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AND THE BEAT GOES ON! ALLEN GINSBERG’S PHOTOGRAPHY

Posted on January 28, 2013 by Isabella Cecconi

“Without even intending it, there is that little shiver of a moment in time preserved in the crystal cabinet of the mind. A little shiver of eternal space. That’s what I was looking for.” – Allen Ginsberg

The beat movement, the cultural and literary movement that woke up a nation’s consciousness. Never too big but gigantic in influence and cultural status. The years after the Second World War, the loss of conventional structures of society, the post war economic boom, the rampant materialism. The Beat Generation was the result of questioning on capitalism on dissatisfaction with the consumer culture, the taboos against sexuality. The Beats stood in opposition to the clean formalism of the early twentieth century modernists. Their literature was bold, straightforward, provocative. The “founders” of the Beat Generation were Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, but also  Lucien Carr, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Neal Cassidy. Gregory Corso and  great William S. Burroughs. In 1956, the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl was a turning point in the history of Beat literature, not to mention American literature in general. The long-form poem to be read aloud, almost chanted, a sort of return to an oral tradition neglected in literature for a long time. In the beat movement there were drug-addicts, drifters, prostitutes, and swindlers. Continue Reading →

AGAINST OPULENCE AND PRETENTIOUSNESS: JOHN RAWLINGS

Posted on October 9, 2012 by Isabella Cecconi

What a nice story: there’s a boy, born in Ohio in 1912 who has moved to NYC in the 30s to start, after graduation a freelance career as store window dresser. After buying a Leica to photograph his work for potential clients, he has discovered the love for pictures and has started shooting his aristocratic clients. Then, years later you see the same boy in a circle of friends. These friends meet in a Magazine headquarter, for instance let’s say…VOGUE.

I’m talking about the fab five: John Rawlings, Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst, George Hoyningen-Huene, George Platt Lynes. This very time, I’ll brush up John Rawlings, who, with over 200 Vogue and Glamour covers and more than 30,000 photos of personal archive immortalized maybe the best era of American fashion and style. With his three-decade affiliation with Conde Nast, Rawlings has expanded the power of fashion press, giving a never-seen-before attention to society stars of the 1940s and 1950s. His subjects included Marlene Dietrich, Salvador Dali, Veronica Lake, Lena Horne, Montgomery Clift and many, many more. But, when opulence and pretentiousness were prevalent in fashion photography, I’m referring to Brit Cecil Beaton, or German Horst, or the Russian Hoyningen-Huene, Vogue decided to change direction and place more information and less art in its pictures. The change of direction happened to be with a very young and talented Rawlings who later became one of the most prolific and important photographers of the twentieth century. Crave with me these marvellous shots, which are still extremely  contemporary and stunning. You can’t avoid loving Rawlings at first sight and appreciate his simply beautiful photography.

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NINA LEEN, MASTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Posted on September 3, 2012 by Isabella Cecconi

There are many images that come to my mind when I think of masters of Photography. I don’t know why, but I always look back in times. I adore contemporary photography but to me, master is equal to past. What can I say about Nina Leen then? To start I can say that she was one of the first women photographers at Life Magazine. She was Russian-born who lived in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and lately US. Through her career as photographer she has been reporting  a surprising amount of insight into the post world war period. Housewives, working girls, fashion, Upper East Side socialites, glamorous women, mannequins.  Her work has been an interesting study on femininity,and photojournalism. A research of public versus private. When in 1945, Leen  joined LIFE, she started producing magnificent pieces of art, producing over 40 covers for the magazine. Along with her portraits of American life Leen’s photographed animals too with a unique ability to see details of the natural world in unexpected ways. Leen was modern, perfect in shooting, true and most of all ageless. Nina Leen’s  pictures portray the elegant days, the stunning glamour of a unique eye. The real beauty being captured on women in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

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