February 28th, 2014

Facebook’s Teru Kuwayama on How To Use Social Media for Documentary Storytelling

Long before he went to work for Facebook as the social media giant’s liaison to the photo community, photographer Teru Kuwuyama saw social media as a tool for photographers “to eliminate the gatekeepers and the editors, and to be our own operators,” he told a standing-room-only crowd at the Aperture Gallery in New York on Tuesday.  Old media models formed in “an analogue era” no longer exist, but he said many photographers who have been “adaptable” to social platforms are using them to reach and engage audiences.

Kuwayama spoke along with Lev Manovich of the Software Studies Initiative at “Documentary, Expanded: Interventions in Social Media,” a panel moderated by photographer Susan Meiselas, executive director and board member of the Magnum Foundation, which organized the talk as part of its Photography, Expanded program. Photography, Expanded held its first conference, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project, in April 2013, Meiselas said, to encourage photographers to expand their storytelling beyond the still image at a time when “we all felt the ground shifting beneath our feet” due to a shortage of assignments and production budgets from traditional media. Kuwayama shared work by photographers who are using Instagram to connect with audiences — though not, in most cases, to make money with their images.

He began by showing his own social-media-based project, Basetrack. After having worked in Afghanistan as an embedded photojournalist, Kuwayama won a James S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford, where he came up with a plan to gather a small group of embedded photographers who would post images and information about a Marine battalion in Afghanistan for their families back home. Launched in 2010, Basetrack was “basically a tricked out blog,” he said, with a map and a countdown clock to the end of the Marines’ deployment, but equally important was the Basetrack Facebook page, which “became a rallying point for the community.” Basetrack was never intended to reach more than about 1,000 viewers. “Who cares about this 20-year-old Marine who was 8 when this war started? It was clear it was his mom, his sister,” Kuwayama explained.
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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.

February 1st, 2012

Magnum Foundation Announces 2012 Emergency Fund Grantees

© Justin Maxon/Prospekt

The Magnum Foundation has announced the 2012 class of Emergency Fund grantees. The Emergency Fund supports photographers who are working on long-term documentary projects that address “critical global issues that have not received the attention they deserve, or budding crises that are still over the horizon,” according to the EF Web site.

This year’s grantees are:

Evgenia Arbugaeva, for her project “Tiksi, the Far North”; Rena Effendi, for “Capturing Coptic Life: Egypt’s Sectarian Struggle”; Eric Gottesman, for “Baalu Girma”; Sebastián Liste, for “The Brazilian Far West”; Benjamin Lowy, for “iLibya: Libya’s Growing Pains”; Justin Maxon,  for “Murder That Goes Unsolved and Unheard”; Donald Weber, for “War is Good*”; and Paolo Woods, for “Poor Rich.”

The Magnum Foundation, established by the cooperative photo agency to promote and finance independent documentary photography, began its Emergency Fund grants in 2010. Past grantees include Jonas Bendiksen, Tomas van Houtryve, Emily Schiffer, Larry Towell, Bruce Gilden and Krisanne Johnson.

Grantee candidates are nominated by an international committee and evaluated by a selection committee. This year the Emergency Fund received 93 nominations, and 76 photographers from 28 countries submitted proposals.

The Magnum Foundation also announced the its 2012 scholarships for the NYU/MF Photography and Human Rights program, a 5-week summer intensive at New York University that teaches photographers skills for creating documentary projects on human rights. This year’s scholarships went to: Poulomi Basu of India; Arthur Bondar, of Ukraine, Liu Jie of China; and Pooyan Tabatabaei of Iran.