The most popular Photo of the Day Posts of 2019 include works by legendary photographers such as Duane Michals and the members of Magnum Photos, and new series by emerging photographers such as Rana Young, Arielle Bobb-Willis and Brittney Cathey-Adams. They include projects that explore the dreams of children all over the world, and the wild and free upbringing of photographer Niki Boon’s children in rural New Zealand. They consider themes of loneliness and self-perception and environmental decay, and show unique approaches to photographic genres such as portraiture and wedding photography.
Launched in 2008, the Photo of the Day blog showcases work from photographers’ personal projects, unpublished works, commissions and assignments, exhibitions, and published books.
The slideshow above features one image from each of the top ten posts. Links to each full gallery and accompanying article are below.
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Wedding photography is often highly staged and formulaic, resulting in a clichéd documentation of a unique and emotionally charged event. Ian Weldon’s unorthodox approach to the genre cuts through fairy-tale representations of the big day and captures the real character of weddings with humor, warmth and affection. His series “I Am Not a Wedding Photographer” was co-published by RRB PhotoBooks and the Martin Parr Foundation.
For eight years, Dutch photographer Chris de Bode has been working with Save the ChildrenNL on a project about children—their resilience, power, potential and, above all, dreams. His book Dreams—The Power of Children included photographs and interviews with 58 children from 13 countries.
The exhibition “The Portraitist” was the first comprehensive overview of Duane Michals’s inventive and influential portraits. In his 60-year career, Michals photographed popular figures such as Leonard Cohen, Yayoi Kusama, Meryl Streep, Maya Angelou, Robert De Niro, Rene Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Stephen King, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Sting, Tennessee Williams, the original cast of Saturday Night Live, and many more.
“The Body Observed” looked at how Magnum photographers have turned their lenses to the human body. Organized by the Sainsbury Centre and Magnum Photos, the exhibition examined issues such as identity, intimacy, sexuality, ritual, voyeurism and performance, and included more than 130 images, such as Eve Arnold’s portraits of Hollywood icon Joan Crawford, and Philippe Halsman’s “Dalí Atomicus,” a work selected for TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential Images of All Time” in 2016. Photographs from Alec Soth’s series “Niagara,” Susan Meiselas’s celebrated “Carnival Strippers” series, and Alessandra Sanguinetti’s acclaimed work “The Adventures of Guille and Belinda” were also part of the show.
[Related: Magnum Photos: Street Wise through the Ages]
Olivia Laing’s bestselling book The Lonely City inspired this group exhibition at ClampArt in New York City. “You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavor to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by millions of people,” Laing wrote. The exhibition ruminated on isolation within urban spaces through pieces by artists specifically discussed by Laing in the book (Nan Goldin, David Wojnarowicz) and many others who traverse the same terrain. The show also included work by Diane Arbus, David Armstrong, John Arsenault, Clarissa Bonet, Larry Clark, Jen Davis, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin, Michael Massaia, Daido Moriyama, Mark Morrisroe, Lori Nix/Kathleen Gerber, Jack Pierson, Richard Renaldi, Laura Stevens, David Wojnarowicz, Frank Yamrus and Marc Yankus.
Michael Joseph opened the first solo exhibition of his series “Lost and Found” at Daniel Cooney Fine Art this year. Joseph’s portraits represent a subculture of men and women who travel the United States by train-hopping and hitchhiking. The transient lifestyle of these people, known as travelers, has its own history, language, and code of conduct. Joseph, who has been photographing travelers for the past nine years, spoke with PDN about creating Lost and Found and what he hopes viewers take away from the images.
An exhibition at Portland, Oregon’s Blue Sky Gallery highlighted the work of two artists who take different approaches to questioning the dominance of the male gaze in the history of art. “An Inward Gaze” featured Arielle Bobb-Willis’s colorful, sculptural images of models, and Brittney Cathey-Adams’s performative, black-and-white, nude self-portraits.
[Related: No More Bad Nudes]
Rana Young series “The Rug’s Topography” is a collaboration between Young and her former partner. As their relationship was breaking down and the two were questioning the expectations of gender roles in intimate relationships, Young and her partner made photographs that helped them reconcile “our emotional intimacy in the midst of separation,” Young wrote in her statement. The work showed at Filter Space Gallery in Chicago.
Niki Boon’s photographs documenting her family’s rural, home-schooled life in Marlborough, New Zealand, made their U.S. solo debut at Obscura Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Through wide-angle, black-and-white photographs full of contrast, Boon shows the wild and free lifestyle of children nurtured by a country environment. They climb trees, play with animals, and run barefoot. Video games, TV and tablets are out of sight and out of mind.
For 25 years, Scottish-born Canadian photographer David McMillan has made trips to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Also referred to as the “Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation” and simply “The Zone,” the Exclusion Zone’s purpose is to restrict access to some of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world. McMillan was inspired to document The Zone by his teenage memories of Nevil Shute’s 1959 film On the Beach, a disturbing post-apocalyptic science-fiction drama. The photos McMillan made were published in a book, Growth and Decay: Pripyat and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which was released by Steidl.