Tag Archives: 100 Portraits

DOT.COM at the Guate Photo Festival

LENSCRATCH will be participating in the Guate Photo Festival, coming up in November in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  The organizers asked 4 on-line platforms: LENSCRATCH, Fotovisura, 500 Photographers, and Flak Photo to create exhibitions that will be projected throughout the festival at the La Fototeca Gallery, a converted movie theater with 4 large screens running the 4 exhibitions simultaneously. The event is titled [DOT]COM.

For the LENSCRATCH exhibition, I curated 100 portraits by 50 photographers that have been featured on Lenscratch over the years, and the resulting presentation is LOOKING AT OURSELVES: Portraits featured on LENSCRATCH. Cynthia Henebry’s wonderful image is the poster image for the event.

Today, I am sharing one image from each photographer in the presentation: Looking at Ourselves: Photographers Featured On LENSCRATCH



©Susan Barnett

Thank you to Guate Photo for this opportunity and to all the amazing participating photographers.

Looking at the Land From the Comfort of Home

Andy Adams works almost exclusively in the virtual world of contemporary photography. Whether you visit his photography website FlakPhoto.com, follow him on Twitter or take part in his daily Facebook discussions, you’ll find Adams diligently working as a young cultural anthropologist. Reaching far into the online photo ether, Adams always tries to present us with something new that he hopes you’ll be equally thrilled by.

Since 2006 FlakPhoto has grown to become a defining resource for anyone interested in the latest trends in photography online. Institutions like the RISD Museum of Art have recently taken notice of his work, calling upon Adams to curate an installation and accompanying online exhibition to complement its most recent massive show America in View: Landscape Photography 1865 to Now.

In the fall of 2010, Adams curated a similar project for FotoWeek in Washington, D.C. called 100 Portraits, which was a broad survey of contemporary portraiture. Beyond the physical installation Adams, of course, put the project in its entirety on the Internet. LightBox recently spoke to Adams about his projects:

[100 Portraits] was the beginning of my realization that you could bring the ideas of online publishing and art exhibition together to produce a public digital exhibition for everyone in the world that has access to the Internet.

The focus of the RISD exhibition curated by Jan Howard is an historical survey of American Landscape photography from 1865 till now. The parameters for ‘Looking at the Land’ were also very broad and the website component is an exploration of current photography in the documentary style with interviews that analyze and understand the evolving landscape photo tradition. 

The constraints were fairly simple — I wanted this to reflect contemporary styles and current practice, and photographers exploring new directions. In the interest of serendipitous discovery, and hoping I would see something new, I put out a public call online seeking images ‘depicting the American Landscape since 2000.’

While curating the 100 Portraits project, which I coproduced with Larissa Leclair of the Indie Photobook Library, she impressed upon me the idea that this web site that I’ve been publishing every day was becoming a kind of archive and collection unto itself. In a way, the Web has become this giant collection of contemporary photography—portfolio websites, photo blogs, Tumblrs. That’s really interesting. 

What I’ve witnessed in the last few years is this real anxiety about the abundance of images in the world, on the Internet. That’s one way to see things. I prefer to view the situation as one with infinitely more opportunities to discover new, interesting work. Of course, the hazard of what I did here is that you have to look through more than 5,000 pictures to make sense of it all.

I’m interested in learning why people photograph landscape so I asked each of the 88 photographers the same questions: ‘What compels you to photograph the land? What does that mean?’ 

One of the things that I’m trying to do is to foreground the perspective of the image-maker. This may be another way to add meaning to that huge abundance of pictures. 

I also asked each photographer: ‘Why did you photograph this place?’

With landscape photography it’s easy to tell a pro-environmentalism narrative that shows the destruction of the land or how human alterations have forever destroyed that land. That’s all true, of course. But I don’t have an agenda with this project; I’m more interested in understanding why contemporary image-makers make landscape photographs to learn how that tradition is evolving in the 21st century.

If there is a dominant theme in the show it probably is the absurd juxtaposition of nature and culture, recognition that this is the way things are now, that we co-exist with nature. Rather than preach at the spectator, many of these images describe that disconnect with irony and humor.  

One of the things that I think might be indicative of this generation is that you have all these photographers that grew up in suburban sprawl, so that whole concept of home and place is different. Maybe we’re not even lamenting development and the loss of wilderness anymore because we’ve come of age without it? I see a lot of these photographers coming to terms with those ideas and the place where nature and culture are colliding. That’s why some of these pictures seem humorous or ironic. They are less an indictment and more of an acknowledgment.

It was important for me to show the American landscape and real places. America looks very different than it did 100 years ago. It’s also important to remember that these images are not objective facts — they’re subjective interpretations, personal perspectives about how the world looks today. 

This is very much a research project that I’m making public. The ideas that I’m trying to understand and the things that we are interested in have existed before this exhibition and they will exist after. I’ve attempted to tap into the new public sphere that exists in the global online photo community, to learn collectively what these things mean and to hopefully contribute to the history of things, so one day people can look back and learn from it. That’s the bigger picture goal.”

Andy Adams is the founder of FlakPhoto.com and curator of Looking at the Land — 21st Century American Views, a collaboration with the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. The exhibition is on view until Jan. 13 and you can visit the online version here.

Robin Schwartz, Elijah’s Tail

Robin Schwartz, Elijah’s Tail

Robin Schwartz

Elijah’s Tail,
, 2010
From the Amelia’s World: Animal Affinity series
Website – RobinSchwartz.net

Robin Schwartz earned a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Pratt Institute and her photographs are held in several museum collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Aperture Foundation published Schwartz’s third monograph, Amelia’s World, edited by Tim Barber. Images from this series were exhibited in Various Photographs, an installation curated by Barber for the New York Photo Festival and 100 Portraits—100 Photographers, a digital exhibition of current portraiture. Schwartz was a finalist at the Hyeres 2010 Photography Festival in France. She recently presented the Amelia Series at The National Geographic Magazine’s Annual Photography Seminar in Washington D.C.

Happy New Year! Plus, a Flak Photo Upgrade

Detail, Sam Contis

Shed With Tree (Silo), 2007. Photo © Samantha Contis

A note from editor Andy Adams

Hello Everyone!

It's cold and windy here in Madison, Wisconsin as I write these words and it's become an annual tradition to showcase a selection of seasonal images on Flak Photo as we usher in the New Year. The response to my call for winter pictures was amazing — more than 500 submissions in just three weeks! My search for a single photo has again snowballed into a 4-week feature; I'll show 20 photographers, weekdays through the end of the month. Thanks to everyone who submitted and especially this year's contributors. Each of them will be archived in The Collection and I'll share them  on the Facebook page so you won't miss a day. There are some terrific pictures in store for you; I hope you'll make some time to see them in the coming weeks.

2011 was an exciting year for Flak Photo with lots of community photo projects in the U.S. and abroad. It's always fun (and increasingly novel) to go offline and bridge the digital and real worlds and it was wonderful to connect with so many of you in person. Some of this year's highlights include:

   •  Photo 2.0 video conversation at Light Work's Photographers + Publishing Conference »

   •  Aperture Foundation's What Matters Now? Proposals for a New Front Page Discussions »

   •  100 Portraits — 100 Photographers exhibition at the Australian Centre for Photography »

   •  The Future of Photobooks video discussion at Flash Forward Festival Boston »

   •  En Foco's New Works Fellowship Exhibition + Blog Feature »

   •  FORMAT International Festival of Photography Photography and the Internet discussion »

And the big news: At long last, our website upgrade is live. It's taken three years to get here and I hope you'll enjoy immersing yourself in the site as much as we've enjoyed making it for you. Sincere thanks are in order to the many people who have contributed their time and talents to bring this vision to life. To the Madison Data Crunchers (Kristen Tomaszewski, Nathan Meissner, Brian Hucek, and Allison Fitch) who spent countless hours poring over five years of published pictures and bringing them into the new website, I can't thank you enough and owe you more than the drinks and dinner that tempted you in the first place. To Sarah Patel, our UK-based digital media assistant who has been diligently keeping this site current as we've transitioned from one server to the next, you are amazing. And to Flak Photo's web development wizard, Marcus Trapp — you are a gentleman of enormous talent and boundless energy and I am forever indebted to you for your inspired engineering of this beautiful machine. 

So, what next?

Since launching this site in 2006, my mission has been to promote the discovery of contemporary image-makers from around the world. There are more than 1,500 photographs in the Flak Photo Collection at this writing and that number grows every day. We've added a Galleries, Features, Motion and Books section and so the new Flak Photo will provide a more robust channel for presenting the work of its contributors to a global audience of people who are passionate about visual culture. This project has deep roots in community collaboration, so I'm hoping that many of you will become a part of it in the years to come. In that spirit, I'm planning to publish publicly submitted interviews, essays, and other pieces of writing about photography here. As with the current submission policy, all are welcome to apply.

And I'd love to hear your feedback about how we can improve the site. We've got ideas for expanding on the work we've done so far and expect things to evolve as we move forward. We're planning to use the Flak Photo Beta group to share behind-the-scenes website updates and also to listen to your ideas about how we can make this space more useful for the artists, bookmakers and arts organizations who contribute to its pages as well as for the readers who visit every day. You can find us at Facebook.com/Groups/FlakPhotoBeta. See you there?

One of the best parts about producing Flak Photo is connecting with colleagues I admire, in person and online. Web 2.0 plays a major role in my photo work and has inspired me to explore how social media can help people communicate with each other about contemporary ideas in photography. To that end, I'm hosting two Facebook groups — the Flak Photo Network and Flak Photo Books — that facilitate conversations about photo practice in 21st century digital culture. Please, join us! And, if you like, you can follow my photo + video updates on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Thanks again to each of you for your continued support. Be well and keep looking.


Andy Adams
Editor • Producer • Publisher