Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Another serendipitous photo pairing, this time in print. Photos below from Weegee (left) and Arnold Newman (right), encountered just a few minutes apart during last night's reading. I like them both quite a bit.

I guess those things are everywhere if you're looking for them. I just seem to be noticing them more lately, maybe spurred on by the Tumblr aesthetic, or who knows why. One of those weird cycles. Is it still a cycle if it's lasted 15 years and shows no signs of letup? 

The Weegee image is from the current New Yorker. The Newman shot (Steel Workers, Gary Indiana, December 11, 1950), which I had not seen before, is from a new book called Arnold Newman at Work. I'll have a full review on Photo Eye soon, but for the time being it might be fun to post a few nuggets. The book is full of interesting flotsam from Newman's life, including newspaper clippings, press badges, marked up contacts, holiday cards, passports, and more. 

A weird handmade negative carrier labeled OREGON: 

A typewritten letter from Helen Levitt: 

A dodging mask carefully designed to expose a photo of Cocteau:

These are the sorts of objects which tell a lot about someone. They fill out the backstory, and they are disappearing rapidly since the digital generation is not leaving any similar physical legacy. Photoephemera used to post items here with regularity, but that blog now seems dead. Sigh. 

How I wish the new Winogrand book showed similar ephemera from his life, instead of mere photo after photo. Just one letter from his wife or maybe a sheet of marked up contacts, or a passport photo or something. Not asking much. Those would be enough.

Only two more years and I'll be even with the cicadas. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

There are a few choice pieces of ephemera in the exhibit at SFMOMA. The letter from Winogrand's ex-wife is a doozy.

Blake Andrews said...

Thanks for the tip. I'm seeing the show tomorrow. Will look for the letter.