Archive for September, 2009

Open to Everything?

Richard Avedon's 1976 portrait of Ronald Reagan.

170 Years After Its Birth, Photography Must Refocus on Its Identity for the Future.  What makes photography alone such an equal-opportunity art form?

Merry Foresta, director of the Smithsonian Photography Initiative, says that the medium is broad in its embrace now “because it was broad in its embrace in the beginning.” From the moment of Louis Daguerre’s announcement of photography’s birth in 1839, people have wondered whether it would turn out to be art or not, which of its images would matter and which wouldn’t. “It has that kind of questioning embedded in it,” says Foresta. We’ve inherited that open-mindedness, she thinks, to the point that her project, which is looking into the millions of photos held by every branch of the Smithsonian, can afford to ignore the entire art/non-art question.

In today’s “high” art world, content is supposed to matter more than style, and that has given a boost to the straightest of documentary photography. Just-the-facts-ma’am photos by prominent artists such as Dan Graham and Alan Sekula have a foursquare attitude that brings them close to images from newspapers or annual reports. And it’s that attitude — what my colleague Philip Kennicott calls the “fetish for raw data” — that makes them read as credible art.

Link to Full Article in Washington Post

FotoWeek DC Youth Competition

Remember to enter up to 3 Photographs by the extended deadline of Oct. 4th


The Lower East Side, Before It Boomed

IN the window of a small storefront art gallery on Rivington Street called Alife Presents, a plasma screen scrolls through a portrait gallery of the Lower East Side of Manhattan as it used to be. More photos hang on the walls inside. Black and Hispanic schoolchildren smile. Crips and Bloods flash gang signs. Dope crews and drag queens posture. Homeless men, hookers, bikers, punks, eccentrics, artists and the postman grin and pose.

The photos are part of a crowded exhibition  called “Clayton Patterson: L.E.S. Captured.” Although none of the photos are more than 25 years old, Mr. Patterson says he considers them historical documents. The Lower East Side has changed a lot since he took most of them. A real estate boom pushed out many of Mr. Patterson’s subjects and brought in a new, affluent population.

“I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was capturing the last of the wild, free, outlaw, utopian, visionary spirit of the Lower East Side,” he said recently.

“Clayton calls it documentation, not fine art, but it’s done with an artist’s eye and mind,” he said. “And to me his archive is a fascinating conceptual art project, one he’s dedicated his life to.”

Link to full Article in NY Times

Larry Yust: Photographic Elevations


LA-based, Philadelphia-born filmmaker and photographer Larry Yust combines 10 to 100 digital images to create giant “Photographic Elevations” up to eight feet long.  Featuring his infamous photos of the Paris Metro—featured in his oversized book where the images unfold into three-foot-long panoramas—the exhibition also includes shots of streets in Los Angeles, Havana and Berlin, as well as the canals in Venice. The colossal photos provide a feeling of involvement, as if the scene in the image is actually present.

Link to Article

Link to Artist’s Website


Juror: Kelly Gordon, Associate Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Since 2006, the Experimental Media Series has showcased the talents of artists working in sound and video art.

This year’s selection of finalists’ works will present the leading edge in electronic media works.


September 24 and October 1, 2009, 6:30-8:15 pm
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20009
Admission is free or by suggested donation only

October 13 and 14, 2009, 7:00-9:00 pm
Maryland Institute College of Art, Falvey Hall, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217
Admission is free and open to the public

October 15, 2009, 8:00-9:30 pm
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20013
Admission is free and open to the public

Full Schedule of Participating Artists

Rachel Papo: Serial No. 3817131


Ohio-born Israeli Rachel Papo began photographing female soldiers in 2004. Having worked as a photographer in the Israeli Air Force for two years during her mandatory military service, Papo had experienced first hand being “plucked from her home surroundings and placed in a rigorous institution where her individuality is temporarily forced aside in the name of nationalism” as she describes it in her artist’s statement. The project is titled Serial No. 3817131 from the author’s own military service.

These images show the homogenizing effect of military service of young people. For young women it can be especially contradictory with competing demands from society to appear gentle and feminine with the necessity of adapting to the rigors of a regimented survival.

Link to Full Article

Photographer’s Website Image Gallery


  1. Get a thumb/flash drive (at least 1gb)
  2. Get a Journal or small three ring binder
  3. Pay $10 Lab Fee ASAP (or an obligation will be issued)

Foto Week DC K-12 FREE Competition

FotoWeek DC and The Washington Post want you to SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS TODAY! Not only will you have the chance to win some cool prizes and have your winning photos published in The Washington Post, exhibited at our FotoWeek Central Hub and at our fotoweekdc on-line gallery, but you’ll also be participating in DC’s biggest and best celebration of photography during the week of November 7- 14, 2009.

Contest is FREE and open to ALL STUDENTS (K through 12th grade) in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia.   

Why Photography Matters As Art As Never Before, Michael Fried

9780300136845From the late 1970s onward, serious art photography began to be made at large scale and for the wall. Michael Fried argues that this immediately compelled photographers to grapple with issues centering on the relationship between the photograph and the viewer standing before it that until then had been the province only of painting. Fried further demonstrates that certain philosophically deep problems—associated with notions of  theatricality, literalness, and objecthood, and touching on the role of original intention in artistic production, first discussed in his contro­versial essay “Art and Objecthood” (1967)—have come to the fore once again in recent photography. This means that the photo­graphic “ghetto” no longer exists; instead photography is at the cutting edge of contemporary art as never before.

(I highly recommend this book for those in advanced photography and AP Photo)

“3D” Sidewalk Art or Street Painting

Street painting, also commonly known as street art, is the activity of rendering artistic designs on pavement such as streets, sidewalks, and town squares with impermanent materials.

Street art is any art developed in public spaces — that is, “in the streets” — though the term usually refers to unsanctioned art, as opposed to government sponsored initiatives. The term can include traditional graffiti artwork, stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheatpasting and street poster art, video projection, art intervention, guerrilla art, flash mobbing and street installations. Typically, the term street art or the more specific post-graffiti is used to distinguish contemporary public-space artwork from territorial graffiti, vandalism, and corporate art.

Artists have challenged art by situating it in non-art contexts. ‘Street’ artists do not aspire to change the definition of an artwork, but rather to question the existing environment with its own language. They attempt to have their work communicate with everyday people about socially relevant themes in ways that are informed by esthetic values without being imprisoned by them.

Link to Video of “3D” Ice Crevasse street painting in Ireland

Link to more images of Julian Beever’s Sidewalk Art