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June 21st, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Into the Half-Life

Into the Half-Life from Donald Weber on Vimeo.

In this piece by Donald Weber photographs, video and quotations from residents of Zholtye Vody, Ukraine, combine to tell the story of a community crippled by health issues related to mining and enriching uranium for use in weapons of mass destruction. Weber recently received a national magazine award in Canada for his photo essay on Zholtye Vody, which was published in The Walrus.

A member of VII Network, Weber is currently at work on a book, and on July 21 and 22, Weber will be teaching two grant writing workshops in Berlin. Weber estimates that he’s won $178,000 in grants supporting his work over the past five years. For more information visit: http://donaldweber.tumblr.com/.

June 17th, 2011

LOOK3 2011 Recap: Photographers and Other Fest-Goers Discuss the Highlights

As the 2011 edition of LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph came to a close, PDN asked a number of attendees what they would remember about the festival, which took place June 9–11 in Charlottesville, VA. Curated by New York Times Magazine director of photography Kathy Ryan and VII The Magazine editor Scott Thode, the festival provided photographers and photo industry professionals a number of insights courtesy of the featured artists, as well as a chance to meet with peers and make new connections.

“The same thing that’s drawing us back year after year is still present here, which is this incredible community of young photographers,” said photographer Matt Eich, a member of LUCEO Images, the collective that organized an exhibition and a pair of social events at the festival. Eich honeymooned with his wife at LOOK3 in 2007. “This is like my extended family,” he says. “It’s like a reunion because it’s not so much about the business side of things, it’s about the community and people coming together and trying to push one another forward. I think that’s what keeps this pure and fun, and keeps people coming back.” (more…)

June 15th, 2011

LOOK3 2011: A Defining Moment for LaToya Ruby Frazier

At this year’s LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, VA, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier made her intentions as an artist and activist clear in a powerful presentation of her work that combined diaristic snippets about her relationships with her grandmother and mother with stories about the community of Braddock, PA, where she was raised. Frazier’s reading, reminiscent of a prose poem, was intensely personal, heartfelt and, at times, forceful and defiant, drawing on the history of Braddock as a once-prosperous steel town, and on its current state where poverty, joblessness and pollution-related health issues plague the largely African-American population.

Frazier’s work has previously been included in high-profile group exhibitions such as the 2009 Triennial at The New Museum and a 2010 group exhibition at PS1 MoMA, and she has had solo and two-person shows at her gallery, Higher Pictures in New York, and elsewhere. The work she has presented thus far has been comprised primarily of self-portraits and portraits of her grandmother and mother, whom Frazier taught to photograph and considers a collaborator. Yet the full breadth of her work and her ambition for it has not been widely known, she says.

“Until I spoke today, I don’t think people were aware of what the work was about, because it’s complicated,” Frazier told PDN after her Master’s Talk. “Today was a huge breakthrough to be able to come here and talk to people.” (more…)

June 11th, 2011

LOOK3 2011: Med Co BD Hosts Conversation On Global Health Photo Opportunities

Medical equipment company BD hosted a conversation at LOOK3 this morning about the the opportunities that exist in the global health industry for photographers who wish to make a difference in that field.

At the breakfast conversation led by MaryAnne Golon, which took place adjacent to a gallery where BD was exhibiting prints from its first Hope For a Healthy World photo competition, photographers in the audience were urged to consider specializing in global health issues and were given several practical tips on how to create projects that would appeal to a global health industry that is thirsty for images to use in their advertising, advocacy and communications efforts.

Golon, who consults with BD on their visual communications, pointed out that there is room for a subset of photographers focused on global health to grow, develop and find funding for work, an assertion echoed by BD representatives who attended the talk. “It’s not about selling their sickness,” Golon said. “It’s about raising awareness [for the health issues people face].”

Coalition-building—finding multiple supporters among NGOs, healthcare companies and other interested parties, from equipment and travel sponsors to individual donors who are passionate about a particular issue—is a major part of what photographers need to do to fund and distribute their work, said Miki Johnson, who works on communications for the photography crowd-funding site Emphas.is.

Mischa Friedman, a photographer who teaches a class on collaborating with NGOs at the International Center of Photography, encouraged photographers “to ask NGOs what their issues are this year” as a way to find relevant stories to tell. He also said photographers should find focused, manageable stories to tell, rather than trying for broad or general topics.

Carlos Cazalis, who received an award for Best Global Health image in the BD competition for an image of a Hatian Cholera patient, told the audience that getting model releases and the names and ages of subjects they photograph were essential to selling images to NGOs and healthcare companies.

Later Cazalis urged photographers to realize the added value they can offer NGOs and healthcare companies by providing them information from the field. Photographers often get close to and spend time with their subjects, and what they learn can be a great source of information for potential clients and partners.

Golon pointed out that though a photographer might be able to write eloquently about a project for which they are seeking funding, they need to be able to show images to a potential supporter or sponsor. A photographer may want to photograph a health issue in Senegal, but they can likely find local people in the US affected by a health problem and photograph them as a way to begin exploring an issue and creating photographs that can be used to apply for further funding. A case in point, she said, is photographer Justin Maxon’s work documenting a community outside Philadelphia that suffers from high cancer rates and no access to healthcare.

Friedman later pointed out that photographers’ “task is to go beyond clichés” to engage viewers, something harsh images from foreign locales sometimes don’t allow, because they can be difficult for a general audience to relate to or look at.

June 10th, 2011

LOOK3 2011: Ashley Gilbertson On War, PTSD and His Project Bedrooms of the Fallen

At a Master’s Talk this afternoon at the LOOK3 festival in Charlottesville, VA, Ashley Gilbertson talked passionately about his project, “Bedrooms of the Fallen,” which depicts the rooms of soldiers from coalition countries such as the United States, France and Scotland who were killed at war.

He credited a talk Eugene Richards gave three years ago at LOOK3 with giving him the idea for the project. Richards had shown photographs he’d taken of his dying father; one in particular, of a dress shirt hanging in his father’s bedroom, stood out to both Gilbertson and to his wife, who also heard Richards’ talk.

After working on assignments in Iraq, Gilbertson had been “dwelling on death and what it meant to die at war,” partly because he felt responsible for a soldier who had been killed while escorting Gilbertson to make a photograph in a minaret during the siege of Fallujah. The “Bedrooms of the Fallen” project gave him a way to connect viewers to the lives of the young men and women lost in war, and to glimpse some of the impact those losses have on the families left behind.

Gilbertson also spoke forcefully and eloquently about post-traumatic stress and the country’s need to do more for the 2.5 million people among us who have been to war and come home. His grandfather suffered from PTSD and it destroyed mother’s family, he told the crowd. Understanding how war does this to people was the reason he wanted to photograph war. Gilbertson says he got his answer, but adds, “I wish I had never gone.”

Gilbertson says he often works from a feeling of anger. His strong feelings about how the government is taking care of soldiers with PTSD led him to create a body of work about a Colorado town that was particularly hard hit when soldiers who had returned from war hurt and killed several citizens and other soldiers. He shot landscape images at locations where the crimes were committed. He also showed portraits of people who had lost children or spouses to PTSD-related suicides.

He also showed portraits of soldiers in their civilian clothing, a project he developed to illustrate how they live among us.

A television network, he said, had told him never to pitch them stories about PTSD again, because viewers change the channel when the subject is addressed. Photographers “have to find ways to tell stories in a way that people will pay attention to,” he said.

June 9th, 2011

VII Dissolves Network, Announces New Mentors

VII Photo Agency will dissolve the VII Network in October 2011 in order to “enlarge its core membership giving all members equal access to the agency’s services and offering clients full-service support for all photographers on the VII roster,” the agency announced. The decision was made at the agency’s recent general meeting.

The Network photographers—Lynsey Addario, Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Eric Bouvet, Andrea Bruce, Stefano De Luigi, Venetia Dearden, Jessica Dimmock, Tivadar Domaniczky, Adam Ferguson, Ziyah Gafic, Ashley Gilbertson, Benedicte Kurzen, Seamus Murphy, Maciek Nabrdalik, Tomas van Houtryve and Donald Weber—have all been asked to apply for full membership with the agency.

“In the three and a half years since the VII Network was initiated we have been delighted and inspired by the energy and quality of work from our new colleagues,” said Ron Haviv, one of VII’s founders, in a statement. “This year marks the tenth anniversary of VII’s formation and it is a perfect time to fully embrace a new generation of curious and enterprising VII photographers who will help us steer the agency into the future.”

VII also announced two new additions to its Mentor program, which pairs young photojournalists with VII members to help them develop their work and careers. Beijing-based photographer Sim Chi Yin will be mentored by Marcus Bleasdale and Polish photographer Mikolaj Nowacki will work with Antonin Kratochvil.

March 31st, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Fall & Winter

Fall and Winter Trailer from Matt Manderson on Vimeo.

Photographer and filmmaker David Black, a member of the 2011 PDN’s 30, is part of the team producing a new documentary film, Fall & Winter, about the global environmental crisis. Through interviews with a wide range of experts, the film presents an “analysis of our failing institutions and culture so we may be equipped to handle drastic collapse and foster a vital, fundamental rebirth in the way we live on this planet.” The film is written and directed by Matt Anderson, and is scheduled to be released this fall. For more information visit: www.fallwintermovie.com.

March 15th, 2011

Free PDN 30 Seminar Coming to Santa Monica, March 29

Santa Monica College will host a PDN 30 educational seminar on Tuesday March 29.

PDN 30: Strategies for the Young Working Photographer” will take place at Santa Monica College, Room HSS – 165 (Humanities and Social Science Building), 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, California from 7:00 to 8:30pm; a reception with the panelists and sponsors follows the seminar. The seminar is free; seats are available on a first come, first served basis.

The panelists are:
PDN 30 photographers David Black, Ryan Heffernan and Spencer Lowell; Sony Artisan of Imagery Andy Katz; and art producer Natalie Flemming of ad agency 72andSunny. The seminar moderator will be Holly Stuart Hughes, editor of PDN.

The PDN 30 educational seminars are made possible thanks to Sony, Kodak, Canson and ASMP.

On Thursday March 31, another PDN 30 seminar will take place at the Palm Springs Photo Festival. Sony Artisan of Imagery Brian Smith and Casey Tierney, director of photography at Real Simple, will be joining Black, Heffernan and Lowell for the panel.

March 8th, 2011

Bankruptcy Won’t Protect Photo School President from $2.4 Million Debt

Hallmark Institute of Photography president George J. Rosa III won’t be able to escape a $2.4 million debt to a Massachusetts bank through a bankruptcy filing, according to a recent court order.

The federal bankruptcy court in Massachusetts granted a default motion last week to People’s United Bank of Springfield, Massachusetts, which sued Rosa one year ago for $2.2 million in unpaid loans. The court granted the motion because Rosa never responded to the bank’s lawsuit against him. (Rosa now owes the bank $2.4 million because of accruing interest.)

Rosa had filed for federal bankruptcy protection in August, 2009. People’s United Bank–his biggest creditor– subsequently sued him to prevent the bankruptcy court from discharging the debt that he owed to the bank. In its lawsuit, the bank alleged that Rosa kept two sets of books at HIP to hide assets from the bank and divert money for his personal use. HIP is located in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.

PUB took control of HIP in the spring of 2009, after Rosa began defaulting on his loans. The bank sold the school to Premier Education Group, which has continued to operate the photography school, and has kept Rosa as president.

Rosa’s bankruptcy case is still pending, and the court order protecting PUB’s debt from discharge in the bankruptcy case does not protect other creditors. They include B&H Foto & Electronics of Boston, which is owed more than $160,000, as well as printers, caterers, credit card companies, and other suppliers whom Rosa owes varying amounts of money.

Related:

$3.6 Million in Debt, Photo School President Faces Fraud Charges

February 28th, 2011

Free Undergrad-Level Photo Courses Offered Online and in App by UK Professor

A photography professor at Coventry University in England is publishing his undergraduate-level photography classes online and in an app, making instruction and education available for free to photographers all over the world.

Picbod (Picturing the Body) and Phonar (Photography and Narrative) are, respectively, second- and third year undergraduate classes taught by photographer Jonathan Worth. Students who are not enrolled in Coventry University can follow the courses online, and can also choose to participate by asking questions, making comments and submitting photographic work they do based on class assignments. Those who choose to follow the classes can also listen to lessons and guest lectures from photographers like Elinor Carucci and Grant Scott. Comments, and links to articles and information of interest, are also shared amongst the students via the #picbod and #phonar Twitter hashtags, and via course Facebook pages, further fostering the community feel of the courses. All of the material also lives on the Web sites and in the app, so outside students can take the courses at their own pace. The material will be updated as each new class at Coventry University is taught. (more…)