This is the first book review from guest contributor Elyse Weingarten, a freelance writer living in New York.
From Schilt Publishing, photographer Louisa Marie Summer's book, 'Jennifer's Family,' is an intimate offering, capturing the experiences of twenty-six year old Jennifer, a second-generation Puerto Rican, her partner, Tompy, and their four children, at their home in South Providence, an urban area rife with poverty, crime, and high levels of unemployment.
Summer spent over a year with the family, and the results are confounding; in photographs of highly concentrated colors, it is not so much the stark details of the family's life that come into view, but the domestic heroism of Jennifer and Tompy, with their hands-on parenting and ability to survive economically, while often supporting other family members and friends.
With a few exceptions, the photographs in 'Jennifer's Family' were taken in the family's apartment, and at times, there seems to be little variation in theme. In photo after photo, children run through the apartment's cluttered rooms. This is one of the ways in which the book triumphs: life in the domestic realm is repetitious, and its recurrence only adds to the book's rightful claustrophobia. We can see how hard Jennifer and Tompy fight to give their children childhoods, and see how much they hope that if they fight hard enough, they can leverage their children into the next generation's middle class.
With 64 images and text by Mairead Bryne, this book is good for multiple viewings.
(I met Louisa Marie at an ASMP portfolio review two years ago, and I am thrilled to see this book as a result of a project that she had completed with such spirit. - Ed.)
Wow, wow and more wow. Jacques Lowe's negatives were destroyed in the World Trade Center collapse in 2001. Jacques himself had died earlier that year. However his contact sheets were stored elsewhere and the Newseum has managed to clean them up and make prints. It is amazing and beautiful what we can do these days. I had the opportunity to represent Mr. Lowe, my agency licensed his gorgeous jazz photos and his surprising, delightful pictures of children; I remember my right-hand, Kellie, going to hang out with him while he signed prints, books, he was packing away the whisky I believe, and they got on famously.
Jacques Lowe was larger than life, and it's only right that his work on one of our largest politicians should be rejuvenated. Visit the Newseum in DC, opens April 12th.
'American Bagpipers' is Ashok Sinha's series of portraits of an Indian-American bagpipe band based in a Hindu temple in New Jersey. It seemed so odd to me at first but then I thought about the tones of traditional Indian music and now it seems obviously harmonious. Ashok says they play traditional Scottish music, traditional Indian, and Bollywood!
Geoff Green showed me this ongoing project at a recent portfolio review. He slapped the large prints on the table and offered me a pair of gloves in case I wanted to avoid touching them (I declined to wear them).
Geoff describes "A survey depicting the essence of street life on one block in Brooklyn by the remains discarded on its sidewalks and its gutters. It is an anthropological/archaeological approach to street photography and neighborhood dynamics."
"The object is taken from the gutter, photographed, and printed. The final print is then taken to the street to absorb the impact of the original environment, its weather, foot, and vehicular traffic. Each print becomes a unique object." He leaves the prints taped down until they eventually get dragged down the street. "Unfortunately, I do need to keep an eye on things so they don't get nicked."
In the thick of some of the world's most severe 'austerity measures,' families struggle to get by in Greece. Christos Kapatos is recording his parent's additional strain.
With his background in cinema, Christos is also working on a series of "cinematic images about the existential quest of the 20-40 year old people under the latest economic crisis hitting Europe and Greece in particular, to be exhibited in Greece and abroad in 2013-2014."
At the ASMP NY Fine Art Portfolio Review last week I was thrilled to see both familiar and new faces, and (mostly) new work. Michael Weschler is a name I recognize from my editorial licensing days, he was one of those golden photographers who were signed to the premiere agency, Outline.
Michael presented a body of work exploring "Redefining Men," just simply challenging male stereotypes. The series includes celebrity portraits as well as regular people. I, of course, adore these romantic holiday-makers. What's Italian for 'buff'?
I met Boston-based photographer Lou Jones at Fotofusion in West Palm Beach, Florida, last year. He is a soft-spoken sweetheart of a man with a most fascinating and prolific history, not least of all having photographed 12 consecutive Olympics. Lou's website can tell you more. I fell for his images of dancers and he kindly agreed to let me choose some.