I have some photographic experience with the Boys & Girls Clubs here in the Los Angeles area, they provide a wonderful and oh-so important group club foundation for kids who we all know very much need it.
A few years ago the WNBA and Jamba Juice partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica for a kid’s fitness awareness event and I was privileged enough to photograph it with my two film Leica cameras, the M7 and the M6 TTL. Film is a gas. The kids were great! Hope you enjoy the photo mosaic!
But more than that, I hope you follow the links below and vote for the Los Angeles Center of Photography’s grant application to teach photography to the Boys & Girls Clubs here in LA.
I did it!
It was easy. “Join” with your Facebook or Twitter account. I’ve only met Julia Dean once but it was very clear how down-to-earth and personable she is and I can’t think of a better person to teach photography to kids in LA.
If you haven’t heard….
The Los Angeles Center of Photography has applied for a $100,000 grant to help teach LA’s Boys & Girls Clubs photography. To win the grant requires votes from friends of both photography and kids!
More from the LACP:
There are 51 proposals in our category and right now, we’re in 20th place. We must be in the top 10 for a chance to win. (The committee selects the winner from the top 10.) Our proposal outlines a yearlong photography program in LA’s Boys & Girls Clubs. The grant is meant for non-profits with projects that will help create a better LA, now and in the future. VOTING ends on November 3.
PLEASE VOTE!!! It will take only five minutes. Here is how to do it:
1. Go to: http://www.LA2050.org
2. Hit the hot pink tab that reads VOTE IN THE MYLA2050 GRANTS CHALLENGE
3. Choose a Submission Category (Our proposal is under CREATE)
4. Now you have to sign up. Signing up is easy. See the top right corner of the LA2050 home page, where it reads, “Join.”
5. Then find our project (you will see a picture of me in a classroom with the Boys & Girls Club kids) and VOTE for LACP’s proposal!
6. You will then get an email confirming your vote. (This may take up to an hour to get this, so don’t fret.) You have to click on the link in this email to confirm your vote.
I think images should require something from the person who is looking upon them. A photograph doesn’t or shouldn’t have to be obvious in order to be something that holds some value. I think this image could be taken as an example of that. I don’t want to say much more about the picture itself. It either makes a statement to you or it doesn’t. It made a statement to me.
Now it has a sequel. The top image was shot almost a year ago and was taken with the Zeiss 50mm Sonnar 1.5. I think the color representation of that lens is evident in the image. That lens is just stellar and classic. The second image, the one at the bottom of this post, was taken with the Leica 50mm Summilux 1.4 ASPH, and I think the color signature of that lens is also amazingly evident in this shot.
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Vivian Dorothea Maier was an American street photographer, who was born in New York City and spent much of her childhood in France. After returning to the United States, she worked for approximately forty years as a nanny in Chicago, Illinois.
During those years, she took more than 100,000 photographs, primarily of people and cityscapes in Chicago, although she traveled and photographed worldwide.
Two years before she died in 2009 at age 83, the eccentric and brilliant amateur photographer forfeited ownership of the contents of the storage lockers in which she had kept truckloads of negatives, prints and other materials.
The contents were quickly auctioned for a pittance to several collectors and “resellers” who found they had made the discovery of a lifetime.
The contents of Maier’s collection included more than 100,000 negatives that charted her hitherto-private career as a superb street photographer who focused mainly on vignettes of New York and Chicago.
Comes the news the last few weeks that Los Angeles is probably going to lose its WNBA franchise, the mighty LA Sparks. This is an emotional time for me and a lot of people I (kind of) know. I covered the Sparks as both a photographer and as a reporter for many years. For four years (at least) the franchise gave me the privilege of being a media voter on the league’s end-of-season awards like Most Value Player, Coach of the Year, etc. I’ve followed the league from day one. Anyway. It’s a big blow. I devoted a ton of my time to WNBA basketball and the Sparks.
The WNBA is active in the community and especially focuses its efforts on the very young and impressionable. One special afternoon that took us to the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica and with no digital camera to use I had to settle for my Leica M7 and M6 TTL, with the 50mm Summilux 1.4 ASPH and the 35mm Summicron 2.0 ASPH. I used Kodak 800 speed color (obviously) film and here were my keepers.
Attended an event at the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica co-sponsered by the WNBA and Jamba Juice.
Talked to Los Angeles Sparks guard Alana Beard about what they hoped to accomplish in their combined efforts to impact the national epidemic of childhood obesity.
Grabbed a lot of shots with my Leica M7 and M6, the Leica 50mm Summilux 1.4 ASPH and incredibly useful Leica 35mm Summicron 2.0 ASPH. All shot with Kodak 800.
And the kids. I broke a record for sweating I’m sure. There was a guy following me around with a mop. Hope the pictures are okay.
I’ll be there shooting 400 and 800 speed color film. Hope to have a lot of great images in a few days. Here are a couple from last year’s event.
There is a fairly famous street/fine art photographer whose style is images with mostly shadow area and only sunlight to illuminate his subject’s profound humanity as displayed on their faces. His name escapes me as I write this but I think he would certainly qualify as a king in the world of those who stalk the light.
I didn’t know about his work over the many years when I would employ a similar solution to the difficult light here in the city of Los Angeles. The profundity of it all only became apparent to me after the fact, I have to admit.
I’m very often looking for some revealing expression on the face of subjects on the street. Something that reveals what I may see that someone else might not see that I can maybe photograph as proof or evidence that it exists. But somehow the combination of this natural spotlight on the faces of subjects combined with some moment of human vulnerability revealed on those faces seems to me to be over the top. It works great for this other photographer, but it wouldn’t feel right to me.
I find it works better for me in order to isolate a person or group but more from a distance where it may be something about their posture or circumstance or a gesture that I find interesting. I don’t have a lot to say about this all right now. But I hope the pictures have something to say to you.
These are all shot on film. Leica M7 with either the Zeiss 50 1.5 Sonnar or the Leica 35 2.0 Summicron ASPH
Thanks for looking.
Downtown Los Angeles on a glaring Saturday morning this spring. Leica M7, Walgreens 200.
Back in mid-2010 and it was Ektar 100 and I didn’t know what the heck I was doing with a Leica rangefinder. The setting was beautiful and I hope that comes through in these humble offerings. But it was contrasty and I knew Ektar is kind of contrasty and that my 50mm 2.0 Summicron is contrasty and this is the first roll of film I’d shot in almost two decades. I had very little confidence that I was getting anything but blown highlights and shadow with detail. It wasn’t that bad, however. I should have been concentrating a little more on composition and using the attributes of the lens. Oh well. I still like them.
Cookouts! Barbecue. Hot dogs and hamburgers. Beer. Friends and family. Unofficial start of summer. Hell yeah! That’s what Memorial Day is all about. Oh and, of course, the Memorial Day sale at Macy’s. Right?
Then there’s those people who try to remind you of the more sober aspects of the holiday. Sanctimoniously thanking ‘our’ soldiers. Does that really stick with you or are they just as annoying as the people at Christmas telling us all to remember the spirit of Christmas and that Christ ‘our’ savior was born on Christmas Day?
So they had this event down at a new memorial in Irvine for service men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. I saw it on the 11 o’clock news. The Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial looks really nice and is said to be the first of its kind in the country honoring those who have fallen in the wars on terrorism we’ve been fighting for the last eleven or so years.
But they’ve got this open mic thing going. And the wives and mothers of those who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan come up to the mic and, if you didn’t see it, I’m telling you these women are just fucking raw. All are emotional but more than a few can barely get their words out; they’re just dying up there.
Blubbering women. Most of them young enough to be my daughter, if I’d had one. Talking about what they feel on Memorial Day.
While these women are stepping up to the mic, one at a time, to tell you the names of their husbands and sons and what happened to them – as best as they can between the sniveling and gasping and choked-off words – all over this country, millions of Americans are getting drunk, washing down burgers with Bud Lite, laughing the day away talking easily about everything that careless partying Americans talk about on a summer holiday together. Most Americans are having a good time, a welcome day off from work, celebrating the start of summer and vacation time – which is and always has been the real point of Memorial Day in our culture.
A really young woman steps up to the mic in Irvine. Her two hands are in a wrestling match with each other as she speaks.
“My name is Brooke Singer and my husband was killed in January.”
Brooke looks to be about 22. She’s wearing a pretty black dress with nickle-sized white polka dots and spaghetti straps that cut into the soft skin of her shoulders. She seems to have more to say but after that one sentence she puts the back of her right hand to her face and unsuccessfully tries to stifle a sob. You can see her hand is shaking. She drops it momentarily but then quickly raises it back again to cover her mouth, which is contorted in a way she’d probably rather the entire world doesn’t see. A girl who looks like she could be Brooke’s younger sister stands helplessly to her left. A woman who must be her mother puts her arm on Brooke’s back and whispers something to her.
If you need to be told at this point that Memorial Day isn’t about cookouts and really good shopping then I don’t know what to say to you except that you’re not alone.
But if you still think it’s about thanking ‘our’ soldiers and telling them how much we love them and appreciate what they’re doing for us then you really need to either wake up or grow up or maybe just look up the word ‘memorial’ in a dictionary.
Memorial Day is about looking squarely and responsibly at young women who can barely breathe as they muster the courage to stand before a microphone in a public square and choke out the names of their dead husbands.
Film images made with a Leica M7 and 50mm 2.0 Leica Summicron lens.