Bronx Museum Exhibits the Photos of Alvin Baltrop, Who Spent Years Documenting New York City’s Underground Gay Community

Alvin Baltrop, Untitled (Portrait of Marsha P. Johnson)
Alvin Baltrop, Untitled (Portrait of Marsha P. Johnson)
Bronx Museum

The name Alvin Baltrop probably doesn’t ring a bell, but an exhibition at The Bronx Museum of the Arts hopes to change that. The exhibit, “The Life and Times of Alvin Baltrop,” displays more than 200 photographs that Baltrop snapped between 1975 and 1986.

Baltrop started photography as a teen, and while he was in the Navy during Vietnam, he photographed his sailor friends doing fun things like sticking their tongues out. The Bronx-born artist then returned to New York and received an education from New York City’s School of Visual Arts, graduating in 1975. When the West Side Elevated Highway collapsed in 1973, a section of the West Side piers, near the Hudson River, became a fertile ground for gay culture and experimental artists. Baltrop photographed people sunbathing on the pier and in the midst of sexual acts; homeless people in dilapidated warehouses; and crime scenes. He also snapped a black-and-white portrait of transgender Stonewall Riots activist Marsha P. Johnson, which is part of the exhibit.

“Like the startling images of Peter Moore, Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar, and Gordon Matta-Clark, the photographs of Alvin Baltrop memorialize New York City at a breaking-point moment amid ruin and chaos,” the press release reads. (The Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. supported the exhibition.) The Bronx Museum pulled the photos from their permanent collection, from private collections, and from Baltrop’s personal archive—the first time those prints have been shown to the public.

Baltrop’s work arrived at a time when the LGBTQ community struggled with AIDS and civil rights, and Baltrop did his part in infusing his subjects with humanity. Before his untimely death from cancer in 2004, Baltrop hadn’t received much recognition and had only put on a few exhibitions, including one held in a gay nightclub. In conjunction with the exhibition, which runs until February 9, 2020, museum-goers can pick up a 200-page catalog of his works from the Bronx Museum Store.

Alvin Baltrop, Pier 52 (Gordon Matta-Clark's "Day's End"), 1975–1986
Alvin Baltrop, Pier 52 (Gordon Matta-Clark's "Day's End"), 1975–1986, Silver gelatin print, Bronx Museum of the Arts Permanent Collection.
Bronx Museum of the Arts

Alvin Baltrop, Pier 52 (Gordon Matta-Clark's "Day's End"), 1975–1986.
Alvin Baltrop, Pier 52 (Gordon Matta-Clark's "Day's End"), 1975–1986, Silver gelatin print
Bronx Museum of the Arts Permanent Collection

Paris Musées Digitized More than 100,000 Major Artworks and Made Them Downloadable

“Setting Sun on the Seine at Lavacourt” by Claude Monet
“Setting Sun on the Seine at Lavacourt” by Claude Monet
Paris Musées, CC0

The museums of Paris are home to some of the most influential artworks on Earth, and if you live outside France, you no longer need a passport to see them. As Smithsonian reports, Paris Musées—the organization behind 14 of the city's iconic museums—has digitized more than 100,000 paintings and other pieces of art and made them freely available to the public.

The institutions under Paris Musées's umbrella include the Petit Palais, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and Maison de Balzac. It started sharing the work in its inventory online in 2016, and has since uploaded more than 320,000 pictures.

Roughly a third of the images in that digital collection were published in January 2020. This recent update was part of Paris Musées's initiative toward embracing open-access art. Every one of the 100,000-plus images uploaded in this month fall under the Creative Commons Zero license, which means they are fully in the public domain. Works like "Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine" by Gustave Courbet, “Setting Sun on the Seine at Lavacourt” by Claude Monet, and "Portrait of Ambroise Vollard” by Paul Cézanne, are now not only free to view, but free to download as well.

"Portrait of Ambroise Vollard” by Paul Cézanne
"Portrait of Ambroise Vollard” by Paul Cézanne
Paris Musées, CC0

Paris Musées eventually hopes to transition all the out-of-copyright items in its collection—which comprises roughly 1 million works—to a Creative Commons Zero license. The most recent image dump is just the first round, and other art will become available gradually as the institution carefully evaluates the copyright status of each piece. It plans to someday expand its public domain artworks to external platforms like Wikimedia Commons, but for now, you can find them on Paris Musées's website.

[h/t Smithsonian]

Apple Wants to Show Off Your Best Night Mode Photos as Part of a New Campaign

Austin Mann, Apple
Austin Mann, Apple

Calling all aspiring photographers who nabbed an iPhone 11 for the express purpose of trying out its fancy camera capabilities: It’s time for your night mode photos to see the light of day.

As Travel + Leisure reports, Apple is currently hosting a competition to find the best night mode photos taken on an iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max. You can submit your photos through January 29, after which a carefully selected team of experts will evaluate all submissions and announce the five winning images on March 4.

Judges include Arem Duplessis, the former design director of The New York Times Magazine; Darren Soh, an award-winning photographer from Singapore; Tyler Mitchell, the first black photographer to shoot the cover of American Vogue (his subject, rather memorably, was Beyoncé); and several other esteemed members of the industry.

golden gate bridge shot on iphone 11
The Golden Gate Bridge, shot on an iPhone 11 Pro.
Jude Allen, Apple

In addition to appearing on Apple’s homepage and Instagram (which has more than 21 million followers), the photos could also be featured in digital campaigns, Apple stores, third-party photo exhibitions, or even on physical billboards. In addition to all the exposure, the winners will be paid a licensing fee in exchange for granting the company complete freedom to use their work for one year.

To submit your shots, you can either share them on a public Instagram, Twitter, or Weibo account with the hashtags #ShotoniPhone and #NightmodeChallenge, or email your images to shotoniphone@apple.com—just be sure to title your files in this format: ‘firstname_lastname_nightmode_iPhonemodel.’

If you’re new to the iPhone 11 and aren’t quite sure how to snap photos in night mode, it’s easier than you might realize. The feature comes on automatically in dim or dark places and decides on a capture time for you (which you can always adjust). And if you think editing your photos afterward will increase your chances of winning the competition, that’s fine, too: Apple will accept photos edited in the app or even with non-Apple software.

You might want to avoid capturing the Eiffel Tower after dark, however—here’s why.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER