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.
The 24th annual Orange County High School Photography Invitational is in process, with today (May 20th) being the last day for submissions.
The accepted photographs will be exhibited at Orange Coast College (OCC) photography gallery on Wednesday, June 1st, 2016, from 5:30 – 8:30pm. The awards ceremony will occur at 6:30 pm.
The jurors for this year, who are members of the Photographers Exchange, are Larry Vogel, John Montich, Barbara Runge, Ellen Butler, and Larry Pribble.
This High School Photographic Invitation opportunity was started by Ellen Butler when she was the photo instructor at Costa Mesa High School.
Larry Pribble states “There are several hundred entries every year. We are amazed every year at the level of creativity, artistry, and craftsmanship that we see, and at the reception we have the delightful experience of being able to meet and talk with the student artists whose work we also have the pleasure of recognizing with cash awards and donated prizes from local photo related businesses.”
As a way to help to encourage and honor the creative artistry of the students who enter, the Photographic Exchange has supported the exhibit by presenting a cash award or awards to deserving students for the quality of their work. Members of the Photographers Exchange have also supported the students by attending the reception. If you are able to make it to OCC on June 1st, you won’t be disappointed!
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.
Time to sign up for one of the many programs that will be available during the Palm Springs Photo Festival that will run April 24-29th this year. Where else? Palm Springs, CA!
From the organizers: The Palm Springs Photo Festival is where you can spend four exhilarating days with a celebrated, real-world master photographer, present your work to our remarkable faculty of industry influencers, attend important seminars, symposiums & Networking Events. Come meet new friends and walk away with a renewed passion for photography!
Photo Reviews: This year, we will offer over 1200 Portfolio Reviews with the industry’s most important influencers, including museum curators, gallery directors, magazine editors, picture editors & art directors, advertising agency creatives and more. This is the opportunity to have face time with people who can not only offer expert advice, but can influence your career choices as well.
Have a seat at the table for our OPEN PORTFOLIO SHOW! You can show your work to our faculty, sponsors, photographers and the general public on Sunday, April 26th. Don’t miss this – we still have a few seats left! If you’re in our review program the cost is just $47.50. If not – only $95.
some of the workshops include:
KEN SCHLES: Making a Scene: Intimacy, Imagery & the Still Image
JULIE BLACKMON: Creating the Fine Art Narrative Series
IAN RUHTER: The Past & The Future: Working with Wet-Plate Collodion & Tin Types
SYLVIE BLUM: The Fine Art Nude: The Model & You
This video speaks for itself.
By Jim McKinniss
The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present the upcoming exhibition, “The Pure Wonder” a retrospective exhibition featuring work by London based contemporary photographer Miles Aldridge. Equally obsessed with women and with color, photographer Miles Aldridge masterfully creates visually compelling images. Working in the manner of a filmmaker, Aldridge’s world is a confluence of dream and reality. His images contain hyper-real scenes occupied by impossibly beautiful women, each an embodiment of seeming perfection. Every image however belies a darker sense of mystery and unease. Staring off vacantly, a beautiful blonde stabs a birthday cake with a knife, screams into a phone, or nonchalantly lights her cigarette on a stove while the gas flames lick her hair. Each arresting scene Aldridge has created explores the complex dualities of contemporary life– perfection and damage, violence and passivity, the mundane and the bizarre. Aldridge has simultaneously created both a dream world and a nightmare where anxiety, melancholy, and boredom seem so beautiful, it is impossible to look away.
This show runs September 10th – October 17th
Reception for the Artist: Thursday, September 10th, 7 – 9 pm
Fahey/Klein is located at 148 North La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (323) 934-2250 Fax: (323) 934-4243 –
By Jim McKinniss
Rondal Partridge, in detail of a photo by Dorothea Lange
This is an extract from the LA Times article about the passing of the photographer Rondal Partridge, whose mother was the photographer Imogen Cunningham. This orbit was published June 29, 2015, and he passed on June 19,2015.
Partridge apprenticed himself to Ansel Adams as a teenager, lugging the master photographer’s heavy equipment up and down Yosemite’s majestic peaks. He also was fired on several occasions, including the time he tied Adams’ shoelaces together and made him fall on his face.
He has said Adams “always jumped over the fence … walked past the garbage. He always wanted to get an immaculate view,” his student once said, “and I spent my life stepping back to include the garbage in my photographic view.”
Copyright the estate of Rondal Partridge, “Pave It and Paint It Green,”
Partridge was born in San Francisco on Sept. 4, 1917, and grew up in a bohemian world. His father, Roi Partridge, was an accomplished etcher who taught at Mills College. His mother, Cunningham, was a photographer and free spirit known for her portraits of artists, botanical studies and nudes. She also was a founding member of Group f/64, the influential collective that included Adams, Lange and Edward Weston and pushed for greater realism in photography.Lange paid him $1 a week to be her darkroom assistant and driver across miles of Central California’s back roads, where she documented lives worn thin by the Depression. He considered her a more influential teacher than Adams and took one of his most memorable portraits at a migrant camp like those he visited with her.
In his last years, he devoted himself to mastering hand-coated platinum printing, a challenging process used by his mother that produces archival quality prints. He focused on images of plants, antique tools and dead animals.
“I don’t want the money. I don’t need the fame. I don’t need the admiration. I’d like all of those things, but I don’t need them,” he once said. “Because what I get from photographing is learning. I have spent my life learning by looking through a lens.”
The Photographers Exchange is a group of photographers who have been meeting monthly for the past twenty five years at the Irvine Fine Arts Center (IFAC), located in Irvine, CA.
This is an exhibition of recent photographs, including your truly, to help celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the eclectic band of artist.
The artist reception will be Thursday, July 9th, from 6pm to 9pm.
We hope to see you there.
235 Forest Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651