Photography Archives

Josef Koudelka Retrospective

Photographer Josef Koudelka's work is moving and penetrating; personally, photographic-wise, and as historical evidence. Many thanks Andrea for giving us the opportunity to catch up to our memories and remind us of what it means to be free.

Ned Bobkoff

read Andrea Kapsaski's article

Athens 2008 - Prague 1968

They burn down your city and you sit at the TV and watch the news, while outside, a few steps away from your home, the riots continue. And they take pictures and small videos on their mobile phones to send them to YouTube and you wonder about your own responsibility while the cradle of democracy falls apart. As I listen to the helicopters flying over our house, how little did I know when I wrote this article. How little difference in those pictures back then and the photos now. How little history changes.

Andrea Kapsaski

read her article in Scene4

Theatre Images

This display of the photography of Kfir Bolotin is beautiful. I realize that the lighting and poses are already present on stage, but the eye of the photographer is amazing especially the composition of the second photograph called, "psychosis-cr." I would really like to know what theatre production it comes from.

Shelley Hazig

view Kfir Bolotin's images

Theatre Images

Many thanks for your compliments. You've touched a long-discussed issue in photography by highlighting the existence of the subject versus its new representation by the photographer. The phrasing of your comment hints to the problem arising from the fact that the camera simply records what is in front of it, and if all pre-exists and is simply mirrored - is it really re-presented and contributed to by the photographer? You said yes and I naturally agree, though it is true that in stage photography much more of the image pre-exists than in other fields of photography. The photo you asked about is from the play 4.48 Psychosis, and photographed here is the Polish theatre company 'TR Warszawa', directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna, as they performed in the 2008 Edinburgh Festival, Scotland.

Kfir Bolotin

view Kfir Bolotin's images


What a good expansion of the magazine. Jon Rendell's photography is beautiful both technically and in its composition. He captures the spirit of my favorite city. And Arthur's little trio is a teasing provocation to say the least. And the "writings" are worth the price. Thanks for all of that.


see the Perspectives

On the Waterfront

Jon Rendell's photos are sublime. The moods generated by light and shadow and his perspectives take you through the lens into the scenes. Don't know about the Shelley references. He uses them as his inspiration yet I don't think the titles are necessary. Just a small dissent in an overall praise of wonderment.

Dede Kristall

see Jon Rendell's photography

San Francisco

Rendell is a wonder in how he captures my beautiful hometown, the most beautiful city in the U.S. I only wish that Scene4 was twice as large so the photos can be seen with every nuance. I guess I need a larger monitor. Thanks for showing this beautiful photography.

Peter Suzmann

see Jon Rendell's photography

Your Perspectives Photography

Jon Rendell is a magician, a superb craftsman and a master of "perspective." And Ms Bennett, who shoots like that at 16. If I could have shot like that at 16 I wouldn't be the snapper that I am today. Thanks for these wonderful displays in your great magazine!

Arthur B. Morris

visit Perspectives

Great Photographs & Articles

I love the photographs by Jon Rendell. The beautiful photos of Paris remind me so much of the time spent there and how much I love the city, the bars, the restaurants and just roaming around the city getting lost and discovering interesting places and people.

Thank you Scene 4 for consistently producing great works of art and very interesting articles.

Mikael Wagner

Thank you for the kind words and
a special note of appreciation from Jon Rendell.
--The Editors

view Jon Rendell's photography

Postcards from Puerto Rico

Beautiful shots! I'm so glad you broke the mold and did these shots in color. Seeing the native walking wearing all black to the funeral and draping the flag over him is such a vivid statement. The colors captured in Calle Christo, Old San Juan was breath taking especially with pink and blue being my favorite colors. In a nutshell, the photos are fantastic and I enjoyed looking at them. Keep doing you!

Kelly Armstrong

see Jon Rendell's photographs

Postcards from Puerto Rico

Fabulous! So fortunate that you were moved to add color to your art.

Karen Gilbert

see Jon Rendell's photographs

Jon Rendell Photos

Mr. Rendell has an outstanding eye for what makes San Francisco's Mission District its own private Idaho. He displays the Mission in a gracious and respectful manner with just the right touch of play. Thanks for sharing them.

Roberta Silverstein

view Jon Rendell's photography

Jon Rendell in a 25' circle

These are images that are more than mind candy, they're food for the eye, the mind and the soul. Give us 50' and 12-1/2' and we'll be complete. It's almost as if they're paintings not photos. Scene4 should dedicate an entire issue to Jon Rendell's view of the world, his world.

Pete Agastan

view Jon Rendell's photography

Beautiful Photography

I have been following Scene4 Magazine for over a year and the photography in this issue really knocked my socks off.  Absolutely brilliant and beautiful.  I am sharing this issue with my entire network.

Keep up the great work -- the entire Scene4 Magazine is gorgeous and so informative, not to mention entertaining.

Mikael Wagner

View the photography in this issue of Scene4

Beautiful Photography

I can't more enthusiastically agree with the previous commenter's appraisal and praise of Scene4. Coming from someone with his reputation, it's noteworthy praise indeed. The photography and graphics combined with the magazine's idiosyncratic mix of writers and articles, design, and fine writing makes it, as I've posted many times before in this blog, one of the best kept secrets on the internet, unique and unlike anything else being published. The magazine is in itself a collaborative work of art. I for one enjoy the privilege of roaming through the treasures in its archives as a kind of geographic place to spend my time. And as the commenter said, it's also entertaining.

Louis Laird

Renate Stendhal on Meret Oppenheim

I love your article, and learning more about Meret. I met her in the early seventies when I had written and sent her my article on The Women of Surrealism from THE FEMINIST Art Journal. She was so excited to tell me how right I was in critiquing the Femme Enfant concept, and how when she turned 30 the surrealist men who used to sit with her at the café,then left her alone because she was no longer "a femme enfant". I felt like everything I had studied just popped out of all the books right before my eyes. She was so friendly and so much fun. I met her another time, at her studio, many years later, on another trip, and she was again an incredible woman and artist. Thank you Renate for being able to read the things we who don't read German or Swiss German can't read, and for filling us in on more about Meret. She actually attended one of Leonora's exhibitions in NYC, in the seventies too. It was an exciting encounter. Sending many thanks for this wonderful piece.

Gloria Orenstein

read Renate Stendhal's article

Once again

Jon Rendell pierces the heart with his images. While the one percent at the top celebrates the New Year with vintage champagne, the other one percent suffers in the shadows, forgotten by nearly all. 

Catherine Conway Honig

see Jon Rendell's images

Postcards from NOLA

This is New Orleans as I remember it and as I know it now. Katrina, the politicians, and Bobby Jindal can't destroy it. Jon Rendell's photographs are wonderful. N'awlins should make him its official photographer.

Richard Venoitre

view Jon Rendell's photography

Jon Rendell's Humor

With his usual remarkable photography (April 2014), Jon Rendell smiles and smirks at gender and genders and the silly and often astonishing rendition of human perception as it strives to understand why the universe doesn't revolve around us. Thanks for the mirror, Jon.

Mark Moore

view Jon Rendell's photography

On Pairings

Thanks to Ms Honig for an outstanding review of the Paris coming together of these great artists' work. There's an overall "pairing" to be gleaned from her review -- the sculptor, the photographer, the choreographer, the dancer. Actually many "pairings" and many insights.

M. Madeiros

read Catherine Conway Honig's review

How Now Copyright?

I read, with interest, Arthur Meiselman's piece on copyright. My response to the writer, since I am cited by him as a spur to his article is this:

I am not against copyright, that is, not against having some form of protection for created work, for the "property" of the creator.  I would just dial back the protections to the original terms of the Copyright Act of 1790, which gave a creator 14 years of protection, with an additional term of 14 years if he or she was alive at the time of the renewal.  (The original law only protected books, maps, and charts; other items, like music and paintings, were added later.)

I also don't have a problem with copyrights being treated as commodities and passed along/sold to other parties, as long as the time limits don't reset during the exchange: If my father in his will passes along to me the copyright to his wildly successful book, and thus its profits, in the 27th year of its copyright (renewed after 14 years), I get the profits for one more year only, and that's it.  Then the book goes into the public domain.  (Whatever publishing rights companies have do not trump the copyright term limit -- once the property passed into the public domain, they no longer have exclusive access to it.)

I would also support a provision that doesn't make copyright automatic once a work is created.  Copyrights would have to registered, with a small fee to do this, in order to start the clock ticking on the first 14 years.  If a copyright is not registered, then that work does not have copyright protection and is automatically added to the public domain.  (We'd have to work out some window during which a creator can register so that the created work has a provisional or contingent protection, a "pre-copyright" protection, in case they're on walkabout in Australia when the inspiration comes.)  This would also allow people to forego copyright if they didn't want it (today known as "copyleft") without having to go through the hoops of the Creative Commons licensing procedures (but this would also mean that the creator would have no say in how the work gets used in the public domain).

The logistics of this are too complicated for this limited space, but they are mostly legalistic in nature once the umbrella concept of a time-limit for a registered copyright is established (e.g., can someone "own" something in the public domain, such as a Picasso painting hanging in the Metropolitan Museum, or "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in its new Japanese manga version?).  This doesn't make them easy but it does make them doable and possible.

My desire is to get as much material, actual and virtual, into the public domain as possible as quickly as possible without too much interference from the dead hand of the past or the greed of corporations and creators -- as the original act said, in order "to encourage learning."  Twenty-eight years seems enough time for a creator to make his or her money.  My desire is to cut back all the kudzu that has smothered copyright to the point where, now, anything after 1923 is out of bounds, with absurd restrictions like a book not going into the public domain until 70 years after the death of its author.  To me, that's racketeering.

Of course I will not win this argument -- there is too much money at stake.  But it's an argument that still needs to be made.

Michael Bettencourt

I agree with most of Michael Bettencourt's arguments. But the implication of his strong desire toward "public domain" is what concerns me. I don't care about the financial provisos of copyright: protect the creator and the creator's heirs, all for a reasonable time, and then the hell with it... let the bucks be made by the buck-makers. What I do care about is the content, the creation as the creator conceived it. Within most current copyright protection, while the creator is alive, his/her permission is required to change one comma, one note, one choreographic movement, one anything. Once the creator has been de-created, my admonition is that the permission is no longer available. Nothing should be changed. If a creation is to be adapted, write a new version based on the original, but do not, do not use the original words or notes or strokes. If you want to do "Rome&Juliet" Mr. Luhrman (after you find actors who can speak English), write your own. I cite George Bernard Shaw who sent a sheriff with a cease&desist court order at the Broadway opening of one of his plays: do it the way he wrote it or don't do it. If you want to do a Balanchine ballet, do it as he conceived it, or choreograph your own. The argument against my argument is: hey, that's not the way show business works. My answer: Tough shite! Shaw understood the business of show better than almost anyone alive today. Of course, he's dead and his creations? Unprotected.

As I calm down here, I'm fully aware that it is the Internet which has unleashed an irrevocable shattering of copyright protection. The "mashup" is the worse thing that has happened to artistic creation since the invention of television and free agency in baseball. And, as Rebecca Solnit noted in Harper's: The Internet will also "create elaborate justifications for never paying artists or writers." She also notes: "...2014 has turned out quite a bit like [Orwell's] 1984."

Arthur Meiselman

Michael Bettencourt's earlier column: "Dear Mr. Beckett"

Arthur Meiselman's current column: "On Copyright And Cats"

How Now Copyright? - A Response To A Response

Response to Arthur's Response

Citing the "mashup" as "the worst thing that has happened to artistic creation since the invention of television and free agency in baseball" is to forget that the "mashup" is how any art gets made.  No inventor creates something in the way that Athena burst forth from the head of Zeus when Hephaestus cracked open his skull, that is, something without antecedent, without an origin story, without some debt to (dare I say it?) to the "public domain."

This is precisely the point Nina Paley made in stripping her wonderful work, Sita Sings The Blues, of all copyright restrictions: "From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes."

For me, the more things there are to mash up into new forms, the better off everyone will be, not just in the arts but in all aspects of intellectual study -- "mashup" is just a synonym for "the free market of ideas," and the public domain, where everybody has a library card to borrow the materials, is where this market can play out the trading that results in new ideas, new practices, new directions.

This fertility -- its power to nourish and propel -- is why we can't follow my colleague's advice and do only "archival performances" (my term, not his) of past work.  Shaw had every right to issue his cease-and-desist then, but I don't think anyone can make a defensible aesthetic argument that his work is well-served by issuing one now on his behalf, and there's certainly no legal basis for it either.

Perhaps Shakespeare is more to the point here, since competing versions of some of his plays defy citing any one manuscript as definitive, Arthur's "the original words."  (Kenneth Branagh, for his film version of Hamlet, simply mashed together every version he could find into one script, which is why the film runs for four hours with an intermission.)  There is no ur-Shakespeare text, and certainly no ur-Shakespeare performance (we have no settled picture of what happened on an Elizabethan stage), and thus no ur-Shakespeare to which we must always remain faithful.  

And even if such a thing did exist, doing R&J in 2014, even following every jot and tittle, will not be the same as a production done in 1614: we can mimic the practice but we can't access the spirit and mind-set of that time.  We are different people living in a different world, and our R&J will be an automatic betrayal of the original.

Rebecca Solnit's point about "the Internet" is a good one in terms of its effects on artists' livelihoods.  However, it's not "the Internet's" fault but the way people use and abuse this vast infrastructure for sharing information -- a subject too large to parse here but one which touches upon the ethic of the public domain and a regulated commons.

But it certainly has thrown into disarray old notions of ownership and control and property and contract, which, to me, is a very good thing since many of these notions were restrictive, exploitative, and rent-seeking, and needed to be challenged.  Going back to a situation where "the permission [to change things] is no longer available" is to go back to the very practices that "the Internet" has up-ended.

The "mashup" is how stuff gets made.  The source material for the mashup is both the universe of all created artifacts and the cultural "air" we all breathe as citizens of some collective.  Given the capitalistic way we have chosen to arrange our current collective, it makes sense to define creation as "property" and afford it some of its protections.

The debate is over the extent and power of those protections, and my contention is to give them a statute of limitations that balances inventors' abilities to make some money off their efforts and the public domain's need for new stuff to mash up.  I believe this is a fair trade, given how the public domain seeds everything of value created by anyone who lives in its midst.

Michael Bettencourt

Ai Weiwei

Jon Rendell does (should I say?) great justice to Ai Weiwei's magnificent art. His photographs are perfectly composed as usual. One great artist meets another.

Becky Mendahl

view Jon Rendell's photography: "@LARGE: Ai Weiwei on Alacatraz"

Foggy Frisco

Actually there's only one season in San Francisco but Rendell has managed to capture the often terrible plight of living through it. Thanks for the wonderful photographs.

Piri Ascherman

Jon Rendell's photo essay: "The Four Seasons of Foggy Frisco"

Who We Were and Still Are

Ms Carla's (Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold) article is a penetrating look at Edward Curtis' near-pioneer work and the hypocrisy that surrounded it and his life. The poignancy of this perspective is all about the sin&blood that founded the USA. It's so true that the curse of African slavery is at the heart and soul of the American consciousness and is still embedded in that heart today. Yet deep at the point of that burning dagger is the genocide, slavery, human trafficing, and destruction of Native America (the so-called American Indian). Yes White and Black and Asian and Brown Americans, there still is a Native America and it is different and its suffering is different from you. Hopefully the swamp-thing racist Trump may jar the citizenry's awareness of this. Frankly, I doubt it.

M. Aptrow

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article

Humble Lily

Jon Rendell's photos of this humble flower are masterfully shot and produced. As displayed in Scene4, they are overpowering--not only their size but also the depth and layers of the images. And yet there is a quality of sadness in all of them. The display is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Peter Lin

Jon Rendell's photography: The Humble Lily

Faces In Black and White

Thanks for the lovely tour of this new exhibit. The photos you share are beautiful and gripping and as you say, "disturbing". In the upheaval year that's coming, a show like this should tour the whole country.

Melinda Kirber

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: Finding Resolution Through The Image


It follows that Rendell (Jon) would have a San Francisco garage as his latest muse. He may not be a painter but he has as good an eye as Monet.

Rimsta Marsjcoc

Jon Rendell's photography: Inspiration

Love Photos

I have only one word for Jon Rendell's photography: alluring. His composition is magnificent. They make you want to love these plants, not eat them.

Charla Tintari

Jon Rendell's photography: "Flourishing Flora"

New York, New York

I'm an inveterate, tenacious New Yorker -- born, bred and wouldn't live anywhere else. Your front cover video is stirring and isn't Sinatra's rendition of New York's anthem always stirring? Jon Rendell's brief photographic foray is stunning. Are there more? And Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's essay is poetic in words and graphics, a wonderful piece from "the beginning of time" that is no more and yet lies just beneath the streets and tracks of this City among all cities! You can't feel or absorb New York by just visiting it. You have to live there, breathe the air, listen to the sounds, how your voice changes, how your heart beats to the pace of daily life, nightly life, life at 3:00am when there's a moon over Manhattan and a wind swirling down the paths in Brooklyn. To be a citizen of New York is to be a citizen of the world.

Bob Levine

Jon Rendell's photos: "Postcards from New York"

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: "City of Spies and Masts"

Diane Arbus Brought to Us by K. Alenier

Karren Alenier's article rewards s.l.o.w.i.n.g down to read it carefully, to look carefully at the accompanying photographs. I can't get to the exhibit, but she brought it to me. Many thanks for this fascinating story.

Teri Rife

Karren Alenier's article: "Diane Arbus: Groundbreaking exhibition at the Smithsonian"

About Photography

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to RECENT LETTERS in the Photography category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Painting is the previous category.

Poetry is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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