Sid Avery shot “Giant”, starring James Dean

1956-Giant.jpg© Sid Avery, 1956

Sid Avery (October 12, 1918 – July 1, 2002) was an American photographer and director who was best known for capturing the private moments of legendary Hollywood celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn as showcased in his book, “Hollywood at Home.”

Sid Avery was born in Akron, Ohio in the year of 1918. Avery was only nine months old when they decided to move out to Los Angeles, California, which is where he grew up.

Sid Avery discovered his love and talent of photography when he was young due to the fact that he studied under his uncle, Max Tatch, who was a landscape and architectural photographer. His uncle was able to teach him the skills required to use cameras, film and darkrooms. After he graduated from high school, Avery worked in a camera store on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood where he further gained love and inspiration for photography. While working in the shop, he had opportunities to meet many famous photographers. This also encouraged him to take more photography classes. He also gained the experience of being a darkroom assistant. He served in the Army in World War II. When he returned from the war, he began his work of photographing celebrities. Sid Avery eventually became one of the top advertising photographer in Los Angeles. He was also a director of television commercials.

László Moholy-Nagy… The photographer who painted with light

Moholy Nagy
Untitled photogram from the Lászlo Moholy-Nagy (8½x11¾”) – 1940s
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Monoskop – Lászlo Moholy-Nagy (8½x11¾”) – 1940s

Among the early twentieth-century’s avant-garde, Hungarian-born photographer László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) was one of the most ardent seekers of the “New Vision.” His preoccupation with the phenomenon of light was a defining influence on every period of his work, and one of his great strengths lay in his effortless skill in translating light and spatial dimensions from one medium to another. By the time the first color photographic processes became widely available in the early 1930s, he had mastered black-and-white, and he turned immediately this next big thing. Color proved to be one of his most important media, not only during his early years in Germany, but also as he reestablished himself at the New Bauhaus and the Institute of Design, both of which he initiated upon moving to the United States and settling in Chicago. Until now, with only a few exceptions, his work in color has been unknown. Moholy-Nagy made his first experiments with the medium between 1934 and his death in 1946.

Muhammad Ali by Gordon Parks

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Vintage photograph by Gordon Parks, Muhammad Ali, 1966 at Miami (8 x 10 inches)

Gordon Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director, who became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through 1970s—particularly in issues of civil rights, poverty and African-Americans—and in glamour photography. As the first famous pioneer among black filmmakers, he was the first African-American to produce and direct major motion pictures—developing films relating the experience of slaves and struggling black Americans, and creating the “blaxploitation” genre. He is best remembered for his iconic photos of poor Americans during the 1940s (taken for a federal government project), for his photographic essays for Life magazine, and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft. Parks also was an author, poet and composer.

Todd WEBB: The Forgotten Master of 1940s NYC Street Photography…

TW

Photograph by Todd WEBB,
Gelatin silver, printed later
HARLEM, 1946
14 x 11 inches

Todd Webb (September 5, 1905 – April 15, 2000) was an American photographer notable for documenting everyday life and architecture in cities such as New York, Paris as well as from the American west. His photography has been compared with Harry Callahan, Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans, and the French photographer Eugène Atget. He traveled extensively during his long life and had important friendships with artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams and Harry Callahan. He photographed famous people including Dorothea Lange. His life was like his photos in the sense of being seemingly simple, straightforward, but revealing complexity and depth upon a closer examination. Capturing history, his pictures often transcend the boundary between photography and artistic expression.

PHOTO FOR SALE

(Ref: TWEBB) – Price on request, please enter your email:

KALOMA…“I Married Wyatt Earp”

Rare original photo titled “Kaloma” that was widely circulated and a very famous early erotic image. This photo was used in the book “I Married Wyatt Earp” the recollections of Josephine Earp. There is much debate weather or not the image is really the wife of Earp or not. Still a very historic and one of the most famous early images of it’s type.

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Kaloma

 

 

coverThe 1976 book I Married Wyatt Earp was believed to be a memoir of his widow Josephine Earp, but was many years later described as a fraud, creative exercise, and a hoax. Originally published by the respected University of Arizona Press, it is the second best-selling book about western Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp ever sold. It was regarded for many years as a factual account that shed considerable light on the life of Wyatt Earp and his brothers in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. It was cited in scholarly works, assigned as classroom work, and used as a source by filmmakers. Amateur Earp historian Glenn Boyer said that the retouched image on the cover of a scantily-clad woman was of Josephine in her 20s, and based on his statements, copies of the image were later sold at auction for up to $2,875.

Boyer had a long-term relationship with members of the Earp family. He claimed that he used two manuscripts written by Josephine Earp as the basis for the memoir. The first was an account, allegedly composed by Josephine with the help of former Tombstone Mayor and The Tombstone Epitaph publisher John Clum, known as the “Clum manuscript”. The second, supposedly written by Josephine with the assistance of two Earp cousins, was known as the “Cason manuscript”. Josephine fiercely protected details of her and Wyatt’s early life in Tombstone, including her own life there and the existence of Wyatt Earp’s second wife, Mattie Blaylock, even threatening litigation to keep some details private. Josephine was repeatedly vague about her and Wyatt’s time in Arizona, so much so that the Earp cousins gave up collaborating with her and publishers refused to publish the manuscript.

In 1994, other Western researchers and rival authors of new Earp books identified alleged discrepancies in the book and began to challenge the authenticity of what they called the “Clum manuscript”. They also claimed to have identified factual errors and inconsistencies in other books published by Boyer, leading to an increasing number of questions about the veracity of his work. The risque cover image was linked to a photogravure titled Kaloma that had been first published by a novelty company in 1914. A 1998 investigative article in the Phoenix New Times revealed that Boyer could not prove the Clum manuscript existed and refused to allow the reporter access to the source documentation. The article also disclosed that the university press’ editor encouraged Boyer to embellish the account. During the interview, Boyer said that he had a responsibility to protect the reputation of the Earp brothers, and that he “had a license to say any darned thing I please…[to] lie, cheat, and steal.” Boyer found another publisher and continued to publish the work, representing it as an authentic history of Wyatt Earp’s life.

1839…The DAGUERREOTYPE

The daguerreotype (French: daguerréotype) process, or daguerreotypy, was the first publicly announced photographic process, and for nearly twenty years, it was the one most commonly used. It was invented by Louis-Jaques-Mandé Daguerre and introduced worldwide in 1839. By 1860, new processes which were less expensive and produced more easily viewed images had almost completely replaced it. During the past few decades, there has been a small-scale revival of daguerreotypy among photographers interested in making artistic use of early photographic processes.

758aee112b0adc7af39d3802b51d8829To make a daguerreotype, the daguerreotypist polished a sheet of silver-plated copper to a mirror finish; treated it with fumes that made its surface light-sensitive; exposed it in a camera for as long as was judged to be necessary, which could be as little as a few seconds for brightly sunlit subjects or much longer with less intense lighting; made the resulting latent image on it visible by fuming it with mercury vapor; removed its sensitivity to light by liquid chemical treatment; rinsed and dried it; then sealed the easily marred result behind glass in a protective enclosure.

Viewing a daguerreotype is unlike looking at any other type of photograph. The image does not sit on the surface of the metal, but appears to be floating in space, and the illusion of reality, especially with examples that are sharp and well exposed is unique to the process.

hb_2001.756The image is on a mirror-like silver surface, normally kept under glass, and will appear either positive or negative, depending on the angle at which it is viewed, how it is lit and whether a light or dark background is being reflected in the metal.

The darkest areas of the image are simply bare silver; lighter areas have a microscopically fine light-scattering texture. The surface is very delicate, and even the lightest wiping can permanently scuff it. Some tarnish around the edges is normal, and any treatment to remove it should be done only by a specialized restorer.

Several types of antique photographs, most often ambrotypes and tintypes, but sometimes even old prints on paper, are very commonly misidentified as daguerreotypes, especially if they are in the small, ornamented cases in which daguerreotypes made in the US and UK were usually housed. The name “daguerreotype” correctly refers only to one very specific image type and medium, the product of a process that was in wide use only from the early 1840s to the late 1850s.


Louis Daguerre
 

William Eggleston – Vernacular, Colored, Photorealistic…

William Eggleston, ‘Untitled [Supermarket boy with carts], Memphis,’ 1965

    William Eggleston (born July 27, 1939), is an American photographer. He is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium to display in art galleries.

William Eggleston was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Sumner, Mississippi. His father was an engineer and his mother was the daughter of a prominent local judge. As a boy, Eggleston was introverted; he enjoyed playing the piano, drawing, and working with electronics. From an early age, he was also drawn to visual media, and reportedly enjoyed buying postcards and cutting out pictures from magazines.

At the age of 15, Eggleston was sent to the Webb School, a boarding establishment. Eggleston later recalled few fond memories of the school, telling a reporter, “It had a kind of Spartan routine to ‘build character’. I never knew what that was supposed to mean. It was so callous and dumb. It was the kind of place where it was considered effeminate to like music and painting.” Eggleston was unusual among his peers in eschewing the traditional Southern male pursuits of hunting and sports, in favor of artistic pursuits and observation of the world. Nevertheless, Eggleston noted that he never felt like an outsider. “I never had the feeling that I didn’t fit in,” he told a reporter, “But probably I didn’t.”

Eggleston attended Vanderbilt University for a year, Delta State College for a semester, and the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) for about five years, none of these experiences resulting in a college degree. However, it was during these university years that his interest in photography took root: a friend at Vanderbilt gave Eggleston a Leica camera. Eggleston studied art at Ole Miss and was introduced to abstract expressionism by visiting painter, Tom Young.

Eggleston’s early photographic efforts were inspired by the work of Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, and by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s book, The Decisive Moment. Eggleston later recalled that the book was “the first serious book I found, from many awful books…I didn’t understand it a bit, and then it sank in, and I realized, my God, this is a great one.”[1] First photographing in black-and-white, Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966 after being introduced to the medium by William Christenberry. Color transparency film became his dominant medium in the later 1960s. Eggleston’s development as a photographer seems to have taken place in relative isolation from other artists. In an interview with Director of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) John Szarkowski describes his first encounter with the young Eggleston in 1969 as being “absolutely out of the blue”. After reviewing Eggleston’s work (which he recalled as a suitcase full of “drugstore” color prints) Szarkowski prevailed upon the Photography Committee of MoMA to buy one of Eggleston’s photographs.

In 1970, Eggleston’s friend William Christenberry introduced him to Walter Hopps, director of Washington, D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery. Hopps later reported being “stunned” by Eggleston’s work: “I had never seen anything like it.”

Eggleston taught at Harvard in 1973 and 1974, and it was during these years that he discovered dye-transfer printing; he was examining the price list of a photographic lab in Chicago when he read about the process. As Eggleston later recalled: “It advertised ‘from the cheapest to the ultimate print.’ The ultimate print was a dye-transfer. I went straight up there to look and everything I saw was commercial work like pictures of cigarette packs or perfume bottles but the colour saturation and the quality of the ink was overwhelming. I couldn’t wait to see what a plain Eggleston picture would look like with the same process. Every photograph I subsequently printed with the process seemed fantastic and each one seemed better than the previous one.” The dye-transfer process resulted in some of Eggleston’s most striking and famous work, such as his 1973 photograph entitled The Red Ceiling, of which Eggleston said, “The Red Ceiling is so powerful, that in fact I’ve never seen it reproduced on the page to my satisfaction. When you look at the dye it is like red blood that’s wet on the wall…. A little red is usually enough, but to work with an entire red surface was a challenge.”

At Harvard, Eggleston prepared his first portfolio, entitled 14 Pictures (1974). Eggleston’s work was exhibited at MoMA in 1976. Although this was well over a decade after MoMA had exhibited color photographs by Ernst Haas, the tale that the Eggleston exhibition was MoMA’s first exhibition of color photography is frequently repeated,[n 1] and the 1976 show is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of photography, by marking “the acceptance of colour photography by the highest validating institution” (in the words of Mark Holborn).

Around the time of his 1976 MoMA exhibition, Eggleston was introduced to Viva, the Andy Warhol “superstar”, with whom he began a long relationship. During this period Eggleston became familiar with Andy Warhol’s circle, a connection that may have helped foster Eggleston’s idea of the “democratic camera”, Mark Holborn suggests. Also in the 1970s Eggleston experimented with video, producing several hours of roughly edited footage Eggleston calls Stranded in Canton. Writer Richard Woodward, who has viewed the footage, likens it to a “demented home movie”, mixing tender shots of his children at home with shots of drunken parties, public urination and a man biting off a chicken’s head before a cheering crowd in New Orleans. Woodward suggests that the film is reflective of Eggleston’s “fearless naturalism—a belief that by looking patiently at what others ignore or look away from, interesting things can be seen.”

Eggleston’s published books and portfolios, include Los Alamos (actually completed in 1974, before the publication of the Guide) the massive Election Eve (1976; a portfolio of photographs taken around Plains, Georgia before that year’s presidential election); The Morals of Vision (1978); and Flowers (1978); Wedgwood Blue (1979); Seven (1979); Troubled Waters (1980); The Louisiana Project (1980). William Eggleston’s Graceland (1984) is a series of commissioned photographs of Elvis Presley’s Graceland, depicting the singer’s home as an airless, windowless tomb in custom-made bad taste. Other series include The Democratic Forest (1989), Faulkner’s Mississippi (1990), and Ancient and Modern (1992).

Some of his early series have not been shown until the late 2000s. The Nightclub Portraits (1973), a series of large black-and-white portraits in bars and clubs around Memphis was, for the most part, not shown until 2005. Lost and Found, part of Eggleston’s Los Alamos series, is a body of photographs that have remained unseen for decades because until 2008 no one knew that they belonged to Walter Hopps; the works from this series chronicle road trips the artist took with Hopps, leaving from Memphis and traveling as far as the West Coast. Also not editioned until 2011, Eggleston’s Election Eve photographs were taken prior to the 1976 presidential election in Plains, Georgia, the rural seat of presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, and along the road from Memphis, Tennessee.

Eggleston also worked with filmmakers, photographing the set of John Huston’s film Annie (1982) and documenting the making of David Byrne’s film True Stories (1986).

© BR/Reiner Holzemer
William EGGLESTON by ©BR/Reiner Holzemer

 

Orval Hixon – Autodidact and Color-blind Photographer

orval-hixon-pearl-harper-1920

Pearl Harper , 1920

Photographer Orval Hixon’s early life remains a mystery (By Linda Emley – Richmond News)

I wanted to share some stories about Orval Hixon’s early days in Richmond, but I haven’t been able to find much about his private life while in Richmond or after he moved to Kansas City. There are a few interesting facts I was able to piece together. Orval was 12 years old when he got his first camera in 1896. Since he was color blind, he was lucky that all early pictures were black and white or his career might have ended before it ever really started.

He was only 19 years old when he moved to Kansas City in 1903. Orval was 45 when he married his wife Gladys. So he was either a very busy man or took his time finding the right girl. He mentioned going out for drinks after shooting sessions with the stars, so it does not sound like he was in a big hurry to settle down.

One clue I did find about the Hixon family was a copy of an ad out of a Richmond newspaper for a Jeweler in Richmond named C.S. Hixon Jr., who ran a jewelry store on the west side of the square. Orval’s father was Charles Hixon, but the jeweler was Orvil’s brother Charles Jr.

In 1920 Charles Jr. was living with an elderly couple as a boarder. Charles Moyer, who was the Ray County Circuit Clerk, was also a boarder in the same home on Main Street. Charles Hixon was 32 and Charles Moyer was 31, so it makes you wonder what these two young Richmondites did for excitement on a Saturday night.

Since one ran a jewelry store and the other one was a politician, they had to at least try and stay out of trouble. Charles Hixon’s career in Richmond ended when he suffered a stroke in 1924 and moved to Kansas City and lived with his sister, Emma Hixon Gish.

I had several people ask me why Orval’s father lived at the Ray County Home, also known as the “Poor Farm’’. This question came up again when I found out that when Charles Hixon Jr. died in 1932, his obituary told a tale of Hixons who were scattered across three states.

Orval’s father Charles Sr. was living in Richmond at the County Home, but his mother was listed as living in Kansas City. His brother Delbert was also living in Kansas City. Orval had two sisters living in Kansas City, one in Springfield, Mo. and one in Wisconsin.

Richmond resident Jean Hamacher is the only person that I found who had actually ever met Orval Hixon. She and her sister had their pictures taken by him at Kansas University.

The 1964 Jayhawker yearbook has an ad from Orval Hixon on page 121. The ad read, “NATURAL POSES PLEASING EXPRESSION INTERESTING LIGHTING and FINISHING.”

The ad even includes directions to Orval Hixon’s Camera Room. I am happy to see that he remembered what Jewell Mayes told him about the benefits of advertising.”

Saul Leiter – Portrait of Jean Shrimpton – 1966

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August, 1966 for British Vogue (beauty story on red make up)