Archives for the month of: September, 2008

One of the ideas that emerged form the Young Collectors Panel at Aperture a few weeks ago, is that art, if purchased intelligently, holds it value even when the stock market is crashing.  So during our current market disaster, non-profits are apt to find their donor’s suddenly less generous, and are going to need support from somewhere.  They are likely be a lot more auctions going on, which means a great place to get work at a value.  I have a friend with a vintage Arbus picked up at an early 90’s AIDS benefit, now worth considerably more.  So I decided to pick out some good buys from the current crop of work out there, all good causes.  There is a lot of chatter online about the art for Obama auction, but it would be great to spread the world to those outside of the NY art world, and push up those auction prices!

Art for Obama – Auction begins October 1st – The list here is pretty great, Sternfeld, Daivs, Kereszi, Carucci, Wagner, Tillmans, Morell…

Elieen Cowin

Untitled, 16″ x 20″, Light Jet, From the Series: Your Whole Body is a Target, 2007/2008
Artist Proof

Todd Hido
#6097, 2006, 11″x14″ C-Print, from the series A Road Divided
Caption Info: “From my upcoming solo show in San Francisco
that opens the day after Obama could win the election!”
Artist’s Proof #2

David Maisel
Lake Project 16, 2001, 20″ x 20″ C-Print
Edition: 5/1

Laurie Simmons
Lying Book (Sepia), 1990
8″x10″ Chromogenic C-Print
Edition: 15/30

James Welling
Glass House, 2006, 32.5″ X 44.5″ Ink Jet Print
Notes: Printed on Museo silver rag, mounted on museum board
Artist’s Proof 1/3

Blind Spot

James Casebere
Row House, 1994
silver print
14 x 11 inches
edition of 60
Reuben Cox
From The Work of Joe Webb, 2001-2007
Kodabromide print
11 x 14 inches
edition of 15 + APs
Wijnanda Deroo
Guestroom, Curacao
16 x 20 inches
edition of 15
Justine Kurland
Burnt Down Forest, Wet Tinder
16 x 20 inches
edition of 25

Jem Southam
February 2001 from Upton Pyne
8 x 10 inches

edition of 100

Hannah Whitaker
White Rabbit, 2007
11 x 14 inches
edition of 15 + APs

Wall of Fire, Labor Day,
(Clevand, OH)
From Self Portrait as an Artist
Digital C-print
Paper: 11 x 14
Image: 9 x 13
Signed and numbered
Edition of 10

Stage for High School Commencement
, 2006
From History of a Village: Mamaroneck
Paper: 11 x 14
Image: 9.75 x 12
Signed and numbered
Edition of 10

From Imitation of Life
Paper: 11 x 14
Image: 9 x 11.25
Signed and numbered
Edition of 1

Gary, Ilano TX,
From Almost Naked
Digital C-print
Paper: 11 x 14
Image: 10 x 12.5
Signed and numbered
Edition of 10

Lipo Machine #43,
From Poignant Longings
Digital C-print
Paper: 14 x 17
Image: 11 x 14
Signed and numbered
Edition of 10

And in honor of the Art for Obama auction, I will contbribute the profit of my next HA Limited Edition print sale to Obama’s campaign.

So I know its a strange time in the world, but investing in art, is a lot better than buying another handbag or ipod or thing that will bore you and that will lose their value in a matter of months.


Okay this is by far the most challenging month of my life, while all of it is great things, exhibitions, events, showing my work, winning contests, writing, travel, etc. I will admit to being a little overwhelmed.  I actually enjoyed cleaning my apartment this afternoon to get rid of some of my pent up anxiety. So it really means a lot to check my email and find a review of my work by Page 291, a very thoughtful and intelligently written blog, if you are not reading it, you should. I am a big admirer of 291, and reading the review of my work currently up at the Michael Mazzeo Gallery, made me feel that the extraordinary amount of work I am doing is paying off.

Also, if you are in NYC this month, Amy Elkins and I have lots of exciting things happening.  Our Aperture Panel is this Tuesday at 6:30 pm, Aperture Gallery 547 W 27th St. Two of our amazing WIPNYC artists will be on hand.  Elinor Carucci and Robin Schwartz (up now).  Also premiere copies of Robin’s lovely new monograph form Aperture will be available for viewing.

October 4th, is the opening of Invisible Truth, a group show at the Westbeth Gallery, at 55 Bethune St, from 6-8 pm.  Please join Amy and I and several other very talented ladies for the opening of a group show curated by Joan Beard.

Come get your UV portrait taken by me on October 16th or 17th in Union Square, or on October 24 & 25th at 9th Ave at 14th St as part of AIOP. Maps will be available at businesses on 14th Street including 14th Street Framing Gallery, 225 W 14th Street and Rags-A-Go-Go, 218 W 14th Street. There is also an opening party on October 5, 3-6pm at Otto’s Shrunken Head on E14th.

On Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 6:30 – 8:30pm New Museum, is the big Blurb Photography Book Now event.  Should be something, RSVP here for free!  Seeing the winning entries while drinking and mingling.

And very exciting, on October 23rd, you must join me to support Amy at her opening of a solo presentation of her Wallflower work in the project room at Yancey Richardson Gallery.  More details to come…

Thanks to the Year in Pictures, for alerting me to a new show by one of my all around favorite photographers, Judith Joy Ross.  I still have not figured out exactly what, or how she does what she does, but her portraits are magic. I have heard for some time that she has been documenting the anti-war movement, I look forward to seeing this show at Pace McGill!

I had the great pleasure this weekend of attending the Blurb Photography Now awards and symposium to receive my award.  So I thought I would share some of the highlights. Thanks to everyone from Blurb who were so supportive and generous.  It was nice to see how genuinely invested all of their employees were in the contest.  I highly recommend the upcoming NYC symposium, especially if you are contemplating or creating a photo book. Darius Himes, from Radius Books, gave a thoughtful and very intelligent presentation on the history and importance of the photo book as a medium. Mr. Himes, also explained the criteria he created for the judges of the contest.  Not only was the quality of your photography a factor, but overall book design, the concpetual & emotional impact of the book, and the pacing and editing of the project.

There was an extremely informative presentation by Bob Aufuldish, a book designer from Aufuldish & Warinner, who went into great detail to explain the components that are used to design a photo book.  For a photographer, it is great to hear the ways in which design choice can help to elucidate your conceptual framework.  He showed various books as examples of successful design, including Lewis Baltz, The new Industrial Parks, near Irvine California, Robert Adams, The New West , and Edward Steichen, The Family of Man. I know I am already inspired to take my book to the next level.

Also very exciting, Michelle Dunn Marsh, formally of Aperture West, now a senior editor at Chronicle Books, showed the soon to be published Aperture West Prize winner, Hank Willis Thomas‘s book.  It is a truly inspiring piece of work. Thomas’s varied formal strategies are all intelligently incorporated under a unifying theme.  What was great to hear, is that Marsh had followed Willis Thomas’s career for some time but felt unsure of how to publish it, before he resubmitted his work for Aperture West Prize with a new artist statement.  She said that his shift to from a personal interpretation to a broader cultural theme, placed the work in a different context, which to her elevated the work and made it important to print. I think it is easy to be discouraged or worry that you must get everything right at the first go, so I love to hear that your work can evolve as it lives in the world. What is not quite right one day can suddenly comes into focus.

Which leads to another very interesting discussion at the event, the impact of self-publishing on your chances of getting published by one of the major houses.  This is obviously a “developing field” and the impact is still in transition.  What clearly emerged, is that limiting your book editions, and being open to changing your book and to collaborating with a publisher, greatly improve your chances.  Of course for every rule there is an exception, but it does make sense to me that a publisher would be wary of investing $50,000 is something that has already been released. Although I think as time passes this may change.

Other presenters included, Elisa Urbanelli, senior editor at Abrams, Clare Jacobson from PA Press, and photographers Todd Hido & Dan Milnor.  Perhaps the strongest theme I took away from the symposium, is the importance of research.  Find out what publishers are right for you before submitting, and create a book project that has lasting power. The pro publishing world is working 2 years in advance, so they must consider how relevant your work will be in 2010.  As an artist, it is hard to think that way, but clearly good work only improves and becomes more relevant as time passes.

Another useful tidbit was the importance of following up and keeping in touch.  Again, no’s can become yes’s as factors change.  So if someone says to keep in touch, according to Dunn Marsh, that means do it!  You may not hear back, but if they are interested in your work, they do pay attention.  While it is hard not to give up when you get no response, in the long run it does not help you to be easily discouraged.

The Blurb event is on the road, it is in Cologne now, and will continue on to London 10/10, and then comes here to NY 10/22.



10/23/08 – 10/28/08


Messeplatz 1
50679 Köln

Hall / Stand: 10.2: C042


Friday, October 10, 2008
1:30-5:30 pm
Delfina Galleries
50 Bermondsey Street,
London SE1 3UD
+44 20 7564 2400

New York

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
2:30-6:30 pm

New Museum
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

I know, I am friends with them, I know they are selling one of my prints, but despite all of that, I am so genuinely impressed with the newly relaunched Humble Arts site. It has a great design, and more importantly makes the photography the star of the site.  Jon Feinstein’s latest Group Show is the first time I have really liked a set of work focused on exploring the photographic process.  It all seems so fresh to the eye, not an easy thing to do.

These are very uncertain times in the world and it is trickling into the photo world.  I just stopped by my rental place, and the looks of defeat on their faces was really scary. The commercial world is especially taking a hit, and will most likely get worse.  This is a moment when new is necessary, to keep people interested and looking at art.  There is something both light and hopeful in much of the current crop of work, but also an equal measure of darker work.  I am excited to see what they do next. And looking at the show, I am inspired to get out my camera. I just need money to pay for film:) Good job Humble.

Tonight, my great friend and WIPNYC supporter Amani Olu is speaking at Aperture along with my new BFF, Ruben Natal-San Miguel, superstar photographer/blogger Brian Ulrich, and Aperture’s own Kellie McLaughlin.  Pretty much the whole photo community is coming out, but the event is about photo collecting so please pass this along to your friends with high paying jobs – if you have any left after this weekend’s Wall Street blood bath, speaking of hubris and misbehavior and Republican mismanagement… Think of it this way, what better time to start collecting affordable, emerging artists.  Who wants a million dollar piece of crap these days!  I mean specifically some of the excrement that has been passing as art these past few years.  Maybe now we will finally emerge from a decade of indulgent, art for money’s sake.

Aperture Foundation

547 W 27th St

6:30 pm

Below from Brian Ulrich’s Copia, ‘Retail’ series. A body of work that, which is already starting to take on even more significance as it ages.

When I started GG, I was filled with apprehension and anxiety about introducing my work to the world. For a long time I avoided showing it to anyone, because my confidence was not there and I did not have the words yet to express myself in conceptual terms. Blogging and finding a community of fellow artists and curators helped me move past those issues.  For so long, my photo mentor would push me to get out there and act like I deserved it, but until I slowly, bit by bit, started to believe it for myself, I was unable to. Some people are able to ‘fake it till they make it,’ but for me it is crucial that things in my life are genuine. My relationships with friends, family, colleagues, my images and my writing, so I had to wait until I could be genuine in presenting my work.

It is important to find a way to develop your confidence. It is not about ego, or self-aggrandizement, but about a heartfelt belief in what you are doing. There is a big difference between hubris and excitement for your own success. I grew up being told to “not get a big head,” and believing that success was to be hidden and downplayed because it would make people hate you. So eventually it seemed like failure was a better option, because at least it made you stop being a target. However the cost was too high. There has definitely been a trend to find the next hot young thing in the photo world, and artists are easily sucked into the hype. And if the lightening does not strike, and the first time you show your work to a gallery they don’t offer you a solo show, there is a tendency to feel like a failure. But last night, I realized that taking your time and slowly building your way up, is a much better route. With each step forward, I have time to think and digest and chose what is best for my work.

And as much as we like to believe in the cult of the individual in America,  finding mentors and building relationships with those who can help you is imperative. Everything that has happened to me so far has been the result of both incredible effort on my part but also an equal amount of support and encouragement from others. And curating has absolutely helped me grow as an artist. I highly recommend focusing your energy on the work of others to open up your perspective. I succeed every two weeks, when I see how great the work looks on Women in Photography, and feel proud of everything Amy and I, with the support of Humble Arts, have been able to accomplish.

The art world is a tough place, and there are so many talented people out there, it is so important to focus on the things that matter. The highlight of my opening last night, was seeing one of my oldest friend’s from New York, now living in LA, appear in front of my picture without any warning. And seeing all of the other people I love come out to support me in a group show, made having my image on the wall mean so much more.

The icing on the cake, thanks you Nina and Christopher for the heads up, was discovering that James Danziger singled out my image to review on his blog, and oh yes, I come after Joel Sternfeld, Roe Ethridge, Alessandra Sanguinetti, and Vik Muniz.  The post is an excellent survey of the fall photo season, and worth a look for that.  Today is a very good day. (check out Will Steacy pic in the first image, my partner in crime at the show last night!)  If you missed the show last night, Micheal Mazzeo has put together a really nice group of work and it runs through Oct 11th.

I have a special place in my heart for ICP, not only did I discover I was a photographer there, I got my first job in the photo world while attending a class and met my significant other.  So overall, I got a lot of my experience, and they have a reasonably priced, well run digital lab. So looking at there upcoming fall line-up I am tempted to take some classes myself.  There are pretty fantastic folk teaching there this semester, I highly recommend all of the following classes.  Where else can you get a successful gallery owner, a top photo agent, smart MFA’s who are make actively making great photography or one of the best photojournalists in the world to take the time to pay attention to your work.

08FPJ05* | Dina Kantor
Oct 3–Dec 12 | Fri 2:00–5:00 pm | $620
By examining the individual, one gains a better understanding
of the whole. This course goes beyond traditional
portraiture by focusing on the people who make up a larger
community. Students should prepare for this course by
doing preliminary research on a community or group with
whom they would like to work. Discussions will include
gaining access, what it means to document a community,
creating an archive, and how to structure such a project.
We will look at the work of August Sander, Tina Barney, and
Sharon Lockhart, among others. This is a critique and
discussion course with emphasis on aesthetic and conceptual
issues. The final class will culminate in a portfolio review.
PREREQUISITE: Photo II or portfolio review
*NOTE: No class, Fri Nov 28

08FVC19* | Marcel Saba & Allyson Torrisi
Oct 6–Dec 15 | Mon 10:00 am–1:00 pm | $620 + $25 fee
Prepare to enter the professional world of photography. In
this course, assignments and lectures will teach students
about the key aspects of marketing and editing their photographic
work for professional purposes. Topics will cover
building, editing, and presenting a portfolio; approaching
photo editors and art buyers; finding the right agent; creating
the right images; shooting for stock and building a stock
library; handling billing and contracts; and maintaining your
rights. Visiting professionals from various fields will share their
experiences. This course is designed for advanced students.
PREREQUISITE: Photo III or portfolio review
*NOTE: No class, Mon Oct 13

08FVC13* | Tema Stauffer
Oct 3–Dec 12 | Fri 6:30–9:30 pm | $620 + $25 fee
The night brings mystery and drama to a city street, as well
as a set of challenges to the photographer. This course will
encourage students to experiment with different methods
of photographing at night. Students will review work by
photographers with widely ranging styles, such as Weegee,
William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, and Todd Hido. Technical
demonstrations will cover how to use a flash, high-speed
films, and long exposures to create mood. Discussions wil
also address strategies for safe and effective shoots.
Students will develop a personal project and critique one
another’s work. In addition, this course will help students
learn or expand their printing skills in a color darkroom. All
camera formats are welcome.
PREREQUISITE: Photo I in Black-and-White, previous darkroom
experience, or portfolio review
*NOTE: No class, Fri Nov 28

08FVC02* | Corinne May Botz
Oct 6–Dec 15 | Mon 6:30–9:30 pm | $620
The home is an entry to memories, dreams, and desires; it
is both a fictional and a lived reality. This course will cover
family photography and domestic space. Students will
become familiar with a wide range of historical and contemporary
photographers who explore family. Visiting artists will
share their work and knowledge. We will discuss how family
snapshots construct memory and identity, and how the
introduction of the camera can complicate family dynamics
and strengthen bonds. Students will develop a personal
view of home and create a photographic series that relates
to the themes covered in class. Technical and aesthetic
considerations will be addressed.
*NOTE: No class, Mon Oct 13

08FWW05 | Vincent Laforet
One weekend | Nov 8 & 9 | 10:00 am–5:00 pm | $380
In this informal weekend course, the instructor will guide
students through assignments, as well as the thought
process he uses to obtain unexpected photographic
results. Starting with actual assignment sheets that the
instructor has received from a variety of clients, including
The New York Times and National Geographic, students will
take on projects as if they were their own, learning how to
overcome hurdles that arise. We will also focus on the best
ways to approach assignments with a desire to make
unique images. Students will leave better prepared to face a
wide range of assignments and with a stronger grasp of
how to balance logistical concerns with artistic vision.
PREREQUISITE: Photo II or portfolio review

08FVC15* | Michael Mazzeo
Oct 6–Dec 15 | Mon 6:30–9:30 pm | $620 + $75 fee
This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of
studio lighting with an emphasis on practical applications
for portraiture and still-life photography. In-class demonstrations
will cover the use of tungsten lights and electronic
flash equipment, as well as diffusing light with reflectors and
umbrellas. Students will learn to consider the direction of
light, proper exposure, and the effect on contrast and color
balance. Topics will include the properties of various light
and film combinations.
PREREQUISITE: Photo II, Lighting Techniques: An Overview, or
portfolio review
*NOTE: No class, Mon Oct 13

I cannot begin to express my gratitude those of you who have supported me in making Singular Beauty a reality.  To have the work recognized along with so many other great artists, (just take a look at the some of incredible talent on the honorable mention list) and by people whom I admire and respect truly means a great deal to me.  So thank you to Blurb, the judges of Photography Now, and all of you out there who have helped me along the way.  For those of you in San Francisco, London, Cologne and New York, check out Blurb site and find out how you can see the winning books in person.  Below are examples of the winners  work and links to their sites, so you can find out more about them or see their entries. Except for mine, which stayed tuned, will be available soon.  I want to support Blurb, I am so impressed with how supportive they have been, and give everyone a chance to see my book project.

Grand Prize: Beth Dow

In the Garden

General Category Winner: Talia Chetrit


Themed Category Winner: Jonathan Smith

The Bridge Project

General Category 1st Runner Up: John Lehr

Something is Happening

Themed Category 1st Runner Up: Cara Phillips (YES ME!)

Singular Beauty

General Category 2nd Runner Up: Michael Corridore

Roadworks – (Dreamend, Nowhere, Whitesville) and other stories

Themed Category 2nd Runner Up: (tie)

Benjamin Lowy

Iraq | Perspectives

Ed Panar


B. Lowy

E. Panar

Honorable Mention: General Category

Honorable Mention: Themed Category

APE, has a post up about fair use and blogging. His blog has been an excellent resource for photographers to learn about their rights and usage laws.  I think most Photo Editors, like Rob, are very supportive of photographers rights, despite the crazy ideas of the corporations they work for.  But in terms of usage rights, commercial photography is a completely different world.  When you come from a background where images are created as a commercial transaction from their inception, they are inherently a type of product, and those creating them are completely justified to be concerned about where they are re-used.  As an artist, I am often more concerned with getting my work seen, then being paid for it, just look at my bank account! To me the blog world exists outside of the commercial usage bylaws.  No one I know, really makes their living from their blog, nor do they make a cent of the images they feature on their blogs.  Even if they have ads banners, they are still not directly profiting form the image usage.

The internet has dramatically transformed how we experience imagery.  Any image that is 100 dpi or less, is a really like a photocopy.  It exists only on a screen, and it is almost a place holder for the actual image.  I think there is room in our culture to both retain the value of the fine-art print, the photo book, and the printed magazine, while still enjoying the unfettered accessibility of google image search. As this is a developing world, I applaud Rob for bringing up this very important issue and he is mostly right on, but perhaps he is a bit overzealous:

The absolute best practice for using photography that doesn’t belong to you is to ask for permission first.
Oh, you thought there was more? Email or call the photographer and ask for permission. It’s that simple.

I think here later in his post he gets closer to a realistic and acceptable guideline:

Always include the photographers name and links to both the image(s) you are writing about and their portfolio in your story or in the caption to the image.

In a way, the blogs, and online resources only wet our appetites to see more.  But this does not mean that we should use images without any structure, as long as bloggers are responsible and credit the photographer by name, and include a link to their website or gallery, I think the benefit far outweighs any copyright issue.  The only time copyright becomes an issue is if an image is in an online magazine or formal exhibition.  I would never feel comfortable including an artist on Women in Photography for instance without their permission and involvement.  However on  Ground Glass, I would find it strange to email PL di Corcia to ask to feature his images.  But any more than a link to their site and a name credit and I would probably not have time to write my blog posts.  What is most important is the name and a way to find the photographer. I can easily post my blog stats that show huge boosts in my traffic when other blogs, like Conscientious,  I heart Photograph, and APE have mentioned me with a link.  So thank you Rob for bringing this up, it is an important, but I also do not want to see an over limiting of the blogosphere.  There should be a happy medium.  As long as I do not see one of my images being used to sell something with a logo attached, I am happy to see it out there in cyberspace.  Yes there are risks, however I have experienced the incredible benefits from being featured on blogs.

Today I am very excited that the latest work from Alessandra Sanguinetti, a wonderful update on her work, The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams, went up on WIPNYC.  The show opens in person this Friday at Yossi Milo Gallery in NYC.  We are honored to be one of the first venues to showcase this work.  Come take a look at Women in Photography

Still waters | 2005

Ophelias | 2002

Well the first weekend of NYC gallery scene madness is almost over, how fitting that we are expecting a tropical storm as we approach the last night of the art season kick off.  I feel terrible that the very adorable & talented Jesse Chehak may get rained on at his opening tonight at Silverstein.  The past two nights have been a great deal of fun, so nice to catch up with friends and make new ones.  I did miss many events I was hoping to attend, this was defiantly a cut yourself in two weekend.  But I did manage to catch up with the lovely Amy Stein, who’s rising star shines brighter each day.  Amy is veritable photo/art world spitfire, and her commitment and energy are inspiring. I had the pleasure of meeting Shen Wei, whose portraits & blog I have admired for some time. It was also so lovely to spend time with Ruben Natal-San Miguel of ARTmostfierce, whose enthusiasm for collecting photography is infectious.  I highly recommend his upcoming Aperture Panel, with my great friend Amani Ulu, and one of my most favorite photographer’s Brian Ulrich.  Admission is free, and there will be lots to learn about collecting art.

Collector’s Workshop: Introduction to Affordable Photography
Tuesday, September 16
6:30 p.m.
Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
(between 10th and 11th Avenue)
New York, NY
(212) 505-5555

It was especially fun to hit the openings with my partner in crime Amy Elkins, we are both torn as to how split up evening next Friday considering we each have openings. I know I want to be there to support her, and Ofer Wolberger at their show, it is definitely worth a look:

My Other Nature
An exhibition curated by Alexander Perrelli
Friday, September 12th from 6:00–8:00 p.m.
The Camera Club of New York
336 West 37th street
New York, NY 10018-4212

Some things to check out online, Bond St gallery has a new blog written by Kate Phillips, which features interviews with contemporary photographers and art folk.  There is a great one up now with Laurel Ptak about her recent gif exhibit.  Flak Photo is currently featuring the work from the Hijacked book project.  Photoeye’s new online magazine has a nifty interactive feature that lets you preview books.  I am now obsessed and must save my pennies so I can purchase, Leadbelly: A Life in Pictures. And last, but certainly not least, congratulations to Jen Bekman on the anniversary of 20×200.  Go Jen!  You might want to head over their and pick up Jim Crow Road by Michael David Murphy or Sexworker w. client I by Kate Orne.  Ok enough of this name-dropping, lovefest schmaltz… Images from Leadbelly book via photoeye.

Jesse Chehak

Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Thursday, September 4th 6-8 pm

Roe Ethridge

Andrew Krepps Gallery

Thursday, September 4th 6-8pm

Michel Chelbin

Andrea Meislin

Thursday, September 4, 6 – 8PM

Joel Sternfeld

Luhring Augustine

Friday, September 5th 6-8pm

Vik Muniz

Sikkema Jenkins

Saturday, September 6th 6-8pm

I realize based on some of the comments from my last post, that people took my payapl story the wrong way.  Every person I spoke to had an accent, including the person who sorted it out. I cannot be 100% sure  where they were talking to me from, so perhaps it was inappropriate for me to guess their nationality. However, I suppose it is because I do not think that identifying someone as Indian is in any way an insult. Whether they are in India, Singapore or any place outside of the Untied States, there are valid problems with the entire call center outsourcing industry, most notably that it can be a challenge to understand the issues and language of another culture. And it sets unrealistic standards for the customer service agents. I certainly would have a hard time becoming a customer service agent, for the Indian railway for instance or answering calls in any of the countries who now provide this service to US companies.

Understanding the “other” is especially problematic in photography. To photograph outside your own experience and culture always comes with baggage. Especially when there you are white, male, and come from first world county.  However I do not think that we should always reduce things to these levels.  Ang Lee was born in Taiwan, but to me made one of the best Cowboy movies ever made, abet slightly outside of the mainstream idea of a western.  Artists to me need to be the ones to think outside of boxes, while focusing on their experience of world. This is stll a very tender time in our world. So yes to cultural understanding, appreciation, and openness and no to overly PC thinking.  I recognize this is such an important issue right now, but I think if we could work to dissolve some of these ideas, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, would be candidates for President not “a female candidate for President” or “a black candidate for President.”  McCain would of course still be the ornery guy running for President.

One of my favorite photogs ever Raghubir Singh

Why sometimes computers & outsourcing fail.  I apologize to all of you incredibly generous people who sent me donations for my AIOP outdoor photo project, now formally scheduled for October 18 & 19 in Union Square, and October 24 & 25 at 14th St and 9th Ave in the meatpacking district from 11-2 & 2-4 each day, weather depending.  There is also an opening party for the event on 10/5 and lots of other exciting stuff going on all month, I will post a map of the activities soon.

However paypal, partly because of my not understanding how to request money correctly, but mostly because of the two customer service agents from India were unable to comprehend or correctly help me with the issue, all of your funds were returned. Today I finally got someone on the phone who explained to me how all of my difficulty could have easily been avoided.  So I am up for round #2 if you are all, I have sent emails to you re-requesting the funds. It is quite embarrassing to be sure!  But, I am even more excited about the project itself, despite the paypal debacle, especially now that the work will be featured in two group shows this fall.

The first one at Michael Mazzeo Gallery, formally Peer Gallery, opens next Friday, the 12th.  I know it’s a crazy season but I hope those of you in the NYC area can stop by.  Some great photogs are also in the show, including the indomitable Will Steacy and Miss Rachael Dunville.  I met Michael at a portfolio review, and have kept in gentle contact since. Part of what makes this show so exciting for me, is that all my hard work and energy has led to being in a group show at his gallery.  It is so important to develop and maintain relationships, no matter what field you are in. Developing them takes enormous amounts of time, energy, and a willingness to accept that it often leads to nothing.  But if you are patient and persistent, and if your work has any value, things do happen.  During my month off, I thought a great deal about where I want to go next, and now that things are happening, I am energized to pursue those ideas. So I hope to see you all on the 12th!

Michael Mazzeo Gallery

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

September 12 – October 11
Opening Reception
Friday, September 12, 6 PM – 8 PM

526 W 26th St Ste #209

And don’t miss this week’s big opening for me, Joel Sternfeld’s the Oxbow Archive. From the Press Release:

Sternfeld’s new work represents a break with painterly notions of the Picturesque and the Sublime; his field is flat, average and indistinguishable from thousands like it. He does not take the view from nearby Mount Holyoke as the Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole did in 1833 and look down on the Oxbow of the Connecticut River, the “grandest prospect in North America.” A single field that appears in Cole’s now iconic painting is of ample interest for Sternfeld’s attentive eye.

This work represents a departure from archetypal photographic depictions of nature; grandiloquent mountain views and dramatized skies are eschewed, as are ideal specimens of flora. Anthropomorphization of “perfect form in nature” does not occur; the geometric is not valorized. The photographs are not meant to be metaphoric equivalents of anything else. Rather, the images present themselves without pretense as a systematic index of seasonal progression.

If you know Joel, you know that is probably the most personal project of his life. It is a very subtle and intellectual body of work and a departure from his oeuvre in some ways. But I give him enormous credit, for his willingness to continue to grow and take risks as an artist, instead of churning out show after show of the same work, guaranteed to make $$, or to live off his glory days and just keep endlessly having retrospectives.  I am not naming any names of other photographers of his caliber, but I think you all know who I mean.  When you have a certain level of success and still have the balls to fall flat on your face, or to make work that needs to age to have meaning, is a rarity in today’s art world.  But if we want to have anything to look at in two hundred years of any value, we need artists wiling to do just those things.

Luhring Augustine

Joel Sternfeld

Oxbow Archive

Sep 6 – Oct 4 2008

531 W 24th St