Happy New Year!

see the series here...


I came across

this impressive photograph while researching 19th century photographs in the Online Archive of California.

1918 Man and Child with weapon standing in front of barn wall covered with animal pelts. Photographer unknown.



I've always thought that Gregory Crewdsons' fictions were rooted not only in cinema but that they also borrowed and were inspired by historical photographs like the famous Sternfeld image below. I am more partial to the serendipitous.

A reader has commented about this post and linked to an article in the NY Times titled Joel Sternfeld Versus His Successors. It's a good read and can be found here.

Joel Sternfeld  Exhausted Renegade Elephant, Woodland, Washington 

Gregory Crewdson Untitled from the series Twilight 2001


Barbara Crane

Recently, I had the good fortune to catch a Barbara Crane exhibit at the Stephen Daiter Gallery while in Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday. Her recent monograph Private Views published by Aperture is one of my favorite books from last year so I was happy to have a chance to see the Polaroids up close and personal. What I didn't know was how much diversity and range there was in regards to the rest of her work. I came away liking Barbara Crane more than I already had. That's always a good feeling.

Private Views 1980 - 84

Private Views 1980 - 84

Fringe Benefit 1975

People of the North Portal 1970-1971

People of the North Portal 1970-1971

Human Form 1965-1966

all images ©Barbara Crane

2 from Hawaii

Jasper, Hanaleia, and Justin   20 Mile Beach, Molokai, Hawaii   2009

Baldwin Beach, Maui, Hawaii   2009



A Painting

I'm speechless


in case you missed it...

In the Science Times a couple weeks ago there was a fascinating story and slide show about a little known culture in what is now Romania nearly 7000 years old that had a highly developed visual language. There is currently an exhibition of the artifacts titled "The Lost World of Old Europe," at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

Photos: Marius Amarie and Elena-Roxana Munteanu


World AIDS Day

Every December first since 1988 our culture and media highlight and reflect upon the global AIDS crisis. Today I'd also like to draw attention to a couple of powerful projects about AIDS. The first is a Magnum project called Access to Life - where eight photographers followed thirty people around the globe before - and four months after - they underwent antiretroviral therapy. The other is an audio AIDS diary from the Hearing Voices audio project. Both are extremely moving and important works of journalism. Coinciding with the day when President Obama will speak to Americans about the erroneous escalation of the war in Afghanistan - we might try instead to think about all the courageous people fighting to preserve life in the fight against AIDS...

© clockwise from top right; Paolo Pellegrin, Alex Majoli, Eli Reed, Steve McCurry

© Melikhaya Mpumela


Pandemonium in Paris

As reported in Lens Culture at the gala opening night preview of Paris Photo at Carrousel du Louvre thousands of anonymous vintage photos were dumped into a giant pile, scattered about, and thrown around while the protesters shouted "free, free, free!" The subversive act of giving away free and potentially precious photographs in the face of photo art market hullabaloo is a fantastic act. I totally commend their action and would love to see more such statements reminding people of the truth behind value.

Paris Photo 2009 Performance Fabien Breuvart

Fantastic Fantastic Mr. Fox

I just saw and was really impressed with the new Wes Anderson film Fantastic Mr. Fox. The story is adapted from a Roald Dahl novel and is certain to be an instant animated classic. The animation was extremely beautiful and totally original. The story delightful. The film is old school handmade live action. Way to go analog! I can't recommend it enough.


November's 19th Century Photograph

Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) Untitled (Lighthouse,), 1868



It gets going at 1'20"


Bruce Davidson

If you are in NY check out the Bruce Davidson show at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. It is one of the strongest shows I have seen this season with gorgeous dye transfer prints from Subway and stunning silver gelatin prints from East 100th Street among others.



I recently returned from a trip to Hawaii where I traveled to work on my project 49 & 50. This trip, I was working on the islands of Maui and Moloka'i. On our first night in Moloka'i I was at a restaurant talking with my partner Seth about the reported acceptance for the transgendered on Moloka'i that I had just been reading in my Hawaii travel book. Thinking this would be an interesting subject to capture we wondered how we might be able to tap into that culture. When only 5 minutes later in walks the most glamorous girl on the island - Kelsey. I asked the waitress if indeed that girl was transexual and she responded affirmatively. Moloka'i has a population of around 8000 so an actual gay or transgender community is pretty much non-existent - thus meeting Kelsey certainly was a stroke of good luck.


Evelyn Hofer 1922-2009

Evelyn Hofer was one of the great large format photographers of the twentieth century. She made both portraits as well as still lifes throughout her long career. Her work had not been widely celebrated until a monograph was released by Steidl in 2004. It's a beautiful book and I highly reccomend getting it. You can read her obituary here.


Woodstock Couple 1969

This summer to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock I was hired by the AARP to photograph the couple pictured in the iconic Burk Uzzle photograph. It was cool to have the degrees disappear between a historic photograph and myself but what I really took away from the experience was that Bobbi and Nick seemed to genuinely enjoy each. That was a comforting feeling.
You can read the article here.
©1969 Burk Uzzle

©2009 Richard Renaldi


Matt Eich

Check out the website of photographer Matt Eich.
He is a rising young talent and you will be impressed!
Matt Eich  from the series Carry Me Ohio


Happy Halloween!

all photos ©2008 Richard Renaldi

October's 19th Century Photograph

William Henry Jackson   Yellowstone Lake 1871

William Henry Jackson at work in Yellowstone


Announcing Charles Lane Press Editions

Dear Friends, Collectors, and Friends of Collectors,
I want to tell you about Charles Lane Press' newly-released limited editions. We have chosen two images featured in Fall River Boys.
Craig, a 10" x 13" photogravure on Somerset Watercolor paper and Cory, an 8" x 10" original contact print. These editions are truly limited as they are both in a very small edition size of 10.
Charles Lane Press is hard at work on our next book Outerland by Allison Davies. Through the sale of our editions we are planning for Charles Lane Press to expand and to produce many more thoughtfully edited and beautifully printed photo books.
Please consider contributing to the growth of our exciting new venture and becoming the proud owner of either or both of these gorgeous prints.
For further information please contact Seth Boyd at: sethboyd@charleslanepress.com or at (212)924-0206



George R Lawrence

Birdseye View of Indiana Steel Co.'s Plant, Gary, Ind. 1910

I recently discovered the photographs of George R Lawrence, probably an unfamiliar name to most but quite relevant in the annuals of photo history. Among his achievements; he perfected the use of flashlight photography, invented fascinating balloon and kite apparatuses for aerial photography, made great advances in panoramic photography, and built the worlds largest camera. There is an excellent article about him by Janice Petterchak from the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society here from which I have pulled many excerpts to accompany the following photographs. Mr. George R Lawrence was pretty damn fabulous.

Large banquet hall filled with people at tables, fountain in center. Geo. R. Lawrence Co.

Beginning about 1900, "Flashlight Lawrence" also designed and developed his own panoramic banquet camera, which was manufactured for him by the G. Cramer Dry Plate Company of St. Louis, Missouri. With earlier panoramic equipment, members of the group being photographed were positioned in an equidistant arc from the rotating camera. Lawrence's panoramic camera incorporated an equalized focal plane, which provided a proportional image of each individual in the group picture. He earned substantial fees traveling the country to photograph banquets, conventions, legislative sessions, and other such assemblies.

Lawrence's success with panoramic cameras led officials of the Chicago and Alton Railroad to request a single-plate photograph of its new Chicago-to-St. Louis passenger train, the "Alton Limited." To that time, according to a company writer, no railway train in the world had ever presented a design so uniform and symmetrical. No train of cars had ever before been built with windows of the same size, shape, and style from mail car to parlor car; the cars in no train heretofore had all been mounted on standard six-wheel trucks; no former effort had been made to have every car in the train precisely the same length and height; and no railway, except the Alton Road, had ever caused the tender of its locomotives to be constructed to rise to the exact height of the body of the cars following; the hood of its locomotives to the exact height of the roofs of the cars. This gave a fascinating beauty to the train-carrying out of the principal features with classic regularity-the absolute unity of detail from cow-catcher to observation platform. Indeed this was what created, and impelled, the idea to obtain a photograph of the "Limited" sufficiently large to readily impress the public with the train's unprecedented symmetry.

Lawrence, who had previously photographed some of the railroad line's standard passenger locomotives, "was called into conference" on this project. With existing cameras, he explained, he could make only a series of sectional views and piece them together. Company officials, however, "had built a faultless train of which they demanded a faultless photograph, insisting that in length the picture must not measure less than eight feet."

Accepting the challenge, Lawrence sought the assistance of local inventor J. A. Anderson. Within eight months they designed and built the "Big Camera," a massive contraption weighed 1,400 pounds and requiring fifteen operators. The bellows extended twenty feet on steel-track wheels. The lenses were reported as the largest ever ground for photographic work-the telescopic rectilinear lens being 11 feet equivalent focus. The 10'x6' plate-holder created 8'x4 1/2' pictures-three times the print size of existing panoramic cameras. Other features included light-proof curtains (resembling window shades), which protected the negative before and after exposure. The camera could be adjusted for either upright or horizontal views. The large photographic plate was created by the Cramer Dry Plate Company. "Owing to the dimensions required," wrote a reporter, "it was necessary to provide new apparatus. A great marble slab, larger than the plate, was the first requisite. Upon this the plate is resting while the coating is being applied. Large pieces of ice beneath the slab keep it at a temperature that will cool the emulsion rapidly as it is applied."14 New developing and printing methods were also worked out. The negative plates cost $1,800 per dozen.In a letter to the editor of Photographic Times, Lawrence's partner, Anderson, described "the largest camera in the world":

As a ground glass for focusing in this mammoth camera would be clumsy to handle and liable to breakage two frames were made to slide on the back of the camera, and celluloid strips made to fit in these frames, making a very light and satisfactory substitute for the usual ground glass.

With his camera transported on a special railroad flatcar, Lawrence made the Chicago and Alton photograph at Brighton Park, about six miles from downtown Chicago. "The day was clear but a high wind was blowing, notwithstanding which, after an exposure of two and one-half minutes, on a full Cramer Isochromatic Plate (this special plate being used to preserve the color value of the train), a perfect negative was secured. The picture of The Alton Limited ... was reproduced, without the slightest 'retouching' upon the part of the engraver, from a platinum print."

Three prints of Lawrence's huge Alton Limited picture were submitted for the Paris Exposition of 1900. One was placed in the railway section, another was hung in the photographic section, and the third was given a place of honor in the United States Government Building, "a liberality of exhibition privileges accorded to no other single exhibit in the entire Exhibition." At first the judges in a photography competition branded the image a "fake" and sent the French Consul General from New York to inspect the camera in Chicago. Convinced of its authenticity, Exposition officials awarded Lawrence their "Grand Prize of the World for Photographic Excellence."

San Francisco after the 190 earthquake.

This is a 160-degree panorama from a kite like apparatus Lawrence made and taken 2000 feet in the air above the San Francisco Bay that showed the entire city on a single 17-by-48-inch contact print made from a single piece of film. Each print sold for $125 and Lawrence made at least $15,000 in sales from this one photograph. The camera used in this photograph weighed 49 pounds and used a celluloid-film plate.

Gary's Fire Fighters, Gary, Indiana 1914

above excerpts from Photography genius: George R Lawrence & The hitherto impossible
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Summer 2002 by Janice Petterchak