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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tell Me What You're Working On

Since this has been a really slow time for a lot of photographers I'm wondering what people are doing to fill their time. What are you shooting? Do you have a personal project you're working on?

I’m trying to get a broader view of what people are shooting across the country that reflects our economy, their own communities, or the stimulus projects around the country. I’d like to hear from you and am asking for links so I can see your work (that's better than emailing images).

My idea is to pull together a project with strong, moving images that are both timely and universal. If this speaks to you, let me know.

If you are outside of the US, yet are shooting similar things, I'd like to know. I haven’t decided the particulars of the project--I’m just getting started--and no matter how much work I look at, I don’t see or hear about everything.

Be sure to tell your friends as well. I'm happy to look at lots of work.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Daylight with Michael Itkoff

Michael Itkoff is the editor of Daylight Magazine which publishes in-depth photographic essays on important issues of the day. It is a part of Daylight Community Arts Foundation (DCAF), a non-profit organization that collaborates with established and emerging artists to re-imagine the use of documentary work.
I met Michael over a year ago and was fascinated by the work he is doing with Daylight, and with his own personal photography.

Give us a little of your background and how you came to photography

I remember going to see a 76ers game at the old Spectrum arena when I was about ten years old. As the players were warming up I snuck down to the courtside and stood behind Bill Cosbys' chair. When David Robinson (of the Spurs) jogged by I yelled 'Hey Davey' and held my plastic lens Vivitar to my eye. Robinson looked up and waved as I snapped the picture. I was ecstatic! A few years later I was unable to sleep one night so I picked up a camera and ended up shooting a bunch of rolls of stuff in my room. That night I became obsessed with the latent image, waiting to see what I had captured and trying to play with my perception and the limits of representation. Most images failed but it was the process that was important.

I ended up studying photography through High School and photographed extensively during a gap year when I traveled through Israel and Europe. At Sarah Lawrence College I was lucky enough to study with Joel Sternfeld who became an important influence and mentor.

Whose work do you admire/follow?

There are so many photographers I could name here but Brian Ulrich, Tim Davis, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Teru Kuwayama come to mind...

Tell us about starting Daylight and DCAF

Daylight was started out of a frustration with the lack of outlets for emerging photographers. My senior year at SLC I teamed up with Taj Forer and began what was intended to be a serial publication featuring our work along with folks we admired. When Alec Soth agreed to be involved (in November 2003) we knew we should pull our work out and make it a purely curatorial effort. We started a non-profit organization, Daylight Community Arts Foundation, and published the first edition in time for the 2004 Whitney Biennial where the edition sold out.

How do you choose your subject matter and your photographers?

This is my favorite aspect of what Taj and I do. There are so many things I am interested in and Daylight is an amazing way to study and learn about the world. Based on our interests Taj and I pick a theme and research which photographers have worked along those lines. Our printing schedule is quite slow due to a number of factors so it allows us the time to really dig in and find a diverse group of photogs that collectively illustrate a subject. Taj and I will bounce news articles, essays and websites back and forth, attend openings and art fairs and generally keep our eyes and ears peeled for relevant information and potential artists.

How important is it for photographers to be able to write about their work?

Daylight serves as an independent platform for photographers portfolios and we encourage the photographers to write their own opening statements. Although photography is a depictive, non-textual form of communication it remains a tool of expression that can be greatly enhanced by the written insights of the artist. While I do believe an image should be able to stand on its own, there is no doubt that the context within which an image is displayed will greatly affect its reading. The various permutations of text and image relationships will continue to evolve indefinitely so exploring this terrain is important for any image maker.

What should photographers know about submitting their work to Daylight?

We have an open submission policy but require the purchase of an issue of the magazine in lieu of a submission fee. Generally we prefer a link to a website along with a statement and CV.

Is your project “Street Photographs” still on-going?

Street Portraits is a project that I have laid to rest for now but I could very easily pick it up again at any time. My recent monograph (Street Portraits, Charta Editions, 2009) provided a certain amount of closure for the project.

There are so few women in the book, how come?

Street Portraits
arose after I spent a summer interning for Annie Leibovitz. Working with celebrities in studios for three months, I developed a great desire to go out and photograph everyday people in the streets. I traveled to five cities around the world for the project, often alone, and found that in each place I would often identify with other men in the city, like 'that might be me if I was born here' or 'that could be my life'.

The project was a bit quixotic, looking at humanity as a whole and perceiving us all as members of an extended family. With this notion in my head I began to identify with people I encountered in the streets and tried to picture my life as theirs and the identification simply happened more often with other men.

People say Photojournalism is dead, and yet on the cover of Daylight, it says “Documentary Photography.” Obviously you don’t subscribe to that belief. Talk about why not, and what it means to you.

The photo industry may be changing thanks to the democratization of imaging and communication technology but there will always be a need for professional photographic depiction of events. I am incredibly thankful for and excited by the complementary coverage we have received over the last couple of years with Iranian, Burmese and Egyptian dissent (to take just three examples) being recorded and shared via the internet. This does not eliminate the need for professional photojournalists and documentarians who pursue in-depth stories with technical proficiency and a bit more objectivity than those involved in the scenarios themselves.

Although there has been a vibrant, and valid, critique on the veracity of the documentary photograph as objective evidence it remains important for individuals from within and without a given context to bare witness, share their stories and participate in the global visual dialogue. Daylight seeks to embrace this gray area and further explore the territory between straight depiction and personal truth.

Do you think photographers need to blog? Do you read blogs? If so, which ones?

Blogging is one tool among many that photographers can use to further communicate and engender a sort of repeat audience, fan base or clientele. As with any tool I think each photographer first needs to visualize a goal and see if blogging is a way to achieve what they want.

When I have time I do read blogs via an aggregator and I sometimes search them for relevant content for Daylight. Among my favorites are A Photo Editor, Verve, and Resolve. On that note the Daylight Daily blog is looking for contributors willing to regularly review exhibitions books and miscellany as well.

Michael Itkoff's reception for his MFA show Michael Itkoff: Each + Every
Friday Feb. 26th, 6-10pm
On View Saturday Feb. 27th 12-5pm

24-20 Jackson Avenue, 3rd FLoor
Long Island City, Queens

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Peter Turnley's Life in Photography

I was down in West Palm Beach Florida last month, at FotoFusion, and amidst the portfolio reviews and panels, I got a chance to hear esteemed photojournalist Peter Turnley talk about his career while showing an amazing variety of photographs. I worked with Peter for several years when I was a photo editor at Newsweek, and it was great listening to him talk about his work and how he became a photographer. He even showed a photograph that I remember choosing for the cover of one of the international editions of Newsweek (below). Peter had 43 covers for Newsweek when he was a contract photographer there. Sometimes you can learn so much about a person that you never knew before.

I will be paraphrasing some of what he said, but I think Peter’s career and passion are examples people can really learn from. He grew up in a family where “the notion of public service” helped to shape the way he looked at the world. Due to being laid up from a sports injury as a teenager he was introduced to the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, and it opened his eyes. For Peter Turnley, photography is “sharing a response to the world.”

Peter and his twin brother, David, were influenced by Bruce Davidson’s “East 100th St.” project, and while in high school they were drawn to shoot in their own Ft. Wayne, Indiana backyard, on McClellan Street. They got to know the neighborhood and the people, and with one camera traded off photographing them. When the brothers published a book of this work recently they went back to their hometown to show the work. And although the neighborhood no longer exists, the people they photographed 39 years earlier came out to see the photographs and reminisce with the brothers Turnley.

Peter really seemed to find himself when photographing people. They “offered texture to the world,” and so he began his lifelong fascination with the people of the world, traveling to nearly every country on the planet, and covering the range of human emotion and experience. The most exciting moment of his career was photographing Nelson Mandela’s release from prison after 27 years.

Peter’s desire to “pierce the soul” of a person in the news compelled him to shoot, especially someone who has been photographed by so many others. Looking at his work you can see the arc of history from the late 1970s through the 1990s. From Princess Diana’s funeral to Mother Teresa’s funeral; Nixon to Gorbachev and the Pope; and from Nelson Mandela to Richard Nixon.

For Peter Turnley there is no such thing as “objectivity” in journalism. You pick moment to photograph, you point your camera—you’re making a choice. He totally defends the “right to a point of view, as long as it’s honest.” I couldn’t agree more. Just the decision to do one thing over another, or choose one person over another, or one line of thought over another is an action denoting a point of view. So let’s not debate the trivia, and make our judgments based upon the integrity of the information.

From covering wars and famine around the world, the “family of man” has always influenced Peter and his view of the world. He strives to show the “universality of grieving death from war, and the universality of the suffering of war.” It is the juxtaposition of these two sides of an issue and the juxtaposition of two photographs that has captured his interest.

Peter penned a piece for The Online Photographer, "Notes from a Life in Photography" and I encourage you to read it. After such a long and distinguished career it's great to hear someone still filled with such a sense of wonder at the world. He also runs photo workshops around the world and sells his black & white prints of Parisienne life.

Peter has recently been producing eight-page photo essays for Harper’s magazine, where Louis Lapham offered him the chance to be treated "like an author with photographs.” It's a remarkable gift for a photographer, and one of the few places left where someone can show so much of their work in such a respectful way to so many people. And we are all the better for it.

's 50 image photo essay from Haiti, just completed, can be seen here

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Look, It's Great Photography

Opening tonight, February 4:
Lydia Panas
The Mark of Abel
Foley Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 5th floor
Reception: 6-8pm

Catch feature artist Barbara Alper's underwater photography on view at Griffin Museum of Photography’s virtual gallery until March 28.

And don't forget the latest show at Danziger Projects: ‘The Year in Pictures – from the blog‘.

When: January 22 – February 27, 2010.
Danziger Projects
534 West 24th Street

Featuring the work of: Jowhara AlSaud, Chan-Hyo Bae, Thomas Bangsted, Mandy Corrado, Stephen Gill, Joseph Holmes, Alejandra Laviada, Greg Miller, David Schoerner, Patrick Smith, Tommy Ton, Scout Tufankjian, Oliver Warden, Katherine Wolkoff, Tsukasa Yokozawa.
And in remembrance of: Evelyn Hofer, Helen Levitt, Irving Penn, Julius Shulman, Bettie Page, and Charis Wilson.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Help Haiti And Buy Prints

It's easy with our busy lives, to lose track of the fact that the people in Haiti are still suffering to a massive extent. The media is moving on, and it can be overwhelming to look at the destruction over and over again. The photography community has stepped up, selling prints through a number of places, and I thought I would list a number of them here. So if you haven't donated money yet, or if you want to do more, here's your chance.

WallSpace Gallery in Seattle, is selling $50 prints by such photographers as David Bram (bottom), Emily Shur (top), Lydia Panas, Aline Smithson, Liz Kuball, Jordan Tate, and many more. All proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders and their efforts in Haiti.

Soul Catcher Studio is also offering prints to support Doctors Without Borders. Photographers included are Laurie Lambrecht, Heather McClintock, Ann Pallesen, Sarah Wilson (top), Natalie Young, Jennifer Shaw, Sarah Small (bottom), and others from around the country.

Cameron Davidson is selling prints of his aerial photographs and donating the profits to the the Community Coalition for Haiti, to benefit farmers and children in Haiti. The money will help buy seeds for farmers whose crops were damaged by hurricanes and provide food for needy children. Davidson has been shooting photos for this NGO since 1999 and serves on its board.
You can see much more of Davidson's work, and order prints, on his AerialStock site.

Big Cartel is offering prints from emerging photographers like Rachel Hulin, Rafael Soldi, Kate Hutchinson (below), Alex Leme, Sarah Sudoff, and others. Proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders. Many of the $50 are already sold out, so don't waste time.

San Francisco photographer Jeff Singer will be donating 100% of the proceeds from the next ten print sales* from his etsy page to The American Red Cross or Oxfam (buyer choice) to help with the Haiti disaster relief. Print prices range from $50 – $200 depending on the size of the print, so the larger the print the more money will be going to Haiti relief. All prints are individually custom printed.
*100% of the print sale will be donated after any paypal/etsy fees or taxes. Just mention this blog post or Haiti disaster relief when ordering. Good through the end of February.

Images Without Borders provides stunning images from world class photographers working around the globe offered to the public at a special price for this project. All profits go directly to Doctors without Borders, less only the cost of printing.
(Gallery Prints $50-100 : iPhone prints $32)

A Photographic Benefit for the Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake
All proceeds go to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for Haiti relief.

Several photographers, including the iconic photojournalist Mary Ellen Mark, have donated photographs to help create this special fund-raising collection of captivating images to benefit the people of Haiti. The title Haiti: Onè Respe comes from a traditional Haitian greeting meaning "honor and respect."
Since MagCloud has generously offered to pay for the printing costs, your purchase price of $12.00 will be donated in full to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for Haiti relief.
Photographs by: Chet Gordon, Kari Hartmann, Mary Ellen Mark, Peter Pereira, Lindsay Stark. Edited by Lane Hartwell and Michael Biven

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