@2 days ago with 746 notes
#Photography #Landscape #Ursula Schulz-Dornburg #Typology #The Dusseldorf School 

The inimical and wondrously iconoclastic Diane Di Prima.

@1 week ago with 19 notes
#Poetry #Diane Di Prima 

"The Mormons settled this ominous country, and then they abandoned it, but by the time they left the first orange tree had been planted and for the next hundred years the San Bernardino Valley would draw a kind of people who imagined they might live among the talismanic fruit and prosper in the dry air, people who brought with them Midwestern ways of building and cooking and praying and who tried to graft those ways upon the land. The graft took in curious ways. This is the California where it is possible to live and die without ever eating an artichoke, without ever meeting a Catholic or a Jew. This is the California where it is easy to Dial-A-Devotion, but hard to buy a book. This is the country in which a belief in the literal interpretation of Genesis has slipped imperceptibly into a belief in the literal interpretation of Double Indemnity, the country of the teased hair and the Capris and the girls for whom all life’s promise comes down to a waltz-length white wedding dress and the birth of a Kimberly or a Sherry or a Debbi and a Tijuana divorce and a return to hairdressers’ school. "We were just crazy kids," they say without regret, and look to the future. The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past."

— Joan Didion Slouching Towards Bethlehem, (2000)

Photographs by Katy Grannan from The Nine (2014).

@1 week ago with 67 notes
#Art #Photography #Katy Grannan #Literature #Journalism #Writing #Joan Didion #California 
Girl grown woman     fire     mother of fire
I go to the stone street turning to fire.     Voices
Go screaming     Fire     to the green glass wall.
And there where my youth flies blazing into fire
The     dance     of sane and insane images, noon
Of seasons and days.     Noontime of my one hour.
Saw down the bright noon street the crooked faces
Among the tall daylight in the city of change.
The scene has walls     stone     glass     all my gone life
One wall a web through which the moment walks
And I am open, and the opened hour
The world as water-garden     lying behind it.
In a city of stone, necessity of fountains,
Forces water fallen on glass, men with their axes.
An arm of flame reaches from water-green glass,
Behind the wall I know waterlilies
Drinking their light, transforming light and our eyes
Skythrown under water, clouds under those flowers,
Walls standing on all things stand in a city noon
Who will not believe a waterlily fire.
Whatever can happen in a city of stone,
Whatever can come to a wall can come to this wall.
I walk in the river of crisis toward the real,
I pass guards, finding the center of my fear
And you, Dick, endlessly my friend during storm.
The arm of flame striking through the wall of form.
— Excerpted from Waterlilly Fire by Muriel Rukeyser.
Photographs by Lee Friedlander, Curran Hatleberg (3, 9), Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Doug Dubois, Karin Apollonia-Müller, Jeff Wall, Brian Ulrich and Catherine Opie.
@2 weeks ago with 84 notes
#Art #Photography #Street Photography #Portraiture #Landscape #Ben Shahn #Lee Friedlander #Curran Hatleberg #Philip-Lorca diCorcia #Doug Dubois #Karin Apollonia Müller #Jeff Wall #Brian Ulrich #Catherine Opie 

"His energy and artistry were so extraordinary you almost begin to wonder if he did not bend the moment to his will. Which, in a way, he did. I wonder if he knew how wonderful that was, how profound. I hope he knew."

@3 days ago with 38 notes
#Photography #Garry Winogrand #Paul Graham #Leo Rubinfien 

I have just realized that the stakes are myself
I have no other
ransom money, nothing to break or barter but my life
my spirit measured out, in bits, spread over
the roulette table, I recoup what I can
nothing else to shove under the nose of the maitre de jeu
nothing to thrust out the window, no white flag
this flesh all I have to offer, to make the play with
this immediate head, what it comes up with, my move
as we slither over this go board, stepping always
(we hope) between the lines

Diane Di Prima, “Revolutionary Letter #1” from Revolutionary Letters.

Photographs from The Ninety-Nine by Katy Grannan. More to follow…

@1 week ago with 101 notes
#Art #Photography #Katy Grannan #Portraiture #The Ninety-Nine #Documentary photography #Poetry #Diane Di Prima #Politics #Power 


Modern street photographers are fluttering, intrusive, yet vaguely stealthy creatures who live on edge in quizzical search of imagery they cannot foresee. They have reason to be nervous, for they work in a chaotic zone of ephemeral “targets” that may be reluctant to appear in an unannounced view, or else are endowed with a speedy, unsettling talent for vanishing from it. But this visual quarry teases not simply because it is disobedient and elusive. The conditions of the field are more bothersome than that, for the motifs presented by the photographer cannot be said to have existed before, and they do not endure after they have been wrought from light in the precise configurations we later come to know. (…)

Underlying street photography is a naturalist argument that goes something like this: The value of the picture resides in its truthful observation. This value is jeopardized to the extent the photographer intervenes in the social circumstances, causing a rupture from what would naturally have happened. The natural is defined as a mélange of urban events contingent upon each other, and therefore inherently effervescent and unpredictable. There can be no record of such action unless the photographer is committed to techniques of furtive and opportune surveillance whose goals cannot easily be rationalized. No wonder street photographers are often solitary, and always professional strangers with little to say about their indefinite motives. Still, their overall approach is conceptually articulate, because in practice it integrates the moral goal of credibility, the philosophical notion of contingency and the professional requirement of freedom and spontaneity, each impossible to realize without engaging with the others.


 Max Kozloff “A Way of Seeing and the Act of Touching: Helen Levitt’s Photographs of The Forties” in Observations: Essays on Documentary Photography (1984)
@2 weeks ago with 99 notes
#Art #Photography #Street Photography #Max Kozloff #Criticism #Helen Levitt 

A plausible index of the way that a shift in our culture is reflected in the distinctions between Soth’s work and Sternfeld’s can be measured in the change in the address of their portraits. The inward turn in Soth’s work finds expression in the individuated and isolated environment in which he typically frames his subjects. So often in these pictures it seems his subjects are struggling for purchase on their lives, striving to remain upright or to retain faith in their beliefs or dreams, and that struggle is waged outside of the infrastructure of community or nation - it is waged alone, and often quietly.

With Sternfeld so often his portrait subjects are interwoven within the broader social milieu in which they work or live, while for Soth his subjects are typically tucked away in some unheralded and unremarkable corner, encountered in the full blush of their carefully cultivated private spheres of living. There is little brashness in the figures in American Prospects – we are more commonly shown a certain studied reserve, by turns harsh, bleak, ironic and monumental. In keeping with the profound cultural shift that separates the America of the early Reagan years from the new millennium, in Soth’s portraits we frequently see a certain unabashed boldness, in posture, dress, or tone. Where American Prospects builds outward from a subdued palette that is of a piece with its painstakingly subdued exhortations, Sleeping By The Mississippi is frequently marked by a brightness that seems harsh and isolating – an assertiveness that stoppers the deep separate quiet of the spaces where Soth encounters it. Dreams are scribbled on paper, painted and pinned onto walls, plastered up on plywood and scrawled across clothing: the properly introspective work of reconciling inner hopes with exterior circumstance is here inscribed on the surface of things in a gesture of stubborn, desperate, often solitary and hopeful persistence.

— Ballad of a Lonely Boy

@2 weeks ago with 209 notes
#Art #Photography #Portraiture #Joel Sternfeld #Alec Soth #The Great Leap Sideways