AUGUST 16, 2013
SÒRTS E ÒSSAGÒR: REVISITING THE PAST
POSTED BY ELISSA CURTIS
When he was in his early twenties, the photographer Gareth Phillips spent summers in the Aquitaine region of France with his friends. “Coming from the cold shores of Wales, the possibility of long, hot summers and surf motivated this motley crew,” he told me. “Living like wild hobos, we were in our element.”
Fifteen years later, Phillips and his crew returned to Aquitaine, which was still “a happy source of daydreaming.” They rented a château just north of the popular surf town Hossegor, “something that, as twentysomethings, we had only dreamt of doing. Little things, such as the texture of sand on the beach, the smell of the pine trees and their influence on my dreams, all invoked this reminiscent melancholy. We were visiting those summers again. We were back.”
Here’s a look. Click on the red arrows for a full-screen view.
Photographs by Gareth Phillips.
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AUGUST 15, 2013
ERIN BRETHAUER PHOTOGRAPHS CAMP LAKEY GAP
POSTED BY THEA TRAFF
Last week, the photographer Erin Brethauer hosted The New Yorkers Instagram feed from Camp Lakey Gap, a summer camp in Black Mountain, North Carolina, for children and adults with autism. Brethauer documented the campers’ range of experiences, from quiet moments alone to expressions of deep, shared affection. “Lakey Gap pushes many of the campers to break from their shells and develop relationships that sometimes elude them in everyday life,” Brethauer explained. “It’s a special thing to witness.”
Here’s a look. Click on the red arrows for a full-screen view.
Addie and her counselor.
Bridget’s rules for her week at camp.
Noah brushes his teeth.
Bridget holds her Sharpie markers while riding in the canoe.
McAlister and Angus walk to the pool.
McAlister rests with Angus.
Spencer touches Laura’s hair.
Camp highlight: the epic Slip ’n Slide.
Tess walks to the sensory garden.
Bridget likes to help lead the camp songs.
Josh swims along the bottom of the pool.
Bridget watches her fellow-campers.
Tess peeks out from the fort that she and Jaden made in their bunk room.
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AUGUST 13, 2013
SEPTEMBER PREVIEW: JOSEF BREITENBACH
POSTED BY JESSIE WENDER
As fall approaches, New York galleries take down their summertime group shows and gear up for their fall programing. In the course of the next three weeks, I’ll preview a handful of September exhibits that I’m especially excited about.
The first is a forthcoming exhibition, at Gitterman Gallery, of pictures by the photographer Josef Breitenbach (1896-1984). Below is a selction of Breitenbach’s photos, followed by a brief Q. and A. with Tom Gitterman, the owner of Gitterman Gallery.
Click on the red arrows for a full-screen view.
Tell me a little bit about Josef Breitenbach’s work and about this exhibit
“Portrait, Paris” (1933-39)
“Carnival, Germany” (c.1930)
“Annabella” (1933-39)
“Aristide Maillol, Marley-Le-Roy” (1934)
“Sculpture Academy, Paris” (c. 1935)
“Max Ernst and his wife, Marie-Berthe Aurenche, Paris” (1936)
“Sheila, New York” (c. 1942)
“El (Hochbahn), New York” (1942)
“Untitled” (c. 1946-49)
“Untitled” (c. 1946-49)
“Light in the Woods” (1930)
Tell me a little bit about Josef Breitenbach’s work and about this exhibit.
Breitenbach is best known for his sensitive and dynamic portraits of artistic luminaries and for his early use of color as an expressive element in photography. We are trying to expand the understanding of Breitenbach’s work, which relates to Pictorialism, modernism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. Breitenbach used whatever means was at his disposal, switching between traditional and experimental processes and employing a wide range of styles. This selection also emphasizes Breitenbach’s largely unknown body of cameraless photographs, made between 1946 and 1949, after Breitenbach lived in avant-garde Paris, in the nineteen-thirties, and taught at Black Mountain College, in 1944, for Josef Albers.
What is important to know about Breitenbach’s life and the ways in which it informed his work?
Breitenbach was raised with a profound respect for the history of art and culture, and he worked with a conscious understanding and appreciation for many different styles of artistic expression. His family had a wine business, which provided him with the means to travel outside of Munich, his home town, and experience more culture and artistic ideas. Living in Paris, where he spent time with Bertolt Brecht, Max Ernst, James Joyce, Aristide Maillol, and Wassily Kandinsky, must have had a huge impact on him. I also think that being interned, in 1939, escaping via Marseille, in 1941, and arriving in New York, in 1942, must have profoundly affected him.
Anything additional you would like to share about Josef Breitenbach, his work, or the exhibition?
It’s interesting to note that in addition to being Jewish, Breitenbach was a left-wing political activist with strong Socialist ideals that attracted the attention of the Nazis. In the essay “Josef Breitenbach: Manifest Beauty,” Larisa Dryansky writes, “In August 1933, a bank of SA trooper’s banged on the door of his studio. Thrusting under their noses a portrait of Von Papen he’d taken the year before, and a letter of thanks he’d received in exchange, Breitenbach convinced the gullible bullies that he was under the former chancellor’s protection. With his passport about to expire, Breitenbach made his way to France a few days later, joining the cohort of German exiles seeking refuge in Paris.”
All photographs copyright Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Foundation New York. Courtesy Gitterman Gallery.
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AUGUST 9, 2013
THE WATERGATE SCANDAL
POSTED BY HANNAH CHOI
Thirty-nine years ago today, Richard Nixon became the first President of the United States to resign from the office, following the political turmoil of the Watergate scandal. In the December 3, 1973, issue of The New Yorker, Richard H. Rovere wrote, “ ‘I’m not a crook,’ Richard Nixon has been saying over and over again in one way or another to the citizens of the country once held by Abraham Lincoln to be ‘the last, best hope of earth.’ It is a performance that demeans him and all of us.”
The nation watched the scandal unfold as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, of the Washington Post, broke the news and continued to report the story, eventually leading to Nixon’s resignation. President Gerald Ford issued a pardon to Nixon a month later. This year, coincidentally, the anniversary comes during the same week that the family-owned Post was bought by Jeff Bezos. Here is a selection of photographs from the Watergate era.
U.S. President Richard Nixon. Photograph by Rene Burri/Magnum.
Police and telephone men check out the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex, in Washington, D.C., after five men were arrested during a break-in attempt on Saturday, June 17, 1972. Authorities called it an elaborate plot to bug the office and said the men had photographic equipment and electronic listening devices. Photograph by Ken Feil/Washington Post/Getty.
The Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, who broke the Watergate story and wrote the book “All the Presidents Men,” 1974. Photograph by Wayne Miller/Magnum.
Headline on the front page of the Washington Post: “Nixon Resigns.” Photograph by Alex Webb/Magnum.
Nixon and Gerald Ford discuss the transfer of the Presidency, August 8, 1974. Photograph by Corbis.
On the morning after announcing his resignation, Nixon and his wife, Pat, walk to the Marine One helicopter before returning to their home in California. Photograph by Alex Webb/Magnum.
New Yorkers read the electronic news ticker in Times Square, which announces, “Nixon says he will resign tomorrow,” August 8, 1974. Photograph by Barton Silverman/Redux.
Nixon, standing with his son-in-law, David Eisenhower, bids goodbye to the personnel of the White House, August 12, 1974. Photograph by Keystone-France/Getty.
A demonstrator carries a sign outside the White House on the eve of Nixon’s resignation, August 8, 1974. Photograph by Alex Webb/Magnum.
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AUGUST 8, 2013
TRACKING A MEDICAL MYSTERY
POSTED BY ELISSA CURTIS
In this week’s issue of the magazine, Elif Batuman writes about travelling with her father, a nephrologist who has been studying a mysterious, fatal kidney disease known as Balkan endemic nephropathy, or BEN. The disease, which appears in agrarian communities along the Danube River, has stumped researchers since it was first documented, in the nineteen-fifties. “Because BEN takes decades to develop, investigators are always following a cold trail,” Batuman writes, “and this makes the disease a particularly intractable puzzle. Animals don’t live long enough to get it, and respond to toxic substances differently from humans, which limits the possibilities of experimental research. The villages affected are in a demographically fragmented region, fraught with wars, revolutions, genocides, and totalitarianism—all of which have hampered research and medical recordkeeping.”
Carolyn Drake, a photographer whose work, from her book, “Two Rivers,” was featured by the magazine in a recent portfolio, traced Batuman’s steps in Croatia and Bosnia for this piece. “Trying to photograph a disappearing disease was not an easy task,” she told me, “but the lack of literal content opened the door to visual suggestion. I shot cemeteries, death records in a monastery archive, dialysis patients in hospital beds, stone wells, doctors collecting urine and blood samples from potential patients, jars of diseased kidneys, rain coming down on fields of wheat.”
Here’s a look. Click on the red arrows for a full-screen view.
A patient suffering from Balkan endemic nephropathy receives dialysis at a clinic in Slavonski Brod, Croatia. For patients with diseases like BEN, dialysis rarely buys more than five to ten years.
The Sava River, in Dubočac, Croatia, along the border with Bosnia. Like most BEN regions, this one is prone to flooding.
Kidneys of BEN victims, preserved in formalin-filled jars at a hospital in Slavonski Brod. BEN-afflicted kidneys are notably atrophied; some are as small as walnuts.
Dr. Ivana Vukovia and medical students from Zagreb are following up on a medical survey studying the progression of BEN by collecting urine and blood samples from people in endemic villages near Slavonski Brod.
A cemetery in Croatia. Without a kidney transplant or treatment by dialysis, patients with BEN usually die within a year.
A doctor collects aristolochia near a medical clinic in Croatia. According to the leading theory, poisoning by aristolochic acid, a toxin found in the plant, causes BEN.
Medical students from Zagreb draw blood from a woman whose grandmother died of kidney disease. Her descendants were Ukrainian, which they think proves that BEN is an environmental disease and not genetic.
A statuette of the Virgin Mary on a grave in Croatia.
A man with BEN at home in Croatia. His parents and his sister also had the disease.
A BEN patient finishes lunch while receiving dialysis at a clinic in Croatia. Coppery skin discoloration is one of the symptoms of the disease.
A wheat field in Slovanski Kobas. Some think BEN came because the weed aristolochia was growing in wheatfields and cornfields. It has declined, they say, because farmers now use pesticide in the fields and import much of their grain from other areas.
Cena Beljan, in the village of Bukovica, was born in 1936, and has been on dialysis for ten years. “I don’t think about being sick,” she says. Her sisters and two of her husband’s sisters died of BEN.
Books stored in a Franciscan monastery in Bosnia. The villages affected by BEN are in a region fraught with wars, revolutions, genocides, and totalitarianism—all of which have hampered research and medical recordkeeping. Old tomes like these, some of which are death registries, may offer information on early cases of the disease.
A cemetery in Croatia, as reflected on a polished gravestone, on All Saints’ Day, when many families visit to pray and remember the deceased.
Photographs by Carolyn Drake/Panos.
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