Archive for the ‘Photography topics’ Category

A still shot from The Graduate with Dustan Hoffman and Katherine Ross. 1967. Still photo by Bob Willoughby.

A still shot from The Graduate with Dustan Hoffman and Katherine Ross. 1967. Still photo by Bob Willoughby.


Bob Willoughby, a California photographer began his career shooting jazz musicians and dancers. In 1954 he got his big break, taking still photos during the filming of Judy Garland in A Star is Born.

In 1967  Mike Nichols directed the 30 year old Dustin Hoffman in the role of 20 year old Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate.  The movie was made from a book written in 1963 by a recent Williams College grad named Charles Wells.  That movie became one of the highest grossing films ever.

Bob went on to provide stills for many movies.  After that he moved to Ireland where he provided photographs to match with the work of Irish poets.  (Sound familiar?)  He is still best known as the creator of a special genre:  “photo-journalistic movie stills.”


SIMON AND GARFUNKEL   from the movie The Graduate:


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Central Park, 1969. By Paul Goldfinger © Silver gelatin print.

Central Park, 1969. By Paul Goldfinger © Silver gelatin print.


By Paul Goldfinger, Photography Editor @Blogfinger


My photo was taken of Central Park after the 1969 blizzard.  I climbed to the top of Mt. Sinai Hospital and took the picture with my Pentax Spotmatic 35 mm single-lens reflex camera which a friend had brought back from Korea. I only had one lens, a 50mm.  I made the print in my darkroom using traditional wet/chemical methods .

Years later, as I learned more about photographic history, I admired the work of André Kertèsz, a Hungarian born photographer who lived in France and then came to America where the third phase of his career elevated him into the ranks of the most famous fine art photographers.

He and his wife moved into a 12th story apartment overlooking Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village in the early 1950’s.  He loved to shoot images with a telephoto lens out the window at the park. He especially  enjoyed snow scenes.


From Photograph Magazine via Swann Galleries, New York.

From Photograph Magazine via Swann Galleries, New York.


When I saw his image (above) from 1954, I was struck by the similarity  to mine. But my photo was not derived from his, since I was unaware of him in 1969.  At least I don’t believe I ever saw his work before.

But art always owes a debt to the work of those who came before, and that is why artists must study the history of their genre in order to build on the past.  The influence of one generation of artists onto later ones is sometimes unconscious on the part of those who may be borrowing without even realizing.

Because of our two similar images, and I am not comparing myself directly to Kertèsz, I feel that there is a kindred spirit—a connection— that somehow exists,  and that is something that is both weird and exhilarating.

Have any of you artists/writers out there  (and there are some in Ocean Grove) ever felt such a relationship?


JENNIFER THAYER  (This song was featured in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair and sung by Noel Harrison)


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“Nu Couché” by Modigliani was painted in 1917. It just sold for $170.4 million and is considered to be a great masterpiece.  NY Times 11/10/15

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Re-posted and slightly edited from the original 2015  BF post.     This topic reminds me of recent (2017) debates about the definition of “harassment” of women.

Definition of objectifying women:   ” Female sexual objectification by a male involves a woman being viewed primarily as an object of male sexual desire, rather than as a whole person.”   (Wikipedia )

But the definition of objectification includes more than just that.  It also includes a  broader statement as  “treating anyone or any idea as a physical  object.”

The  painting   “Nu Couché” by Amedeo Modigliani  (above)  sold yesterday  (2015) at Christie’s for  $170.4 million and  made headline news all over the world, but the reporting did not raise the issue of Modigliani’s objectifying women.

After all, ever since man could draw a picture on a cave wall he would draw a naked woman. When photography was invented in the early 19th century, what do you think was first photographed?  And, of course naked women have captured the creative juices of many male and female artists over the years, and the images are not always complimentary of the female form.

There are some female photographers who have achieved fame by photographing women, sometimes in a highly sexualized way. I wonder how many of those critics who attacked Blogfinger would have criticized Ruth Bernhard, a famous artist known for her erotic black and white images of the female nude.  Her work was compared to that of Ansel Adams, and in 2014,  a retrospective of her photographs was shown in New York City at the Peter Fetterman Gallery.  The exhibit was called “The Eternal Nude.”  She also has published a number of books of her work and she has won many awards.   Can anyone seriously claim that only men can be accused of “objectification?”

Picasso is a good example of an artist who loved to paint and sculpt  women, often  with bulging eyes and multiple breasts   (see below.)  That painting  (“Les Femmes d’Alger”  1955) sold for $179.4 million in 2015.   Would any of  you feminists accuse him of objectification?  And how about Georgia O’Keefe whose paintings of flowers were often likened to female genitalia?

Picasso. $179.4 million. NY Times. Nov 10, 2015.

The sale of the Nu Couché  reminded me of  two incidents this past summer when Ocean Grovers, two women and one man, accused me of “objectifying” women in our series “Girls in Their Summer Clothes.” You can search above to see some of those photographs from that series, but you will find that none of the women are naked, disrespected,  or even objectified.

On one occasion we posted a photo of a  female OG lifeguard in a bikini munching on a Weezer ice.  The image was taken by a woman on our staff. Would she be accused of objectification?   Here is a link to Jean Bredin’s  photo;

2017 lifeguard photo

This 2017 photo on Ocean Pathway is from our “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” series. It was accompanied by a discussion of her visit to Ocean Grove.  Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

There are incidences when the phrase  “objectification of women” might fairly fit, as when a woman’s body is used to sell a product, but our photographs do not fit  by any reasonable standard, and I believe the accusation has been overdone in our society.

Sometimes political correctness results in nonsensical allegations, such as when feminists say that photographing or looking  at a woman in a mini-skirt is objectifying her.  The attacks on Blogfinger fall into that category.

Women have been making great strides in the US  in an effort to be appreciated as whole individuals and not the sum of their parts.  Attacking responsible segments of our society such as Blogfinger for objectification of  women is to be small minded, to distort reality, to divert attention from the important goals of women, and to turn them into victims when just the opposite is necessary.


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In our 2013 articles about Wyeth, we posted a color shot of his studio. This black and white image gives a different impression. By Paul Goldfinger ©

In our 2013 articles about Wyeth, we posted a color shot of his studio. This black and white image gives a different impression. By Paul Goldfinger © Click image to enlarge

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger

Last September we reported on our visit to the Andrew Wyeth studio in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. If you are interested in art but missed those reports, here are the Blogfinger links.

Wyeth studio one

Wyeth studio two

As a photographer, I always pay attention to painters because they create their own worlds while photographers capture what the lens sees. However, there are gray zones, because with digital photography and even with film–darkroom photography, the artist has an opportunity to manipulate the world that he sees.

There are various “schools” of photography that have come and gone over the years since the invention of the camera and light sensitive media.  One of those insisted on stark realism without any manipulation.   That was true during the golden age of photojournalism where a newspaper photographer could not stage an image or do more to it other than some minor darkroom effects, such as adjusting contrast, which would make the picture clearer.

But later, photojournalism merged into fine art photography.  With attention being paid to the “fine art” image, skies were often challenging.  Some photographers sought landscapes where the sky was dramatic with clouds, color and shading.  If not, they did not  like a plain sky, so they could “burn” the sky in the darkroom to at least give it some “color” in a black and white print. With digital photography you can achieve all sorts of effects in the sky. Bob Bowné’s imaginative photography seen regularly on Blogfinger illustrates how special digital effects can be used in modern photography.

Which brings me to Wyeth’s dry brush  on paper painting called “The Mill” from 1959.  If you look at the sky, you see no details and no clouds.  He does give it a little color. Wyeth could have made the sky look any way, but he chose this.

So this painting has given me permission as a photographer to be satisfied with a landscape that has no detail in the sky.  It’s just as well, because if all your photos have dramatic skies, then it can get boring.  And in the case of this painting, Wyeth’s choice was absolutely the best one.

The Mill by Andrew Wyeth. (From a reproduction by the Brandywine River Museum)

The Mill by Andrew Wyeth. (From a reproduction by the Brandywine River Museum)

Here is one of my photographs that illustrates the point:

Washington, DC. Undated. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Washington, DC. Undated. By Paul Goldfinger ©


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Inishmore, Aran Islands. Ireland. 1992 ©

Inishmore, Aran Islands. Ireland. 1992 © By Timothy Whelan.  Click to enlarge.

We wrote about Tim Whelan before on Blogfinger when we presented another image from his Portfolio #1.  We promised to show some more of his work.

The Portfolio contains images which Tim obtained and personally printed in the darkroom with great skill and sensitivity.  Subsequently we will share some of what the great American photographer Paul Caponigro had to say about Tim’s work.

As noted before, I met Tim at the Maine Photographic Workshops in 1995.  The class which we took was a master printer’s workshop with one of America’s most famous printers and photographers George Tice.  This photograph by Tim is reminiscent  of George Tice’s book Stone Walls, Gray Skies.

Here is a link to our piece about George Tice:


Here is a link to the Blogfinger article about Tim Whelan:




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Wikipecko Road where Wanamassa and Asbury Park meet. By Paul Goldfinger. March 21, 2015.©

Deal Lake.  Wickapecko Road where Wanamassa and Asbury Park meet. By Paul Goldfinger. March 21, 2015.©  Click to enlarge.  Re-postd from 2015.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

It was 34 degrees this morning at about 9:00 am when I drove on Wickapecko Road and noticed that the trees were lit up with snow. It was beautiful—Currier and Ives. I stopped and began walking over by the water. It was suddenly apparent that the temperature was causing the magical snow scene to quickly disappear. The white was melting, turning the trees from a snowy Christmas card to an icy, slushy exhibition, twinkling in the warming sunlight. Bits of frozen material were falling on my head making a clickity sort of sound on my hat—a sort of wintery “Raindrops are Falling on My Head.”

From a photographic point of view, not only was the light changing fast, but the subject was also being transformed from magical to mundane. I had to shoot fast, so I took about 15 quick frames, and it was all over.

It reminded me of Ansel Adams who was driving at dusk along a country road in New Mexico when he spotted a georgeous scene. He realized that he only had moments before the light was gone. He jumped out of his car and “struggled” to set up his large format camera on a tripod with the proper filters. He understood that he only had seconds before the moonlight would change. He took one frame and knew that negative would be the only one that would work.  Later he wrote about how the painstaking process in the darkroom was accomplished.

Moonrise Over Hernandez became his most famous image.

"Moonrise over Hernandez." Ansel Adams "almost ditched the car" when he spotted this scene near Sante Fe.

“Moonrise over Hernandez.” Ansel Adams “almost ditched the car” when he spotted this scene near Sante Fe. Notice how the crosses are illuminated.  Click to enlarge.

ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINCK   “Moonlight Becomes You.”

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Eve Arnold on the set of The Misfits with Marilyn Monroe.  ©

Eve Arnold on the set of The Misfits with Marilyn Monroe. ©  Photographer unknown–perhaps Robert Penn

By Paul Goldfinger, Photography editor @Blogfinger

While we are on the subject of still photographers working on images of actors and scenes while a film is being shot, undoubtedly the most famous of that genre was on the set of The Misfits, a 1961 John Huston film starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach and Thelma Ritter.

 Huston invited members of the famed photo agency “Magnum” to have freedom on the set to shoot the dynamic scenes behind the scenes. They mostly took photographs of the actors in and out of their film roles.

The famous group of photographers included Bruce Davidson, Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Cornell Capa, Robert Penn,Inge Morath, Elliott Erwitt, and Ernst Haas.  So many of their images became famous, and books have been written about that collaborative photographic project.

Below is a link where you can see some of those photos:    Phaidon published a book called The Misfits.  This link is about when photographer Eve Arnold met Marilyn Monroe.




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