Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department policy.
McDonnell spoke for a follow-up story on a June 30 incident in which Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of a North Long Beach refinery.
“If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery,” says McDonnell, “it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.” McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.
McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer’s subject has “apparent esthetic value,” officers make such judgments “based on their overall training and experience” and will generally approach photographers not engaging in “regular tourist behavior.”
Wow. I have been run off by cops and security guards before, and even told that I was not allowed to take photos of the PPG buildings above eye level(!), but detainment? For taking pictures with no “apparent esthetic value”? That describes roughly 90% of every picture I’ve ever taken. In fact, the photo that got Wolff detained looks uncannily like it could be one of mine.
Remember, when they outlaw cameras, only outlaws will have cameras. Or something.
1 commentAugust 15th, 2011 at 08:01amPosted by Eli
An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.
That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.
It’s true that I haven’t shot anything on film for at least 15 years, but the end of the Kodachrome era still makes me sad. I still have fond memories of film photography from my younger days, from roughly age 12 (when my sister gave me her old Pentax Spotmatic) up through college (when I took a disastrous photo class with a professor whose aesthetic was the exact opposite of mine). And while digital is more convenient than film in so many ways (easier to process and retouch, ability to change ISO on the fly), it still can’t match it for quality and tonal range.
I have long believed that if The Darkness traveled back in time to the 1970s and brought their video for A Thing Called Love with them, they would have been worshiped as gods. But now Alex Varanese has done them one (or four) better, with these brilliant retro product concepts and no-we-totally-didn’t-travel-in-time-why-would-you-think-that-that’s-crazy-talk advertisements for iPods, laptops, cellphones and Gameboys… done 70s style. Awesome!
So I had this horrible right-wing e-mail forwarded to me, promoting the latest work of this horrible woman who appears to be the Ann Coulter of children’s books. At first I thought the illustration that accompanied it was merely godawful, but then I noticed that the Sarah Palin figure actually had a halo around her head (can’t be the sun; check out where her shadow is), which got me to thinking that there may be hidden depths here that only a trained art historian can plumb.
Thus I enlisted the aid of Noted Art History Scholar, The Shadowy & Mysterious Codename V, to perform a more in-depth analysis of the iconography of this… striking illustration, and hopefully explain why Governor Palin is carrying a bag full of penises:
My first impression on viewing this work is “OMG MY EYES, MY POOR EYES.” But I realize this is not helpful from an art historical perspective.
The predominant figure is a woman who appears to suffer from some sort of gigantism of the head and neck. Whether or not this is a human figure is debatable. She carries a bag which appears to be full of severed male genitalia (it is not academically appropriate to say weenises, so I won’t), although closer inspection suggests they are likely tubes of lipstick. She apparently has small laser beams coming from one of her eyes. A halo surrounds her abnormally large head.
A disheveled rat stands nearby, pointing at her in an accusatory manner. Two small derelict children stare one, one in horror, the other joyfully.
What does this all mean? I shall now apply the vast knowledge of iconography that I learned over the weekend whilst writing a paper about the Northern Renaissance. I am pretty sure this work here isn’t Dutch. That’s unfortunate, as I mostly know Dutch symbolism. Also you can rest assured that I am COMPLETELY PROFESSIONAL and would NEVER MAKE THINGS UP. Let’s proceed.
The woman’s stance suggests that she is probably kind of bitchy. I would be bitchy too, if 90% of my body mass was in my head and neck. Her bag of lipstick-manparts symbolizes her sadness at not having one herself. The halo represents the fact that someone is a little too fond of the airbrush tool in Microsoft Paint. The small laser beams are in fact a 15th century Flemish symbol for Tron, which makes complete sense in the context of this work as a whole.
The angry rat symbolizes the bubonic plague. He’s pointing at her, so we can safely assume that she is a carrier. Or possibly she has his rat-manparts in her bag of doom.
The two children are a bit of a mystery. They are stylish enough to wear high top Converse All-Stars, but bizarrely choose trousers that seem to be held up magically by one giant button. They look slow. And that’s being generous. One is happy, one is… not. Therefore I conclude that they symbolize the classic Greek concepts of comedy and tragedy, as this entire work of “art” is both comic and tragic.
Despite obvious stylistic similarities to works from the Italian Renaissance (see below) I can only conclude that this is an example of Early 21st Century Crap.
This is actually really cool and, I think, really real:
Fourteen years ago, Alex Queral was out looking for wood for a new sculpture, when he suddenly noticed all of the out-of-date phone books being thrown out. It dawned on him that these books could be put to better use, so he collected some and took them home to practice carving.
Queral has since made a reputation for himself for the uncanny portraits of celebrities he is able to find in the pages!
So how does he do it? He sketches the person’s face on a piece of paper and lays it over the phonebook. Using a razor blade, he then begins to carve away at the thousands of pages to create the 3-D portrait! Queral is now able to do about two per month.
Queral has had three solo shows to display the phonebooks, as well as a recent joint Obama display for his new portrait:
Wow. Now that there is an artistic medium that never ever would have occurred to me.
Today’s NYT Science Times has a fascinating profile of Victor Deak, who uses facial reconstruction techniques to turn hominid skulls into faces. But not just any faces – no matter how primitive (or in some cases outright bizarre), Deak somehow manages to give our long-dead ancestors and cousins dignity, serenity, curiosity, intelligence and, yes, humanity.
Well, except for the neanderthal, who just looks confused and dismayed.
Be sure to check out Deak’s physical and virtual reconstructions at his own website. It’s absolutely mesmerizing.
I suppose it’s not that shocking that jello could be used as an artistic medium, but I never imagined it could be taken quite this far:
SAM BOMPAS and Harry Parr have built painstakingly correct models of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and Millennium Bridge, and a Madrid airport terminal complete with tiny airplanes.
Shimmering, brightly colored gelatin is the chosen medium of Mr. Bompas and Mr. Parr, two young products of Eton and University College, London, who have quickly become England’s leading jelly artists, or as they call themselves, jelly mongers.
Mr. Bompas, 25, said: “We’ll do pretty much anything. We’ve made an entire jellied Christmas dinner, hundreds of layers, each a different course, for television as the ultimate Christmas jelly.”
For Hawksmoor restaurant in London, they created a ziggurat inspired by the steeple of an 18th-century church.
They make their own molds, designing them on a computer in the workshops of University College that translates them into three-dimensional models and transfers the specifications to a machine that makes plaster casts of the molds, called plugs. Once the plug is made, thin, malleable high-impact polystyrene plastic is applied to it in a vacuum to form the individual molds.
Although they work in a traditional medium, some of their projects verge on the avant-garde. In collaboration with a chemistry professor at University College, they used food-safe quinine to make jelly that emits a bluish glow under black light. Other experiments are in the works, including growing crystals inside the jelly.
Besides chemistry, they have had to learn engineering and also cooking. At the end of the day, or rather at the end of the meal, a jelly has to be tasty.
Doctors and researchers regularly rely on CT scanners to create images of body parts like brains, chests and knees. But an artist-turned-medical-student in Manhattan is using one such machine to peer into the meat and guts of cultural icons like the Big Mac, the Barbie and the iPhone, creating whimsical and occasionally creepy images.
Satre Stuelke, 44, said his aim was to penetrate the metal, plastic or organic interiors of pop objects and foods, asking people to “think about how things are constructed.”
By way of the NY Daily News, I learned of photographer Ian Ference, whose specialty is taking pictures of abandoned buildings. This is exactly what I would do if I had the time and werewithal to get to lots of abandoned buildings. I love architecture, and I love grunge and decay.
Rising out of the snow, this magnificent sculpture is the centrepiece of the Ice And Snow Festival, held annually in the northeastern city of Harbin, China.
Called Romantic Feelings, it is a staggering 115ft high and 656ft long – the largest snow sculpture ever created.
It was made by joining together 15ft square blocks of natural ice and snow, taken from the nearby Songhua River, which have been compressed to withstand blows from hatchets, saws and shovels.
600 sculptors from 40 countries have used 120,000 cubic feet of snow and ice to create the Olympic themed landscape – a vista of Russian churches, French cathedrals, Chinese palaces and, of course, an ice Acropolis.
There is even a version of Stonehenge to celebrate the London Olympics in 2012.
At night they are dazzlingly lit by coloured lasers and lanterns, creating a multicoloured translucent display.
Just amazing. Unfortunately…
Harbin, which is in Heilongjiang Province on the edge of Siberia, is one of China’s coldest places and winter temperatures can drop to -35C, which you might think cold enough for preserving snow sculptures.
However, organisers are increasingly concerned about the effects of global warming on this year’s sculptures.
Many of them are melting rapidly in the midday sun and emergency repairs have already been carried out to stop them collapsing completely.
The festival traditionally runs from mid-December to early February, but it is feared that the rising temperatures – last winter it reached a record 6.6C – could see it significantly shortened.
Well, crap. Probably not the most pressing reason to fight global warming, but you can add it to the list.
French city of Nantes recently became host to extremely strange and fascinating sculptural display: “Les Machines de l’Ile Nantes”, designed by François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice. Claude Joannis has a few photographs that’ll give you some idea about how extraordinary cool this exhibition is (the first on my list of museums to visit, if possible!)
Photographer Lee Friedlander, quoted in an NYT story about his exhibit of photographs of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted:
We photographers don’t really make anything: we peck at the world and try to find something curious or wild or beautiful that might fit into what the medium of photography can hold.
This is about right for me. I have a hard time viewing photography as a creative endeavor in the same league as actual Art; I see it more as a scavenger hunt, trying to uncover the beauty hidden in the mundane (or not-so-mundane – but the mundane is usually what I have to work with).
And as Friedlander alludes to, oftimes scenes that are beautiful to the naked eye become dreary and boring when photographed. But, happily, the converse is also true.
YPRES, Belgium (AP) — The summer plowing season in Flanders Fields is a good time for Ivan Sinnaeve.
Known as ”Shrapnel Charlie,” he keeps alive memories of one of history’s bloodiest battles by melting down the World War I shells harvested by farmers and transforming them into toy soldiers which he calls ”soldiers of peace.”
The 54-year-old Belgian history buff has a huge following among war pilgrims visiting Flanders Fields, the battleground of 1914-1918.
Sinnaeve, a retired carpenter, is busier than usual this year, the 90th anniversary of the phase of fighting called the Battle of Passchendaele which saw some of the war’s worst trench warfare and its first use of mustard gas.
A half-million Britons, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and Germans were killed or wounded, fighting among villages and farms over five miles of muddy Belgian terrain. Drawn out over five months from June to October of 1917, Passchendaele became a symbol of senseless killing.
He was commissioned by local and Scottish organizers to make the six-inch tall Scottish Black Watch Regiment figurines from shells found in fields where the regiment fought.
He said he always asks the farmers where they found the metal they bring to him, ”so I know which regiments were involved.” He thinks some of the iron may be from the shells fired at the regiments he is now commemorating as ”soldiers of peace.”
Few battlefields in the world still yield so many bombs, guns and bones — 200 tons a year around Ypres….
”You never know what my husband brings home; you can bet it’s not a bunch of flowers,” farmer Charlotte Cardoen-Descamps says, chuckling as she shows a fresh crop of shells, gas shells, grenades, and an unexploded basketball-size aerial bomb her husband Dirk plowed up.
Farmers have to use extra care, because some shells still leak toxic gases. However explosions are rare because the farmers have become experienced at handling the iron harvest.
”We got 17 pieces this plowing season, but we can expect even more later this year,” said Cardoen-Descamps. The ammunition is neatly stacked around the farmyard ready to be collected by bomb disposal experts.
”The nasty shells for us are the gas shells of course, because we can’t identify those anymore,” she said. ”The color code which gave away the content has rusted away, so if we shake it gently and we hear something slushing around — well, be careful.”
In Sinnaeve’s cramped townhouse, the living room, dining room and kitchen are littered with model soldiers, molds and tiny paint cans.
He has been making his models for 14 years, and says he earns no profit, happy just to know that ”I have soldiers all over the world.”
He got his nickname, Shrapnel Charlie, from a Canadian visitor who couldn’t pronounce his surname.
He makes nearly 2,000 soldiers a year, German and Allied, and is almost halfway to his goal of 55,000 — the number of missing on the famed Menen Gate memorial in Ypres.
Piet Chielens, head of the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, said the region is ”like the laboratory of war.”
”It was all out war, for the first time in its most absurd form,” he said. ”There was no real reason for doing this and there was no real strategy.”
Hopefully the iron harvest in Iraq won’t be as fruitful 90 years from now.
At first glance the two pictures seem to be gorgeous anachronisms, full-color blasts from the black-and-white world of 1908, the year Ford introduced the Model T and Theodore Roosevelt was nearing the end of his second term.
But they are genuine products of their time, rare ones, among the few surviving masterpieces from the earliest days of color photography, made using a process developed by the Lumière brothers in France and imported to the United States by the photographer Edward Steichen a century ago this year. They were taken by Steichen, probably in Buffalo, and are thought to be portraits of Charlotte Spaulding, a friend and student who became his luminous subject for the portraits, which resemble pointillist miniatures on glass.
Eastman House has a substantial collection of Steichen works, including 22 of the same kind of color photographs, known as autochromes. But when Anthony Bannon, the museum’s director, received a call last summer from a Buffalo lawyer, who said his client, Charlotte Albright, a 96-year-old painter, wanted to donate three examples of what were probably antique glass-plate negatives, Mr. Bannon assumed they were the works of her mother, Charlotte Spaulding.
Mr. Bannon said that because the photographs had sat for so long out of the light, their colors remained particularly vivid. “They’re in just as perfect a shape as you could expect from something from almost a century ago,” he said.
Autochromes are positive images, meaning they are unique and not negatives that can be used to create prints. They were made using a complex process in which tiny dyed grains of potato starch were spread across a piece of glass and light was passed through them to a photo-sensitive plate.
The three colors of the starch grains — bright blue-violet, bright orange-red and Kelly green — worked together to produce a wide range of realistic-looking colors, in the same way that combinations of red, blue and green dots produce a color-television picture.
“If you did it right, you had the basic colors you were looking at when you took the picture,” said Mark Osterman, the photographic-process historian at Eastman House.
Interesting op-ed piece in today’s NYT by presidential biographer Edmund Morris, wherein he argues that art and the creative process are becoming sterile and impersonal because artists and art are becoming increasingly “hands-off.”
He waxes poetic about the violent physicality of Beethoven and Bernard Dufour’s creative process and the way they literally attack the paper or canvas, as compared to “video recording, performance art and installations farmed out to contractors….”
I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this as a photographer who can’t draw a straight line to save his life. And not just any kind of photographer, but a digital photographer, so my idea of photo “processing” no longer involves chemicals or film or timers or darkrooms. My only interaction with the physical (apart from the actual picture-taking) is when I print the photos out, which is still a far cry from the film-based print-making experience.
To me, this is simply a time and expense saver. There may be some value added by using film, as some of my old-school photog friends insist, but they have always couched their arguments in terms of the quality of the media itself, never in terms of the process of spending hours in the darkroom, personally developing their own negatives and prints and coming out smelling like chemicals.
On the other hand, my girlfriend is a genuine drawing-things-on-paper kind of artist who would never dream of creating her art electronically. Scanning the finished product for display on the web, sure, but to my knowledge she’s never used an electronic app for anything artistic beyong doodling or graphic design. Is it quick or convenient? No. But it’s the only way she can achieve the quality she requires. Digital is simply not an option for her, and I believe it is likewise not an option for a large number of artists who create images from scratch.
As I ponder the validity of Morris’s two basic premises, that A) “Physical” art is dying out, and B) That this will suck all the life out of our cultural discourse, I find that my conclusion is that my disbelief in Premise A almost validates Premise B. I can’t imagine the demand for physical art ever drying up, because people in the market for art want something tangible, something created by the artist’s own hand. There’s a uniqueness and a prestige to that which electronic, infinitely reproducible and essentially virtual works of art can never equal. And this is why no-one will ever pay thousands of dollars for any of my photos.
I admit, I don’t really have a profound point or insight to make, but I’m intrigued by the questions that it stirs up, and the whiff of traditionalist snobbery evinced by Mr. Morris.
3 commentsOctober 16th, 2005 at 10:52pmPosted by Eli
Two Columbus Circle to be transformed into the world’s largest PC!
(Allied Works Architecture, Inc.)
As a regular New York Times reader, I have been casually following the sad saga of the “Lollipop Building” at Two Columbus Circle, which has been deemed an eyesore and is slated for a complete renovation. Maybe I just have an inordinate fondness for the bizarre, but I rather like the Lollipop Building just the way it is.
What’s not to love? If it’s the architectural equivalent of plaid, so much the better.
4 commentsOctober 4th, 2005 at 06:55pmPosted by Eli
I can’t believe I forgot all about Foundphotos – I only remembered it because Mike mentioned something similar at Pittsburgh Blogfest/Drinking Liberally last night.
Basically, this guy uses filesharing p2p software to download whatever image files he can find, and then posts the ones that are the most interesting. It sounds simple, but the results are hypnotic. Check it out!
2 commentsAugust 12th, 2005 at 09:48pmPosted by Eli