photography

A portrait isn't just about capturing someone's literal likeness. It's about capturing the inner essence. So how is it done? And how is it done well? We host a roundtable discussion with Kansas City artists – from painter to doll-maker – to explore the ins and outs of portraiture in various mediums.

Guests: 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After a carol from the Heartland Men's Chorus, we delve into The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art exhibition featuring a 16th century piece of music you have to hear to believe. Then, we explore how museums serve as places for community congregation, not simply as repositories for art.

Photographer Seph Lawless has been photographing abandoned malls and deserted locations for over a decade. But he calls Metro North Mall the creepiest in America. A chat with Seph about his Metro North photos, and also with a KC Star reporter about the state of our malls — and mall development — in town.

Plus, an encore presentation with a local author whose Landry Park books for teens depict a dystopian Kansas City in the year 2300.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of the Hall Family Foundation.

When Dave Heath died in June at the age of 85, The New York Times described him as a "photographer of isolation."   

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has the largest institutional holding of Heath's work in the United States, and the museum's new exhibition Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath — with nearly 200 photographs from the late 1940s to 2007, from black and white to color — explores themes of loneliness and the desire for connection. 

Courtesy Ron Anderson

Ron Anderson is a 58-year-old photographer who has just wrapped up his thesis project. And though he’s been a professional photographer or photography instructor for about 35 years, he still feels the weight of this final assignment.

“Assuming that my thesis exhibition went well," he says, "I should graduate with a 4.0."

It was his position at Lenexa’s Art Institutes International, where he's taught for about seven years, that spurred him to earn a master’s in photography; full-time faculty members there are expected to have an advanced degree or be working on one.

Antonio Masiello / For ZUMA Press

A man concealed by a protective suit carries a white body bag — a child victim of Ebola — while bystanders look on. A boy is passed to shore as a boat crammed with refugees attempts to dock on a rocky coastline.

A young girl wearing a tiara and holding an award smiles confidently, while her companion looks upset and uncomfortable in her sash and bow-tie. A man, possibly their father or coach, poses victoriously for beauty pageant cameras.

An awesome snapshot of Kansas City is more than just picking an iconic location. Up to Date host Steve Kraske talks with three professional photographers who say  making a great photo takes plenty of preparation, a good plan and, in some cases, a tiny hexacopter.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

They're a Northland brother and sister who have traveled the world — he as a food writer and photographer, she in a career that's included time as an Olympic figure skater and a local TV news anchor. We chat with Bonjwing and Bonyen Lee in a family Portrait Session show.

Guests:

Courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

In a new unique three-venue exhibition, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art brings photography of the late, Cuban-born Jesse A. Fernández to Kansas City. The curator of the exhibition joins us to talk about the work and the life of the artist.

Guest:

Henry Grossman

With their cameras, the best photographers can change how we see and think about the world around us. For more than 50 years, Henry Grossman has made portraits of cultural and political  legends, including The Beatles, Muhammad Ali and President John F. Kennedy.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Ghostly, metallic-hued faces stare out from century-old photographs. They neatly line the walls on narrow shelves in Nick Vaccaro’s home office in Lawrence, Kansas.

“Let me get this out of the way,” said Vaccaro, as he opened the door of a lighted display and reached in for a small leather case. Inside, there’s a tintype: an innovation from the 1860s that brought photography to the masses.

Courtesy of Joshua Hoffine

One photo depicts a corpse lying on the dirt in a white dress, black spiders streaming out of her mouth, cradling a plump sleeping baby.

Another shows a little girl kneeling on her bed in her pink bedroom, screaming as the devil emerges from a jagged split in the floor.

These photos are the work of local photographer Joshua Hoffine. Clearly, he doesn't take your typical wedding or graduation photos; his specialty is "horror photography" and the young kids in the photos are his daughters.

Courtesy of Joshua Hoffine

Joshua Hoffine is a local photographer. He doesn't take your typical wedding or graduation portraits, though — his specialty is "horror photography," and he features his daughters in his photo shoots.

Guest:

Blake Little

Blake Little made pictures of beautiful cowboys.

Little was a professional photographer, doing film and television work and shooting magazine covers in Los Angeles. When he and a friend went to their first rodeo, he wanted to be a cowboy, too.

“We were hooked immediately, by the whole scene, watching it, imagining that these guys were really doing this, and they were gay,” Little would later say of the first International Gay Rodeo Association event he attended, in Los Angeles in 1988.

Roy Inman

For all the reasons one thinks of a small town in America — a small, blue-collar community where people leave their doors unlocked and kids play ball in the streets — Picher, Oklahoma was a fantastic place to grow up.

Ed Keheley remembers the closeness of his community.

“The adults in the community basically policed all the kids. You were afraid to do something, if anyone saw it they would immediately call your parents,” Keheley told Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up To Date.  

Picher, Oklahoma rode the wave of lead and zinc mining in the region that began in the late 19th Century. By 1980 it was an EPA Superfund site and by the 2010 Census, fewer than 20 persons were counted as residents. We look at how Picher is remembered through former residents and through the lens of a local artist.

Guests:

courtesy: E.G. Schempf

Letting go of things can be tough, from old letters to baby clothes to extra weight. That’s why two artists are trying to live by example and encourage others to lighten their load.

You could say the Freeing Throwers art project — started by Mo Dickens, a gallery assistant at the Belger Arts Center, and artist Adriane Herman — was sparked by a string of losses, including the death of a beloved pet. 

Robert Clark / Feathers: Displays of Brilliant Plumage, Chronicle Books, 2016

Kansas native Robert Clark has grown up to be a National Geographic photographer whose most recent book depicts beautiful feathers from all over the world. How a Kansas youth spent feather-collecting and a job photographing athletes for a Hays, Kansas newspaper helped his career take off.

Guest:

We check in with two local artists who, about a year ago, quit their jobs to travel the country in a 16-foot Airstream trailer.

Guests:

Courtesy Archive Collective

Cellphone photo enthusiasts have a few more days to shape one of the pieces of art in a downtown Kansas City gallery.

Instagram users who post photos with the hashtag #bigamericanpicture can see their images on a computer screen mounted to a wall and hooked up to an iPad showing the feed of a group of Kansas City photographers called the Archive Collective.

“So anyone who uses the hashtag can be present in the show,” says Archive Collective member Megan Pobywajlo.

Stephen Locke/Tempest Gallery

Storms in the Midwest can be dangerous, but there’s often beauty to be found in a streak of lightning or a billowing supercell.

"Chasing Weather," an exhibition at the Kansas City Public Library's downtown branch, combines 17 vivid storm photographs by Stephen Locke with poems by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. 

courtesy of David Lane

For Kansas City photographer David Lane, the night sky is a canvas where he composes Milky Way-themed works of art.

“The glow that is in those pictures is from 250 billion suns," Lane says. "To see that represented, it helps give our place in the universe."

Lori Nix

What would the world look like without humans? In her homemade dioramas, Lori Nix, a Kansas-born artist, depicts a post-apocalyptic world where nature has taken over.

Nix's photographs of her dioramas are on display at the Kansas Focus Gallery at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. She'll be giving a talk about her work on March 24.

Guest:

David Lane / davidlaneastrophotography.com

A Kansas Citian with a lifelong love for the night sky took up astrophotography when he realized that some of his favorite images of space were captured here on earth, with no more than a telescope for technological support. Now his photographs are routinely recognized by such organizations as NASA, The Huffington Post and TIME Magazine.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Inside the gallery, it’s a scene familiar to anyone who attends art openings: People are enjoying the oil paintings and large-scale photographs bathed in natural light, snacking on cheese and crackers while lively conversation bounces off the brick walls and polished wood floors.

Outside, though, is the wide-open silence of the Kansas Flint Hills.

This particular art gallery is surrounded by ranch lands in rural Wabaunsee County, where there are many more cattle than people. The gallery's in a place called Volland, which is basically the intersection of a two-lane highway and a dirt road. 

Abraham Lincoln is remembered for his skill as an orator, but the president also utilized other tools to better connect with voters. His use of photography, which was a cutting-edge technology in his day and age, helped him to victory in the tough 1860 election. 

Guest:

EG Schempf / Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

The largest collection of Kansas City artists in the metropolitan area can be found at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at Johnson County Community College, according to executive director Bruce Hartman.

And now, there's also a gallery exclusively devoted to artists with ties to the state of Kansas called the Kansas Focus Gallery. 

Courtesy Photo / The Gordon Parks Foundation

Kansas-born civil rights photographer Gordon Parks had a consistent message through the years, according to his great niece.

“The power of choosing a weapon, shooting a camera proved to be more powerful than shooting a gun,” Robin Hickman said of her uncle during an interview this week with Gina Kaufmann, host of KCUR’s Central Standard.  

Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Photographer Gordon Parks was one of the first African Americans to show white America what discrimination looked like to people of color. But his story begins in poverty and obscurity, in Fort Scott, Kansas. A window into his life, his beliefs and his work, based on conversations with those who knew him.

Guests:

Library of Congress

A photograph of murdered Chief Big Foot, his body twisted in the snow, is among the most famous images in the history of the American West. U.S. Cavalry troops killed the Lakota leader and more than 200 other American Indian men, women, and children at Wounded Knee on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Dec. 29, 1890. Traveling reporters and photographers captured the scene and its aftermath, making it a national news event.

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