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April 2nd, 2014

Alexia Foundation, Open Society Calling for Submissions

The Alexia Foundation and the Open Society Foundations separately announced calls for submissions from photographers yesterday.

The Alexia Foundation issued a call for entries for its 2014 Women’s Initiative Grant, which will provide a $25,000 grant for the production of a project “on a significant issue involving and affecting women,” the foundation said in its announcement.

“Unlike the first Women’s Initiative grant, which specifically focused on abuse of women in the United States, this call for entries is intended to permit the photographer to propose a serious documentary photographic or multimedia project encompassing any issue involving women anywhere in the world,” the foundation says.

The deadline for grant applications is June 30, 2014. More details are available at the Alexia Foundation website.

Meanwhile, The Open Society Documentary Photography Project is calling for photo projects for an upcoming group exhibition on surveillance. The exhibition will include the work of five or six photographers, according to Open Society Foundations (OSF).

The deadline for applications is May 1, 2014.

“We are seeking photo-based projects that explore surveillance-related issues from a variety of perspectives. We encourage applicants to interpret the theme broadly,” OSF said in the announcement.

Called Moving Walls 22: Watching You, Watching Me: Photography in an Age of Surveillance, the exhibition is scheduled to run from October 29, 2014, to May 2015 at Open Society Foundations–New York. See the OSF website for complete application information.

March 28th, 2014

Court Reminds Michael Kenna: Copyright Protects Expression, Not Ideas

A ruling in a copyright infringement case involving photographer Michael Kenna has affirmed the principle that copyright does not protect ideas (or choice of subject matter). It protects only the expression of an idea.

That’s true under copyright law in the US, as well as in Korea, where a gallery representing Kenna sued Korea Air on Kenna’s behalf, according to a report in The Korea Times. The claim was that a photograph of South Korea’s Seok Island that appeared in ads around 2010 for Korea Air copied an image that Kenna shot of that island in 2007.

The Korea Times says that in rejecting the copyright claim, the court said: “When the subject is identical, it is the matter of preference of a photographer in deciding when, where and how to shoot. They are just two different ideas which can’t be protected by copyright law.”

The newspaper noted that the Korea Air photo was in color, while Kenna’s image was in black and white. Regarding the similarities in composition in both photos, a photographer quoted in the Korean Times article notes that there are few vantage points from which the islands can be photographed.

Related:
Infringement Claim Fails Because Law Protects Expression, Not Ideas
In Court, Copycats Prove Elusive (subscription required)

March 19th, 2014

Richard Prince Settles with Photographer Patrick Cariou

One of Patrick Cariou's photographs, altered by Richard Prince

A fair use alteration of one of Patrick Cariou’s photographs, by Richard Prince.

Artist Richard Prince has paid an undisclosed sum of money to photographer Patrick Cariou to tie up the loose ends of their five-year copyright battle, The New York Times has reported.

Prince previously won an appeals court decision in 2013 dismissing most of Cariou’s copyright infringement claims. Cariou had alleged infringement of 30 images from his book Yes, Rasta that Prince had appropriated for a series of paintings. Most of the paintings sold through Prince’s gallery, fetching more than $10 million dollars.

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, located in New York City, ruled that 25 of Prince’s works qualified as fair use of Cariou’s photographs because Prince transformed them with “an entirely different esthetic.”

But the appeals court declined to rule on Prince’s fair use defense for the remaining five works, and sent the case back to a lower court for further consideration of Cariou’s claims surrounding those five works.

The settlement resolves Cariou’s claims related to those five works.

The lower court had originally ruled in Cariou’s favor on all of his claims, because Prince wasn’t commenting on Cariou’s photographs or otherwise referencing their original meaning in his paintings; he was simply using Cariou’s photographs as raw material.

The appeals court’s decision favoring Prince remains controversial. While many in the art community have applauded the decision, many photographers contend that it unfairly expanded the boundaries of fair use, and made their images more vulnerable to appropriation as raw material by other artists.

Related:
Supreme Court Declines to Hear Patrick Cariou’s Claim Against Richard Prince
Richard Prince Did Not Infringe Patrick Cariou’s Photos, Appeals Court Says
In Cariou v. Prince, An Appeal to Clarify a Crucial Fair Use Boundary
Appropriation Artist Richard Prince Liable for Infringement, Court Rules

March 17th, 2014

Photographers Could Get Royalties on Auction Sales Under Proposed Federal Bill

Few things are as frustrating to photographers as selling a print for a few thousand dollars–or less–then watching collectors reap huge profits by re-selling those same prints at auction years later for tens of thousands of dollars–or even more.

Two US Senators and a US Congressional representative have introduced a bill to cut visual artists in on that action with a 5 percent royalty on the price of visual works re-sold at auction. If it becomes law, the bill would apply only to works sold by auction houses–not by private individuals or dealers–and only when the auction price of a work exceeds $5,000, according to a report on the Art Law blog of Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz (FKK&S), a New York law firm.

The auction royalty would be capped in 2014 at $35,000 for each sale. The cap would be subject to an inflation adjustment every year after that, according to the FKK&S report.  Auction houses would be obligated to collect the so-called auction royalty, and subject to civil claims from artists if they fail to collect and pay the royalty.

The bill, called the American Royalties Too Act (ART Act), was introduced last month in the Senate by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ed Markey (D-MA), and in the House by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

“American artists are being treated unfairly,” said Nadler in a prepared statement. “The benefits derived from the appreciation in the price of a visual artists’ work typically accrues to collectors, auction houses, and galleries, not to the artist.”

He noted that visual artists in 70 other countries are compensated when their works are re-sold at auction.

Unable to collect royalties from the re-sale of existing prints that have increased significantly in value, US photographers sometimes respond by issuing new limited editions of their prints–in different sizes or using different printing processes from earlier editions.

That practice angers collectors. For instance, William Eggleston created limited-edition digital inkjet pigment prints of some of his most iconic images, and earned $5.9 million by selling them at a Christie’s auction in March, 2012. He was promptly sued by financier Jonathan Sobel, a long-time collector of Eggleston’s vintage dye-transfer prints. Sobel alleged that the new prints devalued Sobel’s dye transfer prints and amounted to a breach of contract on Eggleston’s part.

Sobel eventually lost the legal fight, although he had the sympathy of dealers and gallerists who worry that photographers could harm their reputations and the market for photographic prints if they anger collectors by issuing new editions.

The ART Act, if it becomes law, could help reduce incentive to issue new editions by giving photographers another way to profit from the dramatic rise in the value of their work.

But success of the bill is by no means assured.

Nadler introduced a similar bill in 2011 that died in committee. The US Copyright Office, which was opposed at the time to instituting resale royalties for visual artists, has since changed its position on the matter, according to the FKK&S report. But collectors and auction houses are certain to object to paying royalties to artists. And the ART Act seeks to change a long-entrenched principle of copyright law called the First Sale doctrine, which  allows buyers of copyrighted works to do with them as they please, with no obligation to the artists who made them.

Related:
Collector Sues Eggleston Over New Prints of Limited Edition Works

Q&A: Art Collector Jonathan Sobel Explains His Beef with William Eggleston

What Does Limited Edition Really Mean? (subscription required)

March 7th, 2014

Eddie Adams Workshop, Smith Grant, Other Grants Accepting Applications

Earlier this week The Eddie Adams Workshop began accepting applications for its tuition-free, four-day photojournalism workshop in upstate New York. The Eddie Adams Workshop brings together top photography professionals and 100 students each year, and its alumni include many of the top photojournalists working today. Applications for the 2014 Workshop will be accepted through May 31. Students are selected based on the merit of their portfolios.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is accepting applications through May 31 for the 2014 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, which carries an award of $30,000. In addition, the jury will also give out an additional $5,000 in fellowships. There is a $50 fee to apply.

The nonprofit arts advocacy organization Crusade for Art is accepting proposals for its first-ever Engagement Grant, a $10,000 award given to a photographer or group of photographers who submit “the most innovative plan for increasing their audience and collector base.” There is a $20 fee to apply.

The Photographic Museum of Humanity, a digital photography museum, is awarding a grant of $4,000 for photographers. Applications are due March 12, and judges include Alec Soth and Diana Markosian. There is no fee to apply.

Related: Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Joseph Rodriguez on the Audience Engagement Grant (PDN subscription required)
Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Minnesota’s Artist Initiative Grants (PDN subscription required)
Anatomy of a Successful Grant Application: Jon Lowenstein’s Guggenheim Fellowship (PDN subscription required)

March 5th, 2014

Scotiabank Announces 2014 Finalists for $50K Photography Prize

Rodney Graham, Mark Ruwedel, and Donald Weber have been named finalists for the 2014 Scotiabank Photography Award, the sponsor announced yesterday. The winner of the $50,000 prize will be announced April 29 in Toronto.

The award was established four years ago to honor the work of contemporary Canadian photographers. The 2014  nominees “have unique and distinctive bodies of work that show true excellence in Canadian contemporary photography,” says photographer Edward Burtynsky, chairperson of the award jury.

Graham, a conceptual artist, has created a varied body of work the comprises photography and media art installations that incorporate film, painting, literature, and music.

Ruwedel is a landscape photographer, working in both black and white and color. His latest book, called “Pictures of Hell” will be released this fall.

Weber, a documentary photographer, is “devoted to the study of how power deploys an all-compassing theatre for its subjects,” according to the Scotiabank announcement.

Nominations came from curators, photographers, artists, gallery directors, art critics, and academics from across Canada.  The finalists were selected by a three-member jury including Robert Bean, an artist, writer and photography professor; Catherine Bédard, art historian and Deputy-Director of the Canadian Cultural Centre; and  Ann Thomas, Curator, Photographs Collection, National Gallery of Canada.

In addition to the $50,000 cash prize, the winner of this year’s award will have a book of his work published by Steidl, and an exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, Ryerson University, in Toronto.

Related:
State Power: Donald Weber’s Interrogations
PDN’s 30 2008: Donald Weber (subscription required)

December 23rd, 2013

PDN Video: How to Get the Most Out of a Portfolio Review

Portfolio review events geared toward photographers have proliferated in recent years, and they’re “a great place to meet a peer group, and start a dialogue about your photographs,” says photography consultant Mary Virginia Swanson. But at a cost of several hundred dollars, not including travel expenses, portfolio reviews are an investment. In this video Swanson offers tips about how to get the most out of a review, including information about how to select reviewers, how much work to present, and some of the questions to ask reviewers about opportunities to sell or license your work.

December 9th, 2013

Photogs Richard Mosse and Zanele Muholi Named Top “Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy

Two photographers, Richard Mosse and Zanele Muholi, made Foreign Policy (FP) magazine’s list of “The Leading Global Thinkers of 2013.” The list of 100 people Foreign Policy chose to single out in its hefty digital feature includes Edward Snowden, John Kerry, Elon Musk, The Pope, Rand Paul, scientists, innovators, politicians and artists.

FP cited Mosse for “seeing war through a new lens.” His pink-hued images of military and militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, created using now-discontinued Kodak Aerochrome film developed for the U.S. Military, have captivated audiences through their unusually esthetic interpretation of a conflict-ridden landscape and population. FP notes that Mosse’s film, “The Enclave,” “stole the show” at the 2103 Venice Biennale.

Mosse’s works “are allowing viewers to see conflict in a way they never imagined they could,” FP writes.

Zanele Muholi, a South African artist, has documented the black LGBT community in her country through striking black-and-white portraits. FP singles Muholi out “for photographing hidden lives,” and notes that her work has been widely published and exhibited, bringing much-needed awareness to the gulf between the legal rights of LGBT South Africans and their actual treatment in their communities.

FP divided their list of Global Thinkers into groups that included “Artists,” “Advocates,” “Challengers” and “Decision-Makers” among others. Mosse and Muholi are considered “Chroniclers,” people who, FP says, “[show] us novel ways of understanding the world and our place in it.”

Related: Theft of South African Photog’s Work May Be Attempt to Silence Her
Field Studies: Exploring the Complexities of War-Torn Congo

November 28th, 2013

Color Photography Legend Saul Leiter Dies

Artist Saul Leiter, who spent decades working in relative obscurity before his talents as a pioneering color photographer came to light, died Tuesday in New York City. He was 89 years old.

An unassuming man who shunned attention, Leiter photographed on the streets of New York, mostly within a  few blocks of his East Village apartment. Using rich layering and swaths of beautiful color, Leiter induced moments of quietude and reflection amid the bustle and chaos of New York City street life.

(Read the full article at PDNOnline.com)

 

November 12th, 2013

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Patrick Cariou’s Copyright Claim Against Richard Prince

An image from Richard Cariou's book Yes, Rasta, as it was altered by Richard Prince.

An image from Richard Cariou’s book Yes, Rasta, as it was altered by Richard Prince.

The US Supreme Court has declined to review Patrick Cariou’s copyright infringement claim against artist Richard Prince, the Associated Press has reported.

A federal appeals court ruled last spring that artist Richard Prince did not infringe Cariou’s copyrights by reproducing several dozen of Cariou’s images without permission. The appeals court said Prince’s use of Cariou’s images was fair use in most instances, overturning a lower court ruling that had declared Prince liable for infringement.

By refusing to hear the case, the US Supreme Court has effectively let the appeals court decision stand. The high court did not give a reason for its decision.

At issue in the case was a series of paintings and collages that Prince created by appropriating images from Cariou’s book Yes, Rasta. Prince altered the images in various ways for a series of paintings called “Canal Zone,” which he displayed at the Gagosian gallery in New York in 2008. Most of the works eventually sold, fetching a total of $10.4 million.

In its ruling for Prince, The appeals court took a broad view of fair use, finding that Prince’s works qualified as fair use even though they were not intended as commentary on the original works by Cariou. The decision was a victory for appropriation artists, who take elements of works by other artists without permission, and use them in new contexts, often as a form of commentary on society or popular culture.

Related:
Richard Prince Did Not Infringe Patrick Cariou’s Photos, Appeals Court Says