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Blog Posts by Subject: Photography

July Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Gangsters and true crime, New York City history, financial literacy, MacArthur, FDR, Khrushchev, Lindsay, Main Street, U.S.A., travel, learning and self-discovery, climate change, foreign policy, the collective afterlife, and great pizza are among the wide-ranging topics coming up at our Author @ the Library talks in July 2014! We hope you’ll join us for insightful discussions with the authors of these 

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Meet Ner Beck, NYC Street Photographer

On view now through July 3, 2014, is NER BECK’s NYC Street Oddities: A Photo Exhibit. Over 30 recent photographs are on display at the Grand Central Branch of the New York Public Library. Ner has had a lifelong interest in overlooked street art found on his daily walks in neighborhoods throughout the city. Also on display are a few select photos of colorful prism-like reflections on windows from another of Ner's collections. Ner recently answered some questions I had about his work, his inspriation and, of course, selfies. Read More ›

Vandamm in Color and Colour

Florence Vandamm was one of the greats of black and white photography, capable of modulating infinite gradations of greys. The Vandamm Theatrical Photograph Collection, and the prints elsewhere in the research divisions, support that judgment. But that doesn't mean that she and the studio didn't shoot in color. Not so. She studied and practiced color photography.Read More ›

Art Books: Mother by Elinor Carucci

When mothers think about mothering, there are a certain set of emotions that come rolling over them combined with images of their children that are not always smiling and cute. It is more often a warm hand reaching for yours, a tear-wetted cheek pressing your arm, the waking in the middle of the night, an open mouth showing you missing teeth. So, when I opened Elinor Carucci’s book of photography called Mother, I was welcomed into a familiar world.Read More ›

Children's Literary Salon in Retrospect: Photography on March 1, 2014

Photography has historically been rare in children's books, but it seems to be gaining in popularity. We had an interesting discussion in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building about this topic. Panelists included the following photographers: Nina Crews,

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Florence Vandamm: Dance Photographer?

The representation of the professional and artistic career of Florence Vandamm has a major gap, which we are doing our best to fill in. Her London scrapbook goes from 1908–1915. The Vandamm Theatrical Photographs collection documents her work in New York City, from 1924 on. We have filled in some of the gap with the Sybil Thorndike material (see earlier posts) and discoveries of images printed in magazines, such as British and New York Vogue, Vanity Fair and The Spur.Read More ›

The Original Circle in the Square Photographers: An Interview with Justin and Barbara Kerr

Photographs from the Circle in the Square Papers provide a one-of-a-kind record of nearly all of the hundreds of productions mounted on the Circle’s round stage during its five-decade history. Founded in 1951, the Circle in the Square became one of the key theaters in the Off-Broadway movement.Read More ›

Vandamm's Pygmalion

By the time that you read this post, the exhibition Pioneering Poet of Light: Florence Vandamm & the Vandamm Studio will have been de-installed. The photograph and key sheets will be returned to the Performing Arts Library divisions. But the blogging will continue since there are thousands of photographs representing thousands of shows, dances and people.Read More ›

March Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

A new approach to health care reform ... 20 years of Harlem Street Portraits ... humanist architecture ... The Extreme Life of the Sea ... New York City's unbuilt subways ... mothers ... the power of storytelling ... a century of candy ... New York's lost amusement parks ... the public library ... 11 missing men of WWII ... great city planning.Read More ›

Power: The American Way

George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, co-authors of some of Broadway’s most enduringly funny comedies, also collaborated on a topical pageant, The American Way, which opened at Broadway’s Center Theater, January 1939.Read More ›

Absurd Vintage Skating Photos Even Non-Sports Fans Will Love

So you think you can figure skate? Are you photogenic? Can you tolerate the cold? Let these vintage figure skating photos be your guide.Read More ›

Vandamm and Machinal

Machinal is back on Broadway. Sophie Treadwell’s best known play is enjoying a successful revival at the Roundabout Theater. Although a journalist, Treadwell used elements of experimental playwriting to show the central character stuck on the machinery that limited the lives of 1920s women. Her choices doom her. Go to see it if you can.Read More ›

Meet Your Neighbor & Photographer Ner Beck

On view now through February 26, 2014 at the Bloomingdale Library is NER BECK: West Side Window Reflections. Read More ›

Roy Colmer, in Memoriam

The staff of the Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs were saddened to learn of the passing of Roy Colmer last week. Stephen C. Pinson, The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Assistant Director for Art, Prints and Photographs, and The Robert B. Menschel Curator of Photography, provided the following remembrance of Colmer's life and work.Read More ›

Focus on Stage Lighting: Faust

This week’s post serves as a caption for the alternative image that the Library’s opening web page has been using when it highlights the Vandamm exhibition, Pioneering Poet of Light. Again, the web editors selected well, since the photograph of Faust illustrates the title so well.Read More ›

January Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

A mystical history of NYC below Chambers Street… the link between our financial and environmental crises… the life and photographs of Ansel Adams… our

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Those Mysterious Shadowy Dancers

This post answers a question about the image that the Library’s web page has been using when it highlights the Vandamm exhibition, Pioneering Poet of Light. I was thrilled when the web editors selected it, since it illustrates the title so well. So, here’s an extended caption, with musical accompaniment.

Three’s a Crowd was a revue, presented in the 1930-1931 season. Like The Band Wagon in last week's post, it was choreographed by the brilliantly innovative Albertina Rasch and paired a young Broadway/vaudeville veteran with a European ballet 

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December Author @ the Library Programs and More at Mid-Manhattan

Have you ever wondered what happens when a ghetto is unmade? Or what the future of Saudi Arabia means to the rest of the world? Or how overachievers do it? Do you think you know what real New Yorkers look like? Do you want to believe that

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"What Do You Say Up There?" Shooting the Set from Above

The most recent post looked at Vandamm photographs of dance rehearsals from footholds on the catwalks, ladders and rigging stations of Broadway theaters. This one focuses on their photographs of the stage crew setting up for those rehearsals.

Like all theater photographers, they depended on the crews to set scenes, move furniture and props, and adapt lighting. But, as you can see from the portraits and action shots, the Vandamms esteemed their IATSE colleagues and photographed them with the same respect as the performers. There are portraits of individuals or 

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"Hey Up There" Looking Down on Dancers

“Hey up there”

Broadway precision chorus lines were a staple of musical comedies and revues. A straight line of precision tappers, kickers or steppers could excite the audience in the orchestra, looking slightly up, or balcony, from which they were looking slightly down. But Broadway-trained Hollywood dance directors were giving audiences a multitude of angled points-of-view thanks to cameras and booms.

In the 1930s, the Vandamms went all out to give 

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