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April 29th, 2014

ICP Celebrates Infinity Award Winners (Recap and Video Links)

Last night the International Center of Photography honored photographers working in photojournalism, fine-art and fashion at the 30th annual Infinity Awards. The awards were inaugurated in 1985 as a way to recognize outstanding achievements by photographers working in various genres within the medium.

It was the first Infinity Awards ceremony for new ICP director Mark Lubell, who promised the crowd that the organization would remain at the “center of the conversation” about the medium. Perhaps as a way to illustrate that point, ICP arranged for a drone to photograph partygoers during the cocktail hour, then put those photographs on-screen at the beginning of the ceremony.

The Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement Award was given to German-born photographer Jürgen Schadeberg, who as an expatriate in South Africa during Apartheid, made some of the most famous images of Nelson Mandela, and encouraged black South African journalists to pick up cameras and tell their stories.

James Welling was honored for his contribution to fine-art photography; Steven Klein for fashion; Stephanie Sinclair and Jessica Dimmock were honored for photojournalism; Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin were honored for their publication Holy Bible; and Samuel A. James received the Young Photographer award.

Sinclair and Dimmock received a standing ovation from the crowd for their work documenting the practice of child marriage and its effects on adolescent girls, their families and their communities. The project, “Too Young To Wed,” is a decade-long pursuit for Sinclair that has spawned a non-profit that she hopes will help young girls and communities do away with the practice of child marriage.

Samuel A. James, who in his young career has worked extensively in Nigeria documenting the impact of oil extraction on the culture—including photographing the illegal tapping of oil pipelines and makeshift refining operations by impoverished Nigerians—thanked the Nigerians who “gifted me these stories” during a short acceptance speech. James also dedicated the award to a friend who was killed in an explosion while attempting to refine black-market crude oil.

In accepting the Publication award for their book Holy Bible, for which they combined the King James Bible with images from the Archive of Modern Conflict, Broomberg and Chanarin called the book their “attempt to somehow illustrate this text,” and said they hoped it would be an invitation to others to make their own attempts. They also paid tribute to their publisher, Michael Mack for his production of the book, and to the Queen of England, who owns the copyright to the King James Bible.

In a slightly incongruous presentation, pop star Brooke Candy spoke about Steven Klein and introduced a high-octane video that reviewed much of Klein’s work. The fashion photographer briefly thanked the crowd after noting that, “photography pretty much saved my life.”

MediaStorm produced short documentary films about all of the recipients except Klein. Watch those films on the MediaStorm site here.

Related: Tour de Force: James Welling’s Artistic Versatility
Best Photo Books of 2013

April 24th, 2014

Exhibition in Bangladesh Remembers Garment Workers Who Died Tragically

lives-not-numbers-pulse

Photo © Taslima Akhter

A group exhibition currently open through the end of this week at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute remembers the 1,134 garment workers who died on April 24, 2013 when Rana Plaza collapsed after years of neglect. The show, “1134—Lives Not Numbers,” was curated by Mahbubur Rahman and Munem Wasif, and includes contributions by photographers, performance artists, actors and others.

“Through the photographs of the needless deaths, through performance art reflecting the sorrow of the deprived, [the exhibition] attempts to leave a lasting mark on our collective psyche,” writes Pathshala founder Shahidul Alam about the exhibition.

The effort reminds us that our own understanding of this event has been heightened by the work of photographers like Taslima Akhter, whose photo of bodies in the rubble became famous around the world, and Abir Abdullah, whose project, “Deathtrap,” on the ongoing dangers of the garment factories in which millions of Bangladeshis work, won an Alexia Foundation grant.

Visit Alam’s blog to read more about this exhibition and check out a schedule of events.

April 22nd, 2014

Video Pick: In Bed With Chanel

Laurel Pantin in Chanel from Ann Street Studio on Vimeo.

It’s not easy to create an engaging video, let alone a brief, engaging video. Jamie Back and Kevin Burg of Ann Street Studio recently did just that with this 15-second flick featuring Lucky Magazine market editor Laurel Pantin in a big white bed wearing colorful fashions from Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection. The video is part of a collaboration between Ann Street Studio and Chanel. The brand reached out to Beck and Burg, who are best-known for their creation of Cinemagraphs, as part of their marketing for their new collection, Burg told PDN via email.

The concept for the video “came together organically,” Burg says, evolving from the still-image shoot they did with Pantin. “On set we were thinking about motion, and I had the idea that she could change outfits after every time she pulled the covers over herself. And then we had fun with it. Jamie would be at her feet pulling [the covers] off her, like a parent waking their kid up when they want to sleep in.” The idea to show a new outfit for each day of the week, Burg says, “came together in the editing process, and it became this kind of ‘waking up for school’ idea… in luxury fashion.”

The images and video were featured on the Ann Street Studio site and social media channels. The video was created with Instagram in mind, hence the 15-second length. Brands often ask Ann Street Studio to create editorial-style work and release it via their channels, Burg says. “Sometimes brand work is for [the client] and sometimes it’s exclusively published by us.”

Related: Building a Better GIF

April 10th, 2014

11 Photographers Among Winners of 2014 Guggenheim Fellowships

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced the recipients of their 2014 fellowships today. Eleven photographers are among the 178 recipients.

They are (links direct to their bios and image galleries on the Guggenheim site):

Robert Dawson
LaToya Frazier
Jason Fulford
Phyllis Galembo
Gregory Halpern
Brenda Kenneally
Andrew Moore
Lori Nix
Matthew Pillsbury
Mark Ruwedel
Rachel Sussman

Guggenheim Fellows receive a grant to pursue a project; the Foundation does not disclose the amount of money they receive.

Founded in 1922, the prestigious Fellowship program is intended to “add to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding.” The Fellowship supports individuals in mid-career‚ “who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

Past recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships include photographers Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Brian Ulrich, Richard Mosse, Alec Soth, Christian Patterson and Penelope Umbrico.

Related: City Search: Gregory Halpern Explores the Rust Belt
Helping Communities Speak for Themselves: Upstate Girls
PDN Video Pick: LaToya Ruby Frazier at The Whitney Biennial

April 10th, 2014

SFMOMA Announces Plan To Open Biggest Photo Center In US

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has announced that it will open a 15,500-square-foot space dedicated to photography as part of the renovation that has closed the museum until 2016.

Dubbed the Pritzker Center after lead donors John and Lisa Pritzker, the new photography facility will include an 11,000-square-foot exhibition space that will be the largest in the country permanently devoted to the display of photography, according to a statement released by SFMOMA. The facility will also include a new photographic study center and “an innovative interpretive space that will be the first of its kind in the country.” The upgrade to the museum’s photography department will also include a new curatorial position.

SFMOMA has also announced that more than 1,000 photographs have been added or pledged to their permanent collection by a group of San Francisco-based collectors led by David Mahoney and Winn Ellis.

“The new center, together with the gifts to our collection, represent a transformative development for our photography program and for the entire museum,” SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra said.

Read more about SFMOMA’s plans here.

March 31st, 2014

Photographers Share Intimate Images of Loved Ones for Curated Photo Website

The homepage of The Ones We Love, featuring a photo by Tatjana Suskic.

The homepage of The Ones We Love, featuring a photo by Tatjana Suskic.

On The Ones We Love, a web-based project created and curated by Lindley Warren, photographers share images of “people they love, cherish, and find inspiration within.” The site features work by photographers from all over the world, whose subjects range from lovers to friends to family members. The images are intimate and revealing—an exchange of looks, a laugh, an adventure, some nudity. At the top of each entry is a short text from the photographer, which is sometimes descriptive, other times abstract.

Warren launched the site earlier this year with work from ten photographers, and it’s grown since then to feature the work of more than 70. She posts daily, and receives a few submissions each day. Warren says she is trying “to create a quiet space,” with the project, “a place where people can go and be there with the photographs and be there with the intimacy of it.”

This is the second iteration of The Ones We Love. Warren initially created the site in 2008 for a class project when she was a 19-year-old art student. She reached out to a number of photographers and her correspondence with them inspired her to create the site. Warren wanted to “connect and to see a deeper part of these photographers’ lives,” she says.

Warren became interested in web-based curating after getting into photography as a teen. She wanted to connect with other aspiring artists. “Curating a website is a really great way to communicate with people, get to know them, get familiar with their work, and get familiar with work that you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise,” she explains.

Part of the reason she re-launched the site was that people continued to ask about it and tell her that it had an effect on them. There was a lot of support for the first iteration of The Ones We Love, Warren says, but as a busy student she didn’t quite “comprehend that it actually meant something to other people.” Since then, the number of web-based curatorial projects has grown exponentially, and she’s observed and been inspired by those sites, which gave her a better understanding of how viewers might see The Ones We Love. “Now when people say ‘I really like your project,’ it means a lot more, because I understand more fully on a personal level what they mean.”

UPDATE: A book of photographs from The Ones We Love will be released in August. The book, which is available for pre-order, will feature the work of 79 photographers.

March 27th, 2014

Amy Elkins Wins 2014 Aperture Portfolio Prize

© Amy Elkins, "Four Years Out of a Death Row Sentence (Ocean), 2011," from "Black is the Day, Black is the Night."

© Amy Elkins, “Four Years Out of a Death Row Sentence (Ocean), 2011,” from “Black is the Day, Black is the Night.”

Photographer Amy Elkins has won the 2014 Aperture Portfolio Prize for two bodies of work exploring capital punishment. The Aperture Foundation announced the prize today.

For her series “Parting Words,” Elkins utilized the text of the last words of executed prisoners to reconstruct their mug shots and portraits. “These briefest of statements resonate with the micro-narratives of entire lives, tragic crimes, and opportunities and potential squandered,” writes Aperture Books Publisher Lesley A. Martin in a statement announcing Elkins’ award.

To create her second series on capital punishment, “Black is the Day, Black is the Night,” Elkins corresponded with death-row inmates and created images based on those conversations. In her series she combines these images with photographs of the physical letters, and with portraits of the inmates which she obscures digitally according to the amount of time the inmate has been incarcerated. “As viewers, we are invited to puzzle over an assortment of clues, including reenactments, exhibits submitted for our considerations, partial evidence, and statements both leading and misleading,” Martin writes.

The prize, which was judged by members of the Aperture staff and the organization’s work scholars, includes a $3,000 award and an exhibition at Aperture Gallery.

Elkins was chosen from a shortlist that included Matt Eich, Davide Monteleone, Max Pinckers and Sadie Wechsler. More than 1000 photographers submitted portfolios, Aperture said in a statement.

Previous winners of the Portfolio Prize have included Michael Corridore (2008), Alexander Gronsky (2009), David Favrod (2010), Sarah Palmer (2011), and Bryan Schutmaat (2013).

Related: Grays the Mountain Sends: A Photographic Study of American Mining Towns
Disputed Territories: Exploring Daily Life in the Northern Caucasus

March 25th, 2014

Tomas van Houtryve Drone Essay Longest Ever Published by Harper’s

 

© Tomas van Houtryve/VII

© Tomas van Houtryve/VII. “Baseball practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. According to records obtained from the FAA, which issued 1,428 domestic drone permits between 2007 and early 2013, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Navy have applied for drone authorization in Montgomery County.”

Tomas van Houtryve takes on the proliferation of drones as weapons and as tools of surveillance in the April issue of Harper’s Magazine, in a photo essay titled “Blue Sky Days.” At 16 pages, it’s the largest picture story ever published by Harper’s.

To create the work, Van Houtryve’s outfit a drone he purchased on Amazon.com for still photography and video, and then piloted it, in areas throughout the United States, over “the very sorts of gatherings that have become habitual targets for foreign air strikes,” the introductory text explains. These included weddings, funerals, and groups of people exercising or praying. The images also depict domestic borders, prisons and other areas where military or police have flown surveillance drones, or have applied for permits to do so.

“His idea was daring, elegant, and perfectly timed,” Harper’s art director Stacey D. Clarkson told PDN via email. “He explained that the technology for drones is way ahead of legislation concerning them, and though drones are part of our contemporary reality, the specific ways they are used (and can be used) are not in the public consciousness. The urgency of the work, the complexity of the ideas, needed space to be properly conveyed. And the images themselves needed to run large in order for the reader to see what Tomas’s drone could see—embroidery on top of a hat, spokes on a bicycle wheel, and home plate at a neighborhood baseball field.”

Captions for the photos make the connection between, for instance, a group of people exercising in a park, and the fact that a gathering of exercising men might, for the CIA, constitute evidence of a terrorist training camp. The effect is chilling. In an image of a wedding in central Philadelphia, a flower girl is the only member of a wedding party looking up at van Houtrve’s drone as he makes his image. A U.S. drone struck a wedding in Yemen in December 2013, killing 12 people, the caption tells us.

The essay’s title refers to the testimony a 13-year-old Pakistani boy named Zubair Rehman gave on Capitol Hill after his grandmother was killed by a drone strike while she was picking vegetables in her yard. The boy told lawmakers he no longer loves blue skies. “The drones do not fly when the skies are gray,” he said.

Van Houtryve will exhibit and speak about “Blue Sky Days” in New York on Friday, April 4, as part of “Surveillance.01-USA,” a symposium on surveillance-based visual arts projects. He will also appear with Clarkson at the University of Colorado, Boulder on April 7 as part of the university’s ATLAS speaker series.

Related: Client Meeting: Harper’s Magazine (accessible to PDN subscribers)
If We Spend $25K On A Photo Essay, Readers Should Pay to See It, Says Harper’s Publisher

March 13th, 2014

Chloe Dewe Mathews Named 2014 Gardner Fellow By Harvard’s Peabody Museum

From Chloe Dewe Mathews's series "Caspian." © Chloe Dewe Mathews

From Chloe Dewe Mathews’s series “Caspian.” © Chloe Dewe Mathews

British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews was named the 2014 Robert Gardner Photography Fellow by Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, the museum announced earlier this week. The documentary photography fellowship provides a stipend of $50,000 to a photographer to work anywhere in the world on a book project about “the human condition.”

During her fellowship, Mathews, who is represented by Panos Pictures, will continue her series on the Caspian region, which she began in 2010 and which included her look at an Azerbaijani city, Naftalan, famous for petroleum-based therapeutic treatments. Mathews has returned several times to the region, with trips to Russia and a burning gas crater in Darvaza, Turkmenistan.

The fellowship was established by Robert Gardner, a documentary filmmaker and author, who studied at Harvard University, and was the director of the Film Study Center there from 1957–1997.

The fellowship is judged by a committee of four, whose identities were not disclosed by the museum. The museum seeks nominations from experts around the world.

Past fellowship winners include Guy Tillim (2007), Dayanita Signh (2008), Alessandra Sanguinetti (2009), Stephen Dupont (2010), Miki Kratsman (2011) and Yto Barrada (2013).

Related: Israeli Photographer Wins $50k Robert Gardner Fellowship for 2011
PDN’s 30 2012

March 7th, 2014

Eddie Adams Workshop, Smith Grant, Other Grants Accepting Applications

Earlier this week The Eddie Adams Workshop began accepting applications for its tuition-free, four-day photojournalism workshop in upstate New York. The Eddie Adams Workshop brings together top photography professionals and 100 students each year, and its alumni include many of the top photojournalists working today. Applications for the 2014 Workshop will be accepted through May 31. Students are selected based on the merit of their portfolios.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is accepting applications through May 31 for the 2014 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, which carries an award of $30,000. In addition, the jury will also give out an additional $5,000 in fellowships. There is a $50 fee to apply.

The nonprofit arts advocacy organization Crusade for Art is accepting proposals for its first-ever Engagement Grant, a $10,000 award given to a photographer or group of photographers who submit “the most innovative plan for increasing their audience and collector base.” There is a $20 fee to apply.

The Photographic Museum of Humanity, a digital photography museum, is awarding a grant of $4,000 for photographers. Applications are due March 12, and judges include Alec Soth and Diana Markosian. There is no fee to apply.

Related: Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Joseph Rodriguez on the Audience Engagement Grant (PDN subscription required)
Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Minnesota’s Artist Initiative Grants (PDN subscription required)
Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Jon Lowenstein’s Guggenheim Fellowship (PDN subscription required)