Tag Archives | Photography

Americans And The Environmental State In The 1970s

Via the Atlantic, a snippet of the EPA’s DOCUMERICA project, which involved the taking of thousands of beautiful, fascinating, sometimes harrowing photos of how Americans lived and how they interacted with the environment (expanding the definition of “environment” beyond what we usually think of):

As the 1960s came to an end, the rapid development of the American postwar decades had begun to take a noticeable toll on the environment, and the public began calling for action. In November 1971, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency announced a massive photo documentary project to record these changes. More than 100 photographers not only documented environmental issues, but captured images of everyday life and the way parts of America looked at that moment in history. The National Archives has made 15,000 of these images available.

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Sneaking Into A Russian Military Rocket Factory

rocketWhen you walk by a topnotch military rocket factory and notice that there are no guards on duty, it’s an opportunity for fun. A set of unbelievable photos, via Gizmodo:

Her name is Lana Sator and she snuck into one of NPO Energomash factories outside of Moscow. Her photos are amazing, like sets straight out of Star Wars or Alien. Now the Russian government is harassing her.

It was easy to get in. She just went there, jumped over the fence and got right into the heart of the complex through a series of tunnels and pipes, which was very surprising. After all, this is an active industrial installation that belongs to one of the top manufacturers of liquid-fuel rockets in the world.

And yet, she found nobody. No guards, no security. Nothing. Just a few CCTV cameras here and there in rooms packed with huge machinery.

While some of these zones look decrepit and abandoned, the factory is active.

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The LSD Portraits: Marc Franklin Spends 25 Years Photographing ‘Psychedelic Pioneers’

BurroughsRemember the Reagan administration’s “This is your brain on drugs” ads? In response a photographer started a lifelong project of photographing all the living “psychedelic pioneers,” including Timothy Leary, Jerry Garcia, William S. Burroughs, and Ken Kesey.

“I thought, ‘You know, that’s such a load of horseshit … I’m going to dismantle that poisonous propaganda lie visually… I’m going to portray these people how they are.” He started with the man who invented LSD — Albert Hoffman — on its 50th anniversary in 1988, and at one point drove over 11,000 miles in just 7 weeks (including a 26-hour drive to drink beer with William S. Burroughs).

He’s interviewed by the former editor of High Frontiers magazine (“the official psychedelic magazine of the 1984 Summer Olympics.)”, and the article includes three of his best photos. (He’s exhibiting them this month in Los Angeles). But the strangest fact of all?

He started his career taking photographs for the annual report of Mobil Oil!… Read the rest

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Photographs Of Black Sites

trevorVia We Me Make Money Not Art, a conversation with artist Trevor Paglen, who acts as a modern-day discoverer, travelling the globe attempting to photograph the last “uncharted territory” — classified locations such as the CIA’s rendition sites:

For his Limit Telephotography series, Paglen used high powered telescopes to picture the “black” sites, a series of secret locations operated by the CIA. Often outside of U.S. territory and legal jurisdiction, these locations do not officially exist, they range from American torture camps in Afghanistan to front companies running airlines whose purpose is to covertly move suspects around.

Paradoxically Paglen’s images deepen the secrecy of their subject rather than uncover it. Limit-telephotography most closely resembles astrophotography, a technique that astronomers use to photograph objects that might be trillions of miles from Earth. Paglen’s subjects are much closer but also even more difficult to photograph. To physical distance, one has indeed to add the obstacle of informational concealment.

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The Beauty Of Minefield Landscapes

3flowersWill the landmines that were sprinkled across vast swaths of the globe during brutal twentieth-century wars ironically end up saving nature? In Bosnia, “nowhere [in the countryside] is safe” from mines — meaning that animals and plants can flourish where people fear to tread. BLDG BLOG has a gallery of gorgeous mine-infested landscapes and the horrifying devices buried beneath the surfaces:

The Minescape project by Los Angeles-based photographer Brett Van Ort looks at the ironic effects of landmines on the preservation of natural landscapes, placing woods, meadows, and even remote country roads off-limits, fatally tainted terrains given back to animals and vegetation.

“Left over munitions and landmines from the wars in the early 1990s still litter the countryside in Bosnia,” Van Ort explains. Many deminers in the field believe roughly 10% of the country can still be deemed a landmine area. They also feel that nowhere in the countryside is safe, as they may clear one area but a torrential downpour may unearth landmines upstream or upriver.

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The Spirit Photography Of William Hope

Why do people believe that photographs have the power to capture what we cannot see with our eyes? The Public Domain Review presents a ghastly, ghostly collection from William Hope:

These photographs of ‘spirits’ are taken from an album of photographs unearthed in a Lancashire antiquarian bookshop. They were taken by a controversial medium called William Hope (1863-1933). In about 1905 he became interested in spirit photography after capturing the supposed image of a ghost while photographing a friend. He went on to found the Crewe Circle – a group of six spirit photographers.

By 1922 Hope had moved to London where he became a professional medium. The work of the Crew Circle was investigated on various occasions, exposing Hope as a fraudster. However, many of Hope’s most ardent supporters spoke out on his behalf, the most famous being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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How Many Conflict Photos Are Staged

Italian photojournalist Ruben Salvadori turns his camera on a previously unseen element in conflict zones — the photographer him/herself. Frequently, conflict participants (who by this point know what the photographers are looking for) pose and act out scenes to create the desired shots. Via PetaPixel:

Here’s a fascinating video in which Salvadori demonstrates how dishonest many conflict photographs are. Salvadori spent time in East Jerusalem, studying the role photojournalists play in what the world sees. He shows how photojournalists often influence the events they’re supposed to document objectively, and how photographers are often pushed to seek and create drama even in situations that lack it.

You might start looking at conflict photos in the news a lot differently after watching this.

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Media Roots Interview with Black Ops/Secrecy Researcher Trevor Paglen

Via Media Roots:

Trevor Paglen’s work deliberately blurs the lines between science, contemporary art, journalism, and other disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to see and interpret the world around us. He is also the author of several books: Torture Taxi, the first book to comprehensively cover the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program; I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me, a book looking at the world of black projects through unit patches and memorabilia created for top-secret programs; and Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World, a book that gives a broader look at secrecy in the United States.

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