June 30, 2009 at 11:43 pm
A letter from Ronald Reagan to Michael Jackson, dated February 1, 1984, five days after the singer’s hair was set afire by pyrotechnics during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. The letter was among belongings Jackson offered for sale at auction in April in an attempt to pay off an estimated $24 million in debts, including legal fees incurred during his trial for child molestation. The auction was canceled after Jackson’s representatives claimed that some of the items for sale were “irreplaceable.”
I was pleased to learn that you were not seriously hurt in your recent accident. I know from experience that these things can happen on the set—no matter how much caution is exercised. All over America, millions of people look up to you as an example. Your deep faith in God and adherence to traditional values are an inspiration to all of us, especially young people searching for something real to believe in. You’ve gained quite a number of fans along the road since “I Want You Back,” and Nancy and I are among them. Keep up the good work, Michael. We’re very happy for you.
via harper’s magazine
June 30, 2009 at 10:05 pm
new post over at sake & wine
June 25, 2009 at 12:01 am
I’m reading a very good David Campany book and found this excerpt to be particularly interesting:
Still Photography, Still
“In photography something of this loss of faith in speed can be measured against the steady waning of interest in the instantaneous snapshot. As we have seen, it was only from the 1920s, in the shadow of cinema and with the growing dominance of print journalism, that photography became the modulator of the concept of the event. Good photo-reporters followed the action, aiming to be in the right place at the right time. This lasted until the late 1960s, with the standardized introduction of portable video cameras for news coverage. Over the last few decades the representation of events has fallen increasingly to video and was then dispersed across a variety of platforms. As television overshadowed print media, photography lost its position as a medium of primary information. It even lost its monopoly over stillness to video and then digital video, which provides frame grabs for newspapers as easily as it provides moving footage for television and the Internet. Today, photographers often prefer to wait until an event is over. They are as likely to attend to the aftermath because photography is, in relative terms, at the aftermath of culture. What we see first ‘live’ or at least in real time on television might be revisited by photographers depicting the stillness of traces.
In this way immersion in subject matter has given way to distance. Sharp reflexes have given way to careful strategy. The small format has given way to the large. Nimbleness and a ‘quick eye’ are passed over as photographers attune to the longer wave rhythms of the social world. As a consequence, the photographic image becomes less about the ‘hot’ decisiveness of the shutter and more about the ‘cold’ stoicism of the lens. Where the boundaries between the still and moving image are breaking down the photographic image circulates promiscuously, dissolving into the hybrid mass of mainstream visual culture. But where photography attempts to separate itself out and locate a particular role for itself, it is decelerated, pursuing a self-consciously sedate, unhurried pace. Slower working procedures are producing images more akin to monuments than moments. Many of the defining photographic projects of the last decade or so have been depictions of aftermaths and traces in the most literal sense. They include projects as diverse as Joel Meyerowitz’s documentation of Ground Zero in New York; Paul Seawright’s and Simon Norfolk’s images of the traces of war in Afghanistan; Robert Polidori’s records of the damage wrought by Katrina on New Orleans; and Sophie Ristelhueber’s images of the sabotaged Kuwaiti oilfields in 1991. In all of these examples photography has re-engaged its forensic function, although none of these photographers makes images that resemble police pictures. Instead, forensic attention to traces is spliced with an almost classical sense of place typical of traditional landscape photography. Just as the medium has been sidelined from events, these image-makers find their outlet away from the popular press, in the expanded field of fine-art photography. In parallel to this, others have focused on the time before the event. At first glance, An-My Lê’s series 29 Palms (2003-4) look like battlefield photographs from a contemporary war zone. In fact, they document the military preparations of US Marines on American soil for conflict in the Middle East. This is not the ‘theatre of war’ but its rehearsal studio.
An-My Lê, Night Operations, 2003-4, from the series 29 Palms.
That many photographers now work in these ‘late’ ways is not just a consequence of their coming to terms with the marginal status of the medium. It is also a question of coming to terms with the idea that documentary and photojournalism are now thoroughly allegorical. These photographers know full well that their restrained images are read through the barrage of mass-media coverage of the events they so studiously avoid.”
© David Campany. Photography and Cinema. London: Reaktion Books Ltd., 2008.
June 23, 2009 at 10:56 pm