Reflections on a Lifetime of Photography: A Conversation with Harold Feinstein and Friends.

 

In Celebration of the Publication of
Harold Feinstein: A Retrospective

Reflections on a lifetime of photography: a conversation with Harold Feinstein and friends followed by a book party and signing.
Aperture Gallery, December 17, 6-9pm

Called by historian and photo critic A.D. Coleman, a true photographer’s photographer, and one of the most seriously under-recognized senior figures in U.S. photography,” the 82 year old master photographer and legendary teacher of photography, Harold Feinstein, is finally celebrating the publication of his first black and white monograph, Harold Feinstein: A Retrospective, published by Nazraeli in December 2012. To mark the occasion, Feinstein will share memories of a lifetime of photography with A.D. Coleman, along with colleagues and former students. Following the conversation there will be a party during which Feinstein will sign copies of his beautiful new book.

The conversation, book signing, and festivities will take place on Monday, December 17 from 6-9pm at Aperture Gallery located in the heart of New York City’s Chelsea art district at 547 West 27th Street (between 10th/11th Avenues), 4th floor, New York, NY 10001. The event is free and open to the general public. During the event, signed limited edition posters of Feinstein’s iconic images of Coney Island will be on display and for sale at a special one night only price. All proceeds will go towards the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts of North Star Fund and #ConeyRecovers.

About the Artist:
Born in Coney Island Hospital in 1931, Feinstein first borrowed a neighbor’s Rollieflex at 15, and headed to the boardwalk of America’s favorite playground to begin what would become a lifelong love affair with Coney Island. Feinstein would produce a six-decade portfolio for which he is best known today. At 17, Feinstein joined New York’s Photo League, and at 19, Edward Steichen, an early supporter, purchased his work for The Museum of Modern Art making him the youngest person to be so honored. Several years later he was bound for Korea as a draftee with camera in hand, poignantly capturing the experiences of young men like himself snatched from places like the Coney Island boardwalk and sent off to war.

Returning from the war, Arnold Newman introduced him to W. Eugene Smith with whom he worked closely for a number of years. As an original inhabitant of the famous “jazz loft” at 821 6th Avenue, Feinstein dove into the burgeoning avant-garde at the intersection of jazz, art and literature, becoming a designer of Blue Note record covers. True to his innate counter culture sensibilities, Feinstein has ever been the iconoclast. He eschewed Steichen’s invitation to contribute multiple images to The Family of Man exhibit, utilized photomontage and other forms of printing manipulation at a time when it was unpopular to do so, and in his later career moved from small camera black and white work to large format digital color photography which earned him the Smithsonian Computerworld award in 2001.

Feinstein had his first exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1954, and at the Museum of Modern Art in 1957. At the peak of his early success in the late 1950′s, Feinstein moved out of New York City to raise his young family, and didn’t return for several decades. What he brought with him during that time was his growing reputation as a teacher and mentor, whose workshops influenced a generation of aspiring photographers. Armed with an ardent philosophy of creativity and an eternally appreciative eye, Feinstein has witnessed, taken part in, and influenced some of photography’s seminal movements of the past six years.

About the Retrospective:
The centerpiece of Feinstein’s stunning retrospective is a selection of his iconic photographs of Coney Island that has remained his favorite location to shoot throughout his career. In speaking about his affection for the famous boardwalk and diverse cross section of people that populate it, Feinstein once said, “I often feel like I fell out of my mother’s womb onto the beach in Coney Island with a Nathan’s hot dog in my hand with the sounds of kids screaming on the Cyclone.” From lovers on the boardwalk, to teenagers on the beach, to elderly bathers basking in the sun, to children diving into the surf, and whirling and tilting on amusement park rides, Feinstein’s work reflects his love of ordinary people.

The book includes Feinstein’s Korean War work recording the daily lives of his fellow draftees undergoing basic training, on duty at the front lines, and at ease in the barracks, as well as photographs culled from his massive archive of classic street photography along with some beautiful nudes and still life images. Asked to explain the seemingly vast differences between his color and black and white work, Feinstein simply says, “I just want to pay homage to the beauty of this life wherever I see it. I’m known for saying ‘when your mouth drops open, click the shutter.’ Truth is my mouth is constantly dropping open.”

It is precisely Feinstein’s love of what he sees in everyday life that has brought the most consistent praise from critics over the decades. In the book’s Introduction, Phillip Prodger, curator of photography at the Peabody Essex Museum writes: “For Feinstein, it does not matter what people do, where they come from, or what they look like. Their faces light up just the same, and their eyes sparkle with excitement. His subject is us-all of us-and our better nature.”

The Facts:
Harold Feinstein: A Retrospective
had a pre-publication release in Boston in October 2012 to coincide with an accompanying exhibition at Boston’s Panopticon Gallery on view through January 8, 2013.

Harold Feinstein: A Retrospective
Publication Date Worldwide: December 2012
12″ x 13″ Hardcover
108 pages; 80 duotone plates; $65
www.nazraeli.com

Exhibition Address:
Panopticon Gallery
502c Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA, 02215
www.panopticongallery.com

Artist Website:
www.haroldfeinstein.com

Hurricane Sandy Relief websites:
North Star Fund
#ConeyRecovers



Beach Concert, Coney Island


Gypsy Girl at the Carousel, Coney Island, 1949

 


 

Richard Renaldi

 

Richard Renaldi

 

First a confession. I am crazy for double portraits. I have no idea why and I’m sure if I could afford a psychiatrist, perhaps he or she could find an answer. I’ve been adding photographs with two people in them to my collection for over 40 years. The Pastry Chefs by Irving Penn, Bruce Weber’s Boys from Red Cloud, Nebraska, and Ken Probst’s Tattooed Twins, San Diego to name a few.

So when I saw the posting about Richard Renaldi’s photos on the Wessel + O’Connor Fine Art Gallery website, naturally my ears perked up. Yes, they are double portraits, but beyond that they are strikingly insightful portraits of a committed couple during life’s quieter moments. Richard’s camera captures the couple in environments that doesn’t generally equate to domesticity. The portraits are taken in an assortment of hotel rooms, motel rooms, and even a train compartment.

According to the Wessel + O’Connor website, the images were taken over a period of 13 years and the couple is Richard and his partner Seth. Richard has to travel for business and is occasionally accompanied by Seth. In the hours that are not occupied by Richard’s work, he has photographed himself with Seth experiencing the unaffected, gentler side of a relationship. Lounging, cuddling, getting ready to go out for a meal or a night on the town.

Richard’s compositions are certainly posed, yet they do not feel in any way formal. Richard and Seth’s focus is more often than not to the camera. It is as if you just opened the door to a room (and their life together) and caught them in an unguarded moment. The series expresses more about the nature of a long-lasting relationship than any grouping of formal family portraits can. Richard’s photographs show a couple that has grown comfortable over the years with each other and with the camera.

I had the chance to ask Richard a couple of questions regarding the series.
PW: Was there any particular event or image that was the genesis of the series?
RR: I think the earliest image is from when we went to Chincoteague in 1999. The cobwebs are pretty thick but I think there was some intention back then that we would be photographing ourselves when we traveled. When we started off our relationship it was initially a long distance one and during that first year or so there must have been an impetus to record our time together.   As a matter of fact we have photos that we took of each other on the very first day we met.
PW: These portraits are so personal, was there any hesitation in your and Seth’s mind in exhibiting them?
RR: No hesitation. They have been out there on my website for a while and the reactions have been mostly positive. We have definitely been conscious of the imagery not crossing the line into the realm of the erotic or pornographic. We much more want to show the process of aging and physical change, as well as the evolution of our intimacy. These images also serve as an interesting document about the architecture of hospitality.

Richard also told me that they intend to continue the series well into old age.

The facts:
Richard Renaldi
The series is being shown by The Wessel + O’Connor Gallery
Wessel + O’Connor
7 North Main Street
Lambertville, NJ 08530
917 548-8322

Photo above: Dillon, South Carolina, 2011
All photographs copyright the artist.


Cinisello, Balsamo, Italy, 2006


San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1999


Missoula, Montana, 2009

Gustav Hoiland

 

Gustav Hoiland

 

Gus is one of the hardest working up-and-coming photographers I know. Gus shoots daily and posts a different photo every day (along with his observations) on his blog. All this plus he holds down a fulltime job.

Gus is also an avis bike polo player. If you have never heard about bike polo, you should check it out. He and I have worked together on projects as well as teaming up to shoot at the same event. One event we both enjoy shooting is the regularly scheduled boxing nights at Boston Boxing & Fitness in Brighton, Massachusetts. You can see a number of Gus’s boxing and bike polo photos as well as numerous other subjects he enjoys shooting at his website.

His broken beer bottle series is amazing. I recently asked Gus a few questions about the series.
PW: I’m curious about the genesis of the broken beer bottle photos. Where did the idea behind the series come from?
GH: After practicing lighting with bottles dozens of times I was getting a bit bored, antsy to take the images to the next level. I wanted more energy, more awe, and what better way to achieve it than to break the object while still keeping it a product shot.
PW: Besides getting the smell of stale beer out of your studio, where there any logistical difficulties you had to overcome during the shoot?
GH: The biggest challenge was making a containment structure that was both easy to dismantle for cleaning between each shot and effective at keeping the beer and glass inside. Suffice to say that room was covered in flecks of glass for months afterwards.
PW: Any plans to go further with the series?
GH: I’ve thought of renting a digital Hasselblad and upping the ante to bottles of Dom Perignon. If anybody will donate 40 bottles of swank champagne, believe me I’ll handle the gear!

From Gus’s website:
My interest in photography stems from diaristic daily shooting and the great gratification I get from the entire process, from capture to editing to sharing. Having shot opportunistically across many genres over the past three years, I plan to focus more on portraiture (both studio and environmental) and architectural work moving forward.

The facts:
Gustav Hoiland
Gustav is represented by Panopticon Gallery
Panopticon Gallery
502c Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617 267-8929
Jason Landry, Owner | Gallery Director
jason@panopticongallery.com
Hours: Tue–Sat 9:00-4:30pm

Photo above: Harpoon
All photographs copyright the artist.


Corona


Tsingtao


Samuel Adams


 

Neal Rantoul

 

Neal Rantoul

 

I came to know Neal during the period I served as Executive Director of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. He has been (and continues to be) a highly respected fine arts photographer and educator in the Boston area. Neal has a voracious attitude toward photography and routinely exhibits new and challenging bodies of work.
Jim Fitts, Head Photoweenie

From Neal Rantoul’s website:
Neal Rantoul is a career artist and educator. Recently retired from 30 years as head of the Photo Program at Northeastern University in Boston he is devoting his efforts full time to making new pictures and bringing earlier work to a national and international audience. With over 50 one-person exhibitions over the length of his career, Rantoul is working presently on two new shows for the spring of 2013. One is at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA opening in early April and another at the gallery that represents his work, Panopticon Gallery in Boston, that opens April 6. These two exhibitions will emphasize more current work. The Danforth show will be of  ”Wheat” and the Panopticon exhibition will feature new aerial photographs of the islands off the coast of Massachusetts.

Rantoul’s work is extensively collected and is included in numerous prestigious collections such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA, the Kunsthaus in Zurich, the Biblioteque’ Nationale in Paris, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Fogg Museum in Cambridge, The Princeton University Museum, The RI School of Design Museum of Art, The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, The Boston Athenaeum, etc.  His work is also in the corporate collections of JP Morgan Guaranty Trust and Fidelity Investments, as well as numerous private collections. He is the recipient of many awards, grants and residencies including a Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation grant, Lightwork and Hambidge Center for the Arts residencies, Visiting Artist at ICP’s Lake Como Workshop in Italy, among others.

Mr. Rantoul is continuing with an active teaching schedule which included a workshop this past June for the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, a workshop on the “Expressive Landscape” for The Penland School of Crafts in late June in North Carolina and he taught a several day class for the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists at their annual retreat in September on Star Island off the coast off Portsmouth, NH.

Mr. Rantoul is the author of several books of his photographs, among those are: “American Series” published in 2006, “Cabela’s” published in 2009, “A Year” published in 2010, “Wheat” published in 2011, “Collections” published in 2011 and his most recent “Rock Sand Water”, published in 2012.

The facts:
Neal Rantoul
Neal is represented by Panopticon Gallery
Panopticon Gallery
502c Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617 267-8929
Jason Landry, Owner | Gallery Director
jason@panopticongallery.com
Hours: Tue–Sat 9:00-4:30pm

Photo above: Nantucket Aerial

All photographs copyright the artist.


Mt. Auburn Cemetery #01


Mt. Auburn Cemetery #11

Background information on the two photographs above from Neal Rantoul’s blog:

Mt. Auburn Cemetery
In the early eighties I was teaching at Harvard and at Northeastern University. I was living in Cambridge, had recently been married, had a baby daughter, had bought a house, had extensively remodeled the house and had helped my wife with her graduate thesis work in photography at MIT. It was fast times. What’s the hardest to keep going when there is so much going on? I struggled in those years to keep shooting.

I started working not far from home on a project of pictures from a local cemetery called Mt. Auburn. I didn’t care much about the head stones or even the landscaping. I cared about this one wall that served as a perimeter to the cemetery. In places it was decaying. So I started photographing it using an 8 x 10 view camera. For those of you who don’t know what this is or how it works it makes pictures that are shot with 8 x 10 inch film. What that does is render the image in about as much detail as it is possible to get. I was new to 8 x 10 and it takes most of us years of hard work to get good with this camera. I was no exception. This was the first project I had started on with the camera and the cemetery was great as I could shoot a couple of sheets of film, take it back to my darkroom at home in Cambridge, process it and see how I was doing right away. I started making prints and, as I had no 8 x 10 enlarger yet, made contact prints, playing with tonality and contrast and also with toners to get a color I liked. I printed on Kodak’s Azo paper, which was a slow emulsion contact printing paper that took gold toner particularly well. So that’s how I made the series. I finally got the series edited down to twelve prints that started very empty and ended up very full with vines with the decaying wall behind them.

Of course, now those pictures are irreplaceable as the papers no longer made, I don’t print in a darkroom, etc.


 

The John Teti Rare Photography Collection

 

The John Teti Rare Photography Book Collection

The New Hampshire Institute of Art offers one of the finest collections of photographic resources in the United States.

The John Teti Rare Photography Book Collection was established in October 2007 through a generous donation by John Teti of over 2,000 rare books, periodicals, prints and documents.

The materials retained in Special Collections are all seminal or definitive works illustrating the history of photography, and include Edward Steichen’s personal copies of Alfred Stieglitz’ Camera Work.

These materials provide our students, faculty and outside scholars with access to important photographic works for study, examination, and appreciation.

Introduction to Special Collections

The Special Collections room is located in Fuller Hall and is the repository for rare and unique materials for the New Hampshire Institute of Art.  The majority of these books, periodicals, and other photography related materials were donated by Mr. John Teti, for whom our library is named.   Holdings include rare and unique materials on fine art photography and the history of photography.

Photo above: Camera Work (cover), No. 2, 1903, Image courtesy of Wiki Commons

The facts:

The John Teti Rare Photography Book Collection
New Hampshire Institute of Art
148 Concord Street
Manchester, NH 03104
603 241-4918

 

Photoweenie Featured Photographer: Harold Feinstein

 

Harold Feinstein

 

Harold Feinstein began his photographic career in 1946. Edward Steichen, an early supporter, had purchased his work for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and frequently exhibited it there.

Harold Feinstein was an member of the New York Photo League, exhibited at Helen Gee’s Limelight Gallery, and hung out with photographers including Helen Levitt, Weegee, Garry Winogrand, and W. Eugene Smith.

Harold’s photographs have been exhibited in and are represented in the permanent collections of major museums around the globe including the Museum of Modern Art, International Center of Photography, George Eastman House, Museum of Photographic Arts, Center for Creative Photography, Musée d’Art Moderne, the Jewish Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York. His portfolios, photo essays, and articles have been published in major periodicals including, LIFE, Aperture, Black and White, Camera Arts, The New York Times Magazine, American Photo, Oprah Magazine, Evergreen Review, Photography Annual, Modern Photography and Popular Photography.

The long-awaited exhibition: Harold Feinstein A Retrospective coincides with the launch of his book of classic black & white photographs published by Nazraeli Press. You can order a copy on their website. Jim Fitts, Head Photoweenie wrote the forward to the book.

In 2011 at the age of 80, he was given The Living Legend Award by the Griffin Museum of Photography. Now 81, he lives in Merrimac, MA with his wife, Judith, his dog Muffin, and his cat Linden. He recently returned to the darkroom after a 12 years hiatus, continues to love life, and see with the eyes of wonder.

The facts:
Harold Feinstein

Harold Feinstein is represented by Panopticon Gallery
Panopticon Gallery
502c Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617 267-8929
Jason Landry, Owner | Gallery Director
jason@panopticongallery.com
Hours: Tue–Sat 9:00-4:30pm

Photo above: Photo Booth
All photographs copyright the artist.


Beach Concert, Coney Island


Sailors on the Subway from Coney Island, 1957


Gypsy Girl at the Carousel, Coney Island, 1949

Photoweenie Featured Photographer: David Prifti

 

David Prifti

 

From the Gallery Naga website.

David Prifti passed away on November 21st 2011. This marked the end of a renowned photographic career and 25 years of teaching at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School.

David Prifti’s work was shown by and acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in the early 1990s. He transformed his photographic work twice. First he moved from the quasi-documentary reportage MoMA showed to an obsessive reprinting of black-and-white portraits of family members present and past on sculptural objects such as hubcaps, architectural fragments, and scraps of steel. This was the work for which Prifti was best known in recent years.

In 2005 he developed a new process, albeit one popular in the 19th century. Shooting with large-format wet-plate collodion emulsions on glass, Prifti made tintype portraits of students, friends, and acquaintances. In a statement, Prifti explained his attraction to these materials. “The fine detail and tonal beauty of the wet plate process allow me to describe my subjects in more powerful ways than I am able to achieve with contemporary materials,” he wrote.

He applied this approach to several groups of portrait subjects, including students he taught at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School and a community of “suspension” people, whose decorations of their bodies with studs and piercing are sometimes the anchors for hanging themselves suspended in the air. In both series, Prifti and his subjects collaborated in sittings of up to two minutes. “That’s the place it starts,” he said. “There’s a certain energy, a certain tension to get at some truth, some moment of psychological complexity.”

The facts:
David Prifti

David’s work is represented by Gallery Naga
Gallery Naga
67 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
617 267-9060

Photo above: Emrys
All photographs copyright the artist.


Hannah, Assabet


Sandra


Tree Fall, Main Street