Posts Tagged ‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration

09
Jan
23

Exhibition: ‘Life Magazine and the Power of Photography’ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA)

Exhibition dates: 9th October 2022 – 16th January 2023

Curators: Kristen Gresh, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs at the MFA; Katherine A. Bussard, Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography at Princeton University Art Museum; and Alissa Schapiro, an independent curator and doctoral candidate in art history at Northwestern University

 

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'Flame Burner Ann Zarik' 1943, printed about 2000

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
Flame Burner Ann Zarik
1943, printed about 2000
Gelatin silver print
Princeton University Art Museum
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

Continuing the illustrated magazine theme from the last Bill Brandt post, here presented are images, cover and photo essay by major photographers such as Robert Capa, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke‑White, Henri Cartier‑Bresson and Gordon Parks which appeared in the influential American magazine Life (1926-1972).

“This exhibition takes a closer look at the creation and impact of the carefully selected images found in the pages of Life – and the precisely crafted narratives told through these pictures – in order to reveal how the magazine shaped conversations about war, race, technology, national identity, and more in the 20th-century United States. The photographs on view capture some of the defining moments – celebratory and traumatic alike – of the last century, from the Birmingham civil rights demonstrations to the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Far from simply nostalgic and laudatory, the exhibition critically reconsiders Life‘s complex, and sometimes contradictory, approach to such stories through works by photographers from different backgrounds and perspectives who captured difficult images of ethnic discrimination and racialised violence, from the Holocaust to white supremacist terror of the 1960s.” (Exhibition text)

Of particular interest in the posting is the contact sheet to Eisenstaedt’s famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations (1945, below) … in order to note how the artist chose that particular negative out of the four (good exposure, less confusing background to the central characters); how he marked the contact sheet with the usual red pencil that black and white photographers use to indicate his negative preference and the cropping of the image that was required (notice the arrow at bottom left, a crop which was not heeded in the final print); and how the final print is much darker than the contact sheet (notice the dark pavement and lack of detail in the sailors outfits).

In the final print the negative has been cropped up from the bottom to tension the lifting of the nurse’s raised leg as it floats above the ground (here, the distance from the bottom of the shoe to the bottom of the image is critical in order to make the shoe “float”), the man at right now makes half an appearance, and the man at far left has been included and “burnt in” under the enlarger so that he recedes from and does not detract from the importance of the figures in the foreground. The background figures form a triangle behind the sailor and the nurse, forming a stage for them, and a supporting and encircling cast of characters. The vanishing point of the image and the buildings does the rest.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'Mrs. Nelson and her two children outside her laundry which she operates without running water' 1936

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
Mrs. Nelson and her two children outside her laundry which she operates without running water
1936
Gelatin silver print
The Howard Greenberg Collection – Museum purchase with funds donated by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'At the Time of the Louisville Flood' 1937

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
At the Time of the Louisville Flood
1937
Gelatin silver print
The Howard Greenberg Collection – Museum purchase with funds donated by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'Fort Peck Dam, Montana' 1936

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
Fort Peck Dam, Montana
1936
Gelatin silver print
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

'Life', November 23, 1936 (Cover photograph by Margaret Bourke-White) 1936

 

Life Magazine (1883-1972)
Life, November 23, 1936 (Cover photograph by Margaret Bourke-White)
1936
Illustrated periodical
Life Picture Collection
Photo by Life Magazine
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

In the period from the Great Depression to the Vietnam War, the majority of photographs printed and consumed in the U.S. appeared on the pages of illustrated magazines. Among them, Life – published weekly from 1936 to 1972 – was both extraordinarily popular and visually revolutionary. Estimates for pass-along readership – the number of people who shared each copy of Life in spaces like waiting rooms and offices – suggest that the magazine may have regularly reached about one in four people in the country. The photographers who worked for Life bore witness to some of the most defining moments of the 20th century – and the magazine’s use of photography shaped the way many Americans experienced, perceived and remembered these events. Co-organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and the Princeton University Art Museum, Life Magazine and the Power of Photography offers a revealing look at the collaborative processes behind many of the publication’s most recognisable, beloved and controversial images and photo essays. The exhibition brings together more than 180 objects, including original press prints, contact sheets, shooting scripts, internal memos and layout experiments – drawing on unprecedented access to Life‘s picture and paper archives. Added to the exhibition for its presentation at the MFA, Life Magazine and the Power of Photography also incorporates works by contemporary artists Alexandra Bell, Alfredo Jaar and Julia Wachtel, whose critical reflections on photojournalism and the politics of images frame urgent conversations about implicit biases and systemic racism in contemporary media.

Life Magazine and the Power of Photography is on view at the MFA from October 9, 2022 through January 16, 2023 in the Ann and Graham Gund Gallery. Member Preview takes place October 5-8. Timed-entry exhibition tickets, which include general admission, are required for all visitors and can be reserved on mfa.org starting September 14 for MFA members and September 20 for the general public.

Life Magazine and the Power of Photography is sponsored by Bank of America. Generously supported by Patti and Jonathan Kraft, with additional support from Kate Moran Collins and Emi M. and William G. Winterer. With gratitude to the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust for its generous support of Photography at the MFA. The exhibition is co-organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Princeton University Art Museum.

“This major exhibition is an invitation for our visitors to experience a time when photographs first began to influence world events and narratives – and how they continue to do so today,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director. “Life‘s groundbreaking use of photography shaped important 20th-century dialogues in the U.S. around war, race, technology, art and national identity. Through a generous collaboration with the Princeton University Art Museum, we are exploring this process in a more critical and complex way than ever done before, and at a moment when technologies of distribution have evolved and disrupted the recording of history.”

Life Magazine and the Power of Photography was curated by Kristen Gresh, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs at the MFA; Katherine A. Bussard, Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography at Princeton University Art Museum; and Alissa Schapiro, an independent curator and doctoral candidate in art history at Northwestern University. In 2016 the curators were among the first to delve deeply into the Time Inc. Records Archive, which was newly available at the New-York Historical Society. In 2019, the MFA and Princeton University Art Museum became the first museums to be granted full access to the LIFE Picture Collection, the magazine’s photographic archive. (The exhibition debuted at Princeton in February 2020, but closed after three weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.). The exhibition and the accompanying book grew out of these unparalleled research opportunities, which helped to advance new scholarly perspectives on Life’s pictorial journalism. The book was named the 2021 recipient of the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for museum scholarship.

“I am thrilled to be adding three contemporary moments to the exhibition in Boston. Through powerful and provocative works by Alexandra Bell, Alfredo Jaar and Julia Wachtel, who each interrogate news media through their practice, viewers are invited to reflect on contemporary media consumption and our inherited historical narratives,” said Gresh.

 

Exhibition Overview

Among the over 30 photographers featured in Life Magazine and the Power of Photography are Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Frank Dandridge, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Charles Moore, Gordon Parks and W. Eugene Smith. The exhibition also emphasises the contributions of women to the magazine’s success – not only photographers such as Bourke-White, whose monumental image of the Fort Peck Dam graced the first issue, but also negative and picture editors such as Peggy Sargent and Natalie Kosek. Additionally, Life Magazine and the Power of Photography considers the ways in which the magazine – through the vision of its founder, Henry R. Luce, its editorial teams’ points of view and the demographics of its readers – promoted a predominantly white, middle-class perspective on politics, daily life and culture, even when documenting the country’s reckoning with racism and xenophobia. The exhibition makes a point to trace Life‘s complex, and sometimes contradictory, approach to such stories through the inclusion of works by photographers from different backgrounds and perspectives that captured difficult images of ethnic discrimination and racialised violence, ranging from the Holocaust to white supremacist violence of the 1960s.

The exhibition is divided into three historical sections, interspersed with immersive contemporary moments. The first section, “Getting the Picture,” focuses on the creation of Life photographs, exploring multiple factors such as the details of the assignment, the idea for the story developed by the editorial staff, the selection of a particular photographer for the job, and the photographer’s own decisions about how to best capture the images needed to construct a story. Once a photographer completed an assignment, his or her undeveloped rolls of film and notes were sent to Life‘s offices, where editorial teams selected images and determined how to adapt them for the printed page. The second section, “Crafting Photo Stories,” examines the making of a photo-essay, a format with stunning visuals and minimal text that Life claimed to have invented. The complex process involved negative editors, picture editors, art directors, layout artists, writers, researchers and fact-checkers in the construction of each page. The third section, “Life‘s Photographic Impact,” considers the power and reach of the magazine, whose circulation peaked at 8.5 million in 1969. Here, the exhibition explores not only responses from readers – who wrote letters to the editor and even offered assistance to individuals profiled in the magazine – but also how Life perpetuated its own influence by repackaging its photographs and using technical sophistication and business savvy to outpace its competitors.

Contemporary works by Alfredo Jaar (born Santiago, Chile, 1956), Alexandra Bell (born 1983) and Julia Wachtel (1956) appear in immersive moments installed between the three historical sections. Jaar questions the ethics of representation and the politics of images in his photography, installations, films and new media works. The exhibition features Real Pictures (1995) from his Rwanda Project and the U.S. debut of his multimedia installation The Silence of Nduwayezu (1997) from the same series. It also includes the triptych Life Magazine, April 19, 1968 (1995), in which he manipulates the magazine’s iconic photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral procession to point to the disproportionate number of Black mourners relative to white ones. Similarly, works from Bell’s Counternarratives series (2017-2018) highlight racial biases in annotated pages from The New York Times. Finally, in a newly commissioned work by the MFA, Wachtel directly responds to photographs from Life and engages in deep critical discourse about popular culture and politics, as well as media consumption.

 

Publication

The accompanying 336-page book, published by the Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, examines Life‘s groundbreaking role in mid-20th-century American culture and the history of photography by considering the complexity of the magazine’s image-making and publishing enterprise. The book includes essays and contributions by the three co-curators and 22 additional scholars of art history, American studies, history and communication studies. It was the winner of the College Art Association’s 2021 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award, praised for “bring[ing] a new complexity to Life‘s legendary picture-making enterprise and suggest[ing] why Life‘s signal role in fostering consensus and collective memory is ripe for further unpacking.”

Press release from the Museum of Fine Arts , Boston

 

Gjon Mili (American born in Albania, 1904-1984) 'Stroboscopic image of intercollegiate champion gymnast Newt Loken doing floor leaps' 1942

 

Gjon Mili (American born in Albania, 1904-1984)
Stroboscopic image of intercollegiate champion gymnast Newt Loken doing floor leaps
1942
Gelatin silver print
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'Blast furnace cleaner Bernice Daunora, part of the top gang at Carnegie‑Illinois Steel Corp., wearing protective breathing apparatus fr. escaping gas fumes' 1943

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
Blast furnace cleaner Bernice Daunora, part of the top gang at Carnegie‑Illinois Steel Corp., wearing protective breathing apparatus fr. escaping gas fumes
1943
Gelatin silver print
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Robert Capa (American born in Hungary, 1913-1954) 'Normandy Invasion on D‑Day, Soldier Advancing through Surf' 1944

 

Robert Capa (American born in Hungary, 1913-1954)
Normandy Invasion on D‑Day, Soldier Advancing through Surf
1944
Gelatin silver print
The Howard Greenberg Collection – Museum purchase with funds donated by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust
© International Center of Photography / Magnum Photos
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Carl Mydans (American, 1907-2004) '(Young man playing guitar in the stockade, Tule Lake Internment Camp, Newell, California)' 1944

 

Carl Mydans (American, 1907-2004)
(Young man playing guitar in the stockade, Tule Lake Internment Camp, Newell, California)
1944
Gelatin silver print
International Center of Photography, the LIFE Magazine Collection, 2005
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995) 'Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations' 1945

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995)
Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations
1945
Gelatin silver print, contact sheet
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995) 'Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations' 1945 (detail)

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995)
Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations (detail)
1945
Gelatin silver print, contact sheet
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995) 'Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations' 1945 (detail)

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995)
Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations (detail)
1945
Gelatin silver print, contact sheet
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995) 'VJ Day in Times Square' 1945

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995)
VJ Day in Times Square
1945
Gelatin silver print
Alan and Susan Solomont
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

Reconsidering the pictures we remember. Revealing the stories we don’t know.

From the Great Depression to the Vietnam War, almost all of the photographs printed for consumption by the American public appeared in illustrated magazines. Among them, Life magazine – published weekly from 1936 to 1972 – was both wildly popular and visually revolutionary, with photographs arranged in groundbreaking dramatic layouts known as photo-essays. This exhibition takes a closer look at the creation and impact of the carefully selected images found in the pages of Life – and the precisely crafted narratives told through these pictures – in order to reveal how the magazine shaped conversations about war, race, technology, national identity, and more in the 20th-century United States. The photographs on view capture some of the defining moments – celebratory and traumatic alike – of the last century, from the Birmingham civil rights demonstrations to the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Far from simply nostalgic and laudatory, the exhibition critically reconsiders Life‘s complex, and sometimes contradictory, approach to such stories through works by photographers from different backgrounds and perspectives who captured difficult images of ethnic discrimination and racialised violence, from the Holocaust to white supremacist terror of the 1960s.

Drawing on unprecedented access to Life magazine’s picture and paper archives as well as photographers’ archives, the exhibition brings together more than 180 objects, including vintage photographs, contact sheets, assignment outlines, internal memos, and layout experiments. Visitors can trace the construction of a Life photo-essay from assignment through to the creative and editorial process of shaping images into a compelling story. This focus departs from the historic fascination with the singular photographic genius and instead celebrates the collaborative efforts behind many now-iconic images and stories. Particular attention is given to the women staff members of Life, whose roles remained forgotten or overshadowed by the traditional emphasis on men at the magazine. Most photographs on view are original working press prints – made to be used in the magazine’s production – and represent the wide range of photographers who worked for Life, such as Margaret Bourke-White, Larry Burrows, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Frank Dandridge, Gordon Parks, and W. Eugene Smith.

Interspersed throughout the exhibition, three immersive contemporary “moments” feature works by artists active today who interrogate news media through their practice. A multimedia installation by Alfredo Jaar, screen prints by Alexandra Bell, and a new commission by Julia Wachtel frame larger conversations for visitors about implicit biases and systemic racism in contemporary media.

Life Magazine and the Power of Photography offers a revealing look at the collaborative processes behind many of Life‘s most recognisable, beloved, and controversial images and photo-essays, while incorporating the voices of contemporary artists and their critical reflections on photojournalism.

The exhibition is accompanied by a multi-authored catalogue, winner of the College Art Association’s 2021 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award.

Text from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Red Jackson, Harlem, New York' 1948

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Red Jackson, Harlem, New York
1948
Gelatin silver print
Princeton University Art Museum
Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Life Magazine (1883-1972) '[Harlem Gang Leader opening spread]' 1948

 

Life Magazine (1883-1972)
[Harlem Gang Leader opening spread]
1948
From LIFE Magazine, November 1, 1948, pages 96-97
Illustrated periodical
Princeton University Art Museum
Photograph by Gordon Parks. Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation
Text © 1948 LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Henri Cartier‑Bresson (French, 1908-2004) 'Untitled (Peiping)' 1948

 

Henri Cartier‑Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
Untitled (Peiping)
1948
Gelatin silver print
Life Picture Collection
© Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Jay Eyerman (American, 1906-1985) '3-D Movie Contact Sheet' 1952

 

Jay Eyerman (American, 1906-1985)
3-D Movie Contact Sheet
1952
Gelatin silver print, contact sheet
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Jay Eyerman (American, 1906-1985) 'Audience watches movie wearing 3‑D spectacles' 1952

 

Jay Eyerman (American, 1906-1985)
Audience watches movie wearing 3‑D spectacles
1952
Gelatin silver print
The Howard Greenberg Collection – Museum purchase with funds donated by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Fritz Goro (American born in Germany, 1901-1986) 'Red laser light focused through a lens blasts a pin‑point hole through a razor blade in a thousandth of a second' 1962

 

Fritz Goro (American born in Germany, 1901-1986)
Red laser light focused through a lens blasts a pin‑point hole through a razor blade in a thousandth of a second
1962
Photograph, colour transparency
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 'Vintage NASA Photograph of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing' 1969

 

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Vintage NASA Photograph of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing
1969
Photograph, chromogenic print
Abbott Lawrence Fund
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956) 'Life Magazine, April 19, 1968' 1995

 

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956)
Life Magazine, April 19, 1968
1995
Suite of three pigment prints on Innova paper
© Alfredo Jaar
Courtesy Alfredo Jaar and Galerie Lelong & Co., New York
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956) 'The Silence of Nduwayezu' 1997

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956) 'The Silence of Nduwayezu' 1997

 

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956)
The Silence of Nduwayezu
1997
One million slides, light table, magnifiers, illuminated wall text
78 7/10 × 118 1/10 in. (200 × 300cm)

 

 

One million slides featuring eyes in close-up of boy who witnessed murder of his parents.

“In 1994, in the face of what he described as “the criminal, barbaric indifference of the so-called world community”, Jaar travelled to Rwanda to witness the horrific aftermath of one of history’s most violent conflicts. Three months prior, an estimated one million Rwandans had been systematically killed during one hundred days of civil unrest. The artist dedicated six years to this project in which he seeks to bring attention to personal stories to pay tribute to the victims of the genocide.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is an installation titled The Silence of Nduwayezu, which comprises one million slides featuring a pair of eyes in close-up. The eyes belong to Nduwayezu, a five year old Tutsi boy who Jaar met at a refugee camp in Rubavu. Like many Rwandan children, Nduwayezu had witnessed the killing of his own parents, a trauma so deep it affected his ability to speak.

“The installation tangibly represents the steadily escalating number of Tutsis killed in the massacre by showing one million identical slides of Nduwayezu’s eyes piled high on a giant light table. […] By borrowing Nduwayezu’s eyes and making them stare at us as if we were gazing in a mirror, Jaar reminds us of the silence of the international community – the absence of images – that exacerbated the calamity and consequences experienced by the people of Rwanda. […] The Silence of Nduwayezu fills the information void left by the silence of the international community, yet at the same time, it is also a meditative gesture, casting doubt on the ability of photographs to ever relay the enormity of raw human experience, or to make it part of the viewer’s world.”

Anonymous text. “Alfredo Jaar: 25 Years Later,” on the Goodman Gallery website January 2022 [Online] Cited 06/12/2022

 

Alexandra Bell (American, b. 1983) 'Gang Leader' 2019

 

Alexandra Bell (American, b. 1983)
Gang Leader
2019
Screenprint, chine colle on paper and archival pigment print on paper
25 x 44 inches each
Courtesy of the Artist
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

“It’s imperative to show how a turn of phrase or a misplaced photo has real consequences for people at the margins who are still suffering under the weight of unfair and biased representation.” ~ Alexandra Bell

.
Presented as a series of boldly reworked New York Times articles, each of the six works exhibited in Counternarratives perform visual examinations that reveal news media’s complicity in perpetuating racial prejudice in America. Through redactions of original text, revised headlines, and margins replete with red sharpie annotations, Bell reveals the implicit biases that control how narratives involving communities of colour are depicted and in turn disseminated under the aegis of journalistic ‘objectivity.’ Bell identifies misleading frameworks and false equivalencies in journalism’s coverage of events like the murder of the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson, MO police officer, Darren Wilson in 2014, which is explored in her work “A Teenager With Promise.” The series demonstrates the extent to which white-centered, sympathetic news coverage remains pervasive within even liberal news organisations. By arguing back and calling out these inequities, Bell gives voice to the ways in which power operates through language to articulate our lived, bodily experiences in the world.

Anonymous text. “Alexandra Bell: Counternarratives,” on the Charlie James Gallery website 2019 [Online] Cited 07/12/2022

 

Alexandra Bell (American, b. 1983) 'A Teenager with Promise (Annotated)' 2018

 

Alexandra Bell (American, b. 1983)
A Teenager with Promise (Annotated)
2018
Screenprint, chine colle on paper and archival pigment print on paper
44 x 35 inches/each
Courtesy of the Artist
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

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18
May
09

Exhibition: ‘Light Years: Photography and Space’ at the National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 8th May – 27th September 2009

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (manufacturer) 'Three Skylab 2 crewmen demonstrate effects of weightlessness' 1973

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Skylab (photographer)
Three Skylab 2 crewmen demonstrate effects of weightlessness
1973
Type C photograph
40.5 x 49.9cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1980

 

 

A small but fun show at NGV International, Melbourne that is drawing in the crowds. A selection of beautiful, breathtaking images from NASA really takes you into space. I had a great time researching and finding some of the images from the exhibition on the NASA Image and Video Library website!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to the National Gallery of Victoria for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available, we shall, in an emotional sense, acquire an additional dimension … and a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.”

.
Sir Fred Hoyle, 1948

 

“Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.”

.
John Dewey, 1859-1952, American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer

 

 

Neil Armstrong. 'Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM)' 1969

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Neil Armstrong (American 1930-2012, photographer)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM)
1969

Note the reflection of the shadow of the astronaut, the photographer and the leg of the LM in the visor of Buzz Aldrin.

 

 

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module LM pilot, walks near the module as a picture is taken of him. Discolouration is visible on his boots and suit from the lunar soil adhering to them. Reflection of the LM and Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong is visible in Aldrin’s helmet visor. Image taken at Tranquility Base during the Apollo 11 Mission. Original film magazine was labeled S. Film Type: Ektachrome EF SO168 colour film on a 2.7-mil Estar polyester base taken with a 60mm lens. Sun angle is Medium. Tilt direction is Northeast NE.

Text from the NASA archives website

 

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, stands on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module, Eagle, during the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, mission commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. While Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the lunar module to explore the Sea of Tranquility, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained in lunar orbit with the Command and Service Module, Columbia. This is the actual photograph [above] as exposed on the moon by Armstrong. He held the camera slightly rotated so that the camera frame did not include the top of Aldrin’s portable life support system (“backpack”). A communications antenna mounted on top of the backpack is also cut off in this picture. When the image was released to the public, it was rotated clockwise to restore the astronaut to vertical for a more harmonious composition, and a black area was added above his head to recreate the missing black lunar “sky”. The edited version [below] is the one most commonly reproduced and known to the public, but the original version, above, is the authentic exposure. A full explanation with illustrations can be seen at the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.

Text from the Wikipedia website. Image from the NASA website.

 

Neil Armstrong (American, 1930-2012 photographer) 'Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM)' 1969

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Neil Armstrong (American, 1930-2012 photographer)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM)
1969
Colour transparency
50.8 × 40.6cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1980

 

 

In 1948, the British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle speculated that “Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available, we shall, in an emotional sense, acquire an additional dimension … and a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” Hoyle encapsulated the immense anticipation that was felt in the mid-twentieth century, when the idea of leaving Earth and viewing it from afar was on the verge of becoming reality.

When astronauts and spacecraft began exploring our solar system, it was the photographs from these voyages which visualised the reality of the epic feats of science, engineering and human imagination. These photographs transcended a strictly scientific purpose and depicted scenes of unexpected and sublime beauty.

This exhibition brings together works from the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria that depict space travel, seen in archival images from NASA, space allegories, and altered perceptions of reality inspired by ideas of science and space. These photographs also show a fascination with light, as both the means and the subject of the image.

The exhibition focuses largely on the 1960s and 1970s – an exciting time for the artistic and scientific exploration of worlds beyond our own. These were ‘light years’, in which people looked up to the skies and beyond, in a real and an imagined sense, and through photography discovered additional dimensions.

Text from the NGV International website

 

Ronnie Van Hout (New Zealander, 1962-, worked in Australia 1998-) 'Visitation' 1992

 

Ronnie Van Hout (New Zealander, b. 1962, worked in Australia 1998-)
Visitation
1992
from the Untitled series 1992
Gelatin silver photograph
31.8 × 47.3cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1996
© Ronnie van Hout

 

 

The work is from van Hout’s Untitled 1992 series. It comprises images made by photographing still life constructed from small scale models. The series is based upon B-grade 1950s and 1960s science fiction films. The photographs in the series show a single word, encapsulating an essential element of the story and constructed in 3-D text, placed within a barren / lunar model landscape.

Text from the National Gallery of Victoria website

 

In his Untitled series, 1992, Ronnie van Hout created models based on the mountains in New Zealand, shown as the sun was setting and they fell into silhouette, and placed a single word (‘rejoice’ or ‘visitation’) in the foreground. The influence of 1960s sci-fi aesthetics is clearly evident in the glowing lights, the desolate ground, and the potential for an otherworldly experience. As with much science fiction, van Hout’s photographs create ambiguous narratives that allude to alien visitation set in a mystical landscape.

Text from the NGV Education kit

 

Raymond De Berquelle. 'Where do you come from? Planet Earth (Self-portrait with radio telescope)' 1968

 

Raymond De Berquelle (Australian, b. 1933)
Where do you come from? Planet Earth (Self-portrait with radio telescope)
1968
Gelatin silver photograph
24.1 × 19.1cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2008
© Raymond de Berquelle

 

Raymond De Berquelle (Australian, 1933- ) 'Space man' 1963

 

Raymond De Berquelle (Australian, b. 1933)
Space man
1963
Gelatin silver photograph
49.8 × 41.0cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1971
© Raymond de Berquelle

 

 

The photographs of Raymond de Berquelle reflect excitement about the possibilities of astronomy and a fascination for science fiction. The radio telescope was a particularly significant emblem of the exploration of the universe. The primary tool of astronomy, it allowed astronomers to see beyond visible light into the expansive electromagnetic spectrum. De Berquelle frequently visited observatories and radio telescopes, including the one at Parkes, outside Canberra, that was one of a network of radio antennas around the world used to receive images from the Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 1969.

To create the fantastical photograph, Space man, Raymond de Berquelle combined different negatives to construct an image that expressed both his expectations of astronomy and his vision of a man in space. De Berquelle describes the process as beginning with an unexpected vision:

[one day] a radio telescope appeared on the horizon with a human being clinging to it as if caught in its net. It was a technician [working on] the huge instrument. In the darkroom later on the negative appeared stronger than the positive image … and an earthy radio telescope technician became a space man.

.
Raymond de Berquelle in correspondence with Maggie Finch, 12 November 2008, quoted in Maggie Finch, Light Years: Photography and space (exh. cat.), National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2009, p. 18.

Text from the NGV Education kit

 

John Wilkins. 'Alien Icicle' c. 1970

 

John Wilkins (Australian, 1946-2017)
Alien Icicle
c. 1970
Gelatin silver photograph on composition board
57.6 × 46.5cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1971
© John Wilkins

 

 

The photograms of John Wilkins reveal methods of abstraction and distortion (the hallmarks of psychedelia) to produce lush, exploding, organic forms. Wilkins uses the photogram technique to record the object (in this case, liquid) directly onto film, which was later enlarged and printed. Wilkins’s photographs resemble cosmic worlds, and he has described how the chemical patterns were directly influenced by the psychedelic patterns meant to simulate LSD trips that were projected onto the walls of nightclubs in the 1960s and 1970s. They possess a mysterious quality that transcends a distinction between art and science.

Text from the NGV Education kit

 

Sir George F. Pollock (born France, English 1928-2016) 'Energy bubble' 1966

 

Sir George F. Pollock (English born France, 1928-2016)
Energy bubble
1966
Cibachrome photograph
24.0 × 34.6cm irreg. (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by the National Gallery Society of Victoria, 1972
© George F. Pollock

 

 

“Light is the energy that maintains life on earth, through the plants’ marvellous process of photosynthesis: no light, no plants; no plants, no animals, and no us. This is the secret of life, and I want to celebrate this life-giving energy in images of, about, and made by light, in other words in photographs.”

.
Sir George Pollock, 2009

 

Space exploration opened up new ways of seeing and imagining the world and created new perceptions of our place in the universe.

Parallel to the exploration of outer space taking place under the auspices of science, explorations of space in other realms were contributing to new and altered perceptions of the world, and inspiring new forms of art and artmaking.

During the second half of the twentieth century, many artists rejected the illusionistic representation of three-dimensional space and form which had dominated western art for centuries and opted for a flattened pictorial space. In contrast to the closed compositions traditionally found in western art, artists such as Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956) worked with ‘open compositions’ which created the idea that the visual elements in an image extended beyond the confines of the picture space.

The mysterious world of ‘inner space’, including the subconscious, and the senses, was also important territory for exploration, especially within the ‘hippie’ subculture that emerged in the US in the mid-1960s. Psychedelic patterns, inspired by the hallucinations and mind-altering experiences produced by drugs such as LSD, and characterised by wild patterning and colours and dazzling light effects, had a significant effect on the art and popular culture of the period.

In 1962, English artist George Pollock commenced a conceptual photographic project comprising a series of abstract photographs that he called ‘vitrographs’. This term referred to the process of creating images by photographing pieces of glass that have been lit by a number of coloured lights. Pollock used pieces of cullet, the thick lumps of glass left in a kiln at the end of a melt.

By lighting the cullet from different angles and photographing the pieces at close range, Pollock was able to produce patterned, abstract images with an ethereal quality reminiscent of solar eruptions and the nebulae of outer space.

Pollock was influenced by scientific studies, particularly in the field of biology, as well as the literature of science fiction and the abstraction found in the art of surrealism and abstract expressionism. He was interested in using photography to reveal things that otherwise may have been overlooked.

Text from the NGV Education kit

 

Sir George F. Pollock (born France, English 1928-2016) 'Galactic event' 1966

 

Sir George F. Pollock (English born France, 1928-2016)
Galactic event
1966
Cibachrome photograph
34.3 × 24.0cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by the National Gallery Society of Victoria, 1972
© George F. Pollock

 

 

A significant number of the works in Light Years: Photography and space have been acquired by the NGV from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). The United States government established NASA on 29 July 1958 as the agency responsible for the development of the nation’s new space program.

The 1950s and 1960s were a period of intense activity in space exploration, led by the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The US and the Soviet Union emerged as the two most powerful forces in the world after the Second World War. During the Cold War that followed, these two superpowers competed for political, military and scientific dominance, fuelling a ‘space race’. The space race effectively began when the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite to orbit Earth, Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and reached a milestone when NASA succeeded in landing humans on the moon on 20 July 1969 (in Australia, 21 July 1969).

The Apollo missions, in particular the Apollo 11 mission of 1969 that saw Neil Armstrong become the first man to step foot on the moon, have assumed enormous importance in the popular imagination in relation to space travel.

However, since the late 1950s NASA has been involved in many different projects, involving numerous manned and unmanned missions. These projects have ranged from exploring Earth’s orbit and mapping the lunar surface to penetrating greater and greater distances into space and exploring other planets in our solar system, including Mars, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter. These missions played a critical role in extending our knowledge of the solar system.

While information and photographs of the Russian space program were closely guarded and rarely released to the public, NASA strategically managed the publication of images drawn from its vast photographic archive, and this had a very positive impact on the public reception of the space program.

Interestingly, it was not a priority in the early days of NASA to take photographs during missions. However, the importance of photography was soon recognised and, along with rigorous flight training, astronauts who piloted the various space missions were given extensive photographic training. Unmanned probes were equipped with remotely operated cameras, allowing those back on Earth to see details of these voyages. Increasingly sophisticated technology, including advanced imaging techniques such as X-ray, ultraviolet and infrared photography, has also been employed to capture different phenomena.

The photographs in this exhibition include images taken on manned and unmanned space voyages, from the Gemini space walks of 1965 to the Pioneer missions of 1979.

While these space photographs clearly serve a documentary purpose and are a tool of scientific research, they have a unique beauty and evoke something of the mystery and wonder of space.

The NGV acquired the NASA space photographs in two groups, the first in 1971 and the second in 1980. The acquisition submission of 1980, prepared by the former Curator of Photography, Jennie Boddington, noted:

“Apart from the considerations of technology one cannot help but speculate on the philosophical and metaphysical questions which spring to mind when one sees so beautifully presented the form of nebulae which may be light years away from our small earth, or when we see spacemen performing strange exercises in a Skylab.”

Text from the NGV Education kit

 

James McDivitt (American, 1929- , photographer) 'Astronaut Edward H. White, Gemini 4, June 1965' 1965

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
James McDivitt (American, b. 1929, photographer)
Astronaut Edward H. White, Gemini 4, June 1965
1965
Type C photograph laminated on aluminium
39.0 × 49.1cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by Photimport, 1971

 

 

This photograph by astronaut James McDivitt is taken from inside the spacecraft on the Gemini 4 mission as it orbited Earth. It shows astronaut Edward White in his spacesuit and golden visor, ‘floating’ high above the Pacific Ocean. White is attached to the spacecraft by a twisting eight-metre tether and holds a manoeuvring unit. Below him is the extraordinary vision of the vivid blue curvature of Earth and, beyond, the black abyss of deep space.

Text from the NGV Education kit

 

Apollo 12. 'View of two U.S. spacecraft on the surface of the moon, taken during the second Apollo 12 extravehicular activity (EVA-2)' 1969

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Apollo 12 (photographer)
View of two U.S. spacecraft on the surface of the moon, taken during the second Apollo 12 extravehicular activity (EVA-2)
[Astronaut inspecting Surveyor 3, Unmanned craft resting on moon since April 1967]
1969
Gelatin silver photograph
49.0 × 39.0cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by Photimport, 1971

 

 

This unusual photograph, taken during the second Apollo 12 extravehicular activity (EVA), shows two U.S. spacecraft on the surface of the moon. The Apollo 12 Lunar Module (LM) is in the background. The unmanned Surveyor 3 spacecraft is in the foreground. The Apollo 12 LM, with astronauts Charles Conrad Jr. and Alan L. Bean aboard, landed about 600 feet from Surveyor 3 in the Ocean of Storms. The television camera and several other pieces were taken from Surveyor 3 and brought back to Earth for scientific examination. Here, Conrad examines the Surveyor’s TV camera prior to detaching it. Astronaut Richard F. Gordon Jr. remained with the Apollo 12 Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit while Conrad and Bean descended in the LM to explore the moon. Surveyor 3 soft-landed on the moon on April 19, 1967.

Text from the NASA Image and Video Library website

 

Charles Conrad. 'Astronaut Bean, Apollo XII, November 1969, on moon' 1969

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Charles Conrad (American, 1930-1999 photographer)
Astronaut Bean, Apollo XII, November 1969, on moon
1969
Gelatin silver photograph
49.0 x 39.0cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by Photimport, 1971

 

Apollo 8 crew (photographer) 'The Earth showing Southern Hemisphere' 1969

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Apollo 8 crew (photographer)
The Earth showing Southern Hemisphere
1969
Type C photograph
48.9 × 38.9cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by Photimport, 1971

 

 

Project Apollo (1968-1972) sent astronauts greater distances from Earth in the quest to land humans on the Moon. The further they travelled also, crucially, allowed for more complete photographic views of Earth. In this photograph, Earth is shown as a delicate, blue, cloud-covered dot hanging in infinite space.

The spectacle of Earth suspended in a black void had a profound effect on humanity. Earth was no longer seen to be our complete ‘world’ but was recognised as a small planet spinning in the solar system. As awareness of the vulnerability and limits of the planet grew, photographs such as this one formed a strong catalyst for environmental movements.

Photographs from the Apollo missions were also used to promote the inaugural Earth Day on 22 April 1970.

Text from the NGV Education kit

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (manufacturer) 'Photo collage of Jupiter and its four largest moons; from early March Voyager I photos' 1979

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Voyager 1 (photographer)
Photo collage of Jupiter and its four largest moons; from early March Voyager I photos
1979
Type C photograph
51.0 x 40.5cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1980

 

While Jupiter had been studied through telescopes for centuries, the Voyager robotic probes that were launched into space in 1977 revealed new information about the planet and its moon system. In March 1979, the Voyager 1 mission took images of the four largest moons of Jupiter. These images were made into a photographic collage, so that the moons are seen in their relative positions (although not to scale). NASA’s arrangement of images in this montage (and others) essentially created an aesthetic rendering of scientific reality.

Text from the NGV Education kit

 

Pioneer 11. 'Image of Saturn and it's Moon Titan' 1979

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Pioneer 11
 (photographer)
Image of Saturn and it’s moon Titan

1979
Type C photograph
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1980

 

 

Light Years: Photography and Space will feature around 50 works drawn entirely from the NGV Collection. Focusing largely on the 1960s and ’70s, the exhibition will include photographs taken during early NASA missions. The exhibition celebrates the International Year of Astronomy and the 40th anniversary of the first Moon walk.

Maggie Finch, Assistant Curator, Photography, NGV said that cameras were used to give form to both the fantasies and realities of space travel, revealing extra dimensions and animating space.

“The 1960s and ’70s were an exciting time for the artistic and scientific exploration of worlds beyond our own. They were ‘light years’ in which people looked up to the skies and beyond, in a real and an imagined sense, and through photography discovered additional dimensions. The photographs in ‘Light Years’ represent a giant leap forward in the collective journey into space. They retain the extraordinary sense of awe and wonderment that encapsulates our first encounters with a larger universe,” said Ms Finch.

A highlight of the exhibition is a collection of more than 30 NASA photographs, on display for the first time in over twenty years. Among the NASA selection are many celebrated space photographs, including the iconic image of Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr standing on the lunar surface, taken in 1969 by Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the Moon.

These remarkable photographs will be on display alongside works by Sir George Pollock, John Wilkins Raymond de Berquelle, Dacre Stubbs, Val Foreman, Susan Fereday, Olive Cotton and Ronnie van Hout – artists who have been inspired by, and have responded to, the mysteries of space and science.

Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV said: “The photography from the NASA missions of the 1960s and ’70s has a fascinating yet nostalgic quality, particularly when one considers the advances in both science and photographic technology since that time. These early photographs of space changed our awareness and offered a new understanding of the Earth, the universe and our shared existence within it. Coinciding with the International Year of Astronomy and the 40th anniversary of the first Moon walk, this exhibition will delight viewers, providing a glimpse into another dimension,” said Ms Lindsay.

Press release from the National Gallery of Victoria

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (manufacturer) 'Solar Flare recorded by NASA Skylab, December 1973' 1973

 

NASA, Washington, D.C. (United States est. 1958, manufacturer)
Skylab (photographer)
Solar Flare recorded by NASA Skylab, December 1973
1973
Colour transparency
50.8 × 40.6cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1980

 

 

This photograph of the sun, taken on Dec. 19, 1973, during the third and final manned Skylab mission (Skylab 4), shows one of the most spectacular solar flares ever recorded, spanning more than 588,000 kilometres (365,000 miles) across the solar surface. The last picture, taken some 17 hours earlier, showed this feature as a large quiescent prominence on the eastern side of the sun. The flare gives the distinct impression of a twisted sheet of gas in the process of unwinding itself. Skylab photographs such quiescent features erupt from the sun. In this photograph the solar poles are distinguished by a relative absence of supergranulation network, and a much darker tone than the central portions of the disk. Several active regions are seen on the eastern side of the disk. The photograph was taken in the light of ionised helium by the extreme ultraviolet spectroheliograph instrument of the United States Naval Research Laboratory.

Text from the NASA Image and Video Library website

 

 

National Gallery of Victoria International
180, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne

Opening hours:
Daily 10am – 5pm

NGV International website

All NASA images are from the NASA Image and Video Library website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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