The Digest – April 1st, 2012

©Nick Waplington – Surf Riot via American Photo Magazine

Playing catch up on the last few weeks. We’ve started laying out Issue #4 which should come out by the end of the month. We’ll be changing a some things up which is exciting. Always evolving and all that jazz.

Lists of Photographers

I’m guessing you’ve probably seen the Wired post ’10 Photographers You Should Ignore’ which Blake and I wrote nearly two years ago. It’s a bit bizarre to see some of the reactions from people and the debate it’s stirred up. Honestly, it was just a bit of fun. We were roasting those photographers because we respect and admire them, like the zillions of other photographers out there. Nevertheless it’s these type of articles that bring the morons out of the woodwork.

The bottom line is that photography tends to be so overly earnest that it’s nearly impossible not to mock certain elements of it at times. Anyway, don’t  expect 10 More Photographers You Should Ignore any time soon. But if you’re looking to have an aneurysm, ‘The 25 Photographers You Should Know’ list from Complex Magazine has the potential to cause one.

Or perhaps you want to focus your righteous indignation on this list from Flavorwire, ’15 Exciting Contemporary Photographers You Need to Watch.’

Do you want one more? How about the ‘Top 10 Famous Contemporary Photographers.’

Alright, no more lists until the end of the year.

©Bill Monk

Links of Note

‘Photographers on Photographers: Billy Monk by Colin Pantall’: Great article from Colin on fototazo.

These people all perform for the camera in their different ways but are visually disconnected from each other. But despite this disconnect we want to, or I want to, put them together, give them homes and relationships and families that tie them together in some way. But if I do that, the visual disconnect translates to those homes and families and relationships I have invented. The story becomes sad, little domestic tragedies that can only find solace in the brandy and coke and sordid couplings of The Catacombs Club.

Fred Herzog Photographs« or How I learnt to stop worrying and love the Compendium: Lengthy article from Kerim Aytac but definitely worth the read.

My reticence towards ‘Greatest Hits’ and ‘Best of’ compilations lies in the fact they are a collection of ‘singles’, but photography used to be, and largely still is for the amateur and most of those who use cameras, about the singular. The distillation of a moment into a beautifully composed and pregnant frame had been the point in the time of Atget, (although maybe not for Atget himself) but at some instance in the post-’The Americans’ era, photographers were expected to start seeing in ‘series’, be they narrative or conceptual.  This is in many ways an unnatural process for the image-maker geared towards responding and reacting to world around him/her and is largely the result of an arts educations system seeking to equip artists for career progression. The compendium could therefore be seen as an even more natural state for a photographer’s work to end up in, as it more closely represents his/her organic experience in making it. For a young photographer to approach a publisher with a collection of his/her best work organised chronologically and concept-free, would be unheard of today, an almost impudent act, which is many ways a shame. The skill of an artist lies not necessarily in his\her execution of an idea, but perhaps in the vision and insight with which the work can be seen to respond.

The Online Photographer: Just Shoot, Shoot, Shoot: An Interview with David Burnett, Part II:

And finally, don’t forget that the biggest joy in photography is making pictures of those things in your own life. It doesn’t need to be a St. Patrick’s Day Parade with thousands of revelers to be important. Your friends, your family, your own life—that should be the first subject you work on. It’s a given your family will be tired of being photographed, but don’t give up. In another couple of decades, those are the pictures you will be glad to have.

Found In A Closet: A Photo Trove Of ’60s Icons: Excellent article on NPR Picture Show about Jackie Robinson.

The career lasted 17 years before Robinson came undone and moved to Memphis. There, he sobered up and took a job as a stained-glass designer. By the time Oppenheimer met him, New York City and photography and alcoholism had all been buried in the past. And there’s really no one who knows much more — at least not outspokenly.

The Tumblr trap: Is Internet culture turning musicians into content-producers?:Very much applies to photography too.

Last year, Drake spoke out about his distrust of Tumblr, lamenting that the drive-by social-media bulletin board discourages creativity and personal expression. Tumblr does have potential as a conversation hub—many people use it this way—but increasingly Drake’s characterization of it as a place for photos and gifs unencumbered by the written word seems accurate. Like Pinterest, the current social-media success story, it’s merely a way of broadcasting things a user finds cool, attractive, unique, or funny without explanation. And with its rolling presentation model, none of it is built to last.

‘Theft’ Law in the 21st Century:

If Cyber Bob illegally downloads Digital Joe’s song from the Internet, it’s crucial to recognize that, in most cases, Joe hasn’t lost anything. Yes, one might try to argue that people who use intellectual property without paying for it steal the money they would have owed had they bought it lawfully. But there are two basic problems with this contention. First, we ordinarily can’t know whether the downloader would have paid the purchase price had he not misappropriated the property. Second, the argument assumes the conclusion that is being argued for — that it is theft.

iSay: Stephen Mayes on smart phones, photography, and the future:

I hear some photographers say, “It’s just another camera.” But really it’s not. I’ve seen those same photographers behaving and producing in very different ways, not comparable with simply changing format. The “smart phone” adjective has a justified place in our vocabulary — but for reasons that we are only just beginning to understand.

The portfolio review experience … Notes from a reviewer perspective: Gwen Lafage writes about her experience as a reviewer and offers some good tips.

Learn to express orally your ‘artist statement’ or ‘project statement’. Know how to explain in few simple words what your project is about, why this project, etc… Simplicity here is key – it’s not the time or the place for a long philosophical speech…

A few thoughts on Cindy Sherman at MoMA (and a rant about photography at museums in general): Jorg takes on photography exhibitions at museums.

I want to blame museums for creating the situation they’re in, but that’s just foolish. The days of John Szarkowski are over. Make no mistake, it’s not even that I find everything Szarkowski did so interesting (that whole macho street photography cult? Really?). But here was somebody willing to define the medium, willing to put something out there. The willingness might still exist – but the ability is gone. Museums have become ossified institutions, and museum curators aren’t former photographers any longer. Instead, they are professionally trained museum curators, who, to make this clear, are great at what they’re trained to do.

©Mikael Kennedy –