So long spring, hello summer! Today on Word of Mouth, we head to the great outdoors, starting with the American playground, and how it’s evolved from a place of physical challenges to ultra-safe environment with short slides, and all soft surfaces. Then we’ll hit a different kind of playground for New Hampshire scavengers: the transfer station, or as it known in less polite circles, the dump.
The outdoors have provided wonder and fascination for millennia. Ansel Adams captured this in his photographs. Playgrounds have inspired this in children the world over. Even transfer stations, what many people mistakenly think are the last stop for the worn out, run down and used, are full of treasures. You just have to know how to look.
"Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein, 1951
Ah, the great outdoors. A place for life, death, and seemingly infinite inspiration. Today's Word of Mouth is all about the outdoors: capturing its beauty through photography, creating its beauty through manipulation, and rediscovering its beauty in the most unlikely places. Join us for a walk through the wild then share your thoughts on our Facebook and Twitter.
To see a slideshow inspired by today's show, click here.
Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.
Today on Word of Mouth we wrap up our series Rethink 2014 with, perhaps, the most difficult concept …death. Then we delve into a discussion about the possible disruption of wildlife photography and ethical practice. Finally, Ben Bradlee, Jr. shares revelations on a Boston Red Sox player: Ted Williams. Listen to the full audio and scroll down to read more on individual segments.
There’s a lot of pressure on a wedding photographer, after all the expense and attention to planning the day, the photographer is charged with capturing all of it -- the fleeting expressions, the flattering angles and happy guests – images that reinforce the undisputable rightness of a couple’s decision to unite. But it’s just the beginning of a union. Only when the guests have gone home and the camera’s been put away does marriage begin in earnest.
Matt Mendelsohn is a writer and professional photographer of more than 450 weddings since 1999. Matt explores the meaning of marriage by reconnecting with five couples whose weddings he photographed years before, to find out whether they’re relationships have grown, evolved, or ended.
Tumbleweeds rolling? Must be a western. The cinematic signal of high plains desolation has an even more pernicious side: it’s an invasive species known as Russian Thistle, and it’s wreaking havoc across the United States. George Johnson is a writer based in Santa Fe, and a regular contributor to National Geographic, where he wrote about fighting the tumbleweed menace in his own backyard. To see more photos click here.
For the past fifty-three years, rest areas have offered weary travelers a place to pull off and pause and maybe even learn a little local history. Traditional rest areas are disappearing across the country… Louisiana for example, has already closed twenty-four of its thirty-four stops. Ryann Ford is a photographer whose work has been featured in the New York Times and Texas Monthly. She’s been trying to capture these doomed rest areas with her camera… before they disappear. Her project is called “Rest Stops: Vanishing Relics of the American Roadside.”
America’s ambivalence about the Vietnam conflict began with the photograph of a monk, engulfed in flames, sinking to the pavement on a Saigon street, and another image, capturing the moment a uniformed officer fires a bullet into the head of a man in a plaid shirt, and still later, a naked girl, screaming as she runs from a cloud of black smoke.
The growing emergence of self-portraits – “selfies” – shows no signs of stopping its domination of the social media sphere. By 2012, 86% of the U.S. population had a cell phone. Moreover, research indicates that six out of every ten women use their mobile devices to take self-portraits, most of which end up on Facebook. Narcissism, egotism and vanity are commonly associated with these snapshots – but our guest, Dr.Pamela Rutledge, argues that “selfies” are important, and expand on a rich history of self-portraiture. Pamela is the director of the Media Psychology Research Center.
More than 25 years after the death of former dictator, Enver Hoxha, Albania has more concrete bunkers than it knows what to do with. Hulking relics of a bygone era, the forgotten structures number around 750,000; that’s one bunker for every four Albanian citizens. The process of “bunkerization” which lasted Hoxha’s entire 40-year rule has fascinated historians but remained as obscure to the rest of the world as Albania itself. David Galjaard is hoping to change that. He’s a photographer and author of the award winning, and sold out photo book, Concresco, which paints a portrait of Albania and its landscape of historic paranoia.
As the Syrian revolution grinds on, middle-class Damascus clings to the rituals of everyday life. Photographer Emma LeBlanc and Phil Sands capture the other story of the revolution. It is the story of a tension that has come to define this new Syria in transition, though the quiet, frightened, quotidian voices of the majority are those less often heard amidst the shouts for freedom and those for president Bashar.
Photographer Keliy Anderson-Staley works with tintype photography, a medium that came out ten years after the daguerreotype. Just like the photographers of the 1850’s, she uses similar chemical recipes, period brass lenses, and wooden view cameras.
In 2005, the International Center of Photography opened an exhibit called “Young America”. The exhibit largely featured a collection of ghostly daguerreotypes - antique images made through the pioneer process that paved the way for modern photography. The exhibit opened to rave reviews - but within weeks many of the historic images began disappearing before the curators very eyes, aging decades in a matter of days.