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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…)

March 12th, 2013

Photogs Dish Anonymously About Clients’ Rates Via New Tumblr Site

A new site on Tumblr set up by an anonymous editorial photographer seeks to provide a platform where photographers can share information about what clients in all fields, from editorial to advertising to non-profits, pay photographers.

Still in its infancy, the site, Who Pays Photographers, is based on a similar Tumblr, Who Pays Writers, which, you guessed it, lists fees paid to writers. According to the anonymous founder of Who Pays Photographers, the response has been a bit overwhelming, indicating a serious interest among photographers to talk about, and read about, the fees clients pay for photographic work.

Thus far the site has information about The New York Times, Getty Images, AP, AFP, The Wall Street Journal, ESPN and several other clients in the US and abroad.

We exchanged emails with the creator of Who Pays Photographers to find out a bit more about her/his goals for the site.

PDN: How long have you worked as a photographer and in what field?

Who Pays Photographers: I’m an editorial photographer with 6 years experience, about half of that time as a staffer at a magazine, and more recently, as a freelancer.

PDN: What inspired you to start the site? Was it just a natural reaction to seeing Manjula Martin’s Who Pays Writers, or was there more to it?

WPP: The site was a simple reaction to Who Pays Writers, a site that was linked to a number of times during the recent Nate Thayer kerfuffle with the Atlantic. It seemed obvious that the photo industry could really benefit from having such a resource and I found it surprising that nothing of the sort existed. (more…)

March 11th, 2013

Park Officials Block Effort to Name Lawn For Slain Photojournalist Chris Hondros

© Brooklyn Bridge Park

© Brooklyn Bridge Park

A campaign to get Brooklyn Bridge Park to name a lawn after photojournalist Chris Hondros, a Brooklyn resident who was killed in Libya in April 2011, is being blocked by Park authorities who now say they will not accept proper names submitted to its Name That Lawn contest. (*March 13, 2013: See Update to this story, below.)

In February, Brooklyn Bridge Park, a city-run park, announced on its website that it was running a Name That Lawn contest to solicit names for a stretch of green on a recently repurposed pier. Patrick Whelan, photo editor at the Wall Street Journal, suggested it be named for Hondros, a New York native and winner of the Robert Capa Gold Medal. Soon dozens of friends and colleagues of the late photographer had spread the word via social media, and news about the campaign ran run on the websites of DNAInfo and a local CBS news affiliate.

On March 9, however, several people who had submitted Hondros’s name received an email signed by Nancy Webster of Brooklyn Bridge Park, saying the Park was looking only for names that described aspects of the park.  Acknowledging the volume of emails suggesting Hondros’s name, Webster’s email added, “While we very much appreciate the desire to honor Chris’s memory, we are also keenly aware that there are so very many deserving and special Brooklyn residents to memorialize and pay tribute to. And as such, the naming of one lawn for one person does not seem fully inclusive of the
larger community.”

Webster noted that the rule change had been added to  the contest page of the Park’s website. It now reads, “We are looking specifically for a name that reflects the geography or features of the park, so no proper names please.”

Photographer Alan Chin, an early promoter of Whalen’s idea, called Webster’s email “disingenuous.” “All kinds of parks and parts of parks are named for all kinds of people. In my own neighborhood of Red Hook here, there’s the ‘Louis J. Valentino Park’ named for a local firefighter who died in a burning building in 1996. Wouldn’t the ‘Chris Hondros Meadow’ be in exactly the same spirit?” (Among city-run parks in Brooklyn alone, Chin might have added McCarren Park, Maria Hernandez Park, J.J. Byrne Playground, or the Lt. Federico Narvarez Tot Lot, which were named for a state senator, a city council member, a Building Department clerk and a New York police lieutenant who died in 1996.)

He said that the Park’s “backtracking” on the rules of its own contest “is graceless and insulting in the extreme.”

Webster’s email claims that the Park would contact the Chris Hondros Fund, the non-profit foundation created after his death to support photography education and photojournalism projects, “to explore other ways to honor his memory.”

Christina Piaia, president of the Chris Hondros Fund did not say whether the Park had been in touch, but sent PDN the following statement: “We feel humbled by the outpouring of love and support evident in the notes shared with us, and, in the spirit of Chris, this serves as a testament to the incredible life he led and legacy he leaves behind in each of us.”

Whalen says the Park’s decision is “disappointing,” but he hopes that supporters of the campaign will rally around another effort to create a place named for Hondros where friends and colleagues could meet or talk about his work. “Next month will be the second anniversary of our loss as well as Chris’ birthday. I feel the time is right and the support is there to make this happen.”

* Update, March 13, 2013: Four days after the Brooklyn Bridge Park changed  the rules of the contest; the Park has responded to criticism of its change by calling the contest off, The New York Times reports today.


Related Articles

Chris Hondros Remembered as Humanist, Friend

Chris Hondros Dies of Injuries in Libya

Andrea Bruce Wins Getty Images & Chris Hondros Fund Award

 

January 30th, 2013

ICP Infinity Awards to Honor Goldblatt, Henner, de Middel

South African photographer David Goldblatt will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 29th Annual Infinity Awards, the International Center of Photography (ICP) announced yesterday. The awards will be given at a gala to benefit ICP on May 1 in New York City.

Goldblatt, 82, has produced numerous books and museum exhibitions of his work, which defies definition as either art or documentary photography.  His work was included in ICP’s recent exhibition, “The Rise and Fall of Apartheid,” and is being exhibited now at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In a statement announcing this year’s Infinity Award winners, ICP executive director Mark Robbins said, “We are pleased to recognize the achievement of this year’s recipients including David Goldblatt, who has dedicated his career to not only documenting his native South Africa but also to teaching visual literacy and photographic skills to youth disadvantaged by the system of apartheid.”

The Infinity Award for Photojournalism will be awarded to David Guttenfelder, the Chief Asia Photographer for the Associated Press, who has been documenting North Korea. The Infinity Award for Art will be awarded to Mishka Henner, who used Google Street View to capture images of the outskirts of European cities where sex workers have solicited clients.

Other winners of 2103 Infinity Awards are:
Young Photographer: Kitra Cahana
Publication: Cristina de Middel, The Afronauts
Applied/Fashion/Advertising: Erik Madigan Heck (selected for PDN’s 30 in 2011).

Not announced yesterday was a winner for the Cornell Capa Award, inaugurated in 2000 in honor of the founder of ICP.

Past winners of ICP Infinity Awards include William Eggleston, Elliott Erwitt, Daido Moriyama, Lee Friedlander, Annie Leibovitz, William Klein and Malick Sidibe.

Related articles
Moriyama, Ai Weiwei to Be Honored at ICP Infinity Awards

AP’s David Guttenfelder Inside North Korea

Deutsche Börse Announces Shortlist for 2013 Photography Prize (de Middel and Henner)

January 15th, 2013

$15K Alexia Foundation Grant Deadline, Exhibition Coming Up

© Justin Maxon. Jasmine Rasheed-Bacon, 6, consoles her cousin, Breonna Starkey-Bacon, 6, after she went into a closet to cry because of a disturbance in the house. The two cousins are very close and rely on each other for support. The girls live in a dangerous neighborhood called the Sun Village in Chester, PA, which is notorious for its drug trafficking and drug related crime.

© Justin Maxon, from his Alexia Grant supported project. Jasmine Rasheed-Bacon, 6, consoles her cousin, Breonna Starkey-Bacon, 6, after she went into a closet to cry because of a disturbance in the house. The two cousins are very close and rely on each other for support. The girls live in a dangerous neighborhood called the Sun Village in Chester, PA, which is notorious for its drug trafficking and drug related crime.

The deadline for the 2013 Alexia Foundation grant is this Friday, January 18. The $15,000 grant will be awarded to a photographer who is looking for funding “to produce a substantial picture story that furthers the Foundation’s goals of promoting world peace and cultural understanding.”

The Alexia Foundation supports photojournalism that explores issues of social justice and cultural awareness. It was founded by Peter and Aphrodite Tsairis, in memory of their daughter, Alexia, who was killed in the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

In addition to the professional grant, the Alexia Foundation will also give out student awards that provide educational opportunities and cash grants for photography undergraduate and graduate students who are making work that coincides with the goals of the foundation. The deadline for entries for the student awards is February 1.

Last year’s professional grant was awarded to Justin Maxon, who has used the funding to work on a project about the number of murders that go unsolved in America. The student award went to Katie Orlinsky, who completed an internship at MediaStorm and worked on her project about the human cost of Mexico’s drug war.

Both Maxon and Orlinsky will speak about their work at “Images & Issues,” an Alexia Foundation exhibition and fundraising event that will be held January 23 at 25CPW Gallery in New York City. The event will feature an exhibition of the work of last year’s grant recipients, and images from past Alexia Grant winners, including Melanie Blanding, Wesley Law, Ismail Ferdous, Ezra Shaw, Bob Miller, Marie Aragon, Juliette Lynch, Matt Lutton, Veronica Wilson, Justin Yurkanin, Mark Murrmann, Christopher Lane, Ryan Henriksen, Peggy Peattie, Matt Black, Mackenzie Reiss, Ami Vitale, Katie Orlinsky, Justin Maxon, Stephanie Sinclair and Khaled Hasan.

Visit the Alexia Foundation site for more information on the grants and the exhibition.

Related: Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Tim Matsui on the Women’s Initiative Grant [Subscribers only; PDN subscribers can login to read this story]
Justin Maxon Wins $15,000 Alexia Foundation Grant

December 14th, 2012

Open Society Announces 2012 Audience Engagement Grant Winners

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) has announced the winners of its 2012 Audience Engagement Grants. The annual grants, which vary in dollar amounts, support documentary projects that propose to go beyond using photography to raise awareness of issues, and “take a more direct role in making change happen.” Each photographer partners with an organization to present the work to new audiences and engagement them in effecting political or social change. For the first time in the history of the grant, all the projects are located in the United States.

The 2012 winners are:

Emily Schiffer, in partnership with the Center for Urban Transformation and Magnum Foundation:
“See Potential” (Chicago, Illinois)
“See Potential,” profiled in PDN’s Community issue (see “Helping Communities Speak for Themselves: See Potential”) uses banners created using documentary photographs captured in South Side neighborhoods to promote four urban revitalization projects in the Englewood and Bronzeville neighborhoods. Neighbors are asked to show their support for the projects via text message.

Robin Bowman, in partnership with The American Teenager Project: “The American Teenager Project” (Richmond, California)
Robin Bowman will work with local arts organizations, high schools, and advocacy groups in Richmond, California—such as Community Leaders Organizing Undocumented Dreamers (CLOUD) to create an exhibition, curriculum and storytelling workshops, and a program to train youth and teachers to be ambassadors for the program who will stimulate youth engagement on civil and human rights issues.

Joseph Rodriguez, in partnership with New America Media: “Re-entry Stories” (Richmond and San Jose, California)
Joseph Rodriguez will train journalism students and youth reporters fro Santa Clara University and the University of California, Berkeley, as well as reporters from New America Media’s youth media hubs to sensitively and accurately document the stories of people re-entering society after incarceration and create multimedia presentations. Their work will be featured alongside Rodriguez’s “Re-entry in Los Angeles” and shown at forums to strengthen advocacy for criminal justice reforms in California.

Jon Lowenstein, in partnership with Trans-Border Institute: “Escondido en Escondido” (Escondido, California)
Jon Lowenstein will provide faith leaders and religious youth groups in Escondido, California, with tools and training to document and address immigration issues and promote community integration. The resulting images will be combined with Lowenstein’s “Shadow Lives USA” and distributed in Escondido as a newsprint handout; additional content will be available to readers using an augmented reality browser, Junaio.

The winning proposals were selected this year by Claudine Brown (former Director of the Arts and Culture Program, Nathan Cummings Foundation and currently Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian Institution); Stephen Ferry (photographer and past Audience Engagement Grant recipient); and Wendy Levy (co-founder, Sparkwise and Senior Strategist, Tomorrow Partners). Fred Ritchin (Professor, Photography & Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University).

Related Articles:

Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Jon Lowenstein’s Guggenheim Fellowship

AmericanPoverty.org: Addressing America’s Invisible Problem (founded by Steve Liss and Jon Lowenstein)

Helping Communities Speak for Themselves: See Potential

November 28th, 2012

470 Photos Donated to SFMOMA: Arbus, Moriyama, Araki and More

© Shomei Tomatsu

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) today announced it will receive gifts of 470 photos from three separate collections. They include a pledge of 26 photos by Diane Arbus, given by collector Jeffrey Fraenkel, owner of the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco.

The other gifts—from an anonymous donor and from the Kurenboh Collection in Tokyo—include prints by Japanese photographers, exhibition catalogues and monographs related to Japanese photography, as well as prints by photographers including Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Irving Penn and Garry Winogrand.

The 26 Arbus works are from a series the photographer took in homes for the mentally disabled between 1969 and 1971.

Sandra S. Phillips, SFMOMA Senior Curator of Photography and the curator of the 2003 retrospective exhibition, “Diane Arbus Revelations,” says in a press release issued by the museum, “The Arbus gift adds to our growing list of artists who are comprehensively represented in SFMOMA’s collection, while the Japanese works make our collection the best of its type in the country.”

The anonymous donor’s gift includes 184 photos by Nobuyoshi Araki, Rinko Kawauchi, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Daido Moriyama. The gift from the Kurenboh Collection includes 262 photos by Moriyama, Shōmei Tōmatsu, and Ken Morisawa, and works by photographers who have not yet been shown in the United States, including Masumi Kura, Toshiya Murakoshi, and Keiko Sasaoka. The Kurenboh Collection has also pledged to donate 800 publications, including monographs and exhibition catalogues. Before the promised gifts announced today,  SFMOMA had one of the largest collections of Japanese photography in the US. It organized the 2009 show, “The Provoke Era: Postwar Japanese Photography.”

* Photo (above):
© Shomei Tomatsu. “Card Game, Zushi, Kanagawa, 1964.” Kurenboh Collection, promised gift to SFMOMA.

November 14th, 2012

Sandy Fundraisers: Great Photographers Selling Prints For Sandy Relief (Updated)

© Wyatt Gallery

A print sale fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief featuring $50 prints of iPhone photographs from a great list of photographers will take place this Monday, November 19 at Foley Gallery in New York.

Organized by Wyatt Gallery, Michael Foley, Ben Lowy and Ruddy Roye, and curated by Jun Lee, the show includes photos by Lowy, Roye, Gallery, Ed Kashi, Stephen Wilkes, Hank Willis Thomas, Michael Christopher Brown, Craig Wetherby, Yosra El-Essawy, Sam Horine, Nicole Sweet, Dylan Chandler, Brent Bartley, Stanley Lumax and Erica Simone.

Gotham Imaging is printing the photographs for the exhibition. And according to the event page they are working on enabling online purchases for those who can’t make the event.

For more info and to RSVP, check out the event page here:

http://www.facebook.com/events/377613858994356/

UPDATE: Prints from the show are also available for online purchase, here: http://sandyrelief.bigcartel.com/

Fine-art photographer Isa Leshko, a native of New Jersey whose series Thrills & Chills was largely shot on the Jersey Shore, is contributing in two ways to the rebuilding of the area.

She is donating archival pigment prints of her image “The Wave” from Thrills & Chills to a fundraiser organized by the Richard Levy Gallery . From Dec. 4-9th they will be exhibiting at The Miami Project, a new art fair. Richard Levy Gallery is dedicating a wall of their booth to artwork donated by their artists for Sandy relief. 100% of sales go to the Red Cross. Leshko will be selling 4.5 x 4.5 inch prints of “The Wave” for $100.

“The Wave,” © Isa Leshko.

“In addition,” Leshko says, “from now through the end of the year, I will be donating 20% of any income I derive from sales of gelatin silver prints from my Thrills & Chills series to the following two organizations:

1. Architecture for Humanity’s Restore the Shore fund

2. Rebuilding Together

Feature Shoot also assembled a list of other charity efforts, which you can check out here.

UPDATE:

We received word that the folks at Slideluck Potshow are hosting an event on November 20th at White Box Gallery in New York. The event will raise money to benefit charities that are helping members of the Red Hook, Brooklyn community recover. For more info on the event and to RSVP check out the event page, here.

UPDATE:

TIME and online print retailer 20×200 are collaborating on a sale of 12 prints by noted photographers that will benefit six charities in the New York area that are helping people effected by the storm. Joel Meyerowitz, Alfred Eisenstaedt and Stephen Wilkes prints are part of the collection, which was selected by TIME’s photo editors. Prints will be available until December 16. For more info or to purchase a print visit Art for Sandy Relief.

November 2nd, 2012

Can Flood Damaged Prints Be Saved?

Hurricane Sandy caused flooding of gallery storage areas in New York and elsewhere earlier this week. Paul Messier, a Boston-based expert on the conservation of photographs and works on paper, has worked as a consultant to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and other institutions. He also assisted museums and historical societies in the Gulf Coast area with restoration efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

PDN: Have you been getting calls from New York galleries?
Paul Messier: Honestly, no. I know there was a lot of devastation in the Chelsea area. I’ve heard from other conservators about individual salvage projects. But I have not been contacted yet, which is not surprising because the electricity is still off.

PDN: What’s the prognosis for recovering flood-damaged photographic prints?
PM: It’s highly dependent upon the photo process. Some photographic processes or more resilient than others. It’s also highly dependent upon the duration of the exposure to water, and it’s highly dependent upon the response. For example, things moved into freezer storage while still wet would have a much better prognosis for successful outcome. (more…)

November 2nd, 2012

Chelsea Photo Galleries Face Difficult Recovery

Daniel Cooney of Daniel Cooney Fine Art says that when he walked to his gallery in the Naftali Building at 508-526 W 26th Street on November 1, “All you could hear walking around Chelsea was the sound of generators powering pumps.” The pumps have been pumping water out of the basements in the area, located on the far west side of Manhattan, which flooded when the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy pushed water from the Hudson River over the West Side Highway and then two blocks eastward.

Some galleries in Chelsea experienced damage both to their spaces and their art work. Art work that was stored in basement storage facilities has been damaged. Printed Matter, the nonprofit art bookstore located on 10th Avenue in Chelsea, asked for volunteers to help empty sodden books from their basement. Ruined books were stacked on the curb.

Electricity has been out in lower Manhattan since the storm surge from the East River swamped a power station on E. 14th Street on Monday night. Several galleries have been closed as  result. Con Edison, the power company serving the area, said electricity might be restored by Saturday or as early as tonight. That would be good news for galleries on the Lower East Side, including Sasha Wolf Gallery and Anastasia Photo, which have been closed since the storm, and in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, an area that experienced both power outages and some flooding at the height of the storm.

Many galleries in Chelsea, however, face a more daunting challenge. While some, like Daniel Cooney Fine Art, Clampart Gallery, Robert Mann Galleries and others located on upper floors avoided flooding, the damage to wiring, elevators and boilers in the basements of some buildings may prevent the return of business as usual for a while.

Cooney got his first look at the damage to the Naftali Building, home to several galleries and artists’ studios, on Tuesday Oct 30. The streets were mostly dry, but when he arrived at the building, he says, “The pressure from the water in the basement had broken the door, we could see that the water was to the ceiling.”

Cooney says his gallery, located on the 9th floor, suffered little damage in the storm. Before the storm arrived, he had sealed the windows of his storage room with bubble wrap (“It was what I had”) and moved artwork from the storage room to his gallery space, which has no windows.

When he returned on Thursday, November 1, a pump had emptied most of the water from the Naftali Building’s basement which was used to store artwork by many of the galleries and artists in the building. People were carrying art out of the basement in the afternoon. “They were cutting into the bubble wrap and water was just pouring out.” The wet art work included paintings and photographs, he said. Some artists were carrying them through the lobby and up the stairs, leaving trails of water.

Cooney says that because of the high water in the basement—where electrical boxes, the boiler and elevators motors are located, “It is unclear what damages have been sustained. The electricity in Manhattan is supposed to be back on Saturday but there is no telling when the building’s electricity will be on.”

Given how many lives and homes have been destroyed in the storm, Cooney says he feels lucky. And certainly damage to art galleries isn’t a tragedy on the same scale, but gallery owners rely on sales for their livelihood. The longer they are unable to open, the bigger their risk. “I don’t get a paycheck. If I’m not selling anything I can’t pay my bills.” Cooney says, “There are other galleries that have to revamp and have lost huge amounts of inventory.”  He adds, “I am very lucky to have power at home in Hell’s Kitchen so I have set up a home office which works fine for now.”

Flood damage is excluded from most insurance policies unless business owners specifically buy flood coverage, says principal Scott Taylor of Taylor & Taylor Insurance. It’s unclear whether most galleries in Chelsea carry flood insurance or not, but banks typically require it prior to making loans to any business located in a designated flood zone.

Taylor notes that anyone who suffered property loss or damage due to flooding from Hurricane Sandy is eligible for loans from the federal government, because New York has been declared a federal disaster area. The loans, of course, are not insurance reimbursements–anyone who takes advantage of the FEMA loan program will have to pay back the money they borrow, something that may not be easy businesses remain closed.