Archive for May, 2009

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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May 13-17: Aperture Programming at the New York Photo Festival

I’m packing for New York, with NYPH on one end of my trip, Book Expo America on the other.

This weekend, head to DUMBO.  From the Aperture blog:

The second annual New York Photo Festival taking place in Dumbo, Brooklyn, Wednesday, May 13, through Sunday, May 17.

This year, the four main exhibition pavilions are curated by William A. Ewing, director of Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Chris Boot, head of the London-based publisher Chris Boot, Ltd.; Jody Quon, photography director at New York magazine; and Jon Levy, director of the London-based publisher Foto8.

Visit Aperture’s booth in the powerHouse arena to see our latest books and limited-edition photographs. On Thursday evening, May 14, a special book signing and party will take place at the powerHouse arena, starting at 9:00 p.m., with many Aperture artists present to sign their books, including Catherine Chalmers, Michal Chelbin, Doug DuBois, Philip Gefter, Jacqueline Hassink, Charles Lindsay, Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz, Richard Renaldi, Lyle Rexer, Robin Schwartz, Jonathan Torgovnik and more.

For the second year, each day the festival will feature Aperture Presents, a series of panel discussions at St. Ann’s Warehouse.

Aperture Presents
Events include:

Artist-Publisher: Mass Produced for Mass Dissemination Thursday, May 14, 5–6 pm

The Edge of Vision: Abstraction in Contemporary Photography: Moderated by Lyle Rexer
Friday, May 15, 5–6 pm

Cuddle (with Bill Hunt)
Saturday, May 16, 5–6 pm

Photography After Frank, A Conversation Between Philip Gefter and Andy Grundberg
Sunday, May 17, 5–6 pm
FREE with Festival Admission

New York Photo Festival
St. Ann’s Warehouse
38 Water Street
Brooklyn, New York
(718) 254-8779

——————–
Party and Book Signing at powerHouse arena with Aperture artists:
Thursday, May 14, 9:00 pm


Wednesday, May 13, 2009 –Sunday, May 17, 2009

The New York Photo Festival Headquarters
37 Main Street
Brooklyn, New York
(347) 853-7447

All Aperture related events

All NYPH09 events

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May 12th: Deadline for exhibition at C4FAP: “Documentary” theme, Juror Ed Kashi

Upcoming juried competition at Center for Fine Art Photography

Theme:  DOCUMENTARY

Juror: Ed Kashi

Deadline: May 12th

Theme: Documentary photography has the power to tell stories untold, create social change, awaken emotions, and show the intimate and unseen.  This exhibition will feature the artistic viewpoint of the documentary photographer.

Eligibility: The exhibition is open to photographers world wide, both amateur and professional.  The Center for Fine Art Photography invites photographers working in all mediums, styles and schools of thought to participate in its exhibitions. Experimental and mixed techniques are welcome.

Juror: Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. His images have appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, Time, MediaStorm, GEO, Newsweek, and many other domestic and international publications.

For details click here.

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MAY 15: Deadline to apply to MediaStorm’s NYC tuition-free Advanced Multimedia Reporting Workshop in NYC

From the MediaStorm Blog:

“Given the tough economic climate and the critical need for multimedia training, MediaStorm will be holding a one-time, tuition-free Advanced Multimedia Reporting Workshop, in Brooklyn, NY from June 20-26, 2009.

The MediaStorm Advanced Multimedia Workshops are designed for multimedia storytellers who want to get to the next level. It is not an introductory course. Students are responsible for their own travel, room and board. Reporters are expected to have a high level of competency with still photography, and be familiar with audio and video techniques. Editors are expected to be comfortable in Final Cut Pro.

We only have spots for 8 participants as Multimedia Reporters, Editors or Observers so we are expecting a competitive process. Applications are due no later than Friday, May 15, 2009. Participants will be selected based on the content of their applications. (click here for application form)

For more information, and to see work produced in previous workshops, see the Workshop site. If you have any questions, please email us at workshops@mediastorm.org.”

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Additional learning opportunity:

Brian Storm will teaching a one-day Multimedia Storytelling workshop at Look3 on June 10. Click here to learn more.

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May 11th, 6 pm: David Maisel speaks in Santa Fe; day of portfolio reviews, too

From the SFAI‘s recent e-blast:SFAI Presents:

Photographer and Activist
David Maisel

Lecture
Monday 5/11

6pm

Tipton Hall
$5 general/$2.5 students, seniors, SFAI members

Personal Portfolio Reviews
Tuesday 5/12
10am – 4pm
SFAI

“We are honored to have photographer David Maisel speak as part of the Santa Fe Art Institute’s 2009 visiting artist and lecture season Memory: Shadow & Light – Art as individual/collective memory. Maisel will speak about his recent body of work re-photographing x-rays of art objects – a beautiful tribute to the idea of art as memory and also the memory of art.

For more than twenty years, photographer David Maisel has chronicled the tensions between nature and culture in his large-scaled photographs of environmentally impacted landscapes. In the multi-chaptered series Black Maps, Maisel’s aerial images become sublime meditations on what the curator Anne Tucker has termed “the engaging duality between beauty and repulsion.” In Maisel‘s recent project, Library of Dust, he continues to investigate a zone bordered by aesthetics and ethics. The series depicts individual copper canisters, each containing the cremated remains of patients from a state-run psychiatric hospital, whose bodies have been unclaimed by their families. Maisel has recently been an Artist in Residence at both the Getty Research Institute and at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

For more information, please contact us at 505 424-5050.”

Note: David’s visit to SFAI is part of this series:

From 2/1/09 through 12/31/09 we will be exploring:

Memory: Shadow & Light –
Art as individual/ collective memory

Without memory we have no past and therefore no way of contextualizing the present or the future — our memories inform all aspects of life and without it, the world makes no sense. Our perception of the past, conversely, is always influenced by the present, which means that memory is fluid and changeable. Because memory is not just an individual, private experience but is also part of the collective domain, cultural memory has become a topic in every part of study and practice. Some artists see cultural memory as becoming more democratic, due to the rise of new media. Others see cultural memory as remaining concentrated in the hands of corporations and states.

Visiting Lecturers and Workshop Leaders are:

James Drake, artist; Susan York, sculptor; Tom Joyce, sculptor; Susan Meiselas, photographer; Blake Gopnik, art critic; Kerry James Marshall, painter; Laurie Anderson, musician/performance artist; Godfrey Reggio, filmmaker; Rackstraw Downes, painter; Gay Block, photographer; Estevan Rael-Galvez, historian; David Maisel, photographer.

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