Tag Archives: Collaborative Effort

TIME Picks the Top Photographic Magazine Covers of 2012

The best photographs don’t always make the best covers. It takes a smart concept, a meticulously executed image, smoothly integrated typography and the combination of all those factors to create an immediate and lasting impact. Our top ten photographic covers of 2012 show exquisite use of photography.

The most notable is New York Magazine’s magnificent cover by photographer Iwan Baan of a half blacked-out Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy. It’s instantly iconic and will become one of the greatest covers of all time. In the mix is also W‘s stunning fashion cover image of Marion Cotillard, ESPN‘s high-concept “Fantasy Football” cover, depicting an NFL player in a magical forest with a unicorn, and a photojournalistic cover, the Economist’s powerful image documenting the personal toll of the conflict in Gaza.

We also decided to include two covers in the mix that were striking photo-based illustrations. An aged Obama on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek as well as a thoughtful commission by the New York Times Magazine for the visual artist Idris Kahn to reinterpret an iconic landmark on their London-themed cover.

A great cover is always a collaborative effort. To caption each of our selected covers, we spoke to a mix of editors, photo directors, art directors and photographers who took part during different stages of the creative process. In our selection, we refrained from choosing any TIME covers, though if we were to choose one, it would be Martin Schoeller’s arresting image of a mother breast-feeding her 4-year-old son, “Are You Mom Enough?”

Kira Pollack, Director of Photography

The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League

A game of hopscotch. A toothpaste ad. Filthy slums. This, for better or worse, was New York life in the 1930s. Many looked but few saw until the Photo League—a pioneering group of young, idealistic documentary photographers—captured that life with cameras.

The Manhattan-based League, which incorporated a school, darkroom, gallery and salon, was the first institution of its kind when it was founded in 1936 says Mason Klein, curator of fine arts at The Jewish Museum, which is currently presenting “The Radical Camera,” an exhibition in collaboration with the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio. “There was nothing like the Photo League, where people could exhibit their work, students alongside their mentors, be taught a kind of history of photography and start understanding what the meaning of the photograph might be.”

Many of its founding members, including Sid Grossman, Sol Libsohn and Aaron Siskind, were first-generation Jewish immigrants with progressive, left-wing sensibilities. “They were very conscious of neighborhoods and communities,” says Klein. “I think it was very natural for Jews to form an egalitarian group and understand that the ordinary citizen of the urban scene was as much a valid subject as any for photography.”

The League thrived for fifteen years, generating projects like the Harlem Document, a collaborative effort by ten photographers to document the living conditions in poor black neighborhoods. It also fostered the careers of notable photographers such as Lisette Model, Weegee and Rosalie Gwathmey.

Despite its progressive agenda, the League’s mission was far from simplistic. Founder Grossman, who was just 23 when the group started, encouraged its members to look beyond documentary and question their relationship with the image. “Sid taught people to challenge their habitual ways of seeing the world,” says Klein. “A more poetic and metaphoric expression of how one saw the world was what Sid wanted from his students.” Under Grossman’s guidance, the League’s young muckrakers became artists.

By the 1940s, the League had turned away from its narrow political focus, capturing the squalor and splendor of everyday New York. The country was moving in the other direction, however, zeroing in on those suspected of harboring leftist sympathies. On December 5, 1947, the U.S. Attorney General blacklisted the League as “totalitarian, fascist, communist or subversive.” In 1951, it closed its doors forever.

The League’s reputation has never truly recovered, says Klein. “They were condemned to a kind of ideological shelving and, I think, unfairly treated by history. We’re trying to rectify that with this show, because they really were always about pushing the photograph and understanding it as art.”

The Radical Camera is on display at The Jewish Museum in New York through March 25. 

Sonia van Gilder Cooke is a reporter in TIME’s London Bureau. Follow her on Twitter at @svangildercooke.

Latitidue 34 South

I was sad when my good friend, Martin Herrera Soler, moved to Uruguay, but I was excited to learn that he has helped create Latitude 34 South. Latitude 34 South is “a world-class endeavor specialized in travel workshops in the South of South America. We don’t city-tour: we create truly cultural experiences. Because we are local, we know the culture and its people, and, our international travel and business experience gives us a global ‘touch’. We will only take you to places we really know, and in general, these are little known and lost in time places, with a rich story behind them.

Additionally, we follow a unique approach to tutoring: by working with an overarching theme for the workshop and offering multi-level tutoring we enable every participant to improve his|her skills and leave the workshop with a finished product, usually a digital story or a photographic book.”

Who are we?

We are a team of multi-discipline visual artists professionals eager to share our region and connect with the international photographic community. We do this because we love what is here to photograph and we want to share it with you. We do this in a sustainable and responsible way. We take care of the environment, we are responsible with the people and the communities in which we photograph, and we always look for ways to give back (financially and otherwise) to make sure we can preserve this wonderful place where we live in.

This endeavor is a collaborative effort of Martin Herrera Soler, Diego Vidart and Clara Hori. Since one of our goals is to engage the international photo community, we love to bring aboard guest instructors from all places and walks of life.

Candombe from Latitude34South on Vimeo.

The Point by Kirk Crippens and Michael Jang

Somewhere in the virtual world, I came across The Point, a new Blurb book that is the collaborative effort of Kirk Crippens and Michael Jang. I’m a big fan of both photographers, and I love the idea of working apart and together to create a significant project. Their statement and some of the book’s imagery follows, but as this is an on going project, there is surely more to come. Congrats to both photographers for a terrific project and book.

The Point is an ongoing collaborative project between Michael Jang and Kirk Crippens. Each spread in the book spans a decade, with one unlabeled photograph by each artist. The series began in 1999 when Jang, a native San Franciscan, became curious about the often-ignored Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Sometimes referred to as The Point, this was the last remaining San Francisco neighborhood left untouched by developers. http://www.kirkcrippens.com/portfolio.html?folio=2011

In the process of taking pictures, Jang built trust with some of the residents and heard rumors of big changes on the horizon: the area was slated for massive redevelopment. He completed his work on the series in 2001, set aside the negatives, and per his usual practice, moved directly on to another project.

A decade later, Jang was making his way through his volumes of negatives when he discovered the Hunters Point work and began editing and printing it. During the same time he came across Kirk Crippens’ series on The Great Recession: The Dealership Wreck. He sent an email to Crippens that began, “I know you shoot change…” and he asked Crippens if he would consider continuing his Hunters Point series. It was an unusual proposition, but Jang had an intuition. So did Crippens, who began working in Hunters Point the next day.

He chose a church in the heart of the neighborhood and began attending services each week. The congregation immediately
welcomed him, making an effort to shake his hand and remember his name. Soon Crippens found himself describing the project to the pastor. Meetings were then coordinated with pillars of the community who invited him to photograph their homes and granted access to photograph some of the iconic rooms slated for redevelopment.

Although a core group of long-term residents remain, many changes have taken shape in and around the neighborhood since
1999, and the changes continue. Today, a vast wave of construction just north churns closer each day. The largest redevelopment site in San Francisco, the decommissioned Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, promises to convert 700 acres of The Point’s eastern waterfront into 10,000 residential units. Photography has also changed dramatically since 1999. When Jang completed his work in 2001 he was using film, processing with chemicals, editing on a light table, and printing at a color lab. By the time Crippens began working on the project he had the opportunity to make digital images, upload and edit on a computer, and print large format photographs in his home.

Still, much of the process Jang and Crippens employ in the creation of The Point remains the same. Relationships must be
formed, trust must be earned, and access must be granted.