The Tube started shuttling Londoners through its vast network of tunnels more than 150 years ago. Photographer Bob Mazzer has spent 40 of those years capturing the London Underground commuters, shining a spotlight on the evolving subcultures that have popped up over time. A former job as a movie theater projectionist found him traveling on the Tube late at night, surrounded by a cast of characters. Mazzer’s work was shown in a Greater London Council exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall in the 1980s, but he’s been sharing his photos on Facebook recently. See more of Mazzer’s funny, touching, and surreal portraits of strangers on the London metro, which we spotted on Kottke, in our gallery. … Read More
You can’t beat a good diner and a strong cup of coffee. In the city that never sleeps, they’re essential. New York City diners have become part of the pop culture fabric, featured in movies and television alike, and photographer Gregoire Alessandrini has captured several great Big Apple diners during the 1990s. “I’ll always miss the Moondance, which to me was a real part of SoHo and the West Broadway area of the ‘90s,” the artist related to us in an email. On Friends, the Moondance doubled as Monica Geller’s (Courteney Cox) place of work — the exterior shots, anyway. Alessandrini is also a fan of the abandoned Lost Diner, since the name reminds him of David Lynch’s Lost Highway (and who can forget the diner scene in the director’s Mulholland Drive?). A number of the diners featured here have since been demolished or left to decay, but Alessandrini’s images capture them in all their greasy spoon glory. To purchase prints of these beauties, which we first spotted on Kottke, visit the artist’s website. … Read More
Life in New York City doesn’t slow down for anyone, but street photographer Matt Weber has a keen eye for those quiet, intimate moments shared between two people — the kind that feel like all time has stopped. Sometimes it’s a kiss before the subway doors close, and sometimes it’s a passionate embrace against the steel security gate of an abandoned shop. “Occasionally, it’s over the top. Young people tend to do that — spend half an hour groping,” the former taxi driver told Slate. “Maybe it’s not exhibitionism so much as being overwhelmed. The first time you fall in love as a teenager is a really powerful thing.” Weber captures lovers on the streets of New York — spontaneous moments of bliss in a city that has its share of difficulties. “There are so many miserable people. You see a lot of people not looking very content. With happy people, I try not to worry why they’re happy,” he explained. Weber’s life and work is featured in the documentary More Than the Rainbow, and you can purchase prints of his photos over here, but the artist was kind enough to share his images with us — which are featured in our gallery. … Read More
Although NYC-based English photographer Shane Gray’s photographs, which we recently spotted over at Booooooom, are shot in broad daylight and without special effects, there’s something magical, often almost surreal about the scenes he captures. ”Through the lens,” Gray writes, “I continue to witness our changing world amidst the enlightening, bland and random across the gamut of our existence with a continuing fascination fo the human predicament and different environs.” Sure, but he also has a knack for color and, it seems, a habit of being in the right place at the right time, which always helps. Click through to see a few of our favorite snaps from Gray’s New York photographs, and then be sure to head over to his website to check out a vast wealth of his work. … Read More
A street photographer since the mid-’60s, Chip Simone studied at the Rhode Island School of Design with Modernist-master Harry Callahan and shot classic black-and-white pictures for years before jumping on the digital train in 2000. Since turning to faster cameras and color imagery, Simone has built an impressive body of work, which he makes by walking and cycling through cities up and down the East Coast. Collected by major museums, as well as Elton John, who’s a connoisseur of the medium, Simone has an eye for the uncanny and a keen awareness of how photography can magically parallel painting and sculpture. With a decade of work currently on view at New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery and a recent monograph and museum survey under his belt, Simone is definitely one to watch — especially after so many years of pounding the streets. Click through a selection of our favorite images. … Read More
We’re big fans of street photography around here, which is why we’re excited that The National Gallery will be presenting a related exhibition featuring images from some of the genre’s biggest names. Walker Evans, Harry Callahan, and Bruce Davidson are just a few of the artists who will be featured in I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938–2010. The National Gallery was kind enough to preview some of the work featured in the show with us, which you’ll be able to see in person when the exhibit opens on April 22 (running through August 5). Past the break, we’ve shared several of Evans’ subway photos, which prove that the dour expression commuters often wear has been around since the 1930s. Callahan’s extreme close-ups of people out and about capture a curious sense of urban malaise, and Davidson’s cast of characters is highly entertaining. Click through for a closer look, and visit the National Gallery’s website for more information. … Read More
Ansel Adams was famous for his signature series of landscapes, spindling trees, ominous clouds and cliffs, but he also had bills to pay. He had clients. He had assignments. In the ’40s, Fortune Magazine sent him to document Los Angeles’ aviation industry. He shot workers at a steel plant, but also dawdled around LA a bit, snapping oil rigs and boulevards and friends at bowling tournaments, friends at bars, friends staring off at the Santa Monica coastline. He ultimately decided that “none of the pictures were very good,” and donated the photos to the Los Angeles Public Library. Are they? Ansel Adams Los Angeles exhibit goes on view at LA’s drkrm Gallery on February 18th, but you can take a look at the loot right here, in our gallery, and judge for yourself. From dusty Burbank to bustling Downtown LA… let’s go! … Read More
Long before it was figuring into the plotlines of popular shows like Gossip Girl or luring in fresh-faced transplants with false promises of spacious lofts filled with likeminded creative types, Brooklyn was synonymous with the idea of hip-hop style. In Jamel Shabazz’s Back in the Days: Remix, a recently-released expanded edition of the noted photographer’s 2001 book, he theatrically documents the fashion that dominated early days of the scene — from the door-knocker earrings and Cazal glasses to the short shorts and oversized boomboxes.
“He did with pictures what rappers did with words,” hip-hop historian Bill Adler has explained. “He made these folks visible the way rap made them audible. He took everyday people and turned them into icons. Nobody told him to do this. He just went out and struck gold.”
For Shabazz, however, the motivation behind the images was much simpler. “It started for fun, but progressed into making people feel good about themselves,” he told The New York Times. “I’d approach them and say ‘Excuse me, brother. My name is Jamel Shabazz and I’m a photographer. When I see you, I see greatness. I see the future.’” Click through to travel back in time with a selection of images from Shabazz’s fantastic collection, and visit his website for more information on the book and his other work. … Read More
Can snapping close-up photos of a subject’s head, hands, and feet reveal more about who they are than a traditional portrait? The idea might seem counterintuitive, but that’s what we’re pondering after looking at the work in Adde Adesokan’s ongoing street photography series, Triptychs of Strangers, which we spotted thanks to Photojojo!. When viewed on their own, each of the frames is chock full of details but lacking in context; taken as a whole, the composite result is pretty illuminating, boiling a person down to his or her most essential parts. Click through and let us know if you agree. … Read More
“Like one punch in the face after another,” says an LA Times writer of Shawn Nee’s work. Most people I know have had a similar introduction to “the discarted collection” — trolling through Flickr, when suddenly… wait. Wow. Is that Superman and Hulk smoking up in a parked car? Is this mangled-bearded man real? From opposing protestors caught facing off in the Hollywood streets to portraits in the tent cities of the homeless, photographer and photography rights activist Shawn Nee captures defining moments and defining characters, shooting strictly in film with a Canon EOS 3. There is absolutely nothing exploitative about his work.
“For me, taking pictures is not about chasing that one great image,” he says. “I’m more interested in the actual experience of spending time with someone I have never met before, seeing how they live their life.” It’s evident in the photos. It’s evident in his stories. He knows the LA River squatters and the ventriloquist buskers by name. They know him. Now you do, too. Check out a slide show of some his work in our gallery. … Read More