October 27th, 2014

Obituary: David Armstrong, Age 60

Photographic artist David Armstrong, who first made his name as a member of the “Boston School” with Jack Pierson, Mark Morrisroe and Nan Goldin, and eventually shot for Vogue, GQ, and other fashion clients, died October 25, in Los Angeles, from liver cancer.  He was 60 years old.  Vogue.com reported that Armstrong’s agent, Jed Root, had confirmed the news.

Born in Arlington, Massachusetts, Armstrong was also very much of New York City, his long-time home. With intentions to become a painter, he attended the Boston Museum School and Cooper Union in New York. He received his B.F.A. from Tufts in 1988.

Along with fellow “Boston School” contemporaries like Stephen “Tabboo!” Tashjian, Armstrong and his friends made art of their lives in the counterculture. He first met Nan Goldin as a teenager, and their work was first shown together at PS1′s “New York/New Wave” exhibit in 1981.

David Armstrong 615 Jefferson

The cover of David Armstrong’s 2011 monograph 615 Jefferson Avenue. © Damiani/Photo by David Armstrong

Armstrong is often cited as having had a significant influence on Ryan McGinley, who also turned an interesting life with beautiful young friends into photographic art. Much of Armstrong’s work features lots of natural light, and his gaze is unmistakably erotic. Throughout his career, he made sharp-focused portraits of beautiful young boys, but he also made cityscapes in soft focus, especially after moving to Berlin in the early 1990s. His work was included in the 1995 Whitney Biennial.

Armstrong ushered into the universe of fashion by designer Hedi Slimane, who first commissioned him to make backstage photos of his work at Dior Homme. He would go on to be published in the French, Italian and Japanese editions of Vogue, Arena Homme+, GQ and Out, among other magazines, and counted Ermenegildo Zegna, Kenneth Cole, Burberry, Puma and Rodarte amongst his commercial clients.

Over his career he published several books, including a 1994 collaboration with his old friend, Nan Goldin/David Armstrong: A Double Life; he also published1997′s The Silver Cord, and a 2012 pressing of 30-plus-year-old photographs called Night & Day. His final monograph, 615 Jefferson Avenue, is comprised of bright portraits of male models taken at his house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

In a conversation with old friend Jack Pierson about his process and motivation, published in Out magazine in 2011, he said, “I always think you want to come away with some beautiful, beautiful picture of the person, the boy, that’s really everything you want to express about them. Or, at least something you can rub one out to.”

October 27th, 2014

PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Develop Your Brand Identity

Marcus Smith, Part 2: How to Develop Your Brand Identity from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

In a previous PDN Video, advertising photographer Marcus Smith explained how he used personal work to land his dream clients. After winning his first few commercial assignments, though, Smith decided he needed a stronger brand identity to maintain momentum. In this video, he explains how he figured out the right brand message for his business, communicated it to a designer, and got a professional-looking brand identity on a tight budget.

Smith will speak at Photo Plus Expo on a panel called “PDN’s 30: Strategies for Young Working Photographers” on Saturday, November 1 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Others speaking on the panel include Dina Litovsky, Greer Muldowney, Keren Sachs, and Tony Gale. For complete details about Photo Plus Expo seminars and events, see the Photo Plus Expo website.

Related:
PDN Video: Marcus Smith on How to Attract the Clients You Want

October 23rd, 2014

How to Boost Traffic to Your Site and Increase Print Sales

Sponsored by Zenfolio

You may be the most talented photographer in your genre, but unless you have an excellent web presence and advertising put in place, no one will know you exist. Here, we provide four crucial steps to get more exposure to your site, gain and retain customers, and boost sales for a profitable photography business.

1. Create an SEO-friendly website.

When potential customers are searching for a photographer in their area on Google or Bing, will your website show up? Aside from referrals, discovering photographers on search engines is the top way clients find who they want to hire, so making sure your website is SEO-friendly is key. Providing relevant keywords and text on your pages, such as geographic location and genre, will help. Zenfolio is built with HTML, so it automatically submits your sitemap to major search engines and lets you know which fields are important to fill out and display on your pages.

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2. Give People Incentives to Buy.

Now that people are on your site, how do you get them to buy? Creating time pressure, offering a special promotion or bundling products into packages are all great ways. To get customers to act, set an expiration date on a gallery so that they have a limited amount of time to purchase before the images go away. If you decide to offer a special promotion, create early bird coupons for those who make purchases within the first week photos are online, or include a gift certificate. Bundling products is great because people want more for their money. Create a package of prints and products, and lower the total cost of what customers would pay for the same items à la carte. Zenfolio has all of these features, including shopping cart reminders, so that a customer will receive emails reminding them of their unfinished orders, encouraging them to complete checkout.

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3. Follow Up with Offers.

After a sale has been made, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. People are always in need of a gift for the holidays, anniversaries or birthdays. Offer discounted items or rewards for referrals, and keep in contact with clients on a personal level. With Zenfolio, you can set up a contact list that captures visitors when they come to your website, so you can send emails to them later.

4. Have Flash Sales.

Having several sales throughout the year is a great revenue boost. During the holidays, offer a big discount for presents, or participate in Cyber Monday or Black Friday. Put photos back online for a limited time, or offer new products, as framed prints or canvas wraps. With Zenfolio, you can easily create gallery banners so visitors are aware of the sale.

In order to be successful, it’s crucial to make new customers want to work and buy from you. Make sure your website is set up to sell and can easily be tweaked and changed as necessary.

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Get started on your own website today and save 25% on a Zenfolio account with the code getstarted25 at checkout.

October 22nd, 2014

Tumblr Photo Community Calls Out Sexist ‘Recommended Photogs’ List

Social blogging platform Tumblr boasts a robust community of professional photographers, some of whom have used the platform to raise issues of social equality in the photography business. Most recently a handful of photographers called out a quarterly French photography magazine, Selektor, for publishing a list of 100 photographers to follow on Tumblr that included just eight women.

Selektor generated the list, which it published on its own Tumblr, by simply compiling the blogs of all of the photographers it had featured. After both female and male photographers pointed out the disparity, Selektor‘s founder, Loïc Thisse, admitted in a subsequent post that he “never thought to check the proportion of women photographers” he was featuring, he was simply operating based on his personal taste.

His mistake, he writes, was that he didn’t recognize that “Selecting and showing artists publicly is not like sharing one’s personal tastes. It is quite another thing. There are other issues. The representation of women is one of them.”

Tammy Mercure responded to Selektor’s list by generating one of her own, which included more than 70 women photographers to follow on Tumblr. “There is still systematic sexism at work in the photo world,” Mercure wrote in her post. But, she notes, she’s seen “great strides in equity for women and people with diverse backgrounds” in publications and “most places” on Tumblr.

Interestingly more than 1100 people noted or shared Mercure’s post, while fewer than 900 noted Selektor’s post.

Related: How One Magazine Strives for Gender Balance in Assignments
Are Women Photographers Being Discriminated Against in the Editorial Market?

October 21st, 2014

ASMP Names Tom Kennedy as New Executive Director

The board of directors of American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), the 70-year-old trade association for photographers, has named multimedia consultant and photo editor Tom Kennedy to be its new executive director.

Kennedy, who was Alexia Chair Professor of Documentary Photography in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University, has been working as a multimedia consultant to photographers. He was previously Managing Editor of Multimedia for the Washington Post and Director of Photography at National Geographic. He serves on the board of the Eddie Adams Workshop and has been a frequent speaker at photo conferences.

Kennedy’s appointment ends a search that began this summer after the ASMP board voted not to renew the contract of Eugene Mopsik, the organization’s long-time executive director.

In an announcement about his appointment, Kennedy says, “ASMP needs to help its members navigate through the turbulence induced by changes to the media landscape. That turbulence, which affects how our ASMP members make their living, requires building of community, wise positioning, and agility in the face of the changes being unleashed. Notwithstanding these challenges, I see this as a tremendous time for professional photographers to be in the vanguard for visual storytelling.”

October 20th, 2014

Obituary: South African Photographer Thabiso Sekgala, 33

memorial-serviceThabiso Sekgala, whose images of the restricted homelands established under South Africa’s apartheid regime have been exhibited internationally, died October 15. Market Photo Workshop, the Johannesburg school where Sekgala studied, announced his death on October 17. The cause of death appears to be suicide, but a police investigation into his death is still being conducted, according to Lekgetho Makola, Market Photo Workshop’s manager of programs and projects.

Born in Johannesburg, Sekgala studied at the Market Photo Workshop. In 2013 he was artist-in-residence at both the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and HIWAR/Durant Al Funun, Jordan. His show “Homeland,” a series of portraits and landscapes made in the restricted areas where black South Africans were segregated under apartheid, was exhibited at Recyclart & The vieuwer, a gallery in Brussels. Earlier this year, Goodman Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa, showed “Running,” made up of images Sekgala shot in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Amman, Jordan; and Berlin, Germany. His work was also shown at international photo festivals including Photoquai in Paris and Rencontres d’Arles (see PDN Photo of the Day for a selection of images shown in “Transitions” at the Rencontres d’Arles). Images from “Homeland” were included in “The Rise and Fall of Apartheid” exhibition, which was shown at the International Center of Photography in New York City, Haus der Kunst in Munich and Museum Africa in Johannesburg.

Sekgala is survived by his mother, his two brothers, and his daughter. A memorial service, being organized by Market Photo Workshop, Goodman Gallery and the Goethe Institut, will be held October 23 at Market Photo Workshop. Details are available on the Market Photo Workshop website.

Related articles:

PDN Photo of the Day: A Period of Transition in South Africa

Another Africa: In Conversation with Artist Thabiso Sekgala (August 2014)

October 16th, 2014

LaToya Ruby Frazier Awarded United States Artists Fellowship

Photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier is among the 34 people named United States Artists fellows for 2014. The awards, announced on October 13, 2014, come with an unrestricted prize worth $50,000. The “United States Artists” (USA) program is described as investing in “the fundamental value artists contribute to American society.” The organization is funded by individuals and philanthropic groups such as the Bloomberg and Knight Foundations. This year, 16 women and 18 men were selected from among 116 nominated artists; awards were given in architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater and visual arts.

Frazier, who was selected for PDN‘s 30 2012, released her first book, The Notion of Family, published by Aperture Foundation in September. In it, she tells the story of the racism and economic decline of small-town America through the lens of three generations of her family—herself, her mother, and her grandmother—in her hometown of Braddock, PA. In April 2014, she was awarded a  John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship. She has held academic and curatorial positions at Yale, Rutgers and Syracuse.

Since it was founded in 2006, the program has given $19.1 million to 405 artists. Past visual arts recipients who work in lens-based media include Luis Camnitzer, William Leavitt, Kerry Tribe and Lorraine O’Grady. A complete list of winners can be found at www.unitedstatesartists.org/2014fellows.

Related Articles

PDN’s 30 2012 – bio

Look3: A Defining Moment for LaToya Ruby Frazier

11 Photographers Among Winners of 2014 Guggenheim Fellowships

PDN Video Pick: LaToya Ruby Frazier at The Whitney Biennial

 

October 16th, 2014

Art Photos About Animals the Focus of Muybridge’s Horse Blog

The homepage of Muybridge's Horse, featuring images by photographer Brandon Hall.

The homepage of Muybridge’s Horse, featuring an image by photographer Brandon Hall.

Emma Kisiel’s blog, Muybridge’s Horse, features photography that explores the relationship between humans and animals. The collection includes the work of artists like Charlotte Dumas, Simen Johan, Chris Jordan, Lindsay Blatt and dozens of others, offering a wide-ranging look at the varied ways photographers and artists working in other media depict animals and the natural world. For Kisiel, the blog has provided an opportunity to connect with other artists who share her interests, and to grow her understanding of contemporary art and the possibilities for her own work.

“Working on Muybridge’s Horse has opened my eyes to such innovative ways of image-making and storytelling,” Kisiel told PDN via email. “I also love seeing how many artists who explore animal life (or death) in their art are women. I know how male-dominated the photography field can feel sometimes.”

Muybridge’s Horse, named for Eadweard Muybridge’s “Horse in Motion” photographs, which he made in 1878, grew from a personal blog Kisiel kept as a photography student at the Maryland Institute College of Art. On it, she indexed all types of work that interested her. Eventually she “noticed that artists who work with animal and nature subject matter dominated the blog,” Kisiel says.

After Kisiel graduated and began working in a field unrelated to art, she pursued the blog as a “creative outlet.” She worked with a developer friend to create Muybridge’s Horse, and emailed all of the artists whose work she’d posted on her personal blog as a student. “Many responded with comments that they couldn’t believe a site like this hadn’t existed yet,” Kisiel says. She launched it in early 2013, hoping to reach “students, artists, curators, animal lovers—anyone seeking pictures that affect them.”

Kisiel generally finds images on Tumblr, by following RSS feeds of other art publications like Lenscratch and iGNAT, and through submissions. Artists also often recommend other people for Kisiel to feature. She worried at one point that she would run out of subject matter, but adds, “I currently have over 100 posts in my queue, so I’m not worried right now.”

Through her work on the blog, she’s received support from other photographers, has developed friendships, and has met artists with whom she’s corresponded.

It’s also altered her thinking about her own work. “I am much more challenged to create photographs that matter,” she says. “I am a proponent of looking at and being very aware of contemporary photography if you’re a photographer yourself, and I have felt humbled and inspired by the discovery of the artists I feature.”

Kisiel says that she’s struggled at times to find a sense of community as an artist, but that Muybridge’s Horse has provided that. “I have mixed feelings about the internet, the way it changes how people and artists act and interact, but watching artists lift each other up and exist as a part of a unique network has been encouraging as an artist working today.”

Related: Photographers Share Intimate Images of Loved Ones for Curated Photo Website
Charlotte Dumas: A Fine-Art Approach to Photographing Animals

October 15th, 2014

2014 Eddie Adams Workshop Award Winners Announced

The annual four-day Eddie Adams Workshop for emerging photographers ended Monday with presentations by students and announcements of awards. Winners included:

Palestinian photojournalist Eman Mohammed, who received the $2,500 Chris Hondros Fund Award.

Zack Wittman, a junior at Central Michigan University, recipient of the Nikon Award, including a Nikon D4S camera, three NIKKOR zoom lenses and Speedlight flash, worth approximately $11,000.

Sean Proctor, a Michigan-based photojournalist, winner of the inaugural Bill Eppridge Memorial Award, a $1,000 cash prize. The prize was created this year in memory of the long-time LIFE photographer who died in October 2013 at age 75.

Rachel Woolf, a student at Ithaca College, who received the Colton Family Award for the student who best embodies the spirit of the workshop, including a $1,000 cash prize.

New York-based Nancy Borowick, recipient of a $1,000 grant from the visual storytelling app Storehouse for innovation in storytelling. (For more on Borowick’s work, see “Picture Story: Love in a Double Shadow of Cancer” on PDNOnline.)

Jonas Wresch, a German photographer based in Colombia, and Adriane Ohanesian, an American photographer based in Kenya, who each received a $1,000 cash award from National Geographic.

Numerous awards in the form of photo assignments and internships were given by the Associated Press, The Denver Post, Education Week, Getty Sports, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Washington Post, a Lightbox feature on Time.com and a one-week internship at the White House.

The four-day, tuition-free workshop hosts 100 photo students and emerging pros with an international mix. Among the more than 20 workshop speakers and coaches at this year’s event were veteran photographers James Nachtwey, Eugene Richards and John White and contemporary talents Barbara Davidson, Gillian Laub, Phil Toledano and Marco Grob.

More information is available at the Eddie Adams Workshop website
www.eddieadamsworkshop.com.

October 15th, 2014

Attention Photojournalists: Upcoming Grant and Prize Deadlines

Looking for support for your visual journalism? Take note of these calls for entries.

Tim Hetherington Grant
A joint initiative of World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch, the Tim Hetherington Grant is a 20,000 euro prize awarded annually to a visual journalist. The grant is intended to help photographers and filmmakers finish ongoing projects on a human rights theme. The deadline to enter is October 31. The grant was created in memory of Tim Hetherington, who was killed in April 2011 while covering fighting in Misrata, Libya. Past winners of this juried prize have included Olivier Jobard and Fernando Moleres.
www.worldpressphoto.org/tim-hetherington-grant

Photo Philanthropy Activist Awards
PhotoPhilanthropy, which connects photographers with nonprofits to drive action for social change, is now accepting entries in its 2014 Activist Awards, open to all professional and emerging photographers who have collaborated with a nonprofit organization on a photo project. The grand prize for a professional photographer is $15,000. A prize of $5,000 will be awarded to an emerging photographer. The deadline is December 3, 2014. The jury will be announced later this month.
photophilanthropy.org/award/

Open Society Moving Walls
Open Society Foundations is now accepting proposals for Moving Walls 2015, an exhibition which will open June 2015 at the Open Society Foundations’ offices in New York City. The application deadline is November 18. Moving Walls highlights long-term photo-based documentary projects addressing human rights or social justice issues in an area where Open Society is active. Open Society covers the cost of printing, travel to attend the opening, and return shipment of photos, and provides a $2,500 participation fee.
www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/moving-walls

Related Articles

Olivier Jobard Wins 2013 Tim Hetherington Grant
Liz Hingley Wins PhotoPhilanthropy Prize