Amoeblog

Hugh Van Es 1941 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, May 16, 2009 11:15am | Post a Comment
Hugh Van Es, a Dutch photojournalist who covered the Vietnam War, capturing some of the most enduring images of the era, has died. Last week he suffered a brain hemorrhage and never regained consciousness. He died on Friday at the Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong. Van Es was 67.

One of his most famous photos is that of the fall of Saigon in 1975, showing evacuees scaling a ladder onto a helicopter from a rooftop. The image, in no subtle way, became a metaphor for the United States’ profound policy failures in Vietnam.

Van Es arrived in Hong Kong as a freelance photographer in 1967, joining the South China Morning Post. After a stretch as a photographer for the Associated Press from 1969 to 1972, he covered the last three years of the Vietnam war for United Press International. His first celebrated photo was of a wounded soldier with a tiny cross gleaming against his dark silhouette taken in May of 1969 during the battle of Hamburger Hill.
 
But Van Es’ most lasting image was taken on the final day of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam on April 29, 1975. Van Es was in the Saigon UPI bureau offices when he saw a few dozen Americans climbing a ladder trying to board  one of the CIA’s own Air American helicopters on a rooftop just a few blocks away at 22 Gia Long Street, which sat about a half a mile from the embassy. From his vantage point on the UPI balcony, Van Es captured the scene with a 300mm lens, the longest one he had. The building in the picture was an apartment that housed C.I.A. officials and families and not Saigon’s American Embassy as has been erroneously believed over the years.

Memorial for John Leech

Posted by Whitmore, May 10, 2009 10:47am | Post a Comment

Giant Tarantulas Attack!

Posted by Whitmore, May 8, 2009 07:40pm | Post a Comment
Australia is someplace I will probably never visit, and that goes double for Australia’s Outback. The main and personally terrifying raison d'être is the Down Under’s world renowned collection of weird, poisonous, larger than friggin’ life creepy crawlies lurking in every shrub, behind every rock, and under every toilet seat.
And a new story in Times of London isn’t helping my arachnophobia, ophidiophobia, or even my entomophobia.
 
Scores of eastern tarantulas, that can grow larger than the palm of a man’s hand, also known as “bird-eating spiders” or “whistling spiders” because of the noise they make when disturbed or aggravated at close range, have begun crawling out from their netherworld lairs and are now invading the coastal town of Bowen, about 700 miles northwest of Brisbane. Even long time, hard core outback residents have gotten the willies.
 
Earlier this week a tarantula the size of an SUV was spotted wandering towards a public garden in the center of town. Alarmed residents called in the Amalgamated Pest Control but not before using a full can of insect repellent spray to stymie the spider's approach.
 
According to Audy Geiszler, the hero in this tale who runs Amalgamated Pest Control, he has been inundated with calls from wigged out locals. "There have been a number of reports. It's not plague proportions but a number have been spotted around the district.”
 
Not plague proportions … yet!
 
One spider was so large that when he placed it in the palm of his hand -- dead of course -- its legs hung over his fingers. Common in eastern Australia where they usually live under logs and in naturally rocky outcrops, these giant tarantulas seem to have been pushed out from their usual habitats by the recent unseasonably heavy rains.
 
While not deadly like many other Australian spiders, these tarantulas are still venomous; their bite can pack quite a punch. They can grow up to, and obviously beyond, 6cm (2.4in) long with a leg span of 16cm (6.3in). By the way, despite being called “bird-eating spiders,” they do not eat birds, but can kill a dog or cat with one quick bite.

More Photographs from Helen Levitt

Posted by Whitmore, April 30, 2009 06:54pm | Post a Comment
The legendary street photographer Helen Levitt died earlier this month at the age of 95. Besides being a still photographer, Levitt was also involved in the making of documentary films in the late 1940s as a director, cinematographer and writer. For In the Street (1948) she was assisted by renowned New York writer James Agee and artist Janice Loeb. This silent film documents the grim realities of Harlem street-life in the days after the Second World War. In the Street was selected in 2006 for the National Film Registry list. For The Quiet One (1948), Levitt worked once again with Agee and Loeb; this time she received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay. The Quiet One is an account of the rehabilitation at the Wiltwyck School of an emotionally disturbed African-American boy. Levitt's photography career would span more than seven decades. Here is more of Helen Levitt's work.

Remembering Photographer Helen Levitt

Posted by Whitmore, April 28, 2009 09:14pm | Post a Comment
Earlier this month the legendary photographer Helen Levitt died at the age of 95. In the 1930’s she pioneered the art of street photography, most often documenting the neighborhoods and the people of her hometown, New York City. Her influence is undeniable. With the help of an inconspicuous Leica camera she captured small, everyday events, exceptional moments and quiet dramas. Someone once noted that Helen Levitt was "the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time." Here is some of her work.
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