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A Visual Feast

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


#2 / #3


I have prepared for you today a four-course meal of ocular sumptuousness, a banquet for the eyes and mind. Don’t worry about napkins or utensils — just dig right in.

L ‘Apertif — Daily Dose of Imagery

You may have noticed the link to Daily Dose of Imagery on the sidebar for a couple of weeks now; it is a photoblog started in 2003 by Sam Javanrouh, creative director at Optix Digital Pictures. It’s a very simple concept — one picture posted each day — but the quality of his photography has earned him numerous awards, such as ‘Photoblog of the Year’ for 2005 and 2006 at the Photobloggies. His catalogue is comprised mostly of his travels around Europe and interesting sights he comes across in his hometown of Toronto. His strengths as a photographer lie in his attention to how he frames each shot to maximize the visual effect of his subject, and his excellent use of shadow and natural light to create atmosphere in even the simplest image.

Daily Dose of Imagery - Bolsena, Italy Daily Dose of Imagery - Roman bookseller Daily Dose of Imagery - French church Daily Dose of Imagery - Toronto lightning storm

Appetizer — Weegee

Weegee (Arthur Fellig) was the king of New York tabloid photography back in the ’40s and ’50s. His methods were extremely unorthodox for the time — he would drive around all night picking up police communiqués on his short wave radio (he was the first ordinary citizen to have one) and so was always able to arrive on the scene early enough to snap the sometimes gruesome pictures that he became famous for. He kept his radio secret, instead advertising himself as psychic — his nom-de-plume is simply the phonetic spelling of Ouija. An exhibition entitled Unknown Weegee runs until Aug. 27th at New York’s International Center of Photography.

Weegee - Couple in Voodoo Trance Weegee - Water Main Burst, Madison Ave. Weegee - Circus Audience Weegee - Girl Jumped Out of a Car, Park Ave.

Entrée — Charles Cushman

Charles W. Cushman was an amateur photographer who spent thirty-two years (1938 – 1969) travelling around the United States (and eighteen other countries) with his trusty Contax IIA camera, documenting his travels on rich, beautiful Kodachrome slide film. When he died, he bequeathed the approximately 14,500 colour slides in the collection to his alma mater, the University of Indiana, who have in turn made the collection available for viewing online. The importance of this archive is that it is by far the largest collection of colour images surviving from this time period. It provides an unparalleled visual record of the time, focusing mostly on the American landscape through the pre-and-post WWII years, right up to the end of that most tumultuous decade, the ’60s. The introductory essay gives an excellent overview, so I won’t go into too much detail; but I will say you should definitely set aside some hours at some point to browse through these incredibly varied and unique photographs.

Cushman - Niagra Falls Cushman - Boston Cushman - Atascadero Rd, California Cushman - South Ferry Bums, New York

Dessert — Banksy

Banksy is the pseudonym of Robert Banks (unconfirmed), a gonzo-geurilla-grafitti artist who operates mostly out of London. He utilizes the existing form of urban infrastructure as a canvas for his stencils, which range in tone from serious political statements to off-beat humour. He also takes iconic images or famous paintings and plays around with them to subvert their meaning and context à la Andy Warhol. He also did a clever series of paintings on the security fence being erected by Israel which show a hope for brighter days ahead.

Banksy - Rat Poison Banksy - Queen Victoria Banksy - Kissing Coppers Banksy - Fence

The meal completed, your hunger satiated, it’s now time to move to the parlour with a warm snifter of brandy and a Cohiba to discuss the day’s events with your fellows; then, after much rousing debate, you will retire to your bed feeling learned and wise, and your dreams will be a wonderland of colour and light.

Goodnight everybody. 03971semaj

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, August 22, 2006 1:07 pm

    I agree that Sam’s images are fantastic (I’ve been perusing his site for a few years). And thanks so much for an introduction to the other artists.

    I find it interesting, however, that they are all men. I’d like to see some equivalent female artists mentioned (and there are plenty of amazing women artists out there).

  2. Tuesday, August 22, 2006 1:18 pm

    It’s simply coincidence that these all happen to be men — but you make a good point.

    I’ll see what I can find for a later post.

    Or — maybe somebody else out there wants to send something in?

  3. Tuesday, August 22, 2006 2:08 pm

    Check this out… the photographers for this photoblog are a couple and they have amazing photos.

  4. Drew permalink
    Tuesday, August 22, 2006 8:40 pm

    mmmm… watermelon…

  5. Thursday, August 24, 2006 3:12 pm

    I love Banksy, the dude’s work has many times been a big inspiration for my own work.

  6. Rachel permalink
    Thursday, May 3, 2007 8:58 pm

    In my seemingly endless search for a specific Weegee photo, I accidentally stumbled upon this entry. It’s interesting you have Weegee and Banksy in one post, but fail to mention one relation to both of them. The cover of Blur’s album Think Tank by Banksy bares a striking resemblance to a photo by Weegee from around 1950. The original photo is of two people in what looks to be space suits kissing. Banksy’s cover art is nearly the same, only the lovers are slightly further apart and are wearing those old time underwater suits.

    I cannot for the life of me find the Weegee photo online, but the Banksy blur cover is easy to google.

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