The temperatures here in NYC were much warmer than usual last week. On Tuesday, there was a record high as the temperature reached 83F (28C) in Central Park. Then, almost overnight, the thermometer sank to 45F (7C) as a cold front moved in. Autumn is finally here now.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
While wandering through Soho on Monday afternoon, I came across a park I hadn't even known existed. The Elizabeth Street Garden is a community space filled with unusual sculpture and offers visitors a rare open area downtown where they can enjoy the sunshine. It goes without saying that there's pressure from real estate interests to remove the garden and build over the site. There's more information on this on the Garden's website.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
I've been taking advantage of the Nikon Df's extended ISO range to explore shooting street photography at night here in NYC. For the most part, I've gotten best results when converting these shots to black & white using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, but there are a number that I feel work best when left in color. It's largely a matter of taste, but when a photograph contains bright colors in illuminated scenes, I think it's best to take advantage of them.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keefe is an excellent example of what an exhibit catalog should be. Published as an accompaniment to the Met Museum exhibit held from October 2011 to January 2012, the catalog edited by Lisa Mintz Messinger painstakingly details the works included in the Alfred Stieglitz Collection that was bequeathed to the Met Museum by Georgia O'Keefe over a period of years following the photographer's death in 1946.
Stieglitz is remembered today primarily as perhaps the greatest photographer ever to have lived. His photographs, as seen in the "key set" at the National Gallery of Art, display a mastery of the medium that has never been equaled. But there is another side to his character that is arguably of even greater importance. In his quest to have photography fully recognized as an art form, Stieglitz managed a succession of galleries, beginning with 291, that displayed not only photography but also the most important modern art of the period. Long before the 1913 Armory Show, Stieglitz had already introduced to America some of most influential European and American artists. These included the first showing of Rodin's late pencil and watercolor figure drawings (1908), the first exhibition of Matisse's work ever held in the United States (1908), the first U.S. one-person exhibition of Cézanne (1911) and first U.S. one-person exhibition of Picasso (1911). Though the primary mover behind these exhibits was Steichen, who was located in Europe at the time, Stieglitz deserves every credit for recognizing the importance of these artists and purchasing their work for his own collection.
The catalog is exhaustive in detailing not only the careers of the artists who were collected by Stieglitz but also their dealings with the mercurial photographer. In so doing, it gives insight into Stieglitz' temperment if only by showing which works he wished to acquire for himself. The catalog and exhibit also offer a rare opportunity to see the work of a number of artists, once considered important, who have now fallen into relative obscurity. Of course, it also presents seminal works by America's most important artists. These include O'Keefe's Black Iris, Arthur Dove's Shore Road and Charles Demuth's Figure 5 in Gold. Most welcome are the technical notes detailing the materials used by the artists as well as their work methods.
Also refreshing in a catalog of this type is the candor with which Messinger describes Stieglitz' rocky relationship with the Met Museum itself. He once wrote of it as follows:
"I know that I need bigger, truer, things than are housed there, in an atmosphere which repels me. An atmosphere breathing of a cemetery dedicated to the dead rich."