Enchanting Beauty

On the face of it, Alfred Cheney Johnston was little more than a photographer who handled publicity shots for Flo Ziegfeld and his Ziegfeld girls in the Jazz Age. It was only after his death in a car crash in 1971 that more, shall we say, ‘artistic’ shots were revealed. Nude and semi-nude images, possibly …

Hyde Park On Hudson

Old people having sex is something few of us wish to contemplate. I’m sure this a thoroughly reprehensible attitude but the thought of a 60 year old man being given a hand job in a car is one that would keep many of us up at night, but not in a good way. Sadly that …

Cogito Argo Sum

  After the release of Gigli, it would have been very hard to imagine a universe where Ben Affleck becomes a director and gets nominated for an Oscar. Hell, after Pearl Harbor it was hard to imagine him having a career at all. Yet somehow the likeable Affleck has overcome adversity (if that’s not to …

Julius Shulman: Modernist Man

If someone asked me my ideal space to live, I would always settle for any of the mid century modern homes that Julius Shulman photographed. Case Study House no.22 would do. And then perhaps the Arthur Elrod house as my Palm Springs get away. It’s not really a love of sun or SoCal but a …

The Gathering Storm

Photographer Kevin Erskine grew up on a farm in Hoskins, Nebraska, a town with a population of just 284. About the most dramatic thing that happened to him was witnessing a tornado at the age of 12. This event seemed to have turned him into a storm chaser and has led by turn to his …

Who’s Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Last night I went to the Upper East Side and came away feeling thoroughly exhilarated. It wasn’t a visit to an upmarket French restaurants or sale of haute couture that did that to me but a simple lecture at the 92nd street Y Going to talks and readings at the Y is something that I’m …

Hurrah for Hurrell.

When you see modern images of stars you get the feeling that the photographers aim is to make them like us but a bit better. ‘See they like a laugh, they like to kick back, they’re just plain folks just like your pals’. Not so when you see an old glamour shot by George Edward …

Private Holden Caulfield

  On reading Kenneth Slawenski’s biography of JD Salinger I was struck by one thing. This guy Salinger, the guy we associate with sensitive young Holden Caulfield, was a military badass. He fought in the D-Day Landings and the Battle of the Bulge, as well as the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. This was the longest …

Heaven and Hells

Berlin based Anke Linz and Andreas Oettinger are a couple who have teamed up to become the photographic entity Billy und Hells. Working as a team obviously has its benefits because they have produced some intensely beautiful portraits that have really caught my eye over the past few years. Like all master practitioners’ they cite …

Animals and Superheroes

Agan Harahap is Indonesian and a photographer. Beyond that I know little about him. He’s done two series of images that have caught my eye in the last few years. The first features anthropomorphized animals placed in human situations including an ostrich in a supermarket, stags in a car, a dinosaur in the shower; all …