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New York City Time Lapse

Sure New York is one of the most photographed cities in the world.  That didn't stop Mindrelic from finding some unique camera angles in this beautiful time lapse film.  Check it out for a good dose of inspiration.  One of my favorite parts is at the 2:06 mark shot from the cab's vantage point. 




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The Mexican Suitcase

Rediscovered Spanish Civil War negatives by Capa, Chim and Taro.  On view at the International Center of Photography from September 24, 2010 through May 8, 2011



PHOTO: Robert Capa, Exiled Republicans being marched on the beach from one internment camp, Le Barcarés, France, March 1939.


Yes, it’s a great title for a show---something mysterious has come to us from Mexico. When I first saw the title, I thought of the paintings of Santiago Corral, a contemporary Mexican artist who has a hyper-realist suitcase series that I’ve coveted for years.

And the show is just as great as its title, even though, ironically, there is nothing of Mexico in the show, and nor are there any suitcases. But one doesn’t mind, because the show is packed with the recently-discovered work of three early photojournalists who may have forever changed the field: Robert Capa, Chim (David Seymour) and Gerda Taro.

The exhibit is made up of some 4,500 negatives documenting the Spanish Civil War, along with portraits of Capa and Taro by Fred Stein, and previously unknown portraits of Ernest Hemingway, Frederica Garcia Lorca, and Dolores Ibarrui, who was known as “La Pasionaria” for her tireless struggle against the Facist takeover of Spain.

The work of the three photographers, who met while Europe was seizing with the first convulsions of World War Two, shows with searing intimacy the unfolding of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. These photographers don’t shy away from the most painful moments of war, but they also illustrate the daily lives of ordinary people, the people who go on working in factories or harvesting on farms even as the fabric of their world is being ripped to shreds.

The “suitcase” of the show’s title is actually three small, unassuming cardboard boxes (on display in the exhibit) which were found in Mexico City in 2006, filled with rolls of negatives from the three photographers. For the exhibit, contact sheets were created from the negatives. In looking at these, one can see more than in the individual photographs printed from those negatives. In a series by Capa, one can see the motion of the refugees fleeing the conflict, the panic in their steps that changing from frame to frame.

While Capa concentrated on photographing battles and refugees, Chim turned his lens to the individuals outside battle, from formal portraits to shots of peasants and laborers: the continuing daily life. And yet, in his shots, even the rows of glass wine jugs, nestled into straw, seem endangered, ready to explode with the tension of the time.

For one of the photographers, Taro, the exhibit stands also as a memorial. Long before the “embedded” journalists of our own time, Taro, fearless, got as close as she could to the battles, getting shots that make the combat terrifyingly real, of soldiers scrambling over the stone walls of Spanish farmlands, ducking fire behind hay bales, and falling in the line of Fascist fire.

Perhaps the most disturbing images of Taro’s are those taken in the Valencia morgue in May 1937, where she turned her unflinching eye on the newly-dead, the mortally wounded, and the relatives gathered at the gates awaiting word.

But even more disturbing in their own way are the portraits of Taro taken by Stein: they show a young woman, glowing with her own intelligence and talent and courage, laughing with her friends, waiting to see what adventure will come to her next. She was killed in the battle of Brunete in 1937.

The Spanish Civil War is an important moment in history not only in terms of global politics---the rise and defeat of Fascism, in this case, against the backdrop of Nazism as it marched across Europe, but also in terms of art. The Mexican Suitcase is a exhaustive study of both war as a concept and of a particular war---one which captured the commitment and imagination of a generation of writers and artists from around the world, including Hemingway and Lorca, who both are shown in a few of the photographs.

The bombing of the town of Guernica, in April 26, 1937, by the German-backed Spanish Nationalists, was seen as particularly heinous as there was no military target in the small town, and the town at that time was populated mostly with women and children. This attack was one of the battles of the Spanish Civil War which moved the hearts of the international community, and moved Picasso to paint Guernica, his huge-scale visual protest of the senselessness of war.

Of Guernica, Picasso said at the time: “In the panel on which I am working, which I shall call Guernica, and in all my recent works of art, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death.”

It’s that “ocean of pain and death,” which is captured in film---still a relatively new medium at the time---by Capa, Chim, and Taro.

In The Mexican Suitcase, it’s startling to see the photographs by Chim taken in Guernica before its destruction; Chim had no way of knowing that Picasso’s painting would become a pre-eminent artisitic anti-fascist symbol, and this makes his portraits of the intact town all the more chilling.

While the exhibit will be of interest to anyone, it’s created with the visiting photographer in mind. The notebooks of Capa, Chim, and Taro are on display, as are contact prints and negatives, so that the organizational methods of the three photographers become apparent. And just as a writer is fascinated by seeing a fellow writer’s process laid bare in a hand-edited manuscript, so too will a photographer be fascinated by the traces of the editing process as evidenced, for example, by a piece of thread tied to the sprockets on a roll of film to indicate which shot would be printed.

Of note, ICP was founded by Cornell Capa, Robert Capa’s brother, in 1974, in “defense and conservation of the arts,” according to the museum.

If you’re in New York, you may want to pair a visit to The Mexican Suitcase with a stop at the Guggenheim Museum’s Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918-1936, which can contribute to the context of these photographers and their work.



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Taking it to the Skies

At a recent visit to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, I came upon a very interesting story that dates back to the early years of aerial photography.  

In 1903, just a few years after the "Brownie" was marketed to the public, Dr. Julius Neubronner created a miniature camera to be worn by a pigeon.  It was activated by a timing mechanism while the bird was in flight.  While there had been earlier aerial photos captured from balloons and kites, this was the first known attempt using a bird.  

Today, our fascination with capturing images from the sky continues.  We have camera phones being flown in weather balloons equipped with GPS tracking technology, jaw dropping photos taken from space stations, and remote helicopters for DSLRs.  As amazing as these developments are, it's quite remarkable to see what Dr. Neubronner was able to accomplish well before the days of digital cameras and smart phones.


Check out some of the photos they captured while flying over Germany.


Photos via Wikimedia Commons


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NYIP Student Success

Many NYIP members have won prestigious awards in contests and photo fairs or have had their work exhibited in galleries. Other NYIP members are building careers shooting weddings, press events, corporate and commercial assignments, or have received professional recognition and publication of their photos. Here are some recent NYIP success stories:


Peter Mandzuk, Danbury, CT

Congratulations to Peter who had two photos published on the Danbury News Times Web site. Peter was stuck in traffic but had his camera with him and was able to take these photos of a car fire.


Kelvin P. Ringold, Sr., Liverpool, New York

Kelvin is a 1989 Graduate of our Complete Course in Professional Photography who says he "got his 'real' start in photography from NYI." In 2008-2009, he served as the 104th President of the Professional Photographers' Society of New York State, Inc (PPSNYS, Inc), headquartered in Albany, NY and was also awarded the PPA National Award for Meritorious Service to Professional Photography.


Jose Alejandro Flores Tino Aguirre, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

A recent NYI graduate, Jose took the photo essay he completed for one of his NYI projects to Puerto Vallarta's Department of Culture where, much to his surprise, they offered to exhibit his photos at City Hall.


Pablo Reyes, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Pablo has had great success with his photographs. He photographs major fashion events for Television & Celebrities Magazine and has even had a photo published on the cover. Recent work includes images of Dominican rock star Janio Lora's newest CD. Pablo says that when he "took classes at NYIP, where I learned many other tips that made my images pop up, and my pictures started to be published in some national newspapers too. I started my studio CleverXposure Photography after the recommendations of NYIP." He considers himself a fashion photojournalist and says he's applied those styles to his portait and wedding images. Pablo has also become a photography teacher and is giving courses and tips to the new passionate young photographers in Dominican Republic. Congratulations!

R.P. Granson, Pensacola, Florida

NYIP student, R.P. Granson of Pensacola, FL,  has had three pet photos accepted for inclusion in the 2011 Meals-On-Wheels Pet Calendar sponsored by the Pine Meadow Veterinary Clinic. Proceeds from calendar sales will go toward assisting elderly people who have been sharing their "meals" with their pets because they couldn't afford pet food and were reluctant  to have their pets removed to shelters or foster homes.


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Let Your Photos Do the Talking


Have you ever posted something on a forum only to receive an unhelpful response?  What about a nasty blog comment or a rude Facebook post?  Unfortunately, you’re not alone.  In fact, this phenomenon has recently been dubbed the “Online disinhibition effect”. Wikipedia defines it as a “complete abandonment of social restrictions and inhibitions on the Internet that would otherwise be present in normal face-to-face interaction.”  Simply put, some online users hide behind a false persona, or a mask of anonymity to spread discontent and vitriol. 

While it's difficult to get a handle on why some feel the need to act out in this manner, there is one commonality.  They would rather be talking about your photos than taking their own.  To these self proclaimed experts, this sticky note is for you.    


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