Every week the Atlantic publishes their photos of the week. I encourage you to check it out.
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.
It was a few days before the Fourth of July, and the man known to his friends as Scruff was ticking off his final to-do list. A grocery run for steak and shrimp. A haircut. And more fireworks.
History has shown, Scruff observed, that you can never have too many fireworks.
All over the country, people will gather for pyrotechnic displays this weekend, none larger than the Macy’s Fourth of July show taking place this year over the East River, by the Brooklyn Bridge. But even as millions of people watch that show on television, another Independence Day tradition will be honored on the other tip of Manhattan.
For at least a quarter-century, residents of Inwood, in northern Manhattan, have gathered around Dyckman Street for an unsanctioned fireworks competition, pitting various neighborhood blocks against one another, and all of them against the police.
“Saul Leiter (born 1923) is an American photographer and painter whose early work in the 1940s and 1950s was an important contribution to what came to be recognized as The New York School”
“I think art is overrated, and bridges are underrated. In fact, I don’t understand why bridges aren’t art. It seems to me they’re penalized for having a use.”
– Max Barry – Machine Man
I’d love to go out there with a projector and a screen. From HUH:
Estonian photographer Kaupo Kikkas has found and documented an old abandoned cinema in the middle of Egypt’s Sinai desert. According to the photographer, the place was built by a crazy Frenchman with money to spare, but sadly no film was ever shown there – on opening night the generator cut out.
While tours do pass close by to the abandoned space, it seems as though the cinema is going to be left alone and unused for a while to come. You can take a look at it using Google Maps as well.
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.