Happy Pride!

New Orleans 2003


Best Email Ever!

Dear Richard,
A couple of weeks ago I have seen your photographs 'Touching Strangers' first time somewhere in the cultural part of a german newspapers homepage.
Since then I had to think about them very often. Here my results, which of course you know already by yourself, because you are the photographer:

- This series gives me an understanding what photography is for. They cannot be done with video or painting because the message is static and needs real life for its expression.
- It combines banality and utopia. The large distance between these two contradictions contains a lot of beauty.
- Normally, the function of art is to ask questions without giving answers, but your artwork seems to make a constructive proposal.

Yours sincerely,

Touching Strangers ©2011   Jenelle and Fabrice


Moveable Feast

If you haven't had a chance to see the Moveable Feast: Fresh Produce and the NYC Green Cart Program exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York you should check it out. It's a really nice show of work by five photographers commissioned by Aperture to photograph the NYC Department of Health program that provides underserved communities with access to fresh fruits and vegetables via hundreds of independently owned, mobile produce stands known as Green Carts. The exhibition also includes a nice selection of historical photographs of street vendors in New York City form the 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibition features new photographs by LaToya Ruby Frazier, Thomas Holton, Gabriele Stabile, Will Steacy, and Charles Lane Press' very own Shen Wei. Shen did a beautiful job translating this photographic challenge into something really really beautiful. If you have not seen his stunning new book Chinese Sentiment, order your copy now - they are going fast.

©Shen Wei



A sneak peak from a new project I began last summer.


Patriarchy and the photo not made.

This past weekend I happened upon a parade in Greenwich village called the Festival of the Chariots, one of India’s most ancient and popular festivals. It was cacophony of color and sound and I knew it would be a great location to work on making some new Touching Strangers. I rushed home and then back to Washington Square Park with my 8 x 10 camera. One of my main objectives was to cast a young Indian girl dressed in a sari ( to me they often appear as visions of loveliness) into a Touching Strangers photograph. As I have said previously on this blog these photographs are really challenging to make and trying to procure an Indian teenage girl, most likely raised in a traditional conservative culture to make a portrait touching another person proved even more challenging than you can imagine. After one awkward attempt where a girl backed out at the last moment and four more rejections, I finally found a group of girls accompanied by their mother who consented to my request. I now had one half of my photograph and went in search of the other. I quickly found two men that were tourists from Sweden, both handsome, blond and fair, and somewhere in their late twenties, who were up for the task. At this moment I start to work quickly, posing my subjects, framing the shot, and finding my focus. Behind the ground glass the scene I had created was of two beautiful girls with gorgeous hair and skin wearing vibrant purple and blue dresses standing in front of two handsome chaps with there arms folded around the girls, all in front of a large tent made of textured black tarp. I felt that feeling of magic that occasionally happens when making these images, that this performance was special and unique for all of us. At the very moment that I was ready to close the shutter a man that had been standing on the periphery burst into the scene and grabbed the girls out of the frame. I was devastated - it was over. Apparently this man was a part of the group that these girls came to the festival with and though he was not a relative felt that he had the authority to overrule the consent of the mother. This is patriarchy at its core. The distance between the behavior of that man and the horrible injustices inflicted by men on woman the world over is not very far at all...

Read about the experience from the mothers perspective here.

Here is the mother's digital shot of my sabotaged image.
©Dhanny Palma 2011


Regular Readers of my blog probably know I am a big fan of both BBQ and Southern/Soul Food. This weekend some of the best Pitmasters converge on New York City for the annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in Madison Square Park. Seth & I sampled some seriously delicious pulled pork and bbq ribs from pitmasters representing both Mississippi and Southern Illinois. If you are reading this today and love BBQ you might want to make a little detour...
On our recent drive down to Florida we made it a point to sample regional southern food. The highlight was the Lima Bean stew at Ernie's in Charleston, SC. It was one of the most smoky and flavorful stews I have ever had. The proprietors were incredibly welcoming and as sweet as the sweet tea accompanying our stew.
Not to be missed if you are in Fort Lauderdale is Tom Jenkins BBQ. The line wraps around and outside the door at this place and I found their bbq well worth the hype and the wait.


Tom Jenkins BBQ


Leviathan by Anish Kapoor

At the Grand Palais in Paris.
P.S. This was strictly a virtual visit to France.

images © designboom


I'm ready for some. You?


Illuminance - Photographs by Rinko Kawauchi

If you haven't seen the work of Rinko Kawauchi - check out her show at The Gallery at Hermès. Her work is really pretty and very seductive. Kawauchi uses a palette of soft pastels and illuminating light to create her lovely photographs. The new book of the same title by Aperture is really spectacular. Not only the photographs but the thoughtful pairings and sequencing as well as being beautifully printed make this book a must have.

Photographs by Rinko Kawauchi
The Gallery at Hermès
691 Madison Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, New York
(212) 751-3181
Friday, May 20, 2011–Saturday, July 16, 2011

Li Songsong

The best show of paintings I have seen in a while is by Li Songsong at The Pace Gallery here in NY. The paint bursting off of the canvas and the gradated panels of color all contribute to this unique and beautiful work. It's up through August 5 - catch it if you can!