NICHOLAS VREELAND: A Monk's Journal Tuscany + India Enthronement

Khyongla Rato Rinpoche in Tuscany
Photograph (c) Nicholas Vreeland

In June, Khyongla Rato Rinpoche and Photographer + Buddhist Monk, Nicholas Vreeland, were visiting friends in Tuscany before heading to Milan where they attended Teachings from HH the Dalai Lama. Rinpoche then headed back to America and Vreeland proceeded to India to assume his new position as Abbott of Rato Monastery.

Early morning, Nicholas being led to the Abbot's quarters
Rato Monastery, Karnataka, India, July 2, 2012

Khen Rinpoche Nicholas Vreeland
Enthronement Ceremony, July 2, 2012
Rato Monastery, Karnataka, India

"The Dalai Lama has given Nicholas Vreeland, Director of The Tibet Center in New York, a daunting new assignment. On July 2, Vreeland will be enthroned as the new abbot of Rato Monastery in southern India, one of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism. He will be the first Westerner to hold such a position. In making the appointment, the Dalai Lama told Vreeland, “Your special duty (is) to bridge Tibetan tradition and (the) Western world.”

"For many observers, the choice of an American for the role may be a surprising one, and perhaps even more surprising given the background of this particular American. Vreeland had a privileged upbringing — the son of a U.S. diplomat and the grandson of Diana Vreeland, the legendary editor of Vogue magazine during the 1960s. When he first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in his 20s, he was working as a photographer in some of the industry’s top studios." (Read full story here)

"...was educated in Europe, North Africa and the United States. He later pursued a career in photography and in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s worked as an assistant to Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Vreeland was introduced to his teacher, Khyongla Rato Rinpoche and The Tibet Center in New York by John and Elizabeth Avedon. After many years of study, he went to India to become a monk in 1985 and was awarded a Geshe Degree (Doctorate of Divinity) in 1998." (Read the full story here)

"The first solo exhibition of Vreeland’s work, Return to the Roof of the World, was held at the Leica Gallery in New York from April 22nd to June 4th of 2011. Just this July, Vreeland was appointed Abbot of Rato Dratsang by the Dalai Lama. He’s the first Westerner appointed Abbot of a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery with the task to help bridge East and West." And we wish him well! (Read the full story here)

Le Journal de la Photographie: Nicholas Vreeland

August Update: Vreeland with Rato Monastery's new vehicle.


ARLES REPORT: Pentti Sammallahti Retrospective

Photographs © Pentti Sammallahti
Click Images to Enlarge

Pentti Sammallahti Retrospective

Photographs © Pentti Sammallahti

Martinmere, England, 1996
Photographs © Pentti Sammallahti

Pentti Sammallahti Retrospective

Pentti Sammallahti Retrospective

"Pentti Sammallahti's work is a kind of space odyssey. From his viewpoint Earth is no higher than a man or bird, it's white as snow and just as pure. It is oddly peopled with familiar animals who make their way through the solitude of a place as yet undefined. It's a site unfinished to the extent that it's panoramic views frame no space; instead suggest a lateral continuity, a slipping toward somewhere else whether it be a place of ice or mist. Pentti Sammallahti is Finnish, a man of the North. Unable to tolerate either sun or heat, he is perfect connivance with a natural world in which he takes the role of fascinated predator, and whose austerity he sublimates in his work."

Exhibition presented by The Mejan Association

Les Recontres Arles Photography
Magasin Electrique
to September 23

"Avec l'aimable autoristion de sepis EYE, New York, de Photo Gallery International, Tokyo and the Pictura, Bloomington Gallery, Indiana. Mounting on canvas by Plasticollage."

The entrance has the only sign for the Pentti Sammallahti Retrospective, after you enter you are on your own trying to find where it's located.

Building #5
The Pentti Sammallahti Retrospective was located in the farthest building from the entrance in this large Industrial Park. No one at the Information desk had heard of this exhibit

Photo-Eye Gallery's Vicki Bohannon introduced me to the work of Finnish Photographer Pentti Sammallahti. Because she passed on her love of Sammallahti's images and exquisite toned silver gelatin prints, I went on a hunt for this exhibition in Arles. It shouldn't have been hard to find, however the persons at the Les Recontres Arles Photography Festival Information desk were impatient explaining where it was located, although there was no reason to be unhelpful - the office was empty, no lines, no crowds, no one else but us. We had to go back and ask a second time as no one could tell us the location they gave us. Second time, just as unhelpful, finally just having a taxi take us. Once at the location, a large industrial park, no one at their Information desk had heard of Pentti Sammallahti and couldn't tell us if there was a show of his work there or not. After we finally saw his name listed somewhere on our own, no one seemed to know which of the five buildings his work was in. After trekking to the farthest-out building, there was an entrance with his name on it, but once inside there was no indication how to find his work which turned out to be up only one of the three different staircases on the 2nd floor. This was one of the most beautiful exhibitions as a whole. Worth searching for and spending time in.


ARLES REPORT: François Burgun's "Good Luck" at Hotel de L'Amphitheatre

Photograph © François Burgun

Photograph © François Burgun

Photograph © François Burgun

"An old machine of the 1930's lost in an amusement park. In 32 characters, you register a wish on a coin to remember...The enlargement of a corrupted coin laughs at our hopes, always vain." –François Cheval, Director, Musée Nicéphore Niépce

Series: Good Luck / Salem Massachusetts, USA
on display at Hôtel de l’Amphithéâtre, Arles

François Burgun Exposition, Hôtel de l’Amphithéâtre, Arles
listed as many Photo Curators favorite Hotel here)

Look for signs around Arles to Burgun's Exposition

A few blocks from the Roman amphitheatre, Arènes d'Arles (dating back to 90 AD and seating over 20,000 spectators for chariot races and gladiator battles) is the beautiful Hôtel de l’Amphithéâtre which participates annually in the summer Photography Festival, The Rencontres d'Arles.

L’Amphithéâtre is currently exhibiting Photographer François Burgun's series, Good Luck / Salem Massachusetts USA until September 23. Burgun, from the east of France, received his Masters from The Académie des Beaux-Arts after attending the National High School of Photography in Arles where he graduated with honors in 2003. This year, Burgun began as "résidence d'artiste" with the Musée Nicephore Niepce, to work and prepare his exhibitions with curator Francois Cheval.

"I often went to the USA because I'm crazy about the culture which is so different from mine. I decided to go to the witches place (Salem, Massachusetts) to find the famous Salem Willows Park . Everything there was very cool. I found this old wooden machine which creates good memories in medal coins. I thought about all the people who had written something before ... and what is their life
now? The Good Luck was so ironic that I decided to write about real life and if you survived it would be really Good Luck!"–François Burgun

Burgun's next exhibition, Narratives and Narrative Forms, will be in the
Lianzhou International Photo Festival, November 2012.

François Burgun
Good Luck / Salem Massachusetts USA
Exhibition to September 23, 2012
Hôtel de l’Amphithéâtre, Arles

...more on Arles here and here

[Les Arènes is a painting by Vincent van Gogh, Arles, Fall, 1888]


ARLES REPORT: Josef Koudelka "Gypsies" Book Dummies

Roumanie (Romania), 1968
Photograph © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Click Images to Enlarge

Photographs © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Les Recontres Arles Photography
Josef Koudelka Exhibition, Arles, France

Les Recontres Arles Photography
Koudelka's exceptional photographs exhibited for the first time together


"In 1975, the first edition of Josef Koudelka's photographs by Robert Delpire in a book that became a myth and was never published again. In 2011, Josef Koudelka exhumed a former dummy of the same book and decided to re-publish it with a larger amount of photographs."

The Koudelka exhibition's exceptional photographs, exhibited for the first time together, tells through published documents the story of those two books published with a 36 year gap."

"Dummy identical to the book published in 2011, which will be published in this small format in autumn 2013."

"Czech Dummy (Please don't lose it again)"

Letter from Elliott Erwitt reporting to Josef Koudelka on the loss of the "Gypsie" dummy.

"In 1975, the first edition of Josef Koudelka's photographs by Robert Delpire in a book that became a myth and was never published again."

The Koudelka exhibition's exceptional photographs, exhibited for the first time together, tells through published documents the story of those two books published with a 36 year gap."

Les Recontres Arles Photography
Josef Koudelka Exhibition to September 23

Exhibition produced with the collaboration of Magnum Photos. Prints by Vojin Mitrovic, Georges Fevre, Picto. Framing partly by Circad, Paris.

...more on Arles here and here



Oaxaca, Mexico 2010
Photograph © Michelle Frankfurter

Home of Mercy Migrant Shelter, Arriaga, Chiapas, 2009
Photograph © Michelle Frankfurter

Hermanos en El Camino Migrant Shelter, Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 2009
Photograph © Michelle Frankfurter

Orizaba, Veracruz, 2010
Photograph © Michelle Frankfurter

Hermanos en El Camino Migrant Shelter, Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 2009
Photograph © Michelle Frankfurter

"Destino, meaning both "destination" and "destiny” in Spanish, is a selection of images from Photo-Eye 'Photographer's Showcase' artist Michelle Frankfurter portraying the perilous journey across Mexico of undocumented Central American migrants as they attempt to enter the United States in pursuit of a better life. The unprecedented wave of Central American migration to the U.S. began in the 1980s – the consequence of bloody civil wars, crippling economic policies and relentless poverty. In a wandering odyssey, migrants travel by rail, relying on the network of freight trains inexorably lurching across Mexico...Victimized both by global economic trade policies that make earning a living wage in their native countries impossible and by a broken immigration policy in the United States, these itinerant Central Americans represent the quintessential underdog." Photographers Showcase, Photo-Eye


ARLES: Le Journal Reports Daily from the Arles PhotoFestival July 2–Sept 23


Le Journal de la Photographie has been covering everything from the ongoing Photography Festival in Arles, France. If you are vacationing in the South of France, many of the exhibits will continue through September 23. Read Le Journal's daily Arles reports: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

+ + +

P.S. Note my "Interview with Anne Wilkes Tucker", Curator of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, is listed as "Best of Last Week" on Le Journal's site.



Guitarist's Joel V. Beaver and Matthew Avedon with Jay Sanford on Bass
Don't forget to leave an expression of appreciation $$ in the Fire bucket!

Moto: good food and great music by candle-light

We had a fantastic evening last night lstening to some good ol' Gypsy Jazz at Moto until midnight. Guitarist Matthew Avedon, Jay Sanford on Bass, played in the style of legendary Gypsy Guitarist Django Reinhardt along side Guitarist Joel V. Beaver (of the Lower Eastside Hot Club). Beaver studied with guitar master Stephane Wrembel who scored Bistro Fada the theme to Woody Allen's 2012 Academy Award winning film Midnight in Paris. Remember Wrembel performing live during this year’s Oscar’s telecast? French-born guitarist/composer Stephane Wrembel learned his craft among the Gypsies at campsites in the French countryside. Now Brooklyn-based, he is one of the most original guitar voices in contemporary music.

I don't have a recording from last night's transcendent performance by Avedon, Beaver and Sanford at Moto, so here are a couple of great YouTube video's of Wrembel playing Bistro Fada from Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.

Stephane Wrembel plays "Bistro Fada"
his theme song for Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris
(on the Kojo Nnamdi Show)

Matthew Avedon Trio, Tuesday's 9 to midnight Cafe Moto, 394 Broadway (Hooper x Keap), Hewes St (J or M train), Brooklyn. Don't forget to leave an expression of appreciation $$ in the Fire bucket!


LE JOURNAL: New Logo Design

Design by Art Director Magnus Naddermier

La Lettre de la Photographie is dead. Long live Le Journal de la Photographie. We waited for the right moment to tell you. With the opening of the Arles Festival , the most important photography festival in the world, the moment is now.

Why the title change? Because the adventure that began 18 months ago; has since exploded into notoriety and audience, that the term 'La Lettre', very French, was disconcerting to the majority of the readers from the 113 countries that are with us daily, that it was in total discrepancy with the coverage of the news in the world of photography, and would have hindered the new rubrics, territories and areas that we want to cover. As of this morning, you can discover our new logo. Starting in September, a new layout will be presented, other applications will also follow. Le Journal de la Photographie welcomes you aboard! Jean-Jacques Naudet