Pitchfork   The Dissolve   Festivals: Chicago | Paris

Fans of early photography and shutterbug steampunks will want to investigate the latest from Lomography + Russian camera brand Zenit, the Petzval lens.

The Petzval lens shot many, if not most, of the great photos of the 19th Century. Invented by Joseph Petzval in Vienna in 1840, the lens design was known for its swirly bokeh effect and ability to focus crisply on objects in the focus area while producing a dreamy blur on elements out of focus.

Zenit and Lomography reverse engineered the original 1840 Petzval lens with adjustments to make it work on modern (D)SLR cameras—so it is compatible with digital and analog cameras. The new Russian-made lens features the Petzval lens's famed swirly bokeh effect, sharpness, large f2.2 aperture, narrow depth of field, field curvature, and high contrast in multicoated glass. Worth noting: it is evidence of Lomo warming to the digital photo shooting consumer.

Check out the images below, all shot on the Petzval.

The Petzval lens is available for pre-order exclusively on Kickstarter.com.


Photos by Yewon Kim

The people-watching at the annual Pitchfork Music Festival is almost as good as the music-listening these days. And this year's crowd of festgoers didn't disappoint, turning Chicago's Union Park into its own runway of hybrid summer style. Preppy and punk standards and the best thrift store finds were edged out by bold, sometimes globally-inspired patterns which went nicely with the tropical temperatures and late evening rain showers.

See more photos at Pitchfork.com and more street fashion at Elle.com.

Bronia Stewart Babe Station, 2012 Hand printed C-type Archival print © Bronia Stewart Courtesy of the artist

Bronia Stewart's "Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed" photo series manages to convey ideas about camaraderie, friendship, and ambition in the context of the otherwise unsavory world of the phone sex industry. Her subjects, who work in various capacities at the London-based adult entertainment service Babestation, include both the male producers and the female performers.

At It's Nice That, Maisie Skidmore sees a grim duality of the Babestation workplace: the friendship between the male producers and the female actresses is professional and unthreatening, yet the context reminds us "how the media encourages the sexualization of women, in order to get ahead in a male-dominated work environment."

See more from the series at The Photographers' Gallery.

All images by Bronia Stewart. Babe Station, 2012. Hand printed C-type Archival print © Bronia Stewart. Courtesy of the artist.

Yonder Journal, an exploration-minded photography collective, divides its features into three categories. "Studies" are longform travelogs. "Briefs" are quick notes usually as a caption to a single photo. And "Guides" are Yonder's fully-fledged photo-heavy travel guides, complete with printable diagrams, maps, and cue-sheets. The group journeys through remote areas of the American West. But, as they clarify in a footnote to their Statement of Purpose, "'Western' is not a place. It’s an attitude and a quality, the hallmarks of which are self-sufficiency, self-reliance, transformation, rugged independence, saltiness, a predisposition to risk and margins, and a DTF-type of commitment to one’s pursuits."

Follow Yonder Journal on Instagram.

Photo by: Yewon Kim | Nothing Major boot at MAAF 2013

Photos by Yewon Kim

One couldn't help but notice that the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival was a cool affair—and we're not just talking about the mild temperatures. With design outfit Sonnenzimmer and poster maker Drug Factory Press well represented, Parson's and the Owl serving cocktails in a parking lot, bites from Chicago Diner, Longman & Eagle and the like and live sets from Football, Cave, Dam-Funk, Basic Cable, and many more plus an exotic animals petting zoo, it had an air of unforced, leisurely good times. Nothing Major was there, too with our Nothing Belongs to Ebbets Field caps and other festival-exclusive offerings in our pop-up shop. We were jazzed to meet so many NoMa fans in realtime. If you've forgotten what it was like, or missed it altogether, never fear, we took pictures.

Keep an eye on our journal for announcements regarding an upcoming pop-up.

Photo by: Jake Longstreth

All images courtesy of the artist and Monya Rowe Gallery, New York

For his latest series of paintings Jake Longstreth replaced the saturated colors and sharp lines of his earlier architecture-centered work, with softer tones, gradients, and more visible marks. The subjects are different this time, too. Instead of suburban landscapes, his imagery is closer to the photo he shot for the cover of the collaborative Dirty Projectors and Bjork album, Mount Wittenberg Orca.

Selections from "Particulate Matter" are being show as part of the group show Being Paul Schrader at the Monya Rowe Gallery in New York until July 26. 

Useful Photography has a shared mission for both its books and gallery shows: to recontextualize "underwhelming images created for practical purposes" as compelling imagery. In the past, the series has examined found imagery created for the pornography, weddings, and war industries.

For the eleventh issue, the editors collected images used for human targets during shooting exercises at gun ranges. The unsettling portraits, including child abductors and a variety of armed aggressors, represent what gun manufacturers think Americans find the most frightening.

Issue 11 of Useful Photography is forthcoming from Kessels Kramer Publishing.

Artist and co-founder of BOMB magazine Sarah Charlesworth has died at the age of 66. For her most famous work, the "Modern History" series, Charlesworth reduced the front pages of newspapers across the world to only nameplates and images in order to examine the papers' changing use of photography and image. More recently, she exhibited her "Available Light" photo series, in which she manipulated natural light sources in her New York studio. A short documentary and interview about "Available Light" is below. 

Spend some time with her work in BOMB, and read an extensive obituary on GalleristNY.

Half Bowl, 2012, Fuji Crystal Archive print with lacquer frame, 41" x 32", from the series "Available Light."

Venue, a roving editorial body from BLDGBLOG founder Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley of Edible Geography, is nearing the end of a 16-month tour. Since last June the team has traveled around North America with a specially designed, lightweight cinéma vérité tripod rig, conducting interviews and photographing out-of-the-way places. The team has visited the U.S. military's simulated battlefields, been on set with costume designers at Spectral Motion, shot the field where NASA rehearsed the moon landing, and even made music in a cave in Virginia.

Check out some of Venue photos below, and keep an eye out for the final stories from the trip.

You'll have to visit his Flickr to see John Rudoff's Dylan/Baez photos.

Photographer John Rudoff was on hand when Joan Baez brought Bob Dylan out as an unannounced guest at a show in Camden, NJ in 1963. Two years later he was in the front row snapping some of the only color photos during the infamous "Dylan Goes Electric" show at the Newport Folk Festival. The former photography student from Philadelphia also snapped some amazing shots of blues greats Son House and Mississippi John Hurt and folkies Dave van Ronk and Phil Ochs. Looking at these little-seen images is a somewhat disorienting experience, mostly because they are so perfectly preserved. Until you notice a vintage microphone, or the complete absence of cell phones, it's hard to tell the collection is half a century old.

See the full set on Rudoff's Flickr stream.