Archive for June, 2011

On (Digital) Photography via NYTimes

June 23, 2011

“Various household computers have become the descendants and digital approximations of those shoeboxes stuffed with prints brought home in envelopes from defunct camera stores. A squadron of albums marches across a high bedroom bookshelf, though the chronological sequence halts around the turn of the present century. Photographs now live and die on phones and screens, in bits and pixels rather than in emulsion on paper.”  Read the article on nytimes.com

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Photography News from CMA

June 20, 2011

Firstly, kudos to Tom Hinson, Cleveland Museum of Art‘s recently retired curator of photography for receiving a 2011 Cleveland Arts Prize.  Tom pretty much single handedly build the substantial photography collection consisting mostly of 19th century and early 20th century work, including many works by the legends of the medium’s history.  Read the Plain Dealer article here.  Currently on view at CMA is Contemporary Landscape Photography, an exhibition pulled from the collection. I recently saw a number of CMA photography collection catalogs at Half Price Books in Rocky River for $20.  A deal for such a hefty volume.  In related photo news, Barry Underwood, photographic artist and CIA photo professor, also received a Cleveland Arts Prize.

So who’s replacing Tom Hinson?  After a national search, CMA settled on a nearby neighbor, Barbara Tannenbaum, Director at the Akron Museum of Art.  This is a coup for contemporary photography scene in Cleveland.  Barbara has been organizing great contemporary photography shows in Akron at least as long as I’ve been around here (3 years, but I’m assuming she was at it before that, too).  As a contemporary artist/photographer myself, and as budding contemporary artists/photographers yourselves, we all should be excited by this announcement.  In my opinion, she’s a great choice and she will complement the collection that Tom Hinson has begun wonderfully.  Read the Plain Dealer article here.

Finally, in late August CMA will debut Copia, a landmark exhibition of Brian Ulrich‘s retail opus.  The handsome body of work consists of three sections: retail, thrift stores, and closed stores.  Learn more about the CMA exhibition here.  The exhibition is in conjunction with the Aperture publication of Brian’s upcoming monograph, Is This Place Great or What.  He has been doing some interesting blogging about the publication process on his blog, Not if, But When.

Film is Not Dead

June 19, 2011

Public viewing at Review Santa Fe: these folks came to see photographers working with digital AND film media.

I recently attended Review Santa Fe.  While there I had the chance to put my work under the noses of some very important curators, gallerists, museum directors and publishers during 20 minute review sessions.  I also got to meet a handful of the 99 other photographers.  I could go on about the experience, but one thing in particular surprised me – the number of photographers using film, and the number of reviewers seeking film based work.  By my very unscientific estimation, I would say that about 50% of the photographers at the review were capturing their images on film, both black and white and color.  Two of my nine reviewers encouraged me to return to large format film for my current project – something that might happen, but not this summer.

Even Stephanie Heimann of Fovea Exhibitions, who  specializes in photojournalistic and humanitarian work (ie. content-driven, not high formalist) told me that the standard medium for this type of work is film.

I had previously believed that the last great bastion of film-based photography was in college art programs.  I’ve been schooled.  The majority of artists I met using film where not affiliated with an educational institution.  And the quality of work? Phenomenal.  I was taken aback a bit, because I don’t feel like the 3 images Review Santa Fe’s website published for each artist begins to do the work justice.  There were mostly talented emerging photographers, as well as a few seasoned ones, and some younger hot shots – so many of them using film.

This is relevant to CSUphoto folks because in addition to digital, we currently offer black and white darkroom facilities, as well as the ability to do color and alternative processes.  In the past few years, I have wondered how convincing I sound when, on the first day of Photo I, I explain why the class is primarily a black and white darkroom class.  I was also surprised that I didn’t get any questions or push back from the planners or administration when I proposed keeping darkroom facilities when we move into our new digs in PlayHouseSquare in the spring 2012.  At a time when many institutions are ditching their wet darkrooms all together, I am thankful that this is one tradition that will live on here.