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In spite of the recession, purikura, or the art of making photographs, is alive and well in San Francisco. Its home in Japantown is called PikaPika, where young Asian Americans gather at one of seven small booths to have their photographs taken with customized backgrounds. After choosing to, for example, jump out of a helicopter or sit on a leopard, they can go to a decoration area to add individual touches. The final prints are 4" x 6" and can be peeled off and pasted on things like refrigerators or books, or even posted to Facebook accounts. So far, the Asian love of purikura naked photos has not spread to the United States.

On Flixxy, you can now watch as 44 U. S. Presidents are morphed into each other. Accompanied by the music of Ravel's Bolero, the images begin with George Washington and go right up to Barack Obama. It's an excellent example of the special morphing effects used in animations and films.

Well-known for her writings on the Mississippi Valley, Eudora Welty once considered a career as a photographer instead. The Museum of the City of New York is showing some of her photos from the 1930's, with images of life during the Depression in both urban New York City and Mississippi.

For those of you interested in the authentication of works of art, particularly the new field of digital authentication, three authors at the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at Dartmouth College describe their process for advanced analysis of paintings. They describe it as "a multi-scale, multi-orientation image decomposition (e.g., wavelets) of a collection of high-resolution digital scans", comparable to "stylometry" studies in literature.

Hung Liu bases her paintings on the propaganda film "Daughters of China" which featured eight women soldiers sacrificing their lives in service of the Chinese Army. The artist has been living in the United States since 1984 but is still profoundly influenced by the images and expectations of women in a communist society. Of herself she says, "Even today, when I'm wounded, I'd rather lick the blood and get back to work." Her series of "Prisoners and Prostitutes Paintings" attempts to portray the naivete of those who believe in the goals of authoritarian regimes.

Described as "one of the medium's Renaissance men" by A. D. Coleman, Carl Chiarenza has had a distinguished career as a photographer for decades. His newest book, called "Interaction Visual/Verbal", was published in 2007. An art critic and historian as well as photographer, Chiarenza has said, "What is here cannot be said...Calm, harmonious retreats. Silent, yet swollen with sound." Clearly he is a poet as well.

Josa Parla was born in Miami, Florida in 1973. Raised in Puerto Rico, he has spent most of his life in New York City, so his paintings reflect the surfaces and textures of life in urban spaces. The elegant draughtsmanship in his work contrasts with the gritty walls of a large metropolitan area.

The James Hayman Gallery is showing the prints of Bridget Riley. Riley, born in London in 1931, is one of Britain's eminent painters and is best known for her vividly toned abstract paintings. These prints will give you a taste of what her work is like.

c.Corinne Whitaker 2009