I look at this photograph and have to ask myself, why? Why do I find that a random group of passersby with dull, lifeless expressions in a rather ordinary, mundane environment, a sidewalk, is somehow, strangely captivating if not compelling? I have no idea why!
Philip-Lorca diCorcia does this and other equally disconcerting shots. I get the feeling of being off-balance, unsettled, uncertain. I'm not sure what I'm seeing. Are his images real life documents or theatrical stagings? Snap shots or cinema clips? There is a filmic quality to them yet a static quality, as well. Something frozen in time, whether it be the pedestrians on the sidewalk, the wealthy women and boy at the dinner table, the women adorned with chandeliers ... whether it be the banal or highly decorated. Is it real or is it fiction? One thing is for certain, his lighting and technique is key to making the inconsequential seem important.
Above, an example of diCorcia's fashion advertising work.
To see Philip-Lorca diCorcia's work in the Museum of Modern Art's collection, click here (MOMA). Here is a bio and slideshow and another bio that also references a court case of interest. And, here is an interview with diCorcia about his series called, "The Hustlers" which resulted in a book featuring male prostitutes in Los Angeles, California. The portraits of the men were then published with their name, age, place they were from, and the dollar amount they were paid to model which was a payment equivalent to the payment they would have received otherwise for their services.
I was looking up something on Kazakhstan and came across these beautiful photographs. The photographs were taken between 1911 and 1914, and they are the work of Sergei Ivanovich Borisov (1867-1931), a Russian photographer. More than 1000 of his images from his trek across the mountain areas of Altai were used as postcards for the Russian Empire. They appear to be black & white photographs that were then hand-coloured, but I have not been able to confirm that. Meanwhile, Sergei Prokudin-Gorski, another Russian photographer from that same period, had a few patents for his colour technique. [Source] So, indeed colour images were being produced at this time, but, these shots by Borisov still look to me to be hand-coloured b&ws. Whatever they are, I hope you enjoy them!
My son sent me a link to Pavel Kosenko's blog which showcases 4 x 5 Kodachrome photographs from World War II. I am posting some of the images by Alfred T. Palmer, several of which were shot for the Office of War Information. For me, these photographs feel like glamor shots - for some reason, they make me think of George Hurrell's Hollywood portraits! Maybe I am just responding to the time period and how that may have influenced this style of shooting. I am also posting a shot from this same time frame by Howard R. Hollem that shows not just the vivid colour of Kodachrome, but the exceptional detail it rendered - check out the fuzz on the woman's pink sweater. I encourage you to check out Pavel's blog to see more of these beautiful, vintage photographs replete with captions. Enjoy!