Tar Magazine

I just received a press release for a new magazine called tar magazine. According to the information included, tar magazine is a new bi-annual title from BlackBook magazine founder Evanly Schindler dealing with “Art, fashion, culture & social consciousness.”

Contributors include Naomi Wolf, Christiane Amanpour, Matthew Barney, Terry Richardson, Juergen Teller and Ryan McGinley. Plus, the first issue features photos of Benicio del Toro photographed by Julian Schnabel. All this info is from the press release. The website is under construction, but they have contact info listed there.

Women In Photography International
2008 Juried Competition

"WIPI 2008 Competition" is open to all photographers and will be juried by an accomplished panel of professionals. The top 10 winning images with BIO clips as well as 25 honorable mention images will be showcased on http://www.womeninphotography.org. DEADLINE is Nov. 1, 2008.

Ron Jude Exhibition with Humble Arts Foundation

If you have been following my blog, you may know that I have done two features with photographer Ron Jude--one about his publishing imprint A-Jump Books and an on-press story about his book titled Other Nature soon to be release with publisher The Ice Plant. Ron just emailed me the link to an exhibition with Humble Arts Foundation of this work titled Alpine Star. The site also has a conversation with Ron about the project if you want to learn even more.


Interview with Taj Forer and Michael Itkoff of Daylight Magazine

Taj Forer and Michael Itkoff are the co-founding editors of Daylight Magazine which launched the Debut Issue in March 2004 with the work of Sara Gomez, Tom Rankin, Alec Soth, Jen Szymaszek. They have followed with themed issues on Iraq, Sustainability, Israel/Palestine, and the current issue on Agriculture. In addition to being magazine editors, Forer and Itkoff have both published monographs with Charta. Threefold Sun, Forer's book is on Waldorf communities in the United States and has a enlightening essay on these communities and its founder, Rudolph Steiner, by Carol Mavor. Michael Itkoff's book, Street Portraits, with faces from London, Sydney, Hanoi, Bangkok, and New York is due in the US in February. Here Forer and Itkoff discuss the publication of the magazine and not-for-profit organization, Daylight Community Arts Foundation.

MM: What is the mission of Daylight Magazine? How has this mission evolved from the first program/issue into the multimedia organization that Daylight Magazine has become?

TF/MI: Founded in 2003, Daylight Magazine is the biannual printed publication of Daylight Community Arts Foundation (DCAF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the use of photography as a tool for effecting social change. By reimagining the documentary mode through collaboration with established and emerging artists, scholars and journalists, Daylight Magazine has become one of the premier showcases for contemporary photography. Recently DCAF launched Fundacion Imaginer (www.fundacionimaginer.org) based in Panama City, Panama which is dedicated to promoting contemporary art and photography from Latin America.

In addition to publishing Daylight Magazine, DCAF seeks to help underrepresented communities share their stories by distributing cameras, establishing darkroom and digital imaging facilities, administering photographic workshops, and curating local and traveling exhibitions. Ultimately, DCAF’s goal is to provide these communities with access to the resources and equipment necessary to participate in the global visual dialogue.

We invite interested individuals to initiate and manage self-representative photography projects using Daylight Community Arts Foundation as an umbrella to apply for funding. By working with photographers all over the world we have built a network of successful satellite projects. Join us!

MM: What are your roles in the organization?

TF/MI: We are co-founding editors and make all of the decisions regarding the overall "big picture" trajectory of Daylight and its many programs. A dedicated team of volunteer staff members allow for our organization to work towards and attain the goals that we put in place.

MM: Daylight has numerous relationships with other organizations and functions as a not-for-profit organization. What is the best way you have found to receive funding for most of your projects?

TF/MI: Funding is the single most difficult obstacle for Daylight. There is no single source of funding that allows Daylight to function. Rather, Daylight's operational expenses are met through a diverse funding portfolio consisting of grants, tax-deductible donations from individuals and companies, subscription and single issue sales and advertising revenue. We are constantly applying for grants and soliciting in-kind donations - without the generosity of the supporting public and that of foundations, our work cannot happen.

MM: Daylight sponsors many programs relating to photography for rural and impoverished communities including darkroom construction in the Akwasasne Reservation and the Phillipines and camera distribution in Baghdad, La Boquilla, Colombia, Mehdiganj, India and New Orleans. How did this aspect of the organization come about and how do you choose these projects?

TF/MI: This is one of the most important aspects of what we are trying to do with Daylight. We believe that photography promotes visual dialogue. By helping to increase photographic opportunity for marginalized communities, Daylight empowers community members to participate in the ever-growing global, visual dialogue. As members of the international community, we all want to be heard; to share our needs, successes, ideas, fears, aspirations, etc. Photography is an incredibly powerful tool for this purpose and we believe that visibility within a larger global conversation is a basic right that everyone posses - unfortunately, this is often ignored. Daylight seeks to help facilitate inclusion in global dialogue via its programming.

MM: The podcasts started in 2007 seem a natural evolution from the print to digital media. To hear the earthy quality of Danny Wilcox Frazier speaking about his project on the farmlands in Driftless; the Irish brogue of John Duncan discussing the bonfires built on the occasion of the anniversary of the Protestant victory of the Catholic forces in 1690; and the youthful voice of Joseph Johnson discussing his discovery and exploration of the Megachurchs adds another dimension to the images. Why did you decide to move in this direction or did I just answer the question for you in the introduction to this question?

TF/MI: Yes you did thanks! Certainly it is a natural evolution and our desire to showcase work outpaced by our publishing schedule. It is so simple yet so profound to be guided through a portfolio by the artist her/himself. The Daylight Podcast offers an experience that, in most cases, the public is unable to have in person. How often do we find ourselves in a gallery with the artist who produced the work on exhibition? It is a real treat to have access to the artists' stories as we examine their work. Our podcasts attempt to bring this intimacy into the living room, office, studio, airplane (via the ipod), theater, gallery space; wherever the podcasts are viewed which, in this day and age, is extremely almost anywhere.

MM: Do you accept submissions for the magazine or website or proposals for projects for individuals? Do you fund any of the projects?

TF/MI: We have an open submission policy (weblinks only please). We do not fund projects but do, when appropriate, take on projects proposed to us and offer editorial / curatorial support. And, of course, we do fund the publication of works featured in print. Who does the design work for the organization? Daylight Magazine and its supporting advertising and promotional material is designed by Ursula Damm, our website is designed by Ethan Clauset, our podcasts are designed by Aaron Greenhood and Jody Sugrue.

MM: How would you recommend a photographer get funding for his or her project aside from personal funds?

TF/MI: Unfortunately this is not our area of expertise but there are a lot of private and public foundations that regularly accept funding proposals for artistic projects. Check out your local arts council or see if the university or college that you may be affiliated with has access to online grant databases. There is a lot out there, its just difficult to find...

MM: Who is your favorite photographer or one who has impacted your life and work?

MI: Joel Sternfeld, hands down. - Michael
TF: Sternfeld, hands up in praise. - Taj

MM: What blogs do you read? Magazines?
Blogs: Conscientious, Asian Photography Blog, Politico, Modern Art Notes, ArtForum Diary, Brian Ulrich's blog, Alec Soth's blog before it went away to the great sadness of the photography world...
Magazines: PDN, Source, Aperture, Blindspot, ArtForum, Art in America, Orion, The New Yorker

MM: What is your favorite book, photo or otherwise?

TF: I can't narrow this down to a single book (I assume you mean photography book) but would have to say: William Eggleston Guide (William Eggleston), American Prospects (Joel Sternfeld), Fish Story (Allan Sekula), Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Walker Evans, James Agee). I also have to say that I am influenced by much art that is produced by non-photo-based artists and need to mention: Joseph Beuys, Alfredo Jaar and Felix Gonzalez-Torres as being very important figures for me.

MI: Tough call really but I would pick Robert Frank's Americans. Also a huge fan of Misrach's Bravo 20 and other topographical projects. These days I have been quite interested in Tillman's, Etheridge and Fulford. Daniel Eldon's collected journals 'Journey is the Destination' had quite a big influence on me as well.

MM: Do you have an odd or funny photography related story to share?

TF/MI: About once a year we are able to take a small trip together to attend a photography fair or portfolio review. These journeys are great fun and always involve a bit of madness. In Paris last year Parisian friend suggested that we check out his favorite club, Club Rex while in town. Little did we know, a huge VIP party was currently underway for Paris Photos when we arrived around midnight on evening. Memories of the rest of the night are shrouded in Jager, heavy European dance beats and the blurred faces of many famous photographers...

MM: Do you have any other comments to make about your organization?

TF/MI: We are in a perpetual state of funding need. Any donations to Daylight are fully tax-deductible and we encourage anyone interested in our work to donate or spread the word to friends, family and colleagues regarding Daylight's need for in-kind donations. If we can establish just a few significant, annual corporate or private donations it would help solidify the future of our work. Also, please subscribe and the spread the word in general! :-) Thank you!


Interview with Roger Ballen Foundation

In addition the the small publisher interviews, I am pleased to offer a series of interviews with members of photographic not-for-profit organizations. The following interview is with Chief Curator of the Roger Ballen Foundation, Meredith Randall.

MM: How and why did you start the Roger Ballen Foundation? What is the mission of your foundation?

MR: Roger had been thinking for the past 5 years or so that he would like to start a photography foundation, to give back to a field that has enriched his life. The idea began becoming more concretized from the beginning of 2007 as he began to systematically meet with artists and art professionals in South Africa, discussing his idea and asking others for their opinion. During this process, I also spoke with Roger, at the end of which asked if I could come on board. To me, it sounded very exciting as there are not many art foundations in South Africa. (To my knowledge, besides the Art Galleries and Museums, there are a few residency programs, such as the Bag Factory and Nirox, the Ampersand Foundation which is a NY residency program, and then schools.)

Our mission statement is:
The Roger Ballen Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of education of photography in South Africa. RBF creates and supports programmes of the highest quality to further the understanding and appreciation of the medium. Working with artists from around the world, our program enables students and general audiences to engage with notable contemporary photographic art that would otherwise not be seen in South Africa.

MM: In the United States the government requires that you have a base fund to establish an endowments and foundations. What does it take to start a foundation in South Africa? Does what is the role of the government in this process vs. the private sector? How difficult is it to attain this status?

MR: It is not easy to set up a foundation in South Africa. The tax code is quite prohibitive on it. I will explain a little of it, but please understand, it is quite complicated, my description is very simple and I am by no means an expert on it. We spoke to a number of lawyers and tax experts before we could proceed. It was a lengthy and complex process. From my understanding, there are 2 types of trusts you can set up. One allows you to receive donations without having to pay a donations tax. The second, which is restricted to foundations involved in education, religion, security, and maybe sport (not art nor culture) allows for a certain percentage of a donation to be tax deductible. It is very difficult to obtain permission to be able to not pay VAT (14%) on goods purchased. It is very difficult to sell goods either, as the South African Revenue Service does not want unfair business competition. The trust cannot operate outside of South Africa (85% of all money spent must be spent in South Africa). All foundations must apply to the SARS for approval and ever year must submit our financial records for review.

I do not mean to be crass by only speaking about money. We are not a huge foundation. Loosing 14% of all of your expenses on taxes has a large impact on what we are able to financially able to achieve. Further, if we could receive donations and extend a tax deduction to our donors, we could increase our revenue. These are basic tools that are extended to non profits in the States.

When I first started at the Foundation, one of the questions I asked myself was why there were not more foundations of this kind in South Africa. The only answer I am able to come up with is that the tax code does not encourage them.

MM: Why did you begin with a seminar with Stephen Shore and what types of projects will you fund in the future?

MR: South Africa has some amazing local artists, from William Kentridge (film clip shown below) to David Goldblatt to top notch up and coming artists. In South Africa, one only has the opportunity to see local art. In the past 3 years or so, there have been a few shows with African artists each year. Besides this, South Africa is quite isolated, one is only able to see what is happening elsewhere by reading slightly outdated magazines journal or surfing the web.

Roger often attributes his own visual literacy to his New York childhood when he was surrounded by many of the great photographers of the day such as Cartier-Bresson, Evans, Kertesz, Steichen, Strand and Arbus. Ballen’s mother worked for the photographic Magnum Agency in New York in the 1960s and in the early 1970s opened her own photographic art gallery in the city. This experience made him appreciate the value of being exposed to world renowned photographers and instilled in him the desire to create a similar milieu for the South African artistic community.

We support bringing in top caliber artists for an exhibition and lecture series. Stephen Shore (film clip shown below), to me has been an idea artist: his work is fantastic, has had a huge impact on the trajectory of art photography and I believe his lectures will provoke an interesting debate in South Africa.

Stephen has also agreed to host a master class. We have received applications from many of the photographer lecturers from around the country. One of the exciting potentials is that the South African art community can hopefully increase their fellowship with each other.


Art for Obama

I guess I am displaying my political affiliation with this one, but ArtforObama.net is hosting a benefit auction to support, well guess who? Here is a list of many the artists who have donated work and it is quite an impressive list (a complete list, along with bios, is available on artforobama.net). Online bidding starts on October 1 so mark you calendars.

Nubar Alexanian

Uta Barth
Nina Berman
Walead Beshty
Ellen Brooks
Elinor Carucci
Eileen Cowin
Doug Dubois
Jason Evans
Wendy Ewald
Larry Fink
Harrell Fletcher
Tierney Gearon
Jim Goldberg
Frank Golke
Emmet Gowin
Katy Grannan
Sharon Harper
Todd Hido
Jeff Jacobson
Eirik Johnson
Ron Jude
Lisa Kereszi
Michael Light
David Maisel
Susan Meiselas
Richard Misrach
Cathy Opie
Shana & Robert ParkeHarrison
Laura McPhee
Carter Mull
Laurel Nakadate
Mike Slack
Alec Soth
Larry Sultan
Peter Sutherland
Hank Willis Thomas
Catherine Wagner
Jim Welling
Mark Wyse


new PDN on books

Since I am in the book world, I would pick up a copy of the new PDN titled The Book Issue from the newsstand
. But since I was one of the 30 asked for my opinion, I have to also post it here (and mail one to my parents). You have to be a subscriber to read most of the articles, but the one titles Marketing Moves That Sell Books is available at pdnonline.com. Conor Risch at PDN granted permission for me to post the interview questions with my responses, some of which were used for the final article. Here is the interview with Conor and myself.

CR: Which person or publishing company has brought out the most compelling photography books over the last one to two years?
MM: There is really no single answer for that, although I will say that some of my favorite for this year are KesselsKramer, Snoeck, Fotohof, Chris Boot, Journal, Nazraeli, Little More, Foil, and Nobody Books.

CR: What did you like about the books?
MM: I think any good book ties directly in to the publisher’s mission and focus.
KesselsKramer is playful and explores vernacular and found imagery. Snoeck, Fotohof, and Journal work with many European photographers that you might not find in the US. Foil and Little More are Japanese publishers who have produced many Rinko Kawauchi books and work with other artists that take lovely and quiet color images. Chris Boot and Nobody are both UK based. Nobody books, Stephen Gill’s imprint, currently publishes all of his own books. Each is an artist book (although mass produced) with printed cloth, designed endpapers and richly printed photos. Almost everything that Nazraeli produces is gold.

CR: in book publishing would you consider a tastemaker and/or aesthetic forerunner?
MM: J&L books, a not-for-profit based in Atlanta, and The Ice Plant, a very small publishing house out of LA, are mainstream, but underground art book publishers. There is a relationship between the two as they have published work by some of the same photographers (Jason Fulford and Mike Slack), and both also extend their catalogue to art forms other than photography. J&L published a book by Michael Northrup called Beautiful Ecstasy, it is brilliantly designed by Paul Sahre with most of the images covering both pages of the spread in full-page bleeds. Each reproduction is bisected by the gutter adding to the already rude imagery, which I would define as a sort of redneck snapshot aesthetic. These two publishers expand on the concept of photographing what you know and making quotidian and almost banal aspects of life acceptable. Mike Slack photographs the wastebasket; Edward Weston photographed the toilet, right?

CR: Which person in book publishing takes the most risks with unknown photographers?
MM: Is seems less and less likely that most publishers will take the risk. Some will only take the chance with a personal financial investment from the photographer. It seems that almost all publishers know their audience and usually play it safe when it comes to choosing titles, even not-for-profits like Aperture and J&L.

Many photographers are venturing out on their own these days. Farewell Books out of Sweden, Hassla Books in NYC and Decode Books are just a few examples of companies started by photographers to publish their own work, who have picked up other projects of interest as well.

CR: Which publishing company's sales and marketing department stands out?
MM: Steidl. They have caught on to the fact that they are producing beautiful books that often go up in value. I love almost every Steidl book we carry. I get emails frequently from them and they are very good about keeping us abreast of their new publications, of course they have the benefit of doing their own image scanning and printing at their headquarters in Göttengen, Germany.

CR: Can you think of recent examples of books that were particularly well marketed?
MM: It seemed like everywhere I looked for the past year, I saw something about An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar by Taryn Simon. The book was a staff favorite at photo-eye and has won numerous book awards including the ICP Infinity award for Publication. Simon was featured on Charlie Rose and I recently saw an article on this project in the June issue of Time. It is a perfect example of a well-produced Steidl publication with an introduction by Salman Rushdie and I am sure the exhibition at the Whitney Museum didn’t hurt.

CR: What other bookstores do you like?
MM: My favorite bookstore is a second hand bookshop called Big Star right here in Santa Fe. Other art bookstore where I spent hours are Spoonbill and Sugartown in NYC, Dashwood Books in NYC, The New Museum Store in NYC, Tattered Cover in Denver, Powell’s in Portland and Stephen Daiter’s Gallery in Chicago. Stephen has such a small book selection for sell, yet shares so much of his out-of-print collection and his love of books that I could not neglect to mention him.

CR: Who are the publicists that you think do the best job of generating book sales?
MM: Chronicle’s PR department including Patti Quill and soon to be leaving editor extraordinaire Alan Rapp were always on the ball with contacting us about their new books, even sending information on titles they think will interest us before the catalogue is published. Alan has been bringing in some outstanding photographers and pushing beyond the coffee table books of the past. Sadly, he is moving on to grad school, but the Fall season with books by David Maisel, Jo Whaley, Linda Connor and Stuart Klipper should prove to be a strong finish.

CR: Do you think photographers do enough to promote their books?
MM: Promotion and marketing can be very difficult. I get an average of five solicitations a week from photographers working on projects soon to be or already, a book. Some of the solicitations are right for us and others are not. Photographers need to do their research and find out who is the right match for them and their work, but it is also good to take some chances. It takes time and effort to write personal emails or letters and costs money to mail out the PR and review copies and then to follow up on those contacts. The expense can pay off. For example, Martine Fougeron followed up with an email and phone call about her catalogue Tête à tête. It was a perfect fit for us and we sold many copies.

Ultimately, I want to have a review copy in hand and see if I like/love the book and/or it will appeal to the photo-eye clientele.

CR: What has been your favorite photography book of the last few years?
MM: This is a tough one. In the last few years I would have to narrow it to: Bodywork by Liz Cohen (Onestar/Galerie Laurent Godin, 2007), The Memory of Pablo Escobar with text by James Mollison (Chris Boot, 2007), Bright, bright day (Photographs and essay by Andrey Tarkovsky (White Space Gallery, 2007), 3 Poems by Jim Dine and Diana Michener (Steidl/Bose Pace Gallery, 2006),
Local Studies by Joel Tettamanti, (Etc, 2006), and Carla Van De Puttelaar (Basalt Publishers &van Zoetendaal Collections, 2004).


Damien Hirst again

The British traveling exhibition, Sensation at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999-2000 brought Damien Hirst to my attention as well at the most controversial piece in the God-fearing USA The Holy Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili. I loved the overall controversy of the show and embraced Hirst's and many of the other artist's work. Now I am not so sure, I question myself whether I am just getting old or soft, but I no longer support the shark.

Here are a few links about Damien Hirst's 70 million pound day at Sotheby's in London:

From The Guardian, Thaidian News, The Economist-- this link has the photo of the shark, that sold for got 8.5 million pounds.

PhotoLucida's Critical Mass opens this week

Critical Mass is an annual juried event sponsored by Photolucida, offering an online submission and selection process. In addition to receiving tremendous artistic exposure, all entrants to Critical Mass receive the books of the CM08 book award winners once published. The aim of Critical Mass is to provide participants with career-building opportunities and to promote the best emerging and mid-career artists working today. 2008 is the fifth year of Critical Mass.

Registration opens this week and closes on October 6, 2008.


Fraction Magazine launches third issue

© John Mann

© Holly Lynton

Fraction Magazine has just launched their third issue with the work of Donna Ferrato, Bill Schwab, Holly Lynton, John Mann and Samuel Porters and a review of Bill Wood's Business by myself.


Grant for Individuals deadline September 15 for Graham Foundation

Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Reminder of Upcoming Grant Deadlines

Their mission is
to make "project-based grants to individuals and organizations and produces public programs to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society."

Inquiry Form due by September 15th.


13 Santa Fe Photographers

The curator and owner of the Santa Fe arts monthly, THE magazine, asked me to assist him in selecting 13 images from 13 photographers in Santa Fe including myself. The condition being that they worked in the photo industry and did not have gallery representation. Here is the page layout courtesy of THE. It includes the work of Jason Poole, Melanie McWhorter, Jonathan Hollingsworth, Steven Walenta, Ben Lerman, Barbara Diener, Ryan Heffernan, Anne Kelly, Inga Hendrickson, Nathan Addison, Daniel Espeset, Amber Terranova, and Eric Cousineau.