America by Car: Landscapes Framed by Rental Cars

Montana, 2008

Las Vegas, 2007

Las Vegas, 2007

New York City, 2002

Pennsylvania, 2002

America by Car: Landscapes Framed by Rental Cars

Photography by:  Lee Friedlander

America by Car is an acclaimed series of photographs by the master photographer Lee Friedlander.  Driving through most of the country’s fifty states in ordinary rental cars, he took his black-and-white, square-format photographs entirely from the interior of the rental cars.  Friedlander employed the brilliantly simple idea of using the sideview mirror, rearview mirror, the windshield, and the side windows as picture frames within which to record reflections of this country’s eccentricities and obsessions at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Friedlander’s collection of photographs isn’t arranged in a manner that provides an On the Road style of narrative.  Instead, he groups images by subject, not geography: monuments, churches, houses, factories, ice cream shops, plastic Santas, roadside memorials.  Every snapshot includes and employs the vehicle’s interior and exterior elements as a means of fracturing and multiplying the image, providing a submersive sensory experience, like the one in which a driver might engage when glancing out at or studying something other than the road.

But as you look more closely at the photographs, the jarring and often deflecting nature of the images’ framings begins to fade, and you start to recognize the seemingly intentional groupings of subjects, pushed together as if to emphasize their similarity, but with clear divisions (the varied locations, for one; the physical and visual frames, for another.)  Then you also can recognize the keen sense of humor at play in many of the juxtapositions: a chain-link palm tree standing in the desert, a photo of a sign offering a photo-op in a quarter mile.  Finally, there’s the massive glory of disorder, a kind of celebration of roadside nonsense.

You can read more about Lee Friedlander’s America by Car in The New York Times here.

On the Road with Lee Friedlander

Lee Friedlander: America by Car

Slide Show: Lee Friedlander/America by Car

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The Art of Mysterious Old American Snapshots

Nature versus Industry

And Red All Over

Death and the Maiden: Musical Interlude

The Art of Mysterious Old American Snapshots

Figurative Artwork by:  Scott Hunt, NYC

Scott Hunt is a figurative artist whose discipline is drawing (charcoal and pastel on paper); he has shown internationally, and his work is part of the permanent collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.  Hunt’s drawings have a droll, subtly wry quality and take their inspiration from mysterious, uncomfortable, hilarious and sad moments in 1940s and 50s amateur photography, conferring upon them a new sense of life.

Hunt describes other people’s snapshots as “little mysteries; they have a history that’s lost and that can’t be accessed.  That severed link to the past fascinates me and gives me a vague sense of anxiety that compels me to create my own stories about who these people were, what brought them to this particular moment in time, and what preceded and followed the snap of the shutter.”

Slide Show: The Art of Mysterious Old American Snapshots

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Thousands of Demonstrators March Miles in Chicago’s Prop 8 Protest

Thousands of Demonstrators March Miles in Chicago’s Prop 8 Protest

Thousands of Proposition 8 protesters marched miles through the streets to a large demonstration in downtown Chicago today, to support and pressure the courts to overturn the passage of a same-sex marriage ban in California. The Chicago rally was one of at least 150 protests that took place nationwide subsequent to the vote on Proposition 8 in California.

In Chicago, protesters gathered at The Federal Plaza, carrying rainbow-colored flags and signs with messages like “Fix Marriage, Not Gays” and “Repeal Proposition 8.” Organizers said they hoped to achieve “full marriage equality” in Illinois. But more importantly, they said, they wanted to show solidarity with the California gay community and pressure that state’s Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8.

Many of the demonstrators directed their anger toward the various faiths that supported the vote to ban gay marriage with volunteers and large financial donations. But for the most part, their mood was upbeat, singing along with the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus in a rendition of “Down by the Riverside.” After a few hours, the demonstrators left The Federal Plaza and marched through the streets, among policemen on bicycle and horseback, to City Hall, The Thompson Center and ultimately down Michigan Avenue. A Chicago police spokeswoman said the rally went smoothly with no arrests despite demonstrators blocking weekend street traffic along Chicago’s busy Michigan Avenue.

Demonstrators March Miles in Chicago’s Prop 8 Protest

The Beatles: All You Need is Love

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will.i.am: It’s a New Day

will.i.am: It’s a New Day

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Housing and Foreclosures: The Devastation of American Dreams

Housing and Foreclosures: The Devastation of American Dreams

The number of homeowners ensnared in the foreclosure crisis grew by more than 70 percent in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2007. Across the nation, nearly 766,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice from July through September. By the end of this year, more than a million bank-owned properties will have piled up on the housing market, representing around a third of all properties for sale in the U.S.

But looking beneath the financial experts’ surveys and statistical projections, one finds that in many foreclosed properties there is often furniture still sitting in the rooms, food left out on the table and clothes hanging in the closet. These are but some of the remains that tell of the many sad stories that were lived out during the last days of these homes. Every foreclosed home tells a story about somebody’s dreams having been destroyed.

Foreclosures: The Devastation of American Dreams

Housing in Times of Financial Crisis

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A Souvenir: Inside Obama’s Victory Rally in Chicago’s Grant Park

Inside Obama’s Victory Rally in Chicago’s Grant Park

Senator Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States of America. In an amazing moment in American history, the ultimate color line has been broken. The last few days had challenged Obama’s sense of calm like never before, his election-day stress amplified by the fatigue of an 18-month campaign and the death of his grandmother just yesterday. A sense of history stalked Obama everywhere during election day. A huge crowd of more than a hundred thousand people celebrated Obama’s victory in Chicago’s Grant Park, where President-elect Obama appeared to make his victory speech.

Inside Obama’s Chicago Rally

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Journey: Don’t Stop Believing

Audio Music: Yes We Can:

Inside Obama’s Victory Rally in Chicago’s Grant Park

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Obama Wins Presidential Election: Yes We Did!!

Obama Wins Presidential Election: Yes We Did!!

At 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), NBC News made its official projection that Senator Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States of America.  Obama won 338 electoral votes, to McCain’s 156 electoral votes.  In an amazing moment in American history, the ultimate color line has been broken. The last few days have challenged Obama’s sense of calm like never before, his election-day stress amplified by the fatigue of an 18-month campaign and the death of his grandmother just yesterday.

A sense of history stalked Obama everywhere on election day. At this moment, hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans are already celebrating in Chicago’s Grant Park, where the crowd is anticipated to reach 1,000,000 people or more.   President-elect Obama is scheduled to appear to make his victory remarks before the huge crowd in Grant Park at around 11:00 p.m. (Central Time).

We are all so privileged to have witnessed this historic event tonight.

Barack Obama: Change Has Come to America

Music Video: Yes We Can!

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