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.

André Kertész: Shadow Play

If André Kertész (1894 – 1985) had followed his family’s wishes, he would have been a stock broker his entire working life, and the world would have been bereft of his experimental and unorthodox contributions to photography.

And even when he did make a name for himself, he was often told that his photographs ‘spoke’ too much, as the editors of Life magazine told him in 1937.

But Kertész knew what he wanted to do and what he was good at, and after teaching himself photography at an early age, he went on to photograph the local Hungarian countryside, his experiences in the trenches during World War I, and later on when he moved to the U.S., his experiments with shadows and distortion mirrors.

Kertész sadly never achieved the critical acclaim and fame he desired for most of his career, and his struggles to speak English and be accepted by critics and audiences let him feeling excluded for most of his life. Kertész was also criticised for being more of a spectator than a commentator in his images, and his photographs being apolitical didn’t work in his favour during the two World Wars. However despite the absence of any strong comments or accolades from critics, Kertész is still considered to be the father of photojournalism and many years later his images still inspire with their simplicity and timelessness.

André Kertész | <i>T</i>
The Blind Violinist, Abony, Hungary, 1921


Paris, On the Quai near Saint Michel, 1926


Mondrian’s Glasses and Pipe, Paris, 1926 © Estate of André Kertész
Mondrian’s Glasses and Pipe, Paris, 1926


Andre Kertesz
Fork, Paris, 1928


Broken Plate 1929
Broken Plate, 1929


Paris, After School in the Tuileries, 1930


Clock of the Académie Française, Paris, 1932


Distortion #30, Paris, 1933


 © André Kertész
Ballet, New York City, 1938


André Kertész | <i></i>
Washington Square, New York, 1954


© André Kertész
Disappearing Act, 1955


 © André Kertész
Martinique, 1972


For more on André Kertész

Dali’s Moustache

We featured Philippe Halsman’s iconic jump images last week, but we could only let a few days go by before we brought up his series on Dali’s moustache.

Halsman and Salvador Dali were very close in that they both tried to push the boundaries of perception and imagination, as far as science and existing technology would allow. They also both escaped to the U.S. from Paris in the early 1940’s, and left the war behind to reach New York barely a few months apart from each other. Having frequented nearly the same localities in Paris, it was strange that they had never met, and sheer serendipity that they got together in New York for what is considered to be one of the most intense and ambitious collaborations between an artist and a photographer over 37 years.

Such was their relationship that Halsman has been quoted as saying – Whenever I needed a striking protagonist for one of my wild ideas, Dali would graciously oblige. Whenever Dali thought of a photograph so strange that it seemed impossible to produce, I tried to find a solution.

We are delighted to present our favourites from Dali’s Moustache, a 1954 publication of 36 different views of the artist’s moustache that Halsman captured

Along with being a remarkable portrait photographer with 101 Life magazine covers to his credit, and jump images of nearly every US celebrity of his time, we’re inspired by Halsman’s ability to hit the nail on the head when he says that ‘ a true portrait is the image which reveals most completely both the exterior and the interior of the subject. A true portrait should, today and a hundred years from today, be the testimony of how this person looked and what kind of human being he was.’

We couldn’t agree more.


The Non-Conforming Martin Parr


Martin Parr, one of our favourite photographers, never fails to capture those aspects of being British that are especially endearing.

Here are a selection of his images (some we’ve featured before) from ‘The Non-Conformists‘, a body of black and white images taken from the 1970’s when Parr moved out of London to settle down in the little mill town of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire.
That the photographer dotes on his subjects is clearly visible,
that he captures the moment you think no one is watching, is his skill,
and that he makes the pomp and scone loving British more lovable, is his art.

Mayor of Todmorden’s inaugural banquet. 1977


Halifax. Steep Lane Baptist Chapel buffet lunch. 1976


Todmorden. Jubilee Celebrations. Street Parties. 1977


Calderdale. Hebden bridge. Lord Savile has just shot a grouse. 1975-1980


Halifax. West Vale Park. Three local chapels combine to have an outdoor service. 1975


Todmorden. Mankinholes Methodist Chapel. 1975


Sowerby Bridge Mouse Show. St John’s Ambulance rooms. 1978


Crimsworth Dean Methodist Chapel. Chris is another natural rebel who finds it hard to enjoy Sunday School at the Chapel. 1975-1980


Crimsworth Dean Methodist Chapel. 1975


Some of the congregation making there way to the Crimsworth Dean Chapel Anniversary. 1975


Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou


We recently came across the haunting images of Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou at the Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America exhibition which is currently on view at the Saatchi Gallery. Though all the photographers featured deserve mention when art from these regions is referenced, Agbodjelou’s images made us halt in our tracks.

One of the prominent photographers from Porto Novo in Benin, his work borrows from both the modern and the traditional, and throws light on how the world seeing Africa, leads it to see itself. Featuring dramatic masked Egungun figures, bare breasted women, and a colonial style backdrop in some of the images, Agbodjelou references both the history and the ritualism that cloud our gaze when we look at this continent. At the same time his images stand as testament to how Africa has embraced and shared those aspects of its culture that are rich and unique, while blending in with other social and cultural aspects that the globalised world favours.

Untitled triptych (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012


Untitled triptych (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012


Untitled (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012


<em>Untitled (Egungun series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Egungun series), 2012


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Untitled (Egungun series), 2012


Untitled (Vodou Series), 2011


Untitled (Vodou Series), 2011


<em>Untitled (Musclemen series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Musclemen series), 2012


<em>Untitled (Musclemen series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Musclemen series), 2012


Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America
2 April – 2 November 2014

Saatchi Gallery

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.

Jurgen Schadeberg’s London


We couldn’t take our eyes off this photograph taken by Jurgen Schadeberg of his friend the acrobat Hans Prignitz balancing over the city of Hamburg.
So much so that we had to dig deeper and do a feature on him.

Hans Prignitz’s handstand on the St. Michaelis Church, Hamburg, 1948


Schadeberg was born in Berlin in 1931 but moved to South Africa to start afresh and leave the war behind him in 1950. But in his own words, this move was like out of the frying pan and into the fire given the tetchy situation in South Africa when he arrived.

After living there for close to fourteen years and photographing everything from politics (his series of images on Nelson Mandela and ANC are outstanding) to jazz, he returned to Europe in 1964 where he continued to work and teach.

Schadeberg spent quite a bit of time in Britain and here are some of the images he took of our beloved London. The grittiness of the city might not be the same as it was in the 60’s and the 70’s, but looks like we haven’t lost our impish charm yet.

A washing line in Maida Vale, London, 1978


Waitress Break, London City Hall, 1979


A young audience at a concert in Regent’s Park, London, 1976


Thames Walk


A boy jumps down the street under the Westway in Edgware Road, London, 1972


Lovers in a London Pub, 1982


Three boys


Young smokers visit a flea market in the East End of London, 1978


Hackney Corner, 1979


London Playground, 1968


A miscellaneous stall in Hackney Market, London, 1979


A shoemaker at work in his Soho shop, 1970


A Punch and Judy man delights a group of children in London, 1977


Two boys build a bonfire on a disused section of a railway line at London Docks, 1974



Philip-Lorca diCorcia: Nothing is for Free?


‘Nothing is for Free?’
The first line in Philip-Lorca diCorcia‘s postscript to his Hustler monograph.

diCorcia then goes on to explain how in the late 80’s when the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment – the Freedom of Speech was being repressed, he was given funding from the National Endowment for the Arts with the condition that he not ‘transgress’ American values. He therefore decided to give them their money’s worth.

diCorcia used the money to photograph ‘hustlers’ or male prostitutes that he picked up from the Santa Monica Boulevard.
He paid them the same amount of money they would have been paid for sex, and he used this time to photograph them in motels, in parking lots, on the street.

diCorcia titled each and every one of these sixty nine images or so with the name, age, hometown and the price he paid each hustler.
A record of money well spent?

Todd M. Brooks, 22 Years Old, Denver, Colorado, $40

His modus operandi was to first pick a location for the shot. He would then set up his tripod and the rest of his equipment, leaving everything ready for when he brought a hustler back.
They often asked him if he was a cop? Why didn’t he want the sex?
But once back on set, they posed patiently.
Often giving him the exact image he had planned for.
Sometimes something unpredictable.

Tim Morgan Jr., 21 Years Old, Los Angeles, California, $25, and Joe Egure, 18 Years Old, Los Angeles, California, $25


Made in a time when the U.S. Government had condemned homosexuality, AIDS was rampant,  and diCorica lost his own brother to the disease, this project is filled with pathos and make-believe.

As diCorica says, ‘You’re supposed to have all the freedom that our Constitution allows, except the freedom to choose your freedom. None of those guys (the hustlers) were free – they charged for their services, for a faked’ sense of what passes for intimacy in the realm they left behind. They barely found a place to sleep or get high afterwards, but they accomplished the most sublime trade, their artistry: Nothing for Nothing.
That’s what was so perfect for me. It summed it all up.’

Chris., 28 Years Old, Los Angeles, California, $30


Marilyn, 28 Years Old, Las Vegas, Nevada, $30

Ralph Smith, 21 Years Old, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, $25


Roy, ‘In His 20s,’ from Los Angeles, California, $50


‘Sparky’ Anderson, 47 Years Old, Detroit, Michigan, $25