February 2007 Archives
February 28, 2007
Anonymous photo mural posted on a construction site in Paris, photo of mural by Jim Casper
One of the reasons I started Lens Culture was that I felt there was an ever-increasing, unstoppable trend toward constant photography of everything -- and I wanted to try to understand it and what it means in the way we live our lives and think about our worlds. This trend is certainly evident in any tourist destination, but also in every day life across all parts of the world. Access to a camera is fairly universal (think of your mobile phone), and the ease and low cost of taking and disseminating photographs seems to burden (or enhance) our image-laden world more and more each day.
I wish Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes could muse today about why so many people are obsessed with taking photographs.
A current, ongoing, interactive exhibition is trying to grapple with this phenomenon now at the musée de l'Eysée in Lausanne, Switzerland. Everyone in the world is invited to participate!
Here's the info from the press release:
WE ARE ALL PHOTOGRAPHERS NOW ! EXHIBITION
The rapid mutation of amateur photography in the digital age
Conflict in Palestine © Keystone
Everything is changing...
...how we take photographs, manipulate them, share them, store them — even how we pose for them. Our tools are mutating quickly, promising ever faster, clearer, brighter and cheaper pictures. Meanwhile telephones become cameras, desktop printers morph into mini-printing labs, and high-definition screens threaten to dislodge the venerable photographic print from gallery walls. And the eyes of the whole world are only a click away on the computer keyboard.
Where are we all heading?
During photography's entire history, the amateur and the professional have represented distinct and often contrary approaches to photography, each battling for supremacy. Has the digital revolution tilted the field of battle irrevocably in the amateur's favour? Or has it swept this traditional rivalry into the dustbin? Can anyone say?
A laboratory, an experiment, an exhibition
This innovative project takes a close look at the current state of this exciting, rapidly mutating image environment. A highly interactive event, it welcomes submissions from across the globe, and invites both live and virtual debates between visitors of all ages, educators, representatives of industry, photographers, editors, curators and cutting-edge internauts, netizens, and digerati. And just as our image world shifts with each passing hour, minute and second, so too will our exhibition respond to new developments with constant updates.
A comprehensive overview
Cell-phone imagery, digital camera pictures, sharing sites like Flickr and photolog, amateur agencies like Scoopt and Splash, individual blogs, electronic scrapbooks, hotlinking, 'citizen photojournalism', professional photographs showing amateurs at play, new printing opportunities, and historical precedents going well back to the 19th century... all are fodder for our electronic experiment. This is the first major museum project to undertake a comprehensive overview of the digital revolution as it impacts on everyone.
Wherever you are in the world, participate in our exhibition! Upload your image on www.allphotographersnow.ch it will be displayed in our galleries.
The exhibition will attempt to shed light on many burning issues, among them:
â€¢ Does the digital shift constitute a revolution, or merely an evolution?
â€¢ Does the shift represent a real democratization of photography?
â€¢ Is citizen photojournalism worthy of its name?
â€¢ Does the shift threaten the livelihood of professional photographers in fundamental ways?
â€¢ Does the shift represent a shift towards more authenticity or truthfulness — or less?
-----End of press release----
What do you think?
February 26, 2007
Curved street in winter, Istanbul, 2004, copyright Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Nuri Bilge Ceylan is an acclaimed filmmaker and photographer. Ceylan's latest fine art photographs, named "Turkey Cinemascope", consist of panaromic photographs that have been shot all over Turkey in the last 4 years, mostly during the location scouting trips for his last film, Climates. A selection of Ceylan's photographs are being exhibited in London to coincide with the UK release of that film. The exhibition is up until Saturday 3rd March 2007 at the National Theatre of London in the South Bank. If you can't make the trip, be sure to visit his website, which features 70 images from this series, as well as some stunning earlier work.
Thanks to Steve McK for the pointer.
February 23, 2007
Magnum recently upped the ante in promoting their work and the individual points of view of their photographers worldwide. Now you can read notes from the field at blog.magnumphotos.com. There are only ten entries to date, since the launch in December 2006, including reports from Ann Tornkvist, Chris Steele-Perkins, Constantine Manos, Jonas Bendiksen, Martin Parr, Pablo Inirio, Paolo Pellegrin, and Stephen Bulger.
While Magnum photographer Alec Soth seems to thrive by writing in his personal blog, I imagine it is like trying to pull teeth to get these other busy superstars to sit still and write a thoughtful column.
But the planned editorial grid looks great and ambitious:
Behind the image
What happened as the shutter clicked
Behind the project
The bigger story behind a project
From the field
Stories from around the world
Stories from the people who work at Magnum
Understanding the trade
From magazines to galleries, photographs' many lives
And Magnum's audio-visual podcasts are slick as commercials that build on the mystery and status of the agency.
February 18, 2007
The World Press Photo contest aims to highlight the best photos that made it to mainstream media each year. The jury selections are good, sharp and relevant. And in many ways, it is good that they limit the number of awards to only 21 photos each year. Lens Culture is pleased to present all of the winning photos here again, for the third year in a row.
The range of subject matter and photographic approaches is impressive. This year we see some of the usual topics: war, destruction, suffering, famine, invasion, natural disaster, political resistance, celebrity portraits, and sports action shots. We also get some others that are particularly telling.
The top prize winner for Photo of the Year is cyincal and surreal: young wealthy Lebanese enjoying some local war-disaster tourism while riding in their bright red shiny convertible, oogling the still-smoking wreckage in Beirut, and snapping photos with their mobile phones. It's a rich and complicated photo that sticks with you.
The winners also include some fresh street photography, and some hyper-real biological oddities that seem more like Joan Fontcuberta fabrications rather than living and breathing creatures.
February 12, 2007
Slate has published yet another thought-provoking look at photography and that murky line between influence and plagiarism.
Top: Peter Bialobrzeski, Shanghai, 2001 (#57). Image from www.pdnonline.com.
Bottom: H. & D. Zielske, Nanpu Bridge, Shanghai, 2002. Image from zielske.de.
This tip thanks to Mary Virginia Swanson and her cool blog:marketingphotos.wordpress.com.
February 8, 2007
Beyond the realm of media censors and glossy tour guides, Trolley Books has published a brutal condemnation of contemporary life in Italy. This is part photobook and part philosphical rant, including contributions from five award-winning Italian photographers, and four philosopher commentators.
From the book, Made in Italy: Vele di Scampia during the Camorra war, Napoli, January 2005, by Mario Spada
It's a book filled with anger, confusion, sadness and rage. And beauty, too. See 26 photos and read the review in Lens Culture.
February 7, 2007
It is very, very hard to develop a successful career as a photographer. There is lots of competition, and it is hard to get attention, to rise above the fray, and even harder to gain fame and fortune. It is often a logistical nightmare for an unknown photographer to try to show his or her work, or even to make appointments with galleries, museum curators, book and magazine publishers -- it takes a lot of persistence, determination, repeated phone calls, and an ego clad against continuous rejection.
That is why formal portfolio review events have become one of the very best ways for photographers to meet important decision-makers in the photography world. The "system" pioneered by Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss of Houston's FotoFest has become an efficient and effective model for portofolio review events worldwide. The idea is quite simple: Bring together in one place a lot of reviewers and a lot of determined photographers, and schedule several brief but intense meetings (20 minutes!) for the photographers to present their work to people who can help launch successful careers. Over the period of two or three days, photographers can show and discuss their work with 20 or 30 influential people. It's grueling for everyone involved, but it's great when the right chemistry comes together.
One of the newest reviews will occur March 10-11, 2007 in San Francisco. The deadline for application is February 19, 2007. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for a full prospectus.
Here's info from the press release:
PhotoAlliance with co-sponsors Orion Magazine and DoubleTake Magazine announce A National Juried Portfolio Review for Photographers
This two-day event will bring together top photography editors, publishers, curators, gallerists, and educators representing small, mid-sized, and major venues from around the U.S. to meet with engaged photographers to review their portfolios and encourage their careers.
To guarantee a high quality experience, the event will be pre-juried from slides.
Deadline to submit an initial slide/CD portfolio HAS BEEN EXTENDED : work must be received by February 19th, 2007. Then, during the weekend of March 10-11, 2007, 50 selected photographers will each have ten twenty minute sessions with reviewers over the course of two days, and ample opportunity for further networking.
Reviewers are committed professionals representing a cross section of our community including book and magazine publishers, packagers and editors, museum, non-profit and commercial gallery directors and curators and leading educators and photographers. The reviewers will include:
Linda Connor, Photographer & Educator, San Francisco Art Institute
Michelle Dunn-Marsh, Director of ApertureWest
Dennis High, Executive Director/Curator of the Center for Photographic Art, Carmel
Jason Houston, Picture Editor, Orion Magazine
Jun Isumura, Foto-Grafix Books
Karen Kienzle, Curator, de Saisset Museum
Stefan Kirkby, Smith Anderson North Gallery
Terry Lee, Co-Editor DoubleTake Magazine & Professor of Literature
David Maisel, Photographer & Educator
Chuck Mobley, Associate Director, San Francisco Camerawork
Christopher Rauschenberg, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland
Michael Read, Book Packager
Roberta Rosenberg, Co-Editor DoubleTake Magazine & Professor of Literature.
Kirsten Rian, Director, The Aftermath Project
Thom Sempere, Director, PhotoAlliance
Meg Schiffler, Director, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery
Ada Takahashi, Director and Partner, Robert Koch Gallery
Lewis Watts, Educator, UC Santa Cruz
Terri Whitlock, Curator, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
February 6, 2007
La Tasha, Witchita Falls, Texas, 2005, by Richard Renaldi
Alec Soth has done it recently along the Mississippi and near Niagra Falls. At the same time, Richard Renaldi has documented people and their immediate environments from New Jersey through Texas into California. The landscape/portrait is alive and well. See for yourself in Lens Culture.