The Kodak Is Holy: Allen Ginsberg’s Photographs


In one of Allen Ginsberg’s early photographs, on view now as part of the retrospective “Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg” at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, the poet focuses his lens on a homeless man sitting on the edge of Tompkins Square Park. The man’s face is bloated and scarred and his belongings are piled in a shopping cart. Narrow lunch counters and hulking sedans along Avenue A date the photo to the 1950s. Four decades later, Ginsberg composed a short prose poem along its lower margin:

The first shopping cart street prophet I’d directly noticed, fall leaves scattered on Tompkins Park sidewalk, Avenue A & St. Mark’s Place, over 40 years ago, Leshko’s Restaurant was cheap and popular as at present on the corner a block south, I had my snapshots developed at a drug store near Park Center eatery across the street on S.W. corner, & was living with W.S. Burroughs a few blocks away 206 East 7th Street—working as copyboy on now defunct New York World-Telegram, my apartment rent $29.00 a month, three small rooms, October 1953. Read More


Robert Frank Photos Sound Harsh


Canadian artist Andrew Emond has used Robert Frank’s iconic book of photography, The Americans, as the inspiration for a sound project that converts pictures from that book into sound files using specialized music software.

We’ve embedded a video of one of the sound pieces for your sampling below. It’s all very sci-fi.

Thanks to Read More


Panic in Detroit Lures Shutterbugs But How Much Ruin Porn Can We Take?

View of Detroit's East Side. Photo by Julia Reyes Taubman

Here are some insights the national media has had about Detroit: “At first glance, Detroit looks more like Pompeii”; “Once you get out of the stadium/casino sector, downtown is a grisly, apocalyptic sight”; “A much heralded emblem of industrial decline”; “Eminem’s slick Super Bowl commercial showcased the inner strength of the Motor City.” The idealism is as ridiculous as the fetishizing of Detroit’s troubles (“decline” is a popular word that’s been tossed around for the past six decades or so). Flashy commercials aside, Mayor Dave Bing, touted as a possible savior after the disgrace of Kwame Kilpatrick—who, to make a very long story short, was forced to leave office in 2008 after committing perjury—still says the city will be broke by April if its finances are not given a major overhaul. Read More