Just in Case

There are several calls for entry going on, if by chance you live under a rock and missed them here you go…

The Nymphoto Collective is pleased to announce its fourth group show and first call for entries to be exhibited at Sasha Wolf Gallery.

Nymphoto is looking for the best in female contemporary and emerging photography. Work will be curated by the core members of the collective, in conjunction with highly respected curator and gallery owner, Sasha Wolf. Works selected will be included in “Nymphoto Presents at Sasha Wolf Gallery” and be on view from May 23 to June 6, 2009. An artists reception will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2009, from 6 – 8PM. Sasha Wolf Gallery is located in lower Manhattan, conveniently located and easily accessible from both Chelsea and Dumbo, two of New York’s artistic centers. Info

The New York Photo Awards 2009 will once again honor talented photographers from all over the world whose exceptional work breaks new grounds visually, intellectually and aesthetically. The Awards will give these visual artists the opportunity to reach key decision makers in the photographic community and the editorial, fine art and commercial worlds. Submissions will be accepted starting March 2nd through May 1st, 2009. The Award winners will be announced in May during the second edition of the Festival. Apply here

And don’t forget the WIPNYC-Lightside Grant call for entries begins April 1st, 2009.  The link to apply online and sumissions guidelines will be posted then at wipnyc.org.

Also, the Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Grant deadline has been extended to April 1.  Go here for more info.



Lay Flat

I meet Shane Lavalette at last year’s NY Photofest.  I was not only impressed with his knowledge of photography–I could not help but adore him–he is both genuine and intelligent.  So I was honored when he asked me to be a contributor to Lay Flat.  Of course I was even more flattered when I saw my list of fellow essayists.

One Credo After Another
by Tim Davis

Close Readings
by Darius Himes

The Secessionists Revisited: Artist Collectives in the Age of the Blog
by Cara Phillips

A Telephone Conversation with Mike Mandel
by Shane Lavalette

The Crisis of Experience
by Eric William Carroll

Castaways vs. Utopians
by Jason Fulford

Yesterday my copy came in the mail, and I was both impressed and inspired by what Shane has done. It is not only a great visual presentation, the essay’s are thoughtful and add to the current discussion about the nature and meaning of contemporary photography. Also, each essay offers a unique and different viewpoint.  I am even more excited to be a part of the project now that I have seen the final presentation.

I can’t wait to get some frames and create a LF installation piece for my apartment.  I know we are struggling these days, but Lay Flat is well worth it.

Purchase here and here.

Included Photographers:

Andreas Weinand, Anne Lass, Coley Brown, Debora Mittelstaedt, Ed Panar, Estelle Hanania, Gustav Almestål, Hiroyo Kaneko, Kamden Vencill, Mark McKnight, Michel Campeau, Nicolai Howalt & Trine Søndergaard, Nicola Kast, Nicholas Haggard, Shawn Records, Raimond Wouda, Richard Barnes, Thobias Fäldt, Whitney Hubbs and Yann Orhan.


Bernice Abbott

I have been a little removed from the blogosphere of late–between my part-time day job, the WIPNYC grant launch, and my own work, exhibitions, and events–there has not been much time to either blog or read blogs.  I was surprised to see how far my post in response to Brain Ulrich’s “call to action” spread.  There are good and bad things about blogging and the ways in which information gets regurgitated in the twitter world,  but it was refreshing to see the variation of reactions.  In the end, we all have to decide what our practice will be.  There is really no one that can tell us how/what/who to photograph.

But personally, after seeing so much staged photography and overly digitized work at the fairs last week, I am longing for some images that are  raw or reality-based.  But perhaps that is because in my own practice I am fascinated by the tension between reality and the subjective choice of the photographer, and most of my work explores that schism.

So when I was fortunate enough to get a peek at Steidl’s new 2 volume retrospective of Bernice Abbott’s work, I was inspired.  Her images manage to dance between the real & her personal take, in surprising and important ways.

You can purchase the book here and see an online gallery here. Enjoy.

chelsea_hotelBerenice Abbott
Chelsea Hotel, 222 West 23rd Street, 1936


WIPNYC – Annouces “Project Grant”

Amy & I are super excited to announce the first ever wipnyc grant.  Yes, like the site, you must be a “women in photography” to apply.  There will be a small $20 processing fee.  Overall we are thrilled to be able to contribute to the art community this way.  Will look forward to seeing all of the exciting projects, and as of April 1st, there will be more specific info on submitting.

Good luck!

WIPNYC – Lightside Individual Project Grant
Women in Photography, co-founded by Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips in June 2008 to showcase the works of female fine art photographers, is pleased to announce their first project grant, funded by Lightside Photographic Services/ and co-sponsored by LTI. The $3,000 grant award will provide funding to one photographer to support project costs.

GRANT: $3000.00. One grant will be awarded

APPLICATION PROCESS OPENS: Wednesday April 1, 2009 12am
Link to online application will be made available on wipnyc.org.

DEADLINE: FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2009, 12AM

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT: JUNE 10, 2009
Grant announcement will be made at evening event at the National Arts Club, Grand Gallery.  There will be a reception for the grant winner and a slideshow presentation of their work.  The Grant winner’s work will be featured in a wipnyc.org online solo showcase opening on 6/16/09.

APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY
Applications will be only be accepted from photographers who are at least 18 years old, and who are NOT currently enrolled in any full-time or part-time degree program.

PROJECT ELIGIBILITY

Projects submitted for consideration can be new or ongoing. Applicants should submit no more than one proposal in support for one project.

REVIEW PROCESS

WIP’s curatorial staff, Amy Elkins & Cara Phillips will review projects for visual & conceptual strength, rigor of purpose, and clarity of stated
project goals.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
WIPNY will only accept online submissions.
Applicants must submit exactly five images. Each image must be:

JPEG format
72dpi
sRGB
650 pixels wide

Contact Info
BIO (Under 200 words)
CV

**Please direct all grant submission questions to the email address which will be made available as APRIL 1, 2009**

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

Describe the project in 300 words or less* ( IN PLACE OF ARTISTS STATEMENT)
Please include: Project start date, or in progress staus. Estimated finish date?*
Please provide a detailed list of expenses. Itemize each expense and provide a dollar amount.*

Please list any estimated income or other funding sources.*


Women In Photography
co-curated by Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips
WIPNYC is a Humble Arts Foundation project.

Fun with Feminism

I will be out of town this weekend, but if you are interested in growing your brain, this sounds like the ticket.

Download entry form backtothefuture

Call for Participants
BACK TO THE FUTURE…
AN EXPERIMENTAL DISCUSSION ON CONTEMPORARY FEMINIST PRACTICE…
TIME: 6.30pm, Saturday, February 21st, 2009
PLACE: Fifth Floor galleries, Whitney Museum of American Art
RSVP Required. Reservations on a first come, first served basis.
BACK TO THE FUTURE was organized by Jen Kennedy, an art historian, and Liz Linden, an artist.

They are both currently participants in the Whitney Independent Study Program. At this town-hall-style public discussion, participants will be asked to engage in a temporally specific, group experiment aimed at frank dialogue about the feminisms of our day. Relying on a provisional, substitutive vocabulary, our event aims to explore terrain that is not circumscribed by the semantics and tactics of past positions by looking at what, in our contemporary conception of feminism-as-lived-practice, we hold to be intrinsic, innate, and unique.


The Nature & Purpose of Photography

Brian Ulrich had an excellent post recently on why photographers are not recording the the current economic crisis.  His post has generated 47 comments so far and it seems to have struck a nerve.  I find it interesting that on one hand there is a debate raging over whether we should incorporate unfolding current events into our work, and on the other, the Andrew Kreps Gallery current exhibition To Be Determined–focuses on work that deals directly with the medium of photography. While several of these artists I individually admire, collectively, at this moment, having a show about photography, does seem out of step.  Time Out New York said this:

The cerebral queries posed here spring from pioneering 20th-century photographers (Moholy-Nagy, James Welling, Richard Prince), but fail to break any new ground themselves. One has to hope that this current generation of photographers will ultimately choose to define itself by means other than a few tired lines of inquiry. What form those fresh ideas might take is clearly still, as the title of the exhibition suggests, to be determined.

Ouch!  This genre of work has been championed by Blind Spot, which coincidentally is hosting an event for this show this week.   In the last 5 to 7 years, this type of work has dominated–one name says it all–Roe Ethridge (however, the Soth-style {aka Sternfeld/Shore/Myerwitz} of portrait-scape has also been a force, but it has focused more on the set-up Crewdson stylistic version, which is also less content driven.)

In an age of cultural complacency, during which we elected GW twice, and few of us took to the streets to protest, Iraq, Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, or the dramatic and rapid disparity which expanded between the rich & the poor, work that doubles back on itself and shied away from engagement with the world made sense. But we are in a new era, and maybe Brian’s battle cry, which is being sounded by many major art critics in slightly different terms, has something to it.  As artists, it is our responsibility to be continuously questioning what makes a photograph art, especially in a world not only filled with copious amounts of commercial and amateur imagery but that is also overflowing with fine-art photography.  It is important I think at this moment to pause and question, what is more important–making a photograph that will be deemed “art” or making a photograph that can be powerful and that affect how people view the world.  Will post-post modernism mean that we can re-unite these concepts?

Many photographers currently worry about getting stuck in the “photo ghetto.”  Meaning once your work is represented by a photo gallery, you are stuck as ‘just a photographer.’  The insinuation being that you will be considered ‘less of an artist.’  Photography still hovers in a strange place in the art world.  If your work is photo-based, it is a good way to differentiate yourself from the rank & file.  However, if this is done merely as a way to get ahead in the art market, most likely the result will be all surface.  The best work centering on the photographic process, often incorporates multiples levels of engagement.  For instance Penelope Umbrico’s appropriation work , not only plays with authorship, it includes complex cultural critique, and an exploration of human desire.

With all this ruminating in my mind, I came across these photos on National Geographic.com of an 1908 National Geographic article on the survey of Alaska.  What I like about them, is that they remind me of the incredible power of the photograph to transcend its original purpose.  These images were taken to record a scientific exhibition, yet 100 years later, they could just as easily be a meditation on the landscape genre.  Grainy, muted and strange, they are quite beautiful.  Sometimes, perhaps we try so hard to imbue meaning and concept into our photographs that we actually close down this process, and in fact make them more empty.  There is a fine line between too much content and too much concept.

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Radcliffe Hordern

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Photographs by E. R. Martin



Will Obama Bring Back the WPA?

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Dorothea Lange | Shorpy photo archive

The art world is a-twitter with stories about the possible resurrection of the depression-era public arts project, the WPA.  The program resulted in some of America’s finest photography. However, according to the blog post below, some Congressman do not think “artist” is a job, and therefore they should not benefit from the stimulus package.

What I find so interesting is the the recent Holland Cotter NYtimes article accused the art world of being overly commercialized and seemed to suggest that “artist” had become too much of a job.  Hmmmm….. where does that actually leave us?  Maybe if there was support for artists, they would stop making over-produced commercialized work, designed to sell and you know, pay their rent.

From the blog: The Artful Manager

Do arts jobs count as jobs? Scott Lilly at the Center for American Progress floats a timely reminder to the good folks in Congress currently bristling about the stimulus package: arts jobs are jobs, regardless of your opinion of what they produce. He quotes Rep. Jack Kingston’s (R-GA) remarks when complaining about the NEA funding (now removed) from the bill:

“We have real people out of work right now and putting $50 million in the NEA and pretending that’s going to save jobs as opposed to putting $50 million in a road project is disingenuous.”

Which suggests, of course, that artists, cultural managers, stagehands, gallery staff, technicians, costume designers, and anybody else involved in artistic pursuits aren’t actually working, or earning a paycheck, or supporting their families, or any of the other productive things road workers might do. Or, to put it more bluntly, arts workers are not ”real people.”

It’s perfectly fair to challenge the ”stimulus potential” of any line item in the massive bill. And there are legitimate arguments to be made that one form of spending or incentive works more quickly, more effectively, more efficiently than another. But this particular line of attack, suggesting that the arts don’t involve people doing jobs, is staggering in its ignorance.

Before we go railing off on conservative politicians, however, we might look for the same bias and blindness among ourselves. I was at a conference panel recently, for example, in which an architect from a well-respected firm with extensive cultural facility projects to their credit made an astounding admission: up until their most recent project, that involved direct discussion with a wide range of practitioners, they hadn’t thought of a cultural facility as a workplace. A performance/display space, an audience chamber, and a public venue, to be sure. Even an administrative office tucked away in the back. But the entire building as a daily workplace for professionals and tradespeople? A novel idea.

Perhaps that explains why so many cultural facilities have spaces that can’t be cleaned, lightbulbs that can’t be changed without massive machinery, and offices and common spaces that cramp and confound the folks who come to work there every day. Somewhere between our lofty rhetoric about the power of the arts, and our mechanical arguments about social and civic benefits, there seems to be a disconnect in our message. The arts are people. They don’t just serve people or help people, they are people. It’s astounding that anyone would understand otherwise.

The World is a Strange and Interesting Place

If you are like me, you are still mentally cowering in the fetal position, devastated over the loss of Polaroid. Type 54 & type 55 were both integral to my work. And yes, Fuji still makes instant film, however it has a very different look, feel and usage.

So I am excited to see that there are others out there mourning the loss of Polaroid – people who have the ability to do something about it.

First off is the Impossible Project. It even made the NY Times,  former Polaroid technicians are promising to bring back some new form of the original.

Impossible b.v. has been founded with the concrete aim to re-invent and re-start production of analog INTEGRAL FILM for vintage Polaroid cameras. Therefore Impossible b.v. has acquired the complete film production equipment in Enschede (NL) from Polaroid, has signed a 10-year lease agreement on the factory building; and has engaged the most experienced team of Integral Film experts worldwide.

My only fear is that 4×5 will prove too expensive to make,  so if you are a 4×5 shooter who wants it back, I highly suggest you contact them now and make your voice heard.

The next project, is probably a lot more in line with current culture. Some enterprising web dude, is about to release an APP (when did this become a proper noun?) called ShakeItPhoto, that replicates the look of old Polaroid on your iPhone.  While my boyfriend pretty much think his iPhone is a piece of junk, I might actually consider getting one with this in the mix.

The pics are surprisingly fun, and they just might make Ryan McGinley obsolete.  Plus for 99 cents how can you go wrong?

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All images from ShakeItPhoto.com


When Did Chicken Little Become a Prophet??

Today on my morning subway commute, I noticed some EMT workers walking past me with all their gear.  I did not pay too much attention, I was in a hurry to get to work, however as I got to the other end of the platform, I was met with the overpowering smell of bleach.  I looked down and discovered an MTA worker moping up a red substance.  It took my brain a split second to process that for the first time in my entire NYC subway travels, (10 years and counting,) I was seeing blood getting wiped away.

This this might not seem very dramatic to some,  NYC is a big city and certainly stuff does happen here – and in this particular occurrence, with no sign of police on the scene, I assume the blood was not the result of an act of violence. But it spooked me nonetheless, especially considering just last week on the same platform, I watched a man escape from the clutches of a transit cop, and handcuffed, jump down onto the R/W track and disappear.  He was soon  followed by about 10 bewildered looking cops.  The escape managed to shut down the entire N/S subway traffic for a good 20 minutes.  In my 10 years of subway riding I have seen some strange things, but in Giuliani & post-Giuliani NYC, this level of mayhem is rare. But I have noticed a chance since the collapse of Wall Street this fall, things are no longer just frayed around the edges, but starting unravel.

In the past 2 months, I personally have had several rather intense and fraught encounters.   And several people have told me stories, that have really made me question if we are on the verge of a collective breakdown.  One story, involved a person leaving an incredibly hostile, threatening phone call,  fueled by professional jealousy.  The anonymous caller felt the need to tell her, she was ugly and other choice expletives, which no matter how much you may dislike a person, are never appropriate to use.  Another friend had someone take the time to send them an email, basically just to tell them that they thought their photography sucked. This person did not even remove their name from the email.  Another person received an email that was an angry, three  paragraph tirade, and by anger, I mean personal, venomous, attack.  What is going on people!!!!!  When did this type of behavior become acceptable?  I cannot ever remember so many negative, random acts of hostility.  However, considering the current economic horror show, I am not surprised.

To me, one the first priority’s of the Obama administration should be to institute a qualified non-political commission to investigate the incredible malfeasance in Wall Street and in banking which has led to this global recession/depression. Because as much as we should focus on recovery, most people are suffering from feelings of incredible anger, and a sense that they are powerless to do anything about it.  When you read that the wives of  mega hedgefunds managers, CEO’s & investment bankers, are struggling to make do with their housekeepers coming 5 days a week instead of seven, or buying one pair of $700 Manolo’s, instead of three, it is hard to not want to burn down the whole of Greenwich, CT. Perhaps this is why so many people are acting out on strangers.  Someone must take the brunt of our collective anxiety, fear & anger.  Of course, these feelings are destructive and the exact opposite of what will help to lift us out of this economic disaster.  I think most of us, would feel a lot better, if we considered pooling our resources and supporting each other to survive this period of instability.

The art world has been particularly affected by the economic crisis.  One could easily argue, that when a roof over ones head & food on the table become issues, art tends to drop down on list of importance. But abandoning art and artists at this moment, could have a profound effect on how we interpret and think about this moment in culture. So now more than ever, it seems crucial that the art world pull together to make it through the storm.

On great example of this is the the Humble Arts Foundation. They just released their Collectors Guide, which they are in the process of distributing to the art industry and collectors.  (full disclosure my work is featured in the guide.) And while artists did pay a fee, once they were chosen to be included, it was modest, and was paid in two installments.  Humble footed almost the entire production bill themselves.  And by distributing the guide in the art world, they are giving every artist in the book incredible exposure.  Now, they very easily could have used the guide as a way to make money for the foundation, but they are choosing to use it as a tool to showcase artists, just like their group & solo shows do.

What impresses me most about this choice is that we are all in extremely difficult positions.  Gallery owners have incredible overhead to meet, artists have fewer outlets and opportunities, and non-profit’s donations are drying up.  So if there has ever been time to consider how we can work together, this is it.  If not, when this crisis is over, there will be dramatically fewer players left on the field.  Some may argue that this is a good thing, but keep in mind, that fewer galleries, museums and organizations mean fewer opportunities for artists.  And while yes, the art market has been over-hyped, over-saturated and over-indulged for sometime, leaving it to starve to death now, is no panacea.

So if you find yourself feeling like venting, take a few moments and consider what you could bring to the table rather than what you can knock off of it.


Don’t Miss

Opening Wednesday Night

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HOME THEATER

PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRADLEY PETERS

CURATED BY AMANI OLU

ARTIST RECEPTION: Wednesday, January 28, 7pm – 10pm
RSVP REQUIRED: mfloodprojects@gmail.com
PRESS PREVIEW: 4 – 6pm
ON VIEW: Wednesday, January 28 – Saturday, February 28

PRESS INQUIRIES: kategreenberg@gmail.com

MELANIE FLOOD PROJECTS
186 Washington Avenue @ Myrtle Avenue
(Fort Greene/Clinton Hill)
Brooklyn, NY 11205

http://melaniefloodprojects.com | http://amaniolu.com

GALLERY HOURS: By appointment only

DIRECTIONS: Take the G train to Clinton/Washington Station and walk three blocks north towards Myrtle Avenue

Open Now

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Amy Elkins

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm,

Curated by Christopher Y. Lew

Tina Kim Gallery

Opening Reception Friday, January 23rd, from 6-8pm
January 23 – February 21, 2009


Opening this Friday Night

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Pixy Liao

Hey, Hot Shot! Volume IV, Edition II

Jen Bekman Gallery

On View: January 30 – February 15, 2009
Opening Reception: Friday January 30th | 6pm-8pm

6 Spring Street, NYC

Artists:

Yijun Liao
John Mann
Cara Phillips
Hosang Park
Donald Weber




Simon Hoegsberg

I don’t normally get emails from photographers asking me to look at or feature their work on GG. I imagine most of those emails go to Joerg, Shane, Mrs. Deane, Rob, or to one of the many curatorial projects, (because we certainly get a ton of them at wipnyc!)  But Today, my inbox contained a very straightforward and polite email from Simon Hoegsberg. If he is smart, which is my guess, he probably emailed some of the above and you will be seeing him elsewhere, but I was impressed enough with his project to give him a blog post.  While Beat Streuli, and Philip Lorca Dicorcia have made some great work in this vein, neither of them have moved quite so far into Gursky’s territory.  Simon’s giant portrait “We Are All Gonna Die – 100 Meters of Existence” in one of those cases where photo technology enhances what the artist is trying to accomplish, rather than just being a excuse to mess with photoshop.   The project has it’s own website, which I suggest you visit, as the piece cannot be properly shown on a blog.

I also quite like some of his NYC street portraits from “Tower of Babel”, his artist statement presents them with this caveat:  “In 2006 I quit the project because I realized I no longer believed in the idea behind it.”  I have to give me props for that alone.

Happy Inauguration Everyone!!!!!

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Get it While You Can!

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I am so proud of the whole HA team, they really outdid themselves.  I just got my hands on my beautiful, spanky new copy and it looks fantastic.  The guide features an intro by blogger & collector Ruben Natal-San Miguel and it is veritable who’s – who of emerging fine art photographers.  There are a very limited number of advance copies available for sale through this  link.  If you are an art or photo professional, or collector, email the VIP list, tcgeap@hafny.org to apply for your free copy.

Bad Boy Richard Prince, At it Again…

I apologize to everyone for falling off the grid, there will be more to come on that later, however I just could not resist putting up a little something about Richard Prince’s latest debacle.  Thanks to the Times.com & PDN Pulse for the details, but I am very interested to see where this lawsuit goes. To be honest, I am not really much of a fan of Prince’s work.  And I do think there are are real issues in appropriating work from other, actively creating artists.  In this the digital age, when the internet has made images so much more accessible,  appropriation of an individual artists work at this moment, seems very wrong.  However, there are artists doing it right. Hank Willis Thomas fresh appropriation of corporate logos and advertisements aimed at African American culture make perfect sense.  Because in our current environment, the individual artists rights have been greatly overshadowed by the rights of large corporations. If you have ever had to sign an editorial contract, you know what I referring to. The house has been winning for some time unless you are a superstar, say like, Richard Prince.

So while I am not sure legally Prince is wrong, the spirit of what he did seems terrible wrong.  For a mega artist to take the work of a less successful or known artist and make it his own, is really just plain gross.  Early appropriation like Sherry Levine’s work, questions authorship, but her work never passes itself of as original, it always directly references the work it borrows from.  In the Walker Evans image, you do not mistaken think that she created that image.  Similarly, Peneople Umbrico’s mural at last year’s NY Photo Fest, was entitled, “Suns from Flickr.”  So while in her choice images and editing she created a incredibility beautiful work, she still acknowledged the appropriation.  Her work, like Willis Thomas, is smart, well executed and says something about our culture.  While I did not see the Prince show in person, online the work looks pretty bad.

In times of corporate domination, (which may begin to change with our current economic crisis,) and with the debate of fair use of internet images raging, it seems to me that artists should understand that appropriation has real significance at this moment and should be done with care.

The Prince work in question

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Patrick Cariou’s original work

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Sherry Levine After Walker Evans, 1981

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Penelope Umbrico Suns from Flickr

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Hank Willis Thomas Priceless #1, 2004

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Fiction is Truer than Truth Part 2

I found these through the magic of blog links.  The question is, what looks more plastic, the dolls or the celebrities who play them in real life?  I find how it rather amazing how Mr. Cruz has captured the vacant, vapid, “sexy” pose of the celebrity photo.

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Angelina Joile

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Madonna circa Dick Tracy

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Daniel Craig, the Robotic 007

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Peter Parker aka Tobey McGuire

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Orlando Bloom

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Keira Knightley

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Nicole Kidman

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Kirsten Dunst