Susan Ressler’s photographs document the absurd corporate life of the 1970s

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Diver © Susan Ressler (1979)

Photographer Susan Ressler released a collection of black and white images capturing the corporate culture of Los Angeles in the 1970s. From the clunky computers to the banal office plant and male-dominated executives, she captures the industrial economy perfectly.

Ressler writes on her website:

Executive Order” depicts corporate America in the late 1970s, mostly in Los Angeles and the Mountain West. The sunbelt was exploding and so was corporate excess. Daylight Books is publishing this work in Spring 2018. Why 40 years later? Because now, in the era of Trump, we face the same dangers that ensue when corporations are deregulated and when profits “trump” people.



Her images are stark reminders of a culture that was and still is prevalent today.

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“Burning Man” wins photo of the year

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© Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse

Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt won World Press Photo of the Year for his image of the “Burning Man.”

The picture shows a fleeing José Víctor Salazar Balza engulfed in flames at an anti-government protest in Venezuela on May 3, 2017.

“It all took just a few seconds, so I didn’t know what I was shooting,” Schemidt told the British Journal of Photography. “I was moved by instinct, it was very quick. I didn’t stop shooting until I realized what was going on. There was somebody on fire running towards me.”

The photographer currently resides in Mexico where he shoots football matches and more recently covered the Mexico City earthquake aftermath. Check out more images on the Getty website.

 

‘The internet’s ownership of words’

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via @resort

The internet owns our words.

Anyone can pull up an old Tweet or Facebook post and show you ‘this is what you said.’ The internet makes permanent the written word.

But such posts are usually “naked and without context.”

Words get lost in time

It’s not that people don’t look at the time stamp; it’s that words get lost in time. They are instantly indexable. They can be copy-pasted with a click, reemerging from the abyss of dormancy.

Writes Peter Pomerantsev in his article “Pay For Your Words”:

“There is a sense that words have slipped the leash. We think we’re expressing ourselves, but actually we’re just leaving a data imprint for someone else to make use of. Whether we write an email, a Facebook message, store content on a Google drive, or type out a text, all of what we write is sucked into a semantic web.”

But a photo lives and dies from the second it’s taken. It’s born with a frozen setting, a time and a place. Our eyes taste pictures with the past, even before we gaze analyze them.

Pomerantsev continues:

“But you can push away from the photo of yourself: it was a younger you, you look different now. Words are different. They feel ever-present, always as if you’ve just said them. It’s harder to disentangle yourself. ‘You will pay for those words’ goes the banal phrase – no one ever says ‘you will pay for that photo’.”

If we are accountable for what we say, why write anything at all if it comes back to bite you? The durability of the written words appears to be riskier than ever.

The Dog Photographer

William Wegman is a photographer famous for his portraits of dogs.

For the last 45 years, Wegman has been dressing up his Weimaraners in human clothes and making them do everyday poses.

“Dogs are always in a state of becoming something: they become characters, objects…when they’re lying down they’re becoming landscapes.”

His dogs have since appeared in children’s books, videos for Sesame Street and an appearance on Saturday Night Live.

Over 300 of his images appeared in William Wegman: Being Human (Amazon link), released last year.

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All images courtesy William Wegman

The Broccoli Tree 🥦🌳

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“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” said Andy Warhol. That was certainly true for a broccoli tree in Sweden, whose anonymity disappeared due to its popular Instagram account with 30,000 fans.

In a world of surfeit images, people actually spent the time to look at this broccoli tree. It became a tourist attraction, even hosting its own photography exhibition. But according to a heartless individual, it may have overstayed its welcome. Someone suddenly sawed off one of its limbs.

“You can’t unsaw a tree, but you can’t unsee one either.”

The broccoli tree went desist, but its fame lives on through calendars, prints, and its Instagram feed.  “To share something is to risk losing it,” especially in the era of social media.

It’s a harsh world for something that seemed already untouchable.


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Pascal Maitre’s African journey

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Bata children after their First Communion. Equatorial Guinea, 1989 (Pascal Maitre/Agence Cosmos)

Photojournalist Pascal Maitre has been capturing Africa for over 30 years. But “each story is like new,” he said an interview with The New York Times, “You must find a new solution, a new piece to make the story.”

Photographers are first-class noticers. They wait for something to happen. Said Maitre:

“The most difficult part is to be in a place where something interesting is happening. To get physical access, authorization and safety. Once you’re on the spot, shooting is never difficult.”

 

Instagram ‘homogenized our creativity’

Instagram is a clash of sameness: the same travel pics, coffee cup shots, and innumerable selfies. The app ‘homogenizes‘ photography so that all images look roughly the same.

It’s always refreshing to see Instagram users who are trying something different, who are using the platform to explore their creativity instead of posting endless food porn.

Not only are we drowning in photos, the conformity of images is ruining the art of photography.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are countless apps for editing your photos and videos to make them stand out from others in the feed. VSCO offers some unique filter capabilities but apps like Hyperspektiv and Photofox transform your photos into something unique by mixing elements of graphics and paint.

Adding interesting captions is another way to differentiate ourselves from the crowd. Tell people what the image is about or give a unique interpretation of what the eye can’t see. Even better, bewilder the viewer and keep them guessing. Like photos, all writing is in the edit.

Give everyone a camera and the stage, and they’ll exploit it just like everybody else. The upshot is a mass experience that mostly dulls expression. Scratch it up, discolor the frame; dare to be different.

More Cliches 🚫

AMERICANS — Indians in American life

Seminoles, Braves, Redskins — Indian culture permeates American life from sports teams to table-top advertising.

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Panorama by Wells Baum

Upon entering the exhibit, there’s a sign titled Indians are everywhere in American life that reads:

 “These images are worth a closer look. What if they are not trivial? What if they are instead symbols of great power? What if the stories they tell reveal a buried history — and a country forever fascinated, conflicted, and shaped by its relationship with American Indians?”

Did you know that Native American Ira Hayes was one of the six Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima?

video via Wikimedia Commons

The many variations of Native American flags.

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All photos by Wells Baum

Stuck in traffic 🚦

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Nowhere to go, a forced patience at the mercy of algorithmic street lights.

No right on red, Big Brother proclaims.

When we’re stuck at the corner, there isn’t more to do than look at the variations of our surroundings.

The city never stops. Why should its people, albeit looking blankly inscrutable?

PS

“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.”

Winston Churchill