Category Archives: photography

Gordon Parks | PORTRAITS OF AN AMERICAN ICON

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This past Saturday saw the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival draw to a close. My wife, sister-in-law and I took advantage of the great weather and spent the day visiting the exhibits along Queen West.

From documentary street scenes in Vancouver to interesting, colourful houses in Newfoundland to portraits of flood victims around the world, Herero people from Namibia in ceremonial garb to images of a pre Olympic Sochi, this year’s CONTACT Festival was fantastic. One of my personal highlights was the last exhibit we saw. Gordon Parks, Portraits is a fantastic exhibit of an American icon on display at the BAND gallery on Lansdowne and Queen.

The mandate for BAND or Black Artists’ Network in Dialogue, is to support and showcase the work and contributions of Black Artists in Canada and abroad. The Gordon Parks exhibit which showcases 43 works by the legendary photographer is on loan from the Gordon Parks Foundation. 

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The power of Gordon Parks imagery is set against a backdrop of a changing world. The exhibit seems chronological as we move from images of poverty in the 40s, 50s and 60s to the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr. Parks also documents the rise of Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers. The exhibit ends in a little room where an informative documentary, Half Past Autumn: The Life and Work of Gordon Parks, is screened.

Long before the Civil Rights movement. Parks worked at both Vogue and Life Magazines. He documented some of the most important moments in American history made history himself, as a photographer, author, musician and the director of groundbreaking films like Leadbelly, Shaft and Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, a story that would later be retold in the Oscar winning Twelve Years a Slave. His camera was a weapon against injustice and he was a creative force who demanded equality through his undeniable talent and unbreakable spirit.

Do yourself a favor and check out this fantastic exhibit. It runs till August 3rd. The Gallery is at Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue (BAND), 1 Lansdowne Ave 2nd Fl M5K 2V7

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Still waters run deep | The mysterious genius of Vivian Maier

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She was a prolific street photographer whose incredibly arresting work has garnered critical acclaim and had it not been for a fateful day in 2007, Vivian Maier’s work would remain forever undiscovered.

When John Maloof, a historical hobbyist from Chicago bought a box filled with thousands of negatives at an auction, he could never have imagined the treasure trove he had just uncovered. As he started developing those negatives, Maloof discovered beautifully evocative pictures that painted the story of life in the 50s and 60s urban landscapes. Vivian Maier captured intimate moments with the people of Chicago and New York, where she lived and worked as a nanny. Despite her obvious talent, Maier inexplicably chose to keep her passion secret.

An amazing documentary film, Finding Vivian Maier, pieces together the remarkable story of this mysterious artist, who died at the age of 83, before Maloof could find her.

That rare case of a genuine undiscovered artist, she left behind a huge trove of pictures that rank her with the great American mid-century street photographers. The best pictures bring to life a fantastic swath of history that now needs to be rewritten to include her.” – Michael Mimmelman, New York Times

Be sure to visit the website, vivianmaier.com to discover more about Vivian Maier and view her amazing gallery of pictures. And definitely look out for the film. Shout outs to Ted Mirsky who posted about the film on Facebook and sent me down the rabbit hole. 

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YOU’VE GOTTA WATCH THIS | EVERYBODY STREET – A FILM BY CHERYL DUNN

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In her documentary, Everybody Street, New York filmmaker and photographer, Cheryl Dunn explores the lives and work of her idols, the legendary photographers who’ve captured the spirit of New York City in their iconic photographs. The funding for the doc was crowd-sourced through Kickstarter which has become quite a remarkable way of getting amazing projects like this done.

Here’s how the filmmaker describes the documentary: “The documentary pays tribute to the spirit of street photography through a cinematic exploration of New York City, and captures the visceral rush, singular perseverance and at times immediate danger customary to these artists”.

The stellar cast of this incredible documentary are the photographic legends Bruce Davidson, Elliott Erwitt, Jill Freedman, Bruce Gilden, Joel Meyerowitz, Rebecca Lepkoff, Mary Ellen Mark, Jeff Mermelstein, Clayton Patterson, Ricky Powell, Jamel Shabazz, Martha Cooper, Jeff Mermelstein, Boogie, Max Kozloff and Luc Sante.

Check out these amazing images and the trailer of a documentary that’s a must see. For more info visit http://everybodystreet.com/

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MEET THE SOWETO STYLE TRIO WHO SEE THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY

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Twin brothers, Justice and Innocent Mukeli, together with their best friend, Vuyo Mpantsha are the trio behind a fantastic blog called I See a Different You. Well calling it a blog is a little bit of an understatement. It’s more of a movement born out of a frustration with the way their native Soweto was being perceived in the media. The imagery that people associate with the township is mostly created by people from outside Soweto, is often negative and doesn’t truly capture the way the locals experience it.

Armed with a keen sense of style and digital cameras, the crew from I See a Different You explore the place they grew up in with warm, nostalgic images, a fresh perspective and more importantly through their own lens.

They’ve traveled to Tokyo, Senegal and Paris to expand their project and here’s what they had to say about it in an interview with online publication Dazed Digital:

 “I See A Different You started in Soweto and it’s changed people’s perceptions of Soweto. Where do we want to take it? We want to take it to the whole world,” says Vuyo. “We want to do I See A Different You China, I See A Different You Atlanta, Jamaica. Brazil too. We just want to take it to places we’ve never been to, places that most people in my country have never been. The problem with South Africans is that they don’t travel, so with this thing we want to change their perception of the world.”

Check out this video from their Soweto Ted x Talk, and be sure to visit their blog: http://iseeadifferentyou.tumblr.com/

All images from I See a Different You.

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