Chicago by Stanley Kubrick

I found these beautiful pictures in an article on Mashable.
It was 1949, Mr. Kubrick was 21 years old and he was working as a journalistic photographer for Look Magazine. In this wide variety of subjects, (school children, steel workers, models, commuters, etc), I can see an exciting post-war Chicago characterised by striking contradictions, a renewed freedom and big hopes for the future.
I particularly like the first six and the portrait of the African-American family. I think, we can all agree that the kid already had talent 😛

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A story that could be true, by William Stafford

If you were exchanged in huge cradle and
Your real mother died
Without ever telling the story
Then no one knows your name,
And somewhere in huge world
Your father is lost and needs you
But you are far away.

He can never find
How true are, how ready.
When the great wind comes
And the robberies of the rain
You stand on the corner shivering.
The people who go by – –
You wonder at their calm.

They miss the whisper that runs
Any day in your mind,
“Who are you really, wanderer?”- –
And the answer you have to give
No matter how dark and cold
The world around you is:
“Maybe I’m the king.”

Italy’s independence in postwar photography

An article by Rena Silverman published on Lens, a The New York Times’ blog.

The Italian photographer Ugo Zovetti was known for his sense of realism. In a 1958 photograph, he captured a group of four street musicians, all wearing signs around their necks that declare, “BLIND.” It’s reminiscent of Paul Strand’s “Blind Woman,” a 1969 photo that shows the subject’s affected eye and evokes sympathy. The blind men in Zovetti’s image, in contrast, are simply playing on the street.

A picture like that reminds us of Neo-Realism (Neorealismo), the important Italian film movement from the same era, which is evident in “Mid-Century Postwar Italian Photography,” currently on exhibit at the Keith De Lellis Gallery in Manhattan.

“There are parallels between Italian photography and film, whether you are just looking at the subject matter or the way the photographs themselves look,” said Beth Iskander, vice president and senior specialist of photographs at Sotheby’s, who cited Vittorio De Sica’s “The Bicycle Thief” (1948) as an example. “All of these had to do with Italy’s sense of place in the world. Poverty and jobless, and the importance of the land.”

Unlike its prewar isolation, Italy’s chaotic postwar climate allowed for creative independence. For photography, this meant there were no formal schools, but important amateur photo clubs that started to form in the late 1940s, like La Bussola, La Gondola and La FIAF (Federazione Italiana Associazioni Fotografiche).

“The common basis for us young people at that time who chose photography as a means of expression was the desire to break with the past aesthetics and to propose a new point of view,” said Nino Migliori, who has two photographs in the show.

Looking at the exhibition, it is impossible to ignore the similarities among the 34 silver-gelatin prints, even if they are by 27 artists. They share a striking sense of graphic experimentation, where many frames are filled with vast white space and mere specks of sharp, black figures.

Gianni Ranati’s “Il Palloncino Rosso” (“The Red Balloon”) is a vertical photograph with over 95 percent white sky. Three small dark figures stare up from the bottom of the frame at a grayish balloon, which is seconds from floating up past the edge of the moment. Meanwhile, Vittorio Ronconi’s “Bonaccia” (“Dead Calm”) is a high-contrast print, almost completely white, except for a small black ship just to the right of the center and what looks like a buoy to its left.

Others are just as technical in composition, but without the white space. The show’s poster is a photograph of St. Mark’s Square in Venice by Gianni Berengo Gardin. Shot from above, this is a scene of two ant-size figures walking single file, traversing the frame in pouring rain. The first figure leans into an umbrella. A moiré of rainwater coats the ground. It is a dreary, beautiful scene full of off-whites, grays and blacks. It is sharp in focus, but soft in tone.

The photograph was taken in 1959 before Mr. Berengo Gardin called himself a professional photographer. He would later be exposed to the works of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans because of an uncle who had worked at the International Center of Photography in New York. Upon hearing about his nephew’s growing fascination with photography, the uncle asked Cornell Capa, then the director of the I.C.P., to send some photo books to Italy.

Now in his mid-80s, Mr. Berengo Gardin has many books, a World Press Photo award and a Lucie Award under his belt.

Other images in the De Lellis exhibition maintain a similar scale of small figure to large space, but have a greater emphasis on the land. Guido Fumo’s “Paesaggio” (“Landscape”) shows a few shades of farmland with four tiny, scattered sheep. Only after looking for a few moments will you spy a small person at the frame’s bottom.

According to Ms. Iskander, these scenes where a figure is flanked by road or farm are hallmarks of Italian photography, particularly that which came before the mid-1970s.

“The land is important to Italians. They seek substance from it,” she said. “There is a real sense of place with these images.”

Even the street scenes in the exhibition — though captured with a tighter lens — show a sense of place. Bicycles whirling through the frame, past the point of exposure, leave only the setting in focus. But there are also snapshots of everyday Italian culture: photographs of street musicians, people going to work, children and nuns, lovers at night, cars, canals and marching bands.

Short-lived but highly influential, this postwar movement was somewhat of a reaction against fascism and the associated aesthetic values. Artists wanted to move away from heroic propaganda and ideology and instead focus more on the reality of the situation — in this case, a reconstruction period of social, political and industrial change.

One of Mr. Miglioro’s photographs, “Venezia,” is a square cut into vertical thirds. There is a wall on the left, a canal in the middle and a group of stacked posters advertising Kranebet liquor and Persil laundry detergent on the right. He took this image in Venice near Ponto del Lovo, where he often traveled with other artists to visit Peggy Guggenheim’s house.

“This photograph reveals my taste, likings and ideas,” Mr. Migliori said from his studio in Bologna, the city where he was born. “I liked this view where you can appreciate the commonplace of the Venice canals together with walls scraped by the passage of time and those discordant posters on the right. It shows everything far from the stereotypic views of that famous town.”

Mr. Migliori is in his late 80s, but he still photographs actively. “I have a lot of projects to realize,” he said. “I need at least 30 years or more!”

“Mid-Century Postwar Italian Photography” is on exhibit at the Keith De Lellis Gallery in Manhattan and will up until May 17.

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Saul Leiter

“I must admit that I am not a member of the ugly school. I have a great regard for certain notions of beauty even though to some it is an old fashioned idea. Some photographers think that by taking pictures of human misery, they are addressing a serious problem. I do not think that misery is more profound than happiness.”

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New York City haiku

New York City in 17 syllables

For National Poetry Month, The New York Times asked readers to write haiku about the city: three lines of five, seven and five syllables. The response — more than 2,800 submissions in 10 days — was as impressive, and as exhausting, as the city itself. Writers were asked to stick to six subjects: the island, strangers, solitude, commuting, 6 a.m. and kindness. Beyond that, poems could be fashioned from whatever inspiration the five boroughs provided.

I’ve never been to New York, but it looks like I have to, because lately I keep on reading, hearing or seeing something related to this fascinating city 🙂 This poetry contest was such a great idea and I enjoyed reading these haiku in the Danish sun with my cup of coffee. Some of them made me smile, some made me think and some of them awoke that mixed sensation of solitude and belonging, I was feeling when I was living in London.
Here are some of my favourite:

(Kindness)
Behind him a trail
Of bread crumbs, popcorn and seeds.
He makes birds happy

(commute)
Morning Q commute
Has the best smell of the day:
Coffee and shampoo.

(Island)
If build and destroy
are music notes, our island
Is a symphony.

(Island)
If jackhammers wrote
Code, our island would launch a
Facebook every day

(kindness)
The New Yorker is
Not kind, they say. I say, he
Just left it at home.

(solitude)
This concrete, these dreams
Crafted before I got here
Gone before I left.

(strangers)
We can spend the night
Together, but I expect
Bagels in the morning.

(solitude)
On the roof, standing,
Flying his kite in the sky
The street disappears.

(6 a.m.)
Hidden among the
Sleepwalking, caffeine zombies.
A morning person.

(strangers)
I know you, don’t I?
You were me five years ago,
Dreaming of New York.

Alice in kilt-land

It doesn’t get more geeky than this:) Bought on Amazon:)

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Alzheimer

Science Daily:

Intravenous Vaccination Promotes Brain Plasticity and Prevents Memory Loss in Alzheimer’s Disease

L’Eco di Bergamo:

Alzheimer, la svolta é made in Bergamo