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June 12th, 2013

Abigail Heyman on Women, Photography, and Being a Women Photographer

butcherbakercabinetmakerheymanIn her obituary, photojournalist Abigail Heyman, who died May 28, was remembered for her pioneering work on the changing roles of women.

She produced her landmark books  Growing Up Female and Butcher, Baker, Cabinetmaker in the 1970s, a time when artists, academics and social scientists were still being told that devoting time and attention to so-called women’s issues could be a career killer.

I found an interview with Heyman in the 1994 book Truth Needs No Ally: Inside Photojournalism, by the legendary photo editor Howard Chapnick. Chapnick interviewed Heyman and other women photojournalists, including Susan Meiselas, Lori Grinker and Donna Ferrato about their work and the discrimination they faced. Heyman’s answers were direct, honest, illuminating and smart.

Here’s are brief excerpts from the interview:

  Q: Is it difficult for people to get past the stereotypes of women only as fashion, portrait, or social happening photographers?
  Heyman: Is that like being just a housewife? That is, should we feel embarrassed about not being interested in “more important things” that would matter to men? I do a lot of work about social events that I think are deeply important. I don’t feel stereotyped in that. I often feel treated as though what I am doing is unimportant to a male oriented world, which of course, includes women.
  Q: Are women photographers more inclined to choose different subjects to photograph than men?
  Heyman: Yes, but that has been severely tempered by their knowing that, to be successful, they have to photograph the subjects that men think are important. Being a woman influenced my ideas about what I wanted to photograph. My interest in women’s issues, in family issues, in social relationships came out of my experience of growing up as a female. I instinctively incorporated what has recently in the psychological field become known as “women’s values” and those are deeply my values. The fact that those stories have been considered unimportant by a male-dominated society, of which photojournalism is only one small part, is the discrimination I feel, not the fact that I only receive assignments to photograph these issues.

Here’s a quote from the interview that made me laugh out loud. It was a laugh of recognition. I suspect women in any field will know what Heyman was talking about here.

  Q: Do you think that some women use their sexuality to gain access?
  Heyman. Yes. And so do men. Women flirting to gain access are called “using their sexuality to gain greater access,” while men flirting to get access are called “charming.” I think it was an early feeling I had that I wanted to avoid accusation so badly that I never learned how to flirt or be charming.

Related article:

Obituary: Photojournalist Abigail Heyman, Documenter of Women’s Changing Roles, 70

March 7th, 2013

Love Poem for Rémi Ochlik, the Late Photojournalist

©Lucas Dolega

©Lucas Dolega

Obituaries of photojournalists killed while covering conflicts reduce their lives to bare facts: where they are from, what stories they covered and for whom, and how they died. Often left out are the details of their personal lives, and the sense of loss to the people they leave behind.

But a moving portrait of Rémi Ochlik, who died on February 22, 2012 while covering the uprising in Syria, recently appeared online in the form of a poem called “Love letter to Rémi Ochlik.” Written by his girlfriend, Emilie Blachère, it conveys something of the person Ochlik was, what inspired him, and how he loved.

Blachère ended up reading the poem aloud for a BBC broadcast. It is a reading that cuts to the heart, and it’s worth sticking with it to the end: Even the BBC announcer who introduced the poem took several seconds to compose himself when Blachère finished reading.

Related:
Photographer Rémi Ochlik Killed in Homs, Syria

February 25th, 2013

Obituary: Sports and Portrait Photographer Ozzie Sweet, 94

Ozzie Sweet, whose photographs have appeared on approximately 1,800 magazine covers, died on Wednesday, February 20, according to an obituary in The New York Times. He was 94 years old.

Sweet started taking photographs after joining the Air Force at the start of World War II, and his “war-time” images frequently landed on the cover of Newsweek—despite the fact that some of them were staged. A 2001 interview with SeacoastOnline noted that Sweet “hate[s] to use the word ‘faked,’” when describing his images and instead said that his shots are “carefully planned and staged.”

After the war, the self-described “photo illustrator” photographed a number of notable subjects including Albert Einstein, Grace Kelly, Joe DiMaggio, John Wayne, Mickey Mantle and Ernest Hemingway, for publications like TIME, Sport, Saturday Evening Post, Ebony, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated and Look. He later became known for his sports photography and co-authored two books on baseball: Mickey Mantle: The Yankee Years: The Classic Photography of Ozzie Sweet and The Boys of Spring. In 2005 he won a Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sports Photography.

Read his full obituary at www.nytimes.com.

January 23rd, 2013

Obituary: Architectural Photographer Philip Beaurline, 59

Philip Beaurline, an architectural photographer based in Charlottesville, Virginia, died January 18 from complications from the flu. He was 59, his obituary in the Charlottesville Daily Progress reports.

Born in Davenport, Iowa, Beaurline graduated from Grinnell College. He held a variety of jobs –as carpenter, blacksmith and bricklayer, among other occupations–before he took his first photography assignment in 1987, shooting for a high school friend who created custom millwork for architects and builders. A self-taught photographer, Beaurline began shooting for his friend’s architectural clients, and his career was launched. He opened Beaurline Photography in Charlottesville, and was a long-time member of the Central Virginia chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).

His images of architecture in Oaxaca, Mexico, were the subject of a solo exhibition at the Virginia Society of the American Institutes of Architects in Richmond in 1997 and his work was included in the 2003 “Green Architecture” exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. He also exhibited his work on the landscapes and historic architecture of Mexico locally.

He is survived by his wife, Marie; his son, Anders; and his sister Erica Mikula of Florida. Information on memorials can be found here.

December 12th, 2012

Obituary: Photographer Chayo Mata, 50

© Chayo Mata. A self portrait.

© Chayo Mata. A self portrait.

Beauty and fashion photographer Chayo Mata, whose clients included All You, In Style, Lucky, Natori and Neiman Marcus, died November 27 in New York. She was 50. The cause of death was breast cancer, according to her longtime companion and business partner, Mauricio Soto.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Mata first learned photography from her father, whom she described as a “weekend photographer” of weddings and events. She studied at East Texas State University and, after working in Dallas, she moved to New York City where she assisted fashion photographer Steven Meisel. After she launched her own career, she shot both photos and film for editorial and advertising clients.

In an interview with Photoserve earlier this year, photo editor Mercedes Vizcaino of All You described Mata as “my go-to photographer for shooting interiors, usually in studios, around New York City.” Vizcaino said, “Not only does she produce great imagery, she brings a wealth of ideas on how to execute our productions to get the best results.”

First diagnosed with cancer in 2008, she devoted time and talent to helping groups that support breast cancer survivors, including Cook for Your Life and the Pink Daisy Project, in their fundraising. She frequently featured resources for breast cancer survivors on the blog she started, persephonesbeautyblog.com.

November 14th, 2012

Retired AP Photographer Walt Zeboski Dies

Retired Associated Press shooter Walt Zeboski, who photographed Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign as well as many other people and events for the wire service, died at the age of 83 on Monday at his home in Sacramento, the AP reports. The cause of death was pneumonia.

Zeboski joined the AP staff in 1966. Over more than three decades he covered California politics and politicians. Among other subjects he photographed were labor leader Cesar Chavez, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme (who attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975), and Queen Elizabeth during her 1983 visit to Yosemite National Park.

More details are available in the AP obituary for Zeboski.

October 22nd, 2012

Alfred Kumalo, Chronicler of Apartheid and Mandela’s Career, Dies at 82

© Penguin Books/photo by Alf Kumalo

Photographer Alfred Kumalo, who documented the brutalities of the apartheid regime in South Africa and the career of Nelson Mandela, its first freely elected president, died in Johannesburg on October 21. The cause of death was renal failure, AP reports. He was 82.

The African National Congress,  South Africa’s ruling party, said in a statement: “South Africa has lost a self-taught giant in the media field who still bears the scars of torture and mental scars of continuous detentions by the apartheid security forces.” South African President Jacob Zuma’s statement, reported by AFP, says of Kumalo: “He was a meticulous photographer and his work will live on forever as a monument to the people’s resilience and fortitude in the face of colonial oppression and apartheid.”

Born in Johannesburg, Kumalo, who was known as Alf, began his photography career as a freelancer for Bantu World. He later shot for Drum magazine, the renowned magazine of black life, culture and politics, including the struggle against the apartheid regime. Despite the government’s frequent imprisonment of journalists, he documented student strikes, the Treason Trial of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and others and the Rivonia Trial, in which Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. A family friend of Mandela’s, Kumalo documented his life at home and in public, including his wedding to Winnie Mandela, his inauguration in 1994 and his years as president, accompanying Mandela on his first trip to America.

In 1990 Kumalo published Mandela: Echoes of an Era and in 2010 published 8115: A Prisoner’s Home, named for the house at 8115 Vilakasi Street in Soweto where Mandela lived from 1946 until his imprisonment, and to which he returned in 1990 after his release.

While in London on assignment for Drum, he interviewed a young prize fighter named Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali), and photographed him winning the Heavyweight Championship in his fight with George Foreman in Kinshasa (in then Zaire) in 1974. His photos were published in The Observer, The New York Times, The Sunday Independent and other publications.

Kumalo was awarded The Order of Ikhamanga in Silver in 2004 for his contribution to creative arts in South Africa. In recent years he opened a photography school in Diepkloof Soweto, offering ninth-month photography courses to train disadvantaged young photographers.

September 14th, 2012

Pedro Guerrero, Photographer for Frank Lloyd Wright, Dies at 95

Pedro Guerrero, a fine art and architecture photographer best known for his association with architect Frank Lloyd Wright, died yesterday at home in Florence, Arizona, according to reports in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. He was 95.

An art school dropout, Guerrero arrived unannounced at Wright’s winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona one day in 1939 and introduced himself as a photographer. He presented a thin portfolio, and Wright took notice of several nudes, according to The New York Times. Wright took Guerrero under his wing, and Guerrero spent the next 20 years interpreting Lloyd’s work, until the architect died in 1959.

The partnership made Guerrero’s career, and led to assignments for a number of magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, House and Garden and other magazines. He photographed buildings by other architects, including Philip Johnson, Eero Saarinen, and Marcel Breuer, but projects for Lloyd always took precedence during Lloyd’s lifetime. After Lloyd died, Guerrero also photographed work by sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson.

Guerrero was born in Casa Grande, Arizona in 1917, and grew up in Mesa. He attended Art Center School (now Art Center College of Design in Pasadena), studying photography there briefly before returning home to Arizona. His father, a sign painter, pushed him to “quit lazing around the house” and go introduce himself to Wright, according to The New York Times.

September 4th, 2012

Photographer and Photo Educator Susan Carr Dies, 49

Photo © Shawn G. Henry.

Susan Carr, an architectural photographer and leader of photo education programs for the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), died yesterday in Chicago. She was 49. The cause of death was cancer. ASMP announced the news on its Strictly Business web site.

In a statement posted on the ASMP web site, the trade organization’s president Shawn G. Henry, said: “With Susan’s passing ASMP has lost one of its most ardent advocates and I have lost a dear friend. She was a tireless champion of the Society, a passionate educator, and a wonderfully warm and caring human being.”

A graduate of Western Michigan University, Carr specialized in architectural and interiors photography. She was a principal in the Chicago studio Carr Cialdella Photography in Chicago and documented American architecture in both her professional and personal work. She became a board member of ASMP in 2001 and in 2003 launched the trade association’s traveling seminar program. As manager of the Strictly Business seminar program, she organized a continuing series of lectures and seminars providing legal and business information to professional photographers around the country. She also lectured on copyright, licensing and other business issues. Carr was the author of The Art and Business of Photography, published last year by Allworth Press.

Carr was the editor of ASMP business publications including ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography, Seventh Edition and The ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography, scheduled to be published later this year. She also created and edited the ASMP Strictly Business blog.

In Carr’s memory, ASMP announced it will launch The Susan Carr Educators Award, an annual prize for photo educators, to be awarded annually.

More information is available on the ASMP Strictly Business web site.

 

August 17th, 2012

Magnum Photographer Martine Franck Dies

Magnum photographer Martine Franck, who was best known for her portraits of artists and writers, died in Paris yesterday at the age of 74. The cause of death was cancer, according to a family friend. Franck became a full member of Magnum in 1983, and was married to renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died in 2004. Read the full story at PDNOnline.