Tag Archives | Photography

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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Police May Detain Photographers If Their Photographs ‘Have No Aesthetic Value’

3TAg1How are the police to distinguish between legitimate photographers taking pictures in public and terrorists-in-waiting conducting nefarious schemes? In Long Beach, cops’ duties now include determining what is art, and detaining picture-takers whose photos have “no apparent aesthetic value”. So don’t take an ugly photo like the one at right, unless you want to be carted off as a terror suspect. Via Techdirt:

Apparently the police in Long Beach, California, have a policy that says if a police officer determines that a photographer is taking photos of something with “no apparent esthetic value,” they can detain them. This revelation came after photographer Sander Roscoe Wolff was taking the photo.

The police officer somehow determined that there couldn’t be esthetic value there, and thus, the photographer had to be detained and checked out. The police are defending this policy, saying that while officers don’t have any specific training in what qualifies as “apparent esthetic value,” they will stop anyone photographing things they don’t consider to be something a “regular tourist” would photograph.

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Muammar Qaddafi’s 1980s Family Photo Album

350-addTyler Hicks of the New York Times found family pictures at the the Qaddafi residence in Tripoli, and they’re amazing. How often do images of a Third World dictator make you irresistibly nostalgic for childhood?

The Qaddafis playing soccer. Baby photos. Colonel Qaddafi as a young lieutenant in the late 1960s. Later, as a father. And finally, a bizarre figure; something of an object of ridicule. A picture of Seif al-Islam atop a horse was a glossy, poster-sized print.

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Astronaut Suicides

This summer’s final NASA space shuttle mission marks the end of the 30-year era of the United States’ sending live explorers into outer space. Photographers Sara Phillips and Neil DaCosta created Astronaut Suicides, a series depicting the logical conclusion of the decision to render the astronaut an obsolete relic.

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