Asylum is a photography album of the inside and outside of many mental hospitals across the United States. The forward, written by neurologist Oliver Sacks, is an interesting review of the entire concept – how it came to be at the beginning of the 18th century and it’s decline after the 1950s. He wrote about the Kirkbride Plan – a special design of the layout of institutes that was meant to promote comfort for patients, but eventually becoming too expensive to maintain. He also discusses how mental hospitals become a place of confinement, rather than a haven.
Payne’s photographs are simply amazing. They show in great detail the outside of hospitals and the inside of wards; untended forgotten gardens and dismal corridors with paint peeling off the walls. Looking at all the abandoned corridors and rooms makes you imagine them busy with strange patients wandering around and doctors tending them. I try to picture people living and working in such a morally questionable environment.
It’s a fascinating book. Browsing it fills me with inspiration and curiosity. I wish there was more stuff to read on this subject, but I guess that’s what Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization is for.
Check out the book’s website: www.asylumbook.com.
1. Bored to Death TV series
I first heard about this new HBO comedy from The Art of the Title Sequence website (here). I just finished watching the first episode. It’s a bit unrealistic as the way the plot goes, but it’s quite funny. Jonathan Ames, the protagonist, is a writer turned private detective after his girlfriend breaks up with him because he couldn’t quit smoking pot and drinking wine. Jason Schwartzman portrays a shy Jonathan by standing nervously with his hands in his pockets in an uncomfortable way.
2. Vivian Maier gallery
Vivian Maier (Feb 1926 – Apr 2009) was an urban photographer, who took photos of street life in Chicago for 20 years, between the 1950’s and 1970’s. This gallery is online thanks to John Haloof, a photographer himself, who had won the Maier collection in an auction and decided to put her work online. He wrote on the blog how difficult finding information about Vivian was. He could not trace any of her family members. The owner of a camera shop she had used to frequent described her as a secluded person.
Her photographs look spontaneous. They sometimes depict people in static situations (like the photo on the left), sometimes people in the middle of picking inside their bags or eating a hotdog. This gallery captures a typical landscape of American urbania, and the black and white photography adds to the sense of timelessness. You can really emphasize with each person.
Dan invited me to join him for a fire and poi gathering at The Tupim Beach in Tel Aviv a couple of weeks ago. Not a poi practitioner myself, I decided it’d be a good time to take some photos. I haven’t done that in a while, and as I’ve shown here before, I really like taking photos of people juggling. It’s a great opportunity to see what your camera’s capable of and what you can do with it. I’ve included here some of my favorite ones. For the rest of the photos go here.
This one is a bit more advanced than the earlier one. I tried to make the SD look broken at the sides, so I squeezed in details from ruined buildings I found online.
This year’s nuit blanche’s theme was the city’s 100th birthday. The streets were crouded with people. The main attractions were on Rothschild blvd and they were mostly fashion shows, historic and nostalgic presentations and street performances.
Here are few of the photos I took during this event.
Some of the street shows on Rothschild blvd.: