Anna Van Lenten curated the The Half King Photo Series in Manhattan at The Half King, from 2010-2019.
The photography that the Series championed deepened and clarified issues of our time and news stories we raced through day to day. Projects in the Series highlighted the strange and compelling, the overlooked and under-reported. To illuminate context, text, video, or audio was often pulled in as part of our presentation.
The Series's bi-monthly exhibit openings and photo book launches were live events centered around a print exhibit or photo project. Driven by conversation, they were a chance for audience and photographer to engage with each other about the layers of ideas in the photographer's work.
Such face-to-face connection invited fresh, un-canned insight about the photography at hand. The intelligence, spontaneity, and focus Half King audiences brought were vital to our screen-centered lives.
Anna's sister project, LightField, continues. Stay in touch about it here.
ABOUT THE HALF KING
The Half King was owned by Scott Anderson, Nanette Burstein, and Sebastian Junger. It closed in January, 2019, after almost 20 years of operation.
SCOTT ANDERSON is a war correspondent and novelist who has covered foreign conflicts on five continents over the past two decades. A frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine, his work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper’s, Outside, Men’s Journal, and many other publications. A 2000 Esquire article describing his misadventures in Bosnia, in which he and several journalist friends were mistaken for a CIA hit squad, was made into The Hunting Party starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard.
Along with his journalism, Scott is the author of two novels, Triage and Moonlight Hotel, as well as five non-fiction books, including The Man Who Tried to Save the World and, with his brother and fellow journalist Jon Lee Anderson, Inside The League and War Zones. His most recent non-fiction book, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East has been an international bestseller.
NANETTE BURSTEIN produced and directed her first feature length documentary, On the Ropes, in 1998, about three young boxers fighting their way out of Bedford Stuyvesant, New York. On the Ropes was theatrically released nationwide and won many accolades including an Academy Award nomination, the Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, the IDA (International Documentary Association) Achievement Award for Best Feature Documentary, and the Jury award at the Sundance Film Festival.
In 2000, she produced and directed the five part series Say in Loud: A Celebration of Black Music in America in collaboration with Quincy Jones. Interviewing over a hundred musicians including James Brown, BB King, Ray Charles, Al Greene, Snoop Dog, Natalie Cole, Queen Latifah, and Wylcef, the series wove the history of black music in America over the last fifty years. It aired on VH1 in October 2001. In 2002, Nanette Burstein co-produced and directed The Kid Stays in the Picture, the critically acclaimed feature length film about the legendary Hollywood producer, Robert Evans. After premiering at Sundance and the Cannes Film Festival, the film was widely released in movie theaters around the world, receiving many of the Critics’ Awards. It also aired on HBO, and was released on DVD.
In 2003, Burstein directed an hour-long film about Olympic gold medallist Marion Jones for Nike and NBC. The documentary tracked Jones for one year, as she gives birth to her baby boy, struggles to get back in shape to make the US Olympic Track Team, and finally, weeks before the Olympic Trials, finds herself at the center of the largest steroid scandal in this country.
In 2004, Burstein executive produced and created the ten episode reality series, Film School. The series followed four New York University Graduate film students through the entire making of their “calling card” student films and trying to win one of the prestigious Awards at the NYU film festival. The ten episode series aired on IFC with great critical acclaim including 9 out of 10 ten stars in TV guide and Entertainment Weekly’s top five shows of the year.
In 2005, Burstein Executive Produced a one-hour pilot for AMC entitled Autobiography. The pilot episode is the autobiographical tale of Hollywood luminary, Dennis Hopper. After rave reviews, Turner Classic Movies bought the pilot and series rights. Burstein is currently producing three more celebrity biographies to begin airing on Turner next year.
Burstein produced and directed her third feature length documentary, American Teen. A real life teen movie, it intertwines four classic teen stories about seniors at the same high school in Middle America—the Mean Girls story, the Sports story, the Romeo and Juliet story, and the Nerd story. The film was released in theaters July 25, 2008.
Burstein is also Executive-Producing a historical series for VH1, NYC ’77. It portrays the turbulent, yet creative era in New York City (the blackout, Summer of Sam, the Bronx burning, the mayoral race, the creation of disco, hip hop, and punk music), and how the city and its artistic inventions dramatically evolved and commercialized by the end of that year. The series aired in July, 2007.
In addition to her documentary productions, Burstein also directs commercials including campaigns for Nike and Footlocker.
SEBASTIAN JUNGER is the author of three New York Times bestselling books: The Perfect Storm (published in hardcover by W. W. Norton & Company in 1997 and HarperCollins in 1998); Fire, a collection of his most compelling magazine articles from his travels throughout the U.S. and around the globe (Norton, 2001; HarperCollins, 2002); and A Death In Belmont (Norton, 2006), about an unsolved, forty year-old murder in his home town. He is also the author of War, the co-director of the Oscar-nominated documentary, Restrepo, and the director of Which Way is the Frontline From Here. As a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and as a contributor to ABC News, he has covered major international news stories in Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan. He has been awarded the National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for Journalism.
In 1997, Junger became a fixture in the national media when, as a first-time author, he commanded the New York Times best seller list for over three years with The Perfect Storm, which later set sales records in paperback, and became a major motion picture from Warner Bros. His reporting on Afghanistan in 2000, profiling Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, became the subject of the National Geographic documentary “Into the Forbidden Zone.” In 2001, his expertise and experience reporting in Afghanistan led him to cover the war as a special correspondent for ABC News and Vanity Fair. In 2007 he went back to Afghanistan, again for ABC News and Vanity Fair, as part of an ongoing series documenting a platoon of U.S. Soldiers entrenched in the deadly Korengal Valley.
As a print journalist, Junger won the National Magazine Award for reporting for his October 1999 Vanity Fair article, “The Forensics of War.” He has also written for such magazines as Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, and Men's Journal. He has reported on the LURD besiegement of Monrovia in Liberia, human rights abuses in Sierra Leone, war crimes in Kosovo, the peacekeeping mission in Cyprus, wildfire in the American West, guerilla war in Afghanistan, and hostage-taking in Kashmir. He has worked as a freelance radio correspondent during the war in Bosnia.
Junger is a native New Englander and a graduate of Wesleyan University. Attracted since childhood to “extreme situations and people at the edges of things,” Junger worked as a high-climber for tree removal companies. After a chainsaw injury, he decided to focus on journalism, primarily writing about people with dangerous jobs, from fire fighting to offshore drilling to commercial fishing (which led, of course, to The Perfect Storm).
In 1998 Junger established The Perfect Storm Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities for children of people in the maritime professions.
He lives in New York City and on Cape Cod.