Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

July 1951. It wasn’t “cheesecake” if it appeared in U.S. Camera

By Paul Goldfinger, photography editor @Blogfinger.  2012 post.

Recently Charles Layton wrote an article for Blogfinger about an archaic term “cheesecake” as it refers to “girlie photos.”  Link to BF cheesecake article  He posted a picture of Betty Grable in a bathing suit–an example of a World War II “pinup.”   Of course, now we have tiny bikinis on display at beaches—more daring in some places than others, but basically very acceptable and admirable today.   A photograph of a woman dressed in such attire would not be shocking today.

But what is the background of such photography and when did it become acceptable?  And what about nude photography of women (and men) ?   It is said that when photography was invented in England in the 19th century, many of the first images obtained were female nudes.

In 1951, when this U.S. Camera cover of a girl in a bikini was published, there was an ongoing debate going on regarding the nudes in Playboy. However, in the fine art world, nudes had been acceptable in museums, galleries and publications such as U.S. Camera for many years, so the choice of this 1951 cover was mild by this magazine’s standards. In fact , this July 1951 edition of U.S. Camera contained a nude by  Edward Weston.

From U.S. Camera, 1951.


U.S. Camera began publication in 1938, a time of great excitement in the field of photography.  Edward Steichen was an advisor to the magazine, and nudes by the greatest photographers were shown in their pages back to the 1930’s.  The publisher /editor of the magazine, Tom Maloney, was arguing for a more liberal attitude towards “figure photography.”

In 1952, one year after this issue of U.S. Camera was published, he produced an entire special edition of nudes by many of the great pioneers of art photography such as Edward Weston, Harry Callahan and others.

Harry Callahan’s wife Eleanor; his only nude model.

Tom Maloney could get away with that because he was an important figure in the world of fine art photography, but back then, you would never see a nude in your local newspaper, in Life Magazine, or at “the movies.”   The venue was all important as to the acceptability of nude photographs.

The magazine ceased publication in 1969.  The era of glossy photo-driven magazines  such as Life and Look was over. But today you can go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and see an exhibit called, “Naked Before the Camera.”  You can also turn on TV or a movie to see that   “figure photography” is alive and well in our culture—just one advantage of living in a free society.  (This article is a re-post)


KURT ELLING:   Do you have 8 minutes for this tribute to the music of Coltrane and Hartman.  It is a live performance called “Dedicated to You” by Kurt Elling who is a 51 year old jazz singer from Chicago.



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By Charles Layton and Paul Goldfinger.   Editors:   Blogfinger.net.  August 2012.


Ocean Grove becomes transformed late at night. Another side of the town’s beauty — at once calmer and more dramatic — emerges.

Streets, porches, vegetation and storefront displays turn ghostly and mysterious. Over on the Asbury side, some of the murals on the Casino (like the one above) become downright scary.

The contrasts of encompassing darkness, silvery moon and spots of artificial light point up architectural features that are less obvious in the brassy light of the day. Sounds strike the ear differently; the ocean surf suggests the breathing of some giant, sleeping thing.

As humans withdraw from view, wild creatures begin to roam noiselessly – a rabbit grazing on a darkened lawn, a possum scuttling in the shadow of a curb. Walking through town at midnight, one is surrounded by a world filled with secrets.


In an effort to convey that feeling, we offer a multimedia show: a collection of nocturnal photos © by Paul Goldfinger and a musical performance by Ben Webster on tenor sax, Oscar Peterson on piano and Ray Brown on bass. (The tune is In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.)


To enjoy this sight/sound combination, click on the audio arrow below. Then, as the music plays, put your cursor on the photo slide show and use the tool that appears to freeze a frame in place or to move forward or backward from one photo to another. — Charles Layton



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By Eliot Porter

By Eliot Porter


By Paul Goldfinger, Photography Editor,  Blogfinger.net

Eliot Porter (1901-1990), from Illinois, began to photograph as a child, but  he was formally  trained in medicine and chemical engineering.   He was working as a Harvard researcher when, in his late 20’s, he was introduced to Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz.  In 1938, Porter was given a show at Stieglitz’s New York gallery, and after that Porter became a professional photographer.  His brother was a painter, and Eliot was good friends with the famous painter (and Stieglitz’s wife) Georgia O’Keeffe. He sometimes went on nature excursions with her including a raft trip down the Colorado River in 1961.

In the 1940’s he began to work with Kodak’s groundbreaking color technology—dye transfer.  That method produced the best color, and Porter stuck with that technique throughout his career.  He became famous for his color work. Mostly he was known for his nature studies.

Whereas most fine art photography was done in black and white at that time, Porter’s work was a notable exception. I was a huge fan of black and white photography and often considered color to be more about pretty pictures than feelings. But I always thought Porter’s images were strikingly beautiful and meaningful.     (re-posted from January 2012.   Music added now—-2016 re-post)



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Chester Township, NJ. By Paul Goldfinger

Chester Township, NJ. By Paul Goldfinger.  Re-post 2013.



Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


“Snowstorm”   Soundtrack of  Snow Falling on Cedars.   By  James Newton Howard.

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W. Eugene Smith from the book "the Family of Man."

W. Eugene Smith from the book “the Family of Man.”


By Paul Goldfinger, Photography Editor at Blogfnger.net      Re-post by popular request.


In 1955, a photography exhibit was mounted at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  It was curated by Edward Steichen, the Director of Photography at MOMA and a famous photographer in his own right.   The Family of Man was the largest and most popular photographic exhibit in history. Steichen requested and received 2 million images from photographers all over the world.  Eventually he chose 503 photos by 273 photographers (168 Americans) from 68 countries.

By the time the exhibit ended, it had been seen by over 250,000 people. It then went on a world tour, and by the time that ended in 1961, it had been viewed by 9 million people.  The theme of the exhibit, according to Steichen, was to “prove visually the universality of human experience and photography’s role in its documentation.”

“Among the themes that were covered were birth, love, joy, war, privation, illness and death.” (Wikipedia) images

Steichen published a book from the exhibit, and over 4 million copies have been sold (I have two of them.)

The image on the last page of the book showed two small children walking hand in hand through a canopy of trees.  It was shot from the rear and was taken by the famous American photographer W. Eugene Smith. There was a quotation with the photograph which said, “..a world to be born under your footsteps.”   That quote was by the French poet Saint-John Perse (1887-1975) who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1960.

W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978) was a photojournalist from Kansas who was famous for covering the brutal war  (WWII) in the Pacific.   Some years later he became better known for his photo essay about the fetal damage and deaths related to mercury contaminated water by local industry  in the town of Minamata, Japan. For his award winning work, he was badly beaten by corporate goons.

"Migrant Mother" from the exhibit. by Dorothea Lange, 1936

“Migrant Mother” from the exhibit. by Dorothea Lange, 1936


From the Minamata exhibit by W. Eugene Smith.

From the Minamata exhibit by W. Eugene Smith.

SOUNDTRACK:   Andrei’s Theme by Armand Amar.  From the film  “The Concert.”


Addendum:     Not to compare myself to Smith, but one of my photographs reminds me of those two kids walking in the woods. All artists are influenced by those who preceded them.  That image is below—PG


Central Park. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

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Today is Veterans Day, so some of you might like to know about an exhibit called War/Photography at the Brooklyn Museum.  Here is a link:    Brooklyn Museum link


Helmand Province, Afghanistan. By Louie Palu. ©

From the exhibit:  Helmand Province, Afghanistan. By Louie Palu. ©


US AIR FORCE ACADEMY CADET CHORALE   “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”


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Carnival. By Paul Goldfinger. © Carnival. Chester, NJ.  By Paul Goldfinger. ©  Left click for full view. Shot on Kodachrome.


NORAH JONES.  “Carnival Town”  from her album Feels Like Home

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This image was obtained from inside the Bubble Room, a popular eatery on Captiva Island in southwest  Florida.

From the land of hanging chads and early bird specials comes some sound advice.

—Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger editor.  Re-post.

The Bubble Room. Captiva Island, Florida. By Paul Goldfinger.


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The post below was originally published in 2013 after a visit to the Princeton University Art Museum.

Currently, 2020, it is closed to the public, but there are quite a few interesting presentations online.   When things get back to normal, you might consider a visit.  Directions below.   They are supposed to be starting a new building this year. They house 92,000 works of art.

Princeton University Art Museum. Paul Goldfinger photo. Princeton University Art Museum. Paul Goldfinger photos. © Click all our photos to enlarge.  Re-post from 2013

VANGELIS: From his album “Blade Runner” The piece is called “Mail From India.”

Directions: The Art Museum on the campus of Princeton University has free admission and is a wonderful place to visit. It takes less than an hour to get there via Rt 33 and then some zigs and zags. (Take your GPS and enter Nassau Street). When you get to Nassau St. (Rt 27) turn left and look for the parking signs. There is on-street metered parking (2 hours max.) and there are parking garages.

You just walk onto the campus and ask anyone where it is.  Basically, after you walk through the iron gates, bear left past Nassau Hall (the big building with two tigers guarding the entrance) and go straight a short distance.

Princeton University Art Museum. August, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo © Princeton University Art Museum. August, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo ©
Nassau Hall faces Nassau Street. August, 2013. By Paul Goldfinger © Nassau Hall faces Nassau Street. August, 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©

The current  (2013) photography exhibit “Shared Vision” is excellent, with a collection of vintage prints by a wide variety of artists.

My favorite is Alfred Stieglitz. He actually is quoted with some advice for photographers as to when to pull the trigger, “Watch the passing figures and await the moment in which everything is in balance.”

I would add that you have to pre-set your camera (exposure and focus,) get into “the zone,” and wait for your senses to judge “balance.” It happens too fast to think much about it.

I heard a famous National Geographic photographer say essentially the same thing: Find a beautiful or otherwise marvelous place and then wait for someone to enter the scene….he called that “waiting for the magic.”

At the Princeton exhibit  there is an image from Garry Winogrand’s 1975 book called Women Are Beautiful.  His style in the book was street photography which is what I like to do.  He even used a Leica M camera like mine.  Winogrand did receive some “flack” over this subject matter, but he was baffled by that, and the acclaim far outweighed any criticisms.

One reviewer said that no collection of “street photography” books is complete without this one.  He likened Winogrand’s work to Robert Frank’s.

Winogrand said, “Whenever I’ve seen an attractive woman, I’ve done my best to photograph her. ”

The New Yorker wrote about him and said, “Winogrand didn’t take time tweaking and twiddling the camera’s rings and dials, and, above all, he didn’t take time to compose his images. When he flung his Leica to his eye, he didn’t study framing through the lens but composed instantaneously, impulsively, improvisationally, as if he were making a kind of pictorial jazz, or what Jean-Luc Godard called “the definitive by chance.”

From MOMA in New York:  “Photography curator, historian, and critic John Szarkowski called Winogrand the central photographer of his generation.”   That was mid-20th century.

The image below is the one we saw in Princeton. Winogrand did not know his subjects. They are all candid street shots.

A new copy of that 1975 book costs about $1,000.00 today. Out-of-print photography book are very valuable, especially if in perfect condition and signed by the artist.  That sort of precious art-book,  Women Are Beautiful, is sold in New York at galleries such as Swann Galleries.  Aficionados wish for a reprint edition.


Gary Winogrand. Beautiful woman eating ice cream cone. Gary Winogrand. “Beautiful woman” eating ice cream cone.  From the Princeton Museum exhibit.


Gary Winogrand  “beautiful woman” street photography taken ad lib, with no consent required. His style of “shooting from the hip”  with little attention to composition often resulted in body parts being lost.  From the book, taken from the Internet.—-PG


—Paul Goldfinger, Photography  Editor @Blogfinger


JAMES CHIRILLO. “I Love You Samantha” (Album “Jazz4Lovers”)

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Venus de Milo. Greek 130-100 B.C. Louvre Museum. Paris. Photograph by Paul Goldfinger.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.net

This ancient Greek sculpture was discovered in 1820 on the island of Milos, in the Aegean, by a peasant who was puttering around in the ruins of the city called Milos. The original name was Aphrodite of Milos. She was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Venus was the Roman name.

The artist is thought to be Alexandros of Antioch. I can imagine Alexander looking at his model’s indescribable beauty and finding himself at a loss for words. He was speechless, so he did what artists do — he expressed himself through his art. He took a hunk of marble and created this 6′ 8″ tall woman. Her arms were not recovered.


SOUNDTRACK: Frank Sinatra sings about a modern-day Aphrodite who is too marvelous for words. From the film “What Women Want.”

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Rabari tribal elder. 2010 India. Photo by Steve McCurry.


By Paul Goldfinger, Photography  Editor@Blogfinger.

Re-post from 2011 in order to make an update point.     Comments from 2011 are still interesting and include a 2019 update.  Feel free to offer 2019 comments.

From 1935-2009, professional photographers preferred shooting color with Kodachrome slide film  They appreciated the remarkable quality and vivid colors— as well as the archival properties of the film.

Because of the advent of digital photography, Kodak ended production in 2009.  Professional photographer Steve McCurry requested and received the very last roll of Kodachrome that was manufactured.  He traveled from New York City to India to obtain those last 36 exposures.  When he returned, he had the roll developed at a lab in Kansas, the last one in the world to be able to process Kodachrome. One of those images is shown above. The model is a tribal elder of the Rabari people who can be traced back all the way to Atilla the Hun.

Steve McCurry is a well-known photojournalist who has worked at National Geographic for 30 years. In addition, he has published books and he is a member of the renowned photo agency Magnum, based in New York City.  His most famous image is that of an Afghan woman who appeared on the cover of National Geographic Magazine in 1985.  Here is a link to an NPR report on McCurry dated today.  You can see his iconic image from 1985 as well as other amazing photographs.  NPR article about Steve McCurry

Currently, the tribal elder image on top is part of an exhibit entitled “Kodachrome: Images by Steve McCurry” at the Open Shutter gallery in Durango, Colorado.  If you go to the link below, you will see a Vanity Fair article about this topic including a slide show of all the images on that last roll.

The last roll of Kodachrome LINK

MUSIC:  Paul Simon with “Kodachrome”  (Today, October 13, 2011, is Paul Simon’s 70th birthday)

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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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OK, so it’s not Brazil—it’s Captiva Island in Florida. But I couldn’t resist this song by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks (below). You will not be able to shake this song from your brain. Paul Goldfinger photo 2010.© Click left for bigger water.

SOUNDTRACK:   Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks  (Emmy winners for Boardwalk Empire)   —PG

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