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Q&A with Photographer Thomas Holton: The Artist Behind “The Lams of Ludlow Street”

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Thomas Holton is a New York-based photographer who is most renown for “The Lams of Ludlow Street,” a series documenting the life of a Chinese family in NYC for the past 18 years. A moving story about family, culture, and change, the narrative offers an intimate look inside their Chinatown apartment, following the challenges and unscripted reality the family has endured.

Holton has received global accolades for this project, exhibiting at venues including The Museum of the City of New York, The New York Public Library, The China-Lishui International Photography Festival, Sasha Wolf Gallery, and most recently, the Home Gallery. A pioneer of Asian American representation in the arts, Holton has been featured three times in The New York Times (2008, 2012, and 2016) in the past two decades, as well as a variety of other publications, including National Geographic and Buzzfeed. In 2016, Holton published his first book, The Lams of Ludlow Street. He also works as a teacher at Trinity School NYC, where he teaches both film and digital photography.  

It was an incredible honor to interview Mr. Holton, who taught me photography in high school and greatly influences my work to this day. I am especially excited to share more about the inspiration behind his moving series, which remains all the more relevant amidst the recent rise in anti-AAPI hate. As the need for empathy toward and space for Asian American stories is more crucial than ever, “The Lams of Ludlow Street” succeeds in deconstructing racial stereotypes and complicates the question of what it means to be Chinese. Though there is no singular Asian American experience, “The Lams of Ludlow Street” depicts one family’s story with unbridled authenticity, vulnerability, and sophistication.

 

Holton, Thomas. “Family Portrait.” The Lams of Ludlow Street I.

When was the first time you used a camera? When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?

My father was a photographer, so I grew up surrounded by his images. After he died, I began to play with his cameras at around 16 years old. I started taking it a bit more seriously in college and signed up for classes during summer breaks. After college, I knew I wanted to pursue photography, so I assisted local NYC photographers for about 10 years before enrolling in graduate school at SVA (The School of Visual Arts) and earning my MFA in 2005.

 

Who are your primary sources of inspiration as a photographer?

I absolutely fell in love with Cartier-Bresson’s work when I first started to truly study photo history (like many aspiring photographers do). When I began to focus on the Lams and photographing their life, I then devoured the work of Sally Mann, Larry Sultan, and the FSA work of Walker Evans.

 

How has your interest in your Chinese culture shaped your perspective as a photographer?

Holton, Thomas. “Bath Time.” The Lams of Ludlow Street I.

Even though I am half-Chinese and had relatives living in NYC’s Chinatown neighborhood, I never felt like I belonged and was always regarded as a visitor. So a major reason that I began photographing around Chinatown was to address this disconnect in my own identity and to try to understand what life was like in this neighborhood. I studied the Chinatown work of Corky Lee and Chien-Chi Chang to better understand how they approached photographing the area. The humanity of their work made me move beyond the surface of my early Chinatown images and pushed me as a photographer to better understand the lives behind closed doors. It’s made me really value the emotional content of photography.

 

When and how did you begin working on “The Lams of Ludlow Street?”

I first met the Lams in 2003 when I was accompanying a local housing advocate from The University Settlement, who took me along on her weekly visits to her clients to check in on them. I met maybe around 10 families through her and one luckily was the Lams.

Holton, Thomas. “Quarantine Lunch.” The Lams of Ludlow Street IV.

 

How has the series evolved over the course of the past two decades?

The earlier work was really focused on their small space and the constant activity of their home. As I got to know them better, the work shifted to trying to capture the emotional tone of the moment. I evolved as a photographer as our relationship grew over time.

 

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the project, and why?

I am a big believer in the long form narrative. None of our lives are easily scripted, so I have to believe that whenever I visit the Lams, there is a photograph to be made reflecting the present moment. This does not always translate into a new image that I love, but that does not stop me from visiting them or trying to make new work. Because of this, I do not think this project has a definitive end, and as long as they open the door for me, I will continue to visit since we’re basically family now.

 

What is your favorite photo you’ve taken, and why?

Holton, Thomas. “Supergirl.” The Lams of Ludlow Street III.

I adore the image “Supergirl” because Cindy had a challenging adolescence and was constantly living between a few apartments in the neighborhood, as her mom switched jobs and the parents divorced.  So this image of her with a “Supergirl” shirt just seems very appropriate because she was able to overcome some unusual circumstances and is now a thriving college student.

What’s been the best and worst part of your journey as a photographer? 

The best part has been by far the experiences I have had because I choose to explore a new place with my camera. If I was never curious about my Chinese half, I never would’ve wandered the streets of Chinatown and felt the need to meet people behind all those windows. The worst part is the fear of never making a new photograph that works while pushing myself creatively…I don’t want to constantly repeat myself over and over.

What is your next biggest project? 

Holton, Thomas. “Chinatown Surface #5.”

Right now, I am mostly working on seeing the Lams as much as I can until I find some new ideas to explore. I will always photograph the Lams, but I do feel the need to cleanse the palette every once in a while. So I have been making abstractions in Chinatown during the winters as a way to use my eyes in a new way and practice different ways of seeing.

 

How has your work as a photography teacher impacted your experience as a photographer?

Thomas Holton in front of “The Fence” (2018), which displayed photos from The Lams of Ludlow Street II.

I would have to say watching students fall in love with image making helps remind me why I began photographing years and years ago. The sheer joy a student experiences when they make a photograph they absolutely adore is at the core of what we do as artists. For me, photography is an emotional act and a way to capture and memorialize the shared experience between me and the present moment. I love it when a student discovers that photography is more than iPhone images for Instagram and immediate satisfaction. 

 

What is the one biggest piece of advice you would give to a young photographer?

I would advise to make your work as personal as possible and to foster an emotional connection to your “subject matter” because if you do not care about what you are photographing, your work will reflect this. The emotional need to make work is what will drive you to continue, even when your work isn’t strong or fully developed yet because you know “something” is there and you need to figure it out.

How do you think our culture can work to preserve the art of photography when social media and iPhones make the taking and sharing of photos so easy and pervasive? 

Wow…major question. Photography is as easy as it has ever been because of phones and automatic cameras, but I think the work that will last 5 days, 5 weeks and 5 years from now are the projects that come from an honest, personal, and authentic place. Images with heartfelt intent will always outlast selfies and glamorous vacation photos on Instagram.

Holton, Thomas. “Mother’s Lap.” The Lams of Ludlow Street II.

How has the pandemic influenced your practice and what it means to be a photographer?

As for teaching, the photo lab was entirely shut down, but so much of the class is about being in the dark room, using the machines, and seeing what other students are making. The good thing that came out of it is that I found new ways to teach —looking at more books, blogs, and Ted talks, constantly finding photographers I’d never looked at before.

The pandemic taught us to cherish our loved ones and that the time we have, ultimately, can be pretty short. The need to memorialize experiences with loved ones became more important to me than ever. Life is a series of experiences, and photography translates them into art. As a teacher and a photographer, I tried to emphasize the importance of making meaningful work that will resonate 5 or 10 years from now. If you find a photo you took 10 years ago, a rush of emotion will come back, and that’s the point of photography — it’s a memorial, a way to relive an experience.

Read more lifestyle articles at Clichemag.com
Photo credits: Thomas Holton Photography, Thomas Holton Photography Instagram

Interview With Isabelle LN Lindbergh: A Prominent Luxury Brand Photographer

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Isabelle LN Lindbergh, whose real name is Isabelle Lemoine is the photographer that luxury brands and artists are raving about right now. And if her name means anything to you, it’s because her grandfather was none other than Charles Lindbergh, the first aviator to have flown New York to Paris non-stop in 1927. Almost a century later, his granddaughter, in turn, serves as an avant-garde in combining technology, conceptual work and risk taking in another field and  art of her own, photography. This is evidenced by her recent collaboration with Swarovski, a true work of goldsmith for which patience and technical mastery have been the pillars of her success.

Isabelle Lemoine

The talent of a photographer is to make a subject or object appear in dazzling simplicity. They are measured by the way in which they erase the complexity of work in the development of their shot. One has only to look at the photographs of Isabelle LN Lindbergh to realize this.

People don’t realize the amount of work behind each photo. With Swarovski I have to capture very small gems, and it is extremely complex to photograph them, while respecting a certain color code and the unique image the brand conveys.” Isabelle says.

Do you have a particular technique to bring fine stones and jewelry to life through your photographs?

“First, you have to be uncompromising about the light; reflections must be avoided for each of the shots. My technique is then to superimpose several photos so that we really understand the stone as we can see it in reality. Then, photographing each of the stones represents several hours of work, and a photoshoot for Swarovski can sometimes last more than twenty hours..”

How are the photo shoots going with the brand in general?

“The client is very often present on the day of the shooting, and he is very demanding. The work of a photographer goes beyond clichés. He has to listen, adapt, and be extremely rigorous. The client and his communication team are there to select the photos and validate the artistic direction.”

Has the pandemic changed the way you work with Swarovski?

“Beyond the measures taken such as wearing a mask and safety distances during shootings, I work even more regularly with the brand. Indeed, their storefront having become virtual, Swarovski needs much more content than before, in order to feed their website and Instagram account. Social networks have become an essential part of their communication.”

What material do you prefer to use for this kind of shooting?

“For those kinds of photos I use the Canon 5D Sr and work with flash. I love Broncolor flashes because they are powerful, fast and quality. The siro L are very practical, its light power is sufficient to obtain the necessary shots.

Discover her work on Instagram :@isabellelindbergh @isabellelnmusique
https://www.isabelleln.com/  

Read more photography articles at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Swarovski and Isabelle Lemoine

Top 6 Photography Tips for Taking Beautiful Photos

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Today we want to share 6 photography tips for taking beautiful photos.  Photographs can tell more stories than words do. Thanks to photography, people can now take pictures of their memorable events and keep forever. Upon seeing an old photograph, it can take you back to the exact setting, sounds, smells, and feelings of that exact moment. Whether you’re taking pictures from your DSLR camera or smartphone, the moment is what matters. However, a beautifully shot picture makes a huge difference from a bad one.

6 photography tips for taking beautiful photos

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

Photography is an interesting hobby that anyone can learn. If you’re fascinated with the art of taking photos, learning photography can help you take better pictures. As a beginner, you can start with a smartphone with a good camera, then work your way up to more expensive equipment if you wish to pursue professional photography.

To serve as your head start, here are the top six photography tips for taking beautiful photos:

  1. Always Start With The Rule of Thirds

It doesn’t take a professional photographer to know this first tip: use your camera’s gridlines as a guide to enhance your photo’s composition. Once you’ve set the gridlines, you’ll see that the image is broken down into thirds to generate nine equal parts. Using the rule of thirds, you should only put your subject along the intersections of these lines, and never within the squares.

Using the rule of thirds, you can establish balance on your photo and allow the viewer to interact with it organically. This is because a person’s eye will more likely see the intersection points first than the center of the shot.

  1. Give What The Scene Needs

6 photography tips for taking beautiful photos

Photo by Marcelo Chagas on Pexels

In photography, you’ll never have it figured out right from your first shot, especially if you’re working with different scenes and settings. Indoor and outdoor environments require different photographic techniques and camera settings, that’s why you’ll have to calibrate your camera. Are you shooting in low light? Do you need to take pictures of food? How can you shoot moving vehicles?

Therefore, you can utilize photography cheat sheets found here to find the right camera settings and shooting techniques that each type of scene needs. Using these guides don’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad photographer because this is how you’ll learn better. Even professional photographers carry them around whenever they need help in working with varying settings.

  1. Emphasize a Focal Point

You’re taking a picture to show something on the photo, whether it’s a person, pet, tree, or food, but always make sure to focus only on one subject at a time. The focal point of your photo, when seen by the viewers, must be the main point of interest. If you’re struggling with creating focus on your photo, ask yourself―where should my viewers focus their attention to?

If you’re working with one subject and want to explore its nature, filling the frame is a great technique. Other elements found in the negative space of the photo might distract the focus on your subject, ruining the composition. In shooting a portrait, for instance, you can fill the frame with the subject’s face instead of the entire body, making a more professional-looking photograph.

  1. Lead Your Viewer’s Eyes

Aside from the rule of thirds, there’s another essential composition technique that photographers swear by: the leading lines. In taking these types of photos, you can take advantage of leading lines to improve your composition. Leading lines are any line shapes and forms that lead the viewer’s eye into the focal point. For example, the leading lines on the road will lead the eyes to the setting of the sun found on the horizon.

Furthermore, the direction of your leading lines can change the mood of your overall composition. Horizontal leading lines reflect calmness and tranquility, while vertical leading lines are more impactful.

  1. Lighting Is The Key

Smiling ethnic woman having photo session with plants

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels

Proper lighting is an essential element of a composition, but many photographers still overlook this aspect. Lighting separates brightness from darkness, and instills the mood and tone of your composition. For every type of photo, you must ensure proper lighting for your camera to capture the details of your composition properly.

Along with arranging a good lighting setup, you should also learn about the principles of light shaping and manipulation, which can be achieved through the use of reflectors and diffusers. Shaping and manipulating the light from a source can help you highlight a subject, control the direction of light, play with colors, cast shadows for a more dramatic look, and more.

  1. Invest More On Learning vs. Equipment

Last but not the least, particularly if you’re an amateur photographer, invest your money more on learning than the photography gear and equipment. The biggest mistake that most photographers commit is splurging on expensive camera and photography equipment without having formal learning and practice. While an expensive, premium camera can take better photo quality, you can’t make use of its capabilities if you don’t have a solid understanding of the photography basics.

Takeaways

The secret to taking beautiful photos lies beyond capturing that moment. With the help of these basic photography tips, you can start your journey towards photography, if you wish to pursue one, whether it’s for leisure or career. Once you’ve built your knowledge and experience in taking photos, that’s the time to upgrade your gear to enhance the beauty of your shots.

Read more fashion and photography articles at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Creative Commons, Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels & Pixabay

New York Quarantine Photo Shoot

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“This shoot portrays self exploration and the artistic expression of my quarantine. The photographer used a macro lens to keep social distancing measurements. Mirrors and the white floor were used as reflectors. My hair was too long and I needed to find a bandana. I cut my favorite long sleeve shirt and made one with it. How will be this new world? Maybe we can reduce, reuse, work less, buy less and have more time to enjoy life…” shared French model Alexis Barbosa about his New York quarantine photoshoot with Olga Korovina.

Check out the rest of the collection here.

Instagram: @alexbplanet, @ok_heliography, @instant_alek  
Read more fashion articles at ClicheMag.com
Photos: Olga Korovina, Model: Alexis Barbosa, Consultant: Alexandra Kaldili

The Rebirth of Underoath

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Rebirth means “the process of being reincarnated or born again,” as well as “the action of reappearing or starting to flourish or increase after a decline.” I got to witness this firsthand in Orlando, Florida when Underoath took the stage on the American Nightmare Tour with Bring Me The Horizon.

Prior to this occasion, in 2012, the Florida natives announced their disbanding through social media and fans were devastated. After releasing their compilation album, Anthology: 1999–2013, they embarked on their final tour in 2013 and everyone believed it to be the end.

And then came their rebirth.

In 2016, Underoath confirmed that they were reuniting and embarked on their Rebirth tour, which only left fans wanting more and crossing their fingers that this wasn’t just a one time thing. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

Underoath has been nonstop since their reunion and they are better than ever. The six-member band took the stage at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on a windy Wednesday night on the 8th of March and the energy they brought could be felt through the entire field. The minute they started, you could feel their souls lifting and you could tell that playing music together is what they are meant to do. From the chemistry they shared on stage to the unity that was displayed in the crowd, the revival of Underoath has been made known. This is just the beginning. This is the rebirth of Underoath.

Stay up to date and join them on their journey with tour recaps and more at Underoath777.com.

Read more Music news on ClicheMag.com

The Rebirth of Underoath: Photographed by Imani Givertz

How Civil Youth Plan On Taking Over 2017

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I love surprises and the feeling of pure joy that dances in the pit of your stomach when you’re being pleasantly surprised, and let me tell you, I was amazed after discovering the Philly trio that is Civil Youth. From their offstage brotherhood to their onstage unity, together they are, without a doubt, going to be some of the biggest rising stars of 2017.

With their energy on stage and soul-driven and captivating lyrics, Civil Youth is about to shake up this next year, and once you hear them, you won’t want to miss out on anything that they are doing. We caught up with the Civil Youth guys at their show in Orlando, FL on their Behind The Echoes Tour and got to know them a little better.
Cliché: Tell us about yourselves. Who are the artists behind Civil Youth?
Michael Kepko: Civil Youth is Michael Kepko (vocals), Daniel Chapman (guitar), and Evan Seeberger (drums).
How did you form your band?
Civil Youth formed in Boston, Massachusetts by myself and then I brought the music and idea back down to Philly when it didn’t pan out up there. I had known Dan since high school, and Evan had produced the second album. We all knew what this band was about. We all understood what we were trying to do and didn’t want another option in life other than music.
How would you describe your sound to people that have yet to hear your music?
We can be described as Alternative. We grab so much from so many genres, I think that sums it up in a vague manner.
How has your sound developed since you started?
In the beginning, the music was undeveloped. Now, we are a lot heavier, and also more defined with the genres we strive towards.
Your live set is pretty epic. What is the thought process behind how you create such an experience for fans?
People have told us we have an energetic set, which is great to hear because when we play live, it’s our way of releasing stress. It lets us be the people we are comfortable being, so when we get up, we just give it all we have. I think people can relate to the honesty behind what we do, which is what we want.
You guys have been worked on your new album this past year. What was the writing process like for you guys?
The writing process for this newest album was different than what it always has been. This time, Evan wrote a lot of the music with me, and we had a lot of defined writing moments as opposed to sporadic thought.
Do you all play a part in writing the lyrics, or does each member have his own specific role?
I write all the lyrics and music except with the newest album, where Evan wrote half the music.
What should we be most excited about when it comes to your new album?
I think the best part of this album is that it truly is the sound of Civil Youth. It’s unique yet so catchy.
In 2017, what are some goals you have set individually and collectively as a band?
Our personal lives are really this band, so the goals for the band are getting onto a booking agent’s roster and touring with some big bands.
Where would you like to tour this upcoming year?
The UK, hands down.

Read more Music News on ClicheMag.com
How Civil Youth Plan On Taking Over 2017: Photographed by Imani Givertz

Photo Gallery: Brand New Live in Miami, FL

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Braving the way for harmonious melodies and chilling lyrics since 2000, Brand New is one band that we will always thank for giving us songs for every emotion. There is nothing that can properly articulate the feeling and rawness of a Brand New show; from the creative elements to the perfect lighting, it is an experience you need to have at least once in your life.

 
With that being said, we recommend that you see them on their next tour this year. We don’t know for certain, but the last thing we saw before the end of their show was 2000 – 2018, and we have a feeling that it could be your last chance to see them (though we all hope they stay together forever). Here is a photo gallery and a small glimpse of Brand New’s massive show in Miami, FL this past summer.
Keep up to date with news from Brand New at fightoffyourdemons.com

Read more Music articles on ClicheMag.com
Photo Gallery: Brand New Live in Miami, FL: Photographed by Imani Givertz

Why The 1975 Was the Most Creative Band of 2016

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It’s not a joke when we say that The 1975 took over 2016. It all started back in June 2015 when they almost broke the Internet and fan’s hearts by deleting their social media accounts, causing everyone to break out into speculations that the musical geniuses were calling it quits. Luckily, our hearts only hit snooze for 24 hours when the band reactivated their social media, replacing their iconic Black and White photos to White and Pink. It was only up from there.

The band released their singles “Love Me” and “UGH” before the end of the year. 2016 looked promising when they released three more singles before the release of the anticipated new album. “The Sound,” “Somebody Else,” and “A Change Of Heart” were on playlists around the world before their second full-length album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it dropped in February.
From there, the touring continued, and the frenzy for The 1975 went rapid. The band sold out almost every show around the world, and it wasn’t just because of their soul-gripping lyrics or their one-of-kind sound, but their impeccable creative set. From their LED screens to the lights, The 1975 created an environment for everyone to not only be wooed through their ears, but through their eyes.
We don’t doubt that they’ll only continue to top their creativity in 2017, and we know we don’t want to miss it. Shows are already selling out fast, so get your tickets pronto. Here is a photo gallery from one of The 1975’s legendary concerts in Miami, FL.


Read more Music articles on ClicheMag.com
Why The 1975 Was the Most Creative Band of 2016: Photographed by Imani Givertz

Hands Like Houses photographed at The Kelsey Theater in Lake Park, FL

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There’s no doubt that after anyone experiences a set as energetic, interactive, and as expressive as Hands Like Houses’, they will be listening to their entire discography on repeat trying to relive those moments over and over again.

Hailing from Canberra, Australia, HLH co-headlined their way to South Florida with Our Last Night, The Color Morale, and Out Came The Wolves this November on the Face To Face Tour.
They gave everything they had and poured out their souls to a standing room full of fans that received them so well and poured out their hearts right back by singing along to every song at the top of their lungs.  
These are moments that I am honored to capture. This is a photo gallery from Hands Like Houses on the Face To Face Tour at The Kelsey Theater in Lake Park, FL.

Hands Like Houses photographed at The Kelsey Theater in Lake Park, FL 11.12.16
Read more Music News on ClicheMag.com

Scott Kraynak Discusses Photography Book, ‘Unconquerable Desires’

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Two things you wouldn’t think of pairing together: the female body and war. That’s what artist Scott Kraynak has done with his beautiful photography book, Unconquerable Desires. The book is uniquely done, placing plastic toy soldiers enacting scenes from war on the naked female body. The images are all done in black and white and are coupled with quotes about both war and the female form.

What I found so intriguing about this book was the unique combination of the female body and war. The way in which Kraynak was able to so beautifully and tastefully display the female form in contrast to the gruesome and horrifying reality of war is a true work of art. Kraynak speaks of the contrast between love and hate, passion and pain, and the desire for flesh and the desire for power in the intro to his book. That is exactly what these images do: they’re a powerful statement, showing the contrast between ultimate beauty and ultimate destruction.
The quotes were equally as powerful as the images they were attached to. The quote that struck me the most was the quote by C.S. Lewis: “She was beautifully, delicately made, so small, so unafraid, till the bomb came. Bombs are the same, beautifully, delicately made” (Kraynak, 11). The quotes are a powerful addition to the image that really allows the book to speak to its reader.
The title of the book is equally intriguing. Unconquerable Desires is a title that speaks back to the overarching theme of glorifying the female body as opposed to glorifying war. The female body, unlike war, cannot be conquered. The female body is to be valued, loved, and appreciated. Kraynak is driving home the idea that we so easily show passion and desire for war, praising it, when we should be praising the female body.
The toy soldiers are intricately placed on the female body parts. There are soldiers marching to war, shooting their enemies, and protecting their fellow soldiers. Scene after scene, the soldiers are placed in new positions, as is the female body. The pairing of the two create such powerful images of not only the horrors of war and the beauty of the body, but also the way the female body is shamed and hidden in many aspects of our society. Kraynak speaks of how the “atrocities of war are broadcast to us 24/7 via countless news outlets” while “the female body suffers endless censorship” (Kraynak, 2). He ponders on why we are so easily able to intake news of death and destruction, yet we lack the maturity to speak about or be graced with the female body. In Unconquerable Desires, Scott Kraynak is able to present us with the two in one space, forcing the viewer to deal with both beauty and destruction simultaneously. Here, we get the artist’s thoughts.

 
Cliché: What inspired this book?
Scott Kraynak: Seeing what is happening in the world today in regards to wars being fought, violence against women, the continued lack of equality between men and women, and the overall decaying state of world intelligence and willingness to fight against a system controlled by money and greed inspired this book. But even more so, it seems as if we never learn from our mistakes, that we as a society keep making the same mistakes that we have made for thousands of years. That is where the idea of adding the quotes to the book came in, kind of showing how the most famous writers and most intelligent philosophers throughout time have been saying the same thing, yet nobody seems to listen. The idea of using the toy soldiers battling on female bodies just came to me one day and this fictional landscape seemed to represent all of these travesties and inequalities occurring at once.
What is the significance of having these images in black and white?
There is no significance, really. I’ve just always loved black and white photography and felt that it would portray these war scenes in a more powerful, vivid way, also giving the images a somewhat historical look—kind of like old civil war battle images.
What do you hope viewers take away from this book? Is there a particular feeling you hope to convey?
Besides showing the horrors of war, one of the main purposes of this book was to present the female body in such a way that reflects not only its life-giving beauty, but also reflects the horrors and injustices that continue to befall women today. The following is taken from the epilogue: This photography visualizes what it means for the body to become the landscape and for the land to become the female body. In a simultaneously playful and earnest way, these photographs imagine what it means to wage war over and on the bodies of women. How will our lands be free if her body still is not? How do we understand the female body as an object which men continue to battle for, over, and against? How do we understand the woman as a subject who must endure, who must pitch her own battles against the attacks of sexism, abuse, and assault?
Unconquerable Desires invokes difficult questions about war as a colonial function that dominates not only the bodies of the colonized other, but is rooted in a patriarchal system that continues to colonize and wage war on the bodies of women. But this work also evokes the affective ties between war and love, angst and desire, rage and lust. The images play on the longing for female beauty and the cultures of war that together work to define American masculinity. But this book pokes fun at it; it pokes holes into the seriousness of its façade with plastic toy soldiers and a large ferocious lizard. One cannot help but chuckle at the scene, but also ponder it deeply. How do we understand the fabrication of the scene and the landscape as indicative of the constructedness of war and gender, the ways in which we force bodies to mean something, anything worth fighting for? While at times a bit comical on the surface, these photos ask us to really dig much deeper into the human condition; they help us understand the multiple ways our bodies are always embattled.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on a movie poster for a soon to be released horror film; another photography book featuring weird/creepy/macabre images; a new illustrated book with my brother taking on the ridiculous gun culture in the United States, racism, and other issues that I feel are important to be addressed; a drawing for Redwood National Park; and a piece for a Cleveland Art book I’m creating. Actually with that project, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that I need to do: get rights to old paintings, recruit artists of all mediums, find a publisher and gallery, coordinate everything, etc. It’s quite a project, but will be worth the effort in the end! Cleveland rocks!
screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-2-30-08-pmAn excerpt from Unconquerable Desires:
“We are in a moment, a seemingly never-ending moment, in which women’s bodies are under legislative attack, from attempts to bar and remove access to reproductive healthcare to the policing of which types of women (read: “real women”) may use which public restroom. War here is a metaphor, but it is felt on the bodies of women who cannot access these basic human rights. But let’s not forget the ways in which combat literally produces women as casualties, their bodies taken by soldiers—raped, pillaged. As Judith Lewis Herman writes, “the subordinate condition of women is maintained and enforced by the hidden violence of men. There is war between the sexes. Rape victims, battered women, and sexually abused children are its casualties. Hysteria is the combat neurosis of the sex war.” The so-called “war between the sexes” operates on multiple levels: Soldiers literally take the bodies of women (and other Others) in the process of waging war; and the effects of sexual violence (in the context of war or elsewhere) are felt on women’s bodies in the same ways the violence of war is felt on the bodies of those who wage it.”
For more information about Scott Kraynak, visit scottkraynak.com
The book Unconquerable Desires can be purchased on amazon.com and all other major online retailers.
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Scott Kraynak Discusses Photography Book, ‘Unconquerable Desires’: Photographs courtesy of Scott Kraynak

Amp Up Your Camera Game With Limelens

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Any photographer will tell you that the best camera is the one that is always with you. Cue Limelens, the company that is bringing personal, daily photography to a whole new level with their smartphone lens. Designed with the average person in mind, each Limelens makes it easy for anyone to take beautiful photographs right from their smartphone or tablet. And at only $99, it’s a game-changer.

“While purists may argue about the limitations of smartphone camera capabilities, stand-alone cameras cannot compete with the portability of the smartphone and the public’s desire to share their photos instantly,” says Faye Jones, the Communications Director of Limelens. “Online photo sharing has become a way to express identity, rather than compete.”
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And we couldn’t agree more. Jones goes on to say that his company has recognized that most people are choosing smartphones over conventional cameras for daily photography, and they have created Limelens with those people in mind.
Are you ready to take your smartphone photography (and let’s face it: your Instagram feed) to the next level? Visit www.limelens.com for more information.
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BY MEGAN PORTORREAL
Amp Up Your Camera Game With Limelens: Photos courtesy of Limelens

The Most Iconic Grease Moments to Capture on Canvas or Frame

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Grease is an iconic film that depicts American teenagers in the 1950s, and it’s by far one of the most famous and loved musicals. Grease fans—and those who have never known the joys of watching this beloved musical—recently got to indulge in a television special Grease: Live. Audiences were treated to relive their favorite musical with a one-night live performance featuring a modern cast. There are so many iconic moments in this musical, so why not choose one of your favorite moments or characters, upload it, and keep the film alive on a canvas or frame? Here are some iconic moments that you could choose from.
Opening Credits
The first iconic moment in Grease is of course the animated opening credits this depicts and creates nostalgia from 1950’s America. Any one of the animations could be uploaded and printed photos to canvas, but if you’re a true Grease fan, the best one would be the blue car with “grease” written on it, which was also featured on some movie posters.
Classic Greasers
The T-Bird group represents Greasers, which was a popular type of group in 1950’s America. Any one of the T-Birds could be framed individually, but Danny and Kenickie are probably most popular. Or if you can’t choose between just one, why not get a canvas made with all the T-birds together as a group with their famous jackets? The best choice would be with them on the bleachers, right after they’ve belted out the number they sing alongside the Pink Ladies.

ThePinkLadies-Grease

The Pink Ladies in GREASE © Courtesy of the Kobal Collection


Pink Ladies
Each Pink Lady has a different style, but they are all connected with their iconic pink jacket. Grease lovers who are looking to add a pop of color to their wall should have a canvas made with all of the Pink Ladies wearing their famous pink jackets.
The Drive-In
All of the teens at Rydell High collectively group at the movie drive-in at weekends, and a classic moment that would look like an amazing piece of art hung on your wall is of course a shot of Danny and Sandy in Dann’s banged up car.
Dancing Fever
The high school dance that takes place in Rydell High, as any Grease fan will know, is imperative to the film. There are lots of shots of Danny and Sandy dancing, which would look amazing in color or black and white framed and placed on your wall.
GREASE, Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Stockard Channing, 1978. © Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection

GREASE, Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Stockard Channing, 1978. © Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection


The End
The ending to Grease is the most iconic moment you want captured on a canvas or frame. There are many best moments you have to choose from. The first, which is also the movie’s poster, would be Sandy dressed up in black with her new perm hugging Danny. Another is the T-Birds and all the Pink Ladies together as a group. These moments can be in black and white or color, but it’s probably best to get one of the end shots in color to really appreciate the different colors the carnival offers. The last moment, which comes right at the end, would be Danny and Sandy going off together in a flying car.
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The Most Iconic Grease Moments to Capture on Canvas or Frame: Featured image courtesy of Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection