Sunday Salon index

Cecil Beaton -- July 13, 2008

Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton was born in Hampstead, London, on January 14, 1904. His father was a very prosperous timber merchant, his mother was the daughter of a blacksmith. Like so many children of that era born into nouveau riche families, Beaton found it hard to reconcile himself with the reality that he came […]

Berenice Abbott -- January 31, 2010

Berenice Abbott was one of the very few people whose work significantly influenced the course of contemporary photography. That in itself makes her worthy of study. But she did more than that. She influenced the course of photography twice. She did it first by insuring the legacy of one of the world’s great documentary photographers; […]

David S. Allee -- November 26, 2006

“I believe in the future transmutation of those two seemingly contradictory states, dream and reality, into a sort of absolute reality, of surreality, so to speak.” Andre Breton, Manifesto of Surrealism, 1924. The tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where […]

Lili Almog -- March 11, 2007

I have to admit, I was first attracted to Lili Almog by her name. It’s just immense fun to say out loud. People who are much more aware of the photographic art world, though, have been drawn in by her images of women in their private spaces. Almog has created three major studies concentrating on […]

Chris Anthony -- February 3, 2008

Some photographers want to document reality. Some want to create images that exist only in their minds. Chris Anthony, it seems, wants to invent new realities. He wants to craft internally consistent environments and populate them with characters who seem perfectly adapted to those environments. The realities Anthony creates may not be altogether welcoming or […]

Diane Arbus -- October 1, 2009

Here are some simple facts. Diane Nemerov was born in 1923 to a wealthy family in New York City. Her father was the vice president and fashion director of Russeks—one of New York’s most popular furrier shops which later became a department store specializing in women’s clothing. Her grandfather was Russek himself. As a child […]

Eugène Atget -- June 8, 2008

By most objective standards, Eugène Atget would be judged a failure during his lifetime. He tried a number of professions and earnestly worked away at them, but at best he only managed to find a way to sustain himself and his longtime companion, Valentine Delafosse. Atget’s real success wouldn’t come until four decades after his […]

Roger Ballen -- December 2, 2007

There’s a branch of social psychology that concentrates on the study of various modes of conflict. One of those modes is called the ‘approach-avoidance’ conflict. It occurs when you’re simultaneously drawn to and repelled by a thing. For example, a person might be drawn to have a few glasses of wine at a party because […]

Lewis Baltz -- January 4, 2009

The aesthetic of landscape photography in the U.S. was shaped primarily in the West. This is the landscape of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston; it’s a landscape of open expanses, a primitive and pristine landscape, untamed and unspoiled. The land they photographed was unpopulated; there may be houses in these photographs, but no people. It […]

Cara Barer -- April 16, 2007

I’m not easily shocked and I’m rarely given to righteous indignation. Sculpt the naked form of Jesus out of milk chocolate and hang it in a department store window…I won’t blink an eye. Use cadavers and body parts as props for macabre photographs…I may not enjoy it, but I’m not outraged. Take pictures of circus […]

Richard Barnes -- October 14, 2007

Architectural photography can be elegant, it can be an exercise in grace and fluidity, it can be dramatic…but it’s rarely considered to be exciting. It’s very precise and deliberate, as much craft as art. The purpose of architectural photography is to convey to a viewer the pure experience of being in and around a built […]

Tina Barney -- July 18, 2009

Tina Barney has been lurking around the edge of my consciousness for a couple of years. I was aware of her work in the vaguest sort of way; I knew she was a woman from the privileged classes who shot large format portraits of other people from the privileged classes. As a product of the […]

Uta Barth -- July 29, 2007

We are accustomed to seeing…and shooting…photographs OF something. Some person, some object, some thing. In fact, for most of us the subject of the photograph is the reason for the photograph. We shoot photographs OF a tree, OF a friend, OF a kitten or sunset or flower. Not so for Uta Barth. Barth’s photography isn’t […]

Lillian Bassman -- September 9, 2012

It’s Fashion Week in New York City. Twice a year in the major fashion capitals of the world (New York, Paris, London and Milan) designers preview the release of their new designs. Trends are set (or fail), reputations are made (or lost), and millions of dollars are spent. In the autumn, designs for the coming […]

Juliana Beasley -- March 22, 2009

Let me start with a confession. When I first came across Juliana Beasley’s work, I wasn’t very impressed. The photographs I first encountered were from her first book, Lapdancer, which is usually described as a gritty photographic journey into the underbelly of strip clubs. My response was always the same: please, spare me another gritty […]

Olaf Otto Becker -- February 24, 2008

I’m not an aficionado of landscape photography. I suppose that’s not entirely true. I like to look at landscape photography. I find it visually appealing, but for me the appeal rarely expands beyond the eye. Part of that, I suspect, is because modern visual media have made us familiar with every part of the world. […]

Eva Besnyö -- March 10, 2013

There was a generation of Hungarian photographers – all born around the beginning of the 20th century – who left Hungary at a young age and scattered their talent all over western Europe. Among them were André Kertész, Gyula Halász (better known as Brassaï), László Moholy-Nagy, André Friedmann (better known as Robert Capa), Martin Munkácsi, […]

Richard Billingham -- May 31, 2009

He wanted to be a painter. How many times have I written that about a photographer? Richard Billingham wanted to be a painter—an unlikely future for a poor boy growing up in a grimy council flat in an anonymous tower complex in a bleak neighborhood of the deeply polluted town of Cradley Heath in the […]

Julie Blackmon -- August 27, 2006

Domestic Vacations—the very title of photographer Julie Blackmon’s most recent series offers us a whimsical contradiction. The photographs in the series are equally whimsical and equally contradictory. In a way, these images are classic interior photographs; still, composed, quiet. In a way, these images are classic child portraits. And in a way, these images are […]

Phil Borges -- April 13, 2008

Phil Borges was your basic yuppie. A successful orthodontist, socially conscious, politically liberal, he traveled widely to remote areas of the world for pleasure and toted along an expensive camera to record his travels. Like a lot of enthusiastic hobbyists, Borges started taking some photography classes at his local community college. He didn’t have a […]