Smile: Light Up Your Face With Gladness

Smile: Light Up Your Face With Gladness

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness,
Although a tear may be ever so near,
That’s the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what’s the use of crying,
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile,
If you just smile.

Robert Downey Jr: Smile (Chaplin, 1992)

Bright Eyes: First Day of My Life

Slide Show: All Kinds of People Flashing Big Smiles All Over the World!

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Gay Pride Month: Celebrating Loving Feelings for Others

Gay Pride Month: Celebrating Loving Feelings for Others

It’s the Dream Afraid of Waking,
That Never Takes a Chance
.”

On What We Need: First Day of My Life

For all of us, there are genuine needs and wishes, deep longings for human warmth, empathic responsiveness, trust, mutual recognition and creative playfulness. These are many of the ingredients that we think of when we speak of love, or the loving feelings we have for the cherished other person.

Of such feelings about a beloved, one might quietly reflect that, “I’m so glad I didn’t die before I met you.”

Bright Eyes: First Day of My Life

The Times of Harvey Milk: A Documentary Portrait

Before there was this year’s Academy Awards celebrated Milk, there was the widely acclaimed The Times of Harvey Milk, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film in 1984, and was awarded The Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, among other awards. The documentary chronicles the political career of Harvey Milk, who was San Francisco’s first openly gay elected Board Supervisor. The film, at times humorous, at times nostalgic, and at other times quite tragic, tells the story of Harvey Milk’s rise to political power and emergence as a symbol of gay political achievement.

The Times of Harvey Milk documents through assembled historic film clips the tumultuous story of Milk’s grass-roots political organizing and election, through the shocking murders and their repercussions. It takes the film’s viewers along with the eloquent candle-light memorial joined by tens of thousands of San Franciscans on the evening of the assassinations, to the scenes of angry crowds who stormed San Francisco’s City Hall in the aftermath of the lenient sentence that Dan White received at his murder trial.

This Academy Award-winning documentary feature film depicts not only Harvey Milk himself, but also the political and social milieu of the era in which he lived. From this perspective, the film continues to have significant relevance for our nation today, standing as a classic portrait of communities and cultural values in severe conflict. The film was produced subsequent to Harvey Milk’s death using archival footage, so that Milk is credited posthumously as the lead actor. Other politicians, including San Francisco’s then-mayor George Moscone (who was assassinated along with Milk) and Moscone’s successor and now United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, also appear in the archival footage. Also featured in the film is then-schoolteacher Tom Ammiano, who has been a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 1994, and was elected to the California State Assembly. The film’s outstanding narration is provided by the acclaimed stage and screen actor Harvey Fierstein, who at that time had just achieved great success with his own Tony Award-winning Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy.

The Times of Harvey Milk: The Full Version of the Documentary

Slide Show:The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

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Invincible Cities: Harlem’s Painted Lady on East 125th Street

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (1977)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (1977)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (1990)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (1998)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (2001)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (2007)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (2009)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (2009)

Invincible Cities: Harlem’s Painted Lady on East 125th Street

The ghetto poses urgent questions I feel compelled to respond to,
Not with solutions but with explanations and tangible records.
I am driven to publicize and preserve the memory of these environments.
–Camilo José Vergara

Camilo José Vergara has spent more than thirty years documenting poor, urban and minority neighborhoods across the United States. His projects emerge from a large archive of images he has made since 1977 of the nation’s largest ghettos. His exhaustive research has taken him to Camden and Newark, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Maine; New York; and Los Angeles. Vergara takes his camera to places plagued by the drug trade, and to neighborhoods filled with homeless shelters, prisons, and drug treatment facilities. He is a prolific photographer who continues to live in New York City. Vergara has been the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

Vergara describes his approach as interdisciplinary, using techniques from fields that include sociology, architecture, photography, urban planning, history and anthropology. He has focused upon the gradual erosion of urban neighborhoods by photographing the same structures repeatedly over decades in order to capture the process of of urban decay. The photography presented here is from Vergara’s project entitled Invincible Cities. He returned to the same intersection in Harlem and photographed the changes in one building for 38 years. The images create a composite, time-lapse portrait of one of New York City’s most vibrant and distinctive areas.

Camilo Vergara Documents the Changing Urban Landscape

Photo-Gallery: Invincible Cities: Harlem’s Painted Lady on East 125th Street

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“Welcome Home: The Story of Scott Ostrom” Awarded 2012 Pulitzer Prize

Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

On April 16, 2012, Denver Post photographer Craig Walker was awarded his second Pulitzer, The 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, for his photo-essay Welcome Home: The Story of Scott Ostrom. Previously, Walker had been named Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the Missouri School of Journalism’s Pictures of the Year International Competition for the collection of photographs he took over 27 months about soldiers engaged in the Iraq war, which included the stunning images documenting the struggles of PTSD sufferer Brian Ostrom.

After serving four years as a reconnaissance man and having deployed twice to Iraq, Ostrom, who is now 27, returned home to the U.S. with a severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since his discharge, Ostrom has struggled with the demands of daily life, from finding and keeping employment to maintaining healthy relationships. But most of all, he’s struggled to overcome his brutal and haunting memories of Iraq and his guilt for things he did and didn’t do, while fighting a war in which he no longer believes.

Read more about award-winning war photographers in the New York Times article and slideshow, Pulitzer Prizes: The Effects of War at Home (April 16, 2012) here.

Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

Slide Show: Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

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A Ride on the Third Avenue Elevated Railway: New York Faces 1940-’50s

A Ride on the Third Avenue Elevated Railway: New York Faces 1940-’50s

New York Faces 1940-’50s is a wonderful documentary short film created by filmmaker Leo Bar, a nostalgic piece that features the many “faces” of New York City, as seen while taking a ride on the now torn down Third Avenue Elevated Railway. Many of the NYC photographs shown in the film were discovered in Chicago, taken by the reclusive Vivian Maier, who was a nanny and street photographer in New York City and Chicago from the 1950-’90s. Other photographs were sourced from the New York Public Library. The music is Hey Now performed by Red Garland, released on Red Garland Revisited! (Prestige Records, 1957).

Enjoy the railway ride as it travels through the old neighborhoods of New York City!

A Ride on the Third Avenue Elevated Railway: New York Faces 1940-’50s

Photo-Gallery: New York Faces 1940-’50s

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Silent World: An Apocalyptic Photo Series

Silent World: An Apocalyptic Photo Series

Photography by: Lucie & Simon, Paris

Silent World is an engrossing short film comprised of an apocalyptic series of photographs by Paris-based filmmakers/photographers Lucie & Simon, set to the music of Philip Glass and Daft Punk. When you think of ghost towns, your mind doesn’t typically gravitate to New York City, Paris or Beijing. Yet that’s what these teeming cities have become in the hands of Lucie & Simon.

Lucie & Simon have used a digital scalpel and a special filter to remove humans from the city landscapes. They have left just enough evidence of our species’ presence, a lone woman in a blood-red coat in Madison Square Garden or a hoisted flag in Tiananmen Square, to make the mysterious, mass disappearances as uncannily disturbing as possible.

Many city dwellers no doubt have dreamed of a magically emptied and peaceful metropolis. But Silent World suggests that life would not be so peaceful in a completely silent city. It’s unnatural and threatening; the uneasy feeling of being the last person on earth could build and build until one goes mad.

Silent World: An Apocalyptic Photo Series

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The Early Works of Keith Haring: 1978-1982

The Early Works of Keith Haring: 1978-1982

The public has a right to art. Art is for everybody.
-Keith Haring

Keith Haring ranks among the most iconic, influential and popular artists in the world. Opening twenty years after his death, Keith Haring: 1978–1982 is a rare and in-depth look at the prolific early years that established Haring’s language as an artist, his politics and social conscience, and his open homosexuality. The historic exhibition opened on March 16th at the Brooklyn Museum and chronicles the early career of Keith Haring in New York City, through the years when he opened his studio and took his art to the streets.

Organized by the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, the exhibition traces the development of Haring’s extraordinary visual vocabulary. Keith Haring: 1978–1982 includes 155 works on paper, numerous experimental videos and over 150 archival objects, including rarely seen sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings and documentary photographs.

The Universe of Keith Haring

Photo-Gallery: The Early Works of Keith Haring: 1978-1982

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