Grace’s interest in photography coincided quite inadvertently with her increasing loss of vision. She has 40-45% vision in one eye only. I asked her if the title of her blog, “Sight Unseen,” was a reference to her own difficulties with sight. Her answer took me by surprise. “I thought it would make a great title for a mystery novel but come to think of it, it also refers to the way I shoot my pictures. I can’t see very well through the viewfinder, so I just point the camera at a scene I think will look interesting and shoot.” Her technique has remarkable results. She has captured spontaneous moments between her daughter and grandson, the incongruity in a Palermo storefront, a warm connection inside a high-tech store, and much more. What inspires her? “I like to take pictures of things that are quirky, or beautiful, or different,” she says. “I carry my camera with me wherever I go.” I for one look forward to seeing more of Grace’s delightful world.
Cruise down any avenue in Baltimore and you will inevitably run across a scene like the one above. These solitary townhomes are sometimes all that remain of formerly vibrant neighborhoods. According to the Census Bureau, in 2010 one in nine housing units in Baltimore lay vacant. The city has aggressively razed abandoned properties to remove fire and health hazards, but the result is a street that looks empty and forgotten.
The row house is an unlikely Baltimore icon. It’s been depicted on everything from local beer labels to crafty painted window screens, and even abstracted into the background of indie band stage shows. Every house I lived in over the past 11 years was a row home. The icon is engrained into the psyche of nearly every Baltimorean, so it’s no wonder that Ben Marcin began photographing the city’s stand-alone buildings. What sets his photo series apart is his ability to speak about the idiosyncrasies of our city and its social and political climate. Every photograph in the series shares the same composition: one row house, front and center. In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Marcin discusses what compelled him to photograph these scenes. For me, the series is a reminder that you can use one very small thing to describe one very big problem.
Photographer Charlie Crane’s book, Welcome to Pyongyang, contains a series of stunning large format photos of one of the world’s most secretive countries. Visitors to North Korea are accompanied at all times by state-assigned guides who escort you on carefully planned tours. How can you create under such tight restrictions? Crane’s solution is straightforward: “If there is no possibility of getting underneath the surface then the answer is to photograph the surface itself.” Even though the state has carefully controlled what outsiders can see, these remarkable images speak for themselves about life in the Hermit Kingdom.
GCF created a highly personalized, fabric-bound book with hand-stitched pages to honor Dean Edward D. Miller, M.D., upon his retirement after 40 years of leadership and service at Johns Hopkins. Dean Miller’s indelible legacy of both physical and cultural changes will impact the future of the institution, its students, and its patients for decades to come. The book’s first several spreads showcase photos and quotes about Dean Miller’s career. The remaining pages display personal messages from the dean’s close friends and colleagues, along with their signatures. Additional perfect-bound copies of the book were prepared for distribution.
Remember when graffiti was all about mindlessly scribbling your handle on anything that did or didn’t move? We’ve entered a new age of clever street expression that is determined to bring humor, whimsy, and thoughtfulness into our lives. Put that one in the plus column for conceptual thinking!