4/30/09

RVB/CLINIC

© Peter Granser

© Stefan Ruiz

© Eric Baudelaire

© Geoffroy de Boismenu

I spent a better part of my morning looking at RVB's CLINIC--the first project developed by RVB, CLINIC "aims to explore the aesthetics of the medical universe through contemporary photography. Going beyond photojournalism, twelve photographers have confronted their unique perspectives regarding the multiple facets of this theme. Partly created through artist residency programs in hospitals, their works deliver an intimate vision of these spaces and their inhabitants." There is some truly stunning work (particularly in the simultaneously beautiful and horrifying series by Geoffroy de Boismenu) and the site is impressively designed. They also have a book for sale which you can purchase here. Be sure to check it out.

Humble Arts Foundation needs your help

© Sarah Wilmer
© Allison Grant

I received this email from Humble today; they're looking for donations as well as offering some discounts on works for sale. (If I had any money I'd buy the two photographs above.) Here are the details:

The current state of the economy has made it almost impossible for Humble to continue to support emerging art photographers. Like many businesses and arts organizations, our 2009/10 exhibition schedule, twice-annual artist grant, online shows and future projects are all in jeopardy of being severely modified or cut completely. You can help us prevent this.

Humble Arts Foundation launched its first project, group show, on March 3, 2006. Since then, through our various projects, we have shown more than 1,000 new works, significantly higher than any other emerging fine art institution. Our projects have been referenced by artworld professionals, and have helped many photographers gain opportunities outside of Humble.

We need you to help us continue this work.

Over 7,000 people will receive this email. If only half donated just $15 (the cost of dinner or a couple of beers), then Humble would have enough funds to continue supporting and exhibiting the work of emerging art photographers through 2012.

Donors will have their name listed on Humble’s new site, launching Fall 2009.

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A $15 OR MORE DONATION TODAY

If you would like something in exchange for your patronage, we are putting our Limited Edition Prints and The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography on sale. Please see details below.

30% off Limited Edition Prints
To help raise additional funds, we are having a 30% Spring Limited Edition Print sale.
Use this code: HAF30

This sale does not apply to the Richard Renaldi limited edition print.

The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography
The Collector’s Guide is on sale at 50% off. Buy it today for $24.97.

With your help, Humble can survive the recession and continue working to advance the careers of emerging art photographers.

Thank you for reading, and please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

All the best,

amani olu and Jon Feinstein
Co-Founders
Humble Arts Foundation
hafny.org

4/28/09

Exploitation


In photographing Edie and June I find myself being very aware of a strong protective instinct in regard to how I choose to show their bodies. While I do have images that are more explicit (for lack of a better term) I feel the need to keep them to myself, to not publish them for the world to see. It's not because I personally am modest--when it comes to myself I'm quite open, and spent the better part of my college photo years taking nude self-portraits that featured me and my two female roommates, as did they. I'm comfortable with my body, and want my girls to feel the same freedom in their skin that I do. But when it comes to my work with the kids, I shy away from a certain rawness, as I've mentioned before. Often I find that even when I'm not conscious of it, the pictures I've taken of Edie or June naked have them posed in just the right way so that not too much is revealed.

I find that much of my unease is due to open nature of the web--I have no control over who views my work, and as much as I'd like to think that anyone who looks at my photographs is artistically minded and will see the images for their conceptual value, well, you never know. Is this a hindrance? These thoughts of shadowy figures in front of their computers? Is it because I was brought up with a hyped-up sense of "appropriate" and "inappropriate," which through photographing my own body I was trying to break away from, but now that I have children am more sensitive to, for better or worse?

It's something I grapple with. I think about Sally Mann, who made her work pre-internet age, and I wonder if she would have felt as free to create the work she did if her images had been all over the web. Was there a mantle of safety because her photographs had to be more sought out? Or was it something she was also aware of, consciously deciding to break away from her fears in order to represent the beauty of her children as she saw fit? And certainly there are artists today who are making work that pushes these boundaries, most notably Tierney Gearon and Elinor Carucci.

A few months ago James and I watched the documentary on Gearon called The Mother Project; in the film she expresses frustration with a friend who claims that she is exploiting her mother, who is mentally ill. Gearon denies the accusation of exploitation, and in watching the movie it's a tricky question. Her mother has a fragile touch with reality, and is quite childlike, but I also felt that Gearon really understood her, and was amazingly able to relate to her on her own terms, while also processing the recognition that as a child she had suffered because of her mother's illness. As far as her children are concerned, in the images they are often visual stand-ins for Gearon herself, and I felt she was working through her own abandonment issues through the act of photographing and creating with her children in the mix.

Is this "exploitative"? I don't know. But I wonder if it matters. No parent raises their children perfectly, and in some ways I think that her kids will grow up with a richer sense of experience. Maybe watching the interaction between their grandmother and mother, and being so firmly part of the artistic process, will be something that allows them to see the world not as black and white but as the strangely beautiful place that it is.

It seems trendy in the media these days to talk about helicopter parents and overprotection, and not as a good thing, which in general I find welcome. And I don't consider myself to be one of the overprotective mothers--I subscribe to the philosophy that children need a ton of affection and love, but that they're also quite resilient and can figure some things out for themselves. When it comes to my pictures however there is a certain mother-bear instinct that is being triggered, and while I can embrace the work of Gearon and Carucci and find it brilliant and stunning, I don't know if I'm personally capable of going as far as they have.

In many respects I suppose it's because my work in general is about something different than theirs--less about the blatant rawness and physicality of children's bodies and the turmoil of parenthood, and more about the subtle tumult--a sense of it being fleeting, or coursing beneath the surface. I suppose in some ways it's a good exercise to compare my work to that of others who push different sorts of boundaries, to see whether it would be relevant or not to explore the same concepts in my own image-making.

4/22/09

Colin Pantall's "How not to Photograph"

© Colin Pantall

© Elizabeth Fleming, Dust bunny, 2001 and Dust bunny, 2007

Colin Pantall has been impressively keeping up with his "How not to Photograph" posts. Today's, "Hasn't She Grown Part 1" and "Hasn't She Grown Part 2" of course struck my fancy because they're about taking pictures of children. Part 1 is the cynical (and quite funny) version, part 2 is much more hopeful. Definitely worth a read, and you'll then understand why I decided to put my dust bunny photographs up as illustrations.

4/17/09

James Worrell


© James Worrell

Congratulations to my über-talented husband James--two of his images were selected for inclusion in AP25! The also über-talented (and all-around lovely) Amy Chin was the stylist for this shoot. I must say, the smell of nail polish in the studio was pretty potent afterwards...The other good news is that James has just been signed on by Faucher Artists/Mari Faucher, who represent the likes of Bob Hiemstra, Thibault Jeanson, Alexandra Rowley, Victor Schrager and Evan Sklar. I'm a proud wife indeed.

4/15/09

Happy birthday, Tethered

Happy birthday to my blog--it's hard to believe an entire year has passed since its inception. Over the last 365 days I've written about rejection, successes, motherhood, family, the work of others, doubt, love of creativity, dead hermit crabs, happy accidents, and a slew of other topics. I still feel like things are evolving--there have been lulls, and periods of productivity, and maybe someday this blog will help me discover some sort of pattern to my creative highs and lows. For now I'm continually grateful to those of you who have read my words, looked at my images, commented, and lent your support. In that first post back on April 15th 2008 I asked you to "be gentle on me," and you more than have, so a big thank you for visiting, I hope you'll stick with me in the year ahead.

4/11/09

The Straightener

by Billy Collins

Even as a boy I was a straightener.
On a long table near my window
I kept a lantern, a spyglass, and my tomahawk.

Never tomahawk, lantern, and spyglass.
Always lantern, spyglass, tomahawk.

You could never tell when you would need them,
but that was the order you would need them in.

On my desk: pencils at attention in a cup,
foreign coins stacked by size,

a photograph of my parents facing me,
and under the blotter with its leather corners,
a note from a girl I was fond of.

These days, it's the cans of soup in the pantry—
no, not alphabetical, it's not like that—
just stacked in a pyramid beside
the white candles lying in rows like logs of wax.

And if I can avoid phoning my talkative aunt
on her eighty-something birthday,
or doing my taxes

I will measure with a ruler the space
between the comb and the brush on the dresser,
the distance between shakers of salt and pepper.

And I will devote as much time as it takes
to line up my shoes in the closet,
pair by pair, in chronological order

or according to my degree of affection for them
if I can put off having to tell you, dear,
what I really think and what I now must do.

4/9/09

Hot air balloons

This is starting to get creepy. I know generally it's boring to hear about people's dreams, but the coincidence seemed like something that might turn into a visual study, so here we are...About a month or two ago I had a number of dreams involving hot air balloons; I'd never dreamed of them before that I can recall, but there they were. And suddenly, they began turning up everywhere in my waking life: In an article about Ian McEwan (I subsequently went out and read Enduring Love); in a postcard sent by my mother-in-law from Arizona; in a drawing by Christine Serchia who left a comment on Tethered; in an email sent to me about artist Cecily Barth Firestein; in a cartoon from this week's New Yorker; in a post by my friend George yesterday ("I wish I could tell you where this hot air balloon was taking us"); as a clay brooch featured on Design is Mine; and today in a post by Ian Aleksander Adams about false memories, where the memory created was all about riding in a hot air balloon, see the full article here. A bit unsettling as just last night I was wondering if all of this had to do with a childhood experience--my grandfather owned a hot air balloon in Iowa and I was going to ride in it when I was about four, but the sound and the fire scared me so much that I started screaming and refused to get on. What does this all mean? Who knows. But I find that my dreams in general lately seem to have something symbolic in them that then shows up in some visual form the next day or a few days after. I'm keeping a list.

4/7/09

Don't you wish you were this cool...

...when you were 12?

Foto8 Summer Show

Just found out submissions are now open for the second annual Foto8 Award and Summer Show. Winners will be exhibited in London’s HOST gallery and the "Best in Show" winner will receive £1500 (money is always a plus). The deadline is June 1st, get all the details here.

4/6/09

Anastasia Cazabon



©Anastasia Cazabon

I've been interested in Anastasia Cazabon's work for a while now, and feel that it's reached a new level with what I believe is her most recent series, From the Secret World. I'm dealing with a sick kid today so don't have the brain capacity to write more about my thoughts on her imagery and symbolism, but take a look for yourself and leave comments if you have any thoughts of your own. See the rest of her work here.

4/5/09

Twitterrific

The words "tweet" "tweeted" "twittered" and so on seem to function as wonderful euphemisms, as it were--insert any variation into a sentence as a way for hilarity to ensue. ("Excuse me, I tweeted" and "I have the tweets" were part of a recent thread on my Facebook profile; thanks to James and Heather for the laughs.) But despite the ridiculousness of Twitter's various permutations, I too have jumped on the bandwagon. I don't know what came over me, it was a weak moment. But I must say it has been an enjoyable means of pointing to links I like without having to write an entire post for them, and to generally attempt to be short and pithy. Follow me at http://twitter.com/tethered. Look at the list of who I'm following (54 and counting) for some more good tweets. That's not what it sounded like...

4/2/09

Tim Carpenter

©Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter sent me this great image of his nieces from some portrait work he's been doing--the crocs and stuffed animals are perfect. He's also offered up some good book suggestions, pointing me toward Alice Munro (which I mentioned before in my post Serendipity); next up Marilynne Robinson and David Foster Wallace (though he told me not to start with Infinite Jest--considering it's 1079 pages with footnotes I'm thankful he steered me away to other work which I won't need as much unbroken mental attention to get through).

Spring-->Summer

One from the archives--Spring is finally really showing its face today. I'm not longing for Summer yet, but I really am impatient to see some real leaves on the trees and thicker growth on the ground. Soon, very soon...Practicing my deep breathing so I don't miss this beautiful day longing for an even more beautiful day in the near future.

4/1/09

New York Photo Festival coming soon

Apache sign © Seba Kurtis, from Home For Good curated by Jon Levy- Foto 8
Untitled 2003 © Manolis Baboussis, from All Over The Place! curated by William A. Ewing

The New York Photo Festival/NYPH '09 is coming to DUMBO for its second year, from May 13-17th. I managed to miss the entire thing last time around due to sick kids, sick self and the like, but I plan to get to the happenings for 2009 if I have to drag myself there. Once again there will be opportunities for photographers to submit work to The New York Photo Awards, a great way to gain exposure; submissions are now open, see all of the details here.

From the press release: "The New York Photo Festival’s debut run in 2008 answered critics’ lament that the world’s capital of photography could never compile a festival of its own. It also affirmatively resolved the quandary of whether contemporary photography could ever stand on its own, apart and distinct from its historical antecedents of greatest hits and exotic depiction."

The buzz last year was due to this being--incredibly--the first international-level festival of photography to be based in the U.S. There was a lot of energy and excitement around the entire scene, and it felt as if it was a grand experiment, one that thankfully had a successful outcome, allowing it to be even bigger and better this go-around. The main pavilions for 2009 will house exhibitions put together by four main curators: William A. Ewing, Chris Boot, Jody Quon and Jon Levy; see more details here.

There will also be satellite shows, special selections, workshops, and, new this time, a portfolio review. But perhaps most interestingly for us photo bloggers is a panel talk happening at St. Ann's Warehouse entitled “Blogging and The Photographic Community” which will take place on Friday May 15 at 11:00am. Well-known bloggers Joerg Colberg, Andrew Hetherington, Cara Phillips, Laurel Ptak, and Brian Ulrich will be speaking, which should make it a great event.

There's plenty to see and take in so be sure to browse the NYPH website for more on the multitude of events and activities.

Exposure: The 14th Annual PRC Juried Exhibition

© Lydia Panas
© Phil Jung
© Betsy Schneider
© Betsy Schneider

I'm very happy to announce that my work has been accepted into EXPOSURE, The Photographic Resource Center's 14th Annual Juried Exhibition; the guest juror was Russell Hart, Executive Editor of American Photo magazine. The opening will be on May 21st from 5:30-7:30pm and the show runs until June 28th. Very interesting to see that three of the other artists chosen (Brad Moore, Lydia Panas and Betsy Schneider) were also winners in Center's Singular Image competition. Here are the other photographers, a big congratulations to all:

Rick Ashley
Allen Bryan
Anastasia Cazabon
Elizabeth Fleming
Joseph O. Holmes
Phil Jung
Beth Lilly
Carolyn V. Marsden
Sarah A. Martin
Brad Moore
Lydia Panas
Betsy Schneider
Louisa Marie Summer
Kevin Van Aelst