Blog: Exhibits

National Geographic Christie’s Auction | Links to Our Photos and Some We Should Have Bought

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


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 🙂

Story behind an unpublished photo

Sometimes you go to great effort to make a photograph and it just doesn’t get published… I was asked to write out the experience of taking this photograph when NG called asking to use it in an exhibit of unpublished photographs.

Churchgate Station used to be the easiest place in India to take photographs of teaming hordes coming off the trains. There was a lunch counter balcony directly over the area where everyone got off the trains and came through the station. But then there was a bombing at Churchgate and the lunch counter balcony turned into a military observation area. After that, Anglo guys that looked like the bomber (and me), had absolutely no chance of getting into this secure area..

So my story fixer (Vinay Diddee) and I hired a runner who carried official National Geographic paperwork to all the offices of the bureaucrats that control the station and we had him plead our case for me to have access…. it took the runner two weeks and the answer was always NO… but one bureaucrat said: “If he was an Indian, then I would let him up there.”

So, Vinay was allowed to go up to the military area with my camera and tripod and I showed him a sketch of the photo I wanted. Then I waited in the van and we had the same runner that schmoozed the bureaucrats go between him and me with the camera cards Vinay was using in my camera.. When I received the cards down in the van, I put them into another camera to view them and then called Vinay on his cell phone… the first time saying…. bring the lens down a little… the second time saying it needed a slower shutter speed….. the third time I asked him to put on a darker ND filter… fourth time.. zoom in… etc… etc…

It took eight trips back and forth with cards to get the framing and everything else right… then I just told him to keep shooting whenever there were big crowds that filled the foreground of the photograph. Then for two hours I sat in the van and watched the movie GI Joe in HINDI on the DVD player hanging from the roof of the van. it didn’t matter that it wasn’t in English… it was just guys running around blowing stuff up… so I was working an Indian fixer by remote control while watching a shoot-em-up movie in a van in Mumbai in a language that sounded pretty weird coming out of American actors.

So.. I went back to the hotel and ordered a bowl of soup and a waiter in a tux with a dining room table size cart trundles into my room with one little 6 oz bowl of soup on it… I should say here that Vinay has connections with a very nice hotel chain that is actually cheaper than staying in some businessman hotel. But being in this nice hotel is complicated by the fact I am working in the biggest slums in the world… So I decided not to do the butler in the room thing again and that night I went down to the dining room and had dinner alone and the waiter brought a bowl with two big goldfish and set them across from me at the empty seat to keep me company…. I had my iPad reading the paper… I was fine.. but now I had these two huge goldfish staring at me… sucking their cheeks in and out… the waiter felt sorry for me eating alone… but how pathetic…

The next day was my birthday and I didn’t intend to repeat either of those experiences…

So.. I thought I would just let the day go… disappear…. but this morning as we were getting ready to leave at 5:30AM Vinay said “Happy Bday” and it turns out Vinay’s wife has some weird-crazy-accurate-deal with dates… and she had run my passport thru for visas a few years ago…

And then… after a sucky shooting day… I went back to hotel… the phone rang… and a woman said… Mr. Olson we understand it is your bday and I would like to celebrate it with you… The hotel also had my passport copy… so a guy in a tux AGAIN and a customer relations guy and this woman all came up with what was ACTUALLY a great cake… a HUGE thing of flowers… a brass hindu god kinda gift and took their photos with my arms around them… and sung happy bday…. and then bowed a little bit… did a bunch of Indian head wobbles… said sir a lot and asked if I wanted them to close the door on the way out…


Farlow Heinz Endowment Photos on Display at Carnegie Museum

For seven years I felt like a taxi driver winding on the back routes–up and down hills, over bridges and through tunnels. I knew the ethnic neighborhoods and quirky nature of the terrain that divided communities all over the county. But when I was downtown, I walked. The Pittsburgh Press offices were near the Point and the territory between there and Grant Street – what’s known as the Golden Triangle—was where I looked for photographs between assignments.
I remember the Mayor of Pittsburgh making a proclamation that during his administration, the city was going to work to get at least half of the downtown street to have signs up to identify them

I came to Pittsburgh in 1986 to work for the afternoon newspaper. After the Press died, I began freelancing. Most of my assignments after that began by getting on an airplane to go somewhere else to work.

The assignment for the Heinz Endowments—Pittsburgh Downtown Now—brought me back to connect with people and places. After 20 years, it was interesting to see Pittsburgh with fresh eyes. The city is handsome—a mixture of old architectural marvels and new ones cropping up on the skyline. Spaces in between are undergoing a metamorphosis. The whole notion of Pittsburgh as a Green City was entirely new to me. Market Square, the Mon Wharf and the Point—iconic, familiar haunts are being revamped to make them friendlier places, but with a mind on preservation that has maintained their integrity. For two years on this project, I discovered a new city and it was cool because I understood it’s past.

PPG Fountain
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Carnegie Museum Show for Heinz Endowment Photographs

Picturing the City: Downtown Pittsburgh, 2007–2010, September 23, 2011–March 25, 2012, Carnegie Museum of Art, Gallery One

Linda Benedict-Jones (center of first photo), The Carnegie Museum and the Heinz Endowment hosted an opening for the public and the photographers working on photographs of Pittsburgh for the last two years for the “Downtown Now” project funded by the Heinz Endowment.

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3.5% Fine Art Print Royalties Back to Artist at Auction?

From NYT Arts Beat: Lawmakers Propose Royalties Be Paid to Artists on Resale


It’s the dream of every art collector to buy a painting from a little-known artist for $100 and later sell it for $1 million. But how does that artist feel? Some think it unfair that artists typically do not directly benefit when a particular work escalates in value, and a bill introduced Thursday by Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, and Senator Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin, seeks to redress that.

With the support of organizations like the Visual Artists and Galleries Association and the Artists Rights Society, the lawmakers propose setting aside 7 percent of the price of artworks that are resold for more than $10,000 at auction houses. Half of the commission would go to the artist and the other half to nonprofit art museums. The legislation, which would apply only to the resale of work, models itself on laws — more commonly known as droit de suite — already on the books in dozens of countries.   More here:

Duality Show at i witness gallery in Portland Oregon

The Duality Show is pairings of photographs from over 50 assignments from National Geographic magazine. The show is up until April 30th.

Two, pair, parallel, double, duo, mate, couple. Randy Olson and Melissa Farlow have walked lockstep through careers in newspapers, education, and magazine photojournalism. This book is a collection of their combined images. The diptychs reflect a personal interpretation of various cultures and species in diverse landscapes.
We are not tourists. We travel to places and spend time to document truth as we come to know it. Although many places seem foreign, we accept that for all that is different, we are looking for what is the same—what connects us all.


Digital to Daguerreotype

Olson and Farlow photographs in the Carnegie Museum’s exhibitiion: “Digital to Daguerreotype“.