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April 10th, 2013

ICP Announces Artists in 2013 Triennial

© Thomas Hirschhorn. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.

© Thomas Hirschhorn. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.

A.K. Burns, Lucas Foglia, Jim Goldberg, Mishka Henner, Thomas Hirschorn, Andrea Longacre-White, Gideon Mendel, Trevor Paglen, Michael Schmelling, Mikhail Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse are among the 28 artists selected for the 2013 Triennial at the International Center of Photography (ICP). This survey of contemporary photography and video from around the world opens May 17.

The theme for this year’s Triennial–the fourth in the museum’s history– is “A Different Kind of Order,” and according to a statement from ICP executive director Mark Robbins, it will look at works “shaped by social, political and technological changes.” Given that social, political and technological change characterizes life everywhere these days, the theme sounds like a catch-all. But the show will also look at a different order of image making, showcasing works that explore digital image making, video, painting, sculpture, collage, and installation art as well as photographic print making and the role of the photographer as curator. The exhibition will include an installation of approximately 100 photo books as a testament to the explosion of interest in artist’s books and self-publishing in the past few years.

The Triennial is curated by Kristen Lubben, Christopher Phillips, Carol Squiers and Joanna Lehan.

Some artists’ talks and events will be held in conjunction with the Triennial. On the night of the May 17 opening, for example, Nica Ross, one of the artists in the Triennial, will stage a video performance inside the glass-box pavilion of the ICP School, across the street from the Museum. If you’re coming by taxi, expect some rubber-necking delays on 6th Avenue.

Here’s the complete list of selected artists:
Roy Arden b. 1957, Vancouver; lives and works in Vancouver.
Huma Bhabha b. 1962, Karachi, Pakistan; lives and works in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Nayland Blake b. 1960, New York City; lives and works in New York City.
A.K. Burns b. 1975, Capitola, California; lives and works in New York City
Aleksandra Domanovic b. 1981, Novi Sad, former Yugoslavia; lives and works in Berlin.
Nir Evron b. 1974, Herzliya, Israel; lives and works in Tel Aviv.
Sam Falls b. 1984, San Diego; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Lucas Foglia b. 1983, New York City; lives and works in San Francisco.
Jim Goldberg b. 1953, New Haven; lives and works in San Francisco.
Mishka Henner b. 1976, Brussels; lives and works in Manchester, England.
Thomas Hirschhorn b. 1957, Bern, Switzerland; lives and works in Paris
Elliott Hundley b. 1975, Greensboro, North Carolina; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Oliver Laric b. 1981, Munich; lives and works in Berlin.
Andrea Longacre-White b. 1980, Radnor, Pennsylvania; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer b. 1967, Mexico City; lives and works in Montreal.
Gideon Mendel b. 1959, Johannesburg; lives and works in London.
Luis Molina-Pantin b. 1969, Geneva, Switzerland; lives and works in Caracas, Venezuela.
Rabih Mroué b. 1967, Beirut, Lebanon; lives and works in Beirut.
Wangechi Mutu b. 1972, Nairobi, Kenya; lives and works in New York City.
Sohei Nishino b. 1982, Hyogo, Japan; lives and works in Tokyo.
Lisa Oppenheim b. 1975, New York City; lives and works in New York City and Berlin.
Trevor Paglen b. 1974, Camp Springs, Maryland; lives and works in New York City.
Walid Raad b. 1967, Beirut, Lebanon; lives and works in New York City.
Nica Ross b. 1979, Tempe, Arizona; lives and works in New York City.
Michael Schmelling b. 1973, Atlanta, Georgia; lives and works in New York City.
Hito Steyerl b. 1966, Munich; lives and works in Berlin.
Mikhael Subotzky / Patrick Waterhouse b. 1981, Cape Town, South Africa; lives and works in Johannesburg / b. 1981 Bath, England; lives and works in Italy, England, and South Africa.
Shimpei Takeda b. 1982, Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan; lives and works in New York City.

* Photo, above: “Film still, Touching Reality, 2012.” © Thomas Hirschhorn. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.

Related Article

ICP Infinity Awards to Honor Goldblatt, Henner, de Middel

March 22nd, 2013

Photo of Skateboarder Jumping Subway Tracks Goes Viral

© Allen Ying

© Allen Ying

A photograph showing a skateboarder doing an ollie over train tracks at a New York City subway station is causing quite a stir and much speculation on the Internet. The anxiety-inducing image was made by photographer Allen Ying and appears in Issue 3 of 43, an independent skateboarding magazine. The image was posted on the Web by a reader who photographed the magazine spread with a cell phone.

In the 43 article, which focuses on a crew of skateboarders who go on covert skating missions throughout the New York City public transportation system, Ying describes how he stood on the subway tracks around 4am to capture the unbelievable shot. He notes that the skateboarder, who is referred to as “Koki” in the article, didn’t use a ramp on the platform to launch over the tracks and made the jump on the first attempt, though additional tries were made and the skater only fell onto the tracks once.

Yesterday the New York magazine blog Daily Intelligencer spoke with Ying about the shot. For last year’s DIY Issue, PDN interviewed Ying about 43, which he launched in October 2011 and publishes quarterly.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area next week, you can see more work from the magazine at the 43 Photography Show and Issue 3 Release, which opens on March 26 at The Gallery @ The Burgundy Room. Visit www.43magazine.com for more information.

Related Articles:

How to Start Your Own Magazine: Allen Ying on 43

Photo of the Day: The Art of Skateboarding

February 1st, 2013

Sinclair, Dimmock Win World Press Multimedia Contest

Too-Young-to-Wed

A still from “Too Young to Wed,” by Stephanie Sinclair and Jessica Dimmock, both of VII Photo.

Stephanie Sinclair and Jessica Dimmock won first place in the Online Feature category of the 2013 World Press Photo Multimedia Contest for “Too Young to Wed.” The documentary multimedia project was produced for the Web and featured Sinclair’s images with motion work by Dimmock. It explores the cultural practice of allowing older men to marry girls under the age of 18 in countries like Ethiopia, Yemen and Afghanistan.

The World Press Photo organization announced its multimedia awards in three categories today in Amsterdam. All first-place winners for the 2013 Multimedia Contest will receive a cash award of 1,500 euros. Second and third place winners will receive a Golden Eye Award and a diploma.

The Too Young to Wed website is a partnership between the United Nations Population Fund and VII Photo. Other winners in the Online Feature category were Liz O. Baylen of the Los Angeles Times for “Dying for Relief: Bitter Pills,” which focuses on overcoming addiction to prescription pills; and Yang Enze of Southern Metropolis Daily for “Dreams on Freewheels” about seven members of China’s Disabled Track Cycling Team, who competed in the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

World Press Photo awarded Pep Bonet of Noor Images first place in the Online Short category for “Into the Shadows.” The online film focuses on the struggles of immigrants living in Johannesburg. Second place in this category went to Arkasha Stevenson of the Los Angeles Times for “Living with a Secret,” which explores gender identity in children. Jérôme Sessini of Magnum Photos won third place for his online short “Aleppo Battleground” about members of the Free Syria Army.

The third category of the World Press Photo Multimedia Contest was Interactive Documentary, which recognizes interactive online projects that feature a “combination of photography and/or film, with animation, graphics, illustrations, sound or text.” First place was awarded to Miquel Dewever-Plana and Isabelle Fougère for “Alma, a Tale of Violence” about gang violence in Guatemala. Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison won second place for “Bear 71” about a female grizzly bear; and Claire O’Neill, photo editor at National Public Radio (NPR) won third place for “Lost and Found: Discover a Black-and-White Era in Full Color” about a photo historian who found a collection of photos taken in the 1930s in the trash. An honorable mention in this category went to Jake Price for “UnknownSpring,” which chronicles a Japanese community recovering from the tsunami.

The jury members for this year’s World Press Photo Multimedia Contest were Keith W. Jenkins of NPR, photojournalists Samuel Bollendorff and Susan Meiselas, Kang Kyung-ran of Frontline News Service, writer and poet Patrick Mudekereza, Bjarke Myrthu of Storyplanet.com, Caspar Sonnen of IDFA DocLab and Alan Stoga of Zemi Communications.

This is the third year that World Press Photo, a non-profit which supports visual journalism through educational programs, grants and awards, has honored multimedia storytelling. Michiel Munneke, managing director of World Press Photo, noted that “with the multimedia competition we are trying to do justice to what we see happening in the field. Our ambition is to inspire photographers to move forward and explore new territories.”

To see a complete list of winners and to view the winning projects, visit www.worldpressphoto.org.

Related Articles:

Samuel Aranda Wins 2012 World Press Photo of the Year

World Press Photo Multimedia Winners Announced

January 23rd, 2013

500px App Booted from Apple Store Due to Nudity

TechCrunch is reporting that Apple removed the 500px app from the App Store due to “pornographic images and materials.” Apple says in an official statement that it has “also received customer complaints about possible child pornography” being accessible via the app. This action continues what appears to be Apple’s conservative attitude toward nude imagery, but also raises questions about how far the tech company is willing to go to curb access to photos it deems inappropriate.

The app, which is owned by the photo-sharing site 500px, allows users to access the images hosted on 500px.com via their smartphones. According to the article, Apple flagged a recent update for the app “because it allowed users to search for nude photos.” While this search functionality does exist as part of the update, 500px COO and co-founder Evgeny Tchebotarev tells TechCrunch that precautions were made so that the app would default to a “safe search” mode that would not display nude photos. In order to change the search mode, users would need to access the 500px website and make the change manually.

Tchebotarev says that 500px does not allow its users to post pornography. He notes that many professional photographers and photo enthusiasts use the site, and that there is a difference between artistic nudes and pornography. Currently 500px community members flag inappropriate images, though the company is in the process of developing technology similar to facial recognition software that would automatically flag questionable images.

Apparently, 500px had been working with Apple to make the necessary adjustments to the app update. However, the changes would take at least a day to implement and during the interim Apple chose to pull the app from the App Store. To date, nearly one million users have downloaded the 500px app.

Aside from the usual question about what constitutes “pornography,” we have to wonder how far Apple is willing to go in terms of regulating apps that would allow adults to view nude images. Does this apply to search engines as apps, a la Apple’s own Safari browser? What about popular photo-sharing sites like Instagram and Tumblr, both known to have their fair share of nudity? Furthermore, what about third-party apps such as Flipboard and Google+ that allow their users to easily access 500px’s content?

Related Articles:

PDN Product Review: 500px
12 Stunning iPad Photo Apps
6 Great Web Services for Promoting Your Work

September 28th, 2012

On Sustainable Business Models, and Comparing Apples to Oranges

The American Society of Media Photographers’ program, “Sustainable Business Models: Issues & Trends Facing Visual Artists,” held September 27 in New York City, can be viewed online via ASMP’s video library. Speakers and panelists provided useful context and insights into the current marketplace for photography, as well as thoughts on how professional freelancers might adapt their marketing and licensing in today’s economy. A warning, however: Along with provocative insights, the afternoon panel also included the predictable, banal observation that photojournalists have no role to play now that “everyone has a cellphone,” and statistics on how many images are uploaded to Facebook or Instagram each day or each hour or each minute. If you’re like me, you find these comments irritating. Because the first comment is untrue, and the second is irrelevant to any discussion of the professional photography business.

Yes, news editors trolled Instagram to get images of the aftermath of the Empire State Building shooting, but those image sales had no impact on the market for photos by professional news photographers: If amateur cellphone users hadn’t been on the scene, we simply wouldn’t have had any images of the carnage. Yes, a zillion snapshots of cats, babies and plates of food are shared on social media every day. What bearing does that have on what a professional photographer offers to clients or their audience? (more…)

September 19th, 2012

Google Buys Nik, Developer of Photo Editing Tools for Pros

Google has acquired Nik Software, the San Diego company that owns Snapseed photo editing software and other tools designed primarily for professional photographers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition is intended to help Google attract users to Google Plus, as part of a push to make that social media platform more competitive with Facebook. Facebook recently acquired Instagram to solidify its position as a platform for uploading and sharing images.

Snapseed and Instagram offer similar image editing and image-manipulation filters, but Instagram has 100 million users, compared to just 9 million Snapseed users, according to one published report. But Snapseed has more sophisticated editing tools than Instagram, according to New York Times columnist David Pogue. And last year, Apple named Snapseed “App of the Year” for the iPad.

Snapseed and other Nik products are currently available for use primarily on Apple devices. Now that Google owns Nik, Snapseed will soon be available for Android devices, significantly expanding the pool of potential users.

More information about the acquisition and its implications is available at The New York Times web site and at the NASDAQ web site.

PDN subscribers can also access reviews of Snapseed and other Nik software products through the links listed below.

Product Review: Nik Snapseed for iPad
Nik Announces Silver Efex Pro 2 Black-and-White Conversion Software
Nik Intros Color Efex Pro 4 Plug-in

August 13th, 2012

Google Changes Search Engine to Penalize Copyright Infringers

Starting this week, web sites that have received high numbers of removal notices for unauthorized use of copyrighted content will rank lower in Google’s search results, the search engine giant announced on its Inside Search blog on Friday.

Because Google is the number one search engine, this could result in lower traffic for sites that regularly post copyrighted material without authorization. “Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results,” according to the post by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow and the Senior VP of Engineering.

As The New York Times Media Decoder column notes, Google’s new ranking system will only take into account valid copyright-removal notices sent to Google by copyright holders themselves.

To learn how to inform Google about a copyright infringement on any Google product (including its image search, web search, Google + and YouTube), visit the Google support page titled Removing Content from Google.

Google’s blog also reports that the company now receives copyright removal notices for over 4.3 million URLs a month. That’s as many notices as it received in all of 2009.  However, these notices come from just 1,636 copyright owners (check out this chart on Search Engine Journal). Most of the notices are coming from large media companies holding many copyrights.

July 31st, 2012

With Much Ado About Public Service, Google Pleads Fair Use in Big Copyright Case

Arguing that its Google Books program makes fair use of copyrighted books by providing an indispensable public service, Google has asked a federal court to dismiss The Authors Guild’s claim that Google is infringing the copyrights of authors on a “massive” scale.

Google has scanned more than 12 million books–many of them still under copyright protection–as part of its Google Books program. Google indexes every word of the scanned books. It then makes snippets of the books available in search engine results, according to keywords entered by Google search engine users.

Google’s use of books is fair because it provides vast public benefits without any demonstrated harm to plaintiffs,Google asserts in its motion, filed in US District Court in New York City on July 27. (Emphasis is Google’s.)

The Authors Guild originally sued Google for copyright infringement in 2005, alleging the search engine company is scanning books without permission from authors for its own commercial gain. The guild says the Google Books program undermines the ability of authors to license and sell their books. It is seeking a court injunction to stop the Google Books program. The American Society of Media Photographers has filed a similar but separate lawsuit against Google in 2010.

In making its fair use argument, Google paints itself as a beleaguered public servant, prevented from advancing human knowledge by specious claims of copyright infringement.

“Google Books is an important advance on the card catalogue method of finding books,” the company says in its motion. “The advance is simply stated: unlike card catalogues, which are limited to a very small amount of bibliographic information, Google Books permits full-text search, identifying books that could never be found using even the most thorough card catalog. Readers benefit by being able to find relevant books. Authors benefit because their books can be more readily found, purchased, and read. The public benefits from the increase of knowledge that results.”

Google says that users cannot download the entire text of the books that show up in the search engine results. It only leads them to relevant books which they can purchase elsewhere if they wish.

The scanning and indexing of the books is fair use, Google argues, because the end use (thorough indexing of every word of every book) is “highly transformative”:  Google search engine users can search for information and get results showing snippets from all books containing the search terms. “Indeed, it is no overstatement to say that Google Books has transformed scholarly research,” the company says in its motion. “Google Books yields a literally unprecedented public benefit, and that benefit militates strongly in favor of a finding that Google’s scanning,indexing, and snippet display constitute fair use.”

Google does not mention that its apparent fit of civic virtue is driven by the potential to turn a profit by scanning and indexing the copyright works of authors. Those who use the Google Books index would effectively provide Google with personal information every time they did a search. That information could be sold to marketers, or used by Google to push highly targeted advertisements to Google search engine users.

But Google waves its hands to distract the court’s attention from all of that: “Google’s status as a commercial entity does not tip the scales against a finding of fair use…Much more significant is that a student or professor (or indeed anyone who finds a Library Project book on Google Books) is engaging in precisely the sort of use historically favored as noncommercial.”

Google and The Authors Guild had reached a tentative agreement in 2009 to settle the case. It would have allowed the Google Books program to continue if authors were allowed to opt out. But the judge in thee case rejected the agreement. He said the agreement would have to be ‘opt in’ for all authors (rather than opt out) in order to comply with copyright law.

Google has rejected an ‘opt in’ system as too cumbersome, so the Authors Guild suit has continued. The ASMP lawsuit is also pending.

Without commenting directly on Google’s motion, attorneys for The Authors Guild say they have filed their own motion for summary judgment. That motion is not yet available for public review, however.

Related stories:
Judge Block’s Google’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy in Big Copyright Case
ASMP, Other Trade Groups Sue Google (subscription required)

July 19th, 2012

New Gizmos at the Olympics: AP’s Robotic Cameras

Major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and Olympic games are the incubation grounds for new camera technology, because news organizations are jockeying for competitive advantage and a chance to show off. And the Summer Olympics in London are no exception.

Associated Press has posted this promotional video touting the robotic cameras it has developed for this year’s games. Remote cameras are usually fixed, but operators of AP’s remote robotic cameras will be able to pan, zoom, and swivel the camera up and down using a joy stick, as they monitor the view on a computer screen–and click the shutter at decisive moments.

AP says it will have a robotic camera in each of 12 different venues. Anticipating where all this might be leading, we asked whether a single operator will be controlling several cameras at once, and whether operators can work from far-off locations–say a desk in New York–similar to the way the military flies its drones.

AP spokesperson Paul Colford says there will be one operator per camera. He adds that according to AP director of photography Santiago Lyon, the operator has to be at the venue where the camera is located, “because otherwise there would be a delay in what the operator is seeing.”

July 2nd, 2012

Your Cellphone Is Not Your Friend, and Other Security Tips For Conflict Zones

The surveillance of journalists covering Syria has heightened concern about the risks journalists face in relying on mobile communications and cellphones. In February, journalists Remi Ochlick and Marie Colvin were killed when shells struck the press center that they and other journalists were using to transmit their stories; the Syrian army may have used satellite signals from the center to target it.

More recently the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that  Syrian security agents in October arrested a British journalist, seizing his laptop, cellphone, camera and video he had shot while interviewing anti-government Syrian activists; several of these dissidents have been arrested, one has fled the country and another has disappeared.

In the wake of these incidents, as well as attacks on journalists and their sources elsewhere, several journalism organizations have been hammering on the need for journalists to take precautions when using cellphones and laptops in certain areas, to protect the contact information they store electronically, and to make sure their communications are secure.

Several guides to protecting and encrypting your data are available online for free:

- The 2012 edition of CPJ’s Journalist Security Guide from CPJ has added chapters on how to protect your communications from surveillance and secure your data. You can download the guide here.

- SaferMobile.org, a non-profit helping journalists, has a new Mobile Security Survival Guide. It covers topics such as how to disable the GPS in your phone, set up secure communications and protect sensitive information. It also has links to best practices for using satellite phones.

- The web site Media Helping Media recently posted “Tips for Staying Safe on Mobile,” which includes information on staying anonymous while using social media, uploading photos and stories safely, and browsing the internet securely.

- If you want a condensed summary of these and other security tips,  Lauren Wolfe, a former editor at CPJ and director of Women Under Siege, Tweeted tips from two seminars on journalism security held on World Press Freedom Day. You can find a Storify of the information she gleaned here.

Here are a few precautions suggested in all these guides:
-Take the battery out of your phone (don’t simply turn it off) to make sure it’s not transmitting its location to the cellphone network. (Don’t take an iPhone to meet sources who may be targeted.)

-If you connect to social media or other major web sites from the field, install HTTPS Everywhere browser extension, which makes your web browsing more secure. Make sure your smartphone supports sites with the https:// prefix.

-Download contacts, captions and story notes to a secure computer when possible, then wipe your phone, including the log of calls and SMS messages.

-Text messaging is one of the least secure ways to communication. Encryption software is available to encode your messages. But note: CPJ’s Security Guide and other resources point out that using encryption may call attention to your communications.

Paranoid? Sure. But it’s not only your own safety you have to be concerned about.

Related articles
Were Journalists in Homs Targeted for Bombing?

Survival Training for Conflict Zones