Archive for August, 2007

World’s Largest Photograph Premier Exhibition September 6-29th at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena

I recently a press release for this event, which is approaching on the calendar:

“World’s Largest Photograph:
Premier Exhibition September 2007 at Art Center College of Design

The Great Picture—the world’s largest photograph—will have its premier showing September 6 – 29, 2007 in the “Wind Tunnel” exhibition space at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

The Great Picture is a unique gelatin silver photographic image three stories high by eleven stories wide. The $65,000 photograph was made using a shuttered Southern California F-18 jet aircraft hangar transformed into a gigantic camera obscura—the largest camera ever made.

Exhibition Dates
The dates for the exhibition at Art Center College of Design are:
Exhibit Opening Reception: Thursday, September 6, 2007 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Special Lecture: Thursday, September 20, 2007 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Last Day of Exhibit: Saturday, September 29, 2007

The photograph was created over the nine months leading up to July 2006 by six well-known photographic artists collectively known as The Legacy Project, aided by 400 volunteers, artists, and experts. Working in their jet-hangar-transformed-into-camera, the group hand-applied 80 liters of gelatin silver halide emulsion to a seamless 3,375-square-foot canvas substrate custom-made in Germany. Development was done in a custom Olympic pool-sized developing tray using ten high volume submersible pumps and 1,800 gallons of black and white chemistry.

The Great Picture has been featured in hundreds of publications from art journals such as Art in America, Photographie, AfterImage, Juxtapose, and Black & White Magazine to newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Der Spiegel and The Guardian. A hardcover book on the project, now in production, will be released in 2008. In addition, the Guinness Book of Records pre-approved and is now evaluating applications in two categories: world’s largest photograph and camera.

The photograph shows the control tower, structures and runways at the heart of the shuttered 4,700-acre Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Southern California, shut down in the base closings of the mid-1990s. Once home to U.S. Marine Corps air operations for the western United States and Pacific region (including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East), El Toro is now being turned into housing and one of the largest urban parks in the western United States.

Great Picture Facts

Finished Size: 107’–5” x 31’–5”; 3,375 square feet.

Photograph type: Black and white negative image with a gelatin sizing and a hand-coated gelatin silver emulsion.

Subjects Depicted: The Marine Corps Air Station El Toro control tower, twin runways, and heart of the future Orange County Great Park, with a backdrop of the San Joaquin Hills and the Laguna Beach Wilderness.

Camera: Building #115, an F-18 fighter plane hangar at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Irvine, California.

Camera Size: 44’–2” feet high by 79’–6” feet deep by 161’–6” feet wide.

Materials To Darken Hanger: 24,000 square feet of six mil black viscuine; 1,300 gallons foam gap filler; 1.52 miles of two-inch wide black gorilla tape; 40 cans of black spray paint.

Fabric Substrate: Seamless unbleached muslin specially ordered from Germany and weighing 1,200 pounds rigged.

Aperture Size: One-quarter inch (6mm) pinhole fifteen feet above ground level—no lens or other optics.

Emulsion: 80 liters of Rockland Liquid Light—a gelatin silver black and white sensitizer hand-painted onto the fabric under safelight illumination. Emulsion applied on July 7, 2006.

Exposure: 35 minutes beginning at 11:30 a.m. July 8, 2006

Date of Development: July 8, 2006

Developing Materials: 600 gallons traditional black-and-white developer and 1,200 gallons fixer delivered by ten high-volume submersible pumps.

Developing Tray: Eight mil vinyl pool liner contained by a wooden sidewall—114 feet x 35 feet x 6 inches deep.

Print Wash: Twin 4.5 inch fire hoses connected to a pair of hydrants tested at 750 gallons-per-minute.

The Artists

Jerry Burchfield • 714.292.6170 •
Mark Chamberlain • 949.697.5237 •
Jacques Garnier • 714.402.0308 •
Rob Johnson • 714.310.4816 •
Douglas McCulloh • 323.309.8076 •
Clayton Spada • 714.306.5868 •


The World’s Largest Photograph—Questions of Meaning

“The photograph is not a picture of something, but is an object about something,” states influential Southern California artist and longtime UCLA professor Robert Heinecken.

What the Great Picture is “about” has proven to be a controversial question. From the time it was created, the Great Picture has generated discussion—even lively debate—with respect to what it signifies.

“The photograph, as it stands alone, presents merely the ‘possibility’ of meaning,” states Allan Sekula, Southern California photographer and theorist. Only when a photograph becomes embedded in a concrete discourse, emphasizes Sekula, does it generate a set of messages and meanings. For the Great Picture, this is the key issue. Otherwise, the photograph remains merely an awesome oddity—a really, really big photograph with a painterly landscape image of a military base.

In point of fact, the lively discourse about the Great Picture’s significance is a sign that this singular photograph has importance beyond just its unprecedented scale, strange beauty, and popular appeal. The Great Picture is a rarity: an exceptional image that strikes a chord with the public and that also has been quickly recognized as a photo history landmark by critics. Importantly, the Great Picture remains open to a wide range of possible readings. Photographers, artists, critics, and the general public are invited to come see this exceptional image and form their own ideas about its significance.

Here are some of the ideas most forcefully put forth about the Great Picture in the ten months since its development in a darkened Southern California jet hanger.

• The Great Picture—the ultimate traditional gelatin-silver black-and-white photograph—not only operates at the heart of the 168-year tradition of film-based photography, but in fact signals a coming Renaissance of film-based photography.

• The Great Picture encapsulates the history of vision machines and is a crystalline example of their power in modern society. The Great Picture was made using the oldest of image technologies—a lens-less pinhole camera obscura, discovered by the Chinese and noted by Aristotle. But the image metamorphosed into digital guises immediately. Intense media coverage and hundreds of involved image-makers spread The Great Picture around the globe in pixel form within minutes of completion.

• The Great Picture is a marker of decisive change as the 168-year film/chemistry dominance of photography gives way to the digital era. The scale of the undertaking and of the image reinforce The Great Picture’s position as a milestone that acknowledges the past while signaling photography’s move away from film and into pixels.

• The Great Picture operates across the rupture between painting and photography. The hand-applied photosensitive emulsion and hand-processed quality bring the image full-circle back to photography’s earliest technologies, while creating an object that is half painting, half photographic image. In both concept and appearance, The Great Picture bridges the gap between the painting and photography.

• The Great Picture portrays the heart of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, thus engaging with U.S. military history and memorializing the most contentious land use fight in Southern California history—the battle over whether to make the base into an international airport or a giant metropolitan park.

• The Great Picture is an object made for the least complicated of reasons—the possibility was there. A group of artists found themselves with the opportunity to climb what looked to be a very large and interesting mountain, so they set out on the journey. All other considerations—the deep implication of both digital and traditional technologies, the employment of a pinhole camera obscura, the hand-painting of the photosensitive emulsion—were merely attempts to find the clearest path up the mountain.

Despite much discussion and mailboxes jammed with e-mail, the six makers of the Great Picture themselves have reached no consensus on meaning. This is hardly a surprise. It’s a commonplace that if you lined up all the artists in the world end-to-end, you would still never reach a conclusion.

So once again, you are invited to come see the largest photograph ever made, and follow Robert Heinecken’s injunction to join the discussion over what this picture is “about.”


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Fall PHOTO-EYE BOOKLIST On Stands and On-Line Now!

The Fall 2007 Issue of the Photo-Eye Booklist is out! You can view/purchase online by clicking here.

Here’s Darius Hime’ LETTER FROM THE EDITOR which will give you an overview of this issue’s offerings:

Truly it is easier to “speculate” about what Aristotle thought, even if such speculation must be supported by the most careful adduction of evidences, than it is to speculate, as Aristotle did, about the nature of things. –Mortimer Adler

To speculate about the nature of things, as the everyman philosopher Mortimer Adler encouraged in the short, lucid essay “Docility and History,” (The Commonweal, April 26, 1940) is to engage in philosophy rather than historical scholarship. And much of the history of the 20th century has been a battle zone of contention as to the value of such speculation based on the open doubting of the possibility of knowing the nature of things.

Photography too has played its role in this philosophical tug-of-war. The unquestioned veracity of photographic images and their ability to shed light on both delightful and dire worldly circumstances is a thread that has remained unbroken since the beginning of the medium. Reflected light forever captured on light sensitive materials has the ability to tell something of the “world out there.” Photojournalists from whatever age—starting with Roger Fenton and leading directly to James Nachtwey and younger practitioners like Cuny Janssen and Aaron Huey—have rested entire careers on this fundamental fact. But the amount of “truth” that an image can portray, and how easily that truth can be manipulated to the point of presenting entire falsehoods under a truthful guise, is a big part of the last 40 years of art and image making. The work of Cindy Sherman, Nikki S. Lee and the playful Joan Fontcuberta immediately comes to mind in this context.

In between these two points lies the rich diversity of artists using the photographic medium (in all of its historical variety).

The issue you hold in your hands celebrates that diversity. In our cover story, Richard Woodward has a conversation with British photographer Paul Graham about his newest project, a set of small books inspired by Chekhov short stories. Jen Bekman interviews the uneasy and very occasional fashion photographer Alec Soth on his new project from the Paris office of Magnum, Fashion Magazine: Paris Minnesota. Mary Anne Redding interviews the influential and enigmatic Lucy Lippard, and Avis Cardella, happily ensconced in her Parisian home, inaugurates a new column entitled “Roving Eye”.

We hope you enjoy this issue.


In our regularly featured column “PUBLISHING THE PHOTOGRAPHIC BOOK” Darius and I discuss limited edition artists books, interviewing photographers SEAN PERRY and HIROSHI WATANABE on their foray into self-publishing, and offer a listing of other artists’ websites to check out who are also self-publishing limited editioned books.

We hope you will pick up this issue (and take good care of your books!).

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MVS to lecture in Montana: Bozeman, 9/5 and Missoula, 9/10

I’m looking foreward to spending time in early September working with students at Montana State University, University of Montana and Rocky Mountain School of Photography.

When in Bozeman and Missoula I will be giving lectures on marketing photographs that are open to the public on the following dates:

WEDNESDAY, September 5th: 7 p.m., Cheever Hall #215, Montana State University, Bozeman

MONDAY, September 10th: 7 p.m., University Center Theater, 3rd Floor, University of Montana, Missoula

Spread the word to photographers you know in Montana!

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Registration Now Open for MVS Marketing Seminar at MCP, October 6th

Registration has now opened for my upcoming marketing seminar in Minneapolis:

“Presenting Your Work to the Fine Art Community”
Saturday, October 6th, 1-5 p.m.
Held at the Minnesota Center for Photography

In this seminar, marketing expert Mary Virginia Swanson will provide insights into the most effective avenues for introducing your work to gallery and museum professionals. She will discuss the value of the national and international juried exhibitions, as well as portfolio review events such as FotoFest, Review Santa Fe, PhotoLucida, and key European festivals, as realistic avenues to industry professionals. Important gallery trade show such as AIPAID, Photo LA and Photo Miami will be discussed from the perspective of helping artists determine which dealers will be most appropriate for their work.

Effective self-promotion materials will be shared with participants, as well as insights into conducting research toward compiling an effective mailing list. Professional practices necessary to successfully present your work will be discussed, as well as “talking points” when given the opportunity to sign with a gallery for representation.

Each participant will receive a copy of Ms. Swanson’s book, The Business of Photography: Principles and Practices (2007) as the seminar workbook.”

Click here for more information on the 1/2 day seminar.

Fee: $55 for full time students, $60 for MCP Members, and $75 for all others.

To register, contact my Administrative Assistant, Beth Ledner at (520) 742 6311.
I hope to see you there!

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MacArthur Foundation Announces New Digital Media and Learning Competition

From The Foundation Center‘s informative RFP emails:

Deadline: October 15, 2007

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced a public competition that will award a total of $2 million in funding to emerging leaders, communicators, and innovators shaping the field of digital media and learning.

The competition is part of MacArthur’s $50 million Digital Media and Learning initiative ( that aims to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life.

Awards will be given in two categories:

1) Innovation Awards of $250,000 or $100,000 each will support learning entrepreneurs and builders of new digital environments for informal learning;


2) Knowledge Networking Awards, carrying a $30,000 base award and up to $75,000, will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating, or translating new ideas around digital media and learning.

As part of their prize, awardees will receive special consultation on everything from technology development to management training.

Winners will be invited to showcase their work at a conference that will include venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, educators, and policy makers seeking the best ideas about digital learning.

The open competition will be administered by HASTAC (the
Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), a consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, social scientists, and engineers committed to new forms of collaboration for thinking, teaching, and research across communities and disciplines fostered by creative uses of technology.

Detailed information on the competition is available online at the program’s Web site.

RFP Link:

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“REAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD” Deadline September 1, 2007

I just learned about this from Craig Barber:

“An ING Real Estate Initiative” Coordinated by ArtAsiaPacific Magazine.

The REAL Photography Award is a new and exclusive photography award created by ING Real Estate to promote international contemporary photography. Presented every two years, the final call for entries is open through September 1 for this year’s themes: Nature, Development and Architecture.

The prize money of EUR 50,000, will be awarded by a jury that will consider only works that have been submitted for review. Nationality, gender or earlier productions made by the applying artists will not be considered. The 30 best photographers will be nominated and offered an exclusive exhibition. All works displayed will be published in a catalog.

Artists are invited to submit one participating photograph and two supporting photographs. The photographs are required to have been taken within the last two years, in order to reflect current contemporary photography.

Please read the conditions and guidelines of the application form carefully and send the completed application form and CD Rom before 1 September 2007 to:

The REAL Photography Award
Attn Art Management
Location HG 98.00
P.O. Box 1800
1000 BV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

For further information about this and other events, please visit: 

Or write to us at:
245 Eighth Avenue #247
New York, NY, 10011
T 212 255 6003
F 212 255 6004”

As always, be sure to carefully read all Terms and Conditions relating to entering competitions.

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MVS Client Websites now posted on

I’ve recently added a link called CLIENT WEBSITES to my website that allows one to view the websites of photographers with whom I’ve worked as a consultant. You can search alphabetically via the first letter of the first of last name. Just shy of 400 sites are posted now and more added frequently – I hope this will be a great way for you to view new work. Enjoy!

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NINA BERMAN: Artist Talk & Book Signing at Jen Bekman Gallery 8/29/07

Photographer Nina Berman’s important project PURPLE HEARTS is on view at the Jen Bekman Gallery in NYC through August 30th.

Today’s NYT Online features this article on the show.

Nina will be giving a gallery talk and signing copies of her book on Wednesday, August 29th from 6-8 p.m.

From the gallery’s website:

“Join us at the gallery on Wednesday August 29th, from 6pm-8pm, at a reception and artist talk with Nina Berman. Nina will also be signing copies of her monograph Purple Hearts, which can be purchased for $25.

Space is extremely limited so an RSVP is required: send an email to if you’d like to attend and/or reserve a copy of the book.

Jen Bekman Gallery
6 Spring Street
(between Elizabeth + Bowery)
New York, NY 10012

Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday: Noon to 6pm”

Click here to read the press release and learn more about the exhibition.

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Griffin Museum: Opening Reception for 13th Annual Juried Show This THURSDAY August 23rd

The Griffin Museum is hosting a reception for the 13th Griffin Museum Juried Show this coming Thursday, August 23rd.

The Juror was Brian Clamp of Clampart Gallery in NYC.

Click here to view a full list of artists accepted into the show.

At 6:15 there will be pre-opening gallery talk with the show’s winning photographers:
Nicholas Fedak II, Amy Stein, Shen Wei and David Wolf.

The reception will follow this discussion with the artists.
On the website, an RSVP is requested to:

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MACEDITIONRADIO.COM: New Audio Interviews now Available

Harris Fogel of has posted an interview he conducted with me when at we were both Reviewers at PhotoLucida in Portland this past April.

From the website:
“Photography Consultant Mary Virginia Swanson On The Portfolio Review Process and More From One of the Most Respected Voices In The Photo Community – Photo Lucida Conference, Portland, Oregon 2007
Mary Virginia Swanson is one of the most respected voices in the photographic community, bringing a wide-range of experiences ranging from museum, editorial, fine-art, and more coupled with a committed passion for education and the expansion of the photographic aesthetic. In this extended conversation we discuss the rise of portfolio reviews, the status of photographic book publishing, and her own career in photography. If you are serious about your photography, then listen in as Mary Virginia Swanson elucidates her view of contemporary photography and how to succeed in meeting the goals you set for your work. Recorded at the Photo Lucida Conference in Portland, Oregon in April 2007 by Harris Fogel. Posted 8/4/07 (32:51)”

Click here to find a full list of Harris’ interviews with industry leaders, from Photolucida, the National SPE Conference, PMA, PPE and more.

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