Annenberg Space for Photography Exhibit and Film “No Strangers” opens in LA on November 17

THE ANNENBERG SPACE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY PRESENTS NO STRANGERS: ANCIENT WISDOM IN A MODERN WORLD OPENING NOVEMBER 17, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 23, 2012)–The Annenberg Space for Photography is pleased to announce its next exhibit – no strangers: ancient wisdom in a modern world, a group show about the wonder of culture and the plight of indigenous people throughout the world. no strangers is guest curated by esteemed anthropologist, author and photographer Wade Davis. This exhibit opens to the public in Los Angeles on November 17, 2012 and runs through February 24, 2013.

no strangers explores the ways cultures express a shared humanity and navigate the circle of life. It poses a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? When the people of the world answer this question, they do so in 7,000 unique voices. Tragically, half of these may be silenced within a generation or two. At risk is our human legacy, a vast archive of knowledge and expertise. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of culture is a crucial challenge that should be faced.

Photographers featured in the exhibit are Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Wade Davis, Chris Johns, Lynn Johnson, Steve McCurry, Randy Olson, Chris Rainier and Hamid Sardar.

…The exhibit will feature an original short documentary produced by Arclight Productions for the Annenberg Space for Photography. The film will be shown in vivid detail on two 14’ by 7’ screens in 4K resolution. Filmed in locations throughout the world, from Washington, DC to British Columbia, Canada to London to Mongolia, the documentary will feature additional photographs, interviews and behind the scenes footage with exhibit photographers, indigenous people and experts. The film will examine indigenous cultures through photography’s lens and encourage viewers to consider ancient traditions in a new context.

The themes explored in the exhibit include: The Circle of Life, Our Shared Origins,
Ancient Wisdom, Sacred Geography, Endangered, Globalization, Ritual & Passages, Beauty, Quest for Spirit and Joy of Culture.

On Set for Annenberg Film and Exhibit: No Strangers

Backstage, Lumix Photofestival, Germany

Craig photographs Melissa getting ready at the Lumix Photofestival. If he wins a third Pulitzer, we will print this out, make him sign it and sell it for a lot of money 🙂

Lumix Photofestival for Young Photographers Roundup

All the gloom and doom about the demise of print media was put aside last week after spending a few days in Hannover, Germany at the 3rd LUMIX festival for young photojournalists.  The sophisticated and thoughtful work I saw there – and more than that – the commitment these emerging photojournalists have — gave me new hope.

Christopher Cappozziello, an American photographer was awarded the Lammehuber Award for his sensitive, yet unblinking look into a very personal story about his twin brother who has cerebral palsy. In The Distance Between Us, the unpleasant realities are interpreted through the eyes of this young photographer.

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Wild Horses Short Film-Melissa on Set with Stephanie Martin and Robert Richardson

Stephanie is directing a new short film inspired in part by the photographs of wild horses on this site and by Melissa’s life as a still photographer working for a large magazine trying to do some good for the plight of wild horses in the American West.

Her husband, Robert Richardson, is the cinematographer-maybe the best cinematographer working today. His filmography is here… Salvador, Platoon, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, The Horse Whisperer, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Good Shepherd, Hugo… too many to mention.

No animals were hurt in the production of this short film. This is a fake horse.

 

Flying a Camera on a Kite over the Statues on Easter Island

Melissa did a video that chronicles my difficulties putting a camera (and eventually in frustration, a computer) up on a kite string to shoot an aerial photograph. I needed a different angle on the Moai of Easter Island because they have been photographed to death. There are so many ways to get a camera up in the air these days. You can look at Nick Nichols’s Field Test in National Geographic about flying helicopters over lions, but you have to realize there are many people and a lot of time and money involved in that. This was not the case. I went through my equipment closet before I left and the guys in photo equipment at NG went through their equipment closet and we patched together a bunch of stuff that MIGHT WORK. I don’t even own a kite. NG sent me a “fighting kite” they had left over from an arctic assignment that would be good for cutting the strings of someone else’s kite in Lahore in a fight, but not to carry a camera. Luckily my 85-year-old father is still paragliding and he arranged for his instructors and their friends to help me get a kite big enough to carry a camera and a computer. I had to get a camera up in the air quickly, so this ended up being a “seat of the pants” experiment that only netted one photograph. One is all you need, however, and that photograph was in the layout for awhile, but disappeared with some later decisions. This aerial-by-kite was a side-note to my main mission, which was to photograph the place and the culture. I was particularly interested in the people because there are direct descendants left on the island and I did a search through all the agency and photo sites before I left and there were 30,000 photographs of the statues and about two of the people in their homes living their lives. But in the middle of the real work, if the light was good, and if the wind was good I would run out with my little team and try to make a kite photograph.

Melissa at Lumix Photofestival in Germany

These are just a few photographs from the archives Melissa has been scanning for her talk at LUMIX.

LUMIX Photofestival

The third LUMIX festival opens June 13 in Hanover, Germany, with lectures by Joankim Eskilden (Denmark) and Melissa Farlow (USA).  Other speakers during the week include Munem Wasif (Bangladesh), Stuart Franklin (UK), Rena Effendi (Aserbaidschan), Darcy Padilla (USA), Anja Niedringhaus (Germany), and Craig Walker (USA).

More than 20,000 visitors attended the 60 exhibitions of print exhibits and multimedia stories in the past Lumix festival where participants receive portfolio reviews and attend lectures and panel discussions.

The Photofestival for Young Photojournalism testifies to the power in our image-oriented world by contributing to education and teaching photography that can touch people emotionally. Photojournalism and documentary photography studies at the University of Hannover in Applied Sciences and Arts organizes the festival in cooperation with German photojournalist association FREELENS.

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Strange Family Interactions with the Country of Japan

The famous photographer, Robert Capa, was a guest on my grandfather’s radio show in New York in the 1940s. The book he is holding is on my shelf at home just below a shelf of the books that my grandfather wrote.

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John Moore Video

We’ve known John since he was an intern at the Pittsburgh Press where we all worked… We’ve vacationed in Africa together and kept up pretty well until he started covering conflict zones… and for years, we would only see him on CNN every now and then when they would show a brick slamming into his head in SLO-MO while he was covering some uprising somewhere in the world. He was nearly blown up with Benazir Bhutto… and… and… and…

It’s nice to finally see a video of what he’s been up to…

A Travel Story in DETROIT???

Melissa has shot city stories for National Geographic Traveler on Miami and Chicago, which made sense to her… but a Traveler story on Detroit? She didn’t know how great the city actually was until she got there, met some crazy artists, hung out at a turn of the century speakeasy and basically had a great time… her story follows…

When I’m asked where I’ve just been on an assignment, people wait with a dreamy look on their faces expecting to hear some exotic location or far away foreign land that will make them envious. When I tell them I was in Detroit to shoot a travel story, there is a look of disbelief accompanied by silence as though they didn’t hear me correctly. I have to admit that I wondered when I accepted the assignment from Traveler if I would regret it.

Detroit—Rust Belt city in ruins. Unemployment—bankruptcy. Motor City—Murder City. Worst of the worst in many people’s minds. I imagined trudging around carrying my camera, looking over my shoulder with fear that I’d be the next crime victim. The weather was sure to turn cold and snow. On top of it all, the assignment fell on the week of my birthday—so I’d probably be alone.

The urban ruins reinforced my uneasiness when I arrived–large, empty blocks where buildings once stood. I got a tour from a local photographer the first night and she warned me that lots of street lights were out and to take care not to hit anyone walking in the street.

We ate and stopped at her favorite bar hangout where I got an update on the Tigers that were playing in the World Series and realized the Lions were playing in town too.  There was something in her voice—she spoke with pride. I could tell she loved the city. I connected with writer’s contacts and began to work. It’s always hard to begin, but this looked to be more than a challenge.

The first shock was walking in to a Speakeasy close to my hotel and feeling I’d stepped back in time. Talk about atmosphere—people were sitting at little tables pulled up to a beautiful mahogany bar—talking–laughing–what a fabulous place. Actually there were two Speakeasies that had great vibes—Café-D’Mongos and Cliff Bells. The music, the food, but what made the greatest impression were the people. They were so friendly. I didn’t feel like a stranger.

The next surprise was the over the top fabulous architecture. I’d seen photographer’s dramatic images of the “ruin porn” of post-industrial Detroit. But I didn’t know about the Guardian Building, Fisher Building, the Detroit Opera House—just a few treasures that still exist. Many more need to be saved like this one, but the process has started.

Places like the Eastern Market and the riverfront development felt familiar—I live in Pittsburgh and watched the city develop a friendlier interface and has kept ethnic charm. But I don’t know of another place anywhere like the Heidelberg Project. I’m not sure how to begin to describe a 25-year endeavor by a Detroit artist that transformed a dilapidated inner-city neighborhood into Detroit’s third most popular tourists’ destination. A polka dot house? Sculpture of discarded objects make a political statement? The Heidelberg Project is a creative metamorphosis from urban decay to a few city blocks that continually evolve as a whimsical, thriving outdoor art museum.

In fact I met a lot of artists that have come to Detroit. Young creative classes are attracted to places where rents are low—similar as to what happened in Brooklyn. Detroit has a history of supporting the arts. There are commioned Diego Rivera murals that cover a huge courtyard in the Detroit Art Museum but I also found many local artists painting murals on buildings that served as “blank canvases.”

Yellow flowers were a finishing touch on a playhouse in Mexicantown; but across from the now abandoned Grand Central Station, artists worked on the unconventional “Imagination Station” questioning the gentrification of their Corktown neighborhood.

Whether they were on Belle Isle planting trees or swimming on the last warm day of the year in the Detroit River–or urban pioneers pulling up weeds to take back the city to make gardens—people were open and genuinely nice.

One friendly resident that was curious about me hanging around warned, “People come here and get out of their cars and put their purses and backpacks under their front seat and expect to come back and they will still be there. Lady, you are in the ‘hood. Don’t forget that.” But nothing bad happened to me during my ten days in Detroit. Well, except for the three parking tickets I received. I earned them. I paid them, but attached a note saying I hoped they used my money wisely to help pay the city’s bills.

I’ve gotten more emails the past few days over this story than any I’ve had published in a very long time. People are surprised to learn there is another side of Detroit. Those who live there seem grateful to find a bit of recognition for the good as well as for hope in the midst of a very sad story.