Bill Jay photograph copyright of Darius Himes
Bill Jay (1940 – 2009) recently passed away at his retirement home in Costa Rica.
My first recollections of Jay was when he was the Editor of the British magazine Creative Camera, which had I started purchasing back in 1971. Most recently, Jay was noted for his writings of the two page end-notes in LensWork magazine.
Another tribute to him by Darius Himes, is here.
by Doug Stockdale
Slide Show copyright 2009 Sports Illustrated
For those who are interested in sports photography, sports trivia or photographs published in the magazine Sports Illustrated (aka SI), you will probably find this book to be a delightful and entertaining book. How ever, be warned this is NOT a how-to book on photographing sports events, although by carefully examining the photographs that illustrate this book, there is still much than can be learned.
When I was asked to review this book for Sports Illustrated, I immediately thought of my own past experiences with slides (transparencies, chromes, etc), which I have written about here. And interestingly enough, how I had marked up my slide’s mount with my own connotations. I also saw this as an opportunity to review the works of those photographers whom we have come to associate with this magazine; Neil Leifeer, Walter Iooss and Mark Kauffmann.
This book is an interesting back room look at what happens to an image after it is made, and how it can wonder around and reinsert itself when neccessary. Although the photographs are from the non-digital era, perhaps specificly the Kodachrome era (or the Ektachrome or Fujichrome era’s), there is still much to be learned about being there. And because these are the slides from the pre-digital era of the previous 50 years (SI launched in August 1954), it is also a nestaligic sports ride.
A part of what I found interesting was how these sports images were cropped to provide the cover stories, without the content being “altered”. For those familiar with cropping, you can change the resulting content of a photograph and the emphasis by what you leave in the photograph, as well as by what you delete out. The book provides the original photographic transparency (or ”slide” for those of you who have grown up digital) in its paperboard mount and adjacent to the photograph, the printed page from SI of the edited image.
The captions and accompaning articles are not about how the photographs came to be, but of the stories that are being illustrated with the photographs. And there are many iconic sports photographs that came about from the subseqent publication in SI, probably the premier sports magazine.
The 12 1/4″ x 12 1/4″ hardcover book with dust cover, 176 pages, was conceived and designed by then creative director, now special contributor Steven Hoffman and researched and written by associate editor Bill Syken. The book was printed in China.
By Doug Stockdale
Charlotte Cotton is the curator and head of the department of photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her book, “The Photograph as Contemporary Art”, was first published in 2004 and functions as a survey of contemporary photography.
The book is organized into seven chapters that are meant to give the reader a general knowledge of the themes that run through today’s photography. This is not to suggest that these are the only themes that are found in photography today nor that all photography over the last five or so decades fall into one of these seven categories.
Each chapter of the book contains many photographs that demonstrate the theme being discussed. Cotton is an articulate writer and each artist is discussed within the context of the chapter and his or her life. This discussion is accompanied by at least one representative photograph.
From the first paragraph of the introduction:
“We are at an exceptional time for photography as the art world embraces the photograph as never before and photographers consider the art gallery or book the natural home for their work. Throughout the history of photography there have always been promoters of the medium as an art form and vehicle for ideas alongside painting and sculpture, but never as many or as vocal as there are today.”
Here is a very brief summary of the chapters taken from the pages of the book
“The first chapter, ‘If this is Art’, considers how photographers have devised strategies, performances and happenings especially for the camera. … Attention is paid here to the degree to which the focus has been preconceived by the photographer: a strategy designed not only to alter the way we think about our physical and social world but also to take that world into extraordinary dimensions.”
“The second chapter, ‘Once Upon a Time’, concentrates on storytelling in art photography. Its focus is in fact more specific, for it looks at the prevalence of ‘tableau’ photography in contemporary practice: work in which narrative has been distilled into a single image.”
“The third chapter gives the greatest consideration to the idea of a photographic aesthetic. ‘Deadpan’ relates to a type of art photography that has a distinct lack of visual drama or hyperbole. Flattened out, formally and dramatically, these images seem the product of an objective gaze where the subject, rather than the photographer’s perspective onto it, is paramount.”
“While chapter three engages with a neutral aesthetic of photography, chapter four concentrates on subject matter, but at its most oblique. ‘Something and Nothing’ looks at how contemporary photographers have pushed the boundaries of what we may ordinarily ignore or pass by.”
“In Chapter five, ‘Intimate Life’, we concentrate on emotional and personal relationships, a kind of diary of human intimacy. Some of the photographs have a distinctly casual and amateur style, many resembling family snaps taken with Instamatic cameras with the familiar colouration of machine-made prints. But this chapter considers what contemporary photographers add to this vernacular style, such as their construction of dynamic sequences and their focus on unexpected moments in everyday life, events that are distinctly different from those the average person would ordinarily capture.”
“Chapter six, ‘Moments in History’, attempts to cover the greatest amount of ground in its highlighting of the use of the documentary capacity of photography in art. It starts with arguably the most counter-photojournalistic approach, one that is loosely termed ‘aftermath photography. This is work by photographers who arrive at sites of social and ecological disaster after they have been decimated.”
“The final chapter of the book explores a range of recent photographic practice that centres on and exploits our existing knowledge of imagery. This includes remaking of well-known photographs and the mimicking of generic types of imagery such as magazine advertising, film stills or surveillance and scientific photographs.”
Cotton’s book is a terrific addition to any library and a must read for anyone who is interested in understanding and exploring current the trends in photography.
Follow this link for some additional information:
University level student work always interests me. We have the opportunity to view new talent and see what ideas, concepts, and techniques inspire them. Mark Kirchner, one of our members, teaches photography at Soka University in Aliso Viejo. His students along with students from the drawing/painting and ceramics disciplines will be exhibiting their work in a show titled “Class Works”.
The exhibit opens on May 21st, and runs through August 21st. It is located on the first floor Art Gallery of Founders Hall (the domed building). Gallery hours are M-F 9-5. Closed on weekends.
The university is idyllically placed on a hilltop with beautiful grounds. It is worth a visit for that alone. The art makes the trip even more exciting. Let’s see what Mark’s students are up to.
Soka University of America, 1 University Place, Aliso Viejo, CA, 92656, 949 480-4167
Photo by Anushe Shoro, class of 2013
By Gina Genis
There are so many talented landscape and nature photographers in the Photographers Exchange. It is natural, then, that the California State Parks Photo Competition would be of great interest.
Several years ago, I considered entering. Once I read through the rules and regulations, I realized it was neither possible nor advantageous. For one, it was only open to amateur photographers. Next, the state of California owned your image. Once submitted, you transfered all rights. I don’t know about you, but I never enter a competition if I have to sign over all rights. I immediately put a note in the comment box of of the Salton Sea’s visitor center. Something to the effect of: if you want quality images to represent our State Parks, you should let professional photographers enter. You will get more submissions if you do not require the photographers to relinquish all rights.
This year the rules are in our favor. Professional photographers are allowed to enter, and you may keep the copyright. If you have captured a quality image in one of California’s State Parks, or plan to by year’s end, why not enter? It’s free, and there is still plenty of time. The deadline is December 31, 2009. If chosen, you will receive a lot of exposure for your exposure.
By Gina Genis
Jerry Burchfield’s book Understory: Lumen Prints of Florida Flora was released in March of this year by Laguna Wildreness Press. Burchfield is a professor of photography and the photography gallery director at Cypress College, Cypress, CA and a co-founder of Laguna Wilderness Press.
Understory was co-published with Southeast Museum of Photography and has a forward written by Kevin Miller, Director of the Southeast Museum of Photography.
A more indepth review of the book in conjunction with Burchfield’s earlier book (see blow) will be published by me on The Photo Book probably in next month, June, 2009.
Burchfield’s earlier book, Primal Images: 100 lumen prints of amazonia flora, also published by Laguna Wilderness Press in conjunction with Center for American Places in 2004 is still availble from Laguna Wilderness Press.
by Douglas Stockdale
Rape of the Yucatan photograph copyright of Hal Myers
Hal Myers was also accepted into The Center exhibition, Works of Man.
The Works of Man Exhibition will be on display at The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO from June 26–July 25, 2009. The Public and Artists’ Reception will be during the Fort Collins Gallery Walk on July 3, 2009.
By Doug Stockdale
Photolucida 2009 Portfolio Review photography by Janos Lanyi
The following is from Janos Lanyi, a member of The Photo Exchange who participated in last weeks Photolucida Portfolio Review in Portland, OR.
On April 22 the ball room of the Benson Hotel in Portland, OR became a very lively place. Hundred sixty mid-career photographers (blue name-tags) and sixty gallery and museum directors, photo editors and other leaders of the photography world (red name-tags) got together for a 4-day long highly structured portfolio review event. Each registrant, like myself, was assigned 18 reviewers, selected by draw based on stated preferences, for 20 minute one-on-one sessions. In addition, local gallery owners and professional photographers circulated in another room among the participants, and held impromptu reviews. All in all, we received as many as 25-30 opinions on technical, artistic, and in some cases business, issues. The Portland portfolio review was promised to be a career-changing opportunity to assess one’s photography, and it was.
Being told by several photography consultants to well-known New York galleries and museums that your work is genuine and profound is wonderful and exciting, and you float high until another tells you that he just doesn’t care for your images and maybe you don’t either. However, there were so many opinions that they did add up to a consistent picture. The perspective I gained on what is good and what is not good in my own work is astounding. It will shape my photography for the next year, until the next portfolio review.
On the first night the photographers showed their best work at a public event at the Portland Art Museum. There are many people, of all ages, in Portland interested in photography, and the place was packed. It was also an opportunity for us to see the work of the other participants, some astonishingly good. Wouldn’t you know it, many of the reviewers gave more of their time talking to us there. Add to that the noisy and intense discussions sharing work with other participants in the Benson lobby, noon seminars every day, and a public lecture by Abelardo Morrell on his unorthodox photo images, and we were buzzing with information overload. Photolucida 2009 ended with a roaring party on the rooftop of the Blue Sky Gallery on Sunday evening. Even the usually uncertain Portland weather cooperated.
By Doug Stockdale