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April 26th, 2013

Alec Soth on Wandering, Storytelling and Robert Adams vs. Weegee

Last week at the Portland Art Museum as part of the 2013 Photolucida festivities, Alec Soth gave a lecture titled “From Here to There: Searching for Narrative in Photography.” The talk could have been titled “Searching for Narrative in Photography Lectures,” because Soth mostly allowed the audience to lead the way with questions, which he responded to with the aid of a number of prepared slideshows. The evening was free-form, entertaining and a bit wandering, which made sense given that Soth emphasized that wandering and taking pictures without a set goal in mind has produced some of his most important bodies of work. But more on that later.

Soth started on a down note, sharing a quote from Robert Frank—“There are too many images, too many cameras now. We’re all being watched. It gets sillier and sillier. As if all action is meaningful. Nothing is really all that special. It’s just life. If all moments are recorded, then nothing is beautiful and maybe photography isn’t an art any more. Maybe it never was.” He also showed a photograph of an installation by Erik Kessels: a pile of prints made from all of the images uploaded to Flickr in a 24-hour period.

Soth described the perspectives offered by the Frank quote and Kessels’ installation as “bleak.” But, he said, the “way out of this [bleak situation for photographers] is storytelling.” (more…)

April 22nd, 2013

Video Pick: Thomas Dworzak’s Long View of the Caucasus

Since the 1990s, Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak has explored the volatile republics of the Northern Caucasus. It’s a region that’s now in the news because alleged Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had ties there, but  Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia and other republics of the Caucasus have long been a source of curiosity and geopolitical ambitions, especially in Russia.

In his 2010 book, Kavkas, Dworzak, who is now based in Georgia, wrote: “Having discovered the importance of the ‘Caucasus Experience’ in 19th century romantic Russian literature, I finally put together a book with all the images from my years spent in the Caucasus.” Kavkas includes images Dworzak took while covering the conflicts in Chechnya and Abkhazia and their aftermath, as well as scenes from Dagestan, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ossetia.

In the book’s introduction, Dworzak called Kavkas “a toast to the Caucasus.” Magnum in Motion made a multimedia slide show of some of the images from the book. They appear on screen as in the book, interspersed with text from writers including Tolstoy, Lermontov and Pushkin.

While many of Dworzak’s images are poetic and allusive, and compliment the writers’ rhapsodic prose, at other times they make a sharp contrast, showing the violence and hardship the region has seen in recent years.

Related article:
Boston Bombings Focus Attention on Caucasus, And Photo Projects on the Region

Notable Photo Books 2010 (review of Kavkas, published by Schilt)
(For PDN subscribers only.)

April 22nd, 2013

Boston Bombings Focus Attention on Caucasus, And Photo Projects on the Region

© Davide Monteleone/VII. From Red Thistle (published by Dewi Lewis)

© Davide Monteleone/VII. From Red Thistle (published by Dewi Lewis)

As investigations into the alleged Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev focus on their connection to Chechnya and to the region of Dagestan, where Tamerlan spent time in January 2012, we’re once again looking at photographic studies of the North Caucusus. This volatile and troubled region may be little known to many Americans, but it’s been the subject of in-depth examination by photographers including Stanley Greene, Thomas Dworzak and Davide Monteleone. They have explored not only the violence in the region, but its culture, rituals and legacy of ethnic and political tensions.

Talking about his 2012 book Red Thistle, which explores life in the Northern Caucusus, David Monteleone told PDN in  2012 that he wanted to learn more about the people in the region than he could learn from media reports about terrorist attacks and human rights abuses. The book is a collection of images he took over several years in the republics around Chechnya, including Dagestan, Abkhazia (the Georgian Republic), Ingushetia, Karachay–Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia and the disputed territory of South Ossetia.

“For every work that I do, I want to show the daily life of people,” Monteleone told PDN. “Then of course I try to get a little bit deeper and try to find my own vision, but it’s my curiosity first of all.”

People he met in the region who were hospitable and welcoming, he says, but “the authorities were not.” Many of his images were shot indoors, conveying the constraints he experienced. “You have this wild, big [landscape], and at the same time the people are sort of afraid of moving, they cannot reach some places. A lot of areas are closed because of antiterrorist operations, you cannot go to the mountains because it’s forbidden because of military operations … [The people] are restricted in a way, in the mind and physically.”

You can read Monteleone’s full interview in “Disputed Territories: Exploring Life in the Northern Caucuses” on PDNOnline.

* Photo, above: A woman in the Dagestan village of Gimri during the sacrifice of a bull. © Davide Monteleone/VII
Related articles
Disputed Territories: Exploring Life in the Northern Caucusus
Photo Gallery: More Images from Red Thistle

April 18th, 2013

Man Infringes Copyright to Profit from Boston Bombing

Intent on making a quick buck from the Boston Marathon bombing, a self-publisher allegedly offered an e-book full of stolen news photos for sale on Amazon.com, titled “The Boston Bombings First Photos.”

The NPPA reported yesterday that the book, published by a man identified as Steve Goldstein, included more than 60 images used without permission from The Associated Press, Getty Images and The New York Times. Goldstein was charging $7.99 per download.

Amazon has removed the book, apparently in response to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notices from copyright holders.

According to the NPPA report, a New York Times attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to Goldstein. In his response, Goldstein wrote, “We will stop using the photos that you mention. Sorry for the use without permission.”

For more details, see the NPPA report.

April 15th, 2013

APA, NPPA Join Copyright Suit Against Google

American Photographic Artists (APA) and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) announced today that they are joining an ongoing class action lawsuit against Google, alleging that the Google Books Search program is a violation of the copyrights of photographers and other visual artists.

Under the Google Books Search program, Google has been working with several libraries to scan books and periodicals and make the content available through search engine results. But a group of plaintiffs–including photographers and photo trade associations–filed a class action lawsuit in 2010 to stop Google from copying, scanning or displaying copyrighted photos and other visuals in printed publications without permission.

“I feel it is the NPPA’s responsibility to protect that principle of ownership, and not allow companies like Google to infringe upon our rights uncontested,” NPPA president Mike Borland said in a statement issued today by NPPA.

The lawsuit was spearheaded by American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Other lead plaintiffs include the Graphic Artists Guild, Picture Archive Council of America (PACA), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), and a number of individual photographers.

ASMP said when it filed the lawsuit that the goal is to make sure photographers are “fairly and reasonably compensated” when their works are distributed through Google search results.

In joining the lawsuit, APA national president Theresa Raffetto said in a prepared statement: “Holding Google Books responsible for their flagrant copyright infringement is something APA has been working on and we’re pleased to continue this fight in conjunction with the other plaintiffs.”

February 20th, 2013

David Alan Harvey Wins POYi’s Best Photo Book Prize

From (Based on a True Story) ©David Alan Harvey

From (based on a true story) ©David Alan Harvey

Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey has won Best Photography Book honors in the 2013 POYi competition.

Harvey won for “(based on a true story),” an experimental book comprising a collection of images–part true, and part fictional–of a journey through Rio that “explode with color, heat, humidity, sex, more sex, danger, fear, chaos, more chaos,” according to the Burn magazine Web site.

Finalists included six other books–”Brooklyn Buzz,” by Alessandro Cosmelli & Gaia Light; “England Uncensored,” by Peter Dench; “The Invisible City,” by Irene Kung, Ludovico Pratesi, and Francine Prose; “The Wrong Side: Living on the Mexican Border,” by Jerome Sessini; “In the Car with R,” by Rafal Milach & Huldar Breidfjord; and “Violentology: A Manual of the Columbian Conflict,” by Stephen Ferry.

The jurors also gave special recognition to Marc Asnin for his book, “Uncle Charlie,” and to “Bosnia: 1992-1995,” edited by Jon Jones.

POYi jurors have been selecting winners in Editing Division categories over the last several days. Winners so far include the Memphis Commercial Appeal, which took first place in the News & Issue Story Editing category for “What Obama Didn’t See.” The story is the print version of a multimedia project titled “As I Am” by Alan Spearman, which was featured in the January 2013 issue of PDN.)

National Geographic magazine won first place in the News & Issue Story Editing–Magazine category for “Nile Journey,” a story about Egypt photographed by Alex Majoli that ran in the magazine’s May 2012 issue under the title “Egypt in the Moment.”

The Washington Post won Feature Story Editing–Newspaper for “A Siberian Pictorial,” featuring images by Sebastião Salgado.

Related:
Notable Books of 2012: Part 1 (includes a review of (Based on a True Story) by David Alan Harvey)
Picture Story: A Guided Tour of Poverty in Memphis (about Alan Spearman’s “As I Am” project)
Paolo Pellegrin Named POYi Freelance Photographer of the Year
Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter Wins POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

February 1st, 2013

Project on African American and Latino Ballroom Subculture Wins CDS/Honickman First Book Prize

© Gerard H. Gaskin

© Gerard H. Gaskin

Gerard H. Gaskin’s photography series on the African American and Latino house and ballroom subculture of urban, gay pageants has received the Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize.

The prize carries a $3,000 grant, and an opportunity to publish a book of the work and exhibit it online and at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The images also go into the permanent collection at Duke’s Archive of Documentary Arts.

Judged by curator, historian and photographer Deborah Willis, the 2013 prize is the sixth biennial award given by Duke Center For Documentary Studies and the Honickman Foundation of Philadelphia.

According to Gaskin’ statement, “The balls are a celebration of black and Latino urban gay life and were born in Harlem out of a need for black and Latino gays to have a safe space to express themselves. Balls are constructed like beauty and talent pageants. The participants work to redefine and critique gender and sexual identity through an extravagant fashion masquerade.”

Though the balls originated in Harlem, Gaskin noted, the culture has grown and spread. He made his images in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. “My images try to show a personal and intimate beauty, pride, dignity, courage, and grace that have been painfully challenged by mainstream society,” he says.

“Gaskin’s work looks at the notion of transformation as he turns his lens on what it means to be ‘desired,’ and at the same time, what it feels like to be alienated,” Willis said in a statement. “His photographs are as exciting to look at as they are a means for imagining the lived experiences of the communities he has documented.”

The prize is open to American and Canadian photographers of any age who have never published a book-length work. For more about the prize visit: firstbookprizephoto.com.

December 14th, 2012

Mila Teshaieva Wins Critical Mass Book Award

Ruins of a luxury Soviet restaurant near Baku. © Mila Teshaieva

Ruins of a luxury Soviet restaurant near Baku. © Mila Teshaieva

Today Photolucida, the non-profit photo organization, announced that Mila Teshaieva won the 2012 Critical Mass Book Award for her documentary series “Promising Waters,” which explores the present-day identity of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, three countries located along the Caspian Sea. Her project will be published as a photo book by Photolucida and German publisher Kehrer Verlag.

The Berlin-based photographer notes on her website that the countries she has photographed “have emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union with immense oil and gas reserves and the enormous challenge of defining themselves as independent nations.”

The winners of the two Critical Mass Solo Show awards were announced as well. Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon, will exhibit Tamas Dezso’s “Here, Anywhere.” This series also focuses on a former Eastern Bloc country, though the subject matter is the photographer’s native Hungary. The second Solo Show was awarded to Heidi Kirkpatrick of Portland, Oregon. Her work turns photography into sculpture and will be exhibited at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Each year Photolucida holds the Critical Mass competition, which permits photographers of all levels to submit a ten-image portfolio for consideration. A committee of approximately 20 jurors selects 200 finalists from all of the submissions, which are then voted on by over 200 members of the photo community. Past Critical Mass Book Award winners have included Jeff Rich, Birthe Pointek, Alejandro Cartagena, Donald Weber, Amy Stein, Peter van Agtmael and Louie Palu.

Related Articles:
PPE 2012: What Photo Editors Want
2011 Critical Mass Top 50 Announced
2010 Critical Mass Book Award Goes to Jeff Rich

 

December 6th, 2012

Call for Entries: European Publishers Award for Photography

The five publishers responsible for the European Publisher’s Award for Photography are now accepting submissions for their 2013 competition. The award, which gives one photographer the opportunity to publish a book with publishers in France, Spain, Great Britain, Germany and Italy, celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2013.

Past winners include Bruce Gilden, Simon Norfolk, Paolo Pellegrin, Jacob Aue Sobol, Davide Monteleone and, most recently, Alessandro Imbriaco.

The five publishers who give the award are: Actes Sud (France), Blume (Spain), Dewi Lewis Publishing (Great Britain), Kehrer Verlag (Germany) and Peliti Associati (Italy).

The competition is open to photographers worldwide. The deadline for submissions January 31, 2013. For rules and entry instructions see Dewi Lewis Publishing’s site here.

November 16th, 2012

Aperture and Paris Photo Announce First PhotoBook Prize, PhotoBook of the Year

The cover of David Galjaard’s Concresco, which won the First PhotoBook Prize. © David Galjaard.

Paris Photo and the Aperture Foundation announced the winners of the first annual Paris Photo Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards today.

The First PhotoBook Award went to Dutch photographer David Galjaard for his self-published book Concresco, about the remaining cold-war-era bunkers that dot the Albanian landscape. Open to all new bookmakers, the award includes a $10,000 prize.

An interior spread from Galjaard’s Concresco. © David Galjaard.

The PhotoBook of the Year award went to Anders Peterson for his City Diary (Volumes 1-3), which were designed by Greger Ulf Nilson and published by Steidl, and which depict the gritty sides of St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Tokyo.

The cover of Vol. 1 of Anders Petersen’s City Diary, which was named PhotoBook of the Year. © Anders Petersen, published by Steidl.

In the fall edition of Aperture’s Photobook Review, which announced the shortlisted books, the descriptions of the two eventual winners highlighted not only the content of the images, but the quality of the bookmaking.

Concresco is a consistently and elegantly rendered physical object,” the short review pointed out. “This three-volume set of soft-cover paperbacks with gatefold-like flaps is densely printed on every surface,” a review noted of Petersen’s City Diary. “The ink fumes that emanate from the rough-cardboard envelope that acts as packaging are fittingly as strong and musky as the photographs themselves.”

The envelope packaging of Petersen’s City Diary. © Anders Petersen, published by Steidl.

The prizes were awarded by a jury that included Roxana Marcoci, curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Thomas Seelig, curator and curator of collections at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland; Britt Salvesen, curator and head of the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography and the department of prints and drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Els Barents, director of the Huis Marseille Museum for Photography; and Timothy Prus, curator of AMC Books, selected the winners for both prizes.

All of the 30 books shortlisted for these prizes will be exhibited at Aperture in New York and will then tour to colleges, libraries and public exhibition space. To review the full shortlist visit The PhotoBook Review site here.