Posted by: 6x6pix | July 28, 2011

YOU. Are. the Best.

Some BPC members may already know that three of my four co-assistant-organizers and I are moving on from the organization. I won’t go into details here of the past week’s events, or the reasons we were given for the mass dismissal; some of you will hear versions of it from others, I’m sure (and I’ll tell you mine if you ask). But here, I want to say thanks to all the members I’ve met, past and present, for inspiring me, making me laugh, and for keeping this group interesting for me for the past six years.

When I joined BPC in February of 2005, it was a meetup.com group of about 150. I instantly felt at home with the members I met, and within a year of joining, I was heavily involved in leading photowalks and other shooting-centered outings and workshops. I continued to do this into 2010, but the peak of this activity for me was in the summer and fall seasons of ’07 and ’08, when I led, on average, about 3 outings per month, with groups ranging from 3 to 45 members (averaging 12-18 per outing).

At the start of 2009 I shifted my focus, starting the BPC Facebook page and this blog to increase communication and exposure opportunities for members, and to raise awareness of BPC outside the group. My job (the paying one) is in web/marketing/social media, so this was a natural area for me to contribute to the group (and our founder, Banafsheh, was at that time still notoriously “anti-online,” so there was a big hole to fill in our communication and marketing outreach). Fellow assistant coordinator Alicia Carlson and I developed the majority of the content for the BPC blog (another assistant organizer, Jeff, sometimes contributed as well), and we’ve posted regularly on the Facebook page for two and a half years, creating several new ways for members to share their work and their news. I enjoyed doing all this, and met a lot of wonderful photographers, many of whom are my good friends today.

So I want to thank everyone — BPC members and others — who’ve supported these efforts by submitting images and content, reading and engaging on posts, etc. And to all the members who came on my outings over the years, in rain, sun, heat, cold, wind, snow, rough seas and fog so thick you could slice it with a knife — you made those outings worthwhile and fun for me, and to those still with the group, I hope you continue to do great things with BPC, and that it can do great things for you.

— Bonnie

(As of today, I haven’t left BPC, but Banafsheh told the former assistant organizers a few days ago that she’s refocusing the group to “work with Amateurs [and] with kids,” and right now there aren’t a lot of events on the calendar that I’m likely to attend (and I won’t be scheduling any myself, obviously ;-).

Posted by: 6x6pix | March 21, 2011

Help Japan, One Print at a Time

If you’re looking for a way to help the people of Japan recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the island on March 11, we’ve got some ideas for you. And all of them involve art.

Within 48 hours of the earthquake hitting, Elizabeth Avedon of Lenscratch and Crista Dix of Wall Space Gallery had teamed up and launched the Life Support Japan online print sale. By March 18 the sale had raised over $20,000 for Direct Relief International and Habitat for Humanity Japan, and the auctions — which are intended to run long-term — are still going strong, with over 200 photographers contributing prints to date. Prints, in editions of 10, sell for $50 each; to buy visit Life Support I or Life Support II; to donate, follow instructions on the project’s blog (though note that the organizers have recently asked photographers to hold off submitting donations temporarily, while they get a permanent web site up and running).

In addition to Life Support Japan, there are several other prominent (and many not-so-prominent) charity sales of photographs and prints going on:

It’s hard to stop donating with all these great efforts going on. I’ve already scooped up one of those luscious Jesse LeDoux prints, and submitted an image to Life Support Japan, where I’m keeping a close eye on the status of various prints already posted, while I try to decide between several I really want. Maybe next time I check the site, I’ll see the work of some of my fellow BPC-ers for sale?

[If you know of other online print sales to benefit disaster relief in Japan, post details in the comments and I’ll research them and add them to this post]
Posted by: bpcweb | March 13, 2011

Open Calls for Entry

Here are a few national calls for entry that may be of interest to some of you:

17th Annual Juried Show at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester MA): “Each photographer can submit up to 5 images in either digital or print format (digital format preferred) for judging purposes. All photographic mediums are eligible for submission.” (Entrants must be, or become, museum members). Download Prospectus [PDF]
Juror: Debra Klomp Ching. Submission deadline March 31, 2011.

Exposure: 16th Annual Juried Exhibition at the Photographic Resource Center, Boston: “Are you ready for some exposure? Then line up a selection of your best photographs and get ready to enter EXPOSURE 2011, the PRC’s 16th annual juried exhibition of work by its members.”
Juror: Whitney Johnson. Submission Deadline: April 22, 2011.

Plastic + Film: An Exhibition of Toy Camera Photography at the Nave Gallery (Somerville MA): “Plastic + Film will highlight the ever-growing cadre of artists working with simple toy cameras and film. The exhibition celebrates the quirky, the personal, and the unique perspective of the individual. All themes will be considered.”
Submission Deadline: March 21, 2011

Black and White at the Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO): “All black and white photography is welcome. This includes alternative,traditional, digital, and toned black and white images. All subjects are eligible.”
Juror: Catherine Edelman. Submission Deadline: April 5, 2011

Posted by: 6x6pix | March 3, 2011

Photography at MOMA

It’s a great time to visit MOMA if you’re interested in photography. I spent the better part of the day there last Friday taking in the Women in Photography and Performance in Photography shows,  Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, and a tight collection of small black & white prints from the 1950s & 60s that are being shown as part of the massive Abstract Expressionism exhibit on view through April.

Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, filling all six rooms of the Steichen photography galleries, contains 211 photos made by 106 photographers from 1850 to the present. These are all photos by women, of women to a large extent, which to my (female) mind is a bit of a thin premise for so large a show, but as a survey it works fairly well. The highlights for me were the works by Tina Modotti, Dorothea Lange, Helen Levitt, and pretty much everything in the last two rooms (work created since about 1970). The show seems oddly balanced in the earlier part of the chronology, with work by a few heavy-hitters like those I just mentioned, hanging side-by-side with lots of underwhelming photos by lesser names. But it does a great job of highlighting how women photographers really only started shooting from a decidedly female point of view in the late 1960s-early 70s. Prints by Carrie Mae Weems, Mary Frey and Nan Goldin are especially effective in this regard, but if you go, do not miss everything else — there’s amazing work here by Rineke Dijkstra, Carolee Schneeman, Diane Arbus, and Helen Levitt (yes, I already mentioned her — she’s that good).

There’s some extremely arresting work in Staging Action: Performance in Photography since 1960, and I was completely smitten with a few crisp, gorgeous prints by Harry Callahan, Paul Caponigro, and Aaron Siskind that are hung in a cozy little gallery as part of the AbEx show, but by this point I was starting to feel like I’d overdosed on photography. Surprisingly, it was the Warhol Screen Tests, often considered so boring they could be used as sleep aid, that revived me. These films, which Warhol conceived as “film portraits,” are lustrous, revelatory ruminations on the faces of various persons and personalities who hung around Warhol’s Factory in the mid-60s. Dennis Hopper, Lou Reed, Allen Ginsburg, Edie Sedgewick, Donyale Luna and others gaze languidly or aloofly into the camera for four minutes, and while not much really happens in any of these films, the effect of being surrounded by a dozen of them, projected at 7×9 feet, is mesmerizing and beautiful, and that’s even before you stop to think about who these people are/were, what their lives might have been like at the time, what became of them, and — maybe most compelling of all — what might they have been thinking as the camera rolled on? This exhibit is only up for a few more weeks (through March 21), so I urge you to make a trip down to see it while you can.

Posted by: bpcweb | February 13, 2011

Vintage Camerapalooza!

If you weren’t able to make it to Wednesday’s meeting, you missed a great presentation by Mel Snyder on the history of (mostly) 35mm cameras, complete with a vintage camera petting zoo that had some of us drooling.

Now, thanks to the magic of the interwebs, you can get a taste of what you missed — without Mel’s enthusiastic narration, great stories and funny anecdotes, you’re really not getting the full experience, but (sorry — Mel’s removed his video). We’ve talked about having Mel reprise his presentation in the spring, so watch the calendar for that!

Posted by: 6x6pix | February 9, 2011

Artist & Alchemists Trailer

According to the folks at Market Street Productions, their film Artists & Alchemists “is a feature length documentary that follows ten contemporary and renowned photographers employing antiquated photographic processes.”

I haven’t been able to find any additional info on this film, or its release date, but I’m really looking forward to seeing it. Watch the too-brief trailer below:

Posted by: bpcweb | February 7, 2011

Rebecca Skinner at MGH

BPC member Rebecca Skinner has a photo in the latest Illuminations show at MGH. Illuminations “is a rotating art exhibit housed in the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, designed to enhance our environment of care.”

An opening reception will be held Tuesday, February 15 from 5:30 to 7:00pm, on the 10th floor of the Yawkey Center (55 Fruit St, Boston). Parking is free with validation at 10th floor reception desk.

The show will remain up through May 2011.

Posted by: bpcweb | February 4, 2011

Sharon Devereux at Fountain St Fine Art

BPC member Sharon Devereux has five photos in “Unscripted,” the group show that opens the new Fountain Street Fine Art Gallery in Framingham. Sharon’s photos — three from her series “In a New York Minute,” and two from her “Frozen Moments” series shot in Boston — were selected for the show by juror Katherine French, Director of the Danforth Museum of Art.

Sharon writes that this is all new work, which we suspect means these photos are not included in the book of street-performance photography she recently published in collaboration with member Robert Hunt.

“Unscripted” opened January 27 and runs through February 27; hours are Friday through Sunday, 11am to 5pm. There’s an opening reception tomorrow, February 5 from 5-8pm — check it out!

Fountain Street Fine Art
59 Fountain Street
Framingham, MA 01702

Posted by: 6x6pix | January 23, 2011

Before You Shoot: See

I asked a bunch of photographer friends recently whether they find it easier or harder to shoot in places they’re visiting for the first time. Without hesitation, they all said, “easier!” which surprised me, because I find shooting in unfamiliar places to be fairly difficult. Being in a place for the first time, I’m completely overwhelmed, not only with taking in all the possible things to photograph, but with sussing out and choosing the best angles from which to shoot any given thing. Adding to my frustration is the fact that I have little to no idea how the changing light will affect these various scenes, and I usually — especially when traveling — don’t have the time to wait and find out. Maddening!

Despite the results of my small informal poll, I think a lot of people really feel the same way I do, but digital cameras allow them to avoid the “so many choices” conundrum entirely, by shooting everything they see from as many angles as they can get. This is certainly one reason so many people come home from vacations with hundreds and hundreds of photographs of the things they’ve “seen,” but as a recent Slate article on Slow Photography points out, this approach comes at a cost:

Photography is so easy that the camera threatens to replace the eyeball. Our cameras are so advanced that looking at what you are photographing has become strictly optional. To my surprise, no monument I saw in Israel could compete with the back of the camera. What gets lost is the idea that photography might force you to spend time looking at what is in front of you, noticing what you might otherwise ignore.

The article goes on to point out the importance of looking at what’s around you, studying the lines, angles, tones and light of things, to the point that you’re actually composing photographs in your head and editing out the chaff before you even pull the camera out of the bag.

Film shooters already do this, in part because most of us learned photography in the dark ages BD (Before Digital) and were trained to consider our subjects and to make choices about the images we wanted to end up with before we exposed a frame. The reasons for this are both economic (saving film, which is money; and time, which is life and sometimes money), and grounded in craft (no matter the equipment used, at some point anyone who cares about what they’re doing would like to be able to say with confidence that their photographs are consistently not happy accidents). But there’s an aesthetic factor as well: most of us try to do more in a photo than simply document what’s in front of the camera, and that takes, at minimum, some thought, and insight into our subjects.

Up to the point where it suggests that after adopting the “slow photography” process, you needn’t even make a photo at all unless you’re really into post-production (huh? what about the sheer love of photographs as objects to have and hold?), the Slate article is a worthwhile read. And if you’ll indulge me a shameless plug, I especially recommend it for anyone planning to take my Three Frame Shoot workshop next month — it should help put you in the right frame of mind (terrible pun intended!).

As we are getting close to another year’s end, actually a decade’s end and look forward to a new future, there are some habits we all should consider practicing and many things we should be very thankful for during the holidays and mainly our lives!

The very fact that you are breathing on your own, reading great books and I hope many photography books and frankly conscious means you are far better off than some out there.

If you have a family and good friends that care for you, you are very lucky, since some don’t have any to get the right support.

If you have electricity, heat, entertainment, food on your table, internet, warm clothes, a place to call home, a clean mattress to sleep on… you are way ahead of many.

Do you have a job ? Great if you do and if you don’t I hope you are having some assistance from the Government and if you are really desperate ask for help and don’t feel you are in some big void… Also don’t say no to small jobs that may pay a little less than what you are used to!

Remember to send your clear and kind spirit to the ones that are suffering… and if you can hold a hand and give a shoulder to someone who is not as fortunate please do so!

Don’t complain too much, get rid of the exhausting negativity around you and if you feel you can’t get rid of them then confront them nicely… and let them know they are living in their fictional world and their ego simply adds more to that fiction. Do it nicely though, I guarantee it works!

No envy and jealousy in 2011! Leave them in the past and become your own person. Create within your own desires and your open mind (remember, I said an open mind), seek, trust and if you want to succeed then listen to advice of others (and make sure it doesn’t leave you from the other ear). There is nothing worse in life than the crown ofi ndividualism, it is a sin! Give a handshake that truly means something not simply formality.

The greatest reward comes from selflessness, showing patience and empathy for others… believe me… this has been the model of my life. And with each soul succeeding, my soul gets nourished…

And photography and BPC (for some of you new people BPC means Boston Photography Center and we have been around for six strong years)… well photography IF it is your creative outlet then what are you waiting for? Come and join us… we have a ton of wonderful events, shoots… you name it… Do you know how many people from BPC have achieved their goals of turning pro photographer? This is what we do here… we nourish your creative mind and more importantly we make sure you realize what photography truly is and no,  it is not just a click of your expensive shutter. Believe me it is far more challenging than you can imagine!

We are adding more great programs this year and getting even more serious about the organization… I personally have given so much of my time and my life to this, and I’m sure some of you feel the same way. So stay tuned… we are on our way to a wonderful and a bit of a different year. So get serious about your Art! It can change the world… it can change YOU!

Happy New year and stay POSITIVE !

Banafsheh

Founder, Boston Photography Center

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