Copyright 2014 Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern published by Aperture
While in Santa Fe last month and visiting the photo-eye book store, I had an opportunity to purchase a copy of Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern’s book The Photographer’s Playbook. The subtitle reveals the essentials of this book; 307 (photographic) Assignments and Ideas, which are distilled from 307 photographers, curators, photographic academia and workshop leaders, including Aline Smithson, Mark Steinmetz, Jim Goldberg, Stephen Shore, John Gossage and many more. From my perspective, this book draws heavily on a few photographic academia programs for BFA and MFA photographic degrees.
It appears that the book is focused on young and inexperienced photographers who are searching for the reason to be a fine art photographer (as part of a BFA/MFA program) or for a photographer who is stuck in a dry spell as to how to find conceptual ideas to development next. If you have the technical side of photography down then working through a bunch of these assignments could provide you with an equivalent BFA/MFA education as to the conceptual projects you work on. What may be missing is the group critiques offered in the academic programs and instructors that might challenge you (alternatively a best friend that can continue to say “No, try again, dig deeper”). So find a small group photographic/artist peers that you can count on to be candid and talk/show the work/assignments, a group who can say “Very cool, I see where you are going, keep at it, dig deeper”
To be candid, there are some ideas within this book that are similar to other ideas I have developed over the years to help me consider photographic options and move my concepts forward. I will continue to write about some of them, such as my post earlier this morning about experiment-play (games), a frequent idea (27 different variations) that is recommended in this book. In my case, experiment-play was what I was doing that led me to my Memory Pods project that I have been working on for just about three years. Recently, experiment-play is what inspired me to start the Middle Ground (aka Life in the Slow Lane) project earlier this year.
To be fully transparent, as a portfolio reviewer for LensCulture, we also provide some resource recommendations as part of the portfolio review and this book is one that I recommend to photographers who have a photo technique but appear to looking for a project to apply their process. Recommended!
Douglas Stockdale, Editor
(originally posted on Singular Images)
Photo © LACP
The Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) will hold a Photobook Night tomorrow, November 17, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Spots are still available for LACP members to feature and sell their photobooks. The event is open to the public. Scheduled so far are Nancy Baron, Ara Oshagan, Marjorie Salvaterra, and Aline Smithson. LACP is at 1515 Wilcox Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Phone: 323-464-0909
For further info: https://lacphoto.org/events/book-night-nov-17/
Ten things I got out of just a few hours of attendance (I highly recommend a more extended visit for future years):
- A useful escape from the tedium of the current election campaign!
- Sharing an informal atmosphere that was very conducive to informal conversations.
- A chance to talk at length about photography and creativity with such super talents as Douglas Stockdale, Susan Burnstine, Barbara Kyne, and others.
- Checking out and purchasing the work of some of the finest creators of current photobooks — see the links in my previous post for details:
- Conversing with the Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park, San Diego.
- Finding out about innovative MFA programs, especially the one at the University of Hartford. Erica Ann Flood displayed and discussed some of the creative photobooks of their graduates. They are given close scrutiny by Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin and Doug Stockdale as shown below.
- Catching up with old friends.
- Making some new friends.
- Interesting presentations and other events.
- A good feeling supporting each other as a photographic community.
Hope to see you there next year!
© Douglas Stockdale; the others © Gerhard Clausing
This year the Medium Festival of Photography will take place October 20-23, 2016, at the Lafayette Hotel in San Diego. This week of events, lectures, portfolio reviews, and book signings promises to be an exciting experience!
Registration open now through October 9.
More details at: http://mediumsandiego.org/
Highlights of the Festival Lineup
All events take place at the Lafayette Hotel unless otherwise noted.
Thursday, Oct. 20
9:00 am – 5:00 pm Eye to Eye Portfolio Reviews (by appointment only)
7:00 – 9:00 pm Open Portfolio Walk (FREE!)
Friday, Oct. 21
9:00 am – 5:00 pm Eye to Eye Portfolio Reviews (by appointment only)
6:00 – 7:00 pm VIP Reception (VIP and Big Pass Holders only)
7:00 – 8:00 pm Keynote Lecture with Penelope Umbrico
8:00 – 10:00 pm Book Signing and reception with Penelope Umbrico
Saturday, Oct. 22
10:00 am – 3:00 pm FLASH! Pop-Up Shop
11:00 am Susan Rankaitis lecture
12:00pm Susan Burnstine book signing (FREE!)
12:00pm Michael Lundgren book signing (FREE!)
1:30 pm Patrick Nagatani lecture
3:00 pm Marisa Scheinfeld lecture
4:00pm Marisa Scheinfeld book signing (FREE!)
4:30 pm Vincent Cianni lecture
5:30pm Vincent Cianni book signing (FREE!)
7:00 pm Size Matters exhibition reception at Low Gallery (FREE!)
7:00 pm OpenShow San Diego
8:00 pm Daylight Books Fall book launch and signing (FREE!)
Sunday, Oct. 23
9:30 am Collecting Contemporary Photography (roundtable discussion)
10:00 am – 3:00 pm FLASH! Pop-Up Shop
11:00 am Matt Eich lecture
1:30 pm Wayne Martin Belger lecture
At the August meeting, I briefly discussed the American photographer William Mortensen (1897-1965) as one of the artists who has inspired my work. He was fiercely maligned and ostracized in the second half of his career, especially by Ansel Adams, and generally by “straight,” i.e., less manipulative practitioners, such as Group f/64, labeled “straight” in contrast to the “pictorialist” photographers, and by the East Coast art establishment of the time. This exclusion from important exhibitions and history of photography books drove Mortensen to the point of returning to painting in his last few years. Having published more than a dozen highly popular photography textbooks and instructional pamphlets from the 1930s to the 1960s, he was much less well known after his death, but is now enjoying a revival. Some of you wanted to know more about this innovative precursor of the digital era, and so I thought I would start the discussion here.
Mortensen began his career as a set photographer and mask maker in Hollywood and later ran his own popular studio and photography school in Laguna Beach, California. He was particularly known for his discussions and implementation of various techniques to enhance the final prints in chemical and physical ways (now made so much easier with digital techniques). Since some of his images appealed to popular tastes, such as the pinup style, while others delved into the extremely pictorial subject matter, even toward what we might consider kitsch, and at times included esoteric mythology and grotesque elements, he was highly controversial.
To illustrate the range of his work in just one category, I am showing four items from my collection: An early nude from the 1920s created in his Wescosco Studio period, the cover of the Know your Negative pamphlet (1954), and two of his signature images, “Caprice Vennois” and “Mutual Admiration.”
I especially recommend Monsters and Madonnas. A Book of Methods (San Francisco: Camera Craft, 1936), The Command to Look (San Francisco: Camera Craft, 1937, reprinted and expanded by Feral House in 2014), William Mortensen: A Revival (Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Center for Creative Photography, 1998), and American Grotesque—The Life and Art of William Mortensen (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2014). If you would like me to review any of these, please let me know.
Photographs copyright 2016 Nancy Albright
This last week was Photo Independent which was held at the Raleigh film studios in Hollywood on sound stage #14. Within this larger event was Photobook Independent exhibiton, which was a group of exhibitors who were focused on the publication and presentation of their photobooks.
Photo Exchange member Douglas Stockdale was a guest curator, photobook exhibitor and one of the judges for this year’s photobook competition. Stockdale provided walking curatorial discussions of the winning photobooks and then the photobooks of some of the exhibitors. Stockdale also provided an interesting insight on the photobook judging process and the four key judging aspects: photography, concept/idea, design/layout and the book production and how all of these aspects are intertwined.
The photobooks at the event were very diverse, including the full spectrum from trade edition books to limited edition hand-made artist books. Exhibitors photographed below include Susan Burnstine showing photographs for her new book, Sara Terry and her recent self-published artist books series X, Marissa Roth and her photobook investigating Tibet and Ejen Chuang who is documenting the subculture of Cosplay.
As a follow-up to being one of the judges for the Photo Book Independent book competition, I am honored to also be providing two curatorial discussions of the juried in books as well as the other photobooks available during Photo Book Independent.The schedule for talks, book signings and curatorial discussions has just been posted.
The first curatorial walk will be held first on Friday night at 6pm just prior to the VIP opening of the exhibition space at Raleigh Studios (yes, a functioning sound stage in the midst of the film capital). The second walking discussion will be on Sunday morning at 10:30 am just prior to the opening for the general public. I am planing on an hour discussion, but be prepared, it could last a little longer depending on the questions and answers.
For the juried in photo books, since I was part of the judging and had developed the judging process, I am planning to provide a little back-ground on the judging criteria. How did we decide which books were interesting and provocative and which did not seem to past muster and capture our attention? If you were every thinking about submitting a book dummy or photobook to a competition, this could be an interesting discussion for you.
The good news, my curatorial discussions are FREE for those to participate, but the space is limited and if you want to join for what I hope is an interesting, fun and informative event, you need to sign up for it NOW: http://photoindependent.com/talks-and-book-signings/
Leave a comment if you have any questions.
Photobook Independent – Photobook Competition 2016
I have some great news, I am honored to be recently selected as one of the judges of the PhotoBook Competition this year as a part of the Photo Independent activities occurring at the end of April in Los Angeles. I just posted a quick update as to the judges and timing on my another blog that I am also the editor of: The PhotoBook.
If you have a published book and copies still available for sale, then you may want to check this opportunity out now (deadline for mailing submissions is March 21st!). I am now looking forward to all of the submissions, as this should be great chance for me to get a quick pulse on our greater photographic community.
Recently announced Left Coast photobook competition, this one is for photobooks that have been published and the winners need to be available for sale during PhotoBook Independent at the end of April in Los Angeles. Details are as follows, and if you have a published photobook, then check it out. By the way, there does not appear to be a restriction on when your book was published; all are fair game, as long as you still have copies to sell.
PhotoBook Independent announces the 2016 PhotoBook Competition. Winning books will be exhibited and for sale at PhotoBook Independent and will be featured on the Photo Independent website and in their marketing campaign.
PhotoBook Independent will again take place at the Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles April 29-May 1, 2016 together with Photo Independent.
Now in it’s 3rd year, Photo Independent weekend celebrates international photography and talented image-makers across various genres of the medium. PhotoBook Independent will include curatorial walk-throughs, book signings, artist talks and other events. This is an incredible opportunity to reach an audience of photo book lovers and collectors in Los Angeles and environs, and to have your book featured on our website, social media and other marketing platforms.
Three books from the PhotoBook Competition will be chosen as Best in Show and will be honored at the Fair.
The PhotoBook Independent competition is open to all photographers and independent publishers in the United States and abroad. Entrants may submit books of any size, format, or style. Submitted books may be self-published, by an on-demand service such as Blurb, Lulu, Apple Books, etc.; created by small run publishing companies; or have been hand-made/hand-bound. Dummy books and PDFs will be accepted, though actual books are preferred, so they can be offered for sale at PhotoBook Independent.
Submissions will be judged on book design, including page layouts, text, cover; strength of the photography and emotional impact of the overall book. All judging is at the complete discretion of the jurors and all decisions are final.
The submission fees are as follows:
- $25 for 1 book
- $35 for 2 books
- $45 for 3 books
Entries must be received (in hand) no later than March 21, 2016.
Winners will be notified in early April.
- Full out form here including uploading a JPEG file of your book cover(s)
- Pay Submission Fee
- Mail one copy of each book submitted to the following address:
Fabrik Media/PhotoBook 2016
269 S. Beverly Drive, #1234
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
If you would like the book returned, you must include a pre-addressed mailing label and sufficient postage. Otherwise your book will become the property of Fabrik Media.
Winning PhotoBook photographers and publishers will have the option of sending additional books to have for sale at the fair. Winners need not be present at the Fair.
All submissions must be original works created by the submitting photographer or be submitted by a publisher who has permission to submit the work.
By entering, the photographer or publisher warrants that the submission does not infringe any third party’s rights, and that you have obtained all necessary permissions from any third party. Once entered, all Submissions are final; no changes or edits may be made to your book.
The LA Art Book Fair will again be at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA and will be another delightful maze of rooms with amazing displays of photobook and zines. This event has always been punctuated with some wonderful finds.
From Printed Matter:
Printed Matter presents the fourth annual LA Art Book Fair, from February 12 through 14, 2016, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Downtown LA. A ticketed preview will take place on Thursday, February 11, 6-9PM.
Free (another aspect of this event that I love) and open to the public, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is a (very) unique event for artists’ books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by more than 300 presses, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers from over 20 countries.
The LA Art Book Fair is the companion fair to the NY Art Book Fair, held every fall in New York City. Over 35,000 artists, book buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, independent publishers, and other enthusiasts attended the NY Art Book Fair in 2015.
A full list of this year’s exhibitors can be found here.
Highly recommended for those on living (or visiting) the Left Coast.