Archive for May, 2012

Dylan’s Dog

May 29, 2012

The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors”.  Today President Barack Obama awarded this honorary medal to Bob Dylan and 12 others.  Here is a photo from the New York Daily News:

President Barack Obama awarding Bob Dylan the Freedom Award

President Barack Obama awarding Bob Dylan the Freedom Award, 29 May 2012

The official announcement of the Whitehouse gives details for all recipients.  About Bob Dylan, recently turned 71 years old, they said:

Bob Dylan
One of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century, Dylan released his first album in 1962.  Known for his rich and poetic lyrics, his work had considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and has had significant impact on American culture over the past five decades.  He has won 11 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award.  He was named a Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Art et des Lettres and has received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.  Dylan was awarded the 2009 National Medal of Arts.  He has written more than 600 songs, and his songs have been recorded more than 3,000 times by other artists.  He continues recording and touring around the world today.

For those who wish to look back I found this picture, going back to the 1980’s (?) of Bob Dylan in his studio, with his dog:

Bob Dylan in studio with his dog, 1980's (?) (Photo by David Michael Kennedy)

Bob Dylan in studio with his dog, 1980’s (?) (Photo by David Michael Kennedy)

Oh, how time flies.

Have a nice day,

Rita the dog [ignore video ad, if any, immediately below]

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Tiger-dogs in China

May 20, 2012

There seems to be a fad these days for some dog owners in China to try and turn their dogs into pandas or tigers.  Examples:

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I’m pleased they are getting some children involved:

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 Also, in China a kind-hearted mother dog is actually nursing some tiger cubs:

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Well, some of them look like tiger cubs, but to  me some look like regular kittens.  Either way it is a bit weird.

Note:  the images above come from “The Telegraph” and from “Buzzsugar”.

Have a nice day.

Rita the dog  [please ignore the video ad, if any, immediately below]

New York Dogs

May 16, 2012

American photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) documented the effects of the Great Depression on rural America.  The book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee with photos by Walker Evans was an outgrowth of this effort.  One of the iconic images from this book is:

portrait of Allie Mae Burroughs in 1936, age 27-- a tenant farmer's wife

Walker Evans–portrait of Allie Mae Burroughs in 1936, age 27– a tenant farmer’s wife

I say, this is an attractive and proud woman, old beyond her years, from constant hard work.  This is not to minimize the hardship and suffering of the rural poor in America.  Nonetheless, an interesting postlude to the Agee/Evans book is this 2005 report on the current status of the sharecroppers featured in the book, and of their descendants in Hale County Alabama .

Less well known, is that Walker Evans started taking photos of unsuspecting passengers on the New York subways in 1938.  For three years he did this using a camera hidden in his coat.  Many years later in 1966 the collected photos from this project were published in the Walker Evans book, Many are Called, with an introduction by James Agee written in 1940.

The first dog photo I would like to share with you today is one of those subway photos of Walker Evans:

Woman in Flower-Brim Hat and Dog--subway-NYC--1938--Walker Evans

Woman in Flower-Brim Hat and Dog–subway-NYC–1938–Walker Evans

Admittedly, he didn’t get the dog too well.  Oh well. Still it is an interesting shot, taken 74 years ago.

Not so well known as Walker Evans but worthy of your attention is the street photographer Leon Levinstein.  To quote the MET:

Leon Levinstein (American, 1910–1988), an unheralded master of street photography, is best known for his candid and unsentimental black-and-white figure studies made in New York City neighborhoods from Times Square and the Lower East Side to Coney Island.

The mere title of the Met’s show says yet more: “Hipsters, Hustlers, and Handball Players Leon Levinstein’s New York Photographs, 1950–1980“.

So here is a Levinstein shot:

Leon Levinstein--probably in New York--1956

Leon Levinstein–probably in New York–1956

And if you would like another you might have a look at beach bums.

Let us now turn to Garry Winogrand (1928-1984), yet another prolific street photographer of New York and elsewhere.  You can find a nice biography of him here, the first paragraph of which I quote:

Garry Winogrand’s too short career defined street photography for future generations of photographers. He made photos of New York City and it’s inhabitants. He traveled the country is search of America. He captured the banalities, the excitement and the complex social realities of a modern city. Winogrand shot incessantly, at the time of his death he had over 2500 rolls of undeveloped film, over 6500 rolls of film that had not been contact printed and 300 contact sheets that showed no signs of being edited. This was a total of over 300,000 photographs that he had taken but not bothered to look at.

But he did look carefully at thousands of his photos and ended up publishing four books of them.  To view a nice selection of his photos, look here.  As a dog I have culled out a few with dogs, for your viewing pleasure:

Garry Winogrand--Dogs in park--New York--1970

Garry Winogrand–Dogs in park–New York–1970

Here is another:

Garrry Winograd--untitled--early 1970's

Garrry Winograd–untitled–early 1970’s

The spotted one looks a bit like my sister Cosi and the shaggy thing in the back looks something like brother Jocko.  Finally, here is one with a dog that looks like me (far right):

Garry Winograd--untitled--date unknown

Garry Winograd–untitled–date unknown

But I’m not that fat, and I certainly don’t have uncontrollable ardor for any wiener dogs.

Changing pace, here is an amusing image by photographer Elliott Erwitt:

Felix, Gladys and Rover--Elliott Erwitt--New York--1976

Felix, Gladys and Rover–Elliott Erwitt–New York–1976

Here is a photo, photographer and date unknown, showing J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) with a dog contestant in a New York City dog show:

J. Edgar Hoover--with contestant NYC dog show (1960's ?)

J. Edgar Hoover–with contestant NYC dog show (1960’s ?)

Gordon Parks (1912-2006) is celebrated as a photographer, filmmaker, memoirist and breaker of color barriers”.  So said the New York Times LENS blog, here, where you can also find a selection of 19 of Gordon Parks early photos, including this one from May, 1943, sixty-eight years ago (and two months before my human father was born):

Gordon Parks--A woman and her dog--Harlem section--NY--May-1943

Gordon Parks–A woman and her dog–Harlem section–NY–May-1943

Our last photo for this post is by William P. Gottlieb, best known as a photographer of American jazz artists of the 1930’s and 1940’s.  It shows jazz and pop singing great, Billie Holiday, with her dog in 1946:

William P. Gottlieb--Billie Holiday with her dog, Mister, New York, 1946

William P. Gottlieb–Billie Holiday with her dog, Mister, New York, 1946

Thats it for today, folks.

Your best friend,

Rita the dog [ignore video ad, if any, immediately below]

My brother Jocko

May 15, 2012
My brother Jocko

My brother Jocko

Isn’t he a handsome guy?

Have a nice day.

Your friend,

Rita the dog [ignore video ad, if any, immediately below]

Bulldog with women

May 11, 2012

I suppose images of naked bulldogs with women are common.  Still you have to wonder if Mr. Helmut Newton (my previous post) knew about this painting of Francis Picabia:

Francis Picabia--Bulldog with women--1941-1942

Francis Picabia–Bulldog with women–1941-1942

Not that it matters,  but I was struck by the similarity of the subject matter.  Francis Picabia (French 1879 – 1953) was a pretty interesting fellow, being associated with both the Dada and Surrealist movements, certainly belied by the image above.  For more information about him check the link above (first mention of  his name).

Have a nice day,

Rita the dog  [ignore video ad, if any, immediately below]

Each to his own

May 10, 2012

My dad really likes this photo by Helmut Newton:

Photo by Helmut Newton

Photo by Helmut Newton

Personally, I think the dog is slightly out of focus.

Yours,

Rita the dog  [please ignore video ad, if any, below]

Underwater dog photography

May 9, 2012

There is a guy named Seth Castille that takes pictures of dogs while they are underwater.  I think it is incredible.  Here is an example:

Seth Casteel--underwater_dog

Seth Casteel–underwater_dog

You can find some more of Seth’s photos here.

Have a nice day.

Rita the dog  [ignore video ad, if any, immediately below]

The Polka Dot Queen

May 8, 2012

Her name is Yayoi Kusama and if she didn’t invent polka dots she may as well have. Sample art:

Japanese artist:  YAYOI KUSAMA--dotted pumpkin--2010

YAYOI KUSAMA–dotted pumpkin–2010

Born in 1929 she ain’t no spring chicken.  If she were, my sister Cosi would definitely be chasing after her.

I think she liked nudity and installations, for example:

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You might not think she is a dog artist, but she is, at the TATE no less:

Yayoi Kusama -- Polka Dot Dog 1

Yayoi Kusama — Polka Dot Dog 1 — At TATE

And here is another:

Another Yayoi Kusama dog

Another Yayoi Kusama dog 

Now here is the thing that makes me know she is not your everyday customer:  She offered to sleep with Richard Nixon if he would end the Vietnam war!

Bet you didn’t know that.

Your best friend,

Rita the dog [ignore video ad, if any, immediately below]

Advertisements without my permission

May 7, 2012

Not everything improves with time. Now wordpress inserts advertisements within my blog. I wish to state unequivocally that I do not endorse, nor will I purchase any product that I see advertised in my blog.

Furthermore, these advertisements appear without my permission.

Please join me in not buying products you see advertised here. Thank you.

Rita the dog. [ignore video ad, if any, immediately below]

Yours truly

May 7, 2012

At my (human) mother’s request, here a picture of me:

Rita, 11 March 2012

Yours truly, Rita the dog, 11 March 2012

It was a little hot that day.

Your best friend,

Rita the dog  [ignore video ad, if any, immediately below]