SURFACED FROM THE INTERWEBS

Getty Villa, Los Angeles. Photo by Barry Schwartz


Martin Parr In Conversation

Cross-posted from It’s Nice That.  By Ayla Angelos. 

“Martin Parr is an amiable man. Perhaps his composed – and somewhat abrupt – demeanour comes from the fact that he’s taken part in around 50 interviews over the past three weeks, or that he’s had over 50 years’ experience within his field. Yet one thing’s for sure, is that ever since he first picked up a camera at the age of 13, he has continued to make work that’s innately British.”

https://www.itsnicethat.com/features/martin-parr-in-conversation-photography-090919



Designing Like a Reporter

Cross-posted from Communications Arts.  By Marianne Seregi. 

National Geographic is famous for its photography, but in the design world, it’s also famous for its design, and the process of producing a coherent layout and content is just as intense as the photography.   Marianne Seregi is the design director, coming to the job after working at National Geographic Traveler and the Washington Post.

“After shooting an assignment, a photographer will submit thousands of frames to the photo editor. The two of them will then narrow that selection down to 50 to 100 images. This “final tray” is then passed on to the designer, who prints “minis,” three-inch copies of every frame. The designer, photo editor and sometimes the photographer will sit in a room and push the minis around, working through the narrative arc. Once they have an order and flow they feel good about, the designer puts the images in real layouts and brings in the director of photography, creative director and design director for feedback. Following their edits, the final layout is presented to the editor in chief. It’s a thorough process, with many voices and perspectives that enable the highest-quality edits.”

https://www.commarts.com/columns/seregi



The Amazing Treasure Trove of Bill Cunningham

Cross-posted from The New York Times.  By Alex Ward. 

“He had an unerring eye for catching every fashion wave well before anyone else, and doing so not just on runways (though he loved designer fashion shows), but out there on the pavement of good old gritty Gotham.

Say what you will about this unfair city, the parade here never stops, and no one understood that better than a Bostonian named William J. Cunningham. Starting in the 1970s for The Times, he created a singular image of himself by visually chronicling what people (overwhelmingly New Yorkers, but also Parisians) were wearing as they went about their business. Which was often trying to get Bill to photograph them.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/01/style/bill-cunningham-book



How Arthur Felig Became the Legendary Street Photographer Weegee

Cross-posted from Lit Hub.  By Christopher Bonanos. 

Weegee, now hugely famous for his urban, and especially, crime, photos, was part yet not a part of his local New York photography world in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s.  He needed the help and association of his colleagues to become who we know him to be today.

www.lithub.com/how-arthur-felig-became-the-legendary-street-photographer-weegee/



Alec Soth’s Secret Farmhouse Project

Cross-posted from Magnum Photos. By Alec Soth. 

“A new short film sees the photographer discussing that happiest year of his life and the impact one ramshackle building had upon his photographic approach”

“In the midst of a period of turbulence in his career, spurred by growing doubts about the validity of his work and photographic processes, Alec Soth started a new project, one unlike any he had pursued before…”

https://www.magnumphotos.com/theory-and-practice/alec-soths-secret-farmhouse-project/



WHO I’VE HIRED:
JOLIE RUBEN, CULTURE DESK PHOTO EDITOR
AT THE NEW YORK TIMES

Cross-posted from The New York Times.  By David Walker. 

“Jolie Ruben joined The New York Times as a photo editor in 2014. She commissions feature portrait shoots as well as photo essays for the Times’ Culture desk. PDN recently interviewed Ruben about what she’s looking for in the photographers she hires, and who she has hired recently.”

www.pdnonline.com/photography-business/photo-clients/editorial-photography/who-ive-hired-jolie-ruben-culture-desk-photo-editor-at-the-new-york-times



Congress Is Investigating the Rapid Closure of
Art Institutes Across United States

Cross-posted from Hyperallergic.  By Zachary Small. 

“The collapse of a university franchise that owned more than 40 college campuses across the country has left nearly 26,000 students with ample debt and no degrees. Nearly half of the schools shuttered belonged to the Art Institute brand, which once offered classes in animation, graphic design, and fashion.” – and photography.

www.hyperallergic.com/511431/congress-art-institutes-investigation/



MY FIRST TIME: TOUGH LESSONS FROM A PORTFOLIO REVIEW

Cross-posted from PDN. By Jennifer McLure.

“My goal in going to Fotofest was to get my work on a wall. I thought that’s what fine-art photographers were supposed to do. I wasn’t aware yet of the power and reach of the online photo world, which offers emerging artists opportunities to share their work with viewers even if they are not yet exhibiting in galleries, museums or other institutions. I requested reviewers representing commercial and non-profit galleries, and I did very little research beyond reading the bios sent out by festival organizers. I put all my focus on one of my projects, a self-portrait series about relationships that was set in hotel rooms.”

www.pdnonline.com/features/fine-art-photography/portfolio-review-tough-lessons/



Jack Davison’s Throwback to a Golden Age of Editorial Portraiture

Cross-posted from The New Yorker.  By Chris Wiley.  

“Twenty-eight years old, baby-faced and affable, he has been shooting editorial work for the likes of the Times Magazine, British Vogue, and various cultish brands (Craig Green, Margaret Howell) since he was barely out of college; his first monograph, titled simply “Photographs,” was released in May by the London-based imprint Loose Joints. And his work, with its moody chiaroscuro, vintage Kodachrome palette, and Mannerist emotionality, seems to have been ripped out of the pages of glossy magazines from an era when Irving Penn and Richard Avedon were still huddled underneath their dark cloths, and Ralph Gibson and Saul Leiter still prowled the streets.”

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/jack-davisons-throwback-to-a-golden-age-of-editorial-portraiture



A Writer’s Guide to Fair Use and Permissions

Cross-posted from Jane Friedman

Fair Use is always a hot topic, in part because it can be so hard to pin down.  Photographers who publish books and have photos in other people’s books need to know about the legalities as much as any writer.  Jane Friedman is a respected educator on all aspects of writing and publishing.

“Unfortunately, quoting or excerpting someone else’s work falls into one of the grayest areas of copyright law. There is no legal rule stipulating what quantity is OK to use without seeking permission from the owner or creator of the material. Major legal battles have been fought over this question, but there is still no black-and-white rule.”

www.janefriedman.com/sample-permission-letter/



HOW MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHER FARRAH SKEIKY DECODES INSTAGRAM’S ALGORITHM

Cross-posted from PDN.  By David Walker. 

“Editorial photographer Farrah Skeiky specializes in shooting bands and live music performances. She has also shot food and portrait assignments for a variety of websites and publication in the Washington, DC area. Currently, Skeiky serves as the creative/culture manager at The LINE Hotel DC, where she manages visual branding, music and cultural events, and social media for the hotel.”

/www.pdnonline.com/features/how-music-photographer-farrah-skeiky-decodes-instagrams-algorithm/



Work by Irving Penn and Other Teachers of the
Famous Photographers School Emerges

Cross-posted from Hyperallergic.  By Claire Voon.  

“In the 1950s and ’60s, tens of thousands of students across the US were receiving an arts education by mail, through correspondence courses designed and distributed by the Famous Artists School on painting, illustration, and cartooning. In 1961, 13 years after the Westport, Connecticut-based school’s founding by Albert Dorne, students could also learn about photography under the guidance of some of the field’s most famous names, from Richard Avedon to Irving Penn. Known as the Famous Photographers School, the offshoot lasted for just over a decade, closing in 1974.”

www.hyperallergic.com/317553/work-by-irving-penn-and-other-teachers-of-the-famous-photographers-school-emerges/



How To Get New Photographic Ideas
Philippe Halsman’s tips for developing
creative photographic projects

Cross-posted from Magnum.

“The life’s work of late Latvian-American Magnum photographer Philippe Halsman is a masterclass in creativity. The photographer’s outside-of-the-box thinking resulted in creative compositions and genre-pushing takes on portraiture, from getting an actor to answer questions via facial expression, to making portrait subjects jump in the air.”

“A now-rare book published in 1961, Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas, aimed to offer unpretentious, practical advice and inspiration for photographers in order to help develop creative approaches to their work, addressing a problem faced by photographers of all kinds.”

https://www.magnumphotos.com/theory-and-practice/philippe-halsman-how-to-get-new-photographic-ideas/





Stories That Knocked Me Out

Video by Barry Schwartz

Here’s another set in my occasional series of online stories that knocked me out. A little photo-centric, but not always.

_________________________________

A photograph is not evidence of the truth, rather, an interpretation, even though over time that interpretation becomes so embedded it seems indistinguishable from the truth. It helps to hve more than one photographer document the scene to know what really happened. By Michael Shaw in The New York Times Magazine.

The True Story Behind an Iconic Vietnam War Photo
Was Nearly Erased — Until Now
A celebrated book and a major museum exhibition revealed the harrowing tale behind the image of a wounded Marine. Their version was wrong.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/19/magazine/vietnam-war-photo-wounded-marine.html

_________________________________

In a long and beautiful remembrance, as much about the South as art, “Michael Adno admired no artist’s work more than Alabama’s William Christenberry. And after Christenberry died in late 2016 at 80, Adno retraced his footsteps through west-central Alabama. Today, read through a two-year journey with Christenberry’s family and friends, recounting how he made a record of his native Hale County and what that ultimately meant outside the South.” By Michael Adno in the Bitter Southerner.

William Christenberry – Once It Comes Time

https://bittersoutherner.com/once-it-comes-time-william-christenberry-southern-photography

_________________________________

Asking questions in professional contexts is never easy, but it can be more like a conversation than an interrogation, becoming a better experience on both sides. Journalists do this all the time, and there are a range of techniques that work for anyone. By Solutions Journalism in The Whole Story.

22 Questions that ‘Complicate the Narrative’

https://thewholestory.solutionsjournalism.org/22-questions-that-complicate-the-narrative-47f2649efa0e

_________________________________

Freelancers all face the same challenges, including learning first hand about the myths of freelancing. “You can find plenty of positive things online about being your own boss, and we all know someone who says going freelance was the best decision they’ve ever made. With this article, we want to give you a more realistic view of this often glorified way of living.” By Rosa Koolhoven from Vanchneider.com.

The Downsides of Freelancing

https://www.vanschneider.com/the-downsides-of-freelancing

_________________________________

Hugh Magnum was a traveling photographer during the early 20th Century whose photos, while forgotten and buried in a barn and chicken coop for almost a century, are remarkably contemporary. From the article: “’Through Mangum’s eyes, we see a diverse citizenry, and we see them depicted with democratic equanimity on the same glass plate negative in side-by-side portraits, which suggests that they waited their turn together, in the same studio at the same time,’ Margaret Sartor, an instructor at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, told Hyperallergic.” By Allison Meier in Hyperallergic.

An Itinerant Photographer’s Diverse Portraits
of the Turn-of-the-Century American South

www.hyperallergic.com/480842/an-itinerant-photographers-diverse-portraits-of-the-turn-of-the-century-american-south

_________________________________

The world of art galleries looks like a cloistered clubhouse, closed to outsiders. It may well be cloistered, but it is also, and mostly, a business, easier to understand than to enter. Two writers have authored a book that explains it all, and have published a condensed version as a brief article. By Edward Winkelman and Patton Hindle in Artsy.

A Brief History of Art Dealing

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-history-art-dealing

_________________________________

Sarah Meister is a curator in the New York Museum of Modern Art Photography Department. In an audio interview, Meister pulls back the curtain on what curators actually do, the culture of museums, and the relations they have with collectors, photographers, and other institutions. Interview by Jordan Weissmann

How Does a Museum Curator Do Her Job?
Meet Sarah Meister, a curator in MoMA’s
department of photography.

https://slate.com/business/2018/11/sarah-meister-curator-momas-department-photography.html

_________________________________

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a constant concern, worry, and obsession for anyone who wants to be found on the internet. How does Google rank us? How easily can we be found? What are the dangers of doing it wrong? What is Google thinking? HubSpot examines 22 SEO myths about what’s true and what’s not. By HubSpot, as a downloadable PDF.

22 SEO MYTHS You Should Leave Behind in 2019

https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/53/22%20SEO%20Myths%20to%20Leave%20Behind%20in%202019.pdf

_________________________________

What does the music industry have in common with other creative endeavors? The music industry recently had a major victory in Congress in the quest for musicians to be fairly paid in the form of the Music Modernization Act. That victory was the result of all kinds of stakeholders working together for a single goal, and it worked. Those results could be replicated by others, if they work together. Michael Huppe, the president and CEO of SoundExchange wrote a piece about the power of working together in Variety.

Music Modernization Act Was Verse One,
the Rest of the Song Is Yet to Be Written

www.variety.com/2018/biz/news/music-modernization-act-verse-one-guest-post-1203006780/

_________________________________

Along these same lines, the passage of the Music Modernization Act has put into law the ability to set up a rights clearinghouse for music creators – an endeavor that other creators could also benefit from, as a proof-of-concept for managing licensing and rights payments. Billboard magazine has an Op-Ed by The Open Music Initiative, launched by the Berklee School of Music and the MIT Media Lab, who have already begun work on a non-profit, open-source project to manage all that information, potentially unlocking trillions of dollars of fees to go to creators.

Why Success of the Music Modernization Act
Depends on Open Standards

https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8482056/mma-op-ed-open-music-initiative-open-standards

On The Street

When Tomás Kofman from For Freedoms emailed to ask if I would be interested in documenting two billboards in San Francisco, my initial reaction was: Yet another outfit trying to con yet another photographer out of time and money.  Tomás included links to examples from other photographers.  I quickly realized For Freedoms was the real deal. The real real deal.

The name refers to a series of paintings by Normal Rockwell of Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms from 1941: Freedom Of Speech, Freedom From Fear, Freedom From Want, Freedom Of Worship.

I already knew about one of the founders, Hank Willis Thomas – I follow him on Instagram!    While I’d seen work similar to these billboards, never a project with this much range, focus, imagination, serious intent, and fun.

The billboards look like parodies, but they’re not. For Freedoms was onto something else. Parody, as a word, has become a confusing methodology the last few years, every week the world pushing back via outrage and disappointment, outfitted with bizarre reasoning and nonsensical explanations, leading to hurtful actions. Humor helps: the brilliant, biting work being done by comics, many of them spawn of the Chappell Show or Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.  Respectable news organizations, cognizant their respectability is on the line as a result of their past sins, have stepped up their game.  These kinds of changes have helped prop up my Pollyanna attitude: Everything Will Be Alright.  It’s taken some effort to maintain, however.

I’ve been sustained by a flourishing of good work of all kinds that, intended or not, funny or not, educates me and rearranges how I comprehend the world we have now.  Effective work does not have to be subversive to be effective (but it’s nice when it is).  The work For Freedoms produces is subversive: it looks familiar, quickly reveals it’s not what it seems, finally coming around to being exactly what it seems.  This can’t be easy.  Above and beyond, it’s art, and so is impervious to being pinned down as subversive or parody.  The work works.

The For Freedoms website presents a mission – and attitude – containing a tone reminiscent of the socially committed art projects of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties, some of which were funded by the federal government, inconceivable in the present day.

The billboards had wit, charm, good looks, and smarts – what’s not to like?  I wrote to Tomás right away, and signed up.  The billboards needed to be shot and delivered within a single day in order for them to do their job on social media. My job was not to be an artist but to produce artful documents, revealing the context the billboards lived in. Both would look their best at dusk, so the hard part for me would be moving quickly enough to cover the few miles between the billboards in order to get all my photos the same evening before it got dark – and to keep myself from being run over while I was, on occasion, standing in the middle of the street, sometimes on a ladder.  It all worked out.

I’ve shot in the street before. In this case I did my work on the sidewalk or safeguarded between cars.  The only time I got scared was when, while on my ladder on the sidewalk, two large dogs in a beat-up RV a few feet away started barking then lunging at the glass on the passenger door so hard I was afraid they would somehow break out.  I was worried enough to glance around to see which nearby car I could climb on top of out of their reach.  There were none, and in any event had they got out I would never have made it more than a few steps.  I believe in sacrificing for art, but not my life. I got my shot and quickly crossed the street.

I do a lot of architectural photography, meaning my job is to document environments with accuracy, remaining respectful to the intentions of the designer.  A touch of artfulness is OK as long as it helps translate the 3-D world into a 2-D photo.  Billboards exist in a context that is both 2-D and 3-D at the same time, which, along with the style guide Tomás sent me made my goal easier to reach.  I got the shots, went home, and delivered images the next day. 

I believe in the importance of the give-back (I serve on two boards). This had been an opportunity to promote the better angels during a time when those angels seem to be just waking up from a long nap.  This assignment was a gift: being asked to produce photos supporting a smart, informed, broad-minded attempt to make the world a better place.  That’s as good as it gets.