Steve McCurry: Unguarded, Untold, Iconic; The Privy Diggers; Heyne Bogut

Steve McCurry: Unguarded, Untold, Iconic
Producer: Karen Smyles

Friday Arts goes to the Michener Museum in Doylestown to check out a breathtaking exhibit by photographer Steve McCurry. The exhibit will be there July 16th thru October 23rd, 2016. Best known for his 1985 National Geographic cover photograph Afghan Girl, Steve McCurry continues to fascinate with his stunning photographs of locations from around the globe.

The exhibit highlights images taken throughout his decades-long relationship with Afghanistan, its landscape and, most importantly, its people. Visitors are able to view both new and familiar photographs and experience Afghanistan through McCurry’s thought-provoking and visually arresting lens.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Newtown Square, McCurry currently keeps studios in both New York City and Exton, PA. Friday Arts sits down to talk with McCurry in his Exton studio to find out why Afghanistan has come to play such an important role in his work and his life.

The Privy Diggers
Producer: Michael O’Reilly

In the 18th and 19th centuries in Philadelphia, people did their “business” in the outhouse located in the yard or alley adjacent to their dwelling. Since there was no regular trash collection, they also used this outhouse to discard broken plates, bottles and all manner of refuse. As soon as modern sewers were installed to service each house, the outhouses were torn down and the brick-lined “privy pits” (often 30 feet deep) underneath them were filled in. Within a decade, in most cases, the location of the outhouse and its attendant privy pit would all but be forgotten.

Enter THE PRIVY DIGGERS in 2016. These intrepid amateurs are regularly invited into people’s backyards to probe the soil, locate the underground structure of the privy itself, and begin digging. A single privy can hold broken and whole bottles and crockery, coins, pipes, toys and anything else that someone 100 to 200 years ago might have had in their pockets. Most interestingly, according to Michael Frechette, are the cast-offs from the things people did (other than their “business”) in these outhouses in private – things that are only rarely written about in history books.

That is the draw for these diggers – getting to see the secrets of history that have lain buried there undisturbed for years. While the things they bring up may have a value on the open market, according to Tom Salvatore, if you divided how much they work by how much they make selling these artifacts, they wouldn’t be making more than minimum wage. And it’s not only see, but touch and smell. A vial of sassafras (an accepted 19th century remedy for arthritis) found 30 feet underground and held at arms length, after more than 100 years, still smells like, well, sassafras.

Heyne Bogut
Producer: Michael O’ Reilly

Founded in 1999, HEYNE BOGUT is an independent company based in Philadelphia. Married couple Paul Heyne and Karen Bogut make up the core partnership of the company. While HEYNE BOGUT has clients in New York City as well as all over the world, it continues to be run from Philadelphia. One of the techniques used when starting out was to go into big-name stores, in New York, with little more than the self-designed clothes on their backs (literally). Invariably, the fashion professionals working there would notice them and ask about the designer. The answer – “I designed this myself” – invariably got them a trip upstairs to the buyers room and a request/order to deliver more of the same style in a week.

This is one piece of the many pieces of advice that Paul and Karen now give to students at Philadelphia University as an adjunct and consulting instructor. Philadelphia University used to be known as the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science, and was started after the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, to improve “the quality and variety of American textile products”. It is no surprise then that the winner of the first season of Bravo’s PROJECT RUNWAY was a Philadelphia University student.

Often surrounded by interns and hires from the many Philadelphia fashion colleges and universities, one feels like the designs of HEYNE BOGUT are channeling the vitality of these youthful workers, in a building that was at one point, in its long life, also a place for the creation of textiles. Paul and Karen, as they say, “tap into new trends in music, art and lifestyle choices” to inform their design choices. But in their studio and with these schools and students, without really realizing it themselves, they have strengthened the long lineage of Philadelphia fashion and secured their place in the fashion history of this city.

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