posts dedicated to general musings on art: theories, practices, education, exhibition and review.
posts dedicated to general musings on art: theories, practices, education, exhibition and review.
Three major photography grants have rapidly approaching deadlines in early September: burn magazine’s Emerging Photographer Fund; the First Book Prize in Photography, offered by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the Honickman Foundation in Philadelphia; and the Carmignac Foundation’s Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award.
Burn magazine—curated by Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey—has extended the deadline for their annual award to 6:00 p.m. EDT September 2, 2014. The grant supports the continuation of a personal project, whether journalistic or artistic, and is funded by anonymous donors. This year’s jurors will include The New York Times’ Lens Blog’s James Estrin and the photojournalist Donna Ferrato.
The competition is open to emerging photographers of any age, and the entry fee is $25. The major prize is $10,000; several smaller, minor prizes have been awarded in recent years. Four grants were awarded in 2013—one major to Diana Markosian for her essay ‘My Father The Stranger,’ and three minors, to Iveta Vaivode for her essay “Somewhere on Disappearing Path,” Oksana Yushko for her essay “Balaklava: The Lost History” and Maciej Pisuk for his essay “Under The Skin. Photographs From Brzeska Street.” To enter, visit burnmagazine.org.
The First Book Prize in Photography is a biennial grant offered to North American photographers who have yet to publish a book-length photo project, and “use their cameras for creative exploration” to make work that is “visually compelling, that bears witness and that has integrity of purpose.” Past judges include Robert Adams, Maria Morris Hambourg, Robert Frank, Mary Ellen Mark, William Eggleston and Deborah Willis. Past winners include Gerald H. Gaskin, for his book Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, and Jannette Williams for The Bathers.
The prize includes $3,000, publication of a photo book, inclusion in a website showcasing finalists and a solo exhibition at the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke’s Rubenstein Library. Entrants must submit 40 photos with captions, a one-page artist statement, a one-page CV and $70 by 11:59 pm, September 15.
This year, Joshua Chuang—chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona—will confer with a selection committee of accomplished photographers, editors and publishers to choose between 12 and 20 finalists, who will then be asked to submit ten sample prints by December 1, 2014. Sandra S. Philips, senior curator of photography at SFMOMA, will review the finalists, select the winner, and write the introduction to the winner’s published book. To enter, visit firstbookprizephoto.com.
The Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award is a competition begun in 2009 to support and promote investigative photography. The Carmignac Foundation hopes to bring light to areas and issues that have not yet captured the world’s attention, but are nonetheless crucial to geopolitics and global freedom of speech and human rights. This year’s theme is “Lawless Areas in France,” focusing on “political, legal or socio-economic no man’s land subject to deregulation—where the authority of the French Republic is challenged.”
Funding in-depth photographic reportage, this year’s prize includes €50,000, financing for a monograph, a touring exhibition through France, Italy, Germany and the U.K. and a guaranteed purchase of four prints by the foundation from the winning photographer. A preselection committee will shortlist between ten and 15 candidates, who will be sent to a jury that will convene in Paris on October 30. The deadline to apply is midnight, GMT, September 28, 2014; the name of the winning candidate will be kept confidential (for security reasons, according to Carmignac) until July 2015. To enter, apply online here.
Stationery brand Moleskine has created a series of notebooks for use with a Livescribe smartpen to turn notes written on the pages into digital files + slideshow.
Motion sensors in the pen record the position and movements made by the writer, which are translated into digital images of each page that can be viewed on smartphone and tablet devices.
The pen also allows the user to record audio while writing, a process that can be started, paused or stopped by tapping the pen nib on icons at the bottom left corner of the notebook pages.
In the bottom right corner are icons for starring, flagging and tagging the notes to organise them within the app.
“Far from disappearing, handwriting is developing into new forms,” said Moleskine cofounder Maria Sebregondi in a statement. “We’re creating tools and services which bridge analog and digital methods for a more seamless experience.”
The notebooks feature typical Moleskine design elements including round corners, a ribbon bookmark and elastic closure. The lined paper is ivory-coloured and acid-free.
Livescribe versions come with an expandable inner pocket containing two bookmarks printed with smartpen instructions.
The ballpoint Livescribe 3 pen writes in black ink and is charged via a Micro USB cable.
Livescribe’s Sky wifi smartpen, which syncs notes and audio with Evernote, and Echo model that uploads to a computer or laptop via wired USB connection are also compatible with the notebooks.
Drawing has seen something of a renaissance in the last twenty years in the UK. From the Campaign for Drawing to the Drawing Research Network, from the Drawing Room to the Rabley Drawing Centre, we’ve witnessed a proliferation of passion, effort and energy matched by increased museum exhibitions, dedicated degree courses, professors, publications and conferences.
All of the above have been established in pursuit of understanding, developing and promoting drawing, and many inside and outside the sector endure to evidence drawing as both the most sophisticated means of thinking and communicating, and an activity for all.
In the 1990s dedicated resources for drawing were much thinner on the ground. At Gloucestershire College of Art (now University) my team taught a structured programme that started with an intensive drawing course as the introduction to the underpinning systems and principles of visual language and painting in particular. The need for current exemplars was evident, more than anything to ensure the vitality of a student’s application and his or her practices.
The Jerwood Drawing Prize grew in the face of this need, and developed in the wake of the Cleveland International Drawing Biennale that came to an end in 1996 after 23 years, and as the successor project for the nascent Malvern Open Drawing, founded in 1991. The project was a twin-headed opportunity: to facilitate an understanding of current drawing practice; and to provide students with professional experience as part of the curriculum to organise and understand the process of an open exhibition.
Our overarching aim was to affirm the value of drawing, and the reach of the project is more tangible than we could have imagined. We have received phenomenal support from a number of funders, champions and supporters of drawing in our establishment, joining the Jerwood Charitable Foundation family of projects in 2000 and redefining our scope as UK wide.
Having collectively raised the game and placed drawing back on the agenda – in schools, universities, in teaching and research, galleries and contemporary practices – perhaps it is time to deepen, extend and further evaluate its specific function.
Drawing remains a central and pivotal activity to the work of many artists and designers – a touchstone and tool of creative exploration that informs visual discovery. It fundamentally enables the visualisation and development of perceptions and ideas. With a history as long and intensive as the history of our culture, the act of drawing remains a fundamental means to translate, document, record and analyse the worlds we inhabit. The role of drawing in education remains critical, and not just to the creative disciplines in art and design for which it is foundational.
As a primary visual language, essential for communication and expression, drawing is as important as the development of written and verbal skills. The need to understand the world through visual means would seem more acute than ever; images transcend the barriers of language, and enhance communications in an increasingly globalised world.
Alongside a need for drawing skills for those entering employment identified by a range of industries in the creative sectors – animation, architecture, design, fashion, film, theatre, performance and the communication industries – drawing is also widely used within a range of other professions as a means to develop, document, explore, explain, interrogate and plan. This includes the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine and sport.
Surely, this should affirm drawing to be an essential part of the curriculum at all levels for all subjects, and something for which a clear commitment needs to be made. If we really want to move the STEM to STEAM agenda, drawing could be the connector at the heart of it all.
Researchers are learning more about the precise ways paintings and other works of art help patients and families in the healing process. With studies showing a direct link between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, hospitals are considering and choosing artworks based on the evidence and giving it a higher priority than merely decoration for sterile rooms and corridors.
“These are not just accoutrements or aesthetics anymore,” says Lisa Harris, a nephrologist and chief executive of Eskenazi Health, affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.
With a $1.5 million budget from donors, she says, the health system commissioned 19 artists to create original works to support “the sense of optimism, vitality and energy” for the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, which opened last December. “This is right down the fairway of what we need to be doing to promote health,” Dr. Harris says.
“Paths Crossed,” by Maine artist Aaron T. Stephan, is a large, spiraling wooden sculpture composed of six intertwined ladders suspended from the ceiling in the hospital’s two-story main concourse.
To Dr. Harris, it is a visual representation of the hospital’s approach to care, with “lives intertwined as we go from health to sickness and back to health again,” she says. People have reacted differently, she notes. “Some see it as DNA, and some see it as a roller coaster.”
Anne Berry, 81, says, “It makes me think of flying.” She visits the hospital for procedures and tests such as a mammogram and always takes time to look at the artworks. She has “white coat syndrome,” which makes her nervous about going to a doctor, but she says, “I have found the art and the environment at Eskenazi makes it less stress-inducing for me.”
Close to half of hospitals have arts programs, which include art therapy classes and musical performances, according to a 2009 report from the Society for Arts in Healthcare, now known as the Arts & Health Alliance.
Permanent art displays are most prevalent, and the trend continues to grow, says Steven Libman, outgoing executive director and now a consultant for the nonprofit.
Though many hospitals are in a budget crunch, funds for art are often provided by philanthropy, or built into construction budgets of new facilities.
For help with choosing art works, consultants, hospital curators and art committees turn to studies such as those gathered in the nonprofit Center for Health Design’s “Guide to Evidence-Based Art.”
Research suggests patients are positively affected by nature themes and figurative art with unambiguous, positive faces that convey a sense of security and safety.
Some studies have found that patients are likely to respond negatively to art with negative images or icons. Abstract art also often rates low in patient preferences compared with representational art.
One 1993 study found that patients exposed to a nature image experienced less postoperative anxiety and were more likely to switch to weaker painkillers than those who viewed an abstract image or no image.
A 2011 study found that nature images helped calm restless behavior and noise levels in two Texas emergency department waiting rooms.
A 2012 review of neuroscience studies published in the Health Environments Research & Design Journal found that images of fearful or angry faces, ambiguous subject matter, high novelty and unfamiliarity, lack of realism and sharp contours elicit negative emotional responses in the brain and suggested they should be avoided.
Hospitals aren’t shying away from art whose content is open to interpretation or might make patients reflect. In the spring 2014 issue of the same journal, the Cleveland Clinic reported that patients surveyed on its contemporary collection—which includes abstract and nonrepresentational imagery by some prominent artists—reported a significant positive effect on their experience and on mood, stress, comfort and expectations.
The study suggested patients may respond positively to the diversity of the collection and to other types of art in addition to nature art.
Still, says Iva Fattorini, a dermatologist and global chairwoman of the Cleveland Clinic’s Arts & Medicine Institute, the focus is on art that is “not disturbing, but uplifting and diverse.” The aim “is to take your mind away from the disease and replace the time you are losing inside hospital with some beauty.”
Some patients in its survey reported they were motivated to get out of bed to view the artwork. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder reported the most significant positive improvement in mood.
One popular piece is ” Mike Kelley 1″ by artist Jennifer Steinkamp; an illuminated video installation of a large tree that cycles through the seasons, changing color and moving as if in a breeze.
Heather Kreinbrink says when her daughter Allison had a stroke at age 12 in 2010 and was hospitalized for a week, she and her husband, Rod, found looking at the installation outside the children’s wing provided a sense of calm amid their fear and exhaustion.
“It ended up being something we would go to every day for peace and to come to terms with what was happening,” she says.
When Allison was discharged, her parents brought her to see it. “It made me think as I saw other kids being pushed in wheelchairs by their parents, how awesome it is to be able to have something like that to take your mind of everything you are going through,” says Allison, now 16. Each year when she returns for a checkup, she poses for a picture in front of the tree.
Jeffrey Rothenberg, an obstetrician and gynecologist and chief medical officer at Indiana University Health’s University Hospital, says he learned to make glass art himself as a stress reliever. He is chairman of a public art committee for Indiana University School of Medicine’s Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute that called on artists with ties to Indiana to create works for a building devoted to vision.
“People sent in a lot of great pictures, but some of them were blurry or misty mornings”—not the best visuals, Dr. Rothenberg says, for “people getting their eyes dilated so they can’t see.”
The committee has chosen a range of works aimed at promoting healing and providing comfort, mostly purchased and some donated after the works were selected, including a glass wall sculpture and mobile by Dr. Rothenberg that he donated. Images in health-care settings shouldn’t be shocking, Dr. Rothenberg says, yet “at the same time you don’t want something so boring and generic that people walk away.”
The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., chooses art to create a “healing environment,” says Chrysanthe Yates, director of its Lyndra P. Daniel Center for Humanities in Medicine.
Despite artistic merit, not all works fit the bill. For example, the hospital passed on an option to display a show of works about the Vietnam War, “which were beautiful but very stark and for obvious reasons not appropriate,” she says.
Mayo also exhibits pieces on loan from Jacksonville’s Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. The institutions are collaborating on a program for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and their caregivers, who meet at the museum for conversations about art works as a means of soothing and relieving stress. A research study is planned to measure those effects.
When Jason Muscat proposed to his girlfriend Christina, he had a surprise planned: a flying drone. He had a hexacopter—which flies using six helicopter blades—deliver him the ring, and then, after the proposal, it launched into the air to capture pictures of the happy couple. When you see the footage, it looks like an angel is peering down on them.
The age of everyday camera drones has arrived—bringing strange new forms of photography. Camera hounds are using drones, which now cost only a few hundred dollars at RadioShack, all over the place. They’ve snapped images of models walking a Fendi catwalk, street scenes in Las Vegas, and surfers breaking waves down in Peahi, Hawaii.
And they’re causing new privacy panics. Many communities are discovering to their alarm that local police now want to snoop from the sky. And women now fret about new, sneaky forms of voyeurism, “creepshots,” from above. This summer one female beachgoer became so incensed by a man assembling his drone near the sand that she physically attacked him, grabbing his face and calling him a “pervert.”
In essence, drones are changing the face of photography—and causing big cultural upheavals. How will society change when anyone can spy from above?
We can find some clues by looking at the last great shift in photography: the rise of the personal camera and the birth of the “snapshot.” It was a moment that changed the way we recorded the world.
Photography emerged in the early 19th century, but well into the 1880s it was a difficult, ponderous thing to do. The reigning forms of photography recorded onto chemically treated plates and paper. Taking a picture required the subjects to sit still for a half minute or more—“torture,” as the social critic Walter Benjamin recalled. Families trooped into studios to get portraits taken, but they were a study in stiffness: everyone sitting ramrod straight, afraid to move—or even to change their expression—for fear of blurring the photo.
“Those pictures were, for the most part, pretty formal,” says Diane Waggoner, an associate curator of photography at the National Gallery of Art. “People didn’t smile much.” The conventions of photos were still “modeled on painted portraits.”
Things changed dramatically in 1888 when George Eastman introduced the Kodak camera. A small hand-held box, it cost only $25—about the price of a higher-end iPad in today’s money, which put it in the range of the well-off middle class. And it offered simplicity: It arrived with 100 shots preinstalled, and when they were taken you shipped the entire camera back to Eastman’s factory in Rochester, New York, where workers developed the photos and mailed them back to you along with your reloaded camera. “You press the button, we do the rest,” as the Kodak slogan rang.
Suddenly, photography became unmoored in space. People took the camera out into the sunshine—and were immediately entranced by the ability to capture lively, goofy everyday motion.
They took shots of themselves on bicycles, of jumping into the air at the beach, of children playing with pets. They attempted to capture moments of evanescent action, like a cat pouncing on a bird, or spectacular news events, like when a train accidentally busted through a wall. Humor abounded: When people posed for “snapshots”—the newfangled word—they mugged for the camera, even turning around to display their rear ends or pretending to milk horses, as Douglas Collins writes in The Story of Kodak. In a prefiguring of modern meme culture, people made visual jokes: One trend had people posing with their heads poking through holes in newspapers, punning on “breaking the news.” Others snapped pictures of themselves in the mirror, the original “selfies.”
“They were often playful,” Waggoner adds. Indeed, people rarely took pictures of anything sad. It was as if, after decades of morose stiffness, they were stretching their limbs, loose from the corset of the studio.
Part of the freedom came from surplus. When you had 100 possible snaps in your camera, each picture became less precious—so people could experiment with odd angles and ideas. “They didn’t have to treat them as special things,” Waggoner notes. Soon, they started developing new aesthetics, new photographic conventions. “That photo at a party where everybody piles into the picture? That wasn’t something you’d ever see in a studio,” says Todd Gustavson, curator of technology at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.
A game even emerged called “snapshooting,” a sort of photographic version of tag: You tried to escape while someone raced around trying to catch you on film. (A famous photo shows a laughing, 20-year-old Franklin Delano Roosevelt hiding behind a female relative as he plays the game.)
The idea that an event would be snapshotted changed people’s behavior. Brides began arranging their weddings and dinners specifically so they’d look good in the pictures. People were training themselves to see the world through the eyes of the camera.
“It was not only changing your attitude toward photography, but toward the thing itself that you were photographing,” says Brian Wallis, the chief curator at the International Center of Photography. “So you had to stage a dinner, and stage a birthday party.”
In 1900, Eastman produced the Brownie, a camera even more radically cheap—a mere $1—and marketed specifically to children. It sold so well that by 1905, fully a third of American households possessed a camera.
Not everyone was happy with the rise of the snapshot. Professional photographers were repelled by the weird, ungainly, often out-of-focus shots that amateurs produced. “Photography as a fad is well nigh on its last legs,” prayed the art photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Other pundits bemoaned “Kodak fiends,” camera obsessives who carried their device everywhere and were apparently so constantly taking pictures that they would space out and miss their trains.
The snapshot evolved, too. Eastman adroitly realized that people would take even more pictures if they were reminded of the power of photos to preserve memories. “Memory has a most aggravating way of storing up details for which we don’t care a crooked sixpence—and of dropping out of sight forever things we really want to know,” as one Kodak ad proclaimed. The 1943 edition of Eastman’s book How to Make Good Pictures encouraged parents to lifelog their children’s every step, producing “an intimate snapshot diary covering the entire period from cradle days to full manhood or womanhood.”
Edwin Land, the creator of the Polaroid in the ’40s, regarded his device as a powerful memory machine. Land envisioned that one day “you’d have a wall in your home, and you’d be snapping all day long and shooting all day long, and posting them there,” says Christopher Bonanos, author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid. “What he was imagining was a giant Facebook wall.”
The snapshot changed the power dynamics of photography. Now that people were carrying cameras around, a social conundrum emerged: What if your picture were taken without your permission—while you were out in public?
This was a new dilemma. Previously, in the age of the studio photo, “you had to sit there and pose. You not only had to give your consent, you had to cooperate a lot,” notes Ryan Calo, an assistant professor of law at the University of Washington who specializes in privacy issues. With a hand-held camera, a picture could be taken of you unawares.
“Beware the Kodak,” warned the Hartford Courant. “The sedate citizen can’t indulge in any hilariousness without incurring the risk of being caught in the act and having his photography passed among his Sunday School children.” The fear that your reputation could migrate into the ether, far beyond your control, was hatched.
Much like the woman who confronted the beach drone, those in the viewfinder responded with violence. In Britain, young men reportedly formed a “Vigilance Association”—“for the purpose of thrashing the cads with cameras who go about at seaside places taking snapshots of ladies emerging from the deep,” as a journalist wrote. In the United States, a writer described women on a train trying to smash the Kodak of an onboard voyeur and “shower the poor ‘fiend’ with sand.”
In 1890, only two years into the Kodak’s reign, two legal scholars—Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, who later sat on the Supreme Court—pondered these developments with alarm. In a law journal article, “The Right to Privacy,” they argued that technology was creating a new harm. “Instantaneous photographs and newspaper enterprise have invaded the sacred precincts of private and domestic life,” they wrote, adding that “the latest advances in photographic art have rendered it possible to take pictures surreptitiously.” They posed four new torts that could help give citizens new ways to fight for their privacy.
The article became one of the most influential in legal history; indeed, all four torts went on, amazingly, to become law in states across the country. “It’s just incredible the influence it had,” Calo marvels.
You can see a similar cultural rupture taking place with today’s drones. With their ability to “perch and stare”—hanging in the air, often quite silently—they allow for entirely new forms of voyeurism: peering into windows, over fences, or zooming above public crowds to pick out individuals. Several states have already passed laws to try to govern their use; Texas, for example, limits most civilian use of drones, with certain exemptions, including allowing real estate agents to capture snapshots of property they’re trying to sell. One Colorado town considered a measure that would allow locals to shoot drones out of the sky. As law scholar Daniel Solove—author of Understanding Privacy—argues, these sorts of laws are likely to become much-needed subjects of debate, a modern updating of Brandeis and Warren’s concerns. “We can’t let the technologies overrun us,” he says.
Yet it’s also true that like the Kodak and Brownie and Polaroid, drones are creating new aesthetics for picture-taking by everyday people—some of which are strikingly lovely and useful. Environmental advocates have found that drones are useful for monitoring the health of wildlife in remote areas, since many animals do not seem to react to flying devices. Sports buffs are using them to capture NFL-like footage of amateur games.
Once again, creative vistas are opening up. Shots that were once the province of professionals are becoming those of amateurs—and amateurs are experimenting with shots the pros never dreamed of. For good and ill, photography is being born anew.
Posted by: Deborah Block
The great news is there are many foundations, non-profits and private companies alike, who are willing to fund worthy photographers based on talent and project goals. Some offer grants for photojournalists who expose social injustices; others focus on editorial photographers who tell long-form stories.
We’ve rounded up 16 as a start to help you in your search. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to add others to the list via the comments section!
The Siskind Foundation’s Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant is awarded to artists working with photography or photo-based art. With this specific grant you must be 21 years or older and a U.S. citizen. 2013 winners include Michelle Frankfurter, Wayne Lawrence, Joshua Lutz, Justin Maxon, Jenny Riffle and Sasha Rudensky. Although the application process for 2014 is closed, you can follow up to see this year’s recipients and begin to think about submissions for the 2015 award. You can check out their submission page here.
The Alexia Foundation provides grants and scholarships to photojournalists whose mission focuses on fostering cultural understanding and exposing social injustice. The Alexia Foundation awards multiple grants including a professional and student grant and a Women’s Initiative Grant. Although the submission deadline has passed, the recipient of the 2014 Women’s Initiative Grant will be announced by September 1st, 2014. Previous winners include Sebastian Liste, Farzana Hossein and Mehran Hamrahi.
The Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Grant is provided to aid in the continuation of a photographer’s personal project, whether a documentary project or one of a more artistic aesthetic. Previous winners include Diana Markosian, Iveta Vaivode, Oksana Yushko and Maciej Pisuk. This year’s deadline is September 2nd, apply here.
The Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award is presented to photojournalists from around the world who want to pursue a long-term reportage project on a specific theme. Themes can range from focusing on an internal conflict, advocations of peace or social justice, or highlighting a gradual change within a nation. Photojournalists may only submit a portfolio highlighting their project. No written explanation is accepted as the judges believe that the images should speak for themselves.
CENTER’s Project Launch Grant is awarded to talented photographers working with a fine art series or a documentary project. The $5,000 cash award is intended to help photographers complete their respective projects and provide opportunities for professional development, press and the ability to disseminate their project. In addition to the cash award, the winner will be featured in an exhibition at the Center for Contemporary arts, receive a Lenscratch publication and more. Guy Martin was the 2014 recipient with his project titled City of Dreams. CENTER also awards a Project Development Grant, which provides financial support to fine art, documentary, or photojournalist works-in-progress. Adam Reynolds was the 2014 recipient of the grant, with his project titled Architecture of an Existential Threat. To apply for either grant, visit CENTER’s website here.
Crusade for Art is an organization that aims to inspire photographers to create new audiences who want to engage with art in a meaningful way. Their $10,000 Crusade Engagement Grant is awarded to an individual photographer or group of photographers with the most innovative plan for connecting audiences to their work. They look for projects that create a demand for photography and provide a plan to foster real connections between the photographer and the audience. Check out the Grant guidelines and FAQs here.
The Documentary Project Fund is awarded to documentary photographers who use photography as a medium for storytelling. They provide voices to impoverished and oppressed communities. The deadline for the $3,500 Emerging Vision Award and the $5,000 Established Artist Award has passed for the summer, but the program is bi-annual and the application will open up again soon. Mafalda Rakos is the March 2014 recipient of the Emerging Vision award for her vision on the issue of body image and eating disorders.
This grant, open only to photographers self-publishing on fotovisura.com, recognizes both outstanding personal projects and outstanding student projects. Judges look for photographers with powerful images and a strong dedication and commitment to their story – especially if that story is meant to affect positive change in society. The 2015 Open Call will be announced later this summer, but you can take a look at the 2014 winners here.
In partnership with Lean In, an organization whose mission is to empower and support women through community, education and group circles, Getty Images has opted to provide a $10,000 grant to a photographer whose work depicts a story of women or girls achieving their goals within their communities or personal lives. The 2013 winner was Matt Eich, for his project titled Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town. While the submission deadline for the 2014 grant has passed, the application will re-open next Spring and winners are announced every September.
Established by the members of Magnum Photos, the annual Inge Morath award is presented to a female photographer under thirty who shows exemplary prowess in the documentary photography field. The award is a means to fund a long term documentary project and is awarded each July. This July, Shannon Jansen, who won for her project titled A Long Walk. The project featured stunning shots of the shoes of refugees who fled the Blue Nile State to reach the border of South Sudan.
The John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award is presented annually to emerging photographers that demonstrate artistic commitment in artistic photography. The award is between $5,000-$10,000 and sometimes presented to multiple photographers. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen and nominated based on your professional accomplishments. Previous recipients include Soo Kim and Penelope Umbrico.
This grant enables documentary photographers and filmmakers to receive funding for their projects. The cash award is $5,000 for non-fiction works based on social issues such as health, poverty, oppression, war, famine or religious/political persecution. The 2014 Photography Grant recipient is Mohamed Ali Eddin, a freelance Cairo-based photojournalist. Eddin’s project, Life of Quarry Workers focused on worker exploitation in the Minya governorate in northern Egypt. Details on the application process can be found here.
The National Geographic Young Explorers Grant is unique program that provides between $2,000 and $5,000, to adventure, ancient world, animal, environment, society and culture, and space photographers. To be eligible, you must be between 18 and 25 with the desire to pursue research, conservation and exploration-based projects. There are several programs, such as the Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE), the Expeditions Council (EC), and the Conservation Trust (CT). Each program has a separate application process and awards separate grants. Application details can be found here.
The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) hosts an annual competition to provide grants to photographers, editors or online photojournalists. This contest explores all dimensions of photojournalism, from still photographs to video, multimedia and photo/video editing. Each category is presented with a separate award. The categories include contemporary issues, environment, feature, international news, portrait and personality and more. To enter, you must register here.
Awarding grants to both individuals and organizations, Open Society’s Documentary Photography Project supports photography to mobilize people around issues of justice and human rights. In contrast to many photography funders, they offer support of projects beyond documentary photography and encourage projects also around civic engagement, education, media attention, advocacy and reform. Check out their schedule for upcoming entry deadlines.
The W. Eugene Smith Grant is awarded in honor of the late prolific photo essayist, Eugene Smith. The award is to recognize exemplary talent and vision in documentary photography that highlights the human condition. The 2013 recipient was Robin Hammond, a New Zealand-based freelance photojournalist. Hammond is a consistent contributor to National Geographic, Time Magazine, NYT and Polka Magazine.
Although photography has the capacity to expose, persuade and move masses, the cost to make an impact can be high. These grants provide opportunities for photographers to not only get their work done but achieve their project goals without the concern of financial implications. Remember, there are also many crowdfunding opportunities to help cover the cost of your project including Kickstarter, gofundme, indiegogo, and rockethub.
By Archie Bland for http://www.independent.co.uk
How long do you need to look at a painting to really appreciate it? There are many answers to this question. As long as you like, is one. Longer than you think, is another. The art historian James Elkins wrote that it took him about 100 hours, over three years, to learn to really see a Mondrian painting. He recounts meeting a woman who had spent an hour looking at the same Rembrandt work four times a week for at least two decades – or about 3,000 hours.
Bendor Grosvenor, who runs the influential arthistorynews blog, takes his estimate from the late Kenneth Clark, the museum director who is now best known for presenting the landmark BBC documentary series Civilisation. “Clark had a good line,” he says, “that the time it takes to look at a picture properly is roughly the time it takes to peel and eat an orange. I think that’s about right.”
There’s no right answer; but there is some evidence of what most people do in practice, much of it quoted by Elkins in a 2010 essay on the Huffington Post. In summary, if museum-goers are eating oranges, they’re eating them bloody fast. The Louvre says that the average visitor looks at the Mona Lisa for 15 seconds. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art found people looking at each work for 32.5 seconds. Another study, conducted by Rutgers University, found that the median time spent on each work was 17 seconds. On the universal fruit-attention scale, this is more like the time taken to eat a grape.
There’s another point, too: it’s not just a question of how long we attend to a painting, but of the quality of that attention. This is, of course, much harder to quantify. But there’s a common hunch afoot that over the past decade or so, this has changed radically, and for the worse.
Technology gets the blame, and you know the argument: the rise of social networks and the smartphone have made us fatally incapable of concentration, and nowadays we are more interested in telling people what we are doing than doing it.
So, we share our dinner with the internet, instead of with our date. Our novels go unfinished as we flip through finely crafted 140-character miniatures. And when we go to a gallery, we don’t look at the art: we take a selfie, with it. Even if you are left cold by art, your view of this contention matters: if it is true, then so is the broader claim that the 21st century is leaving us incapable of deep engagement with anything.
Those who fear that this is true would have been distressed, last week, to hear of a couple of radical developments at one of our greatest museums. The National Gallery was introducing WiFi throughout its public spaces, it explained, so that visitors might be better able to access information about the pictures that they see, and to “interact with us more via social media”. Because that development would necessitate the greater use of smartphones and tablets, it would become all but impossible for gallery attendants to keep track of who was looking up details of a painting and who was taking a picture of it. And so it would give up its status as a valiant defender of the gallery as a screen-free zone, and join many other museums in letting visitors snap away.
Not everyone is delighted about this. “On the one hand, museums should do everything they can to make themselves accepting and accessible,” art historian and broadcaster Dr James Fox observes via email. “On the other hand, few things irritate me more than seeing some doofus staring at a painting through his iPad in order to take a bad photo of a picture that’s been photographed much better many times before.” More worrying still is the fact that “photographing artworks more often than not comes at the expense of actually looking at them.” Fox quotes Robert Hughes’s observation that people nowadays don’t go to museums to look at artworks, but to have seen them.
The artist, writer and publisher Jasper Joffe takes a similarly trenchant view, except that to his mind the situation is so awful that a bit of photography could hardly worsen it. “I am in the final stage of grief: acceptance,” he says, also via email. “Already people go around galleries in a state of anaesthetised indifference to the objects on display. Headphones on, piping in the canned thoughts of audio guides, eyes only on the wall panels telling them what to think, so what difference will the jostling of selfie-seeking Facebookers make?”
Those involved in the National Gallery’s decision are not so pessimistic. Instead, they say, they are simply exercising their responsibility to make the collection as widely accessible as possible. “I spend a lot of time watching how people look at the art, and I don’t think I’ve seen any great change in approach,” says Dr Susan Foister, the gallery’s director of public engagement.
“Yes, you always want people to be drawn in by a single work – but we have six million visitors a year, and probably there are six million ways of looking at the art. We think it’s important to offer lots of ways in. The National Gallery has always been a public space. You have to consider that other people may not enjoy it the way you do.”
August 5, 2014
Welcome Mariana Vieira
We are pleased to welcome Mariana Vieira to CPAC as our new Education Coordinator.
Mariana has a strong background in photographic education and a deep knowledge of the Denver region’s photography community. She earned her MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and worked as Studio Coordinator of Photography and New Media at Anderson Ranch Arts Center from 2011-13. While there she taught many classes, from Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to Alternative Processes. Her personal work has been included in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally. As a member of CPAC her image of a mandala composed of assorted candy (below) was included in the 2014 Members Show, curated by Mark Sink. In September her work will be on view in Still Life, curated by Rebecca Senf, at the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins.
Mariana teaches workshops in photography and mixed media, and is an instructor at the University of Colorado at Denver. Originally from Brazil, she spent part of her life living in Central America before moving to the United States. She is a mixed-media artist living in Boulder, CO., and loves shooting medium format film cameras.
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” So said Sylvia Plath, and we have a feeling she was on to something.
So we reached out to a few artists and art professors from New York’s School of Visual Arts and asked them to let us in on some secrets to overcoming lapses in confidence and jumpstarting creativity. More specifically, we asked a group of painters, sculptors, photographers and multimedia masters to describe some art techniques that anyone — from amateurs to professionals — can do to tackle creative block.
Our friends did not disappoint. Here are 9 art techniques you can do to reignite the creative spark.
1. Paint an object from your home or office.
“The beginning draughtsman or painter should avoid drawing from photographs. This practice causes bad habits to form.
“To start, always draw from life — and not necessarily a model. Simple convex objects like apples, pots, opaque bottles, or smooth rocks or seashells are tremendous subjects of study. Training the mind to see form and understand how it sees form, and the hand to represent that understanding, is the start to gaining the visual artist’s tools of expression.”
–Daniel Maidman, artist (Image: Daniel Maidman, The Red Pipes, oil on canvas, 24″x30″, 2013)
2. Perfectly frame an architectural photograph.
“It is good to study a photographic scene slowly and carefully, observing how objects interact in space. Simply shifting your angle in space in relation to your subject can make or break the dynamism of a photograph.
“Start out at a central point, then walk five feet to the left, five feet to the right, and keep photographing, observing how the spatial relationships shift with every step. Before you know it, you’ll discover the ‘sweet spot’ from which to take your photograph.”
–Jade Doskow, teaches Architectural Photography and Modern Ruins at SVA (Image: Jade Doskow, ‘Green Mystery House,’ 2011)
3. Design a whimsical collage.
“Collage, whose invention originally is attributed to Picasso, presents as a simple technique: the utilization of assorted printed paper, which is then altered and rearranged by cutting, shaping, and then gluing to construct something entirely different from the original supply. An attractive advantage to constructing a collage is that ability to draw is helpful, but not at all necessary, as collage is design-oriented; allowing the artist to ‘sketch’ by manipulating glued bits of paper together to create both abstract and narrative compositions.
“Unlike mixing oil or acrylic medium, complex printmaking, or sculpture, you can get started in a jiffy by selecting interesting sheets of the printed page and then cutting them up with a scissor or simply tearing them into pieces to reposition them and form the collage. Even though the paper materials are appropriated from another source, the adaptively re-used collage elements become unique, original and completely your own — with collage, if you don’t have a particular plan in mind you can just begin on a whim!”
–Bruce Helander, artist (Image courtesy of Bruce Helander Studio)
4. Craft a metal sculpture from thin steel.
“If you can cut, fold and paste (as in paper, poster board, etc.), you can make metal sculptures and small steel objects.
“Cut shapes in thin sheet steel (18 gauge, less than 1/16 in. thick) with ‘aviation’ snips. Wear gloves and smooth any sharp edges with a metal file or sandpaper. Fold/bend parts using pliers or a table vise, or anything that can act as a wedge. Small non-weight bearing pieces can be epoxied, or notched and folded together. To attach bigger parts, make holes with a metal hand punch or electric drill using a drill bit for metal. Join pieces with hardware — nuts and bolts, hammer rivets, pop rivets and riveter, or wire.”
–Marsha Trattner, teaches Metal Sculpture, Metal Furniture Fabrication and Creative Blacksmithing, as well as a Weekend Welding Workshop and Metal Works Without Welding in the summer at SVA (Image courtesy of Marsha Trattner)
5. Make a fabric masterpiece.
“Here is a quick and easy project with great results: 1) Mix gel medium with a small amount of water to create a more liquid consistency. 2) Apply mixture to the surface of the base object using the paintbrush. 3) Cut the fabric and arrange the pieces onto the object as desired. 4) Apply another coat of the gel medium on top of the fabric to ensure that it remains in place. 5) Cover the entire object and you’re done!”
–Saya Woolfalk, artist (Image courtesy of Saya Woolfalk)
6. Turn your camera on the clouds.
“When taking photographs in outdoor settings, especially when taking photos of landscapes use the natural elements to work in your advantage. They will provide drama, depth and uniqueness to your shots. Clouds could be a photographer’s best friend but it requires a bit of patience to get the right mood in the shot.
“The same can be said for shadows, fog and snow. Playing with natural light is fun and the results can be striking without using heavy and expensive equipment. If a manual setting in your camera is too cumbersome set your camera to auto focus and you are ready to go.”
-Jaime Rojo, photographer and co-founder of Brooklyn Street Art (Image: Colorado Prairie by Jaime Rojo)
7. Turn your journal into a visual diary.
“Thinking outside the box is never that far a leap from your own self and the stuff you love to do anyway. I’m sure you’ve heard about ‘journaling.’ Anyone can do that. It’s a wonderful practice in terms of doing lots of ‘me-me-me’ work. But don’t feel self centered. It truly is a brave undertaking to venture deep into your own issues in order to experience any real life growth. From this place, now you could be ready to streamline your focus in terms of what you are documenting, and what makes aspects of your life original.
“Try going beyond the ‘Dear Diary’ book, and start looking right under your nose for things your already do every day, things that interest you, subjects you already deal with. Try a journal that focuses on one of these things, using the materials that pertain to the subject, like an accumulative project. I did this by using elements from the garment manufacturing industry, as I grew up as a pattern cutter in my family’s business. I started this project in 2004 and have accumulated hundreds of journal pieces. Now I install them in groupings of about 50 at a time, attached to the wall with sewing pins.
“It’s important to commit to your ideas, as ‘stupid; as they might seem in the beginning, because concepts combined with the visual can really surprise you. Over time, you just might have a new style of documentation that has yet to be seen.”
–Carol Es, artist (Image: Carol Es, Drawing Installation, 46 Days, 2011)
“Most of us enjoyed fingerpainting as children and surely it is still the most gloriously direct way of applying paint. The touch and feel of the artist is left up on the surface and the whole process is sensual, visceral and delightfully messy. I went back to it several years ago thinking that it would yield some adventurous and maybe slightly crude work.
“To my surprise I found that if I used a delicate touch, laying the paint gently onto the canvas, I could get a very rich, alluring surface. The fact that placement is a little imprecise gave the work and intriguing softness and suggestiveness. I worked with oil on a fine linen, using the paint fairly thick so that it sat up on the surface. I used a barrier cream to keep the paint out of my pores and avoided toxic pigments like lead whites or cadmiums.
“My last exhibition in New York was a show of images from my English childhood painted from memory in this technique. Adopting this childish technique allowed me better access to the memory and feel of childhood.”
–John A. Parks, artist and teacher of courses in Realist Techniques, Portrait Painting, Drawing and Gouache techniques at SVA (Image: John A. Parks, “HIde and Seek” 2012. Oil on Linen. 20” x 30”)
9. Doodle like a traditional animator.
“I’m always encouraging my students to understand the basics of traditional animation and apply this your personal concepts, style, story or abstract ideas.
“It all starts with drawing. The rough idea of drawings, doodles, enthusiasm and sketches plays such a major part in the process of animation. We begin by drawing on paper and creating a personal stylistic approach, making drawings that move, a flow of story, design, animation principles, expressionistic style and content. The computers are there to make the finished film look colored and composited.
“There is no such thing as good or bad in art …it’s making it better. That’s important. Take the principals and most of all give it your signature of personal style. Create images you want to see.”
–Martin Abrahams, Instructor of Animation at SVA
Special thanks to our friends at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City, who graciously offered some great words of wisdom for this post.