Sid Kaplan: Scenes of the Unfolding City

Sid Kaplan: Scenes of the Unfolding City
He’s a Fifties’ boy from the Bronx, peppery, bantam, and tough–Jake La Motta with an SLR. His knowledge of New York and gelatin silver printing is vast. Not for nothing is he called the “last of a vanishing breed.” But Sid Kaplan is alive and well, thank you, busy documenting the changing face of his beloved town. He was born in the Bronx in 1938 and began photography at age ten. He grew up at a time when color film was coming in, but serious photography still meant black-and-white. And he was very serious from an early age, attending The School of Industrial Arts, hanging around Peerless Camera Store and the Police Athletic League to pick up information and tips. [continue reading...]

Some Mother’s Son: The War Photography of Josephine Herrick

Some Mother’s Son: The War Photography of Josephine Herrick
On December 6th, 1941, Pearl Harbor wasn’t a place on the mind of many Americans, if they knew about it at all. Located on the island of Oahu near Honolulu, it was home to thousands of servicemen and the U.S. Pacific fleet. Danger was thought to be elsewhere, in the war spreading across Europe. America, protected by sea and strong isolationist sentiment, wasn’t involved. That changed the next morning when hundreds of Japanese planes dropped from the sky just before eight. Swooping down on the naval base, they bombed, torpedoed, and strafed till twenty U.S. vessels and hundreds of aircraft were crippled or destroyed. When they departed two hours later, the harbor was black with smoke, the water strewn with [continue reading...]

Talking Covers: A Visit With Albert Tang

Talking Covers: A Visit With Albert Tang
In college, I had a dirty little secret. When shopping for required poetry and lit, I ignored recommended editions in favor of those with the most pleasing cover art. It didn’t matter if there was a fancy essay, author bio, or notes. Art was everything, a key to the magic within. What was Milton without the blood red skies of the Penguin edition? Faulkner without the dilapidated storefronts and desolate fields of the Vintage series? Cheesy now, these images drew me into the text as no dull academic cover ever could. Maybe I shouldn’t have cared, but slightly ashamed, I did. In today’s crowded media market where books compete against film, television, and the Internet, cover art matters more than ever. [continue reading...]

The How-to Guide on Being a Woman as Told by Men, Retold by a Woman

The How-to Guide on Being a Woman as Told by Men, Retold by a Woman
The title of her thesis is complicated. At least till you look at the pictures then more becomes clear. Like the fact that Alexa Telano is very talented, imaginative, and witty. She recently completed her senior thesis BFA photography exhibition at the Pratt Photography Gallery. Called The How-to Guide on Being a Woman as Told by Men, Retold by a Woman, it addresses gender issues with a light and humorous touch. You enjoy looking at the work. It makes you think, but not in a hard, unpleasant way. It slips in through your funny bone. I have the Self-portrait House Wife card on my refrigerator, and don’t plan on taking it down anytime soon. It makes me smile. Here are [continue reading...]

Of Memory and Muses: Darleen & Rollerena

Of Memory and Muses: Darleen & Rollerena
Way before Cindy Sherman, from the dawn of photography, people have dressed up in front of the camera. Because the camera captures them not only as they are, but as they wish to be. Fashion and photography are a natural fit–what other medium could convey the infinite variety of human style, as well as the vision and aspiration behind it? Darleen Rubin met Rollerena in the 1970s when New York was on a downward splurge. Bankruptcy loomed, crime was high, entire neighborhoods had fallen into decay. Pundits thought the city was through, but people carried on, some even turning the gritty streets into a personal stage set. Though Rollerena was born in Gravelsnatch, Kentucky,* he immediately stood out in the [continue reading...]