Nota Bene: Afrofuturism in Chicago

There’s an exhibition right now at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago called “In Their Own Form.” According to the museum, it explores “the myriad ways blackness might hope to exist without the imposition of oppression, racism and stereotypes ever-present in Western cultures, mediated through Afrofuturist themes including time-travel and escapism.”

The Guardian had a simpler take, titling its piece “Before Black Panther“:

The goal of the show, says curator Sheridan Tucker, is to show a wide range of the Afro-diasporic experience through photography and video. “I wanted to show escapism, nostalgia and time travel, recurring themes in afrofuturism,” said Tucker. “I’m excited people can tap into what I’ve been talking about for a long time.”

Writer’s Corner: Finding Beauty

Cunningham_facades_coverBill Cunningham, the legendarily sharp-eyed and self-effacing fashion photographer for Details and later the New York Times, died a couple weeks ago at the age of 87. His was an extraordinary life and worth checking up on (particularly this fantastic documentary), even if fashion and photography aren’t your thing.

He had a lot of things to say about art, creativity, and finding your way in the world as somebody who cares passionately about those things and wants to pursue them with dignity.

Take, for instance, this:

It is as true today as it ever was. He who seeks beauty shall find it.

Think of that the next time you’re writing, regardless of whether you’re trying to create something beautiful, raw, ugly, or simply honest. Go looking for what you want to say and you will figure out how to say it.

New in Theaters: ‘The Salt of the Earth’

One of Sebastio Salgado's iconic photographs in 'The Salt of the Earth' (Sony Pictures Classics)
One of Sebastio Salgado’s iconic photographs in ‘The Salt of the Earth’ (Sony Pictures Classics)

Given a brief Academy Awards run late last year, Wim Wenders’ magisterial documentary about photographer Sebastio Salgado is finally getting a proper theatrical release this week.

My review is at Film Journal International:

“A photographer,” Wim Wenders intones at the start of his elegantly respectful documentary on Sebastião Salgado, “is literally somebody painting with light.” This definition sounds grand, to be sure. But the act of creation that Wenders captures here doesn’t quite seem to resemble painting. Salgado’s work is in some ways the definition of high-concept photography. His rich, lusciously layered, black-and-white shots of teeming gold mine workers, refugees streaming across a desert, or a line of penguins flinging themselves off a glacier are so elegantly composed as to almost defy reality…

Here’s the trailer: