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Blog Category: Highlights

April 10, 2013

Documentary photographer Ami Vitale speaks about her work

For over twenty years, Panos Pictures has been using photography to communicate critical social issues and stories beyond the mainstream media landscape to new and diverse audiences. More than 30,000 of their images of contemporary global affairs are currently available in the Artstor Digital Library.

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In this Panos-produced video, Ami Vitale shares the story behind a photograph she took when she lived in Guinea-Bissau in West Africa.

Search the Digital Library for Ami Vitale and Alio to see this and other photographs she took of the Fulani child, or just for her name to find more than 1,000 of her poignant photographs.

You may also be interested in these other videos from Panos:

Stephan Vanfleteren speaks about his work

Carolyn Drake speaks about her work

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March 20, 2013

Spring mysteries: Botticelli’s Primavera

Sandro Botticelli | Primavera; Allegory of Spring | c. 1478 | Galleria degli Uffizi | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Sandro Botticelli | Primavera; Allegory of Spring | c. 1478 | Galleria degli Uffizi | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Spring is here! The return of sunshine inspired us to look at Botticelli’s Primavera, a masterpiece of the early Renaissance and arguably the most popular artistic representation of the season, even if – as we shall see – its interpretation remains inconclusive.

Botticelli painted Primavera sometime between 1477 and 1482, probably for the marriage of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, cousin of the powerful Italian statesman (and important patron of the arts) Lorenzo Medici. The date is just one of the many facts surrounding the painting that remain unclear. For starters, its original title is unknown; it was first called La Primavera by the artist/art historian Giorgio Vasari, who only saw it some 70 years after it was painted. While it’s generally agreed that on one level Primavera depicts themes of love and marriage, sensuality and fertility, the work’s precise meaning continues to be debated (a search in JSTOR led us to almost 700 results, with nearly as many differing opinions). Here’s what we think we know:

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February 28, 2013

A Woman’s Work

Milton Rogovin | Family of Miners series; Woman in field harvesting tobacco | 1983 | Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs; miltonrogovin.com

Milton Rogovin | Family of Miners series; Woman in field harvesting tobacco | 1983 | Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs; miltonrogovin.com

As a feminist, I often wonder how to approach events like Women’s History Month. Is it a celebration? A time for reflection? This year, I thought I’d meditate on an issue that has been popping up everywhere, from The Atlantic to the Academy Awards. 2012 saw a series of publications on women’s shifting role in the workplace, including Anne Marie Slaughter’s much-discussed essay, “Why Women Can’t Have It All.” Not to mention that, according to a recent article in The Huffington Post, the American workplace continues to be “really, really sexist.” In more specific terms, women still only earn $.77 to every dollar a man makes, and we make up only 4% of the S&P 500’s CEOs. 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s monumental book, The Feminine Mystique, which challenged notions of women’s work in the 1960s. What better time to think about how we define a woman’s work, across generations and cultures?

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February 25, 2013

Karen Finley: “Straight from the gut”

Karen Finley | A Woman’s Life Isn’t Worth Much | 5/18/1990 | Originally at Franklin Furnace, New York, NY

Karen Finley | A Woman’s Life Isn’t Worth Much | 5/18/1990 | Originally at Franklin Furnace, New York, NY

March is Women’s History Month, the perfect time to highlight the work of Karen Finley, a world-renowned performance artist, author, and playwright whose work has addressed issues such as sexuality, abuse, and American politics from an uncompromising feminist perspective.

Finley came to national attention when her 1990 grant application to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was vetoed, along those of three other artists, because the content of her work was considered inappropriate. The artists sued and ultimately lost a Supreme Court appeal, but Finley was not deterred. As her struggles with the NEA were already in full swing in 1990, Franklin Furnace—in a bold move, as the organization itself was partly funded by the NEA—presented her installation, A Woman’s Life Isn’t Worth Much.

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February 20, 2013

Documentary photographer Stephan Vanfleteren speaks about his work

For over twenty years, Panos Pictures has been using photography to communicate critical social issues and stories beyond the mainstream media landscape to new and diverse audiences. More than 30,000 of their images of contemporary global affairs are currently available in the ARTstor Digital Library.

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In this Panos-produced video, Stephan Vanfleteren talks about capturing a moment that he didn’t believe happened until he developed his own photograph.

Profile Voices: Stephan Van Fleteren from panos pictures on Vimeo.

Search the Digital Library for Stephan Vanfleteren and man taking a picture of his wife to see the image, or just for the photographer’s name to find more than 500 of his stunning photographs.

You may also be interested in: Documentary photographer Carolyn Drake speaks about her work

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February 15, 2013

In the news: Meteorite strikes Russia

Unknown, French | Comet | ca. 1900 | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Unknown, French | Comet | ca. 1900 | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Debris from a meteor streaked through the sky in western Siberia early this morning, causing a boom that damaged a large number of buildings, mainly in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Some 1,000 people were reportedly hurt, mostly as a result of glass shattering when the meteor entered the atmosphere.

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January 29, 2013

Black History Month and Artstor

Jacob Lawrence | The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 3 | 1940 – 1941 |Image and original data provided by The Museum of Modern Art. © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jacob Lawrence | The Migration of the Negro, panel no. 3 | 1940 – 1941 |Image and original data provided by The Museum of Modern Art. © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

This year, we mark Black History month with a summary of some of the excellent resources available in the Artstor Digital Library that focus on the lives and many achievements of African Americans.

Collections

Unidentified | African American woman and sweet peas | ca. 1920 | George Eastman House; eastmanhouse.org

Unidentified | African American woman and sweet peas | ca. 1920 | George Eastman House; eastmanhouse.org

Panos Pictures The independent photo agency specializes in documentary images of critical social issues, including thousands of images from the United States, many of them tackling issues affecting the lives of African Americans.

Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs Rogovin began his first photographic series in 1958 documenting African-American store front churches in Buffalo, NY, and would go on to record many other topics surrounding the black community.

Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery (Scripps College) The Gallery includes the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection, which has a special focus on art by women and African-Americans, including Elizabeth Catlett, Samella Lewis, Faith Ringgold, and Alison Saar.

Romare Bearden Foundation Artstor includes nearly 1,000 images of Bearden’s work. These works represent the breadth of Bearden’s enormous output, from his early paintings executed in a range of styles to his pioneering collage work, which highlights his unique combination of painting and collage materials drawn from popular sources. Throughout, Bearden’s art displays his deep engagement with the African American community and the Civil Rights movement.

Mott-Warsh Collection With over 200 images of work by artists of the African Diaspora focusing on art produced after 1940, the Mott-Warsh Collection contains work by more than 125 artists working in a range of styles and media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, mixed-media, and sculpture. The Collection includes major figures and underrepresented artists alike, such as Jacob Lawrence, Ron Adams, Faith Ringgold, Richard Yarde, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Howardena Pindell, and Whitfield Lovell.

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January 25, 2013

Documentary photographer Carolyn Drake speaks about her work

For over twenty years, Panos Pictures has been using photography to communicate critical social issues and stories beyond the mainstream media landscape to new and diverse audiences. More than 30,000 of their images of contemporary global affairs are currently available in the Artstor Digital Library.

In this Panos-produced video, Carolyn Drake shares the devastating backstory behind her seemingly-neutral photograph of light switches in Tajikistan.

Search the Digital Library for Carolyn Drake and electrical switches to see the image, or just for her name to find more than 1,000 of her poignant photographs.
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You may also be interested in: Documentary photographer Stephan Vanfleteren speaks about his work

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January 2, 2013

In the news: Pharaoh Ramesses III was murdered (3,200 years ago)

Nina de Garis Davies | Ramesses III and Prince Amenherkhepeshef before Hathor, Tomb of Amenherkhepeshef | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Nina de Garis Davies | Ramesses III and Prince Amenherkhepeshef before Hathor, Tomb of Amenherkhepeshef | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A mystery from nearly 3,200 years ago has been solved: Conspirators murdered Egyptian king Ramesses III by cutting his throat, according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal. Furthermore, the investigation suggests that one of his sons was involved in the murder.

The fate of the second Pharaoh of the 20th dynasty was long the subject of debate among historians after the discovery of papyrus trial documents revealed that members of his harem had made an attempt on his life as part of a palace coup in 1155 BC.

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December 10, 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

Jewish | Chanukkah lamp (menorah), with birds |end 18th cent. | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Jewish | Chanukkah lamp (menorah), with birds |end 18th cent. | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Happy Hanukkah! The eight-day festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev. Artstor offers many resources to mark the holiday.

Among the traditions surrounding the festival, possibly the most striking is the nightly lighting of the menorah. And indeed, a search for menorah leads to more than 100 magnificent images, such as photographs of the holy necropolis Beth She’arim in Israel from Sites and Photos, which includes a carved menorah from the Byzantine era, and dozens of images from Art, Archaeology and Architecture (Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives), ranging from a coin depicting a menorah from 1st century BCE to dazzling menorahs from the 20th century.

Two coins; left: coin of Antigonus last Hasmonean king of Israel, with menorah; right: coin of John Hyrcanus II, with inscription in wreath | 1st cent. BCE | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Two coins; left: coin of Antigonus last Hasmonean king of Israel, with menorah; right: coin of John Hyrcanus II, with inscription in wreath | 1st cent. BCE | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

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