Gary Watson Semi-Retires Into Old-School Art Photography NSFW

Categories: Photography

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Photos by Gary Watson
Houstonians might best know Gary Watson as the man behind the short film and brilliant comic book After Twilight, a dark, dystopian work in which Texas secedes from the union to create a religious dictatorship. Every year it hits a little closer to home, honestly, but Watson is leaving behind a lot of his previous work for a new career in art photography.

"I've been making movies since 1967, when I was a teenager," says Watson. "At this point in my life, I decided to so something for myself. I'm having a great time. It's been a real year of self-discovery."

Watson is moving on to art photography and documentary photography, and will be opening his studio tonight and next Saturday as a part of Spring Street Studios' regular open-studio events. It's a great chance to look at him in his new discipline.

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Michael and Elizabeth O'Brien Update Their The Face of Texas Photography Book

Categories: Photography

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All photos by Michael O'Brien from The Face of Texas. Used by permission of the University of Texas Press. Copyright © 2014 by Michael and Elizabeth O'Brien.
Stephanie Kuehne, Miss Texas USA, 1990
He's an award-winning photographer who's worked with National Geographic, Texas Monthly and Life. She's a former reporter for Life who still gathers life stories. Husband and wife team Michael and Elizabeth O'Brien put their talents together to capture a bit of Texas history with the book The Face of Texas, a series of portraits and profiles of dozens of Texan characters. "Michael shot the photographs over 20 years while on assignment for various magazines," Elizabeth O'Brien says. "I had to go back and get the profiles either with interviews or doing as much research as I could."

The book includes several beauty queens such as Stephanie Kuehne, 1990's Miss Texas USA and the great-granddaughter of a woman who hunted mountain lions for a living. Kuehne's shown in full pageant mode. Wearing a winner's crown and bright pink swimsuit, a bouquet of yellow roses in her arms, she's standing in front of an Alamo movie set. Kuehne went on to have a successful career as an actress and model and now lives in Houston where she's involved in philanthropy work.

This story continues on the next page.

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Delicate Balance: The Metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly by Theresa DiMenno

Categories: Photography

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Photos by Jef With One F
The Monarch Butterfly is one of the most beautiful and iconic of all the butterflies, and its transformation from caterpillar to winged insect is the subject of renowned nature photographer Theresa DiMenno's latest exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science's Cockrell Butterfly Center.

Before moving onto DiMenno's work, a note from a frequent museum visitor; if at all possible get yourself to the HMNS before 10 a.m. This isn't usually a problem with me because I have a five-year-old who views sleeping past 7 a.m. the way libertarians view socialized medicine; intellectually acknowledging possible benefits but emotionally jihadist against the concept itself.

The HMNS in the morning is a thing of wonder. It's so quiet it feels reverential, and visitors get a much more direct experience from the still-fresh and unhounded volunteers. My daughter and I basically received two personalized tours of the Hall of Ancient Egypt, learning things that definitely aren't on the placards. Even the Welch Hall of Chemistry, normally somewhat cold and empty, was more fun this time around as a volunteer did one-on-one experiments with the kid. Trust me; it's worth a few hours less sleep on a Saturday.

Even the Cockrell Center was more full of life, with one staff member handing out preserved butterfly specimens for kids to hold and feel the lightness of. The butterflies also seem way more active in the morning, and after walking amongst them we went to check out Delicate Balance.

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2015 Houston Firefighters Calendar Premieres October 10

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Firefighters out on the street, covering blazes, are almost always kitted out in boots, helmet, heavy gloves and figure-concealing coats.

Once a year, all that comes off, though, to benefit the the non profit Houston Fire Fighters Burned Children Fund. Twelve models grace the pages in the hopes that by unveiling all that eye candy underneath the protective gear, they can raise money for the fund and the children it serves.

This Friday, the 25th Anniversary Silver Edition of the Houston Fire Fighters Calendar will be unveiled complete with appearances and signings by some of its models at an 8 p.m. event at Whiskey River Houston at 7637 FM 1960.


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If You Really Must Take a Selfie: 11 Ways to Make It Look Decent

Categories: Photography

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Photo by Derrek Barlow
Dude, you are doing it SO wrong.
For years, photographers work to perfect their craft. And any photographer who has spent any time shooting human subject understands that it is not easy to get a great shot of a person who is trying to pose for you. Even experienced models can look awkward, uncomfortable, goofy, unhappy and any other characteristic you might imagine. In front of the lens, virtually everyone feels a little weird.

So, it is no wonder that with the proliferation of self portraits or "selfies" (God help us all) thanks to the magic of the cell phone camera, there are so many dud photos on Facebook and Instagram.

In addition to all the typical issues that face a person trying to make themselves look good in a snapshot, there are the technical problems that plague everyone who has ever held a camera. Fortunately, you've got me. I've been shooting pictures since my dad let me hold my first Kodak Instamatic and I've seen all the mistakes you make with your selfies. I'm here to help. Next time you fluff your hair and put on your best pouty face, keep these tips in mind and maybe you'll luck out and not just get a good picture of yourself but take a quality photograph in the process.

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No One's Dog at Diverse Works: A Heartbreaking Collection

Categories: Photography

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marypasicatanphotography Via Diverse Works Flickr page
Corridor Rescue, June 2014
As a Houstonian, it's difficult to ignore the plethora of homeless dogs roaming about the city. The actual number of strays, however, is staggering. Over a million homeless animals call the Houston streets home. In fact, in a 2010 Health of Houston Survey, it was stated that strays are considered the No. 1 neighborhood problem in the city. It is with this in mind, that Diverse Works, Barrio Dogs and Box 13 have collaborated on a new exhibition, No One's Dog.

The show, which opened this past Saturday at the Diverse Works gallery, is a "community based" project that aims to shine a light on the city's stray issue. The three organizations put out an open call for community members to upload high-resolution photos of homeless or hurt dogs. Additionally, Barrio Dogs staff passed out 30 disposable cameras to residents of the East End, including children. The results were more than 100 photos of the desperate situation. Diverse Works chose the photos that they felt best encapsulated the issue, printed them and these images are currently on display through August 9.

A word of warning: The exhibition is not for the faint of heart. Animal lover or not, there is no way that this collection won't grab your heartstrings and tug them the hell out of your chest. I found myself tearing up multiple times. Many of the photos are haunting, some even difficult to look at. Emaciated dogs, broken down, hiding in shadows, alone in fields are some of the moments captured by the various participants of the project. Despite the subject matter being tough, the photos themselves are stunning; an odd surprise given they were taken by amateurs - and some are even very young amateurs.

This story continues on the next page.


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The 10 Best Places to Take a Selfie in Houston

Categories: Photography

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Photo by Derrek Barlow
This is not the kind of selfie we encourage you to take.
Everybody loves selfies...or hates them...or says they are bad for you...or dies in car wrecks snapping them...or gathers a bunch of celebrities at the Academy Awards to create the most popular one of all time. Whatever the case, everyone knows what they are and has an opinion about them. And let's be honest, before cell phones, no one took selfies (well, except these two ladies) and now, pretty much everyone does. Hell, Instagram is basically a service for delivering selfies to the masses.

But, what if you live in Houston? There aren't a ton of celebrities lurking and, as we've been told many times before, this isn't exactly a super attractive place. Where can one go to snap a photo of him or herself that is classic Houston? And we purposefully didn't include events. If you have to wait for one moment every year like a marathon, Summerfest, the Pride Houston or Art Car Parades or even the Renaissance Festival (selfie with a busty wench FTW!), it's too much work. This should be a snapshot you can get pretty much anytime you want. Here are some suggestions.

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Debra L. Rothenberg, The Woman Who Shot Bruce Springsteen

Categories: Photography

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Photo by Debra L. Rothenberg
From Bruce Springsteen in Focus 1980-2012
It's a bit of a Cinderella story -- a young woman, in love with Bruce Springsteen's music as a teen, takes several photographs of her idol in concert. A little while later, a magazine asks to use one for a story it's publishing. It was the start of a wildly successful career as a photographer for Debra L. Rothenberg. Some 30 years later, Rothenberg has become the Bruce Springsteen photographer. Her new book, Bruce Springsteen in Focus 1980-2012, is a visual record of her 30-plus years of shooting Springsteen both on and off stage.

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Photo by Debra L. Rothenberg
From Bruce Springsteen in Focus 1980-2012
Rothenberg stood in the cold all night to get tickets to her first Springsteen concert. "Before [that], I had only been to one concert in my life -- Barry Manilow when I was 13!" she tells us from her New York home.

Her first photo of the musician appeared in New Jersey Monthly Magazine in September of 1981. "My oldest brother, Randy, was a writer at the time for NJ Monthly and heard they were doing a story on Bruce. When they heard I had photos, they called me and asked if they could use one. It was exciting.

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100 Creatives 2014 Suzy Taylor, a Fairy-Tale Photographer

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What She Does: The journey that Suzy Taylor took to become a photographer is almost as fantastic as her actual work. The New Zealand-native spent most of her adult life living the life of a business woman, working in real estate and finance. She had a love for art and photography, but no real confidence in her ability to create herself.

In the wake of the world-wide financial crisis Taylor immigrated to the United States, where she met a musician, married, and had a daughter. Money was tight in the young family, and any hope of exploring the art world seemed even further away. Still, Taylor's husband noticed that her eyes would linger on cameras in electronics stores, and despite a promise that they would only buy gifts for their little girl that Christmas he sold his prized guitars to purchase Taylor's first digital single-lens reflex camera.

"Someone believed in me enough once and bought me my first guitar allowing me to live my dream," he said. "Now it's your turn."

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"New Works by David A. Brown: trying to find my way..." Opens at the Jung Center

Categories: Photography

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All Photos by David A. Brown
New Works by David A. Brown: trying to find my way ... at The Jung Center
Many Houstonians got their first look at David A. Brown's "trying to find my way ..." photographic series at the Darke Gallery four years ago as part of FotoFest 2010. His "New Works by David A. Brown: trying to find my way ..." exhibit, just opened at the Jung Educational Center, an official FotoFest 2014 participating space, continues his exploration of reflected images with two important differences: composition and medium.

Brown captures a multitude of images, all simultaneously seen in the same space, in each photograph. The windows of an office building lobby, for example, become a canvas for dozens of reflections, all layered over one another. This isn't trick photography; Brown captures each image with a single exposure.

Most of the images seen at the 2010 exhibit were landscapes and still lifes. The current exhibit at the Jung Center includes a fair number of still lifes, but many more photographs show the reflected images of people as they walk down the street or look in a store window. (One shows a fellow photographer adjusting his camera settings between shots.)

The 2010 photographs were printed with a 3-D-like effect. (Brown had to work with a company overseas in order to achieve the desired quality.) The images seen at the "New Works" exhibit are printed, sans the effect, on fabric and 99+ year archival paper.

"Things have changed over the last couple of years," he told us at the exhibit's opening. "I'm looking more at interaction now. Before I was looking at composition and now I'm more focused on capturing the interaction between people with other people, with the space."

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