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Photo Shows – Debby Besford’s series The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer on show at The Queen of Hungary Norwich

There is no particular order to the photographs. It is intended that the viewer spend time looking at the details of each interior, finding clues that only scratch the surface of the performer’s true identity. Debby Besford, The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer

All photos © Debby Besford

Before I get accused of being London-centric, I’m delighted to let you know that photographer Debby Besford, who I met three years ago in Arles where I first saw this project, is exhibiting work from her series The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer at theThe Queen of Hungary (what a fitting name) in Norwich. The show is open from 12-5pm and runs until 8 July. The work is also available as a book on Blurb.

In Besford’s artist’s statement she notes that: “These documentary photographs show the private interiors of the performers’ bedrooms. They play on the idea of what is real and what is fictional. The home-based domestic interiors are in themselves a theatre where the lives of the performers take on a different persona.

“Collaboration with these women has been a journey of immense trust and respect. I did not seek to deconstruct the female performer stereotype or their bedrooms but to explore how these women have taken on total responsibility for the acceptance of their image as well as the fantasies linked to public representation of their ‘acted bodies’.

“My work investigates a complexity of issues about the representation of the contemporary female, with emphasis on the Burlesque Stage Performer. This naturally led onto questioning both the idea of play between photographer, private space, intimacy, fantasy and the real, as well as the mystique of the performer.” From Besford’s artist statement

To see and read more…

“This body of work has evolved from a deep-rooted curiosity about female sexuality and how this can be expressed in a positive way. The New Burlesque Revival in the 21st Century could be seen as a reaction to women wanting to have fun with their sexuality and celebrate their femininity through a staged persona.

“The attraction for many of these women is that there is no dominant male structure behind these shows and full social and economic autonomy for these women is completely unlike a striptease artist. Both physical and moral integrity are preserved. Burlesque does not involve total nudity.”

All photos © Debby Besford

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Shows, Women Photographers Tagged: burlesque, Debby Besford, documentary, Norwich, photo show, portraits, The Boudoir of the Burlesque Performer, The Queen of Hungary

Jana Romanova, Untitled

Jana Romanova, Untitled

Jana Romanova

, 2011
From the W series
Website – JanaRomanova.com

Jana Romanova was born in 1984 in Russia, and earned a degree in journalism from Saint-Petersburg State University. Her long-term documentary projects have been shown in several exhibitions in Russia. In 2011 her works were included in the Backlight Festival exposition (Finland). She has been awarded several international prizes, including PDN's Photo Annual (USA) in 2011 and Blurb's Photography Book Now 2011 in the documentary category. Currently she cooperates with Russian Reporter magazine in Russia and Anzenberger agency worldwide. In 2011 she became a teacher of photography at the Faculty of Photojournalists in Saint-Petersburg.

Josephine Dvorken

I am totally enchanted with Josephine Dvorken’s photographs, especially her project, A. Blessing, featured below.  This project reflects the idea that sometimes the most interesting people in life are living next door or within walking distance. Her photographic exploration of aging, of elegance, of a generation that made the effort, of relationships and routines all results in a wonderful book, A. Blessing, through Blurb.

Josephine’s other project of terrific portraits, Familiar Strangers: A Community Portrait was recognized in the international Photography Book Now competition.

Josephine received her B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico and her Master of Professional Studies degree from the School of Visual Arts in 2011. She is a fine art photographer who accepts commissions in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region. She was selected as the “Best Child Photographer” by (201) Magazine for Familiar Strangers: A Community Portrait. Josephine has exhibited in New York and New Jersey.

 A. Blessing:The first time I spotted him he was standing on a corner, wearing a brown suit and matching bowler hat. Folded in his left hand was a copy of The Wall Street Journal. He was positioned between two bank deposit boxes built into the granite wall. On the cornerstone was the building’s date, 1930. The man himself was certainly from another time and I marched straight across the street to ask if I could take his picture.

He agreed and was a natural in front of my lens. I confided to him that I had made a wish that the perfect subject would appear on this corner — someone who belonged right in the middle of the picture I wanted to take. I asked the man for his contact information.

“My last name is Blessing. I am A. Blessing.” He said with a wink and little bow. I had a feeling that Alfred had used this endearing introduction before, and it worked like a charm. I took him for ice cream and he told me about his first big failure in life… buying a gas station.

I kept in touch with Mr. Blessing and called him whenever I was exhibiting the project he was in. I quickly realized that he had difficulty with his memory. I needed to tell him the story of how we met each time we spoke. He loves that story and I love to tell it.

Alfred invited me to his house to take more pictures. This is when I met Mariette. She is from Switzerland and they have lived together in the same house for almost 45 years. She moved in shortly after his wife died to take care of the house and care for his young daughter. Though Mariette is a constant presence, I still haven’t quite figured out her relationship with Alfred. It is something less than romance but something more than that of a servant. And it is almost entirely unspoken.

2011 in Review

I spent a lot of 2011 traveling, being a bit of a vagabond in different places.

During January, February and half of March I was in Colombia. I discovered fantastic artists and took a ton of pictures, none of which have been properly scanned. The negatives have been sitting with a friend in New York since late March. Eventually, I’ll get to them.

3 guys in Bosa, Bogotá, February 2011

After Colombia, I went to the Peruvian Amazonian city of Iquitos. I spent just over a month there photographing people and places. I’m pretty happy with the work I did so far there and, in fact, I’m planning on going back there in just a few weeks. I’ve been sitting on the photos because I’m not sure what direction the work will ultimately take. Here’s a few pictures that I’ve uploaded to flickr so far:

Iquitos, Peru

Iquitos, Peru

Diego in Iquitos, Peru

I returned to Buenos Aires in late May, mostly to finish my Ochava Solstice project. I was a lot more methodical this year (see post), and set myself a goal of 50 street corners for the whole series.

Preparing to photograph a corner for my Ochava Solstice project

In the end I think I got about 60-something corners, which I then edited down to 49. I even published a little dummy book on blurb, which is really cool to have and to hold.

Ochava Solstice dummy book

Meanwhile I continued to work on another series, Riverbank | Barranca, which I started in 2010 and published on my site this year. It was just featured on the blog, New Landscape Photography.

Riverbank | Barranca

I also continued to add slowly to my collection of Chalets and Contrafrente views.

Since last year I’ve been thinking about pursuing an MFA. While the classes and workshops I have been doing in Argentina have been great, I’ve been feeling that I’d be well-served by spending a couple of years of intense study in North America. To that end, I was just on a six week road trip in the US visiting schools. I covered 8000 miles in just under a month, driving from LA to Boston and back again. I’d like to say it was epic but traveling in the US is kinda easy. There were days when I woke up at dawn and drove for 12 or 13 hours straight, subsisting on junk food, podcasts and 5-hour energy drinks. Those days were my favorites.

West Texas

I’m super-excited about 2012; the travels that I have coming up and the mystery about where I will end-up come August.

Holiday Book Bazaar: Saturday, December 10! 11 am- 6 pm

richard maize . rebaudioside a .

Scott Hubener

Documenting our lives in a way that allows for others to participate in the experience is an art. Making something that is personal into something that is universal is not easy to do. Photographers such as Doug DuBois, Elizabeth Flemming, and Phillip Toledano have done it well, and so has Scott Hubener. His series, Something in the Way, looks at those still moments when he might be re reading and look up and notice the pants hanging over the door and captures that in a way that makes you see them differently. He finds those moments where family members are lost in thought or captures his world in a way that elevates the house on a hill in a more poetic way. He has a book of this work, produced through Blurb.

Scott was born and grew up in Florida. He has lived in Asheville, NC for the past 10 years and received his BA in History from the University of Florida and his MFA from Western Carolina University, which he completed in 2011. His interest in photography began about 12 years ago when he started to photograph his boxer puppy, Sadie. Hubener’s work was shown recently in the 7th Photographic Image Biennial Exhibition at Eastern Carolina University (juried by Keith Carter) and the 4th Annuale at the Light Factory (juried by Dr. Susan H. Edwards). His work is featured in a group exhibition on display through February 19th at the William King Museum in Abingdon, VA.

Within the photographs of Something in the Way, people are depicted absorbed in thought or task, and a sense of ennui overshadows their existence. We cannot see into their thoughts, but we are informed of the subject’s situation by the details of the setting: lying in a bed laden with suitcases, isolated in a motel room, a child sitting with a doll. Present within the work is the theme of interiority vs. exteriority. This plays out visually within the photographs, first of exteriors of homes and the landscape in general, then juxtaposed with photographs of interiors of homes and the subjects within those walls. The subjects depicted also are representational of this theme. Their interior thoughts are masked by their exterior appearance, which is only a phenomenological representation.

In large part, these images consist of portraits of my family and friends, as well as the homes and interior spaces they occupy. I photographed objects and possessions within the homes, which are significant for the meaning they hold for the owners as well as their implications and associations for the viewer. Mundane human rituals interest me as well, and banal scenes like sitting around a table to eat, preparing food, smoking, or simply staring reflectively. Within the framing and composition, there is often space around the subjects, allowing them to fill their environment and illustrate their absorption in a task or action. These images depict the subject apparently unaware of the presence of the camera and enthralled in a chore or thought.

Even as the images suggest an overshadowing or isolation, there is also present the possibility of transformation, and the grace of the subject itself is by no means suppressed. There is something in the way an expression reveals or conceals thoughts, in the way the light falls, or in the way a gesture expresses elegance. The work is sequenced in a way that oscillates between warm and cool. This theme parallels that of the interiority and exteriority of the images. The warmth comes from inside the structures, where people can seek comfort and respite from the harshness of the elements. The exteriors are often cool, depicting snow and harsh weather. The interiors are duplicitous, however. While they offer comfort, they also enforce isolation. The balance, harmony and rhythm of life is reliant on this dichotomy, where the in-between moments become as significant as the decisive ones.

Photo competitions – Calls for entries to Taylor Wessing Portrait Photographic Prize, Peaches & Cream, Photomonth and Photography Book Now

It’s another Bank Holiday in Londinium and time for a photo competitions round up. Here are details of four photo competitions that are sending out calls to photographers, amateurs and professionals alike; one of which, from blurb, is for self-published photo books – a growth area with the development on digital technologies.

Deadlines are varied, from end of June, July and August, and all incur some entry fee, though there is no set amount and this varies wildly from competition to competition. For those below, this ranged from £10/entry to £23/entry. The photomonth open is, however, free to enter.

The National Portrait Gallery is calling for entries for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011. The competition aims to provide “an important platform for portrait photographers including gifted amateurs, students and professionals of all ages”. Last year the competition attracted nearly 6,000 entries – stiff competition, as they say – and it was won by David Chancellor, for his portrait Huntress with Buck.

See over, for more details…

Applications must be received in advance, either online or by post, by 23.59 on Thursday 7 July 2011. Entry forms will not be accepted on the day when prints are delivered.

£23.00 per photograph entered.

Follow this photo prize link and complete the online application form or send a stamped addressed A4 envelope for a hard copy form to: Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H OHE.

Around 60 photographers will be selected for the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, and the winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 will receive £12,000. In addition the judges, at their discretion, will award one or more cash prizes to the shortlisted photographers.

The exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 10 November 2011 until 12 February 2012.

For the third year running ELLE magazine will commission a photographer selected for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize exhibition to shoot a feature story for the magazine. Clare Shilland won the second ELLE Commission in 2010 for her portrait Merel.

Millennium Images has launched a new photographic competition – Peaches and Cream – in conjunction with Milim Gallery and Crane Kalman Brighton. The competition “offers established professionals, graduates and all other photographers alike the opportunity to join forces with Millennium Images picture library”.

There are two categories:

Peaches: Open to every photographer
Cream:  Aimed at graduates.

5 August.

Entry costs £10/submission before 29 July.

Peaches: £500 + 3 year Milim Gallery contract
Cream: £100 + 3 year Milim Gallery contract

Each winner gets a three year contract, cash prize, and the chance to see their photographs published on the cover of a best selling novel. Five photographers will exhibit their work in central London in October 2011. The showcased images will be for sale.

A series of 3-10 images on any theme.
Images can be in any style, for example, documentary, fine art, travel etc and of any subject but should be suitable for hanging on a gallery wall.

The winners will be chosen by Richard Kalman of Crane Kalman Brighton, Richard Evans of Atlantic Books, Jason Shenai of Millennium Images and Milim Gallery, and others from within the photographic and publishing industries.

PHOTOMONTH – EAST LONDON International Photography
Call for entries to the open photography show to be held at the Rich Mix Gallery in Shoreditch. The aim is “to exhibit a wide range of subjects and approaches and give photographers more opportunity to participate in photomonth and exhibit their work to the public, press, publishers, curators and collectors”.

All entries will be continuously screened at the PHOTO-OPEN EXHIBITION and a number of images will be selected for printing, mounting and hanging in the gallery space.


“Open to all kinds of photographers, professional and non-professional, students and young people from all over the UK and the rest of the world. There are no restrictions on subject matter or numbers of entries made per photographer. All entries will be shown on screen or in print in the gallery.”

Submit a CD in jpeg format at 72dpi. File names must follow the convention: initial_surname01jpeg, initial_surname02jpeg etc. Please submit all your entries on one CD. Please make sure your CD is clearly marked with your name.

The Photo-Open Entry Form should be submitted with your CD stating total number of entries together with your entry fees. Also enclose a correctly stamped and self addressed envelope if you wish your CD to be returned.

30 June.

Blurb is calling for entries for its Photography Book Now (PBN) competition 2011. For the first time, the competition will also celebrate up-and-coming talent with a Student category to add to the established Fine Art, Documentary and Travel categories. Photography Book Now  is an international-juried book competition that “celebrates the most creative and innovative self-published photography books, and the people behind them.

“Creating a beautifully produced photography book while retaining complete control of the creative process is what every artist craves,” said Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO, Blurb.

“We also have heard from past winners of Photography Book Now that having their work recognised by such distinguished jurors as well as featured at international photography events around the world has opened new doors for them professionally. We are deeply committed to celebrating the medium of photography books and are proud to present Photography Book Now for its fourth year.”

Submission fee:

USD $35
UK £20
EUR €27.50
CAD $35
AUD $35

You can enter as many books as you’d like in any of our four competition categories, but you must pay a separate submission fee for each entry. Submission fees are non-refundable

This competition is not for books published by traditional publishers or offset printers, or handmade books. However, if you’ve used a print-on-demand service other than Blurb to make your book, you are welcome to enter it.

To submit your entry, download and fill out the hard copy submission form. Send the completed entry form along with one hard copy of your book for judging purposes. For more info, see the rules regarding hard copy submissions.

3:00 pm PDT (10pm GMT) on 14 July 14, 2011


  • Markus Schaden, Publisher and Curator
  • Larissa Leclair, Founder, Indie Photobook Library
  • Gerry Badger, Photographer
  • Jon Levy, Founder and Director, FOTO8
  • Chris Boot, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation
  • Matt Eich, Photographer, LUCEO
  • Steven McCurry, Photographer, Magnum
  • Whitney Lawson, Photo Editor, Travel + Leisure
  • Claudia Hinterseer, Founder, NOOR
  • Larry Fink, Photographer
  • Henry Horenstein, Educator and Photographer
  • Laura Brunow Miner, Founder, Pictory

The finalists’ books in each category will become part of the permanent collections at the International Center of Photography, the Indie Photobook Library and the George Eastman House.

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Awards & Competitions, Photography Books, Photography Shows Tagged: Blurb, Crane Kalman Brighton, london, Milim Gallery, Millennium Images, National Portrait Gallery, Peaches and Cream, photo competition, Photography Book Now, Photogrpahy Book Now competition, photomonth, Rich Mix Gallery, self-published photo books, Shoreditch., Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize