Tag Archives: Time LightBox

“An authentic selfie”

However, warns Laurence Allard, a French professor and mobile technology specialist, the very name of the product itself might be self-limiting.

“It’s contradictory,” she says. “The selfie isn’t just a portrait. It has its own codes and rules, and the main one is that a selfie has to have been taken by hand. An authentic selfie should show it was taken with your arm extended—that’s a sort of signature.” And, she explains, the use of a selfie stick removes that particular element from the frame.
How the Selfie Stick is Killing the Selfie – LightBox

Today in “Are we sure Time hasn’t been replaced with The Onion” news, apparently now we are expected to ponder whether introducing a new layer of technological mediation between the photographer and their camera (i.e., ATTACHING IT TO A GODDAMN STICK) may jeopardize the authenticity of selfies.

This is ridiculous. I understand wanting to push back against the jerks who refuse to shut up about how selfies are ruining photography. But if there is one area where photography does not have to worry about receiving academic validation and legitimation of its “authenticity,” one area where the photograph can proceed free of any anxiety over its seriousness and its intellectual genealogy, surely it’s selfies. COME ON.

Or maybe there is not and never will be space in photography which can be free from demands for legitimation, because if we stop proving photography is an art in every moment we trip a shutter, we’ll all have to give up our Art Cards and admit we just like playing with cameras.

Mike Osborne. Storage Buildings and Movie Tower.

Mike Osborne

In the end, what he has captured in these pictures might be the unsettling result of people acting on that permission: the casual violence and neon dreams of a nation let loose upon the desert.

Myles Little

Mike Osborne. Floating Island.
Floating Island
Mike Osborne. View from Southbase.
View from Southbase
Mike Osborne. Storage Buildings and Movie Tower.
Storage Buildings and Movie Tower
Mike Osborne. Storage Buildings.
Storage Buildings
Mike Osborne. Montego Lounge I.
Montego Lounge I
Mike Osborne. Information.
Mike Osborne. Expanse.
Mike Osborne. Valley II.
Valley II
Mike Osborne. Corner.
Mike Osborne. Curtain.

So this series caught my eye a number of different times as different tumblrers selected different images to highlight. Some liked the black and white warehouses. Others liked the color landscapes. Etc. Etc. It’s been interesting to click through* and find that they’re all part of the same project since I’m not used to one project featuring so many different photographic styles—especially all coming from the same photographer.

*Yes. It took more than a few clicks for me to realize this. I think in each case my thought was “wait, the guy who made More?” before putting everything together.

I like the approach. Especially regarding the American West and how it can be simultaneously bleak and lonely and intimidatingly wild and overwhelmingly industrial and overdeveloped and unnatural and crowded. Too much to always shoehorn into one style.

And as someone who shoots all over the place. It’s instructive to see how it is possible to make something coherent out of parts which aren’t visually consistent.

Tom Howard. Sing Sing Correctional Facility, 1928: Ruth Snyder is executed by electrocution.

Death and the power of photography

Daily News Front page. Extra Edition. January 13, 1928.
Daily News Front page. Extra Edition. January 13, 1928.

The black-and-white image was shocking to the U.S. and international public alike. There sat a 32-year-old wife and mother, killed for killing. Her blurred figured seemed to evoke her struggle, as one can imagine her last, strained breaths. Never before had the press been able to attain such a startling image—one not made in a faraway war, one not taken of the aftermath of a crime scene, but one capturing the very moment between life and death here at home.

Erica Fahr Campbell

Campbell’s article doesn’t delve any further into the effect of this photograph on death penalty debates. To this day, however, no prisons allow photography during executions. What if things were different? How might the careful documentation of this process — with all our technology for capturing and sharing images — change the debate today? And whose interests are most protected by keeping executions invisible?

Lisa Wade

A good photo to be aware of. Especially given photography’s history with death and the way that photography really came of age during the Civil War. There’s something about photographing death that is especially compelling, even today. While the news media’s fixation on death images as clickbait is gross, it is worth asking ourselves why we all look and why those are newsworthy.

I don’t think it’s just shock value. Death is one of those things that we don’t like to think about because it’s unknowable and inevitable. It’s one of those things we’re taught from an early age how to compartmentalize and protect ourselves from addressing.

It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to talk to my son about so far. Precisely because we don’t know. And he wants answers. To everything. And I can’t give him good ones. I think I’m still looking for those myself. Hence my difficulty in turning away from these photos.

Monika Anderson, Jakob

Off the Radar

In a new series called Off the Radar, LightBox asks celebrated photographers to write about image makers whose work they admire yet may be unknown to a wider audience. Here, Mark Steinmetz celebrates a group of women who documented life in the Northeastern United States in the 1980s.

I would like to call attention to some remarkable photography made in the late 1970s and early 1980s by nine women in Massachusetts.

Off the Radar: Mark Steinmetz

Joan Albert, Martin at 20, May 1985
Joan Albert, Martin at 20, May 1985
Mary Frey, Girl with Hairdryer.
Mary Frey, Girl with Hairdryer.
Sage Sohier, Americans Seen, Cambridge, Mass., 1981
Sage Sohier, Americans Seen, Cambridge, Mass., 1981
Judith Black, Erik, 1988
Judith Black, Erik, 1988
Monika Anderson, Jakob
Monika Anderson, Jakob
Mary Tortorici,  Kristi and Michael, 1980
Mary Tortorici, Kristi and Michael, 1980
Cathy Griffin, Sheep, Amherst, Mass., 1980
Cathy Griffin, Sheep, Amherst, Mass., 1980
Lynn Whitney, Sisters, Still River, Mass., 1984
Lynn Whitney, Sisters, Still River, Mass., 1984
Sheron Rupp, Hanging Tub, Northhampton, Mass., 1985
Sheron Rupp, Hanging Tub, Northhampton, Mass., 1985

So this is cool and important. It’s always nice to find out about new photographers and I really like the “off the radar” idea. It’s also great that the off-the-radar choices are a different demographic than the person doing the choosing. All too often we pick someone like ourselves in this situation so props to Steinmetz for not doing so.

All that said, I’d still like to see women photographers get featured who aren’t primarily taking photos of people.