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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Week In Photoland

So we've come to the crazy week; the photo week extravaganza. I thought I'd run down some of the cool events planned.

We all know PhotoPlus Expo has begun, so let me take this time to tell you I'll be moderating a panel on Friday, October 28 from 1:30-3:30pm:
The New World of Online Magazines + Curator Websites.
Joining me will be Julie Grahame of, Michael Itkoff of Daylight Magazine, and photographers Manjari Sharma and Sophia Wallace. It's going to be full of great information, so don't miss it!

Here are some other wonderful events this week, so get up and get out!

Thursday October 27:

Sony Worldwide Photography Awards
Chelsea Museum
556 W. 22nd

Laura Pressley & CENTER of Santa Fe are holding a get together at
The New Yorker Hotel
481 8th Avenue & 34th Street

Friday October 28:

Photographer Taj Forer has a book launch and signing for "Stone By Stone"
Bubble Lounge
228 W. Broadway #1

and then stay for the launch of Daylight Magazine #9, "Cosmos" also at Bubble Lounge from 8-10pm.

The Unseen Eye
A Life in Photographs and Other Digressions....a performance by W. M. Hunt

547 W. 27th 4th fl.
Doors open at 6:30pm
Performance begins at 7pm

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's All Happening This Weekend

There’s so much going on this weekend and next week that I’m sure I’ll miss something. Before we head into PhotoPlus Expo week I wanted to give a rundown of what’s in store this weekend in New York. So get out and circulate!

Tonight: Thursday, October 20

Brian Ulrich's book party is at Aperture 547 W. 27th, 4th floor 7pm-9pm

Bryan Denton's show of his Libya photographs (quite timely) opens at
721 Broadway at Waverly Pl. (the Gulf + Western gallery)
main floor, rear of lobby 6pm-8pm

Friday, October 21:
Book launch and signing of STONE BY STONE, photographs of Taj Forer
The Bubble Lounge
228 W. Broadway #1

Saturday, October 22:

Visions:Tim Hetherington
Bronx Documentary Center
614 Courtlandt Avenue
Bronx, New York

Misha de Ridder book launch and artist talk at
Printed Matter
195 10th Ave.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Michael Kirchoff: "An Enduring Grace"

“I remember watching black and white television in my room and seeing news reporters broadcasting from the center of Red Square in Moscow. That image of St. Basil’s Cathedral behind the reporter reminded me more of Disneyland rather than the evil empire of which he spoke. It was difficult to understand the contradiction between the harsh ideas Americans had of Russia and the whimsical nature of what I was seeing on television.”

So begins Michael Kirchoff’s statement about “An Enduring Grace” his show at Baange & Burne in Chelsea. (547 W. 27th St. #319)

The work is dark and beautiful. Through the use of Polaroid Type 665 Kirchoff allows the process to add a surreal and almost fractured sense to the images. Kirchoff shoots almost from a child’s-eye level that allows him to explore the dichotomy between the reality of Russia, and the politically created reality from his childhood. His photographs are silky and lush, seeming to hover between dream and substance.

We see Russia in a fresh way through Kirchoff’s photographs; as empty landscapes and steadfast architecture that defies time. The boldness and strength of these buildings, churches and monuments allows them to exist in the landscape devoid of people. They are spread out through the country, and do not need people to give them life. Unlike monuments and famous structures in the U.S., these buildings exist whether people visit them or not.

I was amazed to see the “Black Tulip” monument to those who died in the Russian debacle in Afghanistan in the 1980s. How unusual for that country to mark the deaths of their soldiers in that long war. But this monument is in the middle of nowhere, commemorating only those in the region who died. As moving as it is, “their Vietnam,” there are no people leaving mementos or tracing the names of the dead. For Russia has always had a reputation as a place of untold melancholy and fatalism. While Americans fetishize grief and remembrance, Russians seem to take it in and move on.

Unfortunately this show will only be up until tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 18. I urge you to go and see these photographs. Baange & Burne is a floating gallery, getting its initial funding through Kickstarter. Very cool.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear Photographer: Your Marketing Isn't Working for Me

When I received the third promo card from a photographer in what seemed like three weeks, I decided to write about it. I find so many things wrong in this approach I just have to break it down. I don't want to name the photographer or show the work because I don't fell the need to subject this photographer to derision. Besides, I think what I have to say is valid for all. So here goes:

Dear Photographer,

Why are you sending these promos to me? I do not hire photographers, so why waste money and material on me? If you want me to look at your work, why not email me and let me know why you want to show me what you’re up to? At least then you are giving me the option to look or not to look. I like having that choice.

The next problem I have with your promo is that it’s sent in an envelope. So instead of saving money with a postcard, you spend more for the stamp and then leave the waste with me. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to deal with less waste. In fact, I try my best to not get additional packaging if I can help it. By using the envelope you’re telling me you don’t care about the environment. That doesn’t go over well with me.

And the card itself doesn’t make sense. The images are printed on what seems to be photographic paper. There is no note or personalization at all. So why are you sending it? Has something changed since you sent me the last one (about a week ago)? There’s no way for me to know. And since you can't be bothered to write something specific to me (even just "hello"), your marketing is terribly impersonal. When you are trying to make a personal impact that is not the way to go.

In addition, you have your name, phone number, and URL on the front of the card, but not your email address. If I wanted to drop you a line I would have to search it out on your website. Why make it that difficult for me? In this day and age I want less steps, less clicks, not more.

Now let’s talk about the images themselves. There is always more than one image on the card, and yet it is hard to distinguish them. At first I thought it was a multiple exposure image. It was only after looking at the next one that I realized you were using more than one image. Well, the format doesn’t work. The images don’t jump out at me. In fact they don’t make me give the card a second look at all. If your aim is to capture my attention, it’s not working.

Now I don’t know how you came to this marketing plan, whether it was your idea or someone else told you this was the way to go, but I don’t think it’s either the best use of your resources, or the most productive. Your marketing should have a goal behind it. Exactly who do you want to reach, and why? Have you culled a smart, focused mailing list, or just emailed everyone you’ve ever met?

Your first impression when you do a marketing push is the most important, so you need to think very hard about how many cards you send, when you send them, and how you can make them most effective. Are you using the right paper? Is all the important information there? Am I spending my money most efficiently? And finally, are these great images I want to show which will separate me from the masses?

If you don’t ask yourself these important questions, you are just throwing yourself out into the world without focus. That will not get you closer to what you want. The more research you do, the more you question your own motives, the better chance you will have of reaching the people and places you really want to reach. Anything less than that is a waste of your own time.

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