Prediction: This Will Be Our Most Popular Post Ever

by Amy Marcott on May 7, 2009 · 8 comments

in Photo of the Week

French chef Pierre Gagnaire with Owen Franken (right) in Algeria, on a private trip.

French chef Pierre Gagnaire with Owen Franken (right) in Algeria, on a private trip.

An audacious claim, I know, but I’m using history as a gauge. Believe it or not, the most popular article on the Alumni Association Web site for the past three years wasn’t written in 2009 or 2008 or 2007 or even 2006. Not even close. You have to go all the way back to 2001. Yes, it’s that popular. And what you’re about to experience is an update to that article.

So what is it? A What Matters opinion column written by world-traveling photojournalist Owen Franken ’68 called “Life in Brownian Motion.” In it, Franken (older brother of comedian and politician Al Franken) discusses numerous global adventures, especially of the eating kind. He’ll eat anything—scorpions, spiders, rats, bats, you name it. But the highlight of the piece was a selection of about four dozen photos—scenic, cultural, political, and personal—taken on Franken’s numerous journeys. His photos have appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek, Saveur, The New York Times Magazine, Wine Spectator, and also publications for the United Nations and the U.S. State Department, among others.

Recently, the Alumni Association asked Franken if he’d share some new photos with us, and he did—about seven dozen. These days, he focuses mostly on travel and food photography, still deftly capturing people and cultures. A small selection of his work is below, and you’ll be treated to a new Franken image each Saturday on Slice of MIT, all listed under the category Franken Photo of the Week. Curious about Franken? Read a profile and visit his Web site.

So without further ado, photos by Owen Franken (all copyrighted, of course). Make sure to view the second page too.

Sunning on the beach made along the Seine for Parisians during the summer.

Sunning on the beach made along the Seine for Parisians during the summer.

Hausa girl

A Hausa teenager in Nigeria.

Lavender in French Provence

Lavender in the Var, French Provence

The Experimental Cocktail Club in the second Arrondissement of Paris, February 12, 2009. (Photographed for the New York Times.)

The Experimental Cocktail Club in the second Arrondissement of Paris, February 12, 2009. (Photographed for the New York Times.)

Food in restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, a top restaurant in Paris.

Food in restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, a top restaurant in Paris.

Woman sorting tobacco at a cigar factory in the Dominican Republic.

Woman sorting tobacco at a cigar factory in the Dominican Republic.

Scenes in the public-assistance Hospital St. Louis, Paris. This became the cover of a book for the hospital's 400th anniversary.

Scenes in the public-assistance Hospital St. Louis, Paris. This became part of a book for the hospital’s 400th anniversary.

Daniel Boulud, Paul Bocuse, and Thomas Keller at the Bocuse d'Or, January 27, 2009. (Photographed for the New York Times.)

Seated from left: Paul Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Georges Blanc at the Bocuse d’Or, January 27, 2009. (Photographed for the New York Times.)

Polish and Turkish workers and some locals harvesting in Domaine du Vissoux, Beaujolais, September 16, 2007. (Photographed for the New York Times.)

Polish and Turkish workers and some locals harvesting in Domaine du Vissoux, Beaujolais, September 16, 2007. (Photographed for the New York Times.)

Lunch at the three-star Michelin restaurant Pierre Gagnaire in Paris.

Lunch at the three-star Michelin restaurant Pierre Gagnaire in Paris.

A young boy fishes with a pointed stick near a row of wooden pilings on Biak Island, Schouten Islands, Indonesia.

A young boy fishes with a pointed stick near a row of wooden pilings on Biak Island, Schouten Islands, Indonesia.

Fish for lunch at restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, a top restaurant in Paris.

Fish for lunch at restaurant Pierre Gagnaire in Paris.

Chinook helicopter over Iraq.

Chinook helicopter over Iraq.

Laurence Medici with one of her young patients in the blood-disease ward for <br />children, Hospital St. Louis, a public-assistance hospital in Paris.

Laurence Medici and one of her young patients in the blood-disease ward for children, Hospital St. Louis, a public-assistance hospital in Paris.

A woman friend in candlelight.

Birgit in candlelight.

A stucco wall in Provence, France.

A stucco wall in Provence, France.

Chef Paul Bocuse, playing mumbly peg in his garden in Lyon, 1983.

Chef Paul Bocuse, playing mumbly peg in his garden in Lyon, 1983.

A student studying economics in Paris.

A student studying economics in Paris.

Vincent Dauvissat, a Chablis winemaker, holds a bottle of his excellent wine.

Vincent Dauvissat, a Chablis winemaker, holds a bottle of his excellent wine.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

grace Teshima May 8, 2009 at 5:21 am

Owen, these are beautiful. Bravo.

Reply

earl Johannaber May 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm

these are very good. excellent really…a slice of life serve on a plate in a restaurant
of gourmet sites

Reply

Ed Chalfie May 27, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Owen,

These are truly beautiful images, Owen. I’m glad you took up photography rather than physics. I’m proud to tell people that you took my first passport photo in 1968. Unfortunately, I no longer have that collectors item.

Reply

Mohammed Bello June 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Hi, great job putting up the phots. They are really nice. One problem tho! The picture depicted on your site is not that of a Hausa Teenager. The marks on her face are not used by the Hausa people. I am not sure where she is from. Have fun trying to find that out.
Deuces

Reply

owen June 20, 2009 at 1:02 pm

could she then be fulani? I photographed her in or near Ibadan and either she or someone with her told me she was Hausa. Any ideas?

Owen

Reply

Bob Lurie September 27, 2009 at 11:18 am

Photos are an inspiration for an amateur – thanks.
Bob Lurie ’52

Reply

Dovie Descamps December 26, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I do not normally comment on peoples websites however I had to say thankyou for such a great read.

Reply

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