Please check out the excellent blog by Harriet Whelchel on (fabulous) photographer Ritva Katvan currently on the Professional Women Photographers’ website. Our first guest blogger! A pleasure to publish it.
Katvan has photographed backstage Broadway for many years, capturing stars like Alan Cumming, Angela Lansbury and Elizabeth Taylor in unguarded moments as they rehearse and prepare to step on the stage. These images reveal their artistry and determination, as well as the photographer’s. Have a look.
95 Lives, A Chronicle Of Concrete, catherine kirkpatrick, catherinekirkpatrick.org, Iraq in the USA, Photospire.org, Professional Women Photographers, PWP, Tanya Sleiman, women in photography, Women's History Month
Tanya Sleiman is a documentary filmmaker with an MFA from Stanford University. She currently teaches at Diablo Valley College in California, and recently taught with NYU Tisch School of the Arts in Cuba as the 2011 on-site Program Director for documentary production.
Sleiman’s 2008 visual essay, A Chronicle Of Concrete, was screened in international festivals and broadcast on PBS. She also produced Iraq in the USA, a vibrant collective portrait of Iraqi refugees in America. In 2008, Sleiman began examining Helen Levitt’s legacy, sharing a short film project at the Cantor Arts Center for In a New York Minute: Photographs by Helen Levitt (April, 2011). She is currently at work on a longer film about the photographer called 95 Lives.
While Sleiman calls herself an “ordinary person,” it is clear she is anything but. Here are some of her insights on Helen Levitt and changes in the field of photography since Levitt’s day.
PWP: How did you get interested in film?
Two sources were my fuel for film: Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive launched it and New York’s international and experimental scene sealed the deal. I was in my 30’s when I discovered it was for me. Earlier as an undergrad, I pursued social sciences at Berkeley, where there happened to be an amazing art house cinema space, The Pacific Film Archive. I didn’t know it was world-class then. I only knew it was another amazing resource on the campus. I went to the PFA whenever I could to watch art films as a “break” from my social theory studies. Watching a film was always a window to another world, another set of metaphors for life. I loved it. Yet in my years of undergrad studies, I never imagined I’d be someone who would make films. I thought I’d be a diplomat or a policy maker or educator or social justice crusader. Something responsible, something that made a difference. To me, film and photography were hobbies, not professions. I didn’t take a single art history class. I took painting–for fun. Art was on the level of dance for me. Something you do to unwind and explore, not something you make to change the world. After undergrad, I moved to Damascus, Syria, to study Arabic literature and language. There, I continued to watch international cinema, with films from the Arab Middle East as well as any cinema that came to town through the cultural centers of India, Spain, and France. Still, I didn’t think I’d make or study film.
Beth E. Wilson, Bob D'Alesssandro, catherine kirkpatrick, catherinekirkpatrick.org, Darleen Rubin, Floating Foundation of Photography, Jone Miller, Maggie Sherwood, Neal Slavin, New York in the 70s, photography, Photospire.org, Professional Women Photographers, Steve Schoen, Taking a Different Tack: Maggie Sherwood and the Floating Foundation of Photography, women in photography, women photographers
Today photography is a major force in the art world. Prints sell for thousands of dollars, and photographers like Cindy Sherman and Annie Leibovitz are global names. But there was a time, not too long ago, when things were different. In the 1960s and 70s, very few galleries featured photography. Print prices were low, and opportunities for photographers were extremely limited.
In 1969, a dynamo named Maggie Sherwood bought an old houseboat in Ocean City, Maryland, and created the Floating Foundation of Photography. Moored along Manhattan’s West Side and at various points along the Hudson, the little purple boat became a school, gallery, and gathering place for many photographers of the day. Sherwood taught classes at Sing Sing Prison (along with luminaries like Lisette Model and Eva Rubinstein), and organized al fresco shows on the New York City piers and in Central Park. (Continue Reading on the Professional Women Photographers’ Website)
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Gigi Stoll began photography while working as a fashion model, using a Polaroid camera to snap pictures of friends. After covering the Leu Family Iron at a tattoo convention in Amsterdam, her images were featured in a gallery on New York’s Upper East Side, and a new career was off and running. Stoll’s work has been featured in British Vogue, French Vogue, Japanese Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Vanity Fair, W Magazine, GQ Japan, Instyle, Visionaire, V Magazine, VMan. She has also worked for Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. to document their corporate social responsibility projects, and for 100cameras.org, in which Leica Cameras sponsored her trip to India and the Russ Foundation. These missions have taken her all over the world, allowing her to experience many different cultures and ways of life. (All the images in this article are ©Gigi Stoll)
PWP: You speak with great emotion about your humanitarian work. Why it is so important to you?
GS: In 2008, I began documenting a pediatric medical mission. They do one mission a year and the doctors/staff volunteer their time. I learned that if one image can bring awareness and help change a child’s life, it is worth everything. After six medical missions, I am addicted. The doctors are the real artists, I just document their work. This led to other clients who saw my images published online and hired me for different humanitarian assignments. I love all the travel and adventure.
For some, it begins as a way to fill out a résumé. Like applying to college or for a job, serving a cause indicates that a person is well-rounded with ties to a world beyond them self. For others, standing up is linked to tough circumstances in their own lives, while others are so deeply affected by a something they see they feel compelled to act. In all cases, they don’t have to, and in most cases they don’t get material rewards.
Here are more pictures of the incredible performers of DRAGnet from last week. This post features Scott Dennis (aka Madam Vivian V). I truly believe that Madam Vivian V should be featured in Vogue Magazine. She is beautiful, talented and gracious–everything a supermodel and super performer should be.
Be sure to check out the article and pictures in The Bushwick Daily.
Legendary Bushwick photographer, Meryl Meisler, and I went to DRAGnet last week. It was great! The performers were spectacular, the costumes magnificent; it was an evening of living, breathing art.
We could not stop taking pictures. Here are some portraits of Alotta McGriddles, who was a judge of the competition, but also performed a sensational number as well.
Check out the article and pictures in The Bushwick Daily (yup, me and Meryl up to stuff).