Tag Archives: Artist Lectures

Medium Festival: Claire Warden

Several weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of attending the inaugural year of the Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego, CA, conceived by the very capable Scott B. Davis.  It was a three day event kicked off by a keynote lecture by Alec Soth, and continued on with workshops, artist lectures and portfolio reviews.  Most importantly, it was an opportunity to connect with a wonderful community of photographers.  Over the next week (and into the next), I will be featuring a few of the photographers who attended the festival.

Claire A. Warden, a photo-based artist working in Los Angeles, California, brought a terrific project about preserving the natural world, titled Salt: Studies in Preservation and Manipulation. The project includes methodically captured images of plant life preserved in salt, but when exhibited, also includes some of that flora and fauna under bell jars and on the wall.  The fragile quality of the salt is reminiscent of snow and only adds to the delicate nature of the object and the approach to her image making. The images are timeless and exquisite.
Claire received her BFA in Photography and BA in Art History from Arizona State University where she worked along side Guggenheim fellow Mark Klett and former Eastman House curator, Bill Jenkins. She now works in Los Angeles as a fine art photographer and photographing and working at the Getty Research Institute. Claire’s work is in personal collections and has been displayed in galleries nationally and internationally, including Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco, CA, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO and the Center for Photography at Madison, WI with upcoming shows at Soho Photo in New York, NY and Agripas 12 Gallery in Jerusalem, Israel. Her SALT series has earned her the Ted Decker Catalyst Artist Grant. 
Salt: Studies in Preservation and Manipulation: Despite the best efforts of science, authentic preservation of living matter is an impossible act. It is an ideal that stands in tension with the transient ephemerality that qualifies life. And yet – or perhaps because of it – this tension makes the humble ambitions of the botanical sciences intriguing. In order to preserve and document specimens for future study, scientists must ‘fix’ the organic complexity of the botanical specimen through human intervention.  

It is a process that, ultimately, restructures the essence of the specimen. In this way, botanical life can only endure as a specimen in a liminal state, the extended occupation of a pause between natural growth and decomposition. It is in this otherwise invisible moment, one reachable only through the intervention of the preservative act, that I find a deep and uncanny beauty. 

I emphasize the manipulation that manifests from preservation through the use of salt. This paradoxical mineral, that is necessary to sustain life—yet, if the delicate balance is outweighed, can extinguish it—reflects the structure of a preserved specimen and acts to preserve it. I submerge each living plant in a bath of salt water and allow the salt to crystallize on and within the living form.

Inspired by the intentions of botanical illustrations as a method to understand and control one’s environment, I seek to impress the human urge to order nature and in the process fundamentally change it. Using the platinum-palladium photographic process for its chemical stability and long-lasting image, these direct contact prints complicate the ideal of preservation, albeit, at the expense of the most authentic act of living matter, decay.

Submit and Upcoming Workshops and Events

The next LENSCRATCH exhibition is on your HOME TOWN.  Please send one image of your home town (72dpi, 1000px on the long side, in jpg format) and include:


Name, title, location, link  (Aline Smithson, Lego Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, http://www.alinesmithson.com)

Send to: [email protected] BEFORE August 20th
Aline Smithson, Lego Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA



2012 FotoWeek DC International Awards Competition

Challenge the Way We Look at the World
FotoWeekDC’s 5th Annual International Awards Competition is looking for extraordinary images – we’re looking for yours! The 2012 competition will honor professional and emerging photographers from our region and from around the world.
  • Cash prizes totaling $20,000
  • Winning images will be exhibited and/or projected during FotoWeekDC, November 9-18 as well as online.
  • Winners will be selected by a distinguished panel of world-renowned judges
  • Winners will be notified on or about October 5, 2012

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I have a really full fall, teaching in Los Angeles at the Julia Dean Photo Workshops, but also teaching and reviewing at a variety of photo events around the country, so thought I’d share my schedule in case you happen to be in the area! The expansion of photography festivals only reflects our growing community and lucky for us that we can benefit from the exposure, the education, the ability to share work and make new connections.

Fall classes at the Julia Dean Photo Workshops can be found here.


I will also be at the Santa Fe Workshops next spring (I believe the 3rd week of March), again teaching, The Big Picture. Details to follow.

In San Diego, from September 6-8th, the inaugural launch of the Medium Festival Of Photography will kick off with a keynote lecture by Alec Soth, speaking on Sept 6th.  The festival includes workshops, lectures, artist lectures, portfolio reviews, and exhibitions.

I will be reviewing and be teaching the workshop, Preparing for Portfolio Reviews on September 7th.

Filter Photo Festival takes place in Chicago and is a week long festival with lectures, workshops, portfolio reviews, exhibitions, and connections. The keynote speaker will be the compelling, Brian Ulrich, on Thursday, October 18th.

Filter is an organization dedicated
to producing the Midwest’s premier photography event, the annual Filter
Photo Festival.  The Festival’s ongoing mission is to connect em
erging,
mid-level, and professional photographers from across the country with
gallerists, educators, curators, editors, and other elite photo
professionals, focusing
particularly on those of the Midwest.”

I will be reviewing at the event and teaching The Art of Presentation: Showing your work to the fine art market (presented by the Santa Fe workshops) on Wednesday, October 16th, from 9am-1pm.  This workshop will get you ready for reviews and help you contextualize your work in the fine art world.  There are also terrific workshops in addition to mine, lectures, portfolio reviews, and lots of connecting and celebrating of photography.

This year The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO will be hosting the SPE Southwest regional conference. Running from November 1st-5th, It will be 4-5 days filled with lectures, artist presentations, exhibitions, and networking.  More specific programing to follow.

I will be giving an artist’s lecture, will have a solo exhibition at the Center for Fine Art Photography, will be giving a workshop, and participating as a reviewer for SPE.  SPE events are open to ALL photographers, and they are incredibly informative and interesting.

The keynote speak of this year’s event is the amazing Phillip Toledano.

Foto DC is a week long event from November 9-18th that is filled with exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and portfolio reviews.


On Sunday, November 11th, I will be teaching a workshop for emerging photographers on how to create a fine art portfolio.




PhotoNOLA is an annual festival of photography in New Orleans, coordinated by the New Orleans Photo Alliance in partnership with galleries, museums and photographers citywide.
The 2012 festival will take place from November 29 – December 2
with broad ranging photography exhibitions on display throughout the
month. The lineup includes portfolio reviews, workshops, lectures,
demonstrations and a kick-off gala at the Musée Conti Historical Wax
Museum. Many events are free and open to the public.
Portfolio Review registration will open on September 5, and the reviewers list will be announced in August.

I will be teaching a workshop and reviewing at PhotoNOLA this year.  Dates and details to follow.




Hope to see you somewhere!




‘Passengers’ Wins the Fifth International Fotobook Festival Dummy Awards

For the past five years, Kassel Germany has been home to the most important annual forum on the world of photography books, the International Fotobook Festival. This year, with the Documenta exhibition taking over the city of Kassel, the Le Bal photography museum in Paris hosted the Fifth International Fotobook Festival from April 20 – 22.

The festival is a weekend full of artist lectures, book exhibitions, booksellers and publishers showcasing their most recent offerings, portfolio reviews and awards for the “best” photobooks from the previous year. For photographers hoping to find interest in their yet-to-be-discovered book projects, the main attraction of the Kassel Festival is its “photobook dummy” competition for the best unpublished photobook mock-up. The first place winner receives a publishing contract with the German publisher Seltmann und Sohne. The second and third place winners receive several hundred euros worth of credit from the print-on-demand service Blurb.

This year, the dummy competition was between fifty-eight books culled from over five hundred entries, ranging from very roughly hand-made objects to the most finely polished in editing sequencing, design and printing. All books selected are tethered to tables and prominently displayed, encouraging visitors to leaf through them and discover new talents. On Saturday, a small panel of experts in the field convened in the closed galleries to passionately argue their opinion and decide on the three winners. This year’s panel included; Gerry Badger (Critic, Photographer, London), Todd Hido (Photographer, USA), Dieter Neubert (International Photobook Festival, Kassel), Laurence Vecten (Lozen Up, Paris), Oliver Seltmann (Publisher, Berlin), Diane Dufour (Director Le Bal, Paris), Andreas Müller-Pohle, European Photography, Berlin), Markus Schaden (Bookseller, Publisher, Cologne) and Sebastian Hau (Le Bal Books, Paris).

And the envelopes please…

Courtesy of Andrea Botto

From Andrea Botto’s book, 19.06_26.08.1945

Third place went to Andrea Botto and his book 19.06_26.08.1945. Created in the memory of his grandfather Primo Benedetti, the book traces his journey through Northern Germany to his home in Tuscany after being released from a Nazi prisoner of war camp on June 19, 1945. Botto’s approach was to compile images from the internet by searching dates in tandem with the names of cities through which her grandfather passed. Pages of historical images are combined with 1:1 scale personal documents and letters sent to his family during his imprisonment. The resulting book feels as if the reader has discovered an encyclopedia of war filled with tender personal documents slipped between its pages.

Courtesy of Carmen Catuti

From Carmen Catuti’s book MICHELLE (Best Wishes from 18,500m High. MICHELLE).

The second place winner is much harder to pin down in a few words. Liebe Grüße aus 18500m Höhe, MICHELLE (Best Wishes from 18,500m High. Michelle) from the Italian photographer Carmen Catuti is about a man who calls himself Michelle and says he’s a professional model. Catuti photographed her subject as he wished to be photographed according to his own conceptions “as a modern man” posing among arrangements of trees and shrubbery, cleanly drawn from darkness by flash. Mixed in are very brief texts, possibly letters from Michelle challenging the collaboration; “Plain backgrounds are often too boring. A picture must immediately be elegant, exciting and original.” This book is a U.F.O. (Unique Foto Object?) and the world of photobooks needs more sightings like this.

The top honors for the 2012 Photobook Dummy Award went to a remarkable body of work from Dagmar Keller and Martin Wittwer and their collaborative book Passengers. During a residency in Poland in the winter of 2011-2012, Keller and Wittwer were initially looking to start a project photographing Socialist architecture but discovered instead a tangential subject: a bus station in Kielce and its passengers awaiting departure within dozens of regional buses. Framing their subjects from outside, looking in through the frost and mist of the bus windows, the couple photographed individually but combined the results into a sequence of images that seem to have a completely unified voice. Calling upon the long traditions of portraiture and documentary style work, the images are stunningly intimate and beautiful but without the trap of sentimentality.

Congratulations to the winners! I find it refreshing that a majority of the winners from the past two years have been women. The history of the photobook, as written, is remarkably male-heavy. These contest results point toward a new horizon that may very well restore some balance.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his photo book blog 5B4 here.