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…)

November 30th, 2011

$20,000 Aftermath Project Grant for 2012 Awarded to Andrew Lichtenstein

Photographer Andrew Lichtenstein has received a grant of $20,000 from The Aftermath Project, an organization that supports documentary photography that tells post-conflict stories.

Lichtenstein received the grant, which is supported by the Foundation to Promote Open Society, for his work “American Memory,” a series of landscape photographs at historical sites of conflict around the United States. “The judges found Lichtenstein’s project to be a highly original take on aftermath issues, and also found his images to be sophisticated and thought-provoking,” wrote Aftermath Project founder Sara Terry in a statement.

“Among the many photos in Lichtenstein’s work-in-progress that impressed the judges,” Terry added, “was a photo of three women in Confederate-era dress seated on a bench at the exact bus stop where Rosa Parks began her historic ride in 1955, launching the American civil rights movement (the women were participants at a recent Confederate Flag rally in honor of the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of Jefferson Davies, the Confederate leader).”

Judges for this year’s grant cycle, the organization’s sixth, included Terry, VII photo agency director Stephen Mayes, and Anne Wilkes Tucker, photography curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Lichtenstein was selected from a pool of 183 applicants from around the world, the organization said.

The organization also recognized four finalists, whose work will be included in the 2012 Aftermath Project book. The finalists are Christopher Capozzielo, whose project “For God, Race and Country” examines the Ku Klux Klan as it exists today; Michelle Frankfurter, whose “Destino” documents the effect Central American civil wars in the 1980s had on emigration to the United States; Simon Thorpe, whose “Toy Soldiers” is a creative documentation of Sahrawi soldiers who fought for their land in the Western Sahara; and Michael Zumstein, whose “Bon Amis” addresses Ivory Coast’s reconciliation following the contested 2010 election and resulting crisis.

Related: Eros Hoagland Wins $20k Grant for Conflict Photogs

Above: Photo © Andrew Lichtenstein. At the exact bus stop where Rosa Parks boarded her famous city bus trip to fight segregation in 1955, participants in a Sons of Confederate Veterans “Confederate Heritage Rally” wait to march up Dexter Avenue in downtown Montgomery to recreate the inauguration of Jefferson Davis 150 years later.

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