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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.

 

October 25th, 2012

PPE 2012: How to Survive and Conquer Portfolio Reviews

Portfolio reviews can be costly or, depending on what you make of them, cost effective. This idea—set forth by Center For Photography at Woodstock Executive Director Ariel Shanberg—was the focus of a panel this afternoon at Photo Plus Expo that aimed to help attendees understand how they can maximize their time and money during portfolio review events.

Shanberg was joined on the panel by creative consultant Mary Virginia Swanson and moderator WM Hunt, a photography collector and former gallerist. The three spoke of their appreciation for portfolio reviews and their atmosphere of discovery, where reviewers are excited to find and discuss new work that they can share with others in the photo community. “If you strike a chord [with a reviewer], they will become your advocate and refer you [to others] and try to help you,” Hunt told the photographers in the audience.

Each reviewer gave examples of photographers whose work they reviewed and were amazed by, but they also offered a host of practical tips that should help photographers make the most of these 20-minute “speed dates” with editors, collectors and curators:

Mary Virginia Swanson described several different portfolio reviews but also pointed out that her article in the new issue of Emerging Photographer magazine had information and listings of several top portfolio reviews, as does her blog, here.

Swanson suggested that photographers consider bringing a tape recorder and—with the reviewer’s permission—recording their reviews rather than taking notes so they could engage more fully with the reviewer.

She also recommended that photographers ask at the end of a review if the reviewer would like to be kept informed about the photographer’s work, and if so, how (via email, print cards, phones or discs with images….). Swanson further suggested that the photographer should ask what to put in the subject line of the email to be sure to get the reviewer’s attention.

The thickness of a photographer’s portfolio is often inversely proportionate to the quality of the work, Hunt said. He explained that the most serious, confident and thoughtful photographers have the thinnest portfolios because they have refined their work.

On the subject of how much work to show, Shanberg suggested that there is a polite limit of 20 prints. You may want to show more to a book publisher who wants to see that you have 80 images for a book, or reviewers might want to see more work if they are excited about it, but putting a white piece of board as a divider in your portfolio to suggest that a reviewer can stop after 20 or so images is welcome, Shanberg said.

Swanson added that bringing multiple bodies of work to a 20-minute review is fine as long as the photographer is comfortable with the idea that they will spend the whole time watching the reviewer look at work instead of engaging in a discussion.

The panelists and moderator agreed that following up with a handwritten, physical note of thanks made a big impression. Swanson shared an anecdote about photographer Dave Anderson, who made notes at a portfolio review of which image each reviewer he saw liked, and then sent the reviewer a note with that image.

Swanson encouraged the audience to be similarly thoughtful about their leave behind pieces, whether they are cards, accordion folds, small handmade books or other pieces. Make the text style and branding consistent with your website and other materials, and choose an image or images that will easily remind the reviewer of your work.

Shanberg encouraged the audience to think of the review process as the start of a longer conversation, and reiterated the idea that although a reviewer may not give you an exhibition or publish your work themselves, each one has the potential to nominate you for a grant or fellowship, or recommend your work to an editor or curator.

Other tips:

-If you are at your first review, tell the reviewer, that so they can help you manage your 20 minutes better [Mary Virginia Swanson]

-When in doubt, shut up. Which means that talking too much suggests nervousness and distracts the reviewer [WM Hunt]

-Don’t ask what the reviewer wants to see; they don’t know you and can’t answer that. Show them what you are most excited about [Shanberg]

-Don’t hand a reviewer an artist’s statement and ask them to read it. Why would they read it when they can just hear directly from you? And it shows you aren’t confident speaking about your work [Swanson, but echoed by the group]

October 23rd, 2012

APA and EP Join Forces

Today two professional photography trade organizations‚ American Photographic Artists (APA) and Editorial Photographers (EP)‚ announced that they will merge to create one organization with a membership of approximately 3200 photographers.

The move will see the creation of the first national chapter of APA, which will be known as the APA Editorial Photographers chapter.

EP president Brian Smith told PDN the move would revitalize that organization while also giving APA a presence in smaller cities in the United States and internationally. (EP is an internet-based organization without a chapter structure, and has members throughout the country and the world, Smith notes.)

“It was a case of trying to revitalize everything and offer something more,” Smith said of the decision to merge. “EP was founded as an opportunity to get together and actively seek better editorial contracts. It was formed in a day when the magazines were making money by the bushellful. Times have changed in the editorial market and really the board felt the best thing we could do would be to come up with additional resources for our members.” (more…)

October 4th, 2012

Collaborative Photo Blogger Project IDs “New Ideas In Photography”

A couple of weeks ago photography writers Jörg Colberg and Colin Pantall put their photography blogger contact lists to work in order to generate some commentary on this question (I’m paraphrasing): Which photographers have demonstrated an openness to use new ideas in photography, have taken chances with their photography and have shown an unwillingness to play it safe. They asked bloggers to name up to five photographers on their respective blogs, and then explain why they chose them. Both Colberg and Pantall then published those lists on their own blogs here and here, respectively.

The result of this co-authored project, called “Towards the 21st Century,” includes responses from 15 photography bloggers and commentary on the work of approximately 50 photographers. A few of the bloggers overlapped on a handful of their picks, but not many. And while some of the picks are more recently known artists (Christian Patterson, Jessica Eaton), many are well known (Jim Goldberg, Broomberg & Chanarin, Collier Schorr, Abelardo Morell). So the project provides a review both of new ideas, and of ideas that were new and continue to influence the medium. So where is photography heading in the 21st century? Evidently it’s moving in a lot of different directions, just as it always has.

September 21st, 2012

Aleppo Photo Festival Holds “Symbolic Opening” in War Zone

On September 15, the day the 11th annual Aleppo International Photo Festival was scheduled to open in the war-torn city of Aleppo, Syria, founder and organizer Issa Touma held a “symbolic opening” at his gallery. Weeks after PDN first tried to reach him, Touma emailed PDN and posted a statement on the festival’s Facebook page announcing that he had held a small opening in his gallery, LePont, to send a “message” about the survival of “civil society” in Aleppo. The northern Syria city has faced constant shelling by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and pitched street battles between the Syrian Army and rebel fighters, forcing thousands to flee their homes. Touma writes, “Today the festival give[s] a message to all, which is: whatever happened in Syria, the photo festival will not stop.”

This year’s festival was supposed to exhibit 870 works by almost 50 international photographers, including Amanda Rivkin, James Whitlow Delano, Sean McAllister, Corinne Dufka, Khaled Hasan and Liu Jinxun. Instead, Touma says, he showed 40 images in his gallery. People who attended were “relaxed and happy,” he says. He adds that if the fighting in Aleppo wanes, “I still hope to show the festival all in big opening, but its seem[s] hard for the moment.”

Touma, a self-taught photographer who opened his gallery in Aleppo in 1993, has endured frequent harassment from the country’s ruling Baath Party, which has tried to shut down the festival, censor his exhibits and, in 2003, briefly shut off electricity in order to end the workshops and lectures. Until this year, however, he has persevered, drawing international visitors.

Last year, before the regime of al-Assad began military action against the popular uprising around the country, Touma announced that this year’s festival would be the biggest yet, with exhibitions taking place in Aleppo’s old Electricity Company. But as he says, “No one expect[ed] Aleppo will be a war zone.”

In the last month, the city was without communication for 25 days, the Post Office is not functioning, “most of the City shops are close[d] including frames workshops and many print house[s],” and movement within the city is dangerous. While some residents have fled to Turkey, Touma says, many have moved closer into the heart of the city, and this displacement makes it impossible to reach organizers.

Touma says, “I will wait a few day[s] to see what direction” the fighting goes in, and he hopes still to hold a bigger opening or post the festival images on the Le Pont web site.

“Art and Culture do not need [a] visa to make nations to meet to each others –in Aleppo.”