The new group show on Fraction Magazine is curated by Aline Smithson titled Fathers and Sons. This group show features the photographic work of:
Jane Fulton Alt
Mary Ellen Bartley
Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman
Susan de Witt
Gloria Baker Feinstein
N W Gibbons
Jessica Todd Harper
Nicole Jean Hill
Astrid Kruse Jensen
Mary Shannon Johnstone
Joyce P. Lopez
S. Billie Mandle
Alan M Pillar
Justin James Reed
Haley Jane Samuelson
Wei Leng Tay
Arlo Valera & Hyeyoung Kim
Ian van Coller
Beth Yarnelle Edwards
Last year, I reviewed portfolios at PhotoNOLA in New Orleans, LA. It was a great time of year to be in New Orleans. The PhotoNOLA staff and volunteers created an relaxed environment to view and show work. The artists ranged from local Louisana artists to great national and international photographers. The Photo NOLA portfolio reviews registration opens on Tuesday, September 1, 2009. There is some info below about the festival and the registration info can be found on PhotoNOLA 2009 website.
About PhotoNOLA: PhotoNOLA is an annual celebration of photography in New Orleans, coordinated by the New Orleans Photo Alliance in partnership with galleries, museums and photographers citywide. December 2009 marks the fourth annual festival. Most of the scheduled events will take place from Dec 3-13, with broad ranging photography exhibitions on display throughout the month of December. PhotoNOLA festivities will begin with a series of French Quarter openings on Dec 3. We are thrilled to be hosting our first Slideluck Potshow on Friday, Dec 4 at Studio 527. Saturday Dec 5 will be filled with educational offerings, art openings and an after party at The Big Top. The PhotoGALA Benefit Party & Auction on Thursday, Dec. 10 at the New Orleans Museum of Art is not to be missed. An Education Day on Dec 11 will feature a Blurb Self-Publishing seminar followed by a Mary Virginia Swanson lecture, and will wrap with a slideshow presentation by Lauren Greenfield, sponsored by Canon. Portfolio Reviews with a national cast of curators, editors and gallerists will take place December 12 & 13. The Saturday evening PhotoWALK featuring review participants will offer the public a peek at 60 rising photographers from across the nation. Exhibitions will feature work by Susan Burnstine, Debbie Fleming Caffery, William Greiner, David Halliday, Louviere + Vanessa, Robert Polidori, Jonathan Traviesa, Alvaro Villela, POYi’s “Visions of Excellence,” Sarah Wilson and many others. Gallery talks, art openings, workshops, book signings, lectures and panel discussions are also included in the lineup. Please join us to celebrate the art of photography, New Orleans style!
Eric Cousineau and Barbara Diener's portfolios explore the concept of home through the juxtaposition of the familiar and foreign. Cousineau's images capture the details in the home away from home of motel rooms. In these spaces, an anonymous person has imposed their notions of comfort on to the room. This pseudo-environment of the familiar is filled with lamps, beds, lounge chairs and TV, yet these spaces feel strange and vacant. Emptiness is also palpable in Barbara Diener's self-portraits posed in various familial and interrelationship roles, though the void is metaphorical. Diener portrays a character whose posture, gestures and eyes often show a person devoid of emotion, her expression as familiar yet impersonal as the floral curtains of an unoccupied motel bath as shot by Cousineau. Deiner's staged "tableaux vivants" and Cousineau's still lifes are facades of home, but each frame reflects the artificial nature of the domestic situation, an uncomfortable truth of our quotidian lives.
The photo-eye Bookstore is located at 370 Garcia Street, Santa Fe, NM and is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. For more info on the exhibition of Eric Cousineau & Barbara Diener, please email Melanie McWhorter.
Reverie & Rhapsody:
Susan kae Grant
August 28, 2009 - November 7, 2009
Reception: August 28, 2009 5-7pm
Gallery Talk with Beth Moon and Susan Burnstine
Friday, August 28, 3-4pm
Gallery Talk with Susan kae Grant and Sarah Alexander
Saturday, August 29, 2-4pm
Color Dying Light Sam Falls 9 x 12 in., saddle-stitched, 16 pages, self cover, color offset Edition of 500 ISBN 978-0-9800935-9-9 Publication date: August 2009 14 USD http://www.hasslabooks.com In the spring of Obama's first year in office I was driving Sam to an Easter service at a Mennonite church in Portland, and he described to me, in one sentence, the feeling he often hoped to convey in his work. "It's like floating in a warm bath" he said, "not having to make a decision just yet."
Last time I spoke with him, he said he wanted more abstraction. He said, "Show me anything I've never seen before." Some might take this to betray a certain cynicism or discontent with the world as it is. I would disagree. Sam's work is more hyper-real than surreal. The fantasy contained in his photographs is not a move away from reality, but closer to it. So close that recognizable forms change shape. Through the devotion of his eye we might better understand the infinite complexity of every subject which surrounds us, thus our world grows larger. This expanding universe may not always be able to make me happy, but when I look at Sam's photos, it grants me what Roland Barthes found to be one of thet most elusive sensations of all, ease.
- Joshua Willey, August, 2009
Ed Ranney and Charles Ross (creator of Star Axis) will talk about their years of collaboration around the project, Star Axis. The talk will take place at the Albuquerque Museum on Sunday, August 30 at 1pm.
The talk is part of the show "The Shape of Time: Photographs of Star Axis by Edward Ranney, 1979 – 2009" and it runs from June 28 - September 20, 2009
More details at http://www.cabq.gov/museum
About the show:
Edward Ranney has photographed the growth of the earth-sculpture Star Axis since 1979, when Charles Ross began excavation of the southern edge of Chupinas Mesa, near Las Vegas, New Mexico, for the construction of the site’s eleven story Star Tunnel. The large-format photographs Ranney has taken each year since then reveal a major site growing out of its own rubble. For Ranney, with his extensive experience photographing pre-Columbian sites of ancient America, this process might be described as a kind of visual archaeology in reverse. Inherent in a project spanning a generation are visual observations of the power of a specific site as it grows and changes over time, as well as a poetic sense of the changing shape of time itself. Here photographic documentation speaks not only of architectural construction, but also of process and duration, intuition and aspiration, and a shared desire to understand cosmic phenomena on a human scale.
The exhibition is part of Land/Art NM.
Susan S. Bank founded Sagamore Press in 2008 to publish here work titled Cuba: Campo Adentro. Here Susan discusses some of the aspects of the publishing process.
MM: What made you want to self-publish? Have you had any experiences with publishers in the past?
SB: It would be misleading to say that I set out with a desire to self-publish!
My decision to self-publish was based on ‘accepting the reality’ of what I wanted to accomplish, given the circumstances of the publishing industry.
I had used up the routes of winning book prizes, entering the Leica Book Award twice, which was a long shot: it is an international award and two books on Cuba had recently been selected. The Duke/Honickman First Book Prize was attractive and I made it to the finals twice; in 2004 and in 2006 when Robert Frank was juror with just 12 finalists. Frank awarded the prize to an outstanding portfolio by Danny Wilcox Frazier titled Driftless: Photographs from Iowa. I had sent out a marquette to about half a dozen publishers, university and commercial presses, getting the same response, that while they liked the work, they did not believe it would sell. I picked myself up and decided that I did not want to flood the market with more maquettes, (how long would that take?) and in 2007 I moved forward to self-publish. Making the decision to self-publish was a huge relief! I realized that by self-publishing I would have complete control of the process and the results. This was a position that I relished. No, I had no previous experiences with publishers. A publisher did offer to jump onboard once I had nearly completed the book but I decided that I did not want to lose control at that point.
MM: Who designed and printed the books? How many did you print?
SB: The book was designed by Jorge Moya and Nestor Gonzalez of Reynardus and Moya, a graphic design firm of New York. Ricardo Viera, my mentor, recommended that I work with Moya, who in fact had never designed a photo book before. It was a ‘dream team’ collaboration along with my printing partner, Robert Asman. Bob Tursack of Brilliant Graphics printed the book. I went for the highest quality of printing, the ‘full Monty’ as I call it, ‘my Steidl book’ (self-publishers must believe in their book!) using quadtone on premium paper printed on a Heidelberg press. When the book was chosen as one of “The Best Photography Books of the Year” PHotoEspana 2009, curators in Madrid were struck by the quality of the printing. In fact, La Fabrica, which sells only their own books, Phaidon and Steidl titles, asked to carry my book as well. I decided on a small edition of 750 copies. I had heard stories from others about the strains of distributing a self-published book, (all true!) and storage. I am fortunate in that Tursack stores my books in a climate-controlled warehouse. I have been assisted in distribution by photo-eye, Tim Whelan, Leica International and now La Fabrica. It is a good idea to talk with others who have self-published and those who have worked with commercial publishers to anticipate what to expect. My friend, Boston photographer, Stella Johnson, was an invaluable resource for me. I followed a few months behind her self-publishing her own passionate monograph Al Sol, and learned a lot of the snags and stumbling blocks to anticipate.
MM: What was the budget for the book and did you come close to this number when the project was finished? Where there any unforeseen complications with the project that you did not anticipate?
SB: I did not have a ‘budget’ per se. But costs were a consideration when I decided to make it a small book with 48 images. I took Viera’s advice to approach the book as a small museum. We (self-publishers) all seem to be reluctant to talk about the ‘real cost’ unless one feels confident they got a really good book cheaply. If I had this book printed in China or Singapore it would have cost half as much and it is very possible that I would have come out with a high quality book. I felt more comfortable having it printed close to home. Tursack and Brilliant Graphics is located in Exton PA, 19 miles from my home in Philadelphia.
MM: How would you recommend a photographer get funding for his or her project aside from personal funds? Do limited edition prints help?
SB: I cannot address if limited edition prints help. You might know that from your experience at Photo-eye. I was too impatient to get going to look for outside funding sources. I wanted to have my book on my 70th birthday. I believe that if I had taken the time to do research, I might have been able to get backing from Cuban American organizations. Because my subject is tobacco farmers, it might have been a logical move to approach Cuban cigar dealers in Canada and Europe but I dropped the ball on that idea. I admire Jonathan Moller who was able to pull together funding in small amounts from many sources, to eventually get his book. Our Culture is Our Resistance with Powerhouse. That is one approach. I admire Ernesto Bazan’s creativity in funding his epic book BazanCuba with contributions from his students. If a publisher likes your book but feels it won’t sell, don’t discount the possibility of getting their imprint and distribution if one is willing to pay the costs of book production. If one can think out of the box, anything is possible.
MM: In your personal work, are you influenced by other mediums other than photography?
SB: Not that I am aware of. I work from life . . . and not from reproductions of life.
MM: What blogs do you read? magazines?
SB: I am now browsing blogs. I follow 5B4 blog on photo books, Foto8, Visura and 100 Eyes. I subscribe to a few hard copy photo magazines. Including the old standard Aperture, as well as Russell Joslin’s Shots and Nueva Luz. I am more likely to read essays on photography. David Levi Strauss’s Between the Eyes is a favorite.
MM: What is your favorite book, photo or otherwise?
SB: Often my favorite photography book is the one I most recently acquired. Currently, I am enjoying Danny Lyon’s Memories of Myself. I do read the text in a photo book. For a long time I was not literate in photography books, purposely avoiding them so as not to be influenced by another photographer’s style. Now I have given myself permission to study them and it was especially helpful to review my small collection when I was preparing my own. Koudelka published by Aperture two years ago is a magnificent book. I am partial to Scott Peterman, his poetic study of Maine ice fishing houses, and Miguel Rio Branco: An Aperture Monograph for its violent, sensual color. There are so many more!
MM: Do you have an odd or funny photography related story?
SB: One of my favorite stories that stays with me is from my book. The essay writer and art critic/curator, Juan Antonio Molina, writes in a very complicated style. I could not find any professional translators either in Mexico or in the US, who would ‘touch’ Molina’s essay. I almost did not use it. At the 11th hour I put an ad up at the University of PA looking for editor/translator. I had one response from a PHD candidate in documentary photography who wrote me that she would be happy to give it a try but she knew just one word in Spanish….’taco’! So we gave it a go, and Denise Taynol, using two Spanish dictionaries and the help of a Spanish teacher friend, produced a brilliant translation. Denise thought like Molina. However, I will think twice in future about doing a bi-lingual book.
MM: Can you think of any mistakes made on this project or anything you would have done differently if you could do it again?
SB: Publishing Cuba: Campo Adentro went smoothly. I knew what I wanted. Looking at the book, one year after publication, there is nothing I would like to change.
MM: What are some of your future projects, photographic or book-related?
SB: I am editing my work from Havana, which spans a ten-year period. I love the process of editing. However, I know I am treading on slippery terrain here as so many photographers have ‘done’ Havana. To add something new, a new iconography, is challenging. The el campo work stands on its own and is work that very few people know of. I am also exploring projects close to home . . . somewhat of a paradox, as it appears that travel to Cuba is going to get easier by the end of this year. I would like to complete the editing of my first photo essay, the “Salisbury Beach” portfolio. I am beginning to feel that one does not have to make MORE pictures but rather to dig into what one already has.
MM: What exactly was your role, other than photographer, in the book production?
SB: This was a ‘hands-on’ project for me. I was involved with every aspect of the production. I selected the pictures and the sequencing. I worked as team player with the designers. Before we went to work, I sent them a memo with what I wanted and what I did not want. I personally oversaw all the details, including researching and selecting the paper. I like ‘details’ hence this was not difficult for me. I ‘sat’ on press. Bob Tursack, the printer, commented when we were finished that he had never worked for such a demanding photographer but it was good for him to raise the bar in his own business.
MM: Finally, you originally described Campo Adentro environment as "like walking into a diorama in a natural history museum". By identifying your relationship with these people and their locale as foreign, how do you think you were able to deal with your need to create a realistic and unromanticised view of the location? Do you feel as if you achieved this goal?
SB: There is no question that the first few trips to el campo, an ‘exotic’ shadow was hovering. I was fortunate in that I was able to go to the valley two or three times a year and to live with the campesinos in their homes. Although I was not familiar with farming life (the first two years of my life I did live on a farm but have no memory), I did feel a ‘kinship’ with the campesinos as I had grown up during tough times after the Depression and during the War. I began to imagine that they were family to me. Looking at the book as a whole, I don’t believe I romanticised poverty. It is not a book about poverty in rural Cuba but a book about relationships. (I am troubled when I see so many pictures of desperate faces of African children gazing into the photographers’ lens . . . while not intended, this represents to me a way of romanticizing poverty.) However, I concede there are some ‘romantic’ pictures in the book. For example, the opening picture of the sugar cane field represents what we might imagine this rural place to look like. I struggled with whether or not to use it then decided I needed to establish a sense of place early in the book. I also struggled with using the boy swinging on the clothesline (# 47) but saw it as a metaphor of transition, between the known and unknown, the future and the past, the beginning and the end so in that context, one could see it a ‘romantic’ picture. But I believe, overall, that by working with the simple details of daily life, I was able to create a portrait, often surreal, of the human landscape in rural Cuba grounded in a raw, yet respectful beauty.
The New Orleans Photo Alliance will award one $5000 grant annually to a photographer residing in the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Both emerging and established photographers living in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Florida are eligible to apply to the MPS Fund. The subject matter for the proposed project, however, is not limited to the Gulf Coast region. NOPA will accept grant applications through September 1, 2009 and will announce the winner during this year’s PhotoNOLA festival in December 2009. For submission guidelines and to download an application form, visit the Michael P. Smith Fund’s website at http://www.neworleansphotoalliance.org/grants/MPS_Fund/index.php.
To learn more about the New Orleans Photo Alliance, please visit our website at www.neworleansphotoalliance.org. For additional information about the Michael P. Smith Fund, please contact Lori Waselchuk at 225-907-6695 or go to www.neworleansphotoalliance.org/grants/MPS_Fund/index.php.
To live with you alone, Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee
Boots and raincoats, San Diego, California
His book of photographs titled Threefold Sun with an essay by Carol Mavor on Rudolf Steiner's philosophical movement is still available.