Monday, March 30, 2009

Helen Levett

The photographer who froze New York street life on film.

The obituary in the New York Times on March 30, 2009 for Helen Levett is impressive and long. She was a native of New York and it looks as if they really loved her and payed homage to her. She was 95.

Ms. Levett was popular for capturing vignettes of New York street scenes. There is a quote from William Butler Yeats in the obit that reads, "Ms. Levitt captured instances of a cinematic and delightfully guileless form of street choreography that held at its heart, the ceremony of innocence."
The obit author, Margret Loke, writes that "the masterpieces in Ms. Levitt's oeuvre are her photographs of children living their zesty, improvised lives. A white girl and a black boy twirl in a dance of their own imagining.

Her best known picture is one of three children who are very well dressed and are getting ready to go trick-or-treating on Halloween in 1939. This picture was included in the inaugural exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art's photography department.

She photographed Spanish Harlem and the Lower East Side showing an unerring instinct for a street drama's perfect pitch.

Ms. Levitt's major influences included friends Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Shahn and James Agee.

Gianni Giansanti

The Pope's Photographer

I never realized just how much I read the obituaries until we started blogging about articles in the New York Times for this class. For some reason the obituaries in the NYT just fascinate me. It struck me as interesting that the pictures that this person had taken during his lifetime were included with his obituary.

Gianni Giansanti photographed Pope John Paul II for almost three decades. He was there when he was named Pontiff and there on the day he died. He was one of the few photographers who had access to the Pope and was allowed to photograph him in private moments as well as following him around the globe photographing him on the world stage.

Mr. Giansanti's more famous photographs include the 1978 image of Aldo Moro, the Italian Prime Minister who was kidnapped, shot and left in the trunk of a car by a terrorist group. He was well known for the "stolen moment" shot. Giansanti used a silent shutter and available light in order to capture people in candid shots.

His other famous photographs include images of Valenino, Mikhail Gorbachev, the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and the famine in Somalia in the early 1990s.

He published several photograph books including "John Paul II, Portrait of a Pontiff" (1996) and "Vanishing Africa" (2004).

Gianni Giansanti was born in Rome, Italy in 1956 and died March 18, 2009 of bone cancer.

I wonder if pictures we have taken will be on our obituary page instead of a picture of ourselves when we die.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Go fly a kite

Museum of Red River to host kite festival

Published March 25, 2009IDABEL — Kiters: Grab your lines and spars for the fourth annual Mary Herron Memorial Kite Festival at the Museum of the Red River, an official event of the American Kitefliers Association.The action is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. April 4 in the Mary H. Herron Community Conference Center (812 E. Lincoln Road) and includes a full day of workshops and demonstrations.

Kite artist Janene Evard will be a featured guest at the festival. The Ardmore artist will be showcasing more than 20 of her works, including one kite that was the product of a workshop at this past year’s festival.

The schedule for the 2009 festival is as follows:
• 9:30 a.m. — Registration and tour of the kite exhibit (Conference Center lobby)
• 10 a.m. — Kite making workshops: Sled kite
• 11:30 a.m. — Kite-related activites
• Noon — Sack lunch (participants should bring their own meals, no lunch will be provided)
• 1 p.m. — Sled kite flying (three blocks east of the Museum, across from the hospital)
• 2 p.m. — Kite flying demonstration by American Kitefliers Association representatives
• 2:30-4:30 p.m. — All fly: your kites and some of ours.

The cost of the program is $5 per family. All children must be accompanied by an adult. In case of rain, participants will make small kites and fly indoors.The Fourth Annual Mary Herron Memorial Kite Festival is sponsored in part by WalMart Supercenter No. 38 in Idabel and James Hodge Ford-Lincoln-Mercury Inc. of Idabel.

For more information, log on to, call Paulette LaGasse at the Museum at (580) 286-3616 or e-mail motrr(at)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Life is short.

Should you have an affair?

An ad in the NYT caught my eye this past week as I was flipping through the pages. The ad was simple and direct.

When divorce isn’t an option.

So, I decided to check out the website. OMG. It appears to be a very popular infidelity dating site. promises members an "Affair to Remember" within three months or their money back.

Apparently, this site has been featured on Good Morning America, Tyra Banks, CNN, and one of their ads was banned for the 2009 Superbowl.

Here is a link to the banned ad:

Their tag line is: No headlines and No Scandals.

The website uses Eliot Spitzer, New York Governor who was caught in a prostitution ring and had to resign from his office as the poster boy for how not to handle your personal affairs.

When is divorce NOT an option?

Monday, March 23, 2009

My three sons

From Travis' point of view

I asked each of my three sons to write a blog about what it is like to have your mother photograph you. This semester I've tried to set aside some time to photograph each one of them. My thought was that their input might add interest to the timeline theme by giving their perspective on the subject of me and this photography class.

Here is what my son Travis has to say...

Being photographed by my mom is mildly surreal. It definitely adds a few new dimensions to the experience that wouldn't be there if a stranger were photographing me. More than anything, when it comes to my mom's photography hobby, I feel proud of her. I'm proud that she's found a creative interest, a skilled hobby, the determination to stick with it and push herself, and I'm proud that she's gotten so good at it. So when she asks me to pose for her I'm more than happy to. It's a fun way to bond that benefits her with practice and me with really good photos. I do feel awkward about letting her know when I'm exhausted, bored, and want the shoot to be over though. You can't just bail on your own mother. But when I get to feeling tired I just tell myself that, if after all she's done for me in life, all she asks in return is for me to stand around while she takes pictures of me then then I can at least give her that much. Really, I'm glad to help out. The only awkward part about modeling for my own mother has been when the pictures turned out too good and women started telling my mom they wanted to have sex with me. That's just uncomfortable.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Photographs for Dollars

The HCB Award

Presented by the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, the HCB Award is a prize to stimulate a photographer's creativity by offering the opportunity to carry out a project that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.

It is intended for photographers who have already completed a significant body of work, with an approach close to that of reportage. The prize is of 30,000 Euros and is awarded every other year.

The winner will also have an exhibition of his work at the Foundation HCB in Paris and a catalogue will be published.

Applications must be postmarked between March 1, 2009 and April 15, 2009.

For submission guidelines, visit:

The Inge Morath Award

The Magnum Foundation and the Inge Morath Foundation announce the sixth annual Inge Morath Award. The annual prize of $5,000 is awarded by the Magnum Foundation to a female documentary photographer under the age of 30, to support the completion of a long-term project. One award winner and up to two finalists are selected by a jury composed of Magnum photographers.

Deadline: April 30, 2009.

For submission guidelines, visit:

Grand Prix International de Photographie

The Grand prix international de photographie de Vevey is an international competition organised by the Foundation Vevey, ville d’images and launched as part of Images, a visual art festival.

The winning project will be awarded CHF 30’000 (approx. € 20’000) to allow its realization and be exhibited at next year’s festival.

The jury made up of different personalities from the visual art and photography world. The jury will appoint the Grand Prix prize winner, as well as the other prizes and distinctions. The competitors will automatically take part to the associated prizes and distinctions.

Deadline: April 30, 2009.

For submission guidelines, visit:

W. Eugene Smith Grant and Howard Chapnick Grant

The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is today the most prestigious honor in documentary photography. Every year it recognizes a photographer who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to documenting the human condition in the spirit of Smith's concerned photography and dedicated compassion. For 2009, the amount of the grant will be $30,000. An additional $5,000 in fellowship money will be dispersed, at the discretion of the jury, to one or more finalists deemed worthy of special recognition.

In 1996 the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund announced a new award, the Howard Chapnick Grant, to encourage and support leadership in fields ancillary to photojournalism, such as editing research, education and management. The Grant was established to honor the memory of Howard Chapnick, and acknowledge the value of his enormous contribution to photography.
The annual $5,000 grant may be used to finance any of a range of qualified undertakings, which might include a program of further education, research, a special long-term sabbatical project, or an internship to work with a noteworthy group or individual. The grant is not intended to be used for the production of photographs, which will continue to be funded by the main grant of the Smith Fund.

Deadline: May 15, 2009.

For application guidelines, visit:

The Magnum Expression Award

The Magnum Expression Photography Award was established by Magnum Photos and HP with the goal of raising awareness and inspiring change through campaigns using photography as an expressive medium. The judges are searching for revealing imagery that illustrates a dedicated compassion and intensity using photography as a medium.

One chosen winner will receive a $10,000 award for continuing his/her work. HP's large format Designjet Z3200 for fine art printing, and additional prizes from and Photoshelter. Two honorable mentions and the remaining 17 finalists will also receive awards to support and encourage their photographic work. Participation is at no cost and photographers worldwide are encouraged to participate.

Deadline: May 31, 2009.

For submission guidelines, visit:


Whether you've already made your book or want to start, Photography.Book.Now is for working photographers, students of the discipline, and curious enthusiasts. The competition has three categories in which you can enter—Fine Art, Editorial and Commercial. Enter in one or all and submit as many books as you would like. The entry fee applies to each book submitted. Prizes will be awarded based on a juried review of all submissions to the Photography.Book.Now competition. The top prize winners will be invited to attend the awards celebration and meet-up in New York this Fall.

Deadline: July 16, 2009.

For application guidelines, visit:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Charles Manson

The poster man of crazy.

The Internet, AP, and the California newspapers are all a twitter about the newly updated picture for the 2009 Corcoran State Prison Inmate annual. A picture of Charles Manson in 1970 is juxtaposed next to his 2009 updated picture.

These pictures are from the March 20th New York Post.

He hasn't gotten any prettier with age.

Does it bother you that the swastika isn't in the middle of his eyes and is instead off-center a smidgen to the right? I wonder if the tattoo artist was shaking when he inked the symbol onto the face of one of the craziest SOBs in the history of mankind.

I was in the 8th grade when Manson led his 'family' to murder movie star Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and three others at Tate's home in Los Angeles. It was bizarre to sit in front of the evening news each night and listen to horrifying details of the murder trial for that day.

The true crime book "Helter Skelter" by by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry released in 1994 is based on Bugliosi's prosecution of Charles Manson.

Charles Manson makes me glad there are places to put very bad men away for life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Who is this kid?

I hate it when a little 14 year old makes me feel stupid. I especially hate it when that 14 year old kid is smarter than me, better informed on political issues and speaks Arabic.

Did you happen to watch any of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington about a week ago? Most of the hullabaloo centered on Rush Limbaugh and his comments. My attention was drawn to Jonathan Krohn, the kid in the 3 piece suit and braces that was holding his own with the big boys on CNN.

There is an article about him on the first page of SundayStyles in the NYT. Turns out he is home schooled, lives in Duluth, Georgia and neither one of his parents give a hoot about politics. He has already written and published a book, “Define Conservatism”. His 3 minute speech took center stage at the convention.

I think America has their eye on this kid. He is going places!

Ex Communication

What is wrong with this picture?

The article on page 10 of the International section of the NYT on Sunday, March 8, 2009 edition falls in the ‘what is wrong with this picture?’ category.

A little nine year old girl from Brazil who was raped and pregnant with twins will be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Even though it was determined that the child who weighs less than 80 pounds would not survive a full-term pregnancy with twins, the Church refused to allow any exceptions to church law.

Archbishop, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, is excommunicating the mother, the child, and the doctors who carried out the operation. The Archbishop in Brazil stated that “God’s law is above any human law.”
My question is why didn’t he excommunicate the girl’s stepfather who has been determined the father of the twins? This man who raped a nine year old gets to stay in the church but the child who was raped is excommunicated? What is wrong with this picture?

A mother and a doctor saved a child’s life by aborting a fetus that would have killed a child. The man who raped the child gets to stay in the church. Which is wrong and which is right?

When I worked at an organization called CHANCE, Citizens Helping Abused and Neglected Children, I had a case where a grandfather raped his 9 year old grand-daughter who conceived as a result of the rape. The child is mentally challenged and the 18 year-old mother of the nine year-old child sought an abortion. The grandmother would not allow it because she believed it to be murder. The grandmother also fought against the grandfather being charged with the rape of her grand daughter. Her argument was that he truly loved the child. Again, what is wrong with this picture?
The child did have an abortion and the grandfather only served 6 months shock probation.

Where is Lorena Bobit when you need her?
Other articles on the subject:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Photography Contests

ITS#PHOTO International Photographic Competition

Deadline: March 25, 2009

Theme: Slide, or CD Originality

Eligibility: International Young or emerging photographers or photography studensts

Prizes: MINI Clubman Photo Award: 10.000 Euro + a photo shoot together with a renowned photographer, travelling exhibition around the world, dedicated article in international magazine. SVA PhotoGlobal award (Offered by School of Visual Arts, New York): the winner receives a scholarship to the one year intensive PhotoGlobal photography course at School of Visual Arts in New York City. Pitti Immagine Photo Award: PITTI Immagine will choose 2 winners to create the advertising campaigns for the Womenswear Fairs that Pitti organises in Milan twice a year.

Entry Fee: None

ITS#PHOTO is an international juried competition that offers really good opportunities and prizes to young and emerging photographers from all around the world. there is an online competition too: ITS#PHOTOweb There also an online branch of the competition! Photographers who want to enrol only have to upload their pictures on the dedicated website The winner of this online competition will join the selected finalists for ITS#PHOTO and come to Italy in July.


Lumix Awards 2009

Deadline: March 31, 2009

Theme: Digital Living Planet

Eligibility: International Open

Prizes: The overall winner of the Lumix Award competition - the single best photograph we receive - will receive Panasonic’s next generation of digital cameras - the Lumix DMC-G1 Micro System. Lumix LX3 Two lucky runners-up will receive the brilliant compact Lumix LX3, a digital camera featuring true 16:9 format. Monthly Prizes: Lumix FZ28 Digital camera Every month for the duration of the competition one winner will be chosen by a member of the judging panel from a shortlist to win a Lumix FZ28 Digital camera.

Entry Fee: Free

Be sure to ENTER MONTHLY! How it works Upload your images exploring the theme "Living Planet" for your chance to either become a monthly or overall Lumix Award winner. You can enter one image per month for the 2008 Lumix Award before the closing date on 31 March 2009. Each photograph you submit will be entered into the monthly competition, and will also go into the running to win the overall prize. Your photographs will be judged by professional photographers. Please note: all photographs entered must be taken with a digital camera.


iPhone Photo Contest

Deadline: March 31, 2009

Theme: Digital Phone Open

Eligibility: International Open

Prizes: All photographers compete for the top award, the IPPA Photographer of the Year. The work of the top winner and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place Winners on each category will be publicized on IPPA online gallery and published in the IPPA Annual Book. Certificates in all Categories - All 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners from each categories will receive a IPPA certificate. Honorable Mentions - IPPA judges will award several Certificates of Honorable Mention to entries to acknowledge talent.

Entry Fee $2.50 for each photograph $5.00 for 3 photographs $10.00 for 5 photographs

Check out last years winners:


Best Of Citizen Photojournalism III

Deadline: March 31, 2009

Theme: Digital News, Environment, Sports, Celebs, Far-out, Winter Sports

Eligibility: International Open to all ages

Prizes Grand prize: Epson Stylus Photo Printer R1800 (or cash equivalent). First prize: $100 gift certificate to Ritz Camera. Second prize: $50 gift certificate to Ritz Camera.Third prize: Free Photo Book from

Entry Fee: Free membership

Our focus is on news photography not only from mainstream media but also from amateur photographers.


CWB Calendar Photo Contest

Deadline: March 31, 2009

Theme: Print (plus negative or electronic file). Theme: In All Kinds of Weather.

Eligibility: Canada Open to all ages.

The theme of next year’s crop year calendar is In All Kinds of Weather. Farm work continues in all kinds of weather, and our 2009-10 calendar will reflect the varied conditions of the Prairies. A panel of judges will select 17 photos. Submissions will be accepted between January 2, 2009 and March 31, 2009. EDITOR’S NOTE: Winners give up their rights. "The CWB will own all rights to the winning photos, including the right to publish and all copyrights."


2009 Intergenerational Photography Contest

Deadline: April 1, 2009

Theme: Photography Intergenerational activities, connections, and relationships

Eligibility: International Under 23, Over 50

Prizes: 1st Place: $250, plus a trip to Washington DC to attend Awards Banquet 2nd Place: $100 3rd Place: $50 Honorable Mentions in 4 categories

Entry Fee: Free

The purpose of the contest is to capture the power and beauty of intergenerational relationships in action and convey the important roles that younger and older people play in each other’s lives.


Wildlife Photography Competition

Deadline: April 30, 2009

Theme: Digital Wildlife Portraits

Eligibility: International Open to all ages

Prizes Winner: an Olympus SP-570UZ, a camera with a 10-megapixel sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD screen and 20x optical zoom with image stabilization

Entry Fee Free membership

A photograph of any animal is eligible as long as it was taken in the wild. The competition is open to participants worldwide, of any age.


Spring WordShooters Photo Contest

Deadline: May 31,2009

Theme: Open Spring

Eligibility: USA 18

Prizes: $500 top prize

Entry Fee: $25 for 1 entry, $35 for two, $45 for three

WordShooters interpret one word through our lenses during each of our contests. Quarterly, Monthly, Wildcard and Weekend WordShooters contests are ongoing!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Obama going grayer.

Less than 50 days in the White House and Obama is already going grayer.

On the front page of the March 5, 2009 New York Times is a picture of Obama’s head with gray hairs easily visible. Apparently, there is the gray hair watch patrol stalking our new president. That has got to suck air knowing that people are watching to see if you are stressed out enough for your hair to start turning gray. Helene Cooper, the author of the article interviewed Obama’s barber to find out what only his hairdresser knows for sure. His barber of sixteen years, Zariff, is pissed that people are accusing Obama of dyeing his hair.

Come to find out that gray hair has specific categories. According to Ms. Cooper, our President has the flecked variety. I must have the streaked variety. However, I am trying to go for the salt and pepper look.

Over the years there has been a before and after shot of each President as he came into and left the oval office. Yep, both Bush and Clinton look stressed and grayer.

Just last week I read an article on Yahoo ( about what causes gray hair. The root cause is the build up of hydrogen peroxide which is produced naturally in our body and messes with melanin, the pigment that colors our hair and skin.

Researchers are currently working hard on finding ways to rid our body of the excess hydrogen peroxide thereby helping control the graying of hair.

Clairol is waiting on the edge of their seat for the results.

I’m guessing those pictures of the President’s and their graying hair may be soon become a thing of the past.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Everlasting Moments

A Swedish foreign film based on photography.

Since foreign films never come to Paris and very very few are on the shelves at the video store, I really like perusing the foreign movie advertisements in the Arts & Leisure section in the New York Times (NYT).

In the Sunday, March 1, 2009 edition of the NYT a foreign film advertisement titled Everlasting Moments peaked my interest. This movie is based on a true story that centers on photography.

I googled the film and found out that the film follows the story of Maria (Maria Heiskanen), who is married to an alcoholic and womanizing dockworker (Mikael Persbrandt). Her husband leaves the worries of family responsibilities entirely to Maria. Her situation is desperate until she meets a camera shop owner (Jesper Christensen) who encourages her to start taking and developing photographs. She soon begins to see the world in new ways that threaten her already perilous situation.

In the Los Angeles Times review of the movie, Kenneth Turan, Film Critic, writes that Everlasting Moments was the 2009 winner of five prizes at Sweden's academy awards, including best picture. Turan states that "Everlasting Moments" is a rich, intensely human story that deals with the mysteries of creativity and love and the pain and joy of relationships.

Maria sees magic through her Contessa camera, won in a lottery soon after she meets her future husband. She is so caught up in her hard life with her spouse and their ever-increasing family that she more or less forgets she owns it.Due to a fiscal crisis, Maria considers selling the camera. She nervously visits the local photography shop but the shop owner has other ideas. He shows Maria how to use the camera, gives her supplies and gets her involved in the gentle art of taking pictures. "It's our secret," he tells her conspiratorially, and so it for a time remains. Echoing the way photographs are developed in the darkroom, only gradually does picture taking make changes in Maria's life, only little by little does she accept that she has "the gift of seeing" and, in Pedersen's words, "if you're a person who sees, you have no choice but to do so."

Sure wish I could see the film.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Through my eyes


1. Francesca Woodman.

2. Paula Modersohn-Becker.

And here is what I might look like if I were a guy!

3. Andy Warhol

4. M. C. Escher

This was harder than I ever imagined.

5. On my own.

Copyrighted Pictures

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape