New Additions to the John Collier Jr. Collection

collierquesta.jpgThis week about 20 more photographs were added to the John Collier Jr. site on flickr (including this gem on the left taken in 1943 in Questa, New Mexico.) This is the first new set photos to be added since The American Image website went live back in January. (You can learn more about this project in our portfolio.) Our partners at the Maxwell Museum of the Anthropology will be adding more great Collier images over the next few months. The American Image site uses a flickr mashup, so as new photos are added they automatically appear within the Collection and inside the Shooting Script activity. Back on flickr, it was nice to see so many positive comments about the new photos. John Collier Jr. now has well over 100 contacts in flickr.

Along with the two photo mashups, the Propaganda Filmmaker a Flash-based online video editor that allows visitors to create their own short movies has been very active. (I posted more about the online video editor earlier this year.) Over 200 “propaganda films” have been made, with new ones appearing daily. Our visitors’ creativity in working with the 150 clips that are provided has shined through. An American Hero does a great job of telling a very literal story, while Oh! Irony! as the name suggests, conveys a very different message–all of this in less than 40 seconds! You can check out the Top Ten and the latest videos here, or make your own. It’s great to see what visitors will create when we develop interesting tools for them to use.


Le Maya Miatsil Kuxa’an (Mayan World Alive!)

This Sunday the third Mayan World Alive! event will be held, this time in San Rafael, California at the Pickleweed Community Center. The event is free. (The previous two openings were held at the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco and the Governor’s palace in Merida, Mexico). This cultural event and exhibit will feature activities, music, dancing and a photographic exhibit showing some of the photographs we took for the Traditions of the Sun project last year. NASA’s website has more on the traveling photo exhibit.

Below are a few of the images we took for the project. (Update: 10-22-06. You can learn more about the Traditions of the Sun: The Yucatan book and Traditions of the Sun: The Yucatan interactive in the ideum portfolio.)

Sunrise at Dzibilchaltun in the northen Yucatan. The building is known as the Sun Temple or the House of the Seven Dolls. This Late Classic building functioned as an observatory by marking the equinoxes, as well as the summer and winter solstices.

The Caracol, or Observatory at Chichen Itza served as an observatory for gathering astronomical data about the sun, moon, and planet Venus. Having the opportunity to shoot aerial photos was one of the highlights of the project. There is a slideshow with more aerial photograhs.
The Great Palace of Sayil is a beautiful and often overlooked struture. Sayil is located just a few kilometers from the more famous site of Uxmal.

El Castillo, or Castle, is the central pyramid of Chichen Itza. Notice the shadow on the right side of the pyramid. This appears as a great serpent which descends the staircase throughout the afternoon hours during the equinox. This photograph was taken in Spring of 2005. As you can see, huge crowds come to witness the event.


Remembering Nagasaki

04.jpgToday is the 61st anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The event was marked as it is each year, with a moment of silence at the city’s Peace Park near “ground zero.”

Eleven years ago on the 50th anniversary, while I was at the Exploratorium, I was involved in producing a website, Nagasaki Journey (with Ali Sant, Susan Schwartzenberg and others) which included photographs taken the day after the bombing. A Japanese Army photographer Yosuke Yamahata captured the devastation in black and white.

The website had an active discussion area (long since closed) which clearly demonstrated the unique qualities of the Web to encourage conversation. We received comments from all over the world, including one from an eye witness of the bombing. At the time, having discussions on the Web was still a new concept.

This was the early days of the Web. We were designing pages for Mosaic and Netscape 1.0. We had to create the layout without even the benefit HTML tables.

Even though Nagasaki Journey website is now quite dated, the photographs remain powerful. In seeing these images we are reminded of just how terrible war is and why it is so important to seek peaceful resolutions to human conflict.


Rainbows over Pueblo Bonito

We just back from a quick weekend trip to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. For those of you who are familiar with Ideum, you probably know that we’ve been involved with the park over the last few years, and have developed the website and a book for NASA’s Traditions of the Sun project focusing on archaeoastronomy in Chaco Canyon.

This weekend we were in the park to help photograph a possible lunar alignment, but due to cloud cover, that didn’t quite turn out as we had hoped. However, I was lucky enough to be able to capture a beautiful double rainbow over the great house of Pueblo Bonito.


The park received a great deal of much needed rain just before we arrived and during our stay. It was great to see Chaco wash flowing although we had to cross it (waist deep!) to try for our lunar alignment shot. On the hike back that evening we were treated to an amazing show as an electrical storm raged off to the east.


I hope to post some more photos from Chaco Culture later this week, we’re off to San Francisco tonight. We’re going to photograph Scramble for Africa, an installation by Yinka Shonibare. It’s part of the Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora exhibition at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD). These photographs will be used in an interactive exhibit we’re developing with the museum.


More Summer Solstice Photographs

Here’s some more photographs from our trip to Chaco Culture National Historical Park on the Summer Solstice. As I mentioned in the previous post the dancers are Hopi and are from Second Mesa, Arizona.
Deer dancer makes a call.

Three girls with feathers.

The youngest dancer.

A hunter dancer.
The entire group in the Plaza of the great house, Pueblo Bonito.


Chaco Culture on the Solstice

It was an amazing afternoon at Chaco Culture National Historical Park. We saw two performances of Hopi dancers and took quite a few photographs.

We talked with the two leaders of the group, Bertram Tsavadawa and Ruben Saufkie. They are from Second Mesa, one of a number Hopi Villages in eastern Arizona.

Ruben told us about the importance and symbolism of the dances and their impression of Chaco Canyon, a place that they (and other Puebloan people) consider an ancestral homeland.

He also told us about their water crisis and a recent event in which he and Bert participated in. They ran from “Hopi” to Mexico City to raise awareness about the issue.

It was great to spend an afternoon watching the group dance. Here’s a few photographs, we hope to post more tomorrow.

Ruben Saufkie

Dancers smile.

Colorful feathers.
A young eagle dancer.

An even younger eagle dancer.


Off to Chaco for Summer Solstice

We are heading out tomorrow to Chaco Culture National Historical Park to photograph Hopi dancers performing in celebration of the summer solstice. The park which was a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture, is located in the northwest corner of the state.

Back in 2004, I took a number of photographs of another group of dancers on the solstice, the Tewa Dancers from the North for the Traditions of the Sun project. Here’s a few of the shots from that trip.

Valerie Martinez performs the Deer Dance. The park used this photo for its graphic display at the Pueblo Bonito overlook.

Curt Garcia performs the Deer Dance.

A close up of Curt Garcia.

Unfortunately we will miss the sunrise ceremony, but we will be there in time to see two afternoon performances in the great house of Pueblo Bonito. While myself and Kemper will be at Chaco taking photos, Zeke will be a world away at the Ruby on Rails Conference in Chicago. It’s tough to think of two events that could be more different.

We’ll be posting photographs from the solstice later in the week. Perhaps Zeke will fill us in about the conference next week.

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