Ordos, China: a modern ghost town

We all know China is going through an enormous economical growth. The government recently spent 200 million dollars on a railway network. But not all money is well spent: apart from the constructors nobody lives in Ordos. Why is it empty? It’s simply too expensive. The pictures were made by Michael Christopher Brown.

Visit Michael Christopher Brown website.

Paintings by Simon Birch

Simon’s beautiful figurative oil paintings are done on a very large scale. Each has incredible abstract details but looks oddly realistic when viewing the whole painting. He has been a part of many different projects and received numerous awards for his work.

“Birch is interested in universal ideas of transition, the ambiguous moment between an initiation and a conclusion, the unobtainable now and the future, inevitably crashing towards us. For Birch these ideas translate easily from oil paint, to film, to installations, which engage with myth, history, circus and science fiction, connection and disconnect. He chooses to explore these themes in an enveloping environment of theater and spectacle, where the process of viewing becomes experiential: overwhelming and complex, yet as spectacle and adventure, also approachable.”

Visit Simon Birch website.

Animal portraits – Simen Johan

Nice photo series titled “Animal portraits” by New York photographer Simen Johan.

Visit Simen Johan website.

2012 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winners

Here is a selection of 11 photos of the 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, picked from more than 12,000 entries submitted by 6,615 photographers from 152 countries…

Visit National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest winners page.

Their Eyes Does Strike: Anastasiya Lazurenko

Photography by Anastasiya Lazurenko.

Visit Anastasiya Lazurenko website.

Kitchen Portraits – Erik Klein Wolterink

Great photo series titled “Kitchen Portraits” by Erik Klein Wolterink.

Visit Erik Klein Wolterink website.

Woman with a camera – Ruth Orkin

Ruth Orkin (1921 – 1985) was an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker. She grew up in Hollywood in the heyday of the 1920s and 1930s. At the age of 10, she received her first camera, a 39 cent Univex. She began by photographing her friends and teachers at school. At 17 years old she took a monumental bicycle trip across the United States from Los Angeles to New York City to see the 1939 World’s Fair, and she photographed along the way. Orkin moved to New York in 1943, where she worked as a nightclub photographer and shot baby pictures by day to buy her first professional camera. She worked for all the major magazines in 1940s, and also went to Tanglewood during the summers to shoot rehearsals. She ended up with many of the worlds’ greatest musicians of the time including Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, Aaron Copland  and many others.

In 1951, LIFE magazine sent her to Israel with the Israeli Philharmonic. Orkin then went to Italy, and it was in Florence where she met Nina Lee Craig, an art student and fellow American, who became the subject of “American Girl in Italy.” The photograph was part of a series originally titled “Don’t Be Afraid to Travel Alone” about what they encountered as women traveling alone in Europe after the war.

Ruth Orkin in London

On her return to New York, Orkin married the photographer and filmmaker Morris Engel. Together they produced two feature films, including the classic “Little Fugitive” which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1953. From their New York apartment overlooking Central Park, Orkin photographed marathons, parades, concerts, demonstrations, and the beauty of the changing seasons. These photographs were the subject of two widely acclaimed books, “A World Through My Window” and “More Pictures From My Window.” After a long struggle with cancer, Orkin passed away in her apartment, surrounded by her wonderful legacy of photographs with the view of Central Park outside her window.

This iconic photo was the result of a superb collaboration between two American young women each traveling solo across war torn Europe in 1951. Ruth Orkin and Jinx Allen serendipitously ran into each other in a cheap hostel overlooking the Arno in Florence, and in her widely-acclaimed photoessay, “Don’t be Afraid to Travel Alone” , Orkin photographed Jinx Allen shopping in the markets, crossing traffic, riding a carriage and flirting at a cafe. But the most famous was the above photo; it was taken at 10:30 a.m., the street was packed with loitering men because work was scarce and unemployment high in post-war Italy. While the contact sheet began at its eighth frame, they show that Orkin indeed took only two versions of her famous photo. Some may have thought it was staged as the image is so perfect in it’s composition and timing ( as Bresson said the “decisive moment”) but it was just a perfect moment caught by a master photographer. You can also see from the contact sheets that after those two frames, the man on the Vespa took Jinx Allen for a spin.