Photo Books – Open call for books for On Landscape #2 London

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ON LANDSCAPE # 2 OPEN CALL FOR BOOKS
On Landscape #2 seeks to instigate a series of discussions, raise questions and incite debate on representations of landscape. A central element of On Landscape Project consists of a library of self-published, hand-made or short-run artists books relating to representations of landscape.

To this end, the On Landscape team (Dafna Talmor, Emma Wieslander and Minna Kantonen) is calling for submissions with a deadline of 16 February. The books will be chosen by Chiara Capodici and Fiorenza Pinna of 3/3, Gianpaolo Arena of Landscape Stories, Matèria’s gallery director Niccolò Fano and the On Landscape Project team. The book display aims to provide a platform for wider debates around landscape whilst presenting an opportunity for a range of practitioners to showcase their work.

The books from On Landscape #2 will add to a selection of titles stemming from the first edition of On Landscape Project last year, for which I chose titles with Bruno Ceschel from Self Publish Be Happy. It was a real treat to sift through over a hundred books and the diversity in terms of approach and design was notable. This selection was showcased in March 2014 at Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Projects in London and was a popular aspect of the show. See images below.IMG_8759 IMG_8752 IMG_8740 IMG_8748 IMG_8758 IMG_8735 IMG_8760 IMG_8756
All iPhone photos. Miranda Gavin

This year, titles from both editions of the project will be showcased within Matèria’s gallery space between April 17 and May 16, 2015 where photographic works by Dafna Talmor, Emma Wieslander and Minna Kantonen, (founders of On Landscape Project) will be on show.

DEADLINE
16 February 2015

SUBMISSION FORM
Click here

Photo News – Library of Birmingham Photography Archive threatened with closure and staff cuts

Tented hospital accommodation on the University campus: Patients in an open air ward watching a display in the grounds of the university.  c1916 MS 2724/2/B/4088

Tented hospital accommodation on the University campus: Patients in an open air ward watching a display in the grounds of the university. c1916 MS 2724/2/B/4088. From the extensive First World War archive housed at the library.

Professor in the Culture of Photography at the University of Brighton and Financial Times photography critic, Francis Hodgson wrote a post on his blog, Another One Bites the Dust (22 Dec 2014), alerting readers to the significant cuts being proposed at the Library of Birmingham (LoB), which were announced just before Christmas, and vitally to the proposal to close the Photography Archive and axe the entire staff, effective from May 2015.

Understandably, Hodgson was miffed. He refused to remain silent and carefully articulated the reasons why he believes that this proposal is wrong, as well as pointing out how:

“A host of funders, years before the new library opened, have raised money on the assumption (and, I suspect, on the contractual guarantee) that works purchased would be available to be seen by the public. How are they to react to the news that those pictures will now be locked into drawers, hidden, inaccessible, and neither circulating as they were intended to circulate nor preserved as they were intended to be preserved?

“It is one shameful thing to say a wealth of professional expertise is going to be thrown away. It is quite another to say that if the photography department of the Library of Birmingham is mothballed, then a number of fancy donors will in effect have been lied to. The donors should know that, and react to it.”

The LoB photography archive houses a collection of historical and contemporary photography of international importance and in the run-up to Christmas, it was a proposal that could easily have been lost in the holiday period, something that the council may well have anticipated in the hope that the proposals could be pushed through without a fight.

Hodgson noted that the closing date for representations is Monday 12 January 2015, and ended his post with a clear rallying call:

“You haven’t got time to do nothing. Take up the invitations below, where a number of contact addresses are given. React by whichever channel you choose, but react.”

Go to Another One Bites the Dust for ways to respond.

I circulated the petition link and tweeted news of the proposed cuts to my network of photo aficionados and photographers, as well as to some media personalities based in the Midlands who I have interviewed in the past. We can still keep up the pressure and, for those of you who are not UK-based, this is a matter of pressing concern for anyone interested in photography and its heritage. The proposed cuts and the rather underhand manner in which it is being carried out is shameful.

Director-General of  The Royal Photographic Society, Dr Michael Pritchard, also circulated an open letter to the press in support of UK photography and our photographic heritage, urging people to sign the letter, writing: “This matters to all of us as photographers, historians, institutions, organisations and companies working with photography.”

This is the RPS letter in its entirety:

LETTER FOR PUBLICATION

5 January, 2015

Sir,

As historians, scholars and photographers at the UK’s leading academic departments and photographic organisations we wish to express our profound concerned about the impact of the proposed cuts to the Library of Birmingham’s Photography Collections and axing of its entire staff.

The LoB’s photography holdings are one of the UK’s National Collections of Photography and designated of national and international importance. Built since the nineteenth century they contain major collections of historic photography from pioneers such as Francis Bedford and Francis Frith, to later photography from Sir Benjamin Stone, Birmingham Corporation, to the personal archives of important contemporary British photographers such a Paul Hill, John Blakemore and Daniel Meadows, and organisations such as Birmingham Photographic Society. They are collections which document the history of both professional and amateur photography in the UK.

In recent decades the Photography Collections Team has successfully attracted over £1 million in external sponsorship to support their work mounting major exhibitions, acquiring collections of international importance and undertaking the vital cataloguing and conservation work required to make them publically accessible. It has also had a national profile for its work commissioning contemporary photography from students and established artists. The archive has also formed the basis of numerous outreach projects with culturally diverse communities in and beyond the city. It has also presented exhibitions internationally in countries as diverse as Brazil, China and South Africa. The Photography Department has attracted huge audiences over the past 25 years through a combination of its gallery-based exhibitions and outdoor gallery which has brought the collections into the reach of everyone in the city. The Library is now widely recognised as a major photography hub for new and established photographers in the West Midlands and as a model for the intelligent, integrated presentation of both historical and contemporary photography.

At a time when government is actively encouraging precisely the kinds of partnerships between public and private funding which have proved so successful at LoB and emphasising the need to reach out to new audiences we believe that the photography collections, in particular, at the LoB should be protected and harnessed for the social, economic, cultural and educational benefit of the city and UK. Whatever the outcome of the city’s funding cuts consultation, the fait accompli abandonment the Photography Collection is wholly unwarranted and will have a disproportionate impact on the region, the UK and internationally. If Birmingham City Council feels unable to properly fund its internationally important photography collections then government via DCMS needs to step in.

Signed by:

Professor Elizabeth Edwards, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University

Dr Michael Pritchard, The Royal Photographic Society

Photo Competition: Visual artist Lucia Pizzani and filmmaker David Jackson win Hotshoe Photofusion Award 2014

Now in its fifth year, I was delighted to announce the winners of the Hotshoe Photofusion Award 2014 at the gallery last week (11 December) with a short comment on the work, which I have reproduced below. The winners are:

LuciaPizanni
Lucia Pizzani for her Impronta series 2013 of ink-jet prints derived from the wet-plate collodion process. The work is a hybrid of sculpture, performance and photography and engages with the idea of the chrysalis on a number of levels, including its physical form through the use of specially-made chrysalis costumes. This series of delicate and slightly bizarre black-and-white images recalls the style of 19th-century Victorian ethnographic portraiture and suggest women on the verge of emerging, as well as ideas of metamorphosis and transformation. (photo above © Lucia Pizzani)

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David Jackson, This Is Not My House is a short film of 14 minutes shot in Malta and centred on the filmmaker’s widowed father. Gentle and beautifully crafted, the film avoids the usual clichés and instead offers a series of tenderly stitched vignettes that give a sense of the now increasingly solitary life of his ageing father. At one point in the film there is a short exchange between father and son, who also share the same first name, that conveys so much about their relationship and a growing similarity in mannerism, posture and even dress. (film stills above © David Jackson)

The winner/s receive a feature (in this case I have interviewed the winners for a post next week) on http://www.hotshoeinternational.com, and a free annual magazine subscription. Previous winners received a feature in the magazine but since it has changed to a quarterly frequency, this is no longer the case.

Since I started judging the selection in 2010, there have also been changes in the way the award is organised. For the first two years, I judged the winner from a shortlisted selection of six photographers and visual artists on show at the gallery. Since 2012, Photofusion has organised a salon-style hang showing single images from its members and this year for Photofusion SALON/14 there were over 1200 images from 140 artists.

People often ask me about judging photo competitions and in an early post, Discovering Your Competitive Side, I talked about how I select work. This year, as in previous years, I asked Photofusion to send me a folder with all the entries stripped of the photographer’s name so that I only have a number for each entry, plus an artist statement and CV with the names removed. In my line of work, there is, inevitably, work that I may recognize, but that is the nature of photo competitions so I try to maintain as much parity in judging the work as I can.

I like to look at the work first, reflect on it, return to it, and see which images stay in my mind over a couple of days. I also read the artist statement once I have looked at the images, not before, as they can help anchor the work, point to conceptual aspects that may not be gleaned solely by looking at the work, and suggest points of investigation by the photographer. Lastly I look at the CV, although in most cases I do not refer to this at all. I am only interested in the work submitted and supporting statements or captions, it makes no difference to me whether someone studied at the Royal College of Art, or a lesser-known institution or whether the entrant is self-taught. For me, it is about the work, not the perceived pedigree.

I then whittled 100 folders of single images down to a longlist of around 20, for which I requested any further images by the photographer who was, at this stage, named. For those of you who are interested here is the longlist:

Wendy Aldiss; Valerie Bennett; Tom Broadbent; James Clark; Scarlett Crawford; CJ Everard;  Gabriella Fabrowska; Keith Greenouth; Robert Hackman; Grace Hardy; Esme Horne; Aron Klein-Barge; Lucy Levene; Emilia Moisio; Vincenzo Sassu; Heather Shuker; Emma Evelyn Speight; Nai Wen Hsu; Remy Whitling

Help Kickstart Pierfranceso Celada’s book Hitoride, or By Yourself, Alone

After a five-year journey, I am very glad to present the project Hitoride in book form. You can make it a reality by pre-ordering your copy, or getting one of the limited edition offerings.
Pierfranceso Celada

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I get news of a fair few crowdfunding campaigns, some of which are by lesser-known photographers who need support in pushing out their campaigns further. Pierfrancesco Celada‘s Kickstarter is one such campaign. I first came across the project a couple of years ago at a Brighton-based Slideluck event and singled out his work as one of my favourite multimedia pieces in the selection. See previous post about his film Japan I wish I knew your name

Now you can help him produce the book for which he has just eight more days to reach his target. You can make a pledge and/or circulate news of his campaign to others. Follow this link to the Kickstarter campaign page HITORIDE. The book will be printed and distributed from Italy. For this project to receive its funding it must raise at least £12,000 by 9 Dec 2014 18:41. To date he has raised £4,513, so a big push is needed.

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japan, I wish I knew your name

HITORIDE (Literally: By Yourself, Alone) is a photographic book by the Italian photographer and is based on his award-winning project Japan I wish I knew your name. The project reflects on miscommunication and isolation in Japan, one of the most populated countries in the world.

The book will cost £24, plus shipping costs. A selection of five limited edition prints from the project will be available for backers to choose from and will be available in three different sizes.

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Pierfrancesco Celada (b.1979, Italy), after completing a PhD in Biomechanics is now concentrating his attention on a long-term project on life in Modern Megalopolis.In 2011 he won the Ideastap and Magnum Photo Photographic Award and interned at Magnum Photo.  His work has been exhibited internationally and his projects published on Newsweek, Times Lightbox, Amica, D-LaRepubblica among others. He is currently working on the second chapter of Modern Megalopolis: “People Mountain People Sea” exploring life in Chinese Megacities. For enquiries: photo@pierfrancescocelada.com

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The Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka Megalopolis, also called Taiheiyō Belt is a unique example of urban agglomeration with an estimated population of over 80 million people. Despite this incredibly high number of chances to interact, it seems that society is moving in the opposite direction.

If, in small societies, people have more of an active social role, with multiple connections and greater effect on the community [Eriksen, 2001]; in a larger society some people struggle to communicate with each other, or tend to maintain close contact with only a small number of the closest friends or family members. Some people tend to privilege other communicative systems offered by modern media and communication tools; others have an even more extreme approach.

“Nobody is ‘together’ in his work.” Ueyama Kazuki

Hikikomori (“pulling away, being confined”) is an acute social withdrawal phenomenon; a Japanese term that defines reclusive people who have decided to socially isolate themselves for periods longer then six month; often these time periods can be counted in years or even decades. It is estimated that 1% of the Japanese population may be Hikikomori. The young people portrayed in this project are all members of Newstart, a NPO working with Hikikomori and NEET (people not in education, employment or training) with the purpose of helping them to re-enter society.

japan, I wish I knew your name

All photos © Pierfrancesco Celada.

Photo competitions report from Miranda Gavin’s talk at Photofusion Brixton

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David Titlow’s winning portrait, Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow, for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014

Today’s post focuses on entering photography competitions and is a report by photography graduate Jess Morris from my recent talk, Discovering Your Competitive Side, which took place at Photofusion in Brixton.

In keeping with the theme of the talk, this post opens with David Titlow’s winning portrait (Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow) from the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 which was announced last week. His portrait Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow was captured the morning after a large midsummer party in Rataryd, Sweden. It shows his baby son being introduced to a dog. He says: ‘Everyone was a bit hazy from the previous day′s excess – my girlfriend passed our son to the subdued revellers on the sofa – the composition and back light was so perfect that I had to capture the moment’.

This year the competition attracted over 4,000 submissions in the form of editorial, advertising and fine art prints; an exhibition of sixty shortlisted photographs including the four prize winners as well as the work of the winner of the John Kobal New Work Award, Hana Knizova (Portrait of Olivia Colman) can be seen until 22 February 2015.

David Titlow (b. 1963) is a London-based photographer working in fashion and advertising. He has exhibited widely and has been commissioned by numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, Vice and Vanity Fair. Originally a musician from Halesworth in Suffolk, Titlow switched to photography in the early nineties and has since worked in the industry.

NPG x139974; Olivia Colman by Hana Knizova

Hana Knizova, Portrait of Olivia Colman. C-type colour print, 16 October 2014. 16 1/2 in. x 23 1/4 in. (418 mm x 592 mm) image size Commissioned, 2014

Miranda Gavin – Discovering your Competitive Side
Tuesday 16 September, Photofusion – Brixton

Jess Morris reports from the event and from her perspective as one of the audience.

As well as being a well-respected name in the photography world, Miranda Gavin, who is editor-at-large for Hotshoe, editor of Frame & Reference and The Roaming Eye, also has personal experience of being on the judging panel of photographic competitions.

This makes her an invaluable asset to the circle of freelance up-and-coming photographers trying their hand at entering the unknown, and often unfair, world of competitions. Brixton’s Photofusion invited her along to share her knowledge and advice with its members.

Miranda opened the talk with a quiz to spark audience participation, not to mention wake everyone up after a long day in the rat race. We split into small groups and chose one person to take note of our answers. Listed here are the questions she asked us, along with a selection of answers from around the room:

Why bother entering competitions?
E x p o s u r e
To raise your profile/Publicity/Elevation/cutting corners
Gives you a project/Target/Challenge/Makes you finish it
Contacts/Gain experience/Feedback
Tutoring
M o n e y £££££!

How do you find out about them?
Online/Mailing Lists/Repeat notifications from previous competitions
Word of mouth/Networking/University Alumni
Advertisements/Posters/Flyers/TV

Name the ones you have heard of/entered (in order of popularity):
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
British Journal of Photography photo prizes
Photofusion’s AMPS annual photo prize
Terry O’Neill Photographic prize
Prix Pictet
Portrait Salon
Nikon competitions
World Press Photo
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Sony World Photography Award
Landscape Photographer of the Year
Association of Photographers prizes
TRIBE

As well as listing some of the reasons for entering photography competitions, Miranda also urged us to note down the negative aspects and the flaws. The general consensus was as follows:

Work goes into the ether – with no explanation of where it has gone or who has seen it.

Costs – some competitions are charging an extortionate rate per photo for entering without any guarantee of the photograph being returned or properly looked after.

Lack of feedback – If you don’t get through to the final rounds or win, you at least want feedback from the judging panel on whether they liked certain aspects of your work, or what you could have improved on. If no reasons are given the disappointment is far greater.

No communication after payment is taken – This truly leaves a bitter taste and gets you thinking that they were only after your money in the first place, plus WHERE does the money in entry fees go?

Lack of clarity in criteria – You can’t be judged harshly for not ticking invisible boxes! It is not always clear.

Unfair judging – Often the judges have no artistic background whatsoever and are merely there because of sponsoring or circumstance; for example, the Taylor Wessing prize includes a member on the judging panel from the law firm sponsoring the prize.

Celebrity/already established winners – Seeing the same names, or same circles of winners, is neither promising or inspiring for prospective entrants.

The second half of the talk focused on an interesting topic, that of crowd funding, a platform many photographers are now using to get their work out there, as well as to fund work. Crowdfunding is the funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people via the Internet. One woman in the audience made the point that she tried raising £2,000 through crowdfunding to make a video. However, she found it problematic because she ended up having to put her own money in to reach the full amount which was misleading and defeated the object entirely. Some platforms only give you the money if you reach your full target.

The same woman also noted a positive aspect that it’s not just about the money, it’s also about raising awareness and appreciation of work or projects with followers and contributors, of whom she had gained plenty. Miranda brought up an example of a project that was crowdfunded successfully and managed to raise awareness of autism and in turn allowed the photographer to self publish a book. There were certainly pros and cons involved in equal measures, however, generally the feeling was that crowdfunding was an alternative method to entering competitions in terms of offering elevation, money, experience and networking, however, it required a lot more effort and time to achieve it.

Crowdfunding requires full time dedication during the campaign period (often of 90 days). However, as Miranda pointed out, TIME is a huge factor. It may be a more tangible way of achieving a goal with a clear objective, but photographers have to commit to it. For those who cannot dedicate themselves and the necessary time to crowdfunding, competitions are still an option.

It was time for the audience to turn the questions on Miranda, eager to find out about her personal judging experience of being on a panel and what information she could divulge about the dialogue that goes on behind the scenes. Miranda said that when judging work herself she prefers it if the names of entrants are stripped off the work, as well as from CVs and personal statements. This is so that she cannot be influenced by someone’s history, education or presence in the art world already. Anonymity is crucial.

In terms of information, Miranda explained how she likes to read any statements or  descriptions after looking at the image, and to test herself on how well she can read its meaning without one, however, in some cases the statement may be vital and a necessary component of the work. In terms of writing statements to accompany entries, Miranda said that a concise statement, or around 200 words, is enough and to bear in mind the audience reading the statement, so nothing too theoretically heavy or filled with jargon. If a theory is being referred to, or a quote is used, she likes to see the photographer demonstrate how it relates to the work, otherwise it is decoration.

LESS IS MORE: This is crucial to remember when choosing your final selection. Only submit your best shots.

BELIEVE IN YOUR WORK: The work you submit should also be work that you feel strongly about, perhaps a recent body of work that you are still passionate about and connected to as this will come across to the judging panel.

FIT THE CRITERIA: Make sure your work meets the criteria.

CHECK TERMS & CONDITIONS: Read the small print and beware of rights grabs.

LABELLING IS VITAL: The order of your series is important and how it is viewed by judges.

VARIETY OF SCREENS: Check your images on a range of screens if you are sending in an online file, find a balance that will work on most screens.

RESEARCH competitions and previous finalists and winners to see a range of styles and formats that are being accepted. This is not to copy them but to merely get an idea of whether your work could stand alongside some of them.

MOVING IMAGE WORK
Miranda also talked about the complications of submitting different mediums of work. Moving image artists need to be aware of lazy curation or lack of appropriate funds/space to show it. The whole piece can be mistranslated if it’s not shown appropriately and with the necessary settings. You have to be in control of how your work is shown otherwise it is almost pointless. How can you take control? The only way really is to always include guidelines on how you want it to be viewed and hope that they are suitably followed.

By the end of the talk and after giving a summary of the key areas covered, the audience seemed more enlightened on the subject and, possibly, more realistic about what they’re really getting when entering a photography competition. That’s not to say people were put off from doing so, but instead they were a little wiser about the process and better informed about the negative aspects. For the people who may enter their work after attending this talk, it’s fair to say that they would be doing so with somewhat of a better chance of succeeding than before, or at least better informed.