"The Scourged Back" ~ The Most Famous Civil War–era Portrait of a Slave

This famous photograph, usually titled “The Scourged Back,” was widely circulated by abolitionists and is one of the earliest examples of photography used as propaganda. A contemporary newspaper, The New York Independent, commented: “This Card Photograph should be multiplied by the 100,000 and scattered over the states. It tells the story in a way that even Mrs. Stowe cannot approach, because it tells the story to the eye.”

 As the photo historian Kathleen Collins has explained (History of Photography, Vol. 9, Jan.-March 1985), it shows a slave named Gordon, who escaped his master in Mississippi by rubbing himself with onions to throw off the bloodhounds. He took refuge with the Union Army at Baton Rouge, and in 1863 three engraved portraits of him were printed in Harper’s Weekly, showing the man “as he underwent the surgical examination previous to being mustered into the service — his back furrowed and scarred with the traces of a whipping administered on Christmas Day last.” [via NY Times]

"Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

A slave scarred from whippings, Baton Rouge, 1863.

The sitter, an African-American male named Gordon, had been whipped so many times that a mountainous ridge of scar tissue was climbing out of his back. It was detailed, like a military map, and resulted from so many whippings that the scars had to form on top of one another. Gordon had escaped from a nearby Mississippi plantation to a camp of federal soldiers, supporting the great Vicksburg campaign of the spring. Medical officers examined him, and after seeing his back, asked a local photography firm, McPherson and Oliver, to document the scar tissue.[via NY Times]

 "...If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel."  

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SkyMotion's Helicopter Drone Video of Niagara Falls ~ Stunning!

The SkyMotion Video team provided the aerial video services for the shoot - making use of their state of the art remote controlled helicopter drone. Niagara Falls has of course been filmed countless times in the past using full sized helicopters. However, with this remote controlled helicopter, the shoot was not limited by minimum altitude restrictions, and so was able to achieve shots which were unlike any before. Flying only a couple feet above the water, the camera was able to approach the waterfall edge to give the viewer a true sense of the shear scale of the world famous falls.

watch full screen HD!
SkyMotion Video - Tourism Partnership of Niagara - For HLP +Partners - 2012 from SkyMotion Video on Vimeo.

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Behind The Scenes ~ “In Voluptas Mors” by Salvador Dali & Photographer Philippe Halsman

In Voluptas Mors ( “Voluptuous Death”), a surrealistic portrait of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí, made in collaboration with photographer Philippe Halsman (1951). The image depicts Dalí posing beside a giant skull, a tableau vivant (or “living picture”) comprising seven nude female models. Halsman and Dali took three hours to arrange the models according to a sketch by Dalí. A version of In Voluptas Mors was used subtly in the poster for the film The Silence of The Lambs.

1951– Nude women posed by Dali forming a skull entitled “In Voluptas Mors” –photograph by Philippe Halsman (in collaboration with Salvador Dali)

 “In Voluptas Mors” by Salvador Dali & Philippe Halsman, which you may recognize from the movie poster for “The Silence of the Lambs”–was  used to symbolize the seven victims in Jonathan Demme’s classic film…


Silence of the Lambs poster close up of In Voluptas Mors

What at first may appear to be merely an example of memento mori (Latin for “remember (that you have) to die”) is actually a more complex fusion or interplay between notions of “sex” and “death”. The depiction draws upon the symbolic tradition of vanitas (from the Latin literally meaning “emptiness” or “insubstantial”), an artistic style which served as a reminder of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty or inevitability of death. What is unusual here is the incorporation of voluptas or voluptuousness (expressed through the female nudes — “Voluptas” being a character in Greek mythology, daughter of Eros and Psyche, and goddess of “sensual pleasure”) within the physical constitutive structure of the symbol of vanitas itself(the human skull). The image presents a fusion of eros (erotic or sexual love) and thanatos (death) in a single object (therefore, in voluptas mors — quite literally one finds “death in the voluptous”). One should also observe the counterposition between the figures of the male artist and female subjects which raises questions about their relationship to one another.[via androphilia]
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Japanese Bosozoku Biker Gang Youth by Photographer Yoshinaga Masayuki

Bosozoku ("violent running tribe") 
 Japan's leading maverick photographer reveals a unique vision of the notorious Japanese bike gangs, often linked to the underground activities of the Yazuka. A former member of the Bosozoku himself, Masayuki Yoshinga has revealed hidden secrets of Japan's biker gangs.

 Bosozokus were first seen in the 1950s as the Japanese automobile industry expanded rapidly. The precursors to the bōsōzoku were known as kaminari zoku (雷族 "Thunder Tribe"), urban motorcyclist more akin to the British rockers.

Many, if not most, of bōsōzoku came from a lower socioeconomic class and may have used the motorcycle gang activities as a way to express disaffection and dissatisfaction with Japanese mainstream society. Many of the most hard-core bōsōzoku would become lower-ranking members of the Yakuza after turning 20 years of age.

 In the 1980s and 90s, bōsōzoku would often embark on large rides, in which up to 100 bikers would cruise together slowly en masse down an expressway or major highway. The motorcyclists would run toll booths without stopping and would ignore police attempts to detain them. New Year's Eve was a popular occasion for the massed rides. The bikers would sometimes smash the cars and threaten or beat up any motorists or bystanders who got in the way or expressed disapproval with the bikers' behavior. The bikers would also often target foreigners for violence. Participation in the gangs peaked at 42,510 members in 1982.[wiki]

Check out the baseball bat
Bōsōzoku are known to modify their motorcycles in peculiar and often showy ways. A typical customized bōsōzoku bike usually consists of an average Japanese road bike that appears to combine elements of an American chopper style bike and a British café racer, for example: over-sized fairings like those found on café racers, raised handle bars like those on a chopper. Loud paint jobs on the fenders or the gas tanks with motifs such as flames or kamikaze style "rising sun" designs are also quite common. The bikes will often be adorned with stickers and/or flags depicting the gang's symbol or logo. 

Japanese motorcycle bikers documentary: "Sayonara Speed Tribes" (trailer)

Full length doc on the Japanese Motorcycle gangs Circa 1976
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NASA Images: A look Back at the Best Views of Our Planet From Space in the Last Year.

NASA | Earth from Orbit 2012

A look back at the best views of our planet from space in the last year, including true color satellite images, Earth science data visualizations, time lapses from the International Space Station, and computer models.

Italy's shimmering boot as seen from space

Make sure to watch in HD full screen!
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Photographer Dies Photographing an Erupting Volcano

Robert Emerson Landsburg (November 13, 1931 – May 18, 1980) was an American photographer who was killed while photographing the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Landsburg was born in Seattle, Washington and lived in Portland, Oregon at the time of the eruption. In the weeks leading up to the eruption, Landsburg visited the area many times in order to photographically document the changing volcano.

On the morning of May 18, he was within a few miles of the summit. When the mountain exploded, Landsburg must have realized that he would not survive the rapidly approaching ash cloud, but he kept snapping pictures as long as he could.

He managed to rewind the film back into its case, replace his camera in its bag, put the bag in his backpack, and then lay himself on top of the backpack in an attempt to protect its contents. Seventeen days later, Landsburg's body was found buried in the ash with his backpack underneath. The film could be developed and has provided geologists with valuable documentation of the historic eruption." (Via Wiki)

Here are the images as they appeared in National Geographic:

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Behind the Scenes: VOGUE Italia Photoshoot with Photographer Douglas Friedman

Hold Your Breath and Open Your Eyes – For its March issue, Vogue Italia features designer looks from eyewear producer Marchon. Photographer Douglas Friedman (Bernstein Andriulli) captures eyewear styles from labels such as Jil Sander, Emilio Pucci and Chloe paired with looks from their respective spring ready-to-wear collections.

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Interview with Photographer David LaChapelle in his LA Studio

Photographer David LaChapelle invites VICE TV into his LA studio and reminisces about his early days in New York when he used to work at Studio 54, hang out at the Mudd Club, and generally be a fabulous young man.
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Behind The Scenes Motorcycle Shoot in NYC with Photographer Gregor Halenda

On location with a commercial photographer and Hasselblad Master Gregor Halenda as he shoots for Scorpion motorcycle helmets. This BTS was filmed in New York City over a 3-day period.

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Making of Carl Zeiss Art Calendar 2013 ~ With Photographer Michel Comte

Michel Comte designed the Carl Zeiss Art Calendar 2013, which is the fourth calendar in the line. Film Director Wim Wenders and Photographer Ellen von Unwerth previously produced distinctive creations.

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Photographs of Extraordinary Miniature Models Depicting Famous Artists' Studios

Brooklyn-based artist Joe Fig created a series of remarkable miniature dioramas, entitled Inside the Painter's Studio, that show artists at work in their own studios.  These extremely well photographed images give life and do justice to these highly detailed dioramas.

Jackson Pollock

Henri Matisse

Willem de Kooning

Matthew Ritchie

Chuck Close

Ross Bleckner

Inka Essenhigh

Malcolm Morley


Will Cotton

Joe Fig ( Self-Portrait)

Get Joe's book here:

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