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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)

March 4th, 2014

Trunk Archive Acquires North American Licensing Rights for Magnum Photos

Image licensing company Trunk Archive announced today that it has acquired North American licensing rights to the image library of Magnum Photos.

Statements from both Magnum and Trunk focused on the possibilities for Trunk to do a better job generating revenue from the archive than Magnum has.

In a statement, Magnum CEO Giorgio Psacharopulo said the agency is “confident that this partnership will allow Magnum’s iconic imagery to reach a new audience of creative professionals. There exist many hidden gems within the Magnum collection and we anticipate that these will be rediscovered through our association with Trunk Archive.”

Trunk Archive CEO Matthew Moneypenny said his company is “proud to be representing this prestigious collection and very excited to find new licensing opportunities for these exceptional images.”

The news comes just a few days after Trunk announced its acquisition of rep firm Bernstein & Andriulli, and Gallery Stock, its sister company.

Trunk Archive represents more than 250 photographers around the world for secondary image sales. Founded seven years ago by Moneypenny, a former Art + Commerce image licensing agent, it has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Sidney, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

Related: Trunk Archive Buys Bernstein & Andriulli, Gallery Stock
(Re)Sales Opportunities: A variety of creative licensing opportunities exist for photographers interested in capitalizing on their existing imagery. (subscription required)

February 24th, 2014

ICP Announces 2014 Infinity Award Winners

The International Center of Photography (ICP) just released their list of 2014 Infinity Award Winners.

ICP will give the 2014 Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement Award to German-born South African photographer Jürgen Schadeberg, who is known for his depictions of Apartheid.

ICP will also recognize James Welling for his contribution to fine-art photography, and photojournalists Stephanie Sinclair and Jessica Dimmock will be recognized for their work on “Too Young to Wed,” a project about child marriage.

Other award winners include:

Fashion: Steven Klein
Publication: Holy Bible by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, MACK/AMC, 2013
Young Photographer: Samuel A. James

The award-winners will be honored in a ceremony at a gala event on Monday, April 28, 2014 in New York City.

The selection committee for this year’s awards included Sean Corcoran, ‎Curator of Prints and Photographs, Museum of the City of New York; Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery, London; and Carol Squiers, Curator, ICP.

Related: Tour de Force: James Welling’s Artistic Versatility

February 14th, 2014

John Stanmeyer Wins 2013 World Press Photo of the Year

© John Stanmeyer

© John Stanmeyer

American photographer John Stanmeyer won the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year for an image depicting African migrants standing on the beach in Djibouti, holding mobile phones aloft in an effort to get an inexpensive wireless signal from neighboring Somalia so they could reach family abroad. The World Press Organization announced the winners of the 57th annual contest at a press conference February 14 in Amsterdam.

Read the full story on PDNOnline.

February 12th, 2014

Does The NY Times’ Sochi Photo “Firehose” Do Photogs a Disservice?

Today The New York Times launched a live stream of images from Sochi, which they’re dubbing a “Firehose.” It funnels images by Times photographers and from the paper’s wire service feeds, and evidently there will be roughly 14,000 images per day coming through the, ahem, hose.

The images are running without captions. And while there are many great photographs, there are many others that leave us to guess what’s happening in the image, and which are pretty ho-hum without context (see: athlete celebrating win, for something, who knows what?)

There are good things about the site. It has a simple design and big photos. It’s giving a lot of images that wouldn’t make it into media outlets a run in a central place. And the site is presented by United Airlines, so they aren’t just giving this away. People who love sports pictures and can’t get enough of them can watch them stream by, and so what if there are no captions? Most of them you can figure out. And it’s not as if this replaces galleries of edited and captioned pictures.

But does this diminish not only the perceived value of the images, but also the editorial selection and captioning process at a time when the public perception of photography is that it’s so abundant it’s worth very little? Maybe. The name “Firehose” seems like self-parody, an admission that the flow of images has devalued photography to the point that the Times has decided to just throw up their hands and open the valve.

Perhaps we’re making too much of this? Maybe we should sit back and let the stream wash over us? What you do you think, dear reader?

February 5th, 2014

Pulitzer Center Releases Annual Report Highlighting Photography

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which provides funding to journalists and news organizations, allowing them to carry out independent, in-depth reporting, released its 2013 annual report today. Several projects involving photographers were among those highlighted in the report, providing a good overview of the types of work the Center is funding, and the types of projects the media is willing to publish, given the means.

They included:

Sea Change, the multimedia story on ocean acidification created by The Seattle Times and staff photographer Steve Ringman (our story about the creation of Sea Change is here.)

A series of photo stories and reports on Japan’s collapsing social safety net, including images by Shiho Fukada. (Our story on Fukada’s project on Japan’s “disposable workers” is here.)

An issue of Poetry magazine dedicated to Afghan landau poems and women’s rights, with photographs by Seamus Murphy. (For more on Murphy’s coverage of Afghanistan, beginning in 1994, see our story on his multimedia project, “Afghanistan: A Darkness Visible.”)

Documentary photographer Larry Price’s work on child labor in Philippine gold mines.

Reporting on gun violence in Chicago featuring photography by Carlos Javier Ortiz. (Our story about Ortiz’s long-term project, “Too Young to Die,” is here.)

And reporting on the perpetual conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo that includes work by photographer and filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies.

Related Article: Getting Funding from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (available to subscribers with login).

January 23rd, 2014

HuffPost Ignoring PhotoJ Credits For Images of Kiev Clashes

Yesterday Huffington Post UK published “29 Incredible Pictures Of Kiev Transformed Into A Warzone,” but didn’t bother to caption or credit the images to the photojournalists who are risking personal harm to create them.

(Oddly, another gallery published by the Huffington Post empire using some of the same images did include proper credits and captions.)

Several news outlets are carrying wire images of clashes in Kiev between protestors and police. Among the photographers whose images are featuring prominently on the websites and front pages of major news media are Sergei Grits and Efrem Lukatsky, who are covering the protests for AP; Valentyn Ogirenko, Vasily Fedosenko and Gleb Garanich for Reuters; and Sergei Supinsky, Anatolii Boiko, Anatoliy Stepanov and Vasily Maximov for AFP/Getty.

Show some respect, HuffPost UK, while you count your clicks.