October 28th, 2014

Blue Sky Gallery Starts Book Publishing Program to Mark 40th Year

Portland, Oregon’s Blue Sky Gallery entered its 40th year with a retrospective exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, and the launch of Blue Sky Books, a new print-on-demand publishing program that offers affordable books by 36 of the artists who’ve shown at the gallery.

Since it opened in 1975 as a collaborative project by local photographers, Blue Sky Gallery has grown into an important photography outlet with an international reputation, showing the work of both emerging and established photographers from the region, the country and throughout the world.

The museum exhibition, which includes more than 120 works, looks back on more than 700 exhibitions at the gallery by 650 photographers.

The book program grew in part from the gallery’s DIY esthetic. “We’re a very populous, democratic gallery,” says Christopher Rauschenberg, the president of the Blue Sky board of directors and the editor of Blue Sky Books. “We’re an artist’s space, and artists don’t have any money,” he adds. The books cost $18 dollars on average and can be ordered through MagCloud, the print-on-demand service owned by Blurb. The price includes a 15 percent fee for the artist and a 15 percent fee for the gallery.

The program was inspired in part by an artist who’d shown at Blue Sky, who reached out to Rauschenberg about a deal a publisher was offering him: the publisher would put out the artist’s book if he raised $30,000. Rauschenberg told the artist it was a standard deal, “but I can’t say it’s a good deal and I don’t have anything else to offer you,” Rauschenberg recalls. Other photographers had asked similar questions. Rauschenberg realized he wanted to be able to offer photographers “something else.” In looking back at the history of the gallery, Rauschenberg also realized there were “all these bodies of work that were never published as books and great shows that we had 30 years ago,” he says. He chose to use MagCloud, which he had used to make small catalogues of his own work for portfolio reviews, to create a series of books that were affordable to buy, and to publish.

By releasing 36 books at once, as the gallery did last week, Rauschenberg felt the artists could leverage their collective networks to promote the endeavor. “We’ve asked everybody to not just put your own book out but promote the whole series,” Rauschenberg says.

Community support and collective effort have contributed to the gallery’s longevity. For instance, Bruce Guenther, who recently announced his retirement as the chief curator of the Portland Art Museum, was instrumental in helping the gallery figure out how to buy the space they now occupy, Rauschenberg says. “Portland has a really wonderful spirit” in which people come together to get things done, and the local audience responds.

Rauschenberg remembers the flood of exhibition proposals the gallery received soon after they opened so many years ago. “We came in with a certain amount of a dream, and then other people’s dreams have added to it.”

December 17th, 2013

How About a Holiday Gift That Supports Photography?

It’s not only the season of giving. It’s your last chance to make a tax-deductible donation to a non-profit that you can list on your 2013 tax form. That’s why many of the non-profits that support new photographic work and photographic education are currently seeking support from folks who love photography. Here is a list of some we’ve heard from this holiday season. (Feel free to suggest other deserving non-profits in the comments section.)

If you’re looking for an alternative gift this season, consider a gift that says: We love photography, so let’s support it, too.

The Alexia Foundation
The Alexia Foundation has been making grants to support documentary projects on social change for over 20 years. In 2012, they created the Women’s Initiative Grant, supporting documentary photographic work on issues facing women. The first Women’s Initiative Grant winner, Tim Matsui, has just released a film of his work about the sex trafficking of minors, and the Alexia Foundation hopes to generate support for future grants.
https://www.alexiafoundation.org/donate

Aperture Foundation
Aperture Foundation, publishers of Aperture magazine and many photo books (like the new Emmet Gowin retrospective we raved about), has anchored their winter appeal this year to the news that they’re expanding Aperture’s visual-literacy program for children and teens. Learn more about their new educational program on their Winter Appeal page: http://www.aperture.org/blog/winter-appeal/

Blue Sky Gallery
In addition to hosting 21 solo exhibitions last year, the Portland, Oregon, non-profit also regularly holds artists’ talks that are free and open to the public. If you’re a resident of Oregon, you can match your contribution with a contribution to the Oregon Cultural Trust for a tax credit.
www.blueskygallery.org/who-we-are/about-bluesky/

Light Work
Light Work, the Syracuse, New York, non-profit that supports exhibitions, an artist-in-residency program, workshops and the publication Contact Sheet, is offering Light Work tote bags to anyone who donates $100 (while supplies last). Feeling more beneficent? Light Work offers portfolios for donors giving $1200 and more. www.lightwork.org/shop/donation/

Magnum Foundation
The non-profit Magnum Foundation supports in-depth, documentary photography projects through its Emergency Fund Grant, the Inge Morath Prize to a female photographer under the age of 30, its Human Rights Fellowships at New York University, and its partnerships with human rights and humanitarian aid organizations.  magnumfoundation.org/donate.html

The Aftermath Project
Through its annual grants, The Aftermath Project funds photo projects committed to telling the other side of the story of conflict: “What it takes for individuals to learn to live again, to rebuild destroyed lives and homes” and cope with war’s aftermath. Their  current Kickstarter campaign, to publish the latest volume of their catalogue of grant winners, “War is Only Half the Story,”  has about 48 hours left on the campaign. A pledge to the campaign allows you to pick a reward from a range of prints and gifts. Or, you can simply write The Aftermath Project a check.

June 5th, 2013

Events, Awards and Other Photo Happenings

Events

Tonight at the New York Public Library, photography educator and historian Deborah Willis will discuss Leonard Freed‘s photographs of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Joining Willis on the panel will be photographers Eli Reed and Jamel Shabazz, scholar Paul M. Farber, writer Michael Eric Dyson, and Freed’s widow, Brigitte Freed. The event begins at 6pm.

The Chris Hondros Fund, which supports photojournalism with fellowships and other programs, is holding a benefit online print auction through June 7. Work by Slim Aarons, James Balog, Al Bello, Andrea Bruce, Robert Capa, Ernst Haas, Michael Kamber, Ed Ou, Joao Silva and many other photographers is for sale.

Free seminars at Review Santa Fe start this Friday with “The Business of Photography.” On Saturday a panel of photographers will discuss “New Methods For Engaging Audiences,” and on Sunday Guggenheim Fellow John Gossage will lecture on “Contemporary Photographic Practice.” For more public events check out the Review Santa Fe event schedule.

Italian photographic education organization Cesura is running a travel workshop in Cairo in November. Led by Gabriele Micalizzi, who covered the Egyptian revolution, workshop participants will also have the option of a two-day supplemental workshop with photographer Moises Saman.

Awards

Kevin Miller received The New Orleans Photo Alliance‘s 2013 Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography Grant for his project on the Panama Canal expansion. (more…)

June 1st, 2012

Registration for Photolucida’s Critical Mass Competition Now Open

© Jennifer B. Hudson, the winner of the 2011 Critical Mass book award.

Registration opened today for the annual Critical Mass juried competition organized by Portland, Oregon photography non-profit Photolucida.

The competition boasts a group of 200-plus jurors from all corners of the photography industry, including curators, photo editors, publishers and gallerists from around the world. Winners receive a “book award,” which results in the publication of a monograph, and two entrants will receive solo shows at either Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, or the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado. The top 50 portfolios entered in the competition are featured on the Critical Mass site and in an exhibition that will be curated by W.M. Hunt.

For more info on fees, prizes and jurors, and to register visit the Photolucida site.