Men on a Rooftop in São Paulo

René Burri’s original photo from São Paulo in 1960. Credit René Burri/Magnum Photos via New York Times

This article, about a photograph taken in São Paulo in 1960, is wonderful. Photographer and writer Teju Cole explains how ‘‘Men on a Rooftop,’’ by the Swiss photographer René Burri (1933–2014), became an obsession:

I’m not sure when my interest in ‘‘Men on a Rooftop’’ became an obsession. Through the years it gained a hold on my imagination until it came to stand as one of the handful of pictures that truly convey the oneiric possibilities of street photography. The celebrated Iranian photojournalist Abbas, who knew Burri well (they were both members of Magnum Photos), described ‘‘Men on a Rooftop’’ to me as ‘‘vintage René: superb form, no political or social dimension.’’ Abbas zeros in on the formal perfection of the image, but I’m not sure I agree that it lacks a social dimension. To me, it literally portrays the levels of social stratification and the enormous gap between those above and those below.

A great photo comes about through a combination of readiness, chance and mystery. Gabriel García-Márquez, once asked whom the best reader of ‘‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’’ was, responded with a story: ‘‘A Russian friend met a lady, a very old lady, who was copying the whole book out by hand, right to the last line. My friend asked her why she was doing it, and the lady replied, ‘Because I want to find out who is really mad, the author or me, and the only way to find out is to rewrite the book.’ I find it hard to imagine a better reader than that lady.’’ Like the lady in García-Márquez’s story, I thought some act of repetition would clarify things. And so I went to São Paulo in March, looking for René Burri.

Read the rest.

Advertisements
Men on a Rooftop in São Paulo

Google Street View of London blended with paintings from the 1700s

From Wired:

Redditor Shystone has laid old paintings over Google Street View photographs to create a series of perspective-bending composite images of old and new London. Modern sculptures dominate a plaza that was once wide open; neon signs reside on the same block as gas-lit streetlights; and a bridge covers over a river that was once filled with sailboats.

We’ve seen projects similar to this before, but it works particularly well in a city like London, where history is built into infrastructure and architecture. Buildings that existed in the 18th century are still standing today, which gives the images a ghostly feeling. It really is incredible how well paintings from artists like Canaletto and Balthazar Nebot reflect current-day London. It certainly helps that Shystone made sure to line up the edges of buildings and streets for maximum effect.

Google Street View of London blended with paintings from the 1700s

Starlings

From the Atlantic:

When starlings flock together, wheeling and darting through the sky in tight, fluid formations, we call it a murmuration. These murmurations can range from small groups of a few hundred starlings in a small ball, to undulating seas of millions of birds, blocking out the sun. I thought today would be a good day to just take a few moments and appreciate the simple beauty of murmurations, captured by various photographers over the past few years.

 

Starlings

Hassan Hajjaj’s Moroccan Kesh Angels on motorbikes

From Dangerous Minds:

I don’t know a lot about these pictures of colorfully dressed Moroccan women posing with their motorcycles, but I sure do love them to bits. They’re the work of Moroccan-born photographer Hassan Hajjaj, and you couldn’t really ask for a better presentation of this material, from the cheeky poses to the arresting frames with colorful food products I can’t identify. The name of the exhibition is Kesh Angels, which runs through March 7 at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in Manhattan.

Check the video out at the end for a great explanation from the artist, Hassan Hajjaj.

Hassan Hajjaj’s Moroccan Kesh Angels on motorbikes