Sebastian Junger’s Self-Financed and Self-Released Film Korengal

- - Working

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KORENGALa note from Sebastian Junger

I’m writing to let you know that my next film, KORENGAL, is about to come out on May 30th in New York. Tim and I had planned to make a follow-up to Restrepo, but a few weeks after going to the Oscars, Tim was killed in Libya while covering the civil war. I teamed up with our original editor and continued the project anyway. Restrepo was intended to give civilians an idea of what combat feels like; KORENGAL is completely different. It is meant to help soldiers – and civilians – understand the experience of war. How does fear work? What is courage? Why do so many soldiers miss the war? Why is it so hard to come home?
KORENGAL is completely self-financed and self-released. The upside is that no one could tell us how to make our film; the downside is that it is incredibly hard – and expensive – to get an independent film to hit critical mass and go nationwide. But that is exactly what we are going to try to do. If we sell out the Sunshine Theater (Houston and First Avenue) on opening weekend (May 29-June 1), Landmark will take our film nationwide. It will be a real victory for independent film – and for the whole national conversation about war and its aftermath.
In addition, a ticket stub from the film will get you a free beer or house wine at the Half King (23rd Street and Tenth Avenue ) on opening weekend.
Below is a link to pre-buy tickets. Obviously the daytime shows are the hardest to fill, so if you can go to those instead of an evening show, that would be fantastic. Thank you so much for your support. I can’t wait to hear what you think of our film.
Thank you so much for your support. I can’t wait to hear what you think of our film.
Sebastian

 

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The Weekly Edit- Adweek: Michael Clinard

- - The Daily Edit

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ADWEEK

Photo Editor: Margo Didia
Creative Director: Nick Mrozowski
Props and Food Styling: John Lavin
Retouching and Compositing: Gretchen Hilmers
Photographer: Michael Clinard

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Heidi: How often do you shoot for Adweek?
Michael: About three to five times per year. Since the start of 2014, I’ve tackled two conceptual feature projects, and in those instances, I shot both the cover and opening art to accompany the story. In the last half of 2013, I did the same on the subject of Big Pharma and contributed five images to their annual Hot List issue, published in December. I should just say quickly that in addition to my photographic practice, I exercise a particular form of ideation for Nick and Margo. I consider what I do for Adweek to be a form of grappling. I take their concept and wrestle with it.

Do you typically sketch out all our your ideas?
By and large, yes. Some things can’t be said with words. It’s important for me to find ways to convey a message through symbols, subject matter and themes that are pre-existent in our collective conscience, that visual ether. I love conjuring, so I use all the things at my disposal to bang out my best take on what Norman Rockwell might do if he were in the hustle in 2014.

How much drawing do you do while you are not shooting? Do you have a journal?
While I’m drawing all the time, I like to keep fit photographically, too. I’ve been doing some experiments with tissue paper, shooting into glass and mirrors, using blueberries as indigo, etc. Since February, I’ve slowly been adding things to a personal journal of sorts: The Hills, 98006. I keep a record there of what I’m reading, what moves me. It’s an index, too. Something I can later refer to.

How did The Hills, 98006 come about? What was the impetus for it?
The Hills, 98006 came out of falling in love with a neighborhood and a reawakening in my spiritual life. There’s no prescription, but for me, I read. I listen to audio books. I get out of the house and walk in the woods. If the jewel from my daughter’s tiara falls out, I fix it that evening. Time has taken on less meaning or importance to me; my relationships with my wife and daughter have grown. The Hills shows glimpses of that dimension of my life.

How did this idea for a chicken eating a burger come about?
Margo got in touch on Tuesday, May 6. Her emails are never really long, just to the point. In a word, perfect. She asked if I was around, and my intuition told me this would be something rad.

I told her that if I was needed to churn something out in next 60 hours (like that Snapchat Ghost concept back in February), then regrettably I’d be unable to since my family was enroute to California for what would become the most epic of family vacations.

We determined that I could doodle it up Wednesday and produce the thing over the course of the next few days (while on the family trip), and we could shoot the whole thing on Monday, May 12, so it could hit the printers later that week, like clockwork.

Was the overhead cover idea nixed due to type legibility or the single chicken became more impactful?
That concept was maybe the third or fourth thing I passed along, the one where you see the suggestion of many chicks swarming a burger from above. I sent the hero option and profile options late Tuesday night, and she signed off on those Wednesday morning. That one was generated strictly for giggles Wednesday evening. Another angle. Younger chickens. Something more graphic.

Did the printed idea hatch from that initial sketch?
Ha! Yeah. . . I’ve shot all kinds of animals, so I was only submitting angles and vantage points that I felt I could actually create. It helped to know the anatomy of a chicken, understand how it eats and know that at some point it would have to look up because it has to swallow. That confirms I’ll get my straight-on hero shots, but chickens don’t really look like chickens from the perspective of a traditional headshot. My feeling was that it might be best to see it from the side, so it’d read.

Was the chicken well behaved?
Absolutely. I hired an animal wrangler named Charlie Wainger. Charlie talks chicken. Charlie understands that there’s a certain way you talk to a hen. Whispers are effective. I never know when something will go sideways, so I had him bring a brown hen named, Martha, in case Cleopatra decided she was watching her figure that day (Cleopatra’s the white chicken).

Are you still a beef burger guy?
For some reason this feels like a chicken and egg question. I don’t discriminate against form. Be you cow or be you chicken — I’ve eaten worse.

This Week In Photography Books: Guido Guidi

by Jonathan Blaustein

My son graduated from Kindergarten this morning. It was quite the big deal. Lots of parents in attendance, lining the gymnasium bleachers like beakers in a chemistry class. Fun stuff.

There was five-song-medley that went on for ages. Or at least it seemed to, as we tried to keep our young daughter from shrieking at any moment. It’s fun for her, the screaming, and she does it with a smile.

Where was I? Losing focus today, as end of school year always finds my fried family worn down like a #2 pencil. Right. The graduation medley.

Each child sang and danced. Hips twisted. Caps and gowns swayed in the fresh mountain air. They opened with “First Grade, First Grade,” (to the tune of “New York, New York,”) segued through the Spanish numbers, and closed with “Happy” by Pharrell F_cking Williams. Had he been in attendance, I would have been “Happy” to beat him to death with that stupid oversized hat he insists on wearing.

All those 6 year olds, in matching outfits, doing identical choreography. At one point, my mother pointed to young Abigail and said, “Look at her go.” She’d found the one girl with that extra little rhythm. The one who could actually dance.

I began to pay more attention to the children in my vicinity. The moves were the same, yet ever-so-not. Differences were easy to see, once I was paying attention. Kind of like that story in the New Yorker the other week, that talked about how the road from Moscow to Lviv is lined with villages. Each can always speak to their neighbor town. But by the time you get to the end of the line, Russian and Ukrainian have diverged to two completely different languages.

Those dancing little New Mexicans came to mind immediately after putting down “Preganziol 1983,” a new oversized hardcover book by Guido Guidi, recently published by MACK. It’s like a Highlights magazine in a 1980’s dentist office. (Which one of these is not like the other…)

Open up and you see a black and white photo of a room with some pencil-written words. Then the same room in color. A well-worn space with an open window looking out across some trees. And a shadow on the wall, with a tree in it. It’s labeled A1.

Turn the page, and the image appears the same. Turn the page again and the image appears the same. Again. Turn the page again and the image appears the same. Again. Turn the page again and you wonder, what the hell is going on here?

Is it the color? Has there been a super-subtle shift in hue? No, that’s not right. Turn the page again, and you definitely notice the shadow has moved. Turn back to what came before, and sure enough, the shadow moves slightly each time.

Keep going, and you actually get to enjoy the minimal changes. At the end, we see a different view of a room, and intuitively know it’s another direction in the same space. The next two photos confirm, the final two directions, rounding out the book and the concept. B, C, & D.

Finally. A16. Room with no shadow.

(Take another look at the cover, and you see a sketch of a four-sided room, with A, B, C & D corresponding to walls in space.)

To be fair, I haven’t photographed the entire book. Seems crude to the artist to give it all away. Honestly, the whole thing might be too repetitive for you to splash the cash. Such a small little idea.

Or is it? Taking the time to notice how time and light are constantly shifting reality, even if we’re too dim or busy to notice.

Bottom Line: Beautiful, simple and maybe profound

To Purchase “Preganziol 1983″ Visit Photo-Eye

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Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Reid Callanan Founder Of Santa Fe Workshops

- - Workshops

Jonanthan Blaustein: When did you fall in love with photography?

Reid Callanan: My junior year of college, which I spent abroad in London. I was a geology major in college, at St. Lawrence University, and couldn’t find a geology program to mesh into in London. So I took a year at Richmond College, which offers a cross-cultural program.

I took a photo class, though I’d never done any serious photography before that. The teacher was wonderful, and that’s where I got the bug. Her guidance and inspiration, alongside the great city like London, was enough to turn my head around.

When I came back to school for my senior year, my focus was on photography. My degree was in geology, but I spent a lot of time in the darkroom, making my own pictures.

JB: Does this mean that you’ve got a hidden trove of black and white street photos from London?

RC: I do. In storage, I have pictures that I thought, at the time, were amazing photographs that would catapult me into the A-list of photography. Of course, that was a young man’s misplaced calculations and expectations.

I haven’t gone back and pulled those out. I had a lot of images from Speakers Corner which is a great place to do street photography. And there are other images from London, the British Isles and the Continent.

I traveled a lot when I was there. I ended up in the Soviet Union, for my spring trip, and went to St. Petersburg, which at that point was called Leningrad. I went to Moscow too.

I was one of the first tourists to get into the Soviet Union, back in the mid-70’s. They had just opened up the country in a limited way, and I was lucky enough to get on a trip. It was an eye-opening experience.

JB: And you took pictures?

RC: Yes, in St. Petersburg, but I was not so free to photograph in Moscow, as it was the seat of the KGB, and was a much more closed city.

Early on, I developed a love of traveling with my camera. If you fast forward to the Santa Fe Workshops over the last 10 years, a big part of our expansion has been in travel photography and workshops. Going to places like San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, or Havana, Cuba.

It’s a big part of our business right now: traveling with your camera. You open up many doors and windows when you go to a place with a camera that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

JB: What is that lesson you learn in Physics? Light particles behave differently when they’re observed than when they’re not? Is that right? I’m sure you know what I mean.

RC: One of the stories I like to tell the students when they come here, particularly in a portrait class, is how important that camera is to you, when you’re approaching a person to make their picture.

With a camera around your neck, it’s relatively easy to walk up to a total stranger, introduce yourself, and say something like “I love your face. I love the way you look. I love the way you’re leaned against the wall. And I’d really love to make some pictures of you, and in the process, just talk about who you are, and what you do in this world.

You can do that with a camera. Imagine trying to do that to somebody without one. Imagine walking up to somebody without a camera and saying, “I love the way you look. You have a great face. I’d love to spend some time talking with you.”

They’d think you were crazy.

JB: You’d get a kick in the johnson.

RC: Yup. You’re right.

JB: Allow me to switch gears. I really appreciate that you guys at the Workshops have sponsored this series of interviews. I’d love to show my gratitude by putting on my art professor hat for a moment.

I’m in Taos, and we’re all hippies up here. You bring up a large archive of photographs, and then mention that it includes pictures from the former Soviet Union, which is a super-hot-topic right now. Then you say you haven’t gone back and looked at them.

Let me put you on the spot? How about you dig the work out from storage? Who’s to say? Maybe they are the immature photos you remember?

Or maybe, as you’ve changed, you’ll see them differently. You never know until you look.

RC: I will do that.

JB: Great.

RC: You know, there’s a wonderful story that Sam Abell tells. He’s one of our long-term instructors here, and Sam has a theory that we take pictures ahead of ourselves. Meaning, when we make pictures, we don’t understand their importance, their significance, or their photographic acumen.

We’ve made them ahead of our ability to read them. What he is very fond of doing is going back through his old Kodachrome slides from 10, 20, 30 years ago. Every time he does that, he finds images that he rejected at that point.

He looks at them now, and says, “Oh my god, that is an amazing image, and I didn’t realize it when I made it.” He does that
on a consistent basis, and I’ve done it as well.

So, you’re right. If I go back to those images, which I haven’t looked at in 40 years, pictures made in Leningrad and Moscow, I will find a handful that are probably pretty interesting pictures.

JB: You’ve got to. Thanks for allowing me to have an inspirational moment. But I promise I won’t check up to see if you’ve actually done it. I’m not a Jewish Grandma about these things.

You’ve made mention of instructors at the Workshops, but we haven’t gotten to talk about how you built the program.

This is a big anniversary year, right?

RC: It’s our 25th Anniversary here in Santa Fe. Before that, I worked 15 years at the Maine Workshops. You do the math, and that’s 40 years. Basically, my adult life has been spent in the photographic workshop experience.

After college, I decided to try on photography as a career, to see if it worked for me. I lasted two weeks.

The first job was making pictures for a real estate rag, the kind of thing you see in supermarkets. My job was to photograph 35 or 40 homes in a day. To do that, I had to do drive-bys.

JB: What now?

RC: I’d slow down, point the camera out the window, take a picture of the front of house, and then I’d go on to the next address. After two weeks, I decided, if this is what a professional photographer does, I want no part of it.

It wasn’t fun, and I didn’t want to take my camera out in the evenings or weekends, because I wasn’t excited about photography.

I knew I didn’t want to be a professional photographer, but I did want to stay in the community. So then I tried a short stint in a camera store, which a lot of photographers do, because they figure they can get some discounted equipment that way.

That job only lasted two months, but one day, near the end, I was opening the mail, and there was a fold-out poster for the Maine Photographic Workshops. The name jumped off the page, because I had spent summers on the coast of Maine.

Maine as a destination was something I was interested in, and then to realize there was a school there? It was as if I just found Heaven.

So I quit the camera store job, went to Maine, and took a two-week class at the Maine Workshops from Craig Stevens and Sharon Fox. I ended up staying the next 14 years, after that two-week experience.

JB: That’s wild.

RC: I did every job that business had to offer, from being the Darkroom Manager, Store Manager, Operations Director, and the last 4 years, I was Managing Director of the programs.

In 1989, I realized I’d been there 15 years, I’d done everything I could do with the business, but I’d hit a ceiling, because the owner/director, David Lyman, wasn’t going anywhere at that point.

So I decided that life had run its course in Rockport, and I needed to go out and try it on my own. In 1990, I left for Santa Fe and caravanned across the country with my staff from Maine, and a lot of hopes and dreams. We started our first program that summer.

JB: Why did you choose Santa Fe, of all places?

RC: Two reasons: family and business. I had a brother and a sister who lived in Santa Fe, and I’d visited them a number of times in the early 80’s. I fell in love with what Santa Fe is about: the arid climate, the landscape, the mystique.

It’s much easier to go someplace when you have family there already.

JB: Of course.

RC: With respect to starting the business here, there were a couple of things I was looking for. I wanted a location that was West of the Mississippi, because I didn’t want to start a workshop program that competed directly with the Maine Workshops.

I didn’t want to start the Vermont Photographic Workshops, or the Connecticut Photographic Workshops. That didn’t make a lot of sense from a business standpoint, nor an ethical standpoint.

I wanted to go out and find a different demographic region to offer workshops to. Photography workshops need to be located in a visually inspirational setting. You need to be able to attract people to a destination where they want to go and make images. Santa Fe fulfills that requirement, and also has a wonderful photographic past and legacy to it.

The final reason was that I wanted to live here.

JB: We’re talking about a decision you made many years ago, but it’s now 2014. Jumping forward 25 years, what do you think of Santa Fe? Did it live up to your hopes and expectations?

RC: I love living here. It was a great decision on my part. When you make decisions to go places, there’s always a chance that it isn’t going to work out.

When I first got here, in the summer of 1990, was that I would wake up every morning, and the sun would be out. I wouldn’t even have to question whether the sun would come out. That was not normal for me, having spent most of my life on the East Coast.

The first few weeks, I’d ask myself, “Can this be true? Can the sun be out again?” That’s still very true today. The bright sun and the blue sky makes such a difference in the way I approach the day, and my life.

I don’t think I could now do well in a place that was overcast more often than sunny.

JB: We get addicted to the Vitamin D. Setting aside the fresh air, and all.

RC: Santa Fe has not disappointed me personally, nor for the business. Because one of the great tenets of business is “Location is everything.” We certainly have benefited hugely being based here.

Typically, if a business is going to fail, it’s in the first 5 years. We got lucky, and our timing was spot on. Moving to Santa Fe in the beginning of the Nineties, it ended up being a good decision, because that’s when Santa Fe began to explode on an international level as a travel destination.

Santa Fe started to appear in the top rankings of travel magazines. Santa Fe style and Santa Fe cuisine were getting known nationally and internationally in the early 90’s, so we benefited hugely from that exposure.

It’s still true today. I do focus groups every Friday at lunch, which is typically the final day of our workshop week. One of the questions I ask is how they found out about us and why they came.

At least half if not more say they were attracted to coming to Santa Fe, and they’ve always wanted to come here. The fact that they found a photographic workshop that was located in Santa Fe was one of the deciding factors on why they ended up coming here.

It’s a world-class destination, so that certainly helped us get over the early hump that most businesses go through.

Location, location, location.

JB: You’ve been an educator for four decades. That’s a long time. What are some of the things you’ve learned?

RC: It dawned on me fairly early in this experience of coming out to Santa Fe that my interest in and passion for education really started with my father. He was a role model, a mentor, and an educator.

He was the headmaster of a private school in Baltimore, where I grew up. I actually went to the school and got to witness very intimately the running of the school from a business and educational standpoint.

JB: So you and your Dad both spent lives in education?

RC: That is what we do here. We are an educational facility. One of the reasons that the education here works well is because people who come to this business have a great educational and inspirational experience here.

Typically, one third of our customers each week are alumni. That’s a great number, but it also means that two thirds of our audience are new to us.

One reason the experience works so well is that we take the people out of their normal, workday environment, and we embed them into a very energized, inspirational, creative environment where who they are at home falls away.

They get to live the photographic life, to coin a phrase from Sam Abell, for a week. That’s a large part of what they’re coming here for. If they’re doctors or lawyers, or homemakers, or whatever their profession is, they get to be photographers for 5 days. Though we’ve added shorter workshops recently, the core model is Monday through Friday.

People come, and they get to eat, sleep, drink and breathe photography for 5 full days.

JB: Has that always been your core audience?

RC: Our clientele has changed, from when we first started. For the first 8-10 years, our primary participant was a pro photographer. I would say that the ratio was 75% working professionals, and 25% advanced amateurs. Then the digital revolution began to take hold at the end of the 1990’s, and the pro photographic businesses were greatly challenged.

It became much more difficult for pro photographers to afford to come out to the workshops. Our audience changed, around 2000. Today, our audience is 80-85% the ardent, amateur photographer, and 15-20% working professionals.

We’re dealing with people who come from other walks of life, and they don’t get to do their hobby as much as they’d like. They have to carve out blocks of time that give fulfillment. They come and immerse themselves in a community where they get to talk photography, make pictures, get feedback, instantaneously, from their instructors. The learning curve goes through the roof, because of the single-minded focus of what you’re doing here.

JB: So you encourage that sense of dropping into a rabbit hole?

RC: We make an effort on the first night, when we meet the people, to talk about being present, turning your cell phone off, and checking email as infrequently as you can. It’s like putting a firewall up. We tell people, “You have invested a huge amount of time and money to be here. Take advantage of that investment you’ve made in yourself. This is important to you. You’re not doing it because your parents sent you here, or your boss told you to do it.”

It’s no mistake that our campus is located at a retreat center. It’s run by the Catholic Church, and is called the IHM Retreat Center. There’s also a Carmelite Monastery on campus, so it’s a very serene, cloistered, quiet facility tucked in the hills overlooking Santa Fe.

Our program is different from traditional educational institutions. We don’t have faculty that are here teaching every week. We don’t have tenure track. Our model is to bring in photographers to teach for a week, then they leave and go home.

JB: What do you think are some of the skills and personality traits that great teachers bring to the table?

RC: Great teachers are articulate. They can talk about the photographic process: not just technical information, but why people make pictures, and why some pictures are better than others.

You have to have your ego in check, so you can talk about other people’s photography, and bring yourself down to the level of the student. You may be the best editorial photographer in the world, but if you can’t bring yourself down to the level of your students, who are 3, 4, or 5 levels below you, you can’t understand where they’re at and what they need.

It’s also important to be compassionate, to understand where these people are coming from, and what they want from you. Those are the main things I look for in a teacher.

JB: Are you still making photographs yourself?

RC: Yes, I’ve been working on a series of black-and-white portraits. I like to work with projects, as I find it difficult to photograph on a consistent basis without a focus. Though I do use my iPhone for Instagram.

The project I’m working on now is in black and white, because I like to strip away the color, so it doesn’t get in the way of saying something about who they are. It becomes less representational, and more of a subjective, intuitive approach to making portraits.

The series started in Cuba, because I have more time to make pictures when I’m traveling. But it has extended now into Mexico.

Typically, I wander the streets, make digital portraits, go back to the hotel, process the images in Lightroom, decide on a couple of favorites, and make some prints. Then, I take the prints and go find the person that I photographed and hand them a print or two

The reaction is always a wonderful one. They’re very thankful, appreciative and surprised by it. That opens up the door for more portraits that tend to be more insightful, because it’s the second or third time I am working with them and the level of trust his higher.

They see that I’m for real, and I’m offering them a gift, so they want to gift me something by showing me more of themselves. And people nearby, like someone next to a vendor in a market, will see what’s going on, and realize they can get some prints too. I get more people that want to be photographed, when they see that process.

People want to show the prints to more people, so you get to meet the family. More and more layers are peeled back in that process, which helps to make more powerful, memorable, interesting pictures.

The process opens up a world of possibilities.

JB: And free tacos.

RC: I didn’t get free tacos. But I did get chickens with their heads cut off. Free fish too. It’s a process of give and take. If I can give something back to them, while taking time from them, it tends to work really well.

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Image effects are allowed today weren’t considered appropriate in journalism just a few years ago

- - Blog News

There are stylistic trends in art and in literature, and everyone acknowledges them. But rarely are they cited in photojournalism, perhaps because people still cling to the idea of photography as an objective or neutral medium that captures a shared truth. There is nothing remotely objective about photography. Where I stand, how I got to that spot, where I direct my lens, what I frame, how I expose the image, what personal and cultural factors influence these decisions — all are intensely subjective.

via Object Lessons | Spring 2014 | Columbia Magazine.

The Model Of Globetrotting Photojournalist Applies To Only A Handful Of Working Photographers Today

- - Blog News

Today, some of the best photojournalists work more like anthropologists or artists. The most serious ones are taking the long view and spending years on a story, publishing pieces along the way. Sometimes their work is funded by publications, but increasingly it is underwritten by NGOs and foundations, blurring the lines between journalism and advocacy. The model of the globetrotting photojournalist dispatched by New York photo editors to the far corners of the world to witness great moments in history applies only to a handful of working photographers today. Technology has democratized and globalized the industry, which means that breaking- news images are increasingly sourced from Twitter and Instagram, where pictures are shot by amateurs, writers, and local photojournalists already on the scene.

— Nina Berman

via Object Lessons | Spring 2014 | Columbia Magazine.

Photo District News: Photo Editor Amy Wolff

- - The Daily Edit


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I had the pleasure of connecting with Amy Wolff, Photo Editor at Photo District News. In order to frame the interview properly I asked her to explain her role at the magazine.

Amy: Though my title is “photo editor,” the job description is different than it’s been at other magazines. I don’t do any assigning or producing. I contribute ideas for stories, help identify trends and issues in the photo industry, and suggest sources for articles and interviews. My contributions are based on what I know about what’s going on in the photo industry as a whole: I am in constant contact with photographers and photo industry folks (emails, meetings, portfolio reviews, openings, events). When the editors discuss story ideas, our goal is to gather information and present it in a way that we hope our readers can learn from, that will help them navigate the business, or give them ideas on how photographers handle challenges– challenges regarding business, funding, marketing, techniques, landing assignments, getting a grant, finding income, selling prints. We try to strike a balance in our coverage that serves readers working in every genre of photography.

One of my biggest roles is providing content for our photo blog, Photo of the Day (POTD) (http://potd.pdnonline.com/). POTD’s audience is much broader than the magazine. Simply put it’s a place to celebrate great imagery, without regard to specific usefulness or story themes. I have discretion over the selection. Admittedly I’m not a great writer, but I’m getting better.

Heidi: For PDN ‘s 30 typically how many submissions do you get?
Amy: As a photo editor I look forward to PDN’s 30 every year. I’d been asked to nominate photographers in the past. I was really excited to be a part of it this year. I started at PDN in February 2013, so I’ve only been through the process once. I’d say the number of submissions depends on the number of folks invited to upload images. PDN editors ask a wide variety of folks (editors, art buyers, gallerists, curators, consultants, publishers) to nominate photographers. Those photographers are invited to upload images to be considered for PDN’s 30. This year about 400 photographers uploaded images.

What specific criteria do you look for in the work in order for it to be considered?
We look for work that is fresh, inspiring, creative and unique. We also want as varied a list as possible because we want the issue to be useful and inspiring to young photographers. Locations, gender, specialties, styles and subject matter are all things we take into consideration.

Once all the considerations are made, how many make the first cut? Can you describe that process?
PDN’s editors judge the PDN’s 30, and there are multiple rounds of judging. We vote on the entries, and tally the votes. After that initial judging we’ll start meeting, as a group, and go through the top 100 or 125 – and by go through I mean look at their entries, read their bios, go to their websites, Google them…try to find out as much information as possible. We narrow it down from there verbally, collectively as a group.

And then the subsequent cuts after that? Do you break it up into categories internally to cover a broad range of styles?
Yes, subsequent cuts are made based on initial ranking, and for the sake of diversifying the list. We don’t have a specific number in mind though – it’s not like we say we have to have 5 photojournalists, 5 fashion photographers, 5 portrait photographers, etc. But we don’t want to have 20 photographers who shoot fashion and are all based in NYC out of a list of 30.

What would you say is the biggest challenge for that process?
The biggest challenge is that we can only pick 30. Sometimes 20 photographers who shoot fashion are all amazing! We have to hope that they come back the following year and we’ll have another chance.

Once a photographer is selected, do you ever hear about success stories following the nominations?
After the 30 are picked my work has just begun. I can’t begin to estimate the numbers of emails I’ve exchanged with these folks. I’m invested in these photographers – I feel like I know them (as much as you can get to know someone over email or the phone). I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the photographers in person post-PDN’s 30 and I’ve asked them how things are going. Many have said PDN’s 30 has helped them with networking (ex. when emailing a photo editor they have never met before they put “PDN’s 30” in the subject line) and getting assignments (ex. clients reach out to them saying they heard of them from PDN’s 30).

For promo or personal work, what strikes a cord with the editors? Have you noticed any trends in the imagery lately?
For Tumblr and Promos We Kept there isn’t a formula to what gets promoted on the blog. We post unusual or ingenious promos, or promos we feel deserve some attention. A lot of thought (and money) goes into those and it’s nice to be able to give them a platform. A lot of the promos I’ve received lately have been zines or small, self-published books. In fact, I have a small pile on my desk of promos I need to blog about. Thanks for the reminder!

What does your office walls look like?
No office for this gal – cube with 3 walls. Empty cubical walls are not visually stimulating so I cover every inch with promos and prints. I’ve been in the habit to refresh the décor after each issue close.

How much mail do you get per day and what makes you keep a promo?
I get more mail at PDN than I have anywhere else. But I do open and look at all of it. Sometimes I think photographers over think the promo – postcard, glossy or matte, envelope or no envelope, vellum, label or no label, hand-written or typed. If the image(s) is compelling, printed well, and your name/location/website is clearly noted, it’s a successful promo. I keep promos so I remember them – for a future article in PDN, for a POTD, or to remember to keep an eye out. I look at work digitally all the time. It’s nice to have something to hold.

I know the editorial market is really tough, any advice for seasoned and emerging artists?
It is still possible to be a successful photographer in 2014 but the rules have changed. There isn’t one path to success. If you are good at what you do and you work hard at it, and you’re a nice person and people like working with you, you have a good shot. I strongly recommend to photographers whose phones aren’t ringing to keep shooting. I know it’s hard to motivate but it’s important to keep making new work so you always have something new to share with people either in person or on social media. Keeping in touch is important – I ask that photographers add me to their mailing list (email, snail mail). I don’t remember everything I see or everyone I meet and need to be reminded that you’re out there.

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For Exposures: What criteria are you looking for?
To clarify, each issue of PDN has a theme (April “PDN’s 30,” May “Lighting,” June “Photo Annual, July “Fine Art,” August “Publishing”) and we try to think ahead about what stories we’ll need for each issue. All of the editors at PDN pitch ideas to each other. We share photo stories and talk about work all the time. Senior editor Conor Risch fields the story ideas for the Exposures section, and he tends to showcase new personal projects, or work that is currently showing in a gallery, about to be published in book form, or work that we feel our audience needs to know about.

Have you noticed any trends lately, do you try and strike a balance between emerging artists and established?
We’re trying to strike a balance of coverage that serves readers working in every genre of photography and at every stage of their careers. When we consider sources for articles, we look at people who have a useful story to share that other photographers can learn from. I think documentary and more long-term story telling is trending lately.

Have you been surprised by any particular artist? ( meaning it was a departure from their normal work? )
My background in photo editing comes from editorial but PDN has opened my eyes to so much more. What I’ve found surprising is how many photographers are shooting both commercial and fine art work. To me, that would be the best of both worlds – make money with a larger commercial job and have the time & financial freedom to make the work you really want to make.

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For the D’Agata feature, do you have any outtakes you can share?
 No, we were given a specific number of images provided by the publisher for the exclusive purpose of reproduction in PDN along with the article.

What in particular about his story gripped the editors for this feature?
For starters his images. He photographs addicts, sex, and prostitution. As our Editor, Holly Hughes, says, D’Agata is a “photographer’s photographer.” Many photographers have cited his work as inspiration. Meghan Ahearn, who was our Managing Editor at the time, was looking through the Prestel Spring catalogue and saw he had a new book coming out, and that the book was a fairly large collection of his work. Senior Editor, Conor Risch, ended up interviewing D’Agata in person which turned into the feature (Antoine D’Agata: Photographing Life at Society’s Margins) we published in the April 2014 issue. It’s a great read if you haven’t read it, and it’s still online:

http://www.pdnonline.com/features/Antoine-DAgata-Pho-10726.shtml

What was the determining factor for the images that did make in the print edition?  ( did you have an online gallery )
It’s like most magazines – the number of images published depends on page count and word count. We can include up to 10 images in online galleries which is helpful when we can’t fit everything in the magazine. We did have an online gallery for D’Agata but in this case included everything we ran in print.

Without a real rhythm, do you find selecting the covers a challenge?
Covers usually come from the theme section – April’s cover came from one of our PDN’s 30’s, Charlie Engman, May’s came from the lighting feature, Nigel Cox, June’s came from one of our the Photo Annual winners, Julia Fullerton-Batten. (more in the newsstand q&a)

Do you follow any sort of edit calendar?
Yes, our themes are chosen ahead of time.

How much pressure do you have for newsstand sales?
We do discuss how the cover might look on the newsstand, but probably less than at consumer magazines because most of our readers are subscribers. When we’re choosing a cover (it typically comes from the theme section) we’re more concerned about not repeating something we’ve done in the past, and it’s appeal to a visually sophisticated audience. We never crop photos inside the magazine: Ever. The cover, however, is a different story. We do occasionally crop the cover image with the permission of the photographer.

Knowing we may have to crop either the top, bottom or sides, we initially look for images that can be cropped without changing the image too much The Creative Director, Darren Ching, and I then pick a handful of images and place them in a cover template. We look for images that don’t compete with our logo, and images that aren’t covered by our logo once they’re placed. We’ll edit from there as a group.

Is the cover image always an outtake from the inside stories?
Yes, again, the cover usually comes from the theme section. If we run the image on the cover, we wouldn’t then run it on the inside of the magazine.

I know you have a side business called CoEdit. What can you tell us about that?

I first met Tim Klein when I was photo editing for a magazine based in Chicago (Michigan Avenue). The assignment was rather, challenging, haha, so we kind of bonded over that. A few months later Tim called and asked if I would consult with him on an idea he had. Some of his clients and photo-shoot subjects had purchased his prints. That sparked his idea to sell photography prints online and he needed help with photographer connections and photo-editing. The more time I invested, the more I liked the idea and the more I wanted to be a part of it so I asked if he was interested in a partnership and he said yes. There are a lot of places and ways to buy photography but CoEdit is different. We sell editorial and commercial photographers’ work, provide context for the images and artists, and it’s curated by industry folks and tastemakers.

 

 

 

 

Francis Alÿs

The rainfall was relentless, like a Kenyan endurance runner. The windshield wipers were working hard, and I hoped my friend’s brakes were new. (I also hoped he wasn’t impaired by the two huge whiskeys I watched him down at the Irish bar we just left.)

Only in New York City can it take so much bloody time to go from one village to the next. (In this case, West to East.) I was late, so I was a bit anxious. The whole plan was my idea, and now I was the one mucking it up.

We were en route to Cooper Union, where I was to meet up with my photo buddies Richard and Jaime. Two more intelligent, menschy guys, you’d never expect to meet. As soon as we arrived, I skidded out of the Honda Pilot and dashed across the street. (Only to realize I was in the right spot a moment earlier. Look before you leap into traffic, I always say.)

Our destination was a lecture by the super-duper Art Star Francis Alÿs, who’s from Belgium but based in Mexico City. (Just because someone is super-famous in the Art World doesn’t mean you’ve heard of him.) As I’ve said before, your lowest-IQ Reality TV Star would likely have a larger Twitter following.

But I had heard of him, and had seen a few of his videos online. The Lord only knows how much he charges for his limited edition pieces, repped by David Zwirner and shown at MoMA, but it’s all online for free.

Think about that. In an Art World replete with private vaults, this dude puts it out there for all of us. I’d seen a video where he’s accosted by neighborhood dogs in rural Mexico, one where he set a fox loose in a Museum at night, and the renown piece where he dragged a block of ice behind him until it melted to nothing. He also dashed into a dust-storm/mini-tornado in the name of art.

Great stuff.

As I mentioned previously, though, I mucked up the plan. I told Richard it started 30 minutes after it did, so he waited in the lobby for me while it all got started. Jaime, not privy to that round of texting, got a good seat right in center.

Richard and I? We had to sit on the cold concrete floor, with obstructed views, dripping our rain-soak all over ourselves. It was murder on our posteriors, so time was never going to be unlimited. 20 minutes max. Fortunately, we got lucky.

The talk was so casual, the searching for digital video files on his laptop so comical, I couldn’t believe this guy was as important as he is. Very distracted-professor sort of vibe. But he did exude a niceness, it should be said.

He mostly just played videos one at at time on his computer. Two of them were so good, I had to deviate from writing about photobooks to show them to you. (And to re-iterate, the rest of his work is free to view on his website.)

Both pieces were made in Afghanistan. Much is being made these days of European artists making “art” about war zones. (i.e. Richard Mosse in the Congo.) Personally, I think it’s great when artists try to make content out of genuinely important subjects. Or in dangerous places.

But Art, at it’s core, is about transformation. And news is about documentation. No one has written more about the 21st Century blurred lines than I have, but I’ve begun to contemplate the differences between the now-morphed traditions.

This video, from his Children’s games series, shows a phenomenon Mr. Alÿs observed when he was doing his research. Kids rolling tires with a stick. A practically ancient way to amuse oneself. (Richard mentioned seeing it in this painting by Bruegel.)

The video is cheeky and fun. Thoughtful for sure. But it’s a document of something that was already happening. It’s first level reproduction. I see something. I capture it. It is depicted.

From that, Mr. Alÿs said, he imagined “Reel-Unreel.” It is longer, and I saw only an excerpt. But I practically stopped breathing. You’re in Kabul. It feels like you’re there with the camerawork. Some screen text says that when the Taliban took over, they tried to eradicate the films in the National Archive. Burn them.

Some people fooled them into thinking they got the master sets, but those had been moved. (That text is at the end of the video we’re showing.) So the boys in the “created” video roll a cinema reel through the dirt streets. You can almost smell the truck exhaust. Eventually, one of the reels falls over a cliff.

I forgot about my soggy pants, and uncomfortable ass. I was transported somewhere else. It was a captivating couple of minutes. And that’s why I’m writing about it a month later.

Great art distills. It catalyzes one idea into another through symbolism and craftsmanship. It’s not direct, like documentation. That’s a strength, I think, when it’s done right. Our subconscious speaks in symbols through our dreams. Art, therefore, can circumvent the intellect.

It’s why I love it so much, especially the best of it.
To be clear, it’s not impossible for documentary work to do that. Just much harder. Literality is for lawyers, after all.

The Power of Social Media – Grace Chon and JJ Miller

- - Social Media

by Suzanne Sease

In full disclosure, Grace and JJ are former clients, who I still keep in touch with to see how they are doing. I always want my clients to do personal projects from their heart and it can create an amazing path you never expected. I am an avid Redditor, I think it is a great venue to get your work out there as well as many other ones.

Here are their stories of the “Power of Social Media”

Grace Chon “Zoey and Jasper”

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I started out sharing the “Zoey and Jasper” tumblr page with the editorial contacts I already had, reaching out to magazines I had worked with in the past. I really pushed the tumblr page and instagram with the media, since everyone seems to be complaining these days about the functionality of Facebook Pages, but Facebook was also a huge in helping this go viral.

On Thursday April 10th I shared the tumblr page with a huge dog magazine I’ve worked with regularly called The Bark. By Friday morning, it had 4,700 likes and 1,080 shares. I also sent the link out to a magazine called Koream Magazine, and on Friday they started to publicize it. All all the other huge Asian American media channels started to pick it up – like Hyphen, Angry Asian Man, Audrey Magazine, and more.

The Korean American founder and curator of a My Modern Met saw it on Saturday and immediately reached out to me for an interview that afternoon. Within the hour she had it up on the site and she told me that all the major news sites follow the site like The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, Yahoo, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, just to name a few.

Within a few minutes of it being up on My Modern Met I had an email from The Daily Mail and they had it up by Sunday.

Come Monday morning on April 14th, my inbox was jam packed with media requests! Suzanne also very wisely recommended that I upload the link to Reddit, and it was picked up by users and made it onto the front page. The images also ran on The Huffington Post, Yahoo, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Buzzfeed, Mashable, People, PetaPixel, and Bored Panda, along with countless international websites in countries like China, Taiwan, Brazil, Germany, Finland, Italy, France, Peru, Colombia, Serbia and Portugal.

On Friday April 18th, the images aired on The Today Show during the 4th hour with Kathie Lee and Hoda. They closed out the segment while discussing (and giggling!) over all the images.

http://www.today.com/video/today/54983983

The dust has now settled a bit, and now I have 18,500 followers on instagram (started at 550) and 18,000 followers on tumblr (started at 0!). My rep Kim Knight has been going on portfolio shows and she’s finding that the creatives are already familiar with the series. Zoey’s original rescuer in Taiwan also miraculously found us, after waiting 7 years to find out what happened to the tiny puppy she took care of. All I can say is wow! The power of social media.

JJ Miller #wewillrun

The #wewillrun was originally pitched as an idea to a client and after their decision not use it, I couldn’t stop thinking about the story and the uplifting message. The project became personal for me and I needed to film it instead of letting it play in my head.

I reached out to the team members of my production company and colleagues that I had collaborated with in the past. They all signed on enthusiastically once they heard the message. The crew included: DP, Jeff Melanson, First Assistant Camera, Nolan Ball, Co-writer and Narrator, Rich DiMare and Produced by Alexandra Bettencourt.

I uploaded the #wewillrun video on Vimeo, and the posted a link to it on Facebook and Twitter. We also sent out a press release through PR Web. The first day it got around 1,000 hits and then there was a write up on the website Boston.com and soon got about 24,000 hits. The same day the BDCwire post it on Readit. I’ve worked with Reddit before on other projects. However, this experience has only strengthened my understanding of how much impact sites like Reddit can have. 

The next morning my email blew up with multiple interview requests, and #wewillrun was trending on top of Facebook and Twitter. That helped the video get shared on a global level, generating nearly 160,000 views on that Thursday. In the following days, it got national press appearing on Fox News, CNN international, and many write ups from sites like the Hollywood reporter, Buzzfeed, ESPN, Elitedaily, Bleacherreport, NESN and many more.

In three weeks on the day of the marathon #wewillrun had been played 449,000 times. When Rich and I sat down to write the script, we wanted to create a message about moving forward. When we read it over, something just felt right gooesbumps. Most of all, it’s been very humbling to have people feel similar emotions. 

http://jjmillerphotography.com

Persistence, Serendipity And Hard Work Come To Fruition For M. Sharkey

- - Working

M. Sharkey is an award winning portrait photographer and filmmaker living in NYC. He began his “Queer Kids” project in 2006 not long after Time Magazine published “The Battle Over Gay Teens: What happens when you come out as a kid?” as the issue of gay youth was beginning to gain national attention. Sharkey’s editors at Getty were among the first people to support the project; knowing it would have legs, they provided a producer to liaise between Sharkey and kids at youth organizations across the US.

By 2010 he had photographed gay and bisexual teens in several states, and aCurator, my online photo mag, had published a series. By 2011 the project was picking up steam with multiple editorial features here and abroad.

When French magazine “Be” contacted the Paris office of Getty about hiring Sharkey for an assignment to photograph “hipsters,” Sharkey and the writer became good buddies; it turned out her father owns a gallery in Perpignan, and in 2012 Queer Kids had its debut in Perpignan, coinciding with Visa Pour L’Image. An organization in Brussels learned about Queer Kids from the exhibition’s press release, leading to an artist residency for Sharkey to show the series so far and to make a new body of work in Belgium. These photographs are themselves being exhibited now at Rainbow House in Brussels.

Meanwhile a feature in Time Lightbox had drawn the attention of the production director at Getty’s Paris office, Marie Borrel, who followed the project closely and when she was tasked with finding just three photographers to show at la Nuit de l’Année at Rencontres d’Arles this year, she selected “Queer Kids.” In July, the work will be projected alongside 8 other photographers on 14 screens around town.

Sharkey travels to exhibit and speak about the series. He is applying for grants and will go on to make portraits in Europe (especially Eastern) as well as Asia and South America.

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© M. Sharkey

Producing Original Content Is A Necessity For Brands On Social Media

- - Blog News

In addition to all the stuff I just told you about, I also managed two still shooters, shooting exclusively for Air Jordan’s Instagram. So obviously, with social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and everything that’s out there – there’s a lot of demand for content. A lot of people do use stock imagery, but by doing a better job curating your content, your brand can have a voice. You do start seeing a lot of brands are starting to do a better job of this, and actually producing original content. It’s a necessity.

Amy Yvonne Yu works, Content Producer at AKQA

via Blog — Jacob Pritchard.

The Weekly Edit: Cover Déjà Vu

- - The Daily Edit

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The Hype Machine is in full effect, it’s rare to have a celebrity blanketing the newsstands in this capacity. Is it because she is pregnant, poised to dominate the Hollywood kingdom, or the fact that she’s a cover cameleon?

Glamour

Creative Director: Paul Ritter
Design Director: Sarah Vinas
Deputy Editor/Visuals Editor: Julie Stone
Senior Photo Editor: Martha Maristany, Brian Stone
Photographer: Tom Munro

Dazed

Creative Director: Christopher Simmonds
Art Director: Jenny Campbell-Colquhoun
Photographic Editor: Lauren Ford
Photographer: Benjamin Alexander Huseby

 

Men’s Style

Art Director: Chris Andrew
Photo Editor: Jo Bainbridge
Photographer: Vincent Peters/Trunk Archive

 

Vanity Fair

Design Director: Chris Dixon
Photography Director: Susan White
Art Director: Julie Weiss, Hilary Fitzgibbons
Senior Photography Producer: Kathryn MacLeod
Photographer: Craig McDean

 

 

 

The Americans Completely Altered How People See And Interpret The World Around Them

- - Blog News

The overriding arc in The Americans is that the pictures feel as if they were made by a feeling, thinking human, rather than someone trying to make photographs that look like art for the Christie’s auction. There’s a quick mind behind the book’s main equation, which is this: how we see is less important than what is seen. The former are questions for a machine: which lens? Which film? Which speed? The latter includes the most severe and gut-wrenching choices for a dedicated, free-thinking artist.

via “American Beauty” — Michael David Murphy.

This Week In Photography Books: Manabu Miyazaki

by Jonathan Blaustein

I play with clichés and stereotypes. Maybe I’m just lazy. Or maybe it’s the art training, which suggests that nothing can be completely denuded of meaning. (Even Robert Frank’s jukeboxes will seem fresh again. In 2057. When no one’s ever heard of a jukebox.)

One famous cliché is once you’ve been a teacher for a while, it’s good to go back to being a student. I’ve been teaching for nearly a decade, so I thought it was time to flip the script late last year.

I’m also one of the only Americans with an ounce of intellectual street cred who’d admit the following: I watched every Steven Segal and Jean Claude Van Damme movie made over a 5 year period, in my youth.

I always wanted to learn martial arts, but never had the stones or follow-through to do it. Now, I’m happy to report, I’m 4 months into studying Kung Fu and Tai Chi, and there’s no quitting in sight. (Knock wood.)

I absolutely love it. You might too. It’s brilliant for self-defense, physical activity, mental strength, stress release, discipline, and reduction of the ego. (I might need some help on that last one.)

Many martial arts were adapted from watching the animal kingdom. Hence the excellent style names, like Snake, Crane, Or Eagle. (There’s even a Youtube clip from Jackie Chan’s first movie that shows a house cat defeating a cobra.)

Observing animals in their element is like peeking behind Oz’s curtain.

Just two days ago, I watched a pair of ravens dive-bombing a golden eagle in my backyard. It was a masterclass in calm cool as the eagle, bigger, stronger & faster than the blackbirds, barely flinched as the ravens went by. He was a model of energy efficiency, moving as little as possible, and only when necessary.

His adversaries hurtled past harmlessly, like a bad joke.

We have a couple of golden eagles that live in our valley all winter and spring. They come when the leaves drop, and leave when they pop again. (Turkey vultures rule the skies while the raptors summer elsewhere.) Learning from those two birds has been one of the joys of my time in New Mexico.

I don’t photograph the eagles, though. It feels unseemly. Fortunately, Manabu Miyazaki does. Of course the man to photograph eagles, hawks, owls, and mammals of the night would be Japanese. And yes, there’s an obligatory snow monkey picture or two inside his new book, “Manabu Miyazaki: The Pencil of Nature.” (IZU Photo Museum)

The night photos, made with special rigs, are a bit magical, and show me things I’ve never seen before. As promised, those credentials will get your book reviewed every time. This stuff is fascinating.

We see a bear messing with a camera. An albino badger. A fox looking pleased with itself. And a gorgeous white bunny stunned by the strobe like a deer caught in the headlights. (What? You thought I wouldn’t go long on clichés in the cliché column? Silly rabbit.)

There’s a photo of a jumping field mouse that proves how those little bastards get into my engine block and shit all over my Hyundai. There’s also a deer decomposition sequence that fits so well with the William Christenberry book we just showed that you’d have to believe I planned it. (Unless you live in Taos, and can blame it on Interbeing.)

I recently heard that other Miyazaki, the one who makes the amazing children’s Anime films, may be retiring. Too bad. That dude churns out genius art like the grumpy guy made the donuts. (Try Ponyo.)

The photographer, Miyazaki, could probably go on shooting forever. Hanging out with the critters in the woods. Whispering to the trees. Learning the hidden secrets of Nature.

Bottom Line: Amazing book of nature photos from Japan

To Purchase “Manabu Miyazaki: The Pencil of Nature” Visit Photo-Eye

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Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

The Art Establishment Has Failed To Embrace Vivian Maier

- - Blog News

Although Maier made some 3,000 prints of her own, almost none of them have been judged by Mr. Maloof or U.S. art dealers to be worthy of exhibition or sale. Badly developed or marred in other ways, they have been kept out of sight and off the market. The website Mr. Maloof built to promote Maier doesn’t even feature any examples of these vintage prints, so we can’t judge how she interpreted the small percentage of negatives she actually had developed.

In the film Mr. Maloof protests on camera that the "art establishment" has failed to embrace the new prints he is offering for sale.

via Photography: What Does Art Look Like? – WSJ.com.