Gregory Crewdson – Americano

Gregory Crewdson is an American photographer who is best known for elaborately staged scenes of American homes and neighborhoods.

GregoryCrewdson_Headshot2He doesn’t just “take” his images, he creates them, through elaborate days and weeks of invention, design, and set-up. The epic production of these movie-like images is both intensely personal and highly public: they begin in Crewdson’s deepest desires and memories, but come to life on streets and soundstages in the hills towns of Western Massachusetts. In his decade-long project “Beneath the Roses” he uses light, color and character to conjure arresting images, managing a crew of 60 amidst seemingly countless logistical and creative obstacles.

Gregory Crewdson’s photographs usually take place in small town America, but are dramatic and cinematic. They feature often disturbing, surreal events. The photographs are shot using a large crew, and are elaborately staged and lit.  He has cited the films Vertigo, The Night of the Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blue Velvet, and Safe as having influenced his style, as well as the painter Edward Hopper and photographer Diane Arbus.

The Movie:

GREGORY CREWDSON: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS follows acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson’s decade-long quest to create a series of haunting, surreal, and stunningly elaborate portraits of small-town American life — perfect renderings of a disturbing and imperfect world.

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters Trailer from Benjamin Shapiro on Vimeo.


Some of his inspiring images:





















StoneNudes with Dean Fidelman

Dean, “Bullwinkle” Fidelman has been a fixture in the Yosemite climbing scene for nearly forty years. Through his black and white photographs he has documented several generations of Yosemite Climbers. From the StoneMasters to the RockMonkeys Dean has been there to photograph Yosemite history being made. In 1999 Dean began work on his “StoneNudes” project, one of the most unique Art projects the Climbing Community has ever scene. Since then Dean has traveled around the country and the world photographing real rock climbers (both male and female) bouldering naked. Dean believes that both the rock and the human body are sculptures, and that we look both beautiful and natural climbing.

Stone Nudes: an extract of the art of climbing. Intended to inspire and celebrate the human form. Stone Nudes draws from the community it represents. Over the last ten years, a body of over one hundred photographs drawing from three generations of climbers has evolved.

Unlike current climbing media, these images do not seek to sell or promote anything beyond the experience. This approach has attracted climbers of all abilities to participate in a project designed to capture the essence of the climbing sprit.

Please visit to learn more.

Brian Duffy – The Man Who Shot The Sixties

Brian Duffy (15 June 1933 – 31 May 2010) was an English photographer and film producer, best remembered for his fashion photography of the 1960s and 1970s, iconic Vidal Sassoon takes of hairstyle model Frankie Stein amongst many others, and his creation of the iconic “Aladdin Sane” image for David Bowie.

Alongside David Bailey and Terence Bailey, Duffy formed what has been described by Norman Parkinson as the Black Trinity. The trio is said to have broken the mould of traditional fashion photography, taking inspiration from street style and rejecting the more regimented studio imagery of the Fifties.

“Before 1960, a fashion photographer was tall, thin and camp,” Duffy once said. “But we three are different: short, fat and heterosexual. We were great mates but also great competitors. We were fairly chippy and if you wanted it you could have it. We would not be told what to do.”

Duffy completed his training at Central Saint Martins before undertaking an apprenticeship at Balenciaga. In 1957 he began work at British Vogue only leaving in 1963 to work from his studio. Among the many famous faces who sat for Duffy were Jean Shrimpton, Nina Simone, Brigitte Bardot, John Lennon, Michael Caine and Sammy Davis Jr. Duffy also dabbled with advertising and shot award-winning campaigns for Benson & Hedges cigarettes and Smirnoff Vodka.

“The thing about the photograph is that theres’s no smell and in a sense it tells the truth and yet it is a lie”

Many of those whom he photographed – Terence Stamp, Christine Keeler, Harold Wilson, the models Paulene Stone and Jean Shrimpton – have since come to be seen as defining personalities of the decade. Duffy’s pictures of them, however, have not.

Characteristically, this was the result largely of Duffy’s refusal to treat with the world on any terms but his own. In 1979, having solved most of the technical problems that had originally interested him in the medium, and tired by its increasing commercialisation by advertising firms, he burned the greater part of his archive in the garden of his studio in Primrose Hill. He did not take another photograph for three decades.

He had never showed at a gallery or collected his images in a book, and the growing nostalgia for (and boom in value of) his contemporaries’ work during the last 20 years passed him by. Duffy instead devoted that time to restoring Georgian furniture, and it was only last year that he allowed his son to organise an exhibition in London of what had survived the bonfire.

































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Anton Corbijn

Anton Corbijn was born in 1955 in Strijen, Holland, the son of a Protestant minister. Corbijn began his career in Groningen, first using his father’s camera for photos in 1972 at an open-air concert of the pop group Solution on the Grote Markt (the central square in Groningen) and was hooked on photographing music immediately.

anton-corbijn-1024x768In 1974, he followed an eighteen-month course in photography at the intermediate technical college in The Hague, after which he worked as an assistant to Gijabert Hanekroot in Amsterdam. Stimulated by the prevailing punk attitude of the times, he decided to go independent in 1976, and was the chief photographer for the main Dutch pop-music magazine, OOR, for a considerable time.

In 1979, he moved to London to be closer to the music he liked (post punk, e.g. Joy Division, Magazine, PIL Ltd. etc.), working with the musical weekly New Musical Express. He associated with NME until 1985, meeting many of the people during this period that he has since become famous for photographing (U2, Depeche Mode, Captain Beefheart, etc.) For Anton, love of music became love of photography.

I don’t crop my images and I always shoot handheld. By doing that I build in a kind of imperfection and this helps to emphasize reality.

Complete generations have grown up with Corbijn’s pictures. Corbijn started making music-videos in 1983 and has concieved more than sixty videos and one hundred album covers with artists as diverse as Nirvana, Joni Mitchell, Front 242, Henry Rollins, Metallica, Naomi Campbell, Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, U2, David Sylvian, Nick Cave etc.

The photographs of David Bowie, Miles Davis, and Captain Beefheart are known world-wide. He has been a major image-builder for U2 (due to his album covers for The Joshua Tree, Rattle&Hum, Achtung Baby, POP, for example, and also as a result of his video clips), and for Depeche Mode (with more than 15 video clips and 5 CD covers, and the designs for the stages for 2 world tours.)

After 1985, he’s still photographed people working in the arts, both for himself and for may magazines world-wide, including Rolling Stone, Elle, Esquire, W, and Stern; musicians, including CD-covers for U2, R.E.M., John Lee Hooker, Bryan Ferry, Rolling Stones, Nick Cave, and Depeche Mode; actors, special projects and has many exhibitions world-wide.

Corbijn is the most known portraitist of current artistic zone. He concentrates on portraits of celebrities almost from all artistic genres, shooting videoclips, walk-on videoprojections, and designing album covers. Besides Depeche Mode, his work includes portraits of Bruce Springsteen, Kate Moss, Steven Spielberg, Wim Wenders, Gerard Depardieu, Quentin Tarantino, William S. Burroughs, Dennis Hopper, Martin Scorsese, U2, David Bowie, Michael Stipe and hundreds of others.

I work using the Brian Eno school of thinking: limit your tools, focus on one thing and just make it work… You become very inventive with the restrictions you give yourself.

Corbijn also received two MTV awards for the Nirvana video of Heart-Shaped Box. In 1994, he made a short film, entitled ‘Some YOYO Stuff’ with Don van Viet, alias Captain Beefheart, for the BBC, and was the image-creator in the re-election campaign of Dutch Minister President Wim Kok in 1998, as well as doing his first advertising jobs for BMW and Tag Heuer.


A great interview with Anton:


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Seeing With Robert Frank’s Eyes

Photo by: Barry Kornbluh (
Photo by: Barry Kornbluh

Robert Frank (born November 9, 1924), born in Zürich, Switzerland, is an important figure in American photography and film. His most notable work, the 1958 photobook titled The Americans, was influential, and earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and skeptical outsider’s view of American society. Frank later expanded into film and video and experimented with compositing and manipulating photographs.
“The Americans” was published in Paris. Robert Frank’s book of 83 black-and-white images, extracted from more than 28,000 individual shots taken on road trips between 1955 and 1957, did not reflect the apple-pie vistas of Eisenhower suburbia. The Swiss photographer took a novel, jaundiced view of the country, catching lonely, vagabond faces with unusual angles, jukeboxes alight in half-empty bars, lost highways, and short-order melancholy.
After the underground success of “The Americans” in the late ’50s, Mr. Frank began to concentrate on art films and videos, such as 1959’s beatnik reverie “Pull My Daisy.” He captured a society in flux, one making a jarring transition from contentment to discontentment, and he did so from uncommon perspectives. One oft-cited review deemed his work a “meaningless blur.” But as Jack Kerouac (who served as narrator on “Pull My Daisy”) wrote in his introduction to the Grove Press edition of “The Americans,” published in 1959, “Robert Frank. Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the great tragic poets of the world.”

What is most compelling about “The Americans” today is how what was once disturbing and revelatory gradually became iconic and even romantic: Looking back from the 21st century, these scenes are what come to mind when we think about what “America” is. This is not so much in a contemporary sense, as a lot of what fills Mr. Frank’s lens — the jukeboxes, the black-and-white televisions, the convertibles with their tail fins — looks like relics of an imaginary age. But maybe because of that, and because of so much chest-thumping campaign rhetoric about one candidate’s patriotism or another’s beer-and-a-shot authenticity, it’s an extremely useful book to look at right now. These photographs have never stopped resonating.


















The double photo of Robert Frank at the beginning of this post was taken by Barry Kornbluh (


Mamburao This photo (below) I originally made a mistake on posting as Robert Frank’s. I love this image and the photographer that took it is a fellow Canadian: Rob Atkins.  Thanks Rob for the kind note and wicked photo!


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The darkroom

Artist Richard Nicholson has set out to capture these fast-disappearing spaces, photographing darkrooms – and the memories they hold – across London. View the video here:

Richard Nicholson spent three years photographing commercial photographic darkrooms in London. When he began his project in 2006, there were more than 200 thriving darkrooms dotted around the city; when he completed it in 2009, there were 12.

“When I started as a young photographer about 10 years ago,” he says, “I’d go to Photofusion in Brixton or Joe’s Basement in Soho and these places would be bustling with young photographers. Often, you had to book days, sometimes weeks, in advance. Now the darkrooms that have survived are quiet and business is slow. The London labs where you could drop film off have all but disappeared – Joe’s Basement has gone and so have Primary [Colour], Metro Soho, Ceta, Sky and countless others. We are really witnessing the end of a photographic era.”

The coming of the digital camera has swept all before it, making the whole process of photography simpler, less labour-intensive, less costly and more technically creative. But as has been the case with music production, something has also been lost along the way, something intangible but powerful that the music writer Greg Milner called “presence”: the human element in the production of sound and images.

A small group exhibition, entitled Analog, opens at the Riflemaker gallery in London on 11 January. Its subtext is “presence”: the human ghost in the machine. The show includes Nicholson’s photographs of the last-surviving London darkrooms alongside an installation by Lewis Durham (of the young rockabilly group Kitty, Daisy & Lewis) in which he has recreated a reel-to-reel, multitracked tape studio, as well as works by interactive design duo Zigelbaum + Coelho and artist Clare Mitten, who has constructed laptop and mobile phone-like sculptures from packaging and stationery.

Analog is a kind of elegy for the pre-digital era of sound and photographic production and Nicholson’s prints are the most elegiac components in the mix. He has photographed each darkroom on large format film, working in total darkness with a flashgun. The result might have been what Nicholson calls “a detached typology of modernist industrial design” in which the enlarger stands at the centre, strangely human in its form. Except that these darkrooms are also human dens, full of the clutter of human endeavour – Post-it notes, piles of prints, boxes of paper, toys, rulers, marker pens and batches of photographs pinned to boards.

“I had a few epiphanies while doing this project,” says Nicholson, a soft-spoken, thin, bespectacled, ex-philosophy graduate, “and one was the realisation that the world of work, particularly a craft like darkroom printing, has becoming utterly homogenised in the digital era. Even just a few years ago, every profession had its own machinery, its tools, its language; now all we have are computers.”

Read more:

Below is a gallery of darkroom that bring back some great memories. (Not all of these are photographs are Richard’s)