caroline bauman standing in the conservatory amid stacks of unopened furniture a week before the grand reopening of the cooper hewitt. the cooper hewitt has been closed for three years for renovations.
i met the brothers at tompkins square park. jiro ran over when he saw me burying my son in the sandbox and asked me to bury him too. i'd seen him and his dad around the playground but really got to know them that day when jiro's dad found me dumping huge amounts of sand all over his son's legs. thankfully he was really laid back and didn't mind that i had just covered his child in sand! jiro has grown up to be an awesome skateboarder and i wanted to do some photos of the brothers together near the skate park. jiro broke his arm in an innocuous fall at the school jungle gym just before our shoot which scuppered those plans. i'll be going back to shoot him skating once he's all healed. in the meanwhile here are a few photos from that afternoon with the brothers just hanging out at east river park.
just got finished watching true detective in a less than 24 hour marathon of rapt absorption. and yes, it is a fantastic series. well acted, well, written and beautifully filmed. i especially enjoyed the title sequence, pleasantly surprised at the use of double exposure photography.
they clearly found inspiration from the same double exposure images i found so captivating from this page of their mood board.
they made excellent conceptual connections between the physical absence of self, replaced by a void or the geography that has a hand in shaping who we are.
here are some of my favorite images from their true detective title sequence.
one of the most impressive views on the island of hawaii is at the end of chain of craters road. we missed it on our first trip becasue the volcano's noxious gasses were blowing right through it and they wouldn't let visitors down that road.we were lucky enough to see it this year and it was worth the second trip!
the road looks like the set of a volcano disaster movie set. after a few yards the innocuous asphalt road disappears as its surface gets eaten up by hardened lava. you see exactly where the lava stopped its destructive flow. this dividing line is an awesome sight; the line between life and death for many creatures fleeing from the lava. for miles behind this line all you can see is black, lifeless lava. my parents and i walked on top of the lava and followed it all the way to the edge, where the lava met the sea.
i went camping this weekend to clarence fahnestock state park in cold springs, ny. the weather forecast called for 90% overnight showers but since the kids had been looking forward to it for so long we decided to just go ahead and do it anyway. it was only our first time camping as a family so why not do it in the pouring rain? i had purchased a cheap tent from kmart a year or two ago, it'd never been used outside of my kids bedroom and i worried about getting soaked during the evening rainstorm. we fared well and stayed dry, despite all of my worries (i actually had a stress dream that my husband and i got up in the middle of the storm to put a layer of plastic drop cloth between the tent and the fly). better than our neighbors anyway, some of whom i noticed ended up sleeping in their cars. if you ever end up at this park i strongly suggest campsite 36. it close to the bathrooms (but not too close), feels more situated in nature than the others, has a great view of the pond from above, and a soft, flat footprint to set up your tent. the best part of the trip was the short hike we took around pelton pond. on it's southern end i discovered several curiously cut tree stumps which i surmised must have been the work of beavers. i had never seen beaver gnawed trees before and i found them novel and beautiful. and a little creepy. the huge chunks of wood shavings besides the tree trunks made me realize how big and strong beaver teeth and jaws were. for a second i worried about killer beavers wandering into our camp in the night.
the chew marks and bites, on the stumps and trees were so precisely placed. it was fascinating to see their handiwork.
anne rosenthal is a most gifted artist and teacher. she teaches art to kindergartners through 6th graders at my children's public school. i always marvel at what she is able to draw out of her students. one of my favorite projects is the shrunken apple head dolls she works on with her 4th graders. she asked me to photograph some of them and i had more fun than i thought possible. we turned a cardboard box into a set and draped it with some scrap fabric. i had a sudden irving penn inspiration and shot a lot of them into the corner. i never played with dolls as a child but i had more than a little fun coming up with scenarios for these wonderful characters. the apple heads have a shriveled grotesque quality which the children were encourage to embrace. i love this man in black, like a brother of The Wall from the game of thrones. and the rich old lady with the fluffy white dog! that is real mink she is has draped on her shoulders, an old coat someone gifted to anne that she lets the kids cut up for their artwork. i love all the details the kids added, giving us some insight into how a child's mind works and thinks. the gypsy not only has a crystal ball and tarot cards, she also has a baby she stole (it's blond while she has black hair) becasue in a kids mind gypsies are like that.
the quality i find most remarkable about anne is how she continues to be inspired by the kids. i've heard her rhapsodize about a 2nd grader's tempera painting and quality of blue they mixed for the water. she has clever rules like never using black, the children have to make black by mixing the primary colors, which results in a gorgeous array of greys and darks of any tones and hues instead of one dimensional, flat blacks.
this a public thank you to a dedicated and talented teacher and artist. we feel incredibly lucky!
some of you may remember a huge controversy that was stirred up by an article on vogue magazine last year regarding a mother's story of helping her 6 year old obese daughter, bea, lose weight. dara was vilified by mothers and doctors alike for her honest account of how difficult the process was for her daughter and for herself. the things that seemed to anger people most was that dara got a book deal out of the article. that she had sacrificed her daughter's privacy for her own career. well, the book, the heavy, is out today. dara happens to be a friend and fellow parent at my son's school; bea and my son forrest are in the same grade. dara asked me to photograph her author photo last summer and we proceeded with the shoot and the edit with thoughtful consideration. we knew how people would scrutinize the author photo of a book dealing with body image, especially this one. dara wanted to go with a pictures that was more down to earth and relatable, i kept trying to get her to go for one where she looked prettier. the agent weighed in and she ended up going with something in between in the end.
i am very curious to see how the media and the public react to this book. and i hope dara is prepared to be in the spotlight as this year's tiger mom.
i am best know as an environmental portraitist. i like my people to look real and have always eschewed retouching out wrinkles and other "flaws". i do want people to look their best and feel good about their pictures though so i almost always even out bad skin, get rid of crust on the corners of eyes, acne, cold sores...my rule of thumb has been to keep what is always part of the person but to remove the temporary. this is easier to get away with when the subjects are only part of the picture, not the only thing in the photos.
last weekend i started a long awaited personal project photographing funeral portrait of the elderly at my parents catholic church in new jersey. more on the project later. faced with photographing what amounted to head shots of 20-30 senior citizens, i joked with a photographer friend about needing to buy one of those "pretty filters" photographers apply to actor head shots. something that would help me to clean up skin quickly so i wouldn't be stuck retouching for hours. later that day he sent me a link to portrait professional. it was half meant as a joke. the before and after images on the web site are scary. borderline amoral. i am hoping no one actually uses the settings in such an extreme way; to alter the bone structure of a person's face.
i have to say though, i was fascinated. i downloaded the trial and played with the filters. there have been countless times when i wished i had some program to even out skin texture, usually due to bad light, without losing the actual texture of the skin. other times i have tried to even out and lighten under and around the eyes and made several attempts before i got it to look even. now here was a program that mapped a face and then enabled you to make those changes with a few simple sliders. i had to admit, this tool was way better at retouching faces than i was. it's a great tool as long as you don't get carried away and start making your subjects looks like pore less, fashion mannequins.
by far the scariest filter on this program is the face sculpt controls. this is where you can plump the lips, widen the eyes, elongate the neck, slim the jaw and tighten/pull the eyes upwards. i am fascinated by the above before and after picture of me. i can't tell exactly what they changed and how much but i can tell whatever they did was drastic yet subtle in a dangerous way. well, maybe not life and death dangerous. but dangerous in defining that border between what is acceptable and how far can you retouch a person before you've gone too far. the controls for portrait professional at auto (which is what my picture above was set at) must be set at at maximum appeal; what society on the whole views as ideally beautiful: slimmer jawline, fuller lips, bigger eyes, smoother skin...
seeing the photos of myself side by side i can't help but think the after picture of me looks like my prettier, sexier, evil sister. it still looks like me (i think), a more attractive, idealized version of me. but it doesn't feel like me. by lifting/elongating my eyes and slimming my jawline the filter erased enough of my personality that i don't look warm or friendly anymore. if i were in a profession where i was dependent on my physical appearance to make my living (acting, modeling) i'd find it difficult to decide which image of myself i put out there; the idealized retouched version to better my chances of getting a call for a go see so they could meet me in person or the real version, which when compared side by side looks so much more boring all of a sudden.
playing around with some gallery pieces from jill platner's new collection. we like this idea and hope to do more once the collection is finished.
aesop bleecker st was designed in collaboration with march studios in melbourne. the ribbed supports make the interior feels like the inside of a whale. materials used: brass, wood and leather. it's my favorite aesop shop yet.
aesop boston was designed by william o'brian jr., an assistant professor at the MIT school of architecture and planning. the interior is constructed of stacked molding.
more stores to open soon. soho, madison ave and san francisco.
i just got back from a working holiday on the big island and saw this trio of black images. now i wish i had spent a day at black sand beach and done a whole series. oh well, there is always next year.
the photos below were shot at the tide pools, great spot for snorkeling with children.
i love this homemade costume. i am not even sure exactly what it is. i spotted this child standing on a street corner, enthusiastically waving his flags at passing drivers in the town of summit, new jersey. i had to go back and take his picture. he simply said that he was celebrating memorial day. i love how non precious and quirky this costume is. three eyeholes? does he know he is channeling sponge bob? sightings like this make me happy.
happy memorial day everyone!
in this week's time magazine. i recently started photographing sleep portraits of children other than my own. after working on these images as a personal project for so many years, it's nice to see the sleep portraits out there in the world.