Thursday, December 19, 2019

Photographs and the First Amendment. A Harrowing Journey Through U.S. Customs



Via Ohio ACLU

In the United States, people are allowed to carry a loaded gun capable of mass killings, but I was treated as a criminal for carrying a camera with the intention of helping people.

I am an independent photographer, artist, and journalist. For over thirty years, I’ve traveled around the world capturing images of culture and the human condition, and self-published 12 books of photography on subjects ranging from yoga, to animal conservation, to daily life in China, southeast Asia, Guinea, and Senegal. My work has been published by National Geographic and exhibited globally in art museums and galleries.

Earlier this year, my photojournalism work took me to the Philippines. Walking through the poorest neighborhoods of Manila, I was struck by the dire, heart-wrenching conditions of a neglected population. Currents carry mountains of plastic and industrial waste from Manila Bay and the Pasig River to form toxic cesspools near the Tondo and Baseco neighborhoods, laden with animal and human fecal matter. People have to live from this “dead” water, whether catching something to eat for the day or salvaging items from it to attempt to sell for a living.

For the record, it’s not uncommon in developing areas of the world to see young children unclothed in the streets.

But these children were swimming in toxic water and industrial waste, exposing themselves to cholera, typhoid fever, and other infections. Their parents allow it, even remarking that “we are going to die anyway, so what’s the difference?”

I took hundreds of candid pictures—street style; I posed nothing. Children I met would strike poses of their own when they saw my camera, smiling even in their grim surroundings. Sharing these images will be my way of pleading for help for a community that desperately needs medicine, education, and basic infrastructure. If the world takes notice, perhaps I can help make positive changes.

When I flew home, U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained me—with no explanation.

CBP pulled me aside after a 13-hour flight from Shanghai to Detroit, on my way home to Ohio. No one would tell me why they flagged me, and I still don’t know, but they asked to search my computer. It is possible that I could have avoided five months of psychological stress with three words: GET A WARRANT. But I was sleep-deprived, and innocent of any crime. So I let them. They took my phone, so I couldn’t let my waiting family know why I had missed my connection and wasn’t there when they came to meet me in Cincinnati. It was four hours before I was offered water to drink.

It was another half-hour before an agent read me my Miranda rights. Then he asked me if I had sex with children while I had been abroad.

“What are you doing here?” The agent knew that I was an American citizen, but I had to explain why I was coming to my own home country. I told him I was going to Cincinnati. “After that, where are you going?” I explained I was going to Dallas to meet with my wife, who was doing a training for Montessori education. He seized on that. “Does she teach children?” No, I explained. She teaches adults who teach children. “So why are you going to Dallas?” To be with my wife, and to photograph while I was there. His eyes widened when I said that, as though I had admitted to some kind of suspicious behavior.

I tried to explain the work that I do. They looked skeptical at my simple point-and-shoot camera, and told me I should have papers showing that I was a “real” photographer. They compared my images with drugs, as though I were smuggling contraband into the country. I was told that I should “learn a lesson” and “consider myself lucky,” because the supervisor believed me just enough not to lock me up.

When they were done, they kept my computer, my camera, and my smartphone, and the tens of thousands of photographs on them. Not just those from Manila, but also irreplaceable life moments with my wife and family.

Without my equipment or pictures, I was forced to halt my work. I had given my word to meet publication deadlines, but was suddenly unable to meet them. Over a month later, I finally received an official Notice of Seizure telling me that my equipment had been seized because it contained “visual depictions of sexual exploitation of children.”

To be accused of being associated with child oppression makes me physically ill. I am a professional photographer. This is my art, my work, and my life.

Lawyers from the ACLU of Ohio wrote a formal petition to CBP on my behalf. They explained that my work is valuable artistic expression, and protected by the First Amendment. Seizing my equipment was a violation of my constitutional rights. The National Coalition Against Censorship, along with the ACLU and other artistic and free-speech advocates, submitted another letter urging CBP to return my equipment.

Three months after they seized my equipment, CBP finally admitted there was nothing wrong with the pictures.

CBP promised to return my equipment, but only if I signed a release disclaiming my right to sue them for the wrongful detention and seizure. If I didn’t sign it, they said, I would have to go through a formal hearing process that could take many more months.



I made arrangements to pick up my equipment when I next passed through the Detroit airport. Incredibly, CBP stopped me again, and again they asked to search my belongings. I still don’t know why. Luckily, I carry the ACLU’s petition letter with me, right next to CBP’s letter admitting I did nothing wrong. I showed these letters to them, and eventually they let me go.

This time, when I left, I took all my equipment and all my pictures with me.

Freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are not exclusive to America. These virtues speak to the fundamental nature within all human beings. The U.S. constitutional rights have worldwide appeal, because they contain the universal respect for the life-given Human Constitution that resides in us all. But those rights, these virtues, are under constant assault, now as much as ever. They must be defended, every single day.

I dream of a world where pictures for social change are no longer necessary. But until then, I will continue to do my work: to give voice to people like those children in Manila. I hope now that their voices will be heard.

I am incredibly grateful for the ACLU of Ohio’s timely intervention into this situation. Without guardians of our individual rights my work, my pictures, and the chance to help those children in Manila might have been lost forever.
Tim Stegmaier Washington D.C.


Monday, December 16, 2019

PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORIES


Tony Vaccaro: Georgia O'Keeffe on her Abiquiu Portal, 1960

Retrospective covers the long, eclectic career of Tony Vaccaro
December 15, 2019


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When photographer Tony Vaccaro first met Georgia O’Keeffe in Abiquiú 1960, the artist refused to speak to him for five days.

On assignment from Look magazine, Vaccaro had traveled to New Mexico by train with art editor Charlotte Willard.

O’Keeffe had been expecting a different photographer, one of her favorites, such as Ansel Adams, Todd Webb or Richard Avedon.

Trying his best to charm her, Vaccaro cooked O’Keeffe a steak and fixed her broken washing machine, to no avail.

Suddenly, the topic turned to bullfighting. Vaccaro mentioned he had photographed the great Spanish matador Manolette.

The artist pivoted in her seat to face him. She never looked at Willard again.

“Georgia O’Keeffe kept me waiting for over a month,” the 96-year-old Vaccaro said in a telephone interview from his home in Long Island City, N.Y. “She wanted nothing to do with this kid. At that time I was pretty young and naive. She said, ‘Talk to me about Manolette.’ After that, we became great friends.”



“Extras on the set of ‘8½’,” Lazio, Italy, 1962, by Tony Vaccaro.

That perseverance served Vaccaro well during World War II and on film and fashion sets across a nearly 80-year career. Santa Fe’s Monroe Gallery of Photography is hosting “Tony Vaccaro: La Dolce Vita,” an exhibit of more than 40 photographs through Jan. 19, 2020.

Vaccaro was drafted into World War II at the age of 21. By the summer of 1944, he was on a boat heading toward Omaha Beach six days after the first landings at Normandy. He was determined to photograph the war, bringing his portable 35mm Argus C-3. He fought on the front lines, developing his photos in combat helmets at night and hanging the negatives from tree branches.

When it all ended, he shot “Kiss of Liberation: Sergeant Gene Costanzo kneels to kiss a little girl during spontaneous celebrations in the main square of the town of St. Briac, France, Aug. 14, 1944.”

“I stopped at a cafe and suddenly I see this GI and this little girl kneeling down,” Vaccaro said. “I quickly race there and he started to kiss this little girl three times: to the left and to the right and back again.”


Kiss of Liberation: Sergeant Gene Costanzo kneels to kiss a little girl during spontaneous celebrations in the main square of the town of St. Briac, France, August 14, 1944,” by Tony Vaccaro.


Vaccaro credits an abusive childhood with helping him survive the carnage. He was orphaned when he was 4 years old, when he was adopted by an uncle in Italy.

He had no idea how to raise a child,” Vaccaro said. “I was black and blue from this man. I had become like an animal to go into every little hole or corner to survive the war.”

After the war, Vaccaro remained in Germany to photograph the rebuilding of the country for Stars And Stripes. Returning to the U.S. in 1950, he started his career as a commercial photographer, eventually working for virtually every major publication: Look, Life, Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, Newsweek, and many more. Vaccaro went on to become one the most sought-after photographers of his day, photographing everyone from President John F. Kennedy and Sophia Loren to Pablo Picasso and Frank Lloyd Wright.

The 1960s found him on the film sets of Federico Fellini’s “8½” and “La Dolce Vita.” One image shows a bevy of women posing from the windows of a three-story house.

“One of those houses was really a house of ill repute,” Vaccaro said of “Extras on the set of ‘8½.’ ”

His attention turned to the woman displaying her legs from a window on the lower left.

“Those are all wonderful models,” he continued. “I’m aware one of the ladies was a girl who played around with men.”

He still carries a camera and puts in six or seven hours daily without a break, creating prints in his studio and identifying jobs for his staff. On Nov. 1, he was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum.


If YOU GO

WHAT: “Tony Vaccaro: La Dolce Vita”

WHEN: Through Jan. 26, 2020

WHERE: Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe

HOW MUCH: Free at 505-992-0800, monroegallery.com.



Friday, December 6, 2019

Talking Pictures with Tony Vaccaro




Kenneth Jarecke interviews Tony Vaccaro for "Talking Pictures". Tony's exhibition "La Dolce Vita" is on view through January 26, 2020 - you will also see his work with Monroe Gallery at Photo LA and Paris Photo NY/AIPAD in 2020.


Kenneth Jarecke (born 1963) is an American photojournalist, author, editor, and war correspondent. He has worked in more than 80 countries and has been featured in LIFE magazine, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and others. He is a founding member of Contact Press Images. He is notable for taking the famous photograph of a burnt Iraqi soldier that was published in The Observer, March 10, 1991.



Thursday, November 28, 2019

LEGENDARY PHOTOGRAPHER TONY VACCARO TO APPEAR IN SANTA FE TO CELEBRATE HIS 97th BIRTHDAY


Tony Vaccaro
Fellini on the set of “La Dolce Vita”, Italy 1969


Monroe Gallery of Photography is honored to announce “La Dolce Vita”, a major exhibition of more than 40 photographs by Tony Vaccaro. The exhibit opens with a public reception for Tony Vaccaro, about to turn 97, on Friday, November 29 from 5 – 7 PM. The exhibit continues through January 19, 2020 and includes several new discoveries from his archive being exhibited for the very first time, and six vintage darkroom prints from World War II. The war prints are one-of-a-kind: the nitrate negatives completely turned to dust.

Tony Vaccaro photographed on the set of “La Dolce Vita”, and nearing age 97, he indeed is living “the good life”. On November 1 Tony was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum for his “artistry, innovation, and significant contribution to the art and science of photography”, and following the 2016 HBO Films documentary “Under Fire: The Untold Story of Private First Class Tony Vaccaro” he has enjoyed a career renaissance world-wide.

At the age of 21, Tony was drafted into World War II, and by June of 1944, now a combat infantryman in the 83rd Infantry Division, he was on a boat heading toward Omaha Beach, six days after the first landings at Normandy. Denied access to the Signal Corps, Tony was determined to photograph the war, and had his portable 35mm Argus C-3 with him from the start. For the next 272 days, Tony fought and photographed on the front lines of the war.

After the war, Tony remained in Germany to photograph the rebuilding of the country for Stars And Stripes magazine. Returning to the US in 1950, Tony started his career as a commercial photographer, eventually working for virtually every major publication: Look, Life, Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, Newsweek, and many more. Tony went on to become one the most sought after photographers of his day, photographing everyone from President John F. Kennedy and Sophia Loren to Pablo Picasso and Georgia O'Keeffe.

Tony still carries a camera and puts in six or seven hours daily without a break; creating prints in his studio and identifying jobs for his staff. Monroe Gallery will sponsor a free screening of “Under Fire: The Untold Story of Private First Class Tony Vaccaro” in the gallery on Saturday, November 30, starting at 5 pm. Seating is limited, RSVP required. The screening will be followed by a Q & A with Tony Vaccaro. Tony Vaccaro celebrates his 97th birthday on December 20.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Sent home for their 1968 Olympic protest. Now they’ll get the US Olympics' highest honor


John Dominis/LIFE Picture Collection



Via NBC News

September 23, 2019


Tommie Smith and John Carlos are part of the 2019 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame class that will be inducted later this year.

The sprinters were sent home from the 1968 Mexico City Games after staging a protest by raising their gloved fists on the medals stand. They were long left on the sidelines at the USOPC, but the federation has worked to bring them back inside the family in recent years.

“It sends the message that maybe we had to go back in time and make some conscious decisions about whether we were right or wrong,” Carlos said, according to USA Today. “They’ve come to the conclusion that, ‘Hey man, we were wrong. We were off-base in terms of humanity relative to the human rights era.'”

The class will be inducted at a ceremony in Colorado Springs on Nov. 1. It will be the first class inducted since 2012.





After the 200 meter race at the Mexico City 1968 Olympics, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Teammates at San Jose State University, and Australia's Peter Norman, went to the awards ceremony. Smith and Carlos flung their fists in the air, and the Australian joined the protest in his own way, wearing a badge from the Olympic Project for Human Rights that they had given him, as he felt compelled to join forces with his fellow athletes in their stand against racial inequality. Smith later told the media that he raised his right, black-glove-covered fist in the air to represent black power in America while Carlos' left, black-covered fist represented unity in black America. The black scarf around Smith's neck stood for black pride and their black socks (and no shoes) represented black poverty in America. Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with all blue collar workers in the U.S. Furthermore, Carlos wore beads which he described "were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred". Smith and Carlos were suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, the Olympic committee threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the two athletes being expelled from the Games and forfeiting their medals. Peter Norman suffered a heart attack and died on October 3, 2006. Smith and Carlos were pallbearers at his funeral

Friday, September 20, 2019

RYAN VIZZIONS STANDING ROCK PHOTOGRAPH FEATURED ON COVER OF NEW BOOK

Image result for Colonialism Is Crime


Colonialism Is Crime
By Marianne Nielsen, Linda M. Robyn
276 pages, 1 illustration, 6 x 9
Published by Rutgers Press
https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/colonialism-is-crime/9780813598710


About the book:
There is powerful evidence that the colonization of Indigenous people was and is a crime, and that that crime is on-going. Achieving historical colonial goals often meant committing acts that were criminal even at the time. The consequences of this oppression and criminal victimization is perhaps the critical factor explaining why Indigenous people today are overrepresented as victims and offenders in the settler colonist criminal justice systems. This book presents an analysis of the relationship between these colonial crimes and their continuing criminal and social consequences that exist today. The authors focus primarily on countries colonized by Britain, especially the United States. Social harm theory, human rights covenants, and law are used to explain the criminal aspects of the historical laws and their continued effects. The final chapter looks at the responsibilities of settler-colonists in ameliorating these harms and the actions currently being taken by Indigenous people themselves.


About the cover:
Between April of 2016 and March of 2017 one of the largest social justice movements in American history took place in the plains of North Dakota on the Standing Rock reservation. With an oil pipeline threatening the drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux and 17 million people downstream on the Missouri River, thousands of people ascended upon the resistance camps to stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux and oppose the construction of the pipeline. From early spring of 2016 to late winter of 2017, over 15,000 people camped in tipis, army tents and vehicles without the use of electricity in an attempt to raise awareness and prevent the possible contamination of Lake Oahe, the source of drinking water for the reservation. Over 300 tribes and indigenous communities traveled to the camps, as well as nearly 4000 veterans and 500 clergy, to stand in solidarity with the NODAPL movement.

In September of 2016, Ryan Vizzions traveled from Atlanta, Georgia to stand in solidarity with the movement. Bringing his camera with him, but not intending to be a media source, Vizzions soon found himself using social media to reach over half a billion people with his photographic documentation of events unfolding over the months. With viral reach of one photograph in particular, "Defend The Sacred", Vizzions’ photography helped bring awareness around the world to the movement. Vizzions documentation of his 6 months at Oceti Sakowin camp was selected for the "Photos of the Year" by People Magazine, ABC News, The Guardian, Artsy.net; and as well his work has been featured in the Nobel Peace Prize forums, Adbusters, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Amnesty International and many more publications as well as books such as "The Militarization of Indian Country" by Winona LaDuke & "An Indigenous Peoples History of The United States" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.


Ryan Vizzions fine-art photography is represented by Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe, NM.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

VACATION SEPTEMBER 8 - 12, 2019


Ernst Haas: White Sands, New Mexico, 1952


The Gallery is closed for vacation September 8 - 12, 2019. We will resume normal business hours of 10 - 5 on Friday, September 13. "Living in History" continues through September 22; Stephen Wilkes "Day To Night" opens with a reception and book signing on October 4.


Friday, August 30, 2019

IDA WYMAN - HEART AND MIND





Ida Wyman: Heart and Mind
September 9 – October 5
The Crossman Gallery at the University of Wisconsin n-Whitewater
800 W. Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190-1790

Reception: September 9 from 5-7pm

"I want to photograph a certain synchrony of heart, eye, and brain." -Ida Wyman


Ida Wyman was one of the fascinating artists in photography today. When Ms. Wyman first started her career in the 1940s as a magazine photographer, an industry that was almost exclusively male at the time, she started out as a "girl" mailroom boy at Acme News pictures (later UPI) and worked her way up from there. A trailblazing and innovative photographer, Ida has inspired many photographers, both male and female.


Ida strives to capture everyday life of everyday people in all its frustrating, illogical and banal glory. From her classic Girl with Curlers photograph of a little girl on the street in LA staring defiantly at the viewer to the delicate symmetrical composition of Wrought Iron with Snow, Ida photographed what moved and inspired her.


You can easily connect the dots between many artists photographing today with Ida Wyman. Her unique brand of street photography helped define a fledgling style still trying to establish itself. Street photography has since evolved, but the roots Ida helped lay with others such as Arthur Fellig, Ruth Orkin and Arthur Leipzig are still visible. Although not as famous as some of her contemporaries, Ida was one of the defining artists of early street photography that helped shape how we look at our world.

Thanks to Professor Melanie Herzog for this quote from Chords of Memory

Installation photo by Erica DeGlopper


Ida Wyman recently passed away at the age of 93. Monroe Gallery of Photography will present a major retrospective exhibit of her photography February 7 - April 19, 2020.

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 Forward: Ida Wyman, Trailblazing Street And Magazine Photographer, Dies At 93






View a selection of  Ida's photography here.



The daughter of Jewish immigrants from Riga, Latvia, Ida 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

Wisconsin State Journal: 'Indomitable' photojournalist Ida Wyman 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.”