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December 19th, 2014

Project on Ukraine Wins $20,000 2015 Aftermath Grant

Justyna Mielnikiewicz has won the 2015 Aftermath Project Grant for “A Ukraine Runs Through It,” a project exploring tensions in modern Ukraine using Dnieper River as a symbolic dividing line. The $20,000 grant, offered by the nonprofit Aftermath Project, supports documentary photography that addresses the legacy of conflict.

The Aftermath Project also announced several finalists, whose work will be published in War Is Only Half the Story, the annual publication of the Aftermath Project. The finalists are:

Bruno Boudjelal, whose project, “Mapping of Massacre Sites in Algeria,” explores the sites of massacres that occurred in 1997 and 1998.

Glenna Gordon for her project, “Artifacts of a Kidnapping: The Things They Carried Home,” a survey of the objects brought home by ransomed kidnapping victims of terrorist groups around the world.

Adam Patterson for “Men and My Daddy,” a project on Northern Ireland, exploring how former terrorists function during peacetime and whether aging ex-paramilitaries find purpose in their lives.

Donald Weber for”War Sand,” a landscape and archeological project about the beaches of Normandy, which still contain particles of shrapnel from the 1944 D-Day invasion of  France during World War II.

A special discretionary grant of $2,500 was given to buy gear for two Syrian refugee teenagers, who have been photographing their lives of Syrians in refugee camps. The money will be administered by photographer Brendan Bannon, who has run UNHCR-sponsored arts education programs for children in refugee camps.

The judges for the 2015 grant were Denise Wolff of Aperture; Amy Pereira of MSNBC; Stephen Mayes, Executive Director of the Tim Hetherington Trust; Elizabeth Rappaport, photographer and Aftermath Project board member;  and Sara Terry, photographer and founder of the Aftermath Project.

Related articles:
Post-9/11 War Business Project Wins 2014 Aftermath Project Grant

Stanley Greene Wins 2013 Aftermath Grant

Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Andrew Lichtenstein’s Aftermath Grant

December 8th, 2014

Luke Somers, Killed in Failed Rescue Attempt, Remembered for Compassionate Photos

© Luke Somers for Al Jazeera. Thousands of male and female protesters marched to the residence of President And Mansour Hadi to demand political reforms, December 7, 2012.

© Luke Somers for Al Jazeera. Thousands of male and female protesters marched to the residence of President And Mansour Hadi to demand political reforms, December 7, 2012.

Kidnapped photojournalist Luke Somers was killed December 5 in the midst of a failed attempt by US forces to rescue him from al Qaeda militants holding him hostage in Yemen. Somers, 33,  had been kidnapped in Sana’a, Yemen, in September 2013. He had been working in the country as a freelance photographer.

After President Barack Obama announced Somers’s death on Saturday, several news outlets that Somers had worked for, including Al Jazeera, and his agency, Corbis, shared samples of his photos, starting with images from Yemen’s revolution ousting President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. Writer Tik Root of National Public Radio, who had crossed paths with Somers while they were covering Yemen, said the photographer’s work “reveals his deep and persistent love for the country.”

Last week, the photographer’s captors released a video threatening to kill Somers if the US did not meet their unspecified demands. According to CNN, The Yemen Times and other news outlets had pleaded for Somers’s release, noting days before his death that he “loves Yemen.”

Citing an anonymous source, BBC reports that Navy SEALs had tried to rescue Somers from the compound where he was being held, but a gunfight broke out when the militants spotted the SEALs. Somers was shot, and then evacuated to a US navy ship, where he died.  Committee to Protect Journalists reports that this is the third attempt by US special forces to rescue hostages held in Syria and Yemen; all three failed to rescue captured journalists.

December 3rd, 2014

Shortlist for Deutsche Börse $47,000 Prize Announced

© Nikolai Bakharev. Collection of the Moscow House of Photography Museum

© Nikolai Bakharev. Collection of the Moscow House of Photography Museum

The shortlist for the 2015 Deutsche Börse Prize was announced today.  The annual prize, which comes with 30,000 pound award (about $47,200 US), was established by The Photographers’ Gallery in London. It is given annually to a living photographer (or collaborative partners) to recognize a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication that has contributed significantly to photography in Europe.

The finalists are:
Nikolai Bakharev, nominated for his exhibition at the 55th Venice Biennale of images of bathers on public beaches in Russia, shot during the 1980s and 1990s.

Viviane Sassen, nominated for her exhibition “Umbra,” shown at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam. The show combined Sassen’s abstract photos, drawings and light installations with poems by Maria Barnas.

Zanele Muholi, nominated for her book Faces and Phases 2006-2014 (Steidl), featuring her black-and-white portraits of members of the LGBT community in South Africa, accompanied by first-person testimonies.

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, nominated for their book Ponte City (Steidl), about a 54-story apartment block in Johannesburg that has become a refuge for new immigrants to the city. The book, which includes 17 booklets, encompasses architectural plans, essays, personal accounts, and archival material.

The judges for this year’s prize are Chris Boot, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation; Rineke Dijkstra, photographer; Peter Gorschlüter, Deputy Director, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt and Anne Marie Beckmann, curator of the Deutsche Börse art collection.

The winner will be announced in May 2015 at an award ceremony at The Photographers’ Gallery in London.

Related Articles
Richard Mosse Wins $50K Deutsche Borse Prize for The Enclave

Broomberg and Chanarin Win 2013 Deutsche Borse Prize

November 13th, 2014

If that Kim Kardashian Photo Looks Familiar…

© Jean Paul Goude

© Jean Paul Goude

© Jean-Paul Goude

© Jean-Paul Goude

One of the photos of Kim Kardashian that’s been circulating around (and around) social media since Paper Magazine released its latest issue inspired a sense of déjà vu in people familiar with the work of the photographer who took the image, Jean-Paul Goude. The outlandish shot is a re-hash of a concept and pose Goude used in a 1976 image of model Carolina Beaumont. Perhaps he thought: I liked that photo of a woman balancing a champagne glass on her jutting buttocks looked good once, why not try it again? There are differences in the photos: While the latest overhyped Kardashian spectacle makes us cringe, the original Goude copied makes us squirm.

The Styleite website has insightfully unpacked what makes his use of the Beaumont image grotesque.

In Goude’s original, the subject, who is black, is nude. In his latest version, the subject, who is white, is dressed in evening gown and jewels. In the first, the black woman is “pleased to serve” while the white woman, Styleite notes, is not.  The photo of Beaumont was published in Goude’s 1983 autobiography which he titled Jungle Fever.  The image was controversial at the time, and it hasn’t gotten any more palatable when viewed from a few decades’ distance. The website The Grio delves into more of the history of Goude’s photographs of black women and his fetishization of their body parts in an article called “Kim Kardashian Doesn’t Realize She’s the Butt of an Old Racial Joke.

We wonder: Was Paper so eager for publicity they were willing to court not only Kardashian, but also racial controversy?

November 11th, 2014

Photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa’s Murder Trial Delayed Again

The trial of photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa, who has been charged with the 2013 murder of an alleged sex worker in a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, has been postponed six months because no judge is available, the Daily Maverick newspaper reports. Mthethwa, who is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery and published his first monograph with Aperture, was arrested in May 2013, and accused of beating and kicking to death Nokuphila Kumalo, 23. A trial scheduled for August 2013 was delayed until April of this year then delayed again until November 10. When Mthethwa appeared in court, however, no judge could be found, so an acting judge set a new trial date of June 1, 2015. Mthethwa remains free on bail.

Outside the courthouse, representatives of  the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce rallied, demanding justice on behalf of the victim, an alleged sex worker. Times Live, a South African news site, reported that Kumalo’s mother was in the courtroom on Monday.

Mthethwa, a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, has been exhibited internationally. His work was shown at the 2005 Venice Biennale and he had a solo show at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2010.  The murder indictment alleges that Mthethwa “attacked [Kumalo] by repeatedly kicking her and stomping her body with booted feet.” The Sunday Times of South Africa reported the prosecution planned to show closed-circuit television footage of Mthethwa’s car at the scene of the murder.

Related Articles
Fine-Art Photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa Faces Murder Trial August 26

Zwelethu Mthethwa: Color and Commonality

November 4th, 2014

OSI Announces 2014 Audience Engagement Grant Winners, and New Funding Model

Open Society Documentary Photography Project has announced the winners of its Audience Engagement Grant Program, which supports photographers who “have gone beyond documenting a human rights or social justice issue to enacting change.” This year, Open Society Foundations offered two forms of support. The Project Development grants  gave grantees a chance to attend a workshop, organized by Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program, to learn strategies for moving their projects forward. The Project Implementation grants supported photo-based artists who, in partnership with other organizations, are using photography to engage a unique audience. Grant winners were also invited to the professional development retreat.

The grant winners in the Project Development track are:

* Nazik Armenakyan: to document women living with HIV/AIDS in Armenia.
* Paul Botes: to showcase the impact of the Lonmin Marikana Mine violence in South Africa.
* Robert Godden: to address migration policies, practices, and research in Nepal.
* Cristobal Olivares: to confront violence against women in Chile.
* Thenmozhi Soundararajan: to expose sexual violence against Dalit women in India.
* Andri Tambunan: to chronicle the rise of HIV/AIDS within indigenous Papuan communities living in Tanah Papuah.

In the Project Implementation track, the following photographers and partner organizations were named winners:

* Mario Badagliacca with the Archive of Migrant Memories (AMM) on their campaign to collect, archive, and share testimonies of migrants held in Identification and Deportation Centers throughout Italy.
* Rula Halawani with Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art to produce an exhibition addressing Palestinian identity and collective memory, as these relate to the natural and physical environment.
* Karim Ben Khelifa with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Open Documentary Lab, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab to create an augmented reality installation that will allow users to engage with soldiers from across enemy lines.
* Jean Melesaine with Silicon Valley De-Bug to work with California public defender offices in effectively and responsibly producing client “social biography videos” as tools for reducing sentencing and potential incarceration.
* Pete Pin with the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia and Michael Weiss (of IXL Learning) to create an online platform for Cambodian Americans to share their family stories based on ephemera saved from before the war and refugee camps.
* Michael Premo and Andrew Stern with Working Films’ Reel Power Initiative to educate and mobilize communities in areas surrounding shale beds and to build public opposition to the recent lift of a ban on fracking in North Carolina.
* Brooke Singer with the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice to develop a more accessible, user-friendly Superfund365.org, a data visualization archive of the worst toxic-waste sites in the United States.

Open Society Foundations, which funds the grants, announced in April that it decided to divide its funding for projects being launched and those that are ready to implement after recognizing that “cultivating collaborations and effectively executing these projects requires significant effort, time, and strategic planning.” In announcing this year’s winners, Open Society also noted that documentary photographers have to do more to advocate for lasting change than simply raise awareness. As the Open Society Foundation’s website notes, “The 2014 grantees take on multiple and often simultaneous roles—artists, activists, advocates, and community organizers, to name just a few.”

More information on the grant winners, and some of their images, can be found on the Open Society Foundations’ website.

Related Article:

Open Society Announces 2013 Audience Engagement Grant Winners

November 3rd, 2014

PhotoPlus Expo 2014: So, You Want to Publish a Photo Book

During her PhotoPlus seminar titled “To Be Published, or Self Publish,” Mary Virginia Swanson, consultant and co-author of Publish Your Photography Book,
ran through the steps involved in producing and marketing a photo book, but again and again she returned to the questions  photographers need to ask themselves before they even consider publishing their work in a book. She asked, “Have you established an audience, and have you established value for your work?” She added, “I see photographers jump ahead before they’ve built an audience for their work.” She said when photographers describe their dream book to her, some mention special papers, large format, and special binding. “I think: ‘That’s a $100 book.’” She urged the audience to consider carefully what prospective buyers will pay to own a book of their images.

She said that photographers have to ask themselves why they want to publish: “Do you have a story you want to share with everyone? Is there a cause or idea you want to advance? As an artist, is it time to get your work out?” As an exercise, she recommended that photographers answer the submission guidelines available on many book publishers’ websites. She showed the lengthy guidelines on the site of Princeton Architectural Press, which ask for a “project description and audience assessment” in eight pages or less. “I feel that if you can complete the Princeton Architectural Press submission guidelines, you can talk to any publisher,” she said. Filling out answers to their questionnaire can help photographers refine their proposals, Swanson said, because “it gets you into the mind of the publisher.” Portfolio reviews, she noted, also provide opportunities to meet two or three book publishers who will “fire back questions” that can help a photographer articulate a book idea.

When shopping for a publisher, she said, “Understand there are small presses and major trade publishers.” A large trade publisher might have staff who can help with design, editing, production management and publicity. Swanson appreciates the attention many small presses will put into designing a book that fits the photographs, but notes that a small press “may be a one- or two-person office” that needs help from a photographer or author on tasks such as editing and publicity. Swanson says there are situations when a publisher, confident that a book can sell well, won’t ask a photographer to contribute towards the cost of production, “and may even pay a small advance.” Those deals are unusual, however. “Most publishers will ask you to contribute in some way,” she said. (For more on this point, see PDN’s article, “The Costly Business of Photo Book Publishing.“)

Whatever the size of the publishing house, she said, “author support is vital” to selling a book. Publishers “will want you to have a website and be active on social media.” While a book takes about a year from concept to binding (less if you self publish), the marketing plan has to begin much earlier, she says, starting with registering a domain name for the book project, planning exhibitions and book signings, and reaching out to potential buyers. Photographers may be affiliated with an association that would buy some copies at a pre-publication cost, or they may be represented by galleries that will buy copies to sell to collectors. Limited edition books have become increasingly collectible, Swanson noted. These are often printed in small quantities, include a signed, limited-edition print, and sell for a few hundred dollars. However, to sell these highly priced editions, a photographer needs to have “established value”—that is, demonstrated that their prints can fetch a high price.

Self-publishing gives photographers total control over design, production and marketing. Photographers who are used to managing photo productions or long-term projects may find self-publishing appealing. “Are you able to manage a publishing project? Are you able to keep to a production calendar?” She noted that print-on-demand companies like Blurb and others now offer a high degree of customization. Swanson showed images of the studio at Conveyor Arts, a production house in Jersey City, New Jersey, that specializes in small-run, custom-designed editions of artists books and exhibition catalogues, and has worked with photographers such as Paula McCartney.

Whether you design your book yourself, or work with a publishing house’s design team, Swanson recommended consulting the many resources available to learn about options for papers, format and binding. Her recommended resources include the Indie Photobook Library, which also organizes traveling shows of photo books; the site Thephotobook.wordpress.com; Aperture’s publication The Photo Book Review; the annual NY Art Book Fair; and the website of the online bookstore Photo-eye,  which includes a showcase of self-published books. If you see a book you admire, she recommended reading the colophon in the back, where the typeface and type of paper used in the book is noted. “Learn the language of publishing so when you work with a designer on your book, you’ll know the vocabulary, and be able to talk about the elements.”

Related Articles

Photographers Share Details of Their Recent Book Deals

The Costly Business of Photo Book Publishing

Tips for Self-Publishing Your Photo Book

The Value of Self-Publishing

October 21st, 2014

ASMP Names Tom Kennedy as New Executive Director

The board of directors of American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), the 70-year-old trade association for photographers, has named multimedia consultant and photo editor Tom Kennedy to be its new executive director.

Kennedy, who was Alexia Chair Professor of Documentary Photography in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University, has been working as a multimedia consultant to photographers. He was previously Managing Editor of Multimedia for the Washington Post and Director of Photography at National Geographic. He serves on the board of the Eddie Adams Workshop and has been a frequent speaker at photo conferences.

Kennedy’s appointment ends a search that began this summer after the ASMP board voted not to renew the contract of Eugene Mopsik, the organization’s long-time executive director.

In an announcement about his appointment, Kennedy says, “ASMP needs to help its members navigate through the turbulence induced by changes to the media landscape. That turbulence, which affects how our ASMP members make their living, requires building of community, wise positioning, and agility in the face of the changes being unleashed. Notwithstanding these challenges, I see this as a tremendous time for professional photographers to be in the vanguard for visual storytelling.”

October 20th, 2014

Obituary: South African Photographer Thabiso Sekgala, 33

memorial-serviceThabiso Sekgala, whose images of the restricted homelands established under South Africa’s apartheid regime have been exhibited internationally, died October 15. Market Photo Workshop, the Johannesburg school where Sekgala studied, announced his death on October 17. The cause of death appears to be suicide, but a police investigation into his death is still being conducted, according to Lekgetho Makola, Market Photo Workshop’s manager of programs and projects.

Born in Johannesburg, Sekgala studied at the Market Photo Workshop. In 2013 he was artist-in-residence at both the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and HIWAR/Durant Al Funun, Jordan. His show “Homeland,” a series of portraits and landscapes made in the restricted areas where black South Africans were segregated under apartheid, was exhibited at Recyclart & The vieuwer, a gallery in Brussels. Earlier this year, Goodman Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa, showed “Running,” made up of images Sekgala shot in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Amman, Jordan; and Berlin, Germany. His work was also shown at international photo festivals including Photoquai in Paris and Rencontres d’Arles (see PDN Photo of the Day for a selection of images shown in “Transitions” at the Rencontres d’Arles). Images from “Homeland” were included in “The Rise and Fall of Apartheid” exhibition, which was shown at the International Center of Photography in New York City, Haus der Kunst in Munich and Museum Africa in Johannesburg.

Sekgala is survived by his mother, his two brothers, and his daughter. A memorial service, being organized by Market Photo Workshop, Goodman Gallery and the Goethe Institut, will be held October 23 at Market Photo Workshop. Details are available on the Market Photo Workshop website.

Related articles:

PDN Photo of the Day: A Period of Transition in South Africa

Another Africa: In Conversation with Artist Thabiso Sekgala (August 2014)

October 15th, 2014

2014 Eddie Adams Workshop Award Winners Announced

The annual four-day Eddie Adams Workshop for emerging photographers ended Monday with presentations by students and announcements of awards. Winners included:

Palestinian photojournalist Eman Mohammed, who received the $2,500 Chris Hondros Fund Award.

Zack Wittman, a junior at Central Michigan University, recipient of the Nikon Award, including a Nikon D4S camera, three NIKKOR zoom lenses and Speedlight flash, worth approximately $11,000.

Sean Proctor, a Michigan-based photojournalist, winner of the inaugural Bill Eppridge Memorial Award, a $1,000 cash prize. The prize was created this year in memory of the long-time LIFE photographer who died in October 2013 at age 75.

Rachel Woolf, a student at Ithaca College, who received the Colton Family Award for the student who best embodies the spirit of the workshop, including a $1,000 cash prize.

New York-based Nancy Borowick, recipient of a $1,000 grant from the visual storytelling app Storehouse for innovation in storytelling. (For more on Borowick’s work, see “Picture Story: Love in a Double Shadow of Cancer” on PDNOnline.)

Jonas Wresch, a German photographer based in Colombia, and Adriane Ohanesian, an American photographer based in Kenya, who each received a $1,000 cash award from National Geographic.

Numerous awards in the form of photo assignments and internships were given by the Associated Press, The Denver Post, Education Week, Getty Sports, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Washington Post, a Lightbox feature on Time.com and a one-week internship at the White House.

The four-day, tuition-free workshop hosts 100 photo students and emerging pros with an international mix. Among the more than 20 workshop speakers and coaches at this year’s event were veteran photographers James Nachtwey, Eugene Richards and John White and contemporary talents Barbara Davidson, Gillian Laub, Phil Toledano and Marco Grob.

More information is available at the Eddie Adams Workshop website
www.eddieadamsworkshop.com.