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Pascal Shirley Named in PDN’s 30 for 2015

Every year Photo District News hand picks their “30,” a list of new and emerging photographers to watch. The industry looks to this list to see who the big names of tomorrow will be, and this year Pascal Shirley landed squarely on it. The 34-year-old photographer already has an impressive client list including adidas, The North Face, and Google. Pascal brings a fresh take to established brands. PDN chose Pascal based on his unique brand of lifestyle photography where he lets his images take shape in front of him, preferring to step outside of forced composition and inauthentic creation. He arrived at his way of working through studying his own process and sensibilities, relying on friends and mentors who helped guide his path. “Having people critique your work over and over is one of the best things you can do for yourself as an artist,” says Pascal about his own

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Brian Shumway Visits His Old Happy Valley

Every life is chaptered by its own adventure, tragedy, and drama. Experience is relative, and each journey is uniquely valuable. Brian Shumway’s childhood history is contemporarily remarkable in how sheltered he was growing up. With a family tree ridged and forked by suicide, alcoholism, and mental illness, he and the generation after him found a Happy Valley in the Wasatch Mountains’ Utah valley. The largely white, affluent community saw little crime and conventional conflict. But human nature will cast a shadow on any valley. Brian’s experience growing up was not without its own drama, and Brian’s series, “Happy Valley” works to bring voice to the subterranean unease he felt growing up in his pocket of America. “The surrounding environment and people who inhabit it may be beautiful but something slightly unsettling lurks just below the surface,” Brian explains the series. “I was looking for moments and expressions which I felt

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Landon Nordeman Takes Us Backstage

You know their faces, and you follow their exploits, but have you seen what really happens behind the scenes? Once again, Landon Nordeman brings us backstage at New York Fashion Week, revealing the inner workings of the glamour that arrests the imaginations of so many. His photographs show us our favorite celebrities in moments when they’re not exactly camera ready, the reading material of models between laps on the catwalk, and at least one moment with Jell-O shots. Fashion is about aesthetic, and making people into the picture of beauty is not as pretty as it seems. Chaos reigns behind the scenes, and between the carefully calibrated photo ops are moments that we may not be meant to see. But these are the moments of true living: these are the tent poles to the unvarnished reality we too willfully forget or ignore. Flashes of light and pockets of darkness turn

Making Lives Out of Our Nothings

Pigeons are the rats of the sky. Detritus in fauna form, they’re the biological leavings of a city. They eat our trash, and scurry out from under our steps (perhaps not quickly enough as clubbed feet and matted wings prove). The ultimate living inconvenience, they have become a part of a city’s backdrop, living and pulsing, but overlooked with disgust. In his book “Pigeons”, photographer Stephen Gill gives us access to the corners that humans have willfully forgotten, surrendering them to the travails of the shy, city vultures. What Stephen shows us is that on the other side of human disregard are lives, whether we name them distinguished or not. In the edges and dark corners of our forgotten spaces, they build social ecosystems out of what we reject. Lucky enough for the pigeons, humans waste untold amounts: Half finished snacks become full meals. Disposed packing materials, used once and

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Franck Bohbot Shows Us the Cultural Through Line

Like shoes and beer, everyone needs a haircut. Barbers will always have a vocation at any time and in every culture. Each community and era will have their own version of a salon, but the haircuts will always happen. How they get there, and their arena, is singular to each group. And photographer Franck Bohbot is working to show the diversity inherent in these cultural crucibles. Franck’s series “Cuts” bring us into the varied worlds of barbershops all over New York City. From the end of the (subway) line in Queens, to the gilded streets of Alphabet City, to the white leathered Upper East Side, to linoleum tiled Brooklyn, each image is a primer of the values of its visitors. Each photograph is a window into the neighborhood it inhabits, populated by the men and women behind the chair. These are their domains, each a master of the form in

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Jim Krantz Gives Us the American West We Imagined

The tradition of the Wild West is a tenant of American social history. Tales of cowboys and trains, wild horses and dust storms populate the imaginations of adults and children alike. There’s as much of a rich history as there are threads of fictional inspiration, all tethered to the truth of our shared cultural past. Even though the most famous Western films are in black and white, that world is still very much alive in the American West, acting as a stage for the lives of real life cowboys. Photographer Jim Krantz has built his career on opening a window to this world that lives and breathes whether we watch or not. From the cattle drive to the rodeo, there’s inherent intensity and a direct interaction between humans, nature, and animal. These daily stories are the stuff of legend, and Jim’s photography works to bridge the gap between legend and

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Gregg Segal Lures Us In with Toxicity

Humans are not adapted to the nighttime. We adapt the nighttime to us, bringing the day with flashlights and floodlights. Our eyes aren’t made to cut through the dark, so we bring the light. But what if we could see how the residue of light moves through the unseen world after sunset? Gregg Segal answers that question in his series “Nightscape” that is on view at Spot Photo Works in Los Angeles through March 3. Los Angeles is lit from every angle at every moment, and cameras give us the ability to catch even the smallest rays, and how they fill the darkest corners. The pollution in LA is at once an expanding hazard while also offering a unique artistic opportunity. “At night, the foul, chemical filled air traps the city’s excessive artificial light, and in these long exposure images, our skies turn deep emerald-green, lush amber, eggplant purple, and

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Andrew Moore Sees the South as We Do

Photographers show us what we don’t know, what we don’t see, what we don’t recognize. They frame moments for us that we missed, or transport ideas and images from another world, to tell the stories that challenge us or are as familiar as our own reflection. When Andrew Moore goes into the South he’s familiar with the stranger’s eye, growing up in the North East before spending some time in New Orleans later. That built in distance gives him the outsider’s eye that his audience will bring to his images. He sees the South as we will see his images. “It’s not 1935,” Moore said during an artist talk for his exhibition “The South” in Atlanta. “We know where we are in time, but also there’s something that allows you to project back into the past.” The light of dusk skates across the eves of an ivied home, screaming green

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Amani Willett Dares Us to Remember

History is all around us. Even the most banal locations were trod by those who came before us, and the monuments of today will play background to the events of the future. Amani Willett brings attention to this in the photographer’s latest exhibition, “Underground Railroad: Hiding in Place.” The Underground Railroad acted as a secret passageway to get slaves out of the bounds of America’s most shameful chapter. It stretched hundreds of miles over the Eastern United States and that history is steeped in all the stops along the way. Some of those points are more hidden than others, while entire sections have been lost with the memories of those who kept it safe. Amani visited dozens of the most significant sites along the pathway to reclaimed freedom and took photographs that initially seem to just capture the moment of passing through. When placed in historical context, the entire composition

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Micheal McLaughlin Shows Us What We Missed

Micheal McLaughlin travels the globe for a living. He experiences much of our world through the windows of planes, cares, trains, and buses, seeing vast landscapes of fields or cities rolling by en route from one point to the next. Most of us live this way, with the world on the other side of a glass, never quite recognizing the blurred shapes and colors that dance an arm’s reach away. With that taken for granted we can miss what we decide is unimportant. But Micheal hopes to bring our attention back onto it. In his latest exhibition, “Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You,” Micheal has brought focus to that which is usually edited out as a part of the environment. Whether it’s reflections in a wet crosswalk dismissed in a rush or the lock of an airplane tray table seen anew as a piece of modern art sculpture. Micheal’s

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Simon Roberts Shows Us Ourselves

We experience the world through what we see. Increasingly that means capturing what we see through photographs by camera or smartphone. The action of taking pictures has become so widespread that it’s faded into the background. What once made pedestrians duck out of the way is no longer even noticeable. But artist Simon Roberts wants to bring the attention back to this gesture that once had so much more power. Using his own techniques, Simon scanned published photographs of major events from UK newspapers and processed them in such a way that these passerby photographers are what we see. Simon is showing us the pieces of a changing world. As the throngs of casual photographers blend into the background, the private becomes increasingly public and no event goes unnoticed. As Simon describes it, “disruptive technologies and the emerging role of citizen journalists have transformed traditional media reporting and distribution.” When

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Landon Nordeman Lets Us Into Fashion

For many, the world of fashion seems impenetrable. The glitz and glamour of fashion week, high gloss ads, and carefully curated advertising all come together to create a perception of perfect that is crucial to the industry. That’s what high fashion sells: an unattainable lifestyle, that can be touched for a cost. Consumers are meant to forget that the men (and women) behind the curtains are mere mortals, running their businesses in the same pedestrian tedium as everyone else. Sure, their clothes are nicer, but there are the same pressures and annoyances that plague the rest of us. Photographer Landon Nordeman spent the Fall of 2014 traveling the world for three weeks visiting over 100 fashion shows through New York, Milan and Paris. What he captured was the world behind the catwalk. The intensity of preparation, emotions around presentation, and the messes that come together to compose the most carefully