John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s Finding Vivian Maier is nominated for an Academy Award, Best Feature Documentary. Most people have read about the nanny who worked in complete obscurity, yet may be one of the greatest street photographers of the 20th Century. The filmmakers tell the story of her art and also track down people who knew this eccentric and perhaps troubled artist. Meanwhile, and problematically for Maloof and other owners of Maier’s work, it’s one thing to own the negatives and quite another to own copyright that allows for printing and publishing those negatives. Maloof thought he had that covered, but in 2013 that came into question. Finally and most recently (2015), perhaps sensing an opportunity for much-needed revenue, the State of Illinois has belatedly opened a file on the Maier Estate and notified owners and galleries to be prepared for legal inquiry. The documentary is streaming on the major distributors (Netflix, Amazon, GooglePlay).
Les Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride is a collection of found photographs by film-maker Sébastien Lifshitz showing (mostly anonymous) gay couples together in the early years of the 20th century. 'He found most of his collection in the US and western Europe, but none in the UK: “Maybe the British think such photographs have no value, or are too private to sell.”'. In 2012, Lifshitz released Les Invisibles, a related documentary exploring the lives of 11 gay and lesbian individuals over the age of 70. [more inside]
In 1973, The Who released their sixth album, Quadrophenia. The epic double album tells the story of a boy named Jimmy Cooper who deals with mental illness on top of the run-of-the-mill stresses of teen life. But Jimmy Cooper isn't just any London teen. Jimmy Cooper is a Mod. [more inside]
The project centers on nine women in the feminist lesbian porn industry who are recorded for a 24-hour period, with 10-second blips of their everyday lives playing out in five-minute intervals. What’s revealed is an intimate portrait of a marginalized community opening up about sex, gender politics, depression, and their daily grind in a way that’s downright real.
"I've been lucky enough to film with elephants, gorillas, bears and none of them have ever sat on my head."
Magic Meerkat Moments: In this clip from BBC's Planet Earth Live, we get to see meerkats, which have become so acclimated to film crews that they now view them as part of the landscape and use them for shade and as vantage points. [via]
"From photography’s earliest days, enterprising practitioners realized they could take their services directly to the people. This lead to the horse-drawn wagons called “Daguerreotype Salons” and then to portable, darkroom tents that allowed wet-plate photographers to make pictures outside. As technology advanced, the tents morphed into a single apparatus that combined both camera and darkroom, which allowed photographers to work anywhere. Afghanistan is one of the last places where street vendor photographers still use such a hand-made, wooden camera called kamra-e-faoree or “instant camera.” Observing this practice lead photographer Lukas Birk & anthropologist Sean Foley to undertake the Afghan Box Camera Project." - Photo Technique Magazine introduction to an interview with Lukas Birk [more inside]
Bill Cunningham New York is a wonderful documentary about a fascinating man, now available on Hulu. [more inside]
Music is a book/app/documentary film by photographer/film-maker Andrew Zuckerman (previously). Similar in format to Zuckerman's film Wisdom, Music features interviews with musical luminaries both fully- and not-so-luminous. [more inside]
Like a "modern-day pirate," 75-year-old Ray Ives has been diving for sunken treasure for decades. Wearing an ancient, bronze-helmeted diving suit, he searches the ocean floor and keeps a huge collection of marine salvage (including antique cannon balls, 'bottles, bells, swords, portholes and diving gear') in a shipping container "museum" at a British marina.
Ray: A Life Underwater: Vimeo / YouTube. (A short film documentary.) [more inside]
Ray: A Life Underwater: Vimeo / YouTube. (A short film documentary.) [more inside]
When they want to kill a dog, they say it's crazy. A photo essay from Haiti by Jared Iorio.
2-part KQED documentary about Dorothea Lange, from 1965. Lange meditates on the historical impact of images and how they can be used to examine/change society [more inside]
Pictory is a showcase for people around the world to document their lives and cultures. Anyone can submit one large, captioned image to each of Pictory’s editorial themes. The recent theme was Infrastructure, where Japan’s near-simultaneous earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis has provided a graphic reminder about the centrality of infrastructure in our lives. Another theme was Platonic Love Stories, about the folks who laugh at the same dumb jokes you do, have been there for you through thick and thin, and are still friends with you despite it all. Pictory of the Day photo blog. The Pictory Feature Archive. Here are the presently open themes. [more inside]
"For the last 18 years I have photographed Julie Baird’s complex story of multiple homes, AIDS, drug abuse, abusive relationships, poverty, births, deaths, loss and reunion. Following Julie from the backstreets of San Francisco to the backwoods of Alaska."
This is not the South Africa we dream of... (NSFW) "Using a Pentax camera with 35mm focal-length lens, Billy Monk photographed the nightclub revellers and sold the prints to his subjects. His close and long friendships with many of the people in the images allowed him to photograph them with extraordinary intimacy in all their states of joy and sadness. His images of nightlife seem carefree and far away from the scars and segregation of apartheid that fractured this society in the daylight."
What Matters (Flash based) is a book published in 2008 combining imagery and essays to tell stories highlighting contemporary issues benefiting from both images and text. The book was edited and curated by David Elliot Cohen (Wikipedia) including 17 essays (TOC, pdf) covering such issues as the Price of Oil Addiction (pdf) and Shop till You Drop (pdf). The complete book is available for free as a series of PDF documents. [more inside]
If you loved Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, check out these gorgeous, high-resolution promotional photographs. The film's special effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull invented numerous film techniques and effects to help Kubrick tell his story, and Trumbull is currently producing with film historian David Larson the documentary 2001: Beyond The Infinite - The Making of a Masterpiece (scroll down, click the link on the second video). This documentary aims to make use of the Kubrick Archives's well-preserved large-format Ektachrome photos taken of the film production, green screen techniques, surviving cast and production staff, and numerous interview transcripts to bring to life the story about the making of this classic.
DSLR News Shooter is a new photo site featuring the use of the latest HD-dSLRs like the Canon Eos5DmkII, 7D and Nikon D300s for news, documentary and factual shooting. By Guardian news photographer Dan Chung, it's a place for professionals, educators, students and industry figures to discuss the practice and the art of cinematic photography in documenting the real world. For example, the time-lapse and slow-motion film of the recent 60th anniversary parade of the PRC. Other places to look for information and discussion of DSLR video are the Planet5D blog, and filmmakers such as Vincent Laforet and Phillip Bloom. (previous 1, 2)
Brenda Kenneally documents the effects of illegal drugs in her Brooklyn, New York neighborhood. Money Power Respect and Big Trigg. NSFW [previous comment]
Daryl Peveto is a freelance photographer and videographer with a passion for social documentary storytelling. Over the last few years he has worked on issues ranging from American nomads to bullfighting in Tijuana to Antarctica: The White Continent to the black market economies of Peru. His photoblog is a sketchbook for story ideas and visual explorations.
They call themselves Visual Journalists. Prime among them is the Bombay Flying Club, a group of photo-journalists who are using the latest web and flash technologies to frame their online news gathering and documentary storytelling. [more inside]
Verve Photo. Photographer and photo editor Geoffrey Hiller has created Verve to feature photos and interviews by the finest young image makers today. Verve is a reminder of the power of the still image. Verve will also point you to new photo agencies, publications and inspiring multimedia projects.
Watch the story. Still photography and narrative as documentary.
Bert Teunissen - Domestic Landscapes. Photographs of (mostly) senior citizens in their living rooms and kitchens. [more inside]
Another Country is the name of Chicago Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante's long-term documentary project. Presented in diptych form, he shows the lives of two subjects on the same piece of land separated only by time. From the Cagwin family farm to a sleepy suburban Chicago subdivision, the striking images magically embody the old saying- the more things change, the more they stay the same. [more inside]
Sequel to Guy Catches Sunglasses With Face It wasn't too long ago that we had a look at Guy Catches Sunglasses With Face. Here is the sequel, Bobbing For Glasses. Both videos are from artist Ben Kaller, who has worked on most of Spike Jonze' best stuff, among other things. His brother Jeremy Kaller is also a talented director, who recently released a a documentary about the progressive recycling scene in San Francisco.
"THIN is a photographic essay and a documentary film about the treatment of eating disorders. In 1997, Lauren Greenfield began documenting the lives of patients at the Renfrew Center in Coconut Grove, Florida, a forty-bed residential facility for the treatment of women with eating disorders. She subsequently returned to Renfrew to take more photographs, and was eventually given unprecedented access to film the daily lives of patients". (scroll down or search for "Greenfield"). 2002 MeFi post on Greenfield's previous project, "Girl Culture", here.
In the late 50's Milton Rogovin, started taking pictures at churches on the east side of Buffalo. His next project Family of Miners, began in Appalachia but would eventually span 10 countries. He returned to Buffalo's east side a number of times creating triptychs and quartets of families spanning decades.
The Border Film Project. "For three months last summer, three filmmakers with ties to Arizona passed out hundreds of disposable cameras to two groups: [...] undocumented immigrants on the perilous journey to enter the United States and Minuteman volunteers determined to stop them." [article] [previously]
Generation KKK Documentary photographs of the Ku Klux Klan, 1988-2002, by James Edward Bates.
Oakland-based photographer Scott Squire documents both the familiar and the unfamiliar in a style he calls NonFiction Photography. There's some pretty amazing stuff here.
Arakimentari: A Documentary Film and Journey Into the Mind Of Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. [some nudity + salacity]