BENJAMIN LOWY - THE AFGHAN HIGH

"Afghanistan’s opium production has increased more than 15-fold since 1979, the year of the Soviet invasion in the country. By 2000 Afghanistan was the source of 70% of all of the illicit opium produced in the world. Following a decline in 2001, production resumed at high levels in 2002, again making Afghanistan the world’s largest producer accounting for almost three-quarters of global opium production.

Afghanistan’s drug economy is as pervasive as its poppy fields, linking impoverished farmers, heroin addicts, and the Taliban.

And while the Afghan government has embraced poppy eradification programs under pressure from the United States, corruption is rife, and opium and heroin have permiated every level of Afghan society.” (+)

Benjamin Lowy: Website | Tumblr

BOB DYLAN BY DON HUNSTEIN, 1962

Don Hunstein, Columbia Record’s staff photographer for more than four decades, was dispatched to take photographs of the budding artist Bob Dylan even before he became famous.

“Bob had recorded his first album, ‘Bob Dylan,’ the year before,” recalled Dee Ann Hunstein, Mr. Hunstein’s wife. “The head of Columbia Records saw that he was going to be a star and he told Don to go take some pictures. Dylan was only 19-years-old then—a total unknown. So Don went down to West 4th Street, to his apartment, to get some shots.”

After taking a few exposures in the apartment, Mr. Hunstein had a moment of inspiration. He invited the singer and his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, to go down into the street for some shots in natural light.

“He thought he might do better in the street,” recalled Mrs. Hunstein. “The light was right and, fortunately, Jones Street, which ran from Bleecker to West 4th Street, was not traveled much, so they could walk right down the center of the road. He had them walk down the street a couple of times, taking pictures in color and black- and-white.”

“We met Suze again a few years ago and she remembered how romantic it was to be an aspiring artist in Greenwich Village,” Mrs. Hunstein recalled. “She was even younger than Dylan, only 17 at the time, and she met him in Greenwich Village, where she went after she left high school. She wanted the arty life of the village and she did become an artist.”

What Ms. Rotolo did not want on that bitter cold, damp, afternoon was to go out into the street. “She got her warmest sweater and coat,” Mrs. Hunstein recalled. “But she said Bob was so vain he only wanted to be photographed in his suede jacket—he wasn’t going to put on a heavy sweater! So Don got a picture of them walking down the street, with Suze cuddled right up to him for warmth.”

That seemingly spontaneous picture became an icon for the era. “There are so many legends about that picture,” Mrs. Hunstein said. “One art director claimed he was responsible for it. Everyone claims it, but it was the spontaneity Don got that made it work. It was just Don and his sense of how to capture people’s characters. That’s the real story.” (read more)

MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVE

Above photographs are part of the Michael Ochs Archive. It was created in the mid-1970s by music industry maven Michael Ochs, brother of legendary folk singer Phil Ochs. Michael compiled the collection from a range of sources, such as celebrity photographers, artist estates, music labels and publishers. (+) Ochs sold the archive to Getty Images in 2007.

IMAGE SOURCES: +, +, +, +, +, +, +

» more photos of Bob Dylan «  |  » more photos of famous people «

KLAUS PICHLER: ‘IDYLLS’, 2008-2009

"A box full of slides which I stumbled upon at a house clearance turned out to be a portray of the self image of a middle class family in the early 1960s. A family at a time of new wealth - enjoying a day out, a fair or a seaside holiday, in peace and harmony.

Taking a closer look at the pictures in the context of this cultural era, it becomes apparent that they precisely represent the mainstream ideology of the 1960s: [Austria] just escaped the perils of the Nazi regime, the reconstruction of the country completed, society was able to enjoy the benefits of an economic boom. A clear notion of right and wrong had developed.

Devout, hard working, prudish and strait-laced, forever prim and proper. I was equally fascinated and disgusted by the sheer amount of uptightness, which caused me to search for an element which would contradict the moral values of this era and therefore reinterpret scenes of homely bliss. Then I found: Myself! Naked!” (Klaus Pichler)

Happy Birthday, Klaus!

» find more photomontage art here «

© Paul Fusco, June 1968, RFK Funeral Train

Robert F. Kennedy’s death shook the country to its core and for millions of Americans, including Paul Fusco, seemed to represent the end of hope. In 1968, Fusco was a staff photographer for Look magazine. He was commissioned to document all the events surrounding the funeral, including the eight-hour journey from New York to Washington, D.C., on the train that carried Kennedy’s coffin. Shooting approximately 2,000 pictures from inside, Fusco had a unique vantage point resulting in one of the most powerful and affecting series of photographs ever taken. (+)

Find more pictures of this series on the Magnum Photos website.

» find more of Magnum Photos here «

Unknown photographer, ca. 1990s, Fiberglass Allosaurus

From National Geographic, January 1993. Goodbye, Dinosaur.

PHOTOBOOK: JIMMY NELSON - BEFORE THEY PASS AWAY

"In his landmark project Before They Pass Away Jimmy Nelson captures the lives and traditions of the last surviving tribes who have managed to preserve their traditional ways and customs within our increasingly globalized world. This book reveals the wide variety of human experiences and cultural expressions across the ages.

This historic volume showcases tribal cultures around the world. With globalization, these societies are to be prized for their distinctive lifestyles, art and traditions. They live in close harmony with nature, now a rarity in our modern era. Jimmy Nelson not only presents us with stunning images of customs and artifacts, but also offers insightful portraits of people who are the guardians of a culture that they—and we—hope will be passed on to future generations in all its glory.

Nelson’s large-plate field camera captures every intricate detail and fi ne nuance for posterity. What’s more, this splendid pageantry is set against a vivid backdrop of some of the world’s most pristine landscapes.” (+)

Find more information and pictures on the Before They Pass website, on Yatzer and FeatureShoot.

IMAGE INFO: #1: The Huli, Papua New Guinea / #2: The Dropka, India / #3: The Maori, New Zealand / #4: The Mursi, Ethiopia / #5: The Chukchi, Siberia / #6: The Huaorani, Ecuador / #7: The Kazaks, Mongolia / #8: The Himba, Namibia / #9: Book cover showing Masaai, Tanzania

» find more photobooks here «

© Alejandro Cartagena, 2011, Car Poolers, Monterrey / Mexico

This photo series by Alejandro Cartagena shows the life of some workers in Monterrey, Mexico who carpool to work by cramming themselves into a truck bed. It’s sort of hilarious until you realize this is life—lying down before work in a truck is their snooze and hot shower. (read more)

More photos on his website.

Unknown photographer, Apr 23, 1913, Judengasse, Vienna

Find more examples for early color photography here.

NORITAKA MINAMI - ‘1972

In the city of Tokyo, a building stands as an anachronism in relation to the surrounding urban landscape. The building in question is the Nakagin Capsule Tower designed by Kisho Kurokawa, who was one of the leading members of an influential architectural movement in the 1960s called Metabolism. The group’s aim was to formulate flexible designs that facilitate continual growth and renewal of architecture. As the first capsule apartment in history constructed for everyday use, the Nakagin Capsule Tower is considered an example that came closest to embodying the principles of Metabolism. Kurokawa designed the building with plug-in capsules to promote exchangeability and modifications to the structure over time, theoretically improving its capacity to adjust to the rapidly changing conditions of the post-industrial society. When the building first opened in March of 1972, it was advertised in the media to signal “the dawn of the capsule age.”

The irony presented by the story of the Nakagin Capsule Tower is the fact that it became the last architecture of its kind to be completed in the world.  Furthermore, the building has never undergone the process of regeneration during the forty years of existence.  Not a single capsule has been replaced since 1972, even though Kurokawa intended them to sustain a lifespan of only twenty-five years.  The design in reality proved to be too rigid in adapting to the unforeseen political and economic developments in the years that followed its construction. With the building’s system in stasis without fulfilling its original mission of continual growth and renewal, it stands like a monument to a future that never arrived in the 21st Century.

Due to the pressures of the city’s real estate market, plans have been discussed for the Nakagin Capsule Tower to be demolished to make way for a conventional apartment complex. Yet, the building today has coincidentally assumed a new role in the city, becoming a poignant reminder of a path ultimately not taken. This project examines “the future” as imagined by Kurokawa in 1972 and its current condition through the medium of photography. Moreover, the photographs capture scenes within the Nakagin Capsule Tower at a time when its very future is in question. With the building as an embodiment of an architectural vision that was thought possible at that moment in history, the photographs reflect on the significance of that vision potentially disappearing today from the landscape of Tokyo as a crucial form of cultural memory. (+ / via ZeitOnline)