Jules Aaron, Untitled, 1947-1976. Photograph; The Boston Public Library.
Isn’t this photograph beautiful? I don’t even know how to describe how much I love it.
About a month ago, I went to Boston and my friend showed me her favorite place–The Boston Public Library. I have always walked past it, never went in. But they had an exhibition on the third floor and she really wanted to see it.
Jules Aaron is actually a famous physicist, known for his work on radio-waves. But he is also an accomplished photographer. Although raised in New York, he was very fond of Boston (went to school at Boston University) and spent most of his life there. He most especially enjoyed taking photographs of the ethnic diversity of the North End, West End, and the South End.
This photo encapsulates so many things I love–the 50′s, Boston, old Chevrolets, the fashion. It so smoothly captures the attitude of the men, as they all look in one direction, even the man in the back. But the incongruence of the man in the middle, the only one with his shirt unbuttoned and the only one with a print on his shirt and the only one not looking in the same direction. I wish I could go back in time and see what they are looking at, drive in that Chevrolet with them, and learn who they are. And isn’t a photograph supposed to make you want to do that?
Nicholas Nixon, Self (03), Brookline, 2008. Photograph. de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA.
A few weeks ago I went up north to San Francisco and decided to go to the de Young Museum. It was interesting because I’ve never been to a museum connected to so many other attractions. It was surrounded by the Japanese Tea Gardens, Golden Gate Park, California Academy of Sciences. The area was so busy with tourists and several cars driving by. de Young was especially busy because it was featuring a King Tut exhibition, but I wasn’t too interested in that and instead, just went into the regular museum.
Nixon specializes in portraiture and documentary style photography. I was immediately drawn to this photo, not because it is black and white (all the photos in the photography exhibition were black and white), but because it was of a neck. The neck is such a vulnerable place and I don’t think people give it much attention. Also, Nixon doesn’t photograph just a neck in place, but an extended neck–the skin is so vulnerably stretched across his adam’s apple.
And the hair and stubble, how it lightly starts to disappear as it moves down the neck.
Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Self-Portrait, 1973. Photograph. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Minkkinen is known for his self-portrait black and white photographs in which he places his body next to landscapes or objects. This particular photo was taken in Narragansett, Rhode Island. He also went to RISD.
I saw this photo when I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston this past weekend. Its rawness struck me. It’s almost frightening to look at.