Monday, October 14, 2013

brooklyn boys—danny fitzgerald & les demi dieux

Our book on nearly forgotten 1960s photographer Danny Fitzgerald and his studio Les Demi Dieux was released in October 2013. Brooklyn Boys features over 160 of Fitzgerald's noteworthy photographs and an extensive biographical introduction, excerpt here.

The diffuse light inside the photographer's parents' home in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn illuminated a young man's flesh differently than it did outside in broad daylight. On the street the sunlight was harsh. It blared like a delivery truck's horn, sparked like a welding iron, crackled like a transistor radio on full volume. It matched the temper and bravado of the boys in their cars and on the basketball courts, at every moment proving its power to the neighborhood. But inside the photographer's home, upstairs, where the young men removed their clothes, lit a cigarette and sat naked in a void between the pale wall and the photographer's camera, the sun's quiet illumination gave everything an honest focus, a sensual solitude. It poured through curtains of lace, airborne dust and fresh smoke, as it would through stained glass, providing the young men a silent retreat directed by a master of light and composition, and the photographer himself a focus for the many incongruities in his life between inside and out. In that space, the photographer created some of his most exquisite works of art.

Surprisingly contemporary in his approach to both the male physique and photographic technique, the photographer behind the studio "Les Demi Dieux" was little known among collectors until after his death. Danny Fitzgerald (1921-2000) was born in Brooklyn, New York to first-generation Italian-Irish parents, and developed a love for art and film from an early age. Though he would travel the world with his camera and his partner Richard Bennett at his side, the working-class Italian-American neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn remained his home and the backdrop to much of his photography.

Friday, October 4, 2013

bullying & empathy: honk if you hate bullies

I was bullied in grade school. I hate bullying passionately. It breaks my heart. It makes me angry.

But I was disturbed by this story about a Ft. Hood, Texas father who, upon hearing that his son was bulling his fourth-grade classmates, forced him to stand at a busy intersection holding a hot pink sign that read, "I am a bully. Honk if you hate bullies." The father made the case that “we don’t need another Columbine."

"Bullying is also a form of public humiliation," the father told a radio interviewer. "Maybe he understands that when he humiliates someone publicly that doesn't feel good. Hopefully he'll take that with him so the next time he tries to bully someone he'll think about it twice."

This dad needs to learn the right way to teach empathy.