Even crooners got soul: Bing Crosby, May 3, 1903 - 1977…
Photo: Loving shot of Bing Crosby’s balls…
Keith Sharp (b. May 3, 1968): Freckles, 2004 - from the Same While Different series - Toned gelatin silver prints, edition of 15.
Greg Conniff (b. May 3, 1944): Iowa County, Wisconsin, October 1990, 1990, printed 1991 - gelatin silver print on paper (Smithsonian)
Robert de Niro, Sr. (1922 - May 3, 1999): Lola Montez, 1958-9 - Charcoal and pencil on paper (Hirshhorn)
William Mortensen: The Pit and the Pendulum, after Edgar Allan Poe
William Mortensen: Preparation for the Sabbot
It is harder to imagine a photographer whose aesthetics and purpose of photography is further removed from that of Jacob Riis, than fellow Danish-American William Mortensen…
William H. Mortensen - American art photographer (Jan. 1, 1897 - 1965): Self-Portrait as The Mad Hatter
Some of Jacob Riis’s work:
Mullen’s Alley (February 12, 1888)
“There were thousands of homeless children on the streets (of NYC), often abandoned by their parents… and in the summer months 3-4 babies would suffocate in the airless tenements every night.” — J.R.
"Dens of Death" in New York City, 1890
"When the ‘dens of death’ were in Baxter Street, big barracks crowded out the old shanties. …I remember the story of those shown in the picture. They had been built only a little while when complaints came to the Board of Health of smells in the houses. A sanitary inspector was sent to find the cause. He followed the smell down in the cellar, and digging there discovered the water pipe was a blind. It had simply been run into the ground and was not connected with the sewer." — J.R., How the Other Half Lives
"Craps in the Hall of the Newboys’s Lodging-House", from How the Other Half Lives, 1901
In photography and photo-journalism, we celebrate the birthday of Danish social activist, muckraker, journalist, lecturer and campaigner - but first and foremost photographer, Jacob Riis (May 3, 1849 - 1914), who emigrated to the US at age 21, expecting Broadway to be populated by Comanches and buffaloes, but who found a far more disturbing truth there. In 1891 he published his immensely influential book How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York documenting the horrendous conditions under which the immigrant population of the great metropolis lived and toiled…
Above: Portrait of Jacob Riis, c. 1900 by Frances Benjamin Johnston - Library of Congress
We celebrate playwright, novelist and screen writer William Inge (May 3, 1913 - 1973), whose dramatic work has been unjustly neglected for decades. Works such as Picnic and Bus Stop are among Inge’s accomplishments…
Inge often addressed issues concerning homosexuality directly, or, more frequently indirectly, in his work. (His ironically titled one-act play The Tiny Closet is top-notch teaching material for classes getting introduced to queer theory and the analysis of gay and lesbian lit.) He, himself, led the life of a closeted gay man…
Link Wray and His Ray Men: Comanche, 1959
Link Wray (May 2, 1929 - 2005) was one of the first Native American recording artists to produce a major hit (“Rumble” - 1958).
Link played a heavy, distorted lead guitar and his raw sound has influenced power guitarists from Pete Townsend to Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.
Wray lived his last decades in Denmark and is buried in Copenhagen.
Photo of Link, Munich, 1977
Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18 - II. Adagio sostenuto
Evgeny Kissin, piano
Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra