Eve Arnold – Lessons from Eve!


1963: Eve Arnold on the set of Becket. Photo: Robert Penn

Janine di Giovanni
Eve Arnold: Magnum Legacy

An indomitable woman and a Magnum stalwart, London based American photographer Eve Arnold (1912-2012) was one of the first female Magnum photographers. She started off as a house-wife, turning to photography only in her mid-thirties once her son Frank was born. What Arnold lost in time, she made up in tenacity, and a body of work that makes the Magnum Legacy publication on Arnold an inspiration for all those who feel like they’ve lost out on something.

This publication is filled with many iconic images including her first photographs of the underground Harlem fashion scene. Moving on to her famous images of Marlene Dietrich and later the potato pickers of Long Island, early on you get an insight into why Robert Capa summed up Arnold’s niche as ‘falling between Marlene Deitrich’s legs and the bitter lives of migrant workers.’ She could do both with aplomb! Her images of Marilyn Monroe brought her glamour, but alongside these she worked on political projects with Malcolm X and Joseph McCarthy. In 1970 she made a film for BBC called Behind the Veil that featured never-before-seen footage of the harem of Sheikha Sana, the niece of the ruler of Dubai. After this last project, Arnold accepted that film was not for her. It didn’t allow her to wander off on her own in search of stories to tell.

1979: Horse-training for the militia, Inner Mongolia, China

Arnold managed to maintain the fine balance between doing commercial projects to finance her more journalistic stories. This book goes on to chronicle Arnold’s travels to Cuba, China and Russia with insights into how her projects and publications were planned. She had a trusted team around her and the same names crop up throughout the book, showing that Arnold maintained a lifetime of friendships. She had warmth and pluck, and she was a great entertainer, throwing parties and dinners at her Mount Street apartment. Arnold loved to cook and always took a break for lunch! Not a sandwich at your computer kind of lunch, but one where everyone gets together around a table full of food!

One of the lessons we’ve absorbed from this magnum opus is that no matter how easy it becomes to take a photograph, no matter how much more difficult it becomes to make money out of photography, there is always room for talent! That one image that shows emotion, an action, a gesture…that something that we would not have seen if the photographer hadn’t show it to us.

There is so much you can do especially when your options are limited! Arnold’s first images were taken in dimly lit nightclubs in Harlem, forcing Arnold to push the limits of her ability to develop these images in the darkroom. Arnold later went on to specialise in black and white photography, only using colour when the story really needed it.

1955: Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses by James Joyce

We are deeply impressed by Arnold’s belief that it is the photographer and not the camera that is the instrument; how she negotiated nearly every piece of text that went alongside her images so she had control over the context; how she coached younger Magnum photographers to focus on the big projects, the ones that would last them a lifetime; by her determination, her ability to move her audience with both images and words; her tenacity and desire to make more stories and books than her long life allowed her to.

This one goes on the shelf for inspiration and lessons to learn.

Philippe Halsman: Jump


Capturing an image of someone jumping is really harder than it seems. You are most likely to have made several attempts with the ‘jumpee’ losing energy and enthusiasm with each successive take. But Philippe Halsman seems to have mastered the art especially when you begin to ask every famous personality you meet to pose for a jump shot. Since in the very act of jumping, the jumpee’s attention is mostly directed to the act of jumping, the mask they usually carry tends to fall away. The end result is a brilliant show of limbs and smiles.

Halsman counted Albert Einstein among his close friends and even took the famous Einstein portrait that featured on the cover of TIME in 1999. He worked with Salvador Dali and Alfred Hitchcock and was even lucky enough to have Marilyn Monroe pose for him. His adult life began quite dramatically when at 22 he was accused of murdering his father while they were out on a hike. Later released from prison he soon had to escape Europe to get away from the war. Moving to the US, he made a name for himself as an expert portrait photographer and had his images feature in many a Life and Vogue spread.

We’re inspired by the poise in his jumps and by the fact that though essentially the same action, no two images are alike.

Actress Eva Marie Saint. 1954


American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1958


American Federal Appeals Judge Learned Hand, 1957


Grace Kelly and Philippe Halsman


Marilyn Monroe and Phillipe Halsman, 1959


American pianist Liberace, 1954


Actress Kim Novak


Audrey Hepburn, 1955


Sophia Loren, 1955


Spanish painter Salvador Dali,”Dali Atomicus.” 1948


The American Vice President Richard Nixon, 1959


The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, 1958


American actors Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, 1951


Phillipe Halsman


If you like Halsman’s jumps, check out his 1959 Jump Book that features 178 photographs of jumping celebrities. There’s also a movie Jump that’s based on the murder mystery that surrounds his father’s death.


Advanced Style


Yesterday we watched the inspiring Advanced Style, a film that follows some of the women featured by blogger Ari Seth Cohen on his eponymous blog. These grand dames of style are anything over fifty years old, and all take the greatest pains and delight in dressing up and being beautiful in their own way.

We came away with big smiles on our faces, and the realisation that no matter how old we are, we never get tired of wanting to be ever beautiful and dressed up.


There are a multitude of inspiring quotes in the film, a world of advice and examples to learn from, but we won’t paraphrase because they are best delivered by the people who live them. But we will share with you some of our favourite images from the blog. They are an inspiration to all ages and genders.


Advanced Style is also a book, a film, and you can also follow Ari on Twitter and Facebook.

Sara Naomi Lewkowicz: A Portrait of Domestic Violence


What do you mean by ‘a portrait of domestic violence?’
Why would you make a portrait of it?
Why are you not intervening?
Why are you not making it stop?

It’s possible that photographer Sara Naomi Lewkowicz faced a barrage of criticism for not intervening while taking the pictures that make up her 2012 series ‘Shane and Maggie’. What initially started out as a project following felons who have been released from prison and are readjusting to life outside (Shane in this case), Lewkowicz’s reportage took a different turn when one night Shane and his girlfriend Maggie got into a serious physical fight that ended in Shane getting arrested.

“Shane was like a fast car. When you’re driving it, you think ‘I might get pulled over and get a ticket.’ You never think that you’re going to crash.” 

Maggie and Shane’s courtship was brief but intense. Shane called her everyday from prison, and upon his release, they began to date.


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Maggie had two children, Memphis, two, and Kayden, four. She had separated from their father several months prior to beginning her relationship with Shane.


One month into their courtship, Shane had Maggie’s name tattooed on his neck in large black letters.


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The stress of Shane’s unemployment and raising two young children on very little money often took its toll on Maggie and Shane’s relationship. As the newness of their relationship wore off, they began to argue more frequently, usually about money or Maggie’s focusing most of her energy on the children rather than her relationship. “Why can’t I be the most important one, for once?” Shane asked.


Within a few months of their relationship, Shane moved Maggie and her children to a trailer park in Somerset, Ohio. The location was farther away than Maggie had ever been from her family and friends before, and she said her feelings of isolation only increased over time.


Kayden lifted a chair and a toy truck over his head to show how strong he was.


Maggie and Shane took a rare night out alone together, singing karaoke at a local bar. 


After a night out at a local bar, Maggie left after becoming jealous of when another woman flirted with Shane. Upon arriving home, Shane flew into a rage, angry that Maggie had “abandoned him” at the bar and then drove home with his friend, whose house they were staying at for the week. Maggie told him to get out of the house, that he was too angry and that he would wake the children.


Rather than subsiding, Shane’s anger began to grow, and he screamed that Maggie had betrayed him, at one point accusing his friend (not pictured) of trying to pursue her sexually.


As the fight continued to rage, Shane told Maggie that she could choose between getting beaten in the kitchen, or going with him to the basement so they could talk privately.


As Shane and Maggie continued to fight, Memphis ran into the room and refused to leave Maggie’s side. She witnessed the majority of the assault on her mother. As the two fought, Memphis began to scream and stomp her feet.


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Around half past midnight, the police arrived after receiving a call from a resident in the house (pictured at right). Maggie cried and smoked a cigarette as an officer from the Lancaster Police Department tried to keep her separated from Shane and coax out the truth about the assault.


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Shane hugged Memphis goodbye before being arrested. He insisted he wasn’t a bad person, that Maggie had been trying to leave the house and drive drunk with the children in the car.


The series then goes on to show how Maggie picks up the pieces of her life and moves back in with the husband she has separated from who is also the father of Kayden and Memphis.

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Maggie tried to pull herself together as she prepared to drive with her children to her best friend’s house for the night.


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An officer from the Lancaster Police Department photographed the bruises on Maggie’s neck from where Shane had choked her. “You know, he’s not going to stop,” the officer told Maggie as she wept. “They never stop. They usually stop when they kill you.”


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Kayden, who had slept through the assault, was disoriented and began to cry when he awoke. Memphis remained calm and seemed mostly concerned with comforting her mother. “Don’t cry, mommy, I love you,” she said over and over.


As Lewkowicz rationalises,’While this story is, in part, about domestic violence, it is not a reportage on a domestic dispute—it is not a news event. It seeks to take a deeper, unflinching look into the circumstances that transform a relationship into a crucible, and what happens before, during, immediately proceeding and long after an episode of violence takes place. With this story, it is my goal to examine the effects of this type of violence on the couple, the absued, the abuser, and the children who serve as witnesses to the abuse.’

The day following the attack, Maggie had to grapple with what would come next for her and her children. She had no source of income, no childcare, and was afraid to return to the home she and Shane shared to retrieve her possessions. She expressed intense fear that Shane would be let out on bail and come after her, and called the jail several times to make sure he hadn’t been released.


In the days following the attack, Maggie had time to reflect on what had occurred and decided to make an official statement to the police. She said she had resumed communications with her estranged husband and the father of her children, and was considering moving with her children to Alaska, where he is stationed with the Army.


Maggie and Memphis, March 3, 2013. More than three months since the assault, Maggie has moved her family to Alaska to try to repair her marriage and give the children a chance to be closer to their father. Maggie and her husband met at 14. She said they’d been on and off since eighth grade, yet they always seem to find their way back to one another.


This series is one of the most hard hitting series we’ve shared on this site. And though it made us sad and uncomfortable to be even in the presence of these images (the photographs are currently on display at Somerset House as part of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards), there is something in knowing that it is photographs like these that take the conversation forward, that reduce the discomfort and example that Maggie is, that make us more amenable to talking and looking at a problem. This is not the pretty esoteric art that we’re usually looking at, but a reality that we need to face.

Sara Naomi Lewkowicz has been awarded the L’Iris d’Or/Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year for this series, winning the award from among 140,000 photographers from 166 countries.

En Plein Air


With Brazil on everyone’s minds in the coming months, today we look to Rio de Janeiro and the inspiring series En Plein Air by Gabriele Galimberti & Edoardo Delille. With images taken from up high, this series is an ode to a country where sport is so much more than something to be watched….it is to be lived!

And like we saw in the series by Christopher Pillitz who captures the obsession with football that most Brazilians embody, the all embracing ‘have-space-will-make-it-fit’ attitude towards sport in even the most crowded neighbourhood, is both inspiring and refreshing.

Skateboarding is a common sport in Rio, and all sorts of teenagers do it, from the rich kids from Leblon to the poorest kids from the favelas in the northern part of the city.


A group of children are posing on the biggest playing field in the Favela Vidigal….From the top of the favela, the view of Ipanema is amazing.


In the Parque do Flamengo, there are many different playing fields, courts and other areas dedicated to different sports…The one with the red shorts is Andrè Klun, a former professional player (he played for 2 years on the Italian Virtus Roma team). He’s now the coach of the Flamengo basketball team.


At the Ipanema beach, people do many different sports, but one of the most common is definitely stand up paddle surfing. There are also a number of schools that teach it, especially in the area close to the Arpoador Rock. In this picture, teacher and beginners are posing together.
Elivelton is 22 years old. He was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro and he’s a soldier in the Brazilian Army. In this picture, he is posing inside the Parkour training center, a public space specifically designed and built for parkour. This is a new sport in Rio de Janeiro and only a few people practice it. Nonetheless, the municipality decided to build a space in the Catete neighbourhood dedicated to this sport


The Clube de Regatas do Flamengo is one of the biggest sports clubs in the city…. Four of the club’s many tennis teachers are posing in this picture.


Beach tennis is a new sport in Rio. The first courts for playing it were built by an Italian, who came to Rio 8 years ago from Romagna (Italy), the place where this sport was first invented, with the idea of exporting beach tennis to Brazil.


A soccer field in Parque do Flamengo


The Flamengo synchronized swimming team is the current champion of Brazil. The girls on the team go to train at the Clube de Regatas do Flamengo. This picture was taken there on one of their training days.


In addition to these images Galimberti has some other series that come highly recommended –
Local Celebrities where he photographs individuals who have made a big difference to the communities they live in,
Delicatessen with love that features what grandmothers do best – compete with rest of the world to feed us,
Mirrors and Windows that gives us a peek into the bedrooms of girls across the world,
and Toy Stories where he has kids posing with their favourite toys.

We don’t normally repeat photographers on Beanstories but Galimberti might be someone we return to in the not so distant future.

We leave you with our favourite from his Toy Stories series.

Maudy was born in a hut in a small village close to Kalulushi, in Zambia. She grew up playing in the street with the other children in the village, who all attend the same school, where students ages 3 to 10 years old are in the same class. The village has no shops, restaurants or hotels, and just a few children are lucky enough to have toys. Maudy and her friends found a box full of sunglasses on the street, which quickly became their favorite toys.


Humans of New York


We don’t like fabulously fashionable things…unless they really make us think.
And though Humans of New York has been in the press a lot recently, and though we’re still more Team The Sartorialist for our regular New York buzz, Brandon Stanton has come up with some pictures and stories that have made us stop and look again.

Here are our favourites! Click on the images to join in the stories.

“Do you remember the saddest moment of your life?”
“Probably sitting at the kitchen table with my dad, an hour after my mother died, realizing we had to figure out what we were going to do for lunch.”


“We were smoking outside one time. And this same car kept driving by, and we thought: ‘Man! That’s weird!’ Then we got arrested.”


“I want to be a dog walker when I grow up.”
“What’s the hardest part about being a dog walker?”
“Holding on to the leash.”


“I’m going to puppet class.”
“I didn’t know there were puppet classes.”
“I didn’t either. Until I googled it.”


He didn’t know much English beyond: “I’m from China.” But he did pull out his iPad and showed me his brother, his toys, his drum set, and a picture of his class.


“I read the blog every fucking day. I just came in on a bus from Maryland. The whole time I was thinking: ‘I’m going to find a cute old couple, I’m going to park next to them, and I’m going to get on HONY!'”


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Why do you want to be a fireman?”
“I said Ironman!”

Wishing you a week filled with inspiration…and many more steps towards figuring out what you would like to do more than anything else in the world!

All images (c) Humans of New York and Brandon Stanton.


Martino Gamper: design is a state of mind


We love exhibitions that make us want to walk slowly…
where it doesn’t matter whether you came alone or with someone, because you just forget…
where it feels like you’ve just spent an hour but then you end up with 250 photographs on your phone…how long were we here?
where you covet everything and delight in the colour and symmetry of someone else’s good taste.

Martino Gamper’s design is a state of mind at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery is all of these things and more. In a deeply aesthetic way, Gamper has curated a display of shelves that range from design classics to contemporary pieces, Ikea to iconic, all of which play host to an eclectic collection of objects loaned from artists, designers and creatives we enjoy and envy.

With his own background in exhibition and interior design as well as his close ties with the furniture industry, Gamper seems like the perfect curator/designer/artist to have crafted this exhibition with just the right amount of precision, restraint and joy.

Martino Gamper: design is a state of mind
Till 18 May 2014
Serpentine Sackler Gallery


Duncan Raban – That Monday feeling…


Inspiration comes when you least expect it.
And we discovered it last evening at our local pub in the form of the images of Duncan Raban. And they made us smile and feel less grumpy about the fact that it’s Monday already.

So here are our favourite picks from his portfolio. Getting his subjects to drop their guard is what he does best, and it definitely shows in his pictures.
So big smiles everybody…it’s a new day already!

Our Veterans of World War 2




Rememberance Day Veterans Parade - London

A day with The Rolling Stones

And just others we love!!!!

All images (c) Duncan Raban


Uncovered / Discovered


We often look to art and photography for inspiration but sometimes real life works too.

We recently came across Dermablend’s Camo Confessions and though they’re not what we usually write about, we could not but share.

What we’ve learnt from this is that who you are, is not what you look like. It is how you live.

And as Lupita Nyong’o said in this thought provoking speech –
‘You can’t eat beauty… it doesn’t feed you.
You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you.
What actually sustains us,
what is fundamentally beautiful
is compassion –
for yourself and for those around you.
That kind of beauty inflames the heart and enchants the soul.

The Tutu Project

Today we’re inspired by The Tutu Project where one man, photographer Bob Carey, stands responsible for countless smiles and an amazing outpouring of support and awareness for cancer. Seeing Bob at work makes us realise that it doesn’t take much to brighten up the world, but pink tulle could help you go a long way.

Here are our favourite images from the project.

Life is often hard, embarrassing, and sometimes lonely. But take a big leap and you never know where you might land.