Tag Archives: Amateurs

Romka magazine: a collective photo-album

Romka magazine, Issue #7

I wrote about Romka magazine over on the eyecurious Tumblr some time ago, but I will confess to never having picked up a paper copy before, so the latest issue (#7) is the first I have been able to flick through. The conceit is a simple one, “favorite pictures and the stories that lie behind them” by pros and amateurs alike. No book reviews, no interviews, no ads… no excess fat. The result is a kind of crowd-sourced collective photo-album, which makes it sound terrible when it is really quite good. Romka simply does what it says on the tin: it presents a series of single images by photographers (that might be Roger Ballen or it might be Sachi “the builder who lives in a pink house in New Orleans”), each accompanied by a short text explaining what that image means to them. It is a very simple recipe, and like many simple recipes it is hard to get right, but when it works it is rather delicious. Although it follows a fairly strict formula it doesn’t feel formulaic because of its democratic, all-inclusive approach to images and because it helps to reveal some of the myriad reasons why photographs matter so much to people. This simple formula also makes it refreshingly different to most other photography magazines out there.

I have done a lot of wondering (to myself and sometimes out loud) about whether the photo album has become irrelevant today given the changes in the way that we make and look at photographs… Romka makes me think that there is life in it yet.

Romka magazine, Issue #7

Romka magazine, Issue #7

Romka magazine, Issue #7, November 2012, edition of 1,500.


Wheelchair Bodybuilders Muscle Their Way to the Top

When he was 16, Nick Scott was in a near-fatal car accident. He was left paralyzed from the waist down. Nonetheless, Scott, now 30, is also known in certain circles—namely, the wheelchair bodybuilding world, a universe in which his is perhaps the most recognizable face—as “The Beast.” The Beast isn’t sure of his bench press limit, only because he hasn’t yet stopped reaching for more weight. The metaphor’s an obvious one, but true: ”If you want something bad enough, nothings gonna stop you from not getting it,” he has said.

And The Beast wants to spread the word: he was instrumental in the creation of the first-ever competition for certified International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) Pro Wheelchair Bodybuilders, which was held last fall. The 2012 IFBB Pro Wheelchair championships took place Oct. 13 in Houston, an event open only to Scott and the dozen other men who have qualified as pros. Harold Kelley was named the winner in 2011 and 2012.

Photographer Lauren Fleishman has been documenting the sport for over a year, including that first competition. She first heard about wheelchair bodybuilding via a phone call from her cousin, who works in a hotel where a bodybuilding event took place. “I got so excited that I hung up the phone and began researching the sport,” she says.

Fleishman says that when she first began exploring the topic, she noticed that almost all of the photographs of bodybuilders, at least the ones that she could find, portrayed the participants in an almost grotesque manner. She wanted to avoid that look. “In showing a different side to it, it’s a way of connecting people, a way of changing their perceptions about the sport.”

Wheelchair bodybuilding competitions date back about 15 years, and both amateurs and professionals compete in worldwide events throughout the year. After following the participants for months, Fleishman says that, besides the normal suspense that comes with any competitive event, there’s another layer to it. “Seeing what being on stage does for them, they really, really shine,” she says. “You have a whole range of reasons why they compete, but the dedication and perseverance is really inspiring.” And it’s not just on stage: last May, in a Wal-mart in Texas, Fleishman accompanied Scott—the de facto spokesman for the sport—when he went to purchase batteries for his wheelchair, which is rigged to light up when he performs. Outside the store, a teenage boy, also in a wheelchair, approached Scott to say that he hoped one day to be like him. “You can obviously see that Nick has muscles,” says Fleishman. “The kid was impressed. It was a really nice moment to see that.”

But there has been one drawback to immersion in the wheelchair bodybuilding community during her year of photographing the project—and, as the work continues, it may only get worse. “It’s really hard,” Fleishman says, “because you want them all to win.”

Lauren Fleishman is an award-winning photographer based in New York City and Paris. See more of her work here and or on LightBox here.

Photo News – Foam for You launches short film featuring Jessica Backhaus and invites amateur photographers to contribute to Wonder Flickr group

Foam For You has launched the second in its series of short films with Jessica Backhaus giving an insight into her working practice as she explores the theme Wonder for Foam magazine. Backhaus featured in Hotshoe magazine way back in April/may 2006 with her series Jesus and the Cherries.

Jesus and the Cherries, © Jessica Backhaus

“Foam For You is an online resource which features professional photographers providing inspiration and advice for amateurs looking to improve their own work. At the core of Foam For You’s content is a series of extended films about the work of three internationally renowned artists: Michael Wolf (USA), Jessica Backhaus (GER) and Melanie Bonajo (NL).

“They have given Foam exclusive access to their working practice in three fifteen minute documentaries. They explain the thinking behind their work and, in particular, how it relates to themes taken from different issues of Foam Magazine, in which their work appeared.”

What’s more, the best ones will appear in a gallery on the Foam website and you could win a year’s subscription to Foam Magazine.

Filed under: short films, Women Photographers Tagged: audience participation, Flickr, Foam for You, Foam magazine, Jessica Backhaus, photography inspiration, short film, Wonder

Looking at Success: Natalie Dybisz aka Miss Aniela

I first saw the intriguing and surreal photographs of Miss Aniela five or six years ago.  It was one of those visual encounters when late at night you have gone down the rabbit hole of links and come across work by someone who is of an age where they still can’t legally buy a drink (in the U.S.), and it leaves you slightly depressed.  But I wasn’t the only one discovering her photographs–her images and her story was gobbled up by blogs and e-zines all over the world and Natalie Dybisz (aka Miss Aniela) became an overnight internet sensation.

Recently I was interviewed by Fabiano Busdraghi of the Camera Obscura blog/magazine, and Natalie happened to comment on the interview–it was then that I realized that she was working through her own idea of success, how to navigate it and how to achieve it, and that she would be interesting person to interview.  How does someone who has had so much acclaim at the beginning of their career sustain that momentum, and then how does someone grow, experiment, and make mistakes in front of a watching public?  And for Natalie, most importantly, how does she move from fine art phenom to working equally successfully in the commercial and editorial worlds?

The Fourth Soil
Let’s start
at the beginning.  What drew you to photography and at what point during University did
you know that it was what you wanted to pursue?

My foray into photography happened whilst I was at
University, but studying something else. It was an English and Media degree,
during which I discovered other artists/amateurs around the world sharing their
work on the internet, and to my surprise, openly sharing their
self-portraiture. This re-awakened a desire to take pictures (I had had a brief
stint with self-portraiture a few years earlier with a digital camera loaned
from my college’s art department) but here, the artist pseudonym ‘Miss Aniela’
was born, Aniela being my middle name, and a new body of work emerged which I
started to share online. Being a creative person, photography became the
appointed vocation, mainly through the allure of the immediacy of digital
photography. Self-portraiture began for me as a somewhat shameful habit, so I
liked the private process of being able to take a picture of myself, see my
results straight away and take it forward to experiment in processing, always
in control.

The Escape

It seems that you had huge successes while still in school–did that
success impact your college experience?

I made a lot of images (though I didn’t think of it so
‘professionally’ then) and had my first exhibition locally in Brighton, started
to sell some prints, and whilst that’s certainly a great start, I guess I never
saw it as groundbreaking. I have always been hungry for massive things, in
fact, so much so that I’ve have to curb that humongous desire a bit to avoid
being naïve about how quick ‘success’ can happen, and indeed, how meaningful
quick successes really are. However, in answer to your question, I still had
plenty of time to attend my lectures (the schedule was quite laidback!) and get
a first… it was the employment I entered afterwards that was promptly disrupted
by growing photography opportunities.

The Adrenalin

An Impromptu Performance

It also feels like your work was well ahead of the visual learning curve– the
kind of self portrait imagery that you were (and are) exploring at that time
was quite unique.  I remember seeing your work 5 years ago and your visual
voice was so powerful right from the beginning….

Thank you, I think the biggest compliment people can
make is when they speak holistically about my work and about me as the creator
– when they suggest that I have a ‘voice’ that not only uses the skills of
photography but the creativity, ‘talent’ or so on – it suggests respect and
longevity which is ultimately what any artist wants in their life. 

On another note, it’s interesting you mention seeing
my work from 5 years ago – it does make me wonder when people mention having
known my work for a long period of time who I wouldn’t have imagined seeing it.
It makes me hope for more of those onlookers to reach out – the smallest
spurring-on from others in the art industry can be uplifting and leveraging.


Having achieved so much publicity and accolades at an age where most other photographers are still finding their way, does it feel like you missed your “photographic childhood”?

I feel that my photographic ‘childhood’ is my initial foray into photography, the self-portraiture from 2006-2009 which gained a lot of attention. But
there was a question of where the attention was going and getting into
the right circles, and I knew my dream was to make a long-term impact. 
It was also a ‘childhood’ because I am happy to consider that phase a fun and memorable period of letting loose, experimenting and setting foundations to who I am now: what I would call the more refined ‘adult’ who has more of a focused consciousness on what they are doing, manifested specifically in my current work, and everything that work suggests of my future direction. 

Also, as this new ‘adult’, I feel as though I can and will attain more rounded respect and not just a single-faceted ‘wow’ at a technique employed as in my earlier work. Another major thing I am noting is the mileage to be had in sharing one’s work in new circles, accessing more places on the ‘internet map’ than the known territories of mostly unprofitable photo-sharing sites, just taking advantage of the many opportunities both virtual and physical to get one’s work into different contexts that can be more intellectual, lucrative, or both.


you are a popular image maker with close to 11,000 FB fans and have influenced
a whole generation of young photographers… Do you feel a responsibility to
your fan base?  And do you feel you have to stay creatively one step

Those are good questions. In terms of
‘responsibility’, yes and no. Yes, because the nature of my work, by which my
popularity/profile has been raised, is something that should be noted and observed
as inherent to my ‘brand’ as a creator, in order to keep that accrued audience
satisfied. But then sometimes the notion of a ‘brand’ is at odds with being an
‘artist’, which is about being true to your fluctuating, complicated self.  But surely in either case, the audience
is exactly that – the audience – who have chosen to come and view whatever you
are putting out, there is something they like and trust about you. I have
always remained true to following my instincts and expressing what most stimulates
me; the only troubles have laid in the continuous self-doubt of how exactly to
build, extend and monetise that audience to be able to make a living from art.

Migration Season

To some degree, the ‘Miss Aniela’ name has become a bit
of a brand, with my partner Matthew on board as a business, the name through
which we sell our workshop-style event (big, laid-on fashion shoots) and pursue
clients. But it will always be an artist-led ‘brand’. I will always put out
what I am passionate about, whether it’s a piece of new work or an event where
I show people that being a photographer is about ‘doing it for yourself’. I would
not feel comfortable otherwise. Miss Aniela is only a ‘brand’ in terms of
taking on an ostensible form and structure that resembles a business. Behind
that, I am always a thinking feeling artist.


I do feel inclined to keep ‘one step ahead’, but
that’s mostly because I naturally veer away from trends and ‘what everyone else
is doing’, at least, from the things that become hyped or mass-trends (I
dislike that in any form: music, film, TV etc). So, in my personal artmaking,
it’s a natural in-built mechanism that keeps me moving from one thing to the
next, when one thing feels ‘done’, I can rarely produce another perfunctory
image to fit alongside it, no matter how much it might keep the momentum of my
audience’s lips moving. I talk here in particular about techniques: a good
example is my phase of ‘levitation’ photography which I unpick at length on
Fabiano Busdraghi’s Camera Obscura blog. 

 But I’m also referring to other
phases: phases of feeling/desire (e.g. my fairly lighthearted ‘cloned’ self
portraits), or being drawn to a particular location (doing a series with
abandoned buildings from which I made a dedicated self-published book).

Her Fleeting Imprint

And then, currently in my Ecology series, I am
expressing a more troubled outlook, rather than using the subject as a
character in a fantasy world, it moves towards inferring the crumbling
infrastructures of our real world – a shift from the personal to the
environmental, but with the human element and often still using myself as a model.
This series is fuelled by my personal phase of having the urge to just go
laying naked outdoors, to present a ‘stripped down’ scene of starkness, with
other elements such as litter, ironic objects, and surreal distortions at once
alluring and revolting.

 Gyre Falls
My series ‘Surreal Fashion’ began as playing around
with fashion portraits, trying to make them more contextual and interesting –
and also, for them to take on a different appearance in post-production that
would transform them from just being a shot anyone could take in that highly
contrived, ‘styled’ situation. I find that a lot of fashion photography has
that ‘samey’ look to it, and I wanted to take the images a dimension further. Inspired
by the paintings and objects in the locations where I shoot the portraits, I’ve
started to incorporate them into the actual photos, giving the
objects/paintings a new lease of life, literally re-animating them. 

Storm Door

favourite one was in making a painted sea spill and crash around a model in
‘Storm Door’.  The painting was in
the adjoining room, and had previously frustrated me with inspiration I did not
know how to vent! The picture became my way of consuming it, in a creation of
my own.

In this series, it’s hard to ‘plan’ exactly what I
will do with a prop – I just get a feeling that something will happen with it,
and I play around with possibilities. So I am able to keep it growing into a
‘series’ because the main criteria is that it involves an object taking on a
surreal force within the image, and together, all the images become like a
colourful tapestry. I am aware that some of the images are less suitable for
the commercial interest of fashion than others – it is the more subtle ones
that become part of my actual fashion stories. On the whole though, my goal is
to exhibit the best of the series, as they have already proved enticing to

The Hunt
The White Witch

How is that recognition impacting your current desire to make commercial work
and get a foot hold into that market?

Gaining commercial work is very important to me,
because my idea of success of having someone believe in my ability to create,
and the trust that I will create what they want. The same applies to fine art:
having a gallerist or curator believe in my work and vision.

I know what it is like to be so compelled by someone
else’s work: no matter of the age, credentials, or any other factor, you just
‘know’ that someone has ‘it’. That ‘it’ is like love, it becomes the meaning of
life, the feeling that defies fear of mortality! An example is the contributors
whom I choose for my books, like you have said about your own blog, going
beyond ‘me, me, me’ is the next level of self-fulfilment in that you are
helping share other talent with the world. Passion for art is like a common
language, but unwritten or unspoken; it is about just feeling the conviction
that someone’s work needs to be seen, shouted from the rooftops. I also feel
this way when I meet an astounding model or hairstylist. I love meeting people
who are – genuinely – passionate and hungry, who never rest (even to their
detriment), who are so serious about making something happen that goes beyond
money or logic. The bonus is when you can meet someone who does also have a sense of business and logic
– whose passion doesn’t send them completely to cuckoo land! For that is how
dreams and wishes become real and serious. I strive daily for that balance, and
to convey it, as well as find it in others.


 Do you want to straddle both the worlds of fine art and editorial/commercial

I do want to straddle both, and I’m realising it is
possible, as long as focus is applied in equal amounts to both – which is the
tricky part. Sometimes I get lost wasting time in the blurry worlds in between
the two – entertaining an audience online, doing admin or simply procrastinating.
Then there is also another facet to my work which is the fashion shoot events
we hold in different countries, which takes a lot of organisation, but my
partner oversees most of that, and the events themselves lend well to the
creation of the fashion work that I am currently submitting to magazines and
using to get a foothold into fashion, as well as building my art/fashion fused
series which I’d like to exhibit too.

Harmony String

I see other photographers able (and indeed, almost
obliged) to pursue commercial photography of all kinds as well as keep doing their
‘personal’ projects. So I see it as no matter that I have to do the same – but
I relish the idea of commercial projects, in working with budgets large or
small, to put together productions, and make ‘art’ happen, albeit
commodified.  My partner Matthew
and I live and breathe photography, we are constantly thinking of new ideas,
and whilst waiting for clients, we get busy making our own productions happen. We
are genuinely connected to the creation of art using whatever means we have at
hand: whether that’s a reflector, smoke bomb, and my naked body in a spot of
woodland, or a 17th century stately home with thousand of pounds of
lighting and 6 models in full Regency attire.

Another Whirl

How does it feel to expose so much of yourself through your work, physically
and mentally?

I used to expose more of myself mentally, as in
‘personally/anecdotally’, through journalistic dialogue alongside my images. This
became a drag, because as well as my work becoming reminiscent of a sighing
teenage girl’s diary, I just felt as though it undermined the work a bit. Now I
separate the two more, and use places like Twitter as an anecdotal outlet, and
give my work some conceptual breathing space.

But, I am an artist who likes to ‘talk’. I engage
regularly in the written word in different ways, but I try to balance it out by
blending the technical, artistic and anecdotal together: ultimately to engage
with people and not encourage the saturation of any of element. A key example
is how I write my books – in my most recent book Creative Portrait Photography,
I try to talk about the whole process of creation, showing the story behind the
making of an image including the tools, the intentional thinking, and the
surprises. I also get involved as much as possible with speaking engagements at
fairs and events.


On a level of physical exposure, I am exposing myself
naked even more than ever. It stems from an increasing yearning to take the
focus off the exclusively-male titillation element, and instead stand exposed
on my own terms, as a female human body that is not just always sexually
suggestive, but also can be, quite unashamedly – after all, sex is fundamental,
and a massive part of our consciousness, it is life itself. And sometimes I
even take a sensual or suggestive pose and choose not to settle for its beauty
or simplicity, and play on the viewer’s expectation, almost to subvert or
disrupt the subject’s vulnerability to the gaze of the spectator.

 The Corkscrew

The Invasion

The milestone where I really felt as though I was
‘exposing’ myself physically and sacrificing myself to my art was when I did a
shoot naked with a python last year, to produce an image inspired by John
Collier’s Lilith and Evelyn de Morgan’s Cadmus and Harmonia (my image ‘Double
bind’). I walked about naked in front of the team on the day, who were to that
point strangers. I also put out a ‘behind the scenes’ video showing myself
wandering around starkers and thought, well, that’s it, that’s me exposed

Double Bind

My increasing desire is to lay myself bare, and use
myself as an instrument sacrificed to art. The safety net is in keeping the art
less about ‘me’ and more about the message or aesthetic being conveyed,
although of course that ‘message’ is always filtered and shaped through the
personal experience of the artist creating it. It is always personal to some
extent, but at the volume we can turn up or down.

Your new work is so much about mixing ideas: self-portraiture and
self-starting, combining the landscape and portrait, surrealism, environmental
concerns seeping into the work and mind, merging of surrealism/digital
manipulation with fashion portraits, colour vs. b/w.  Your well of
inspiration seems limitless.  Can you talk about how you approach an
image, and ultimately create a body of work?

Sometimes I feel I do too much different work, there’s
always a way to organise all the output, even if that comes later down the line
after months or even years of creating the material. When I produce an image
there is always a sense of spontaneity that I have learned to embrace, ie. a
sense that I don’t have a specific pre-vision of the actual image, only of a
mood or couple of elements that will be involved. This means that sometimes,
the outcome of my shoots literally become ‘shoots’ that go off all over the
place! I have often said that the ‘artist’ side of myself spills work forward
in an unkempt flow, and the ‘business’ or ‘publicist’ side of myself checks in
every now and then to organise the assortment of expression and make it into
series, books, cohesive projects, etc.

That said, I have found it easier in recent times to
mainly stick to two bodies of work – the Ecology series and the Surreal Fashion
pieces. That’s because I have made sure my bases are covered in terms of what I
want to express at any one time, and how to house it. Before, it wasn’t easy
for me to formulate a specific series title. As long as the series is broad
enough to accommodate the spectrum of urges and desires I feel at any present
time, then a resultant image can be showcased as part of a set even though it
might move around later.


Sometimes the series will become too broad, and I’ve
yet to see how cohesive (or not) my Ecology set will seem when I present it to
galleries. Subsets form within one series, and could potentially become a new
series. A prime example is my use of both colour and black-and-white in
Ecology. I know that it’s not a norm to exhibit both together, even though the
conceptual dialogue ties them together. But as I continue to make more and more
work for Ecology, it may be that those subsets take on their own organic life.
Whilst I am my work’s creator and it ‘obeys’ me to some extent, I have also
learned to ‘back off’ and not force my images to be/do something that doesn’t
work. For my work to be genuine is the most important thing for me. Ironically,
you need to work hard to make something look natural and effortless. You have
to learn to unlearn, and keep challenging yourself to find your true inner

The Divorce

recently stated: 
“one of the main
frustrations to my own Internet-spawned career is having all these ‘hits’ on
one website and another, but those hits not translating into anything
ostensible or lucrative per say, and most of the interest that does come to my
work being from people who want to know how to grab some of those seemingly
desirable ‘hits’ to try replicate the life and success they think I’ve got.

Internet creates a big illusion. Artists make work and share it, and their work
might have lots of popularity online. In that popularity they accrue a mass
following of inspired people, some of whom are fixated on winning the same
label of artist – they want a shortcut to get what the artist apparently has
(which may be little more than just Internet hits) without realising that first
they need – and should want to – make a body of work that, without years of
dedication and marketing, might never make them any money at all.
With that said, what platform has
given you the most exposure, and what took your work to the next level?”
In terms of what has taken my work ‘to the next level’ – it
is probably a self-started thing, my ‘Fashion Shoot Experience’ event, which on
a personal level threw me into the deep end of organising and shooting with a
5-person styling team and 5 new models each time. Over a year we have shot over
50 models – a saturation I would never have experienced by other means. It’s
been great experience not just for getting better with fashion photography, but
just for working with models in general, and opening doors for new
possibilities with both fashion and fine art. There are also countless other
benefits to the experience we’ve add in putting together these productions, and
it also highlights my partner’s influence on ‘Miss Aniela’ and how it’s
intensively evolved the creativity.

In terms of platform on the internet, by far it is
Flickr that has given me the most exposure, but that’s because I have used it
so much, regularly, to put out an image one by one as they are made, and watch
a body of work grow.
Flickr is the place that seemed to physically lead to
what I would describe as a big break – it is where my work was apparently seen
and recommended to a contact at Microsoft, who invited me to speak at their Pro
Photo Summit in 2008 shortly after I’d just left University, and this
opportunity gave me exposure to photography-related contacts (as well as my
first trip to America!) I’ve also had other little breaks stemming from placing
my work on sites and being featured in certain magazines, but overall it’s a
case of just chipping away at everything hoping to increase one’s profile over

Stay Awake and Watch

One of the main good things about flickr – or rather, how
I’ve used flickr – is that it has given me a self-imposed ‘deadline’, an
end-time to work towards when I am producing an image, by which time it gets
uploaded and is called ‘finished’. There is no dithering with images that are
stuck in some limbo folder on my computer, which might well be the case if I
didn’t have an online outlet where it’s ‘published’ in the view of others.

On the flip side, there are many different communities within
Flickr, and often your preferred circle of people becomes infiltrated with
people who are just browsing for pretty shots and make flippant comments on
your long-thought-out pieces that make you cringe. I would turn comments off if
it weren’t for my fondness of the deeper comments I do get, some which inspire
me in turn: once I even made a montage of comments and placed them onto my
image and re-shared it as a new piece of art.
And then there is the issue of internet culture. Most people on
Flickr, on the internet as a whole, like to be stimulated within seconds. They
are the ‘like’, ‘sooo beautiful’ or ‘wtf’ generation, and often judge
photography on the immediate singular visuals for which there is a clamour for
authorship, as people emulate props and techniques they see in others’ work
like clattering bottles falling round in a recycling truck. It’s important to
contextualise these platforms, each being one limb to a wider operation.


What advice can you give to emerging photographers?

Give yourself time to create a body of work, which you
could share ‘in progress’ through internet platforms but don’t feel the
pressure to ‘present’ yourself with a website and pursue exhibitions, publicity
etc until you have something solid and worthy to show. Things might might move
faster in the internet age but as the saying goes, ‘there is no shortcut to the
places worth going’. Some patience needs to be had in being able to first form
a foundation from which you are happy to stand for the long-term.


And finally, what would be your perfect day?

I live many perfect days that I often try to write
down. I am very lucky to be in a solid relationship that is also a photography
‘team’, and on a more superficial level we’re currently living in a house we
really love, which makes every day a treat. I also can’t describe how happy I
feel just to see and hold my two cats! All these things combined, every day
becomes a treat. A perfect day would be to go out into the surrounding
countryside to shoot some nudes and then come back to the hearty meal of steak
and lots of vegetables, following by hours of processing and tea that leads to
the making of a final image that gives me flutters for days. (That is pretty
much what happened for the making of ‘The Fourth Soil.’) Any creative day is a
perfect day. A future perfect day that I dream about is bringing our own
‘creation’ into the world, into our home, peacefully and joyously.


Photography Workshop with Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb

Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, 1993 © Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

Photography Workshop at Aperture with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb
This one-day workshop is geared for documentary photographers, street photographers, and others who photograph the world with a camera—not for those who dramatically manipulate their photographs. Also includes public gallery talk with Alex Webb about his exhibition, Alex Webb: The Suffering of Light, at Aperture Gallery from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. The exhibition features works from his recently published book The Suffering of Light.

Saturday, December 17, 2011
10:00 am–5:00 pm

$225 (Tickets are non-refundable)
Purchase tickets to the event

Do you know where you’re going next with your photography––or where it’s taking you? This intensive one-day workshop will help photographers begin to understand their own distinct way of seeing the world. It will also help photographers figure out their next step photographically ––from deepening their own unique vision to the process of discovering and making a long-term project that they’re passionate about.

A workshop for serious amateurs and professionals alike, it will begin with reviews of each photographer’s work, serving as a jumping off point for a larger discussion about various photographic issues. Alex and Rebecca, a creative team who often edit projects and books together –– including their book and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, exhibition, “Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs from Cuba”––will explore with the class a series of topics, including the process of photographing spontaneously and intuitively; how to photograph in cultures other than one’s own; how to edit photographs intuitively; the emotional and psychological implications of working in color vs. black and white; the difference between images in a book and images on the wall; and how long-term projects can evolve into books and exhibitions. Participants should be prepared to ask questions, as these concerns will help shape the ultimate direction of the workshop. This one-day workshop is geared for documentary photographers, street photographers, and others who photograph the world with a camera––not for those who dramatically manipulate their photographs.

Aperture Gallery and Bookstore
547 W. 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY
(212) 505-5555

The workshop is offered at the discounted price of $175 for full-time students and Aperture members. Please call (212) 505-5555 to reserve at this special rate, or buy tickets through Aperture’s website.


Alex Webb is best known for his vibrant and complex color work, especially from Latin America and the Caribbean. He has published nine books, including Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names, and his most recent, The Suffering of Light: Thirty Years of Photographs (Aperture). Alex has exhibited at museums worldwide including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, and the Guggenheim Museum, NY. Alex became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1979. His work has appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, Geo, and other magazines. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 for continuing working in Cuba, and the Premio Internacional de Fotografia Alcobendas in 2009.

For the past decade, Rebecca Norris Webb has been exploring the complicated relationship between people and the natural world. Originally a poet, she has shown her photographic work internationally, including at the George Eastman House Museum and Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York. Her first book, The Glass Between Us, was published in 2006, and her second book, Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs from Cuba (with Alex Webb), was published in November 2009. Her photographs are in the collections of the George Eastman House Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and she is represented by the Photographers’ Gallery in London. Rebecca’s work has appeared in Time, New Letters, Orion, and other magazines. Her third book, My Dakota, will be published in 2012 by Radius, and exhibited at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Alex and Rebecca have a joint exhibition of their Cuba photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which will run until January 16, 2012, which will then travel to the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona, Florida. The couple is currently collaborating on a project in the U.S.

WHAT PHOTOGRAPHERS SHOULD BRING: About 30 photography prints (can be inexpensive 5×7” or 8×10” work prints; we are most interested in the image not the quality of the print). For those who are working in a series or on a long-term project, feel free to bring one or two projects. Class limit: 17. For more information, contact Rebecca at [email protected].

And more submissions

Artist’s Wanted present The Power of SelfBy participating in The Power of Self, you will receive recognition for your work, a free and exclusive See.Me website, and a thank you package with discounts and freebies valued at over $75.As the Grand Prize Award Winner, you will receive: one year of your life paid for and much more (see below).The highest rated portfolio, as voted on by the public will receive a cash award of $2,500 and exposure to tens of thousands of art enthusiasts around the world. Every week we will highlight one participant in the project, if selected your story and portfolio will be made famous.The Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:One Year of Your Life Paid For*Imagine taking a year off to create more art, travel the world or change your life in a way that only you can dream of. energy auditor courses . This is your chance at an award that will allow you the freedom to recreate your life, to write your story in a way that few others are allowed.The Grand Prize Winner Also Receives:A video documentary produced about you, your life and your artwork that will be seen by tens of thousands. (Click here for an example.)A gala New York City reception. (Click here for images from our previous events)A free life-time See.Me website. See.Me is the simplest way for artists and creatives to host their work online. See.Me is currently exclusively available to the artists of ArtistsWanted.org. Click here to see a demo portfolio.A Published Artist Q&A on ARTINFO.com,in June 2011The ultimate Self-Portrait. Your own gallery-stretched 18″ x 24″ DNA Portrait provided by DNA11The Gala Awards Best Shot CompetitionThe Worldwide Photography Gala Awards invites photographers worldwide (pro, amateurs and students) to submit work for the fifth edition of our non-entry-fees-unless-you’re-accepted contest.Selected images will be featured online and published in the book; Best Shots 2011The theme is open. The Worldwide Photography Gala Awards would like to recognize and feature your best pictures ever. There’s no limitation regarding the date your images were taken. Previously awarded images are welcome.Color and B&W, traditional, contemporary, avant-garde, creative and experimental works that include old and new processes, mixed techniques, and challenging personal, emotional or political statements will be welcome.PrizesBest image, the book cover and $500Runner up, the back cover and $300All images accepted for the book will be published onlineDeadlineMay 1st, 2011 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time