Archive for May, 2009

UPCOMING PORTFOLIO REVIEW EVENTS OF NOTE, including FotoFest 2010 registration details

NOTE: See recent post specifically on Fotofest Reviewers, educational offerings and registration details.

ASSESSING THE VALUE OF ATTENDING PORTFOLIO REVIEW EVENTS

Photographers frequently ask me about the value of attending portfolio review events, which events to attend and why. The offerings are vast and the investment of time and money varies.  Many of you have read a more generalized version of my opinions on the topic on this blog at this time last year; as registration opens tomorrow for “The Meeting Place” during FotoFest 2010 Biennial, I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on that article, and contrast and compare the upcoming  portfolio review events and I am aware that many of you are weighing the value of attending so I am taking the opportunity on a long travel day to give you an overview of my opinions on the subject portfolio review events.

Do I think attending a portfolio review event has value for photographers? ABSOLUTELY; it has value for the Reviewers, as well.

Will each and every photographer benefit from sharing their work at these events, no matter how resolved their body of work is at that time?  YES.  Reviewers can provide creative guidance for works in progress, as well as appropriate marketing advice for completed projects.

Can investing in attending a portfolio review event aid in the process of moving your career to the next level? WITHOUT QUESTION.  But to do so effectively you must continue the dialogue that has begun with industry professionals at the event.

Will every single appointment be a match made in heaven? NO. But responsible Reviewers will find much to share with you about your work, regardless of whether it fits their gallery, their collection, their exhibition and/or publication program.   Know too that you can ask them questions about their area of our industry, from market trends to pricing and editioning your work, to asking for suggestions of whom they feel would be interested in your photographs.

From my perspective, there are three main reasons you should bring your work to a portfolio review event:

First: the process of preparing to attend the event will be of value to you.

Writing about your work will most certainly help you clarify your intentions with current or completed works, and in turn to speak about your work.  Editing your work for a series of 20-minute reviews session is a challenge and the task can be daunting, as there are only so many photographs one can share in 20 minutes.  Knowing what your goals are will help you in your decisions towards preparing to be a participant.

Second: presenting your work to industry professionals and peers alike will help you to better know your own work.

This is an experience that can’t be matched. The standard model is a 20-minute session with each Reviewer; the number of sessions you have depends on the length of the event. The number of times you will share your work goes beyond these formal sessions as you will share work with other photographers outside the proper scheduled sessions, too.  Through having a rich dialogue about your photography, your clarity about, and commitment to your bodies of work, your presentation to your target audience, your explorations toward desired final print(s) and in what format to display the work – all this and more comes from attending a portfolio review event.

Third: beginning professional relationships is key to your long-term career.

Portfolio review events provide an opportunity for you to to share your work and ideas with your peers and industry professionals, be it discussing craft or intention/audience that you devote your twenty minutes session to. It is of course your responsibility to follow up with those Reviewers who encourage you to keep them posted on the evolution of your project.  (Ideally, when concluding your session with a Reviewer, ask if they would like you to keep them apprised a to the development of the work, upcoming exhibitions and other news of note, and if they say yes, then ask the most important question: in what format would they prefer to receive this information and/or image updates: in print, on line via links to view the work on your website or those of others, or on CD-Rom.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss, founders of FotoFest for bringing the Portfolio Review to our community; March 12-April 25, 2010 will be the Thirteenth International Biennial of Photography and Photo-Related Art which continues to be a catalytst to creativity and a conduit to international dialogue about photography. Hats off to FotoFest! You and your colleagues have set a strong example for which we thank you, and know that we look forward to being in Houston during the spring 2010 Biennial, most certainly – to share work, view exhibitions, and meet colleagues from all over the globe.

The Meeting Place” portfolio review event occurs within the FotoFest Biennial, and continues to be unique among portfolio review events in this country.  Each of the four 4-day review sessions will be host to a broad cross-section of industry professionals from many countries, as The Meeting Place features the largest number of Reviewers from other countries.

Additionally, FotoFest has the most comprehensive educational offering of all portfolio review events.  I can tell you that discussions surrounding what content is most relevant to bring to you during The Meeting Place have been occurring for over a year, and all three of the seminars will be of value to participating photographers and Reviewers alike:  March 16, March 21 and March 28 will each feature a different topic and a different slate of speakers; the public is invited to register for these events as well.

When you apply for The Meeting Place in the next six weeks I urge you to take into consideration what the theme of the public education seminars is that falls just before or just after that desired session, and plan to arrive a day early or stay a day longer to attend.


Tomorrow, June 1st, registration for The Meeting Place at FotoFest 2010 opens, and continues through July 13; click here for complete registration details.

Learn more about the educational seminars and symposium offered to participating photographers and to the public here.

Sign up for the FotoFest newsletter here to receive word of the forthcoming exhibitions selected by guest curators and FotoFest Participating Spaces that will be on view during the Biennial.
As the number of portfolio review event offerings has increased, occurring now in every season and in nearly every region of the world, some organizations have decided to require submission for consideration by a jury before allowing acceptance. I believe “Review Santa Fe” was the earliest to transition to be a juried event with PhotoAlliance’s “OUR WORLD: A National Juried Portfolio Review” requiring acceptance by jury from its inception in 2007; the 2008 and 2009 Co-Sponsor was Orion Magazine.  The 2008 the portfolio review component of “Atlanta Celebrates Photography” required submission of a portfolio for the first time in the ten-year history of programming.  Both of these events are smaller in scale and take place over fewer days than FotoFest.

If an organization declares that it will require entrance determined by a judging process, I am admittedly happiest when you, the applicant, have full knowledge of the names of members of that all-important pre-screening team; this, combined with some thoughtful research on your part can aid in your decision as to invest your time and money in applying for that event. Personally I feel there are enough of you ready to participate in these events that are aware of deadlines who quickly fill the roster, and find the level of work very high regardless of any pre-screening process in place.

Rhubarb – Rhubarb’s International Portfolio Review is unique among events in that participating photographers select their own personalized roster of meetings during the event.  Bookings opened May 12; see my earlier post about Rhubarb here.

The next step towards making your decision to apply to any review event is to look carefully at the Reviewers that have been asked to participate. An increasing number of events are inviting a diverse group of reviewers, going beyond professionals from the fine art arena to include influential photo editors, photo researchers, graphic designers, corporate art consultants and others who bring opportunities for your work to be seen in multiple markets. I applaud this effort and encourage you to try to schedule a session with an individual whom you are not as likely to secure an in-person meeting outside of an event such as this.  If you are interested in learning more about marketing opportunities in areas outside the fine art arena, I encourage you to seek out portfolio reviews which offer a diverse range of industry professionals. Note: depending on the event, you may be allowed to make a “wish list” of participating Reviews to meet with, and in some cases, learn your schedule in advance of the start of the event furthering your ability to prepare.

Geographic location too could be the reason you register (or apply) to one event over another. I encourage you to get to know your local photography community, and to introduce your work to others beyond your local area. Every event will do its best to invite professionals from all parts of the country as well as inviting a strong contingency of regionally-based reviewers, too. For example, if your work is well know in the east, you might consider attending a review event in the west.

A strong educational component offered in conjunction with the reviews is another plus from my perspective. If you are committing time and resources to travel to industry gatherings such as these I want you to be able to gain insights from professionals and peers in attendance in the form of lectures, seminars, panel discussions, symposia and more. When weighing your options, related educational offerings may be a factor for you in putting an event in your “plus” column.

Introducing your work to individuals from multiple markets is a growing focus of some events, while others invite a majority of reviewers from the fine art community. Many publishers, for example seek invitations to attend JURIED events as they would prefer to see work that is more fully developed. Study the list of the reviewers who have been invited to all events, and this should be a strong factor in weighing the value of your attending that particular event.

If you elect to attend, the process of considering your work in this serious manner, planning to capture the experience of discussing your work with industry professionals for further study when you return home, and determining how to best provide a visual reminder of images presented for the Reviewers (i.e. preparing a printed piece or CD-Rom sample with your imagery to share with others attending) are activities that in themselves will lend clarity to your work and its potential to speak to your targeted audience.

My enthusiasm for your investing in portfolio review events grows as I become increasingly frustrated and in fact pessimistic about the value of entering many exhibition and/or publication competitions. The reproduction rights often demanded from the winners, and more often now from those who simply apply, are unnecessary and unfair. The physical space and the circumstances at the actual judging of the work can vary, possibly occurring within a physically environment that may not lend itself to optimum viewing of your work, or judges working remotely without a dialogue, or so few examples of your work presented that we can barely get to know your work. (My most interesting judging experiences of late have been being part of a team judging the 2008 Photography Annual for Communication Arts Magazine for three days straight, and reviewing entries for Critical Mass in the solitude of airplanes, with weeks to consider and re-consider the submission (ten images each).    I also feel strongly that in this time of economic challenges, conducting research, making new work and meeting with industry professionals and your peers is the best use of your time, offering a rich dialogue from which to grow, rather than pursuing galleries for representation or collections towards print purchases in this economic climate.

So I encourage you to join the e-newsletters for each of the organizations offering review events, carefully examine the offerings and mark these dates for application and for the events on your calendar.  Many of the review events that accept registration on a first come, first served basis sell out within hours (book the event hotel early as well – it too will sell out).  Be aware of cancellation policies as many ask to you commit several (or more) months out from the date of the event.

UPCOMING PORTFOLIO REVIEW EVENTS that you can register for:

JUNE 20: En Foco (www.enfoco.org, held in NYC); limited spaces are available; registration accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

JULY 30 – AUGUST 2Rhubarb-Rhubarb International Portfolio Review (www.rhubarb-rhubarb.net, held in Birmingham, England.  Registration is completed by the participants, who sign up on a first-come, first-served basis.

Note: As of this writing, many of the reviewers are fully booked.

OCTOBER 10th (juried) Atlanta Celebrates Photography (www.acpinfo.org); registration opened 6/18, through JULY 10th.

The one-day review and portfolio walk event is held during The Month of Photography in Atlanta, which ACP coordinates.  The programming is rich – see the offerings here.

DECEMBER 11-13: PhotoNola (www.photonola.org, sponsored by the New Orleans Photo Alliance and held in New Orleans);

Registration accepted on a first-come, first-served basis (date registration opens TBD).


REVIEW EVENTS PLANNED or ANTICIPATED through Spring 2010:

January 14 & 15, 2010 (anticipated), held in conjunction with Photo LA), sponsored by CENTER.  In the past, registration has been accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

March, date TBD:  “Our World” sponsored by PhotoAlliance and held in San Francisco; acceptance is determined by jury.

March 12-April 1The Meeting Place during the FotoFest Biennial

NOTE:  Applications for registration are accepted June 1 – July 13, 2009

Session 1:  March 12-March 15

Session 2:  March 17-20

Session 3:  March 24-27

Session 4:  March 29 – April 1, 2010

March 28 – April 2: Palm Springs Photo Festival

Portfolio reviews are offered with a broader Festival week; applications accepted on a first-come, first-served basis

I look forward to seeing many of you at these upcoming events!

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June 6th: Deadline, Silver Eye’s “Self-Portrait” Exhibition

Silver Eye Exhibition Self Portrait: Silver Eye at 30

Deadline: June 6th, 2009

From the announcement:

“Silver Eye Center for Photography is pleased to announce a call for photographers for our next Main Gallery exhibition, Self Portrait: Silver Eye at 30. Celebrating Silver Eye’s 30th anniversary, this group exhibition will be on view July 8 – September 12, 2009. The deadline is June 6, 2009. We aim to honor Silver Eye’s rich history, while simultaneously providing our members with the opportunity to creatively represent who they are with a camera. Whether your framed print is contemporary or vintage, black-and-white or chromogenic, silver gelatin or digital, we want it all! We encourage you to fill out the entry form and submit a self portrait.”

Click here for details .

Click here to learn of all exhibition opportunities at Silver Eye.

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May 29th: Deadline, Newspace Center for Photography 5th Annual Juried Exhibition Juror Chris Pilcher

Newspace Center for Photograph 5th Annual Juried Exhibition with Juror Chris Pilcher from Nazraeli Press

Deadline May 29th

Newspace Center for Photography invites you to enter our 5th Annual Juried Exhibition. Winning images will be shown at the Center during the month of August 2009. The competition is open to all photographic themes and processes, but the work should have been created in the last three years. Entries will be accepted through Friday, May 29th 2009 (postmarked).

The Juror: Chris Pichler is the founder and publisher of Nazraeli Press, an internationally renowned photography book publisher located in Portland, OR. Nazraeli has published over 250 books to date – books by many notable photographers including Michael Kenna, Robert Adams, Todd Hido, Lee Friedlander, and Masao Yamamoto. Specializing in books on contemporary photography, the press collaborates closely with each artist published, striving to faithfully translate the quality of the original artwork into the printed form.

This competition offers a wonderful way to introduce your work to Chris Pichler.

For details click here.

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June 3, 7 pm: Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe “Layering Time” lecture at Phoenix Art Museum

In conjunction with their collaborative exhibition “Charting the Canyon,” artists Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe “discuss and illustrate their process in creating photographic images of the Grand Canyon that reveal the history of image-making at this locale. Not only does their work document physical changes in nature over decades, but also the layers of meaning generated by repeated photography.”

On the exhibition website you can view three related videos by Klett & Wolfe.

The exhibition opened on March 21st and continues through July 12th.

NOTE: This lecture was originally scheduled for June 2nd; this is a new date (3rd).

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EXTENDED to June 15: Deadline for Second Annual The Foto8 Award and Summer Show 2008

One of the highlights of the recent NY Photo Festival, for me, was the exhibition “HOME FOR GOOD” that was curated by Foto8′s editor Jon Levy.  Be sure to visit that link and learn more about the show, and hear interviews with many of the photographers that this great website/blog provides.  Images from the show, and hearing the words of the photographers, won’t soon leave my mind or my heart.   Their magazine is memorable as well.

I have just noticed that the deadline has been extended to JUNE 15 for the “Second Annual Foto8 Awards and Summer Show” which is being billed as “a photographic award, exhibition and print fair.

Whether you are a professional, a student or can appreciate a captured moment in life, now is your chance to be a part of the spectacle. You have the chance to win fantastic prizes – £1500 awarded “Best in Show’ chosen by the panel of judges on the opening night. The second prize, of a top of the range camera system, goes to ‘The People’s Choice’ decided by the public throughout the show.


Over 150 images will be chosen out of thousands of entries from all over the globe to be exhibited covering the entire wall space in the prestigious HOST gallery from 17 July – 31 August. During this time the public will have the opportunity to purchase the original works. The photographers chosen to exhibit will all have an equal chance of selling their images during the exhibition and they will be printed in a Foto8 published exhibition catalogue.

Click here for complete details.

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May 30-31: Workshop “Making the Photographic Book” in Brooklyn with Ken Schles and Jeffrey Ladd

Making the Photographic Book: A Weekend Workshop with Ken Schles and Jeffrey Ladd
May 30 – 31 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10 am – 5 pm.
From the website:
“With instant publishing and printing on demand, limited edition monographs and coffee table tomes, the era of the photographic book has arrived. Do you have the makings of a great book? Where does one start? During this intensive two-day workshop we will work with you to mold your book idea into a credible shape as you give it form. We will view and discuss classic photographic book concepts and guide you through critiques on editing and sequencing while exploring the practicalities of putting a book dummy together.

Pacific Street Studios, 874 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

Prerequisite: This workshop is for someone who already has a series of images (20-30) no larger than 8×10 (preferably smaller) that they want to work with. These images will form the basis of your “book.”

This “hands on” class does not require computers or knowledge of page layout programs.

Click here to see the work of Ken Schles and Jeffrey Ladd.
For details click here.

Ken Schles’ books are considered “intellectual milestones in photography.”—Süddeutsche Zeitung, and have been exhibited by the Museum of Modern Art and the FOAM in Amsterdam. Ken has taught photography for nearly 20 years at ICP and has talked or given studio visits for students at Harvard, RIT, SVA, RISD and Parsons. Vince Aletti in the New Yorker called his book Invisible City, “hellishly brilliant.” His books have been on “notable books of the year” lists including Photo-Eye and the Sunday New York Times Book Review. His photographic work has received multiple awards (including an AIGA award for book design for Invisible City) and is in private and public collections throughout the world including MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago and LACMA, among others. We encourage you to explore more here. Ken Schles is a NYFA Fellow.

Jeffrey Ladd studied photography at the School of Visual Arts. He teaches photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. His photographs have been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Oklahoma City Musuem of Art, The International Center of Photography, The Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, The Museum of the City of New York and the Howard Greenberg Gallery among others. His photographs are in the collections of The Brooklyn Museum of Art and The Museum of the City of New York. He splits his time between photographing and writing about photography. In 2007, he created 5B4 – Photography and Books, a website dedicated to discussing and reviewing photography and art-related publications. He is also one of the founders of Errata Editions, an independent book publishing company based in New York.

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June 1st: Deadline for submissions, Photo Review Competition with Juror Aperture publisher Lesley A. Martin

From the website:

“The Photo Review’s is ‘a competition with a difference’ that enables thousands of people across the country to see the accepted work in our 2009 competition issue and on our website. Also, the prize-winning photographers will be chosen for an exhibition at the photography gallery of The University of the Arts, Philadelphia. And a major traveling exhibition in 2010 will feature entrants from 25 years of The Photo Review Competition.

Awards include a $500 purchase prize for The Philadelphia Museum of Art, SilverFast HDR Studio digital camera RAW conversion software from LaserSoft Imaging ($499), a $270 gift certificate from Lensbabies for a Composer lens or other items on the Lensbaby.com webstore, a $250 gift certificate from Calumet Photographic, a 24″x50′ roll of Museo Silver Rag ($240 value), a 20″x24″ silver gelatin fiber print from Digital Silver Imaging ($215 value), camera bags from Lowepro, and $250 in cash prizes.

Because their work was seen in The Photo Review, past winners have been given one-person exhibitions, have had their work reproduced in other leading photography magazines, and have sold their work to collectors throughout the country.

An entry fee of $30 for up to three prints or slides, and $5 each for up to two additional prints or slides, entitles all entrants to a copy of the catalogue. In addition, all entrants may subscribe to The Photo Review for $35, a 20% discount.”

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May 22nd: Deadline for “The Art of Photography Show” with juror Charlotte Cotton

The Art of Photography Show

Deadline: May 22nd, 2009

Juror: Charlotte Cotton, Curator and Head of the Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

From the website:

“This is the fifth year of this photographic exhibition. Our mission for this annual project is to create an exceptional presentation of photographic art and a very special cultural offering for the city of San Diego. Our other key goal is to encourage excellence among photographic artists and to provide a great forum for the exhibition and sale their work. We will be pursuing a vigorous marketing and publicity campaign, to bring maximum media attention to the artists who are juried into the exhibition. Our great love of this art form (and being photographic artists ourselves) prompts us to ‘pull out all of the stops’ in order to showcase a truly excellent presentation of photographic art, to elevate and promote this art form, and to provide substantial benefits to the exhibiting artists. “

For submission details click here.

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May 21 at HCP: Four Exhibition Openings and talk by Fellowship winner Natan Dvir

Tomorrow night, there are multiple exhibitions opening at Houston Center for Photography:

INFECTED LANDSCAPE by SHAI KREMER

Shai Kremer´s Infected Landscape depicts Israel´s terrain altered by the destructive nature of long running conflicts as well as by the highly visable Israeli military presence in the country. From the most obvious of physical marks to the most subtle, the photographs describe the history of Israel´s relationship with surrounding territories. Border walls, abandoned aircraft and blast walls painted to imitate the vistas they hide are perhaps the most easily recognizable markings of conflict. Yet, overgrown tank barriers and burned olive groves represent the long history of conflict. The exhibition is accompanied by the monograph Infected Landscape (2008, Dewi Lewis Publishing). Kremer is based in New York and Tel Aviv and has had solo exhibitions in the USA, China, and Europe. He was a finalist for the 2007 Aperture Prize and the 2007 HSBC Award, and a runner-up in the 2007 Aperture Portfolio Prize.

2009 Fellowship Exhibitions:  Juror´s remarks, Thursday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m.Opening reception at HCP, Thursday, May 21 from 6-8 p.m.
Juror´s remarks, Thursday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m.

ON JOY, ON SORROW by PRINCE V. THOMAS (artists talk June 11 at 5:30)

SHELTER by NATAN DVIR (artists talk May 21 at 5:30) Opening reception at HCP, Thursday, May 21 from 6-8 p.m.

This year´s fellowship juror Natasha Egan, Associate Director and Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College in Chicago, selected Prince V. Thomas for the Carol Crow Memorial Fellowship.

“Media artist Prince Varughese Thomas is a naturalized Indian-American citizen born in Kuwait and raised primarily between India and the United States. Utilizing photography, video and installation, and influenced by his personal observations, Thomas´ artwork poetically questions sensitive global issues. Earlier works have focused on such topics as patriotism and warfare and the countless lives that have been taken in the War on Terror. Working in collaboration with composer Joel Love and inspired by the quote “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked” from the poetry of Kahlil Gibran, Thomas attempts to abstractly convey the inter-dependent relationship between the emotions of joy and sorrow. On Joy, On Sorrow is a two channel video projecting abstracted fluids on opposing walls. One water-like fluid rhythmically falls like rain while the other blood-like reacts like two slow motion flickering candle flames. They are reminiscent of Bill Viola´s videos with fire and water but without the human form. One screen is seems to initially evoke joy and then moves into sorrow; while the other begins more sorrowfully and moves towards joy, though the ambiguity of the piece leaves this interpretation open.

“Thomas received his BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington, and his MFA in Photography from the University of Houston. He has exhibited widely at such institutions as The Alternative Museum, New York; Center for the Visual Arts, Toledo; Contemporary, Atlanta; Gallery of the National Library of Argentina; New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Queens Museum, New York, and the Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City. His work is held in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Thomas is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.” – N. Egan
Artist Talk at HCP, Thursday, May 21 starting at 5:30 p.m.

This year´s fellowship juror Natasha Egan, Associate Director and Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College in Chicago, selected Israeli photojournalist Natan Dvir for the HCP Fellowship.

“According to the American Refugee committee, in 2008 there was an estimated 67 million people in need of international protection, 16 million refugees and asylum seekers and 51 internally displaced people, forced by conflict or natural disaster to flee their homes. Following the stories of individual refugees whose lives have been turned upside down, Israeli photographer Natan Dvir exposes this crisis to the international community. Shelter is an ongoing project focused particularly on the thousands of refugees from Sudan that have fled to Israel—a country with no policies in place to cope with the influx; and Colombia, where three million people have been uprooted by conflict but denied refugee status by their president. In the coming years Dvir plans to examine the massive flow of East African refugees into Tanzania as well as the natural disaster refugee population of China. Dvir´s pictures are as raw as they are beautiful.

“Dvir received his MBA from Tel Aviv University in 1998, but decided to become a documentary photographer. He began photographing for a number of Israeli publications and today his work has appeared in such publications as Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Le Monde, Stern, Die Zeit, among many others. He has exhibited in Israeli, Europe, South America and the Untied States and his work is held in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Tel Aviv Museum; Ben-Uri Gallery, the London Jewish Museum of Art; Nahum Gutman Museum, Tel Aviv, and private collections. Dvir currently lives in New York.” – N. Egan

In addition, there will be an exhibition of the artists who received Honorable Mention from this year’s juror Natasha Egan, Associate Director and Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College in Chicago.

PICTURE THIS!

Since 2002, HCP has hosted this eight-week program at The Children´s Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. To ensure children are given the tools and resources they need in order to continue without interruption during treatment, M.D. Anderson with H.I.S.D provides academic services for patients in grades K-12. PictureThis! is an essential part of this pediatric education program. Reaching patients grades K-8 as part of the art curriculum, the activities taught by HCP meet the requirements of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), and go beyond basic art education to provide the children with a form of art therapy that helps them cope with their illness and bring cheer into their day. In addition the vital role PictureThis! plays in the art curriculum at The Children´s Cancer Hospital, HCP hosts a one-day workshop each summer at M.D. Anderson´s Camp A.O.K. (Anderson´s Older Kids), a summer camp for teenage patients in Magnolia, Texas.

PictureThis! also touches the lives of patients at Texas Children´s Hospital as part of their Arts In Medicine program. HCP outreach educators work with in-patient and out-patient children on short-term projects, often incorporating family members in the creative process. Most projects employ digital photography. The program at Texas Children´s Hospital is funded in part by the Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer.

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Bill Jay: 1940-2009; Acceptance speech from 2008 Infinity Awards added to this post

Sad news today that photo historian, publisher, author and photographer BILL JAY passed away in his sleep on Sunday in his recently adopted hometown of Samara on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.  I received the news from colleagues at Arizona State University and have yet to learn more from Bill’s family.

Born in London in 1940, Bill founded and directed the Photo Study Centre at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London, and was the first editor of Creative Camera Magazine.  Ginger Lee Frank wrote a comment to this post elaborating on Bill’s impact on the photography community in the UK that I am quoting here:  

It took almost three weeks for the news of Bill Jays’ death to reach me (a phone call from a friend in England who’d read it in theBJP). I’d been out of touch with Bill for nearly 30 years and have begun reflecting on what he meant to me and to photography, much of which was admirably contained in MVS’s posting.
I am afraid I must correct something in MVS wrote. I worked with Bill at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Bill was not the Director of the ICA; Bill founded and directed the Photo Study Centre, located in two rooms up the back stairs on the second floor (one above the street level) of the ICA. We brought photographers together, and when nationally and internationally respected photographers visited, we had a copy camera to make slides of their portfolios. The slides joined am impressive slide library viewable via Kodal Carousel projectors and rear-projection screen, some donated by Koday and some by the actor Peter Sellars. From time to time we could install exhibitions in the ICA’s galleries and present lectures or films in the auditorium. I remember Bill in his green velour Robin Hood-esque outfit with knee high black boots, enthusiastically ring-mastering the undertaking. If Bill had been the director of the ICA, the photography program would have lasted beyond 1972.
I’d like to elborate on something else. With Coliln Osman as publisher, Bill transformed an amateur photo magazine Camera Owner first into Creative Camera Owner and then into Creative Camera, an activist publication promoting what would be called “independent photography”, introducing international photographic practice (particularly American) as well as local British photographers’ work, discussion forums, historical articles, virtually singlehandedly educating the country’s photographers, and avidly followed by photographers in the US and elsewhere. As his contemporary, Gerry Badger, wrote last week, he tenaciously fought for the medium’s acceptance as a serious art, “blew away the cobwebs and brought British photography into the late 20th century and international arena.” He really seemed like a force of nature.
Bill achieved this also by whispering in ears, prodding, cajoling, encouraging others in Britain to get interested in contemporary photography. He is often credited for urging Barry Lane to go to the US and learn about what was going on there in photography in the early ’70s, leading to Lane’s persuading the Arts Council of Great Britain to begin funding photography. Similarly, it is said he talked his friend Sue Davies into starting The Photographers’ Gallery in London. He was the catalyst of the “Great British photographic revival” (and, as they used to say in Shake ‘n Bake commercials, “Ah hepped”). Sadly, his younger protege at CC, Peter Turner, died even before he did, also continents away from the UK. Bill left Britain in 1972 and was sorely missed, but the forces he set in motion could not be abated by his absence. As much or more than anyone else, his example taught me that one person can make an enormous difference, even change a nation (not sure I can forgive him for that). Yanks may not fully appreciate this, but Bill deserves a statue in Britain.
It took almost three weeks for the news of Bill Jays’ death to reach me (a phone call from a friend in England who’d read it in the BJP). I’d been out of touch with Bill for nearly 30 years and have begun reflecting on what he meant to me and to photography, much of which was admirably contained in MVS’s posting.

I am afraid I must correct something in MVS wrote. I worked with Bill at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Bill was not the Director of the ICA; Bill founded and directed the Photo Study Centre, located in two rooms up the back stairs on the second floor (one above the street level) of the ICA. We brought photographers together, and when nationally and internationally respected photographers visited, we had a copy camera to make slides of their portfolios. The slides joined am impressive slide library viewable via Kodal Carousel projectors and rear-projection screen, some donated by Koday and some by the actor Peter Sellars. From time to time we could install exhibitions in the ICA’s galleries and present lectures or films in the auditorium. I remember Bill in his green velour Robin Hood-esque outfit with knee high black boots, enthusiastically ring-mastering the undertaking. If Bill had been the director of the ICA, the photography program would have lasted beyond 1972.

I’d like to elborate on something else. With Coliln Osman as publisher, Bill transformed an amateur photo magazine Camera Owner first into Creative Camera Owner and then into Creative Camera, an activist publication promoting what would be called “independent photography”, introducing international photographic practice (particularly American) as well as local British photographers’ work, discussion forums, historical articles, virtually singlehandedly educating the country’s photographers, and avidly followed by photographers in the US and elsewhere. As his contemporary, Gerry Badger, wrote last week, he tenaciously fought for the medium’s acceptance as a serious art, “blew away the cobwebs and brought British photography into the late 20th century and international arena.” He really seemed like a force of nature.

Bill achieved this also by whispering in ears, prodding, cajoling, encouraging others in Britain to get interested in contemporary photography. He is often credited for urging Barry Lane to go to the US and learn about what was going on there in photography in the early ’70s, leading to Lane’s persuading the Arts Council of Great Britain to begin funding photography. Similarly, it is said he talked his friend Sue Davies into starting The Photographers’ Gallery in London. He was the catalyst of the “Great British photographic revival” (and, as they used to say in Shake ‘n Bake commercials, “Ah hepped”). Sadly, his younger protege at CC, Peter Turner, died even before he did, also continents away from the UK. Bill left Britain in 1972 and was sorely missed, but the forces he set in motion could not be abated by his absence. As much or more than anyone else, his example taught me that one person can make an enormous difference, even change a nation (not sure I can forgive him for that). Yanks may not fully appreciate this, but Bill deserves a statue in Britain.

Photographer David Hurn was a frequent visitor to Bill (and, happily, our classes at ASU); I wrote David  to confirm my recollections of the early days of Album happening in David’s flat to which he replied:
 Yes Album office was the benches and floor of my front room at 4 Porchester Court, Porchester Gardens, Bayswayter, London. The flat also acted as the doss house for most photographers passing through London at that time.

Josef arrived – via Elliott Erwitt (who always stayed with me) – with hundreds of rolls of films and stayed using the flat as his base for many years.

Love David.

 

Bill enriched my life and no-one can ask more of another.”

Note from MVS: In May 2008 I stopped by Magnum’s NYC office as Josef Koudelka was in town preparing for his forthcoming exhibition and publication INVASION 1968.   It was 40 years since that important week in his life when he left Prague for London.  We called Bill and the two old friends had a great time talking;  it was a nice moment.

Bill came to the US to study with Van Deren Coke and Beaumont Newhall at the University of New Mexico, and then joined the faculty at ASU in 1974, where he founded the Photographic Studies program.  As students we were so fortunate that Bill alomg with fellow professor and friend James Hajicek (also UNM graduate, joining the ASU faculty in 1976) had us immersed in the history of photography – Bill through his lectures and seminars, and Jim hands-on through his studio classes trying to re-create 19th century processes with contemporary materials.  What joy was heralded as the woodburytypes were coming to life before our very eyes!  

After retiring in the late ’90′s, Bill moved from Mesa, Arizona to Ocean Beach near San Diego, to the great delight of the photography community surrounding MoPA and beyond (how lucky were they to have him in their community!).  MoPA curator Carol McCusker shared that “People from Ocean Beach are proud of their community.  Bill writes about it in his intro for “Men Like Me”  (Nazraeli, 2005).  The town fit his temperament perfectly – independent, laid back, against corporate & government influence, and feisty.”  From the Nazraeli Press entry on Bill’s intro to the book:  “In 2003 Bill Jay moved to a small seaside town in Southern California.  It is a laid-back, tolerant kind of place where an assortment of ex-hippies, surfers, bikers, Vietnam Vets and old men make the beach and the alleys their home.  His daughter, regarding his new surroundings, remarked: “You fit right in here, Dad, there are a lot of old geezers here who look like you.”  In other words, over-the-hill, sartorially-challenged men with abundant facial hair.  So began the wonderful project that is MEN LIKE ME.  But these are not voyeuristic images snapped by a detached observer.  There is a great deal of warmth and respect in these pictures, and a humor that conveys the spirit of both the photographer and the photographed.  Whenever possible, Jay gave his sitters a copy of their portrait; one day he was led to an ally room near the beach, often used as a refuge.  There were all the prints, taped to the wall for an exhibition self deprecatingly entitled ‘The Wall of Shame.’ An immensly readable introductory essay by Bill Jay tells the rest of the story.”

During his years in California he made portraits and continued critical writing; he maintained a column for Lenswork called EndNotes, each installment eagerly anticipated.

It was during this period that Bill began a project that is an extraordinary gift to of us:  www.billjayonphotography.com, accomplished with the generous assistance of John Brinton Hogan.   It is on this website that you can read Bill’s words, see his amazing portraits of photographers, and read in PDF format all issues of his landmark publication ALBUM MAGAZINE which he launched in 1970 (twelve issues were produced) and more.   Within this section of his website, Bill refers us to read his reflections on publishing within “Essays and “Articles.”   Carol McCusker had been in close touch with Bill since his move to Costa Rica last fall, and shared that he had been happy, healthy and looking forward to visits this summer from family and friends; he recently told her that he’d finished writing his memoirs, wishing to share stories of his childhood in England with his three daughters and his granddaughter.

Bill published many books, and had the pleasure of working with former student Chris Pichler, founder and publisher, Nazraeli Press to release his most recent titles Bill Jay’s Album, Men Like Me, Occam’s Razor: An Outside-In View of Contemporary Photography, Sun in the Blood of the Cat and the One Picture Book #09: Bill Brandt.  Chris has confirmed with me that Bill had given him a considerable archive of his 50 years of writings from Nazraeli has promised future publishing offerings.

Bill’s research archive is housed at the Center for Creative Photography; click the link to download a 65-page “Finding Aid for the Bill Jay History of Photography Archive, which consists of 177 linear feet of “papers, writings, research files, teaching materials, audiovisual and photographic materials, books, periodicals, and computerized database of photographer and educator Bill Jay.”

An earlier post on this blog features a link to an interview with Bill conducted by Darius Himes; he and I attended the 2008 ICP Infinity Awards where Bill received the Writing award; the transcript of Bill’s acceptance speech follows:

 

BILL JAY Acceptance Speech, New York City, May 12, 2008

On the occasion of accepting the 2008 Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center for Photography (ICP) in NYC.

Introduction with multimedia production featuring Bill’s images:

Music:  Send In The Clowns

“Almost everybody I have met in photography I have a photograph of.  I can look at that picture and hear the tone of voice of the photographer in that picture and recall clearly the subject matter of our conversations.

But I have no desire to be considered a photographer.

I got into photography because I loved the medium and I admired the people who became photographers.

Since photography has been hijacked by the art market I am feeling more and more alienated from the medium of photography that I first fell in love with.

Where I came from, the term ARTIST was something that was bestowed on a person after a lifetime of achievement.

So for a student photographer to call himself ARTIST was ludacris.  I’m not against the idea that photography can be singled out as ART but only after a body of work, over a long period of time, has entered the pantheon of high achievement, rather than a 20-year old MFA student touting wares  around the New York gallery scene.

And my big fear that the histories of photography in the future will be based on the photographers who were saleable through galleries, not through the best photographers in the medium.

We need people who understand the history of the medium and have standards, who are saying ‘photography has something extraordinarily important to say about our culture, our society, our political system’ – these are the things we should be looking at and caring about.

Where are those people?  I mean I don’t read them, maybe they exist and I am just too isolated.  But – and you say am I angry?   I don’t think I’m angry, I’m just sad… the medium just doesn’t seem to exist in the form that I originally loved.

This coming year will be 50 years since I’ve been writing for the photographic press.  My first article was published in a European magazine in 1959.  A voice emerges when you do something over a long period of time.

It’s not conscious, it is just the way I speak and it’s the way I write.”

END OF MULTIMEDIA INTRODUCTION

 

Bill comes to the podium:

“This is the good news.  The bad news is that I have to follow Miss (Diane) Keaton in speaking to you.

What can I say except THANK YOU.  Puny little words, but they are heartfelt.

As you just heard I have doing this for 50 years, writing about photography, for fifty years.  It is time to quit.

The medium has gone in directions that I can’t follow and rather than sit on the sidelines and just whine, I decided that I am going to retire. So in less than three weeks I will move to a little beach town in Costa Rica and retire.  (APPLAUSE)

And that’s where it could have ended, except for a story that I told someone before this evening, and they said “Oh say that tonight!” so I will.

It is significant, I think, that this first award I’ve ever received, and the last, has come full circle because of a single person: Cornell Capa.

Applause – Bill says “but you don’t know what I am going to say yet!”

In my teens my favorite book was called Through Gates of Splendor and I don’t know if you have ever heard of it.  It was a stirring tale of missionaries contacting a tribe of very fierce warriors in South America

And this galvanized my attention to such an extent that I re-read that book a dozen times.

Then I thought the story is being told in words, but what gives that book its emotive power are the photographs in the book.  And they were all by Cornell Capa.

This was long before I became engaged in this medium.

So it is very odd that my pre-history in photography should have been inspired the same man who right at the end of my career has inspired this trophy.

I’d like to thank Cornell Capa.

I’d like to thank all the photographers that I have met who have enriched my life with their words and their persons, and their images primarily.

Ooh and here is something that I would like to say because I haven’t had a proper forum until now.

For 25 years I was a teacher, and I’d like to say how enriching that experience was.  And I justify education by finding that many of my students surpassed their teacher.  That seems to be all that a teacher can desire.  Several of those students are here tonight so I thank them for enriching my life.

I’d like to thank the selection committee of course, especially Stuart Alexander who I believe was the person who gave my name to the committee, and I to thank the committee for going along with his request.

I thank you all for coming. I’m sorry not to have had a chance to say hello to you all, but I am here to say goodbye.”

 

Bill Jay

May 12, 2008

New York City

 

A gallery of Bill’s portraits had been mounted in the reception area.   Darius Hime’s photos and remembrances of our conversations are posted here on his blog.

As a teacher, Bill’s passion for photography was infectious.   He taught us about how scientific and artistic invention was ripe for photography to arrive on the scene; the culture of the arts was enriched by innovation in his eyes.  He drew amazing people to our community; his dear friend David Hurn would visit frequently (they co-authored “On Being a Photographer” 1997 and “On Looking at Photographs” 2000), and Helmut and Alison Gernsheim spent a semester with us.  What a time we had!

One of our fellow ASU students has built quite a collection of Bill’s photographs and shares this link to reproductions of 132 of the images – portraits, and more.  Enjoy!

Brooks Jensen from LensWork has posted a link on the home page with this message: “If you would like to add a few words, an anecdote, a remembrance, a memory, a thank you, or a goodbye we are gathering them for a community tribute in LensWork.  Email to billjayremembered@lenswork.com.

Bill was a mentor to me, introducing me to the rich history of our medium and the joys of engaging in a dialogue with photographers, setting me on my professional path.  He inspired so many of us, and will truly be missed.

 

BILL JAY OBITUARY, British Journal of Photography, May 27 2009:

“Title: Bill Jay champion of the ‘Great British photographic revival’ dies, aged 68″

By Gerry Badger

“Bill Jay dragged British photography kicking and screaming into the late 20th Century. Gerry Badger pays tribute to a remarkable and influential character

The name of Bill Jay, who has died aged 68 at his home in Costa Rica, will be well-known to older readers of the BJP, such as myself. He made his home in America for many years, so it may not be so familiar to younger readers, but he was a major mover and shaker in what has been called the ‘Great British photographic revival’ of the late 1960s and early 70s. His career in this country lasted a mere half-dozen years or so, but in that time he was the dynamic editor of Creative Camera in its earliest (and some say its best) years in the late 60s. Then with financial partner Tristram Powell, he published and edited the renowned, but unfortunately short-lived magazine, Album, in addition to organising a series of now legendary photographic evenings at the ICA in London. If that were not enough, he was also the picture editor of the Daily Telegraph and the European manager for a large picture agency. In all these forums, Jay fought for the medium’s acceptance as a serious art, introducing the exciting new photography that was being made in Europe, Japan, and especially the United States, to a largely moribund British photographic scene.

At that time, British photography seemed stuck between an antediluvian amateurism and a shallow commercialism. Jay, his great friend David Hurn, and people like Colin Osman, the publisher of Creative Camera, photographer Tony Ray-Jones, Sue Davies and Dorothy Bohm, founders of the Photographers’ Gallery, blew away the cobwebs and brought British photography into the late 20th century and the international arena. From those evenings at the ICA, which culminated memorably with a talk by the great American master, Paul Strand, came much of the inspiration for the Photographers’ Gallery, the Photography Committee of the Arts Council, and more.

Write stuff

Following the demise of Album, Jay moved to America to study at the University of new Mexico in Albuquerque with the distinguished photo-historian, Beaumont Newhall, and the dynamic teacher, Van Deren Coke. In 1972, he joined the faculty of Arizona State University in Tempe, where he founded the Photographic Studies programme, and in the 80s he wrote a series of articles for BJP, with subjects ranging from keraunography to early techniques in post-mortem photography. He settled in Ocean Beach, near San Diego, after retiring from teaching in the late 90s, but continued writing and agitating for photography, despite severe heart problems in later life.

In a videoed interview (tinyurl.com/qslf4q) that catches the flavour of the man, Jay credits David Hurn as the inspiration for his writing career. He’d shown Hurn his own photographs, to be told they weren’t quite good enough, but that his enthusiasm for the medium could be channelled into writing about photography. Average photographers were 10 a penny, said Hurn, but good photographic writers were in short supply. So a career was born, but Jay continued to take one particular kind of photograph – portraits of the many photographers he met and interviewed. A fine selection of these was published in 1983 in the book, Photographers Photographed.

Latterly, Jay wrote a regular, and eagerly awaited column, End Notes, for the bi-monthly American magazine LensWork, and continued to collaborate with David Hurn. Two books they did together for LensWork are essential reading for any budding photographer – On Being a Photographer (1997), and On Looking at Photographs (2000).

Eclectic taste

As Hurn indicated above, the great strength of Bill’s writing was his enthusiasm, and this translated into a certain eclecticism.

He was just as happy delving into the quirky bye ways of photography as writing about the great names. Album and Creative Camera during his tenure were never just about introducing the canon, although that was an important function, because in late 60s Britain, even photographers like Robert Frank and Paul Strand were virtually unknown. But Jay, unusually, was as interested in 19th as well as 20th century photography, and in things like the snapshot, the tintype, or spirit photography, at a time when vernacular photography was rather despised by would-be photo-aesthetes. In this he was way ahead of the game.

Consider something he wrote in the May 1968 issue of Creative Camera. It could have been written yesterday and be considered just as relevant:

‘Contemporary photography is full of crap – the most pungent pile is the belief that ‘good’ is synonymous with unintelligible. In fact the opposite is true. The best photography communicates and continues to communicate with the viewer. And this is the most difficult style to achieve since it demands so much more from the photographer (in a word, integrity) and so little from the technique. The history of good photography has been the history of pure photography.’

Bill Jay’s passing at his recently adopted home of Samara in Costa Rica leaves a gap not just in British and American photography, but in the photographic community generally.

- Jay’s articles and essays can be read at billjayonphotography.com.

 

Source:

© Incisive Media Ltd. 2009

Incisive Media Limited, Haymarket House, 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4RX, is a company registered in the United Kingdom with company registration number 04038503″

 

My special thanks to David Hurn and Ginger Lee Franks for their comments I’ve quoted here, and the countless others who comments on this post since receiving the sad news of Bill’s passing.  I look forward to reading more in the upcoming Lenswork tribute edition.

MVS

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