Illustrators articulate what a photograph cannot. Using an array of techniques and styles, illustrators evoke stories and meaning in a variety of mediums, from editorial illustration in magazines and newspapers, to comics books, to activist media. And as their tasks over the years have become less informational and more expressive, their individual voice as artists becomes all the more critical and beautiful, revealing an exciting and awe-inspiring age of illustration.
Steven Guarnaccia, Professor, Illustration Program at The New School
Yuko Shimisu, yukoart.com
Sean Murphy, seangordonmurphy.com
Molly Crabapple, mollycrabapple.com
Artist Featured in the First Section:
You know the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. I’m sure anyone with a Facebook account has several people who have shared the photograph of a smiling, scraggly bearded Powerball winner over the last few days named Nolan Daniels. I’ve seen several people on my friends list share the photo with the caption “share this and I’ll give $1 million to some random person.”
That photograph was shared by over 2 million people and Nolan Daniels as it turns out is a faker. The man’s full name is Nolan Ryan Daniels, and he is a software engineer and a co-owner of a company called N2 Technologies from Mesa, Arizona. The company provides software for firms in the medical industry.
Daniels’ brother Derek reportedly confirmed his identity to the Savannah Morning News. The lottery winning fraudster’s brother said “I think he craves the love from people.” It’s unclear if the man’s brother was being humorous or has a problem with what Daniels did on Facebook.
Think for a moment, for years this shot was Afghanistan to us. 9/11 changed all that but as the war winds down and we reflect on our nation building efforts there this is a perfect image to take in. I think this image captured our hearts and helped give us the will to support the cost of lives and billions of dollars to help Afghani people just like this woman. Had we been cold hearted we could have just bailed out of Afghanistan as soon as the Taliban fell. We could have left them to their own Taliban ways, and smashed terror bases at will much as we do now in Africa.
Read the whole thing. It’s worth it.
A Life Revealed
Her eyes have captivated the world since she appeared on our cover in 1985. Now we can tell her story.
By Cathy Newman
Photograph by Steve McCurry
She remembers the moment. The photographer took her picture. She remembers her anger. The man was a stranger. She had never been photographed before. Until they met again 17 years later, she had not been photographed since.
The photographer remembers the moment too. The light was soft. The refugee camp in Pakistan was a sea of tents. Inside the school tent he noticed her first. Sensing her shyness, he approached her last. She told him he could take her picture. “I didn’t think the photograph of the girl would be different from anything else I shot that day,” he recalls of that morning in 1984 spent documenting the ordeal of Afghanistan’s refugees.
The portrait by Steve McCurry turned out to be one of those images that sears the heart, and in June 1985 it ran on the cover of this magazine. Her eyes are sea green. They are haunted and haunting, and in them you can read the tragedy of a land drained by war. She became known around National Geographic as the “Afghan girl,” and for 17 years no one knew her name.
In January a team from National Geographic Television & Film’s EXPLORER brought McCurry to Pakistan to search for the girl with green eyes. They showed her picture around Nasir Bagh, the still standing refugee camp near Peshawar where the photograph had been made. A teacher from the school claimed to know her name. A young woman named Alam Bibi was located in a village nearby, but McCurry decided it wasn’t her.
Earlier this year I was contacted by the editors at Zum, a new Brazilian photography quarterly, who explained how they’d lately taken an interest in the photo-philosophical musings of the celebrated documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, Fog of War, Standard Operating Procedure, etc.), as evinced both in his recent book Believing is Seeing and his ongoing New York Timesblog, and wondered whether I’d be willing to undertake a conversation with Mr. Morris by way of introduction to their Brazilian readers. Since, as it happens, I’ve been having conversations with Errol for years, especially on his attitudes towards photography (and more especially about a continual tension I sense in those attitudes, between his insistence on the existence of an objective reality and the need to drill towards its expression, on the one hand, and his fascination with the bedeviling sorts of indeterminacies one encounters the deeper one drills, on the other), and, what’s more, these conversations have only become more intense the closer we come to this fall’s publication of Errol’s latest (A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald), I decided I’d be only too happy to oblige. What follows is the original English version of what the two of us came up with.
Lawrence Weschler (LW): Why don’t we start with the first chapter in your new book [Believing is Seeing], in many ways emblematic of all the rest, in which you spend over seventy pages interrogating two photographs taken by Roger Fenton in 1855 of a landscape after a battle in the Crimean War. Early on, you quote your friend Ron Rosenbaum: You mean to tell me that you went all the way to the Crimea because of one sentence written by Susan Sontag?
Errol Morris (EM): Well, actually it was two sentences. She began by claiming that many of the canonical images of early warfare photographs turn out to have been staged, or posed, whatever that might mean. And then she went on to offer, by way of example, the case of Roger Fenton, who “after reaching the much-shelled valley approaching Sebastopol… made two exposures from the same tripod position: in the first version of the celebrated photograph… the cannonballs are thick on the ground to the left of the road, but before taking the second picture—the one that is always reproduced—he oversaw the scattering of cannonballs on the road itself.”
LW: So what bothered you about that?
Hey Android users: if you’re looking for an easy way to make your photographs “pop”, check out Perfectly Clear. Previously available only for desktop machines and iOS, Athentech Imaging has now released the Android version of the popular auto image correction app.
The app is stupidly simple: simply open up a photograph and hit the “Fix” button to run a set of default corrections to the image.
If you need more control over the individual corrections, you can adjust each of them separately and save them as a preset. You have control over things like color depth, sharpening, skin tone correction, and vibrancy. There’s even a “Beautify” feature for removing blemishes from faces and a “Fix Dark” feature for making low-light shots brighter.
In a war zone such as Syria, photojournalist Seamus Murphy knows that a helicopter hovering over a hospital is a bad sign.
The Russian-made Mi-8 launches two rockets into the building in Tall Rifat near Aleppo. Murphy and his team had left the hospital minutes before the attack, but the panic that ensues on the street is not lost on him.
It is an image that every photojournalist wishes that they had taken.
But what I find the most incredible about that moment in time captured 40 years ago is what happened after the picture.
In 2003 I was assigned to photograph the girl in the picture Kim Phuc. Kim now lives in Ajax and was going to be a speaker in the Toronto Star “Unique Lives and Experiences” lecture series.
I was excited to photograph her. To look at her go from the little girl in Nick Ut’s photo running naked and screaming down a road to establishing her foundation which provides medical and psychological help to child victims of war is inspiring.
I was very impressed with how she went from having nothing, her burns were so severe that doctors didn’t think she could survive, to what she is today, author, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and mother.
Much more here:
Please read it all. It’s well worth the time to be reminded of how many heroes there really are.
If this isn’t a WTF?! Moment I don’t know what is.
The Marine Corps’ scout snipers in Afghanistan could probably use a safety stand-down. Just weeks after news broke that one elite unit of the forward-deployed Marines urinated on the corpses of dead Afghans, a photo has surfaced of another unit posing proudly beside a flag of the Nazi’s killer SS troops. The Marine Corps Times reports:
The stylized “SS” logo appeared in a photograph of the platoon taken in September 2010 in Sangin district, Afghanistan, a hotly contested area in Helmand province. The Marines were with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The I Marine Expeditionary Force inspector general based at Pendleton was made aware of the “SS” flag photo in November of last year, said Capt. Gregory Wolf, a spokesman at Marine Corps headquarters. The issue has been addressed with the Marines involved, Wolf said. He did not say what specific action was taken beyond ordering Marines to stop using the logo.
The photo in question is not the only one documenting usage of the logo: A second image (embedded below) shows the SS logo emblazoned on a Marine’s rifle.
The Marines’ story is that the unit used the flag “to identify the Marines as scout snipers, not Nazis.” The symbolic appropriation may indeed be unwitting, but witlessness is no more desirable a trait in downrange warriors than malice is.
A respected Russian scientist claims to have found signs of life on Venus in photographs taken by a Soviet probe 30 years ago. However, outside analysis suggests he is breathing life into an assortment of camera lens covers and image blurs.
According to the Russian news service RIA Novosti, Leonid Ksanfomaliti, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences who worked on unmanned Soviet missions to Venus during the 1970s and ’80s, has written a new article in the journal Solar System Research. In the article, he calls attention to several objects photographed by the Venera 13 landing probe, a spacecraft that landed on Venus in 1982.
The objects — including features described as a disc and a scorpion — appear to change locations from one photo to the next. “Let’s boldly suggest that the objects’ morphological features would allow us to say that they are living,” Ksanfomaliti stated, according to RIA Novosti.
Whether the scientist really has suggested that the old photographs contain living creatures that were somehow overlooked previously, or whether his words have been mistranslated, misconstrued or should have been quietly ignored, the claim has made headlines around the globe.
In one image,the Venera 13 landing probe is seen parked on the rocky Venusian foreground, and an object shaped somewhat like a crab stands inches from the probe. In another image, also taken by Venera 13, this crablike object appears to be in a different location. [NASA Debunks Mysterious UFO Near Venus]
According to Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, who processes many of the images taken during NASA’s Mars missions, higher-resolution versions of the Venera 13 images show that the crablike object is actually a mechanical component, not a living creature. The same object shows up in a photograph taken by an identical landing probe, Venera 14, which landed nearby on Venus.
“If those objects were already on the surface of Venus, what are the chances that Venera 13 and 14, which landed nearly 1,000 kilometers apart, would both land inches away from the only ones in sight and they would be in the same positions relative to the spacecraft? It makes much more sense that it’s a piece of the lander designed to break off during the deployment of one of the scientific instruments,” Hill told Life’s Little Mysteries.
Who’s ready to volunteer?
Artist wants to photograph Dead Sea with nudes.
People have been getting naked at the Dead Sea and taking pictures of themselves covered in sea mud for years, but never like this.
Spencer Tunick, internationally renowned documenter of the nude figure in public, has expressed interest in creating an installation at the Dead Sea to raise awareness of its declining state, according to a press release sent out Sunday.
The world-famous US artist has photographed dozens, hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of people in public places in the nude. Earlier this month, he released his photos of the Sydney Opera House surrounded by over 5,000 nude people.
Tunick is reportedly keen on coming to Israel to do an installation around the Dead Sea to raise awareness to the fact that it is sinking by a meter a year. If nothing is done, the Dead Sea will continue to drop until it becomes nothing but a heavy saline mass at the bottom, scientists predict.
The Dead Sea, which is in the running for one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, has been the target of many a public relations campaign – but none quite like this one.
Right now, a couple hundred thousand dollars need to be raised to bring Tunick to Israel and finance the shoot, Gura Berger of Leibowitz Berger Marketing, Public Relations, told The Jerusalem Post Sunday. She said there was no specific date set yet for the shoot.
Shlomit Yarkoni of Ben-Or, which is organizing the fundraising, added in a statement that “Spencer Tunick has already been involved in environmental-artistic activities with Greenpeace, and his work creates ripples and reverberations which are the equivalent of multi-million dollar promotional campaigns. The vast damage caused to the Dead Sea by human beings prompted Tunick to want to put the Dead Sea on the map.
“The connection to the naked body is natural in an area like the Dead Sea,” Yarkoni continued. “After the funds are raised, we will worry about enlisting the people – several thousand Israelis who will volunteer to have their picture taken.”