Words and Pictures by Angela Cappetta
Ballet unplugged. I was pleasantly surprised with a front page feature on Newsweek / The Daily Beast‘s innovative photography page called Picture Dep’t. Accordingly, I even got a smashing write up on the work. Enjoy it here.
The work is all medium format , shot with real black and white film, with a Fuji camera. Also, I used a Lumedyne flash as I shot this body of work. Mostly it was two solid years of me trying not to get kicked in the head.
Newsweek is an American weekly magazine founded in 1933.
Between 2008 and 2012, Newsweek experienced financial difficulties, leading to the cessation of print publication and a transition to all-digital format at the end of 2012. The print edition was relaunched in March 2014.
However, revenue declines prompted an August 2010 sale by owner The Washington Post Company to audio pioneer Sidney Harman. The purchase price was one dollar and an assumption of the magazine’s liabilities. Later that year, Newsweek merged with the news and opinion website The Daily Beast, forming The Newsweek Daily Beast Company.
Newsweek was jointly owned by the estate of Harman and the diversified American media and Internet company IAC. In 2013, IBT Media announced it acquired Newsweek from IAC; so, the acquisition included the Newsweek brand and its online publication, but did not include The Daily Beast. IBT Media rebranded itself as Newsweek Media Group in 2017, but, returned to IBT Media in 2018 after making Newsweek independent.
Kiddo: A Bouncy Body of Work. Although I’ve been putting the children in my life in front of my lens for as long as I can remember, I have only very recently considered it a body of work. I have been shooting kids of all ages my entire career for fun and on assignment. I remember once I had to get a DVD ready because I was photographing a story with two year olds and let’s face it, we all knew how that would go.
The littlest man was named Hudson and to get the shot I needed, I put on a baby animal video behind me so he could watch it just long enough for me to get the shot my client needed. He loved it more than I expect. I gave it to his mom to keep, and a few days later she sent me a sweet thank you note that had a little drawing inside that Hudson made for me. So, I learned we only get sweet little moments like that when we work with kids.
Cello Photography Unplugged, the Journey Continues
Real Film, Medium Format: I am still photographing cellists in practice spaces. I have been working on this for a few years already, and don’t see myself stopping. These are from a shoot with string prodigy Chris Hoffman, also a composer, who was kind enough to let me infiltrate a quiet Sunday at home with his daughter. It’s one of my favorite practice rooms so far.
Cello, also called violoncello, French violoncelle, German cello or violoncello, bass musical instrument of the violin group, with four strings, pitched C–G–D–A upward from two octaves below middle C. The cello, about 27.5 inches (70 cm) long (47 inches [119 cm] with the neck), has proportionally deeper ribs and a shorter neck than the violin.
The earliest cellos were developed during the 16th century and frequently were made with five strings. They served mainly to reinforce the bass line in ensembles. Only during the 17th and 18th centuries did the cello replace the bass viola da gamba as a solo instrument. During the 17th century the combination of cello and harpsichord for basso continuo parts became standard.
Joseph Haydn, Mozart, and later composers gave increased prominence to the cello in instrumental ensembles. Notable works for the instrument include J.S. Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello; Beethoven’s five sonatas for cello and piano; the concertos of Édouard Lalo, Antonín Dvořák, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edward Elgar, and Samuel Barber; the sonatas of Zoltán Kodály and Claude Debussy; and the Bachianas brasileiras of Heitor Villa-Lobos, for eight cellos and soprano. Outstanding cellists of the 20th and 21st centuries include Pablo Casals, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Yo-Yo Ma, among others.
Real film is the best.The details of the process of making you a real film darkroom print include:
The overall quality of darkroom prints is so impressive, their humble grain rivals megapixels of converted digital files. This process is meant to make you think you have black + white film images, but really you just have converted color ones. The quality of real black and white is so stunning, that is as if you’re looking at your job with a time machine.
Words + Pictures by Angela Cappetta
Interview by Angela Cappetta
Vincent Cianni is a documentary photographer whose work explores community, memory, and the human condition. His work surrounds issues of civil and human rights and strives to make visible the under-represented and disadvantaged. Cianni teaches at The New School and the International Center of Photography. His current work includes unvarnished and stirring pictures of gays in the US Military.
Tell us about your current work?
“I am currently working on transcribing and editing interviews and photographs of gay and lesbian service members and veterans after recording their experiences of serving in the military under the military’s ban on homosexuality, a project investigating the lives of people in Pennsylvania affected by the influx of gas drilling and photographing a diverse group of boxers in collaboration with a writer.”
What are the concerns of working photographers today:
“The concerns of journalists and documentary photographers have changed drastically with the advent of the internet and digital photography. Much has been written about the role of the professional photographer in relaying stories in traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, journals and books when there are images coming into news desks and editors attention from many sources. We see this in television as well as printed media. The truth is, even though there are millions of pictures logged onto major news media web sites, uploaded on Facebook, and otherwise transmitted through the web that bring us information form all corners of the world, fundamentally the opportunities for photographers in the field of journalism and documentary photography have become limited, or at least placed in the hands of the creator. Since support for assignment work has dried up, professional photographers find themselves creating and accessing new sources of funding and transmitting images – crowd funding and online magazines and web sites are the primary developments that have come directly out of this. “
Can you reference some examples?
Stephen Mayes states in an interview with Pete Brooks in Wired, “Photographs are no longer things, they are experiences.” On the other hand, production of good photography has become even more critical and has come under even greater scrutiny by editors and other users of photography.
However Kathy Ryan, in an article by Jose Cuenin in Le Journal de la Photographie on the use of Instagrams and other pictures by non-professionals in news sources says that “For a major news event, if it gives you a speed advantage, I would say sure, why not.” At the same time, she states, ‘These thousands of images couldn’t replace the traditional way to cover news event, it would be added material. The distinction made by professional photographers, not the least of which is a trained eye and fact-checking, is still essential’.”
Interview + Picture by Angela Cappetta
What They Were Thinking is an homage to the now defunct NY Times Magazine “What Were They Thinking” column, featuring a photograph and an interview with the subject. Below, you’ll see an interview with Molly McSherry, whom I photographed while she was a trainee at the Joffrey Ballet in NYC.
“I was a senior in high school when this picture was taken…It was my first year on my own in the city. Coming from a small town, I’d never been exposed to the styles of dancing I was being thrown into at Joffrey–to be honest, this was probably one of the first times I was moving through the floor and working with the horizontal plane. I’m not sure I even knew I had the option to lie down. Everything was vertical before I came to New York, but nothing’s been the same since I got here.”
Words + Pictures by Angela Cappetta.
I’ve been photographing cellists in their practice spaces. These pictures are about the physicality of being a musician, carrying a hulking cello around then delicately placing it so it balances on one thin spindle. I am using Fuji 6×9 camera and TriX 120 film. These pictures are shot on location in New York City. The shoot was photographed in a church in Washington Heights where this cellist practices.