portrait

Posted by Ellen

A portrait shot and app-ified with a cellphone.

Posted by Ellen

But what's that car doing on the boardwalk?

Posted by Ellen

A woman and her dog, by Gordon Parks. New York, May 1943.

Posted by Ellen

We know four small facts about the life of this boy, David Leung.

1. He was born in 1893 in San Francisco.

2. In 1911, he was photographed by eccentric New England art photographer F. Holland Day; like millions of American children of that era, young David wore a sailor suit for his portrait, but unlike all the millions of others, he actually smiled for the camera.

3. When he registered for the draft in World War I, David listed his residence as Manchester, New Hampshire, and wrote that he was of Mongolian descent.

4. In 1920, census-takers found David Leung living in Boston and working as a restaurant manager.

The photographer, F. Holland Day, was probably the leading American photographer of the early twentieth century and the first to pursue photography as an artistic endeavor. He was also fascinated by the immigrants then flooding American cities and spent much of his time with immigrant children, photographing them but also reading to them and tutoring them. He mentored a number of children in Boston, notably a Lebanese boy named Kahlil Gibran.

Posted by Ellen

We all live in a yellow submarine, absolutely including my mother and yellow flowers upon yellow flowers. The theme of this year's flower show–Brilliant, as in British–was in the air everywhere, as the lads from Liverpool sang about Strawberry Fields  and "Doing the garden, digging the weeds...." There was also a yellow submarine sort of thing out on the floor, pictured here.

Most of the cultural references were literary, however, as opposed to musical. There were Peter Rabbit cottage gardens and Harry Potter owlish gardens, and allusion after allusion to Alice and the rabbit and the queen. There was a Jane Austen dooryard with a calling card left in the door; the name engraved on it in flowery script couldn't quite be made out from behind the picket fence that kept spectators out of the flower beds.

Posted by Ellen

The little girl with the big grin, shown here in Smith County, Tennessee in 1906 or 1907, lived until 2011, when she was 105 years old. The grandchild who submitted the photo to Shorpy titled it "A Rare Smile."

Posted by Ellen

"I don't know," noted the photographer, who calls himself I Shot Baltimore. "Dude bought these shoes. I don't know wtf to say. Whatever."

Posted by Ellen

For a second look at photographer Irina Werning's Back to the Future portraits, we have Matias, on the beach in Uruguay, in 1977 and again thirty-three years later in 2010. The adult Matias is a reasonably attractive young man, but even though he's not wearing children's clothes and his pose here isn't flamboyantly juvenile, there's something almost creepy about a grownup presenting himself as an adorable little boy.

Posted by Ellen

Here is Lali in Buenos Aires, the little girl in 1978 and the big girl thirty-two years later, in 2010. Argentinian photographer Irina Werning has published a series of such portraits, which she calls Back to the Future. The exercise requires a degree of attention to detail--re-creating the pose, facial expression, clothing,setting, lighting, and color tone of the original--that Werning says it taught her just how obsessive she is about her work.

We'll look at another one tomorrow.

Posted by Ellen

 

Ruben used to smile for the camera, but that was back when he was little and didn't know any better. Now that he's a big boy, he's studied his face in the mirror from a metaphysical perspective and divined the essence of his nature--to wit, the real Ruben, the Ruben reflected in the mirror, does not go through life wearing a smiley face. The real Ruben is a serious young man, and if you're pointing a camera in his direction, you'd best be prepared to capture the essence of Ruben, as we see here.

At least, this is how he explains it. It seems that the universe of three-year-olds is divided into two categories: clowns, and philosopher-princes. Ruben has taken his stand.