Tag Archives: Digital Technology

Fostering the Next Generation: The Eddie Adams Workshop at 25 Years

The Eddie Adams Workshop is considered by many to be the premiere photojournalism workshop, shaping its 100 young attendees into professional and award-winning photographers over a long weekend each year in upstate New York. Alyssa Adams, Eddie’s widow and the producer of the workshop, writes for LightBox about the workshop’s legacy as it celebrates its 25th year this weekend.

Eddie had a singular vision for a “foto farm” back in 1988: Bring 100 young photojournalism students together with seasoned pros (his “heroes” as he called them)—shut them away in a barn upstate, shoot, show work. The Workshop would be inspiration-based (not a how-to), pros would donate their time and it would be tuition-free with entry based on the quality of a student’s portfolio.

Eddie always said he wanted to attend a forum like this when he was coming up, one where he could meet his personal heroes and picture editors from major publications. We listened in awe, amazed at the living history, when Eddie’s heroes spoke at the barn—Alfred Eisenstadt, Gordon Parks, Carl Mydans, Joe Rosenthal, Bill Eppridge, Nick Ut, among others.

Working as a photographer can be a very solitary experience. So, back in the day when there were no “internets” (yes, no Facebook, no TED) and film was still the medium (rolls were bussed to the Time-Life lab and processed overnight), Barnstorm became not only a source of inspiration but also a refuge. It still remains a “recharging station”—both students and pros emerge reinvigorated by comparing notes on how all of us are creatively dealing with the economics of the business, the dangers of being a journalist, the crazy-fast advances in digital technology and constant self re-invention.

We were amazed that we pulled the first one off in 1988 and had no idea it would continue past that. Fast-forward to our 25th Workshop this October—the formula remains the same, but is now a much more layered experience. And Eddie’s legacy is evident: Our first students are now our teachers. Alumni have gone on to win every major award in the business (there are ten Pulitzer-prize winning photographers among them.) They are now our heroes in the barn.

Looking back through two decades of Workshop files (15 years analog in metal cabinets!), I found a sponsor proposal Eddie put together in 1991—The Eddie Adams Workshop: China/Europe/South America. Blowing off the dust on it now…

Alyssa Adams is a deputy photo editor at TV Guide. She is also the director of operations at Bathhouse Studios, a photo rental studio in NYC.

She and her husband, Eddie Adams, co-created The Eddie Adams Workshop in 1988. She now serves as the executive director. Adams is currently working on a new monograph on Eddie’s work with the University of Texas Press, where Eddie’s archives are housed. In 2008 she produced Eddie Adams: Vietnam. Adams was formerly the director of photography at Miramax Films and an award-winning graphic designer with Carbone Smolan Associates.

Fostering the Next Generation: The Eddie Adams Workshop at 25 Years

The Eddie Adams Workshop is considered by many to be the premiere photojournalism workshop, shaping its 100 young attendees into professional and award-winning photographers over a long weekend each year in upstate New York. Alyssa Adams, Eddie’s widow and the producer of the workshop, writes for LightBox about the workshop’s legacy as it celebrates its 25th year this weekend.

Eddie had a singular vision for a “foto farm” back in 1988: Bring 100 young photojournalism students together with seasoned pros (his “heroes” as he called them)—shut them away in a barn upstate, shoot, show work. The Workshop would be inspiration-based (not a how-to), pros would donate their time and it would be tuition-free with entry based on the quality of a student’s portfolio.

Eddie always said he wanted to attend a forum like this when he was coming up, one where he could meet his personal heroes and picture editors from major publications. We listened in awe, amazed at the living history, when Eddie’s heroes spoke at the barn—Alfred Eisenstadt, Gordon Parks, Carl Mydans, Joe Rosenthal, Bill Eppridge, Nick Ut, among others.

Working as a photographer can be a very solitary experience. So, back in the day when there were no “internets” (yes, no Facebook, no TED) and film was still the medium (rolls were bussed to the Time-Life lab and processed overnight), Barnstorm became not only a source of inspiration but also a refuge. It still remains a “recharging station”—both students and pros emerge reinvigorated by comparing notes on how all of us are creatively dealing with the economics of the business, the dangers of being a journalist, the crazy-fast advances in digital technology and constant self re-invention.

We were amazed that we pulled the first one off in 1988 and had no idea it would continue past that. Fast-forward to our 25th Workshop this October—the formula remains the same, but is now a much more layered experience. And Eddie’s legacy is evident: Our first students are now our teachers. Alumni have gone on to win every major award in the business (there are ten Pulitzer-prize winning photographers among them.) They are now our heroes in the barn.

Looking back through two decades of Workshop files (15 years analog in metal cabinets!), I found a sponsor proposal Eddie put together in 1991—The Eddie Adams Workshop: China/Europe/South America. Blowing off the dust on it now…

Alyssa Adams is a deputy photo editor at TV Guide. She is also the director of operations at Bathhouse Studios, a photo rental studio in NYC.

She and her husband, Eddie Adams, co-created The Eddie Adams Workshop in 1988. She now serves as the executive director. Adams is currently working on a new monograph on Eddie’s work with the University of Texas Press, where Eddie’s archives are housed. In 2008 she produced Eddie Adams: Vietnam. Adams was formerly the director of photography at Miramax Films and an award-winning graphic designer with Carbone Smolan Associates.

Review: Will Steacy (ed.), Photographs Not Taken

Photographs Not Taken

We live in the age of photo proliferation. Digital technology in all its forms (cameras, phones, computers, the Internet) has made photography the most democratic of media, both in terms of making and disseminating images. And they are everywhere, all the time: on our TVs, our computer screens, our smartphones and in our streets. Of course, this state of affairs is not as new as we might think—it has been in place since Walter Benjamin and his age of mechanical reproduction—but digital technology has led this proliferation to take off exponentially.

The impact of this is clear, even in traditional, ‘purist’ photography circles. In 2007 the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne created a crowd-sourced exhibition entitled We Are All Photographers Now, allowing anyone to upload their photographs to be included in the show. More recently Europe’s biggest photo-festival, the Rencontres d’Arles, centred on an exhibition entitled From Here On, a kind of manifesto for the age of the online image (“Now we’re a species of editors. We all recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload. We can make images do anything.”) where much of the work was made by artists appropriating or collecting other people’s images. Even Elliot Erwitt has been saying that more pictures are better than one.  So what a relief to open a photobook (am I allowed to call it that?) and discover that it does not contain a single picture: the cover’s ‘empty’ frame is the closest thing to an actual photograph.

Photographs Not Taken is a collection of essays about photographs that, for one reason or another, did not end up being taken. The writer and photographer Will Steacy, who edited the volume, asked an eclectic group of photographers (Emmet Gowin, Tim Hetherington, Laurel Nakadate and Jamel Shabazz all feature to give you an idea of the mix) to “abandon the conventional tools needed to make a photograph–camera, lens, film—and instead make a photograph using words.” The book is both a collection of opportunities missed, of attempts to conjure up in words those images that got away, but also a look into the psychology of the photographer and their ethics, reflexes, and methods.

Naturally many of these non-photographs were not taken because of an ethical or moral decision by the photographer, a decision that photojournalists must face on a day-to-day basis. Interestingly, many of the writers contrasted the act of taking a photograph with the state of being present as a human being. In these cases the camera is described as a defense to hide behind, with which to shield the photographer from the impact of the moment happening in front of or to them. The book also has its more surreal moments: Matt Salacuse describes the scientologist jedi mind trickery of Tom Cruise forcing him to lower his camera and to pass up the opportunity of photographing Cruise and Kidman’s newborn adopted baby.

It must be said that the essays are uneven… after all this is a collection of texts by photographers and not by writers. I found that some of the texts failed to bring the images to life, or perhaps that too many of these images ended up ‘sounding’ the same. For me Roger Ballen‘s essay stood out: he avoids any explanation of why he didn’t photograph the scene he describes (did he even have a camera with him on that day?), but there is no question whose world this lost moment belonged to. Rather than in attempting to resurrect lost images through words, an exercise that surely would be better accomplished by a group of writers, I found Photographs Not Taken to be most successful when it makes the reader think about the decisions that go into making, or not making a photograph. And if it encourages us to put down our cameras from time to time, that can only be a good thing.

Note: The International Center of Photography in New York will be hosting a book signing with several of the contributors on Friday, March 23rd from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Will Steacy (ed.), Photographs Not Taken, (Daylight, 2012).

Rating: Worth a look

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Why You Are The Future of Photography (The Guardian)

Why You Are The Future of Photography

by Sean O’Hagan for The Guardian

note: photos added by me

A new show suggests that webcams, Google Street View and a cat named Nancy Bean are set to change the world of photography as we know it.

Their manifesto begins: “Now, we’re a series of editors. We all recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload. We can make images do anything. All we need is an eye, a brain, a camera, a phone, a laptop, a scanner, a point of view.”

From Here On is the title of this manifesto-cum-group show unveiled at last week’s Arles photography festival. It is, the curators insist, a glimpse of the future of photography. Or to be more precise, several glimpses of several possible photographic futures based on the premise that photography as we know it – whether reportage or documentary – is no longer the most viable way to make sense of a digitalised and increasingly atomised global culture.

The manifesto was created by five people: Clément Chéroux, a historian of photography and a curator at the Pompidou Centre; Martin Parr, photographer, collector and all round dynamo; Eric Kessels, founder of the KesselsKramer communications agency; Joan Fontcuberta, an art photographer; and Joachim Schmid, an artist who works with found photographs.

The internet and the cheap digital camera, they say, are radically altering how we see the world, and what we do with what we see. No arguing with that. The fast-forward momentum of digital technology “changes our sense of what it means to make” and “results in work that feels like play, work that turns old into new, elevates the banal. Work that has a past but feels absolutely present.”

The elevation of the banal is one thing that the internet specialises in – from dancing pets to live webcasts from the living rooms of ordinary people leading ordinary lives. Sure enough, the show includes a cat photographer – that’s a cat who takes photographs rather than a person who photographs cats. Nancy Bean is a three-legged ginger tabby from Devon who has been fitted with a camera timed to snap an image every minute. The results are variable, as one might expect: lots of views from under cars and out of windows. It is street photography, but not as we know it. Elsewhere, there are real live chickens in cages courtesy of prankster Thomas Mailaender, whose installation, Chicken Museum, is like an edition of Vice Magazine made flesh.

Chicken Museum. Thomas Mailaender

There are also a couple of series based on Google Street View images –Jon Rafman‘s blown-up, grainy evocations of the everyday, and a series of images of ordinary people pulling faces for the cameras of showroom computers. There are photographs that have been tampered with, added to, edited and manipulated. All the tropes of the digital culture writ large, then. Most of it, perhaps unsurprisingly, already feels all too familiar.

Jon Rafman

Among the slapdash, the crudely innovative and the downright nihilist, there are some interesting artists. Surveillance and appropriation are two of the key themes. Jens Sundheim‘s images, often photographs of himself taken on webcams, are painterly in a spectral way, which hints at something darker about a digitalised world of connection and disconnection. Corinne Vionnet finds snaps of well-known tourist sites – the leaning tower of Pisa, Mao’s mausoleum – on photo-sharing sites on the web, then layers one on top of another until she reaches an impressionistic photo-painting.

Corinne Vionnet

The results are both real and ethereal – just like the mass tourist experience. Pavel Maria Smejkal’s FATESCAPES take found historical images of war and devastation and strip them of all human figures. Here, photography is sampling its own past in much the same way that hip-hop did in the early 1980s, but without its heated debate about ownership and royalties.

1989 Beijing, China. Pavel Maria Smejkal

Monica Haller’s book project, Riley and his story, is an unapologetically serious work of political testimony. A collaboration with her college friend, Riley Sharbonno, who served as a nurse in Abu Ghraib prison, it is a brilliant diary-cum–memoir of war, trauma and loss.

Monica Haller

These artists stand out amid a welter of the throwaway, the juvenile and the nihilistic that reflects the From Here On manifesto. “We’re making more than ever, because our resources are limitless and the possibilities endless … We want to give this work a new status,” the manifesto concludes. “Things will be different from here on …”

My immediate thought was: well, not that different if it takes a bunch of established curators and photographers to curate – and canonise – the work. Surely this is exactly the kind of cultural commodification that digital culture was meant to undermine, not encourage.

As I wandered, a little dazed, through From Here On, I found myself longing for more curatorial selectivity, more quality control. I was reminded of some words of warning from the internet-historian, Andrew Keen, in an intriguing forthcoming film on digital culture called PressPausePlay. Keen speaks passionately about the downside of digital democratisation: “When you leave everything to the crowd, where everything is democratised, when everything is determined by the number of clicks, you are by definition undermining the seriousness of the artistic endeavour,” he says. “There is no evidence that we are on the verge of a great new glittering cultural age, there is evidence that we may well be on the verge of a new dark age in cultural terms … where the creative world is destroyed and where all we have is cacophony and self opinion, where we have a crisis of democratised culture.” There was a glimpse of that possible future in From Here On. It was not a pretty sight.

Found HERE.

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Why You Are The Future of Photography (The Guardian)

Why You Are The Future of Photography

by Sean O’Hagan for The Guardian

note: photos added by me

A new show suggests that webcams, Google Street View and a cat named Nancy Bean are set to change the world of photography as we know it.

Their manifesto begins: “Now, we’re a series of editors. We all recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload. We can make images do anything. All we need is an eye, a brain, a camera, a phone, a laptop, a scanner, a point of view.”

From Here On is the title of this manifesto-cum-group show unveiled at last week’s Arles photography festival. It is, the curators insist, a glimpse of the future of photography. Or to be more precise, several glimpses of several possible photographic futures based on the premise that photography as we know it – whether reportage or documentary – is no longer the most viable way to make sense of a digitalised and increasingly atomised global culture.

The manifesto was created by five people: Clément Chéroux, a historian of photography and a curator at the Pompidou Centre; Martin Parr, photographer, collector and all round dynamo; Eric Kessels, founder of the KesselsKramer communications agency; Joan Fontcuberta, an art photographer; and Joachim Schmid, an artist who works with found photographs.

The internet and the cheap digital camera, they say, are radically altering how we see the world, and what we do with what we see. No arguing with that. The fast-forward momentum of digital technology “changes our sense of what it means to make” and “results in work that feels like play, work that turns old into new, elevates the banal. Work that has a past but feels absolutely present.”

The elevation of the banal is one thing that the internet specialises in – from dancing pets to live webcasts from the living rooms of ordinary people leading ordinary lives. Sure enough, the show includes a cat photographer – that’s a cat who takes photographs rather than a person who photographs cats. Nancy Bean is a three-legged ginger tabby from Devon who has been fitted with a camera timed to snap an image every minute. The results are variable, as one might expect: lots of views from under cars and out of windows. It is street photography, but not as we know it. Elsewhere, there are real live chickens in cages courtesy of prankster Thomas Mailaender, whose installation, Chicken Museum, is like an edition of Vice Magazine made flesh.

Chicken Museum. Thomas Mailaender

There are also a couple of series based on Google Street View images –Jon Rafman‘s blown-up, grainy evocations of the everyday, and a series of images of ordinary people pulling faces for the cameras of showroom computers. There are photographs that have been tampered with, added to, edited and manipulated. All the tropes of the digital culture writ large, then. Most of it, perhaps unsurprisingly, already feels all too familiar.

Jon Rafman

Among the slapdash, the crudely innovative and the downright nihilist, there are some interesting artists. Surveillance and appropriation are two of the key themes. Jens Sundheim‘s images, often photographs of himself taken on webcams, are painterly in a spectral way, which hints at something darker about a digitalised world of connection and disconnection. Corinne Vionnet finds snaps of well-known tourist sites – the leaning tower of Pisa, Mao’s mausoleum – on photo-sharing sites on the web, then layers one on top of another until she reaches an impressionistic photo-painting.

Corinne Vionnet

The results are both real and ethereal – just like the mass tourist experience. Pavel Maria Smejkal’s FATESCAPES take found historical images of war and devastation and strip them of all human figures. Here, photography is sampling its own past in much the same way that hip-hop did in the early 1980s, but without its heated debate about ownership and royalties.

1989 Beijing, China. Pavel Maria Smejkal

Monica Haller’s book project, Riley and his story, is an unapologetically serious work of political testimony. A collaboration with her college friend, Riley Sharbonno, who served as a nurse in Abu Ghraib prison, it is a brilliant diary-cum–memoir of war, trauma and loss.

Monica Haller

These artists stand out amid a welter of the throwaway, the juvenile and the nihilistic that reflects the From Here On manifesto. “We’re making more than ever, because our resources are limitless and the possibilities endless … We want to give this work a new status,” the manifesto concludes. “Things will be different from here on …”

My immediate thought was: well, not that different if it takes a bunch of established curators and photographers to curate – and canonise – the work. Surely this is exactly the kind of cultural commodification that digital culture was meant to undermine, not encourage.

As I wandered, a little dazed, through From Here On, I found myself longing for more curatorial selectivity, more quality control. I was reminded of some words of warning from the internet-historian, Andrew Keen, in an intriguing forthcoming film on digital culture called PressPausePlay. Keen speaks passionately about the downside of digital democratisation: “When you leave everything to the crowd, where everything is democratised, when everything is determined by the number of clicks, you are by definition undermining the seriousness of the artistic endeavour,” he says. “There is no evidence that we are on the verge of a great new glittering cultural age, there is evidence that we may well be on the verge of a new dark age in cultural terms … where the creative world is destroyed and where all we have is cacophony and self opinion, where we have a crisis of democratised culture.” There was a glimpse of that possible future in From Here On. It was not a pretty sight.

Found HERE.

Share/Save