case anything unusual happened. Soon after, AP reporter Dan Biers and I pedaled our bicycles onto Chang’an Avenue. Though things were initially tranquil on the streets of Beijing, the stillness was short-lived. Small groups of men and women moved silently in the night, carrying large sections of steel road dividers to block the advance of any military threat.

I was traveling light, with my camera gear concealed in my clothing to avoid raising suspicion. From the shadows near the Great Hall of the People emerged an elderly Chinese man with a long white beard and an enthusiastic grin that flaunted two remaining front teeth. He proudly opened his heavy, dark coat and showcased a large silver hatchet that glimmered under the street lamps. Streams of blood trickled down the blade, forming droplets on the ground. In shock, I forced a fake smile and quickly moved on.

Just after midnight, an armored personnel carrier with a frontal machine gun cornered the avenue so fast that yellow sparks flew off the tread. As we ran for cover, I lost a camera lens.

Low on battery power, I was able to take only one flash picture every minute. This was a cruel joke for a photojournalist, and I was contemplating whether to return to the office and resupply when, in the distance, another personnel carrier lurched down the road completely engulfed in flames. Demonstrators were in hot pursuit of the vehicle, shoving large pipes into the treads. I had a single wide angle lens, which meant I had to risk getting dangerously close to the action and a possible exploding vehicle if I wanted to capture the images.

An angry protester stood over a dead soldier while holding a weapon in his hand. Then I spotted another man rolling around on the ground in flames. As a bystander tried to help the victim, all I could do was stare down at the small orange light on the flash that was attached to my camera, waiting for the signal that it was ready.

After what seemed to be an eternity, I finally lifted the viewfinder to my eye. Then, a terrific blow snapped my neck back. Laughter eerily rang out from the opposite side of the street as I struggled to stay conscious. I looked down in a daze at my shattered camera, which was covered in blood. The flash, lens and top plate had been ripped clean off by a piece of cement that was thrown at me.

Dazed and without a working camera, I grabbed a random bicycle from the ground and started heading back to the office.

The scene was chaotic. Buses were burning, and people were screaming while large-caliber machine gun tracers arched over the square. When I finally reached the office, Avery told me not to return to the streets because Chinese soldiers were “killing people.” In the darkroom, Mark salvaged the images I took by extracting the film from the smashed camera with a pair of pliers. Miraculously, the film chamber had remained light-tight.

In the days that followed, my pictures were transmitted around the world, appearing in Newsweek magazine and on the front pages of many other publications. As China sought to bury news about the protests and their violent end, my images conveyed to a global audience the bloody reality. And though my camera was destroyed, its reinforced titanium had absorbed the blow, sparing my life.

Though I still reflect on the protests, and particularly the day I photographed the iconic “Tank Man” image, it is the laughter right after the blow that I recall most.

Jeff Widener is a photojournalist, best known for his image of “Tank Man.”


Read the full article here.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY IS MAY 3





World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

It is an opportunity to:


celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
defend the media from attacks on their independence;
and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.


2019 Theme: Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation

The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The main event will take place in Addis Ababa, on 1 – 3 May at the African Union Headquarters. This year's theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” discusses current challenges faced by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

EXHIBITION: BOB GOMEL


Black Muslim Leader Malcolm X Photographing Cassius Clay Surrounded by Fans After He Beat Sonny Liston for the Heavy Weight Championship, Miami, February, 1964


 Opening reception with LIFE magazine photographer Bob Gomel

Friday, April 26  5-7 pm


The triumphs and tragedies of the 1960s provided photographer Bob Gomel and his LIFE magazine colleague’s extraordinary opportunities to advance American photojournalism. "LIFE was the world's best forum for photojournalists. We were encouraged to push creative and technical boundaries. There was no better place to work in that extraordinary decade." The exhibition includes images of presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Malcolm X, and sports figures such as boxer Muhammad Ali, baseball legend Sandy Koufax, and golfer Arnold Palmer. Several unpublished images - including one of 90 heads of state gathered around the catafalque at the Kennedy funeral and another of John F. Kennedy emerging from America's first space capsule at the Johnson Space Center in Houston - are in the exhibition.



Also featured is Gomel's perhaps most known photograph: of then 8 - year old John F. Kennedy Jr. standing solemnly at the funeral ofhis uncle, Robert Kennedy, in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. This photograph appeared in a two-page spread in the June 1968 “Special Kennedy Issue” of LIFE magazine.



Bob Gomel was born (1933) and raised in New York City. After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, he was promptly offered a job at the Associated Press. But by then, he had changed his mind about what he wanted to do. “I just felt one picture wasn’t sufficient to tell a story,” he explains. “I was interested in exploring something in depth. And, of course, the mecca was Life magazine.”He turned down the offer from AP, and began working for LIFE in 1959, producing many memorable images. When LIFE ceased being a weekly in the early 1970s, he began making photographs for other major magazines. Also in the 1970s, he branched out into advertising photography. Among other accounts, he helped introduce Merrill Lynch’s Bullish on America campaign.



Bob says, “Each time I raised a camera to my eye I wondered how to make a viewer say, “wow.” What followed were the use of double exposures to tell a more complete story; placing remote cameras where no human being could be; adapting equipment to reveal what could not ordinarily be captured on film. My goal with people was to penetrate the veneer, to reveal the true personality or character. The ideal was sometimes mitigated by circumstances, a lack of time or access. But more often than not what the mind conceived could be translated into successful photographic images. Life Magazine in the 60s sold 8,000,000 copies a week. It was a great honor to be a part of that information highway.”