Tag Archives: Gabriela

Demolición. Three Argentine Photographers

Marcos López, Tía Delia, Santa Fé, 1992

There is a current show up in Buenos Aires called, Demolición. En pos de una fotografía ¿argentina? It features three Argentine photographers, Alberto Goldenstein, Marcos Lopez, and Ataulfo Perez Aznar and was the brainchild of Guillermo Ueno whose class I took a few years ago at the Centro Cultural Rojas.

I post about this show mostly because I came across a post on the blog, RƎV: Imagenes de Arte Contemporanea en Argentina which shows a very good selection of installation shots of the show. The blog is written by the indomintable Gabriela Schevach, artist, photographer and writer. I will definitely be adding it to my blog reader (does anyone use those anymore?).

Happy Anniversary! Celebrating the Flak Photo Network

Happy Anniversary! Celebrating the Flak Photo Network

Gawker, New York, 2010, Photo by Gabriela Herman

Gawker, New York, 2010. Photo © Gabriela Herman

A note from editor Andy Adams

Hello All,

Touching base with a short dispatch from Flak Photo HQ…

Photography is more popular than ever and each of us is playing a part in moving it forward by participating in a vast, interconnected online photographic ecosystem that's rapidly evolving. In addition to publishing our respective blogs, many of us have flocked to social networking sites to connect with each other, ask questions, and discover new photography every day. I'm fascinated with internet photo culture and the social web continues to inspire my projects.

So last spring, I launched the Flak Photo Network, a Facebook group focused on conversations about photography.

Something really exciting is happening there. In the past year, the group has grown to more than 4,000 members, each of them contributing to a vibrant community hub brimming with ideas about 21st century image-making. The FPN has become my go-to place for photography news and extended discussions and I'm sincerely grateful to those of you who drop in to share your insights day after day. Thanks to each and every one of you.

I'm thrilled with the response and wanted to celebrate this milestone by doing something special for our community.

A key part of my mission is promoting the practice of photography bookmaking by raising awareness about the burgeoning photobook scene. I'm also a big supporter of local and independently run bookshops. So I'm excited to team up with Photo-eye Bookstore to give a gift to the photo community on the occasion of the FPN's one-year anniversary.

Photo-eye Bookstore Starting today, you can get $10 off a Photo-eye book purchase of $25 or more when you enter promo code FLAKPHOTO in the "special instructions" form in your shopping cart. (Note: this doesn't apply to Amazon orders or backorders, only in-stock items, good for one-time use.) The FPN offer ends Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM CDT.

Questions? Contact the good folks at Photo-eye via [email protected]. I'd love for more people to hear about this — Please feel free to share this news with friends and students!

One of the best parts about producing this website is collaborating with artists, curators, and photo organizations I admire. Ours is a passionate and supportive community and I hope that by providing a place to come together the FPN has made it easier to meet colleagues and share ideas using Facebook. The group is a work-in-progress and all of our members play a part in making it thrive. If you'd like to participate in our discussions, click the "Ask to Join Group" button in the upper right of the Facebook page or browse the members' directory and ask one of your friends to add you to the group.

We'd love to have you — Join us?


Andy Adams
Editor • Producer • Publisher

Bruno Dubner at MAMBA (Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires)

A last post for 2011 and maybe a last post from Argentina for awhile as I’m now traveling in Chile and soon to head to Peru again. On my penultimate day in Buenos Aires I visted a small show of photographs by Bruno Dubner at the MAMBA [great name]. The work is called Ajeno, which means foreign, distinct or alien. The show consists of a long line of about 30 photographs of sidewalk views, looking down and to the side, usually depicting different sorts of entry ways in the more urbanized neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

Ajeno – Bruno Dubner

Bruno Dubner – Ajeno

There’s a brochure with a long, fancy text that’s beyond my skills in Spanish and, probably, my English too, if it were translated. Beyond the conceptual conceit of the work, I appreciate the photos for evoking the urban skin of Buenos Aires. The photos themselves are simple and unpretentious, shot with a 35mm camera and printed small but lusciously [C-prints!]. There’s an overall chromatic harmony within the work and an obsessive attention to certain details, like the near total exclusion of litter, graffiti, or any sort of text–something that becomes clear when viewing the full series. Unfortunately the work isn’t on Dubner’s site just yet [although do check it out as he’s got some other interesting work].

The installation of the show is also nicely done, echoing the composition of the photographs themselves.

Bruno Dubner at MAMBA

I totally stole all these photos from a post on the website Juanele, about this show. I’d go over and read that as well because the writer, Gabriela Schevach, delves more into the conceptual elements of the work and knows her stuff!

Gabriela Herman

A few months ago, I featured a highly personal project by Gail Seely. Gail had been revisiting a difficult childhood, and in a way, reclaiming her childhood by examining artifacts that her mother had packed away decades before. After that post, Gabriela Herman wrote me that she had also created a body of work that was very similar without knowing about Gail’s work. Gabriela’s project, Holding On, captures objects that had meaning and significance from a happy childhood before they were lost to the transitions that come with the sale of the family home.

Gabriela’s series about bloggers, featured on Lenscratch in February, has gone “viral”– showcased and celebrated on blogs and in exhibitions, including 2011 Center Forward at the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO and the Win Initiative, NY.

Holding On:In the fall of 2010, when my beloved childhood home abruptly sold, I was given a weekend to clear out the 25+ years of belongings that had remained largely untouched. It was pure chaos. Things were being thrown out the third floor window to the dumpster in the driveway below. No time for tears.

Amidst this insanity, I felt the need to capture some of these artifacts, an act which played out like revisiting my childhood in fast forward, frame by frame. The stuff that we accumulate, however valuable at the time, in fact ends up being just stuff, eventually all garbage bound. I had preserved the memories of the past through these objects, but once documented, their physical presence became unnecessary. It is through these images that the nostalgia remains, and I continue to hold on.

Andy Adams: Photo 2.0 — Online Photographic Thinking (Revisited)

Thank god for clever thinkers like Andy Adams who keep us on our toes and remind us to be aware of our ever-evolving relationship to image making in this digital age. Adams has a new essay that’s making the rounds, Photo 2.0 — Online Photographic Thinking (Revisited), and we thought we’d republish it here.

The essay is also featured in the FORMAT International Photography Festival catalog and dovetails with a panel discussion he’s contributing to (including Internet dynamos Amy Stein and Yumi Goto) which kicks off next weekend.

Without further ado….

from the Bloggers series. Photo courtesy Gabriela Herman

How will digital media impact the future of photography?

For the past five years I’ve been publishing FlakPhoto.com, a website that promotes photographers, book projects, and exhibitions from within the online photo community. This spring I’m heading to the FORMAT International Photography Festival to join a panel discussion that will consider the impact of Web 2.0 on contemporary image-making. In support of the event, I contributed a catalog essay that explores how online publishing and social media are redefining photography so it can flourish outside the realm of traditional publication and exhibition.

The Internet has changed the way we consider photography, and the medium has undergone remarkable transformations at every level. No longer restricted to the gallery wall or the printed page, photography now regularly—and sometimes exclusively—appears on computer screens. In the past decade, photoblogs, online magazines, and digital galleries have revolutionized the way we look at photographs. More significantly, Web 2.0 is influencing contemporary photo culture around the world by connecting international audiences to art experiences, enabling the discovery of new work and presenting never-before-seen channels of expression and communication. These are exciting times for image-makers wishing to publicly show their work: armed with a computer and an Internet connection, the 21st century photographer can share his or her visual ideas with a worldwide audience of peers, fans, and patrons. And these artists are redefining the medium every day.

In his essay, Online Photographic Thinking1, photographer Jason Evans explores the nature of digital media and its impact on the processes of making and experiencing photography: “In the inevitable and frankly tedious digital versus analog debate, my position is one of either/and. Both systems offer distinct possibilities, but I ultimately believe that they are just different sides of the same coin.” He’s right, of course—the way a picture looks is relatively similar in print and online, but seeing an image on an un-calibrated monitor is hardly a substitute for experiencing a book or print as the artist intended. Still, screen-based picture constraints shouldn’t be the sticking point. We instinctively faulted the Web for its deficiencies as an image-delivery mechanism. Instead of recognizing digital media’s distinctive qualities, we cursed its inferiority to perform at traditional standards of expectation. Evans argues for an expansion of “what photography can be” and his plea is significant because it champions the Internet’s unique potential for photographic publication, exhibition and distribution.

Photography has been married to publishing from the beginning. Historically, and particularly before the popularity of galleries and museums devoted to photography, the printed page has been the ultimate venue for viewing a photographer’s work. Until recently, magazines, journals, and books were the primary outlets for circulating photos. But printing photography can be costly, and therefore photobook runs are usually limited. Online publishing—especially blogs, but also social networks and photo-sharing websites—radically alters the relationship between photographers and publishers by empowering the former to engage directly with the public at a fraction of the cost.

This broad access to online publishing has been met with skepticism from some corners of the photo world. Though the stigma is fading, concern still lingers about amateurs compromising the quality of what we see online. It’s true; the barriers to entry are low. But as credible publishers embrace the form, the association of mediocrity with blogs and social networks should be retired. A thoughtful website is as legitimate as any traditional publication, and social media has been embraced by established institutions the world over. If the printed pages of Camera Work functioned as a reputable platform for Stieglitz a century ago, how can a blog or online magazine be any different today?

A natural broadcast and publishing medium, the Internet is also a distinctly social medium. Blogs, for example, are inherently communal. We don’t just look at or read them; we become a part of them by contributing to the conversations they generate. The best photography blogs are collaborative, providing a public venue for lively discussions on all aspects of contemporary image-making. Certainly we tune in because we identify with the author’s editorial perspective, but also because we like posting comments and seeing how peers respond to our ideas. And the widespread adoption of social networks has given each of us the ability to discover and share photography at lightning speed. Who among us hasn’t joined the legions of Facebook or Twitter or Flickr users?

In less than a decade, the online space has become a vibrant public realm brimming with images and ideas. I don’t live in one of the world’s major photography centers, but Web 2.0 has made it possible for me to participate in an ever-expanding ecosystem of visual experiences and photographic relationships nonetheless. The Internet connects the world and in doing so, is fostering the growth of a global online photographic community. Day by day geographical boundaries dissolve as each of us interacts with and learns from each other more spontaneously than ever before. All of this is a click away, easily searchable, and instantly available.

For the past five years I’ve been publishing FlakPhoto.com, a website that promotes photography from within the online community. In December 2010, I co-produced The Future of Photobooks, a cross-blog conversation considering the question, What will photobooks become over the next decade? Our aim was to pool collective wisdom from a variety of photographic disciplines, so we invited practitioners from across the globe to nominate the most exciting contemporary photobooks. We summarized those ideas and hosted three blogger-moderated discussions that explored current innovations in photography book publication.2 The most inspiring part of the project was discovering the sheer volume of photographers utilizing online publishing and multimedia to independently create, promote, and fund their work. And, in many cases, the book was only one facet of a multidimensional photographic experience that blended aspects of traditional and new media publication and exhibition.

What these photographers realized was the unique opportunity the Internet provided for the online community to participate in their photography. Not surprisingly, many have appropriated social media for promotional purposes. But the savviest photographers are publishing blogs and multimedia journals that involve their fans in the creative process; some are mobilizing their communities to finance their efforts with online fundraising tools. What’s more, these photographers have instinctively developed website galleries, multimedia podcasts, and audio slideshows to complement their print publications and physical exhibitions. These formats don’t just present online alternatives to traditional photography; they’re meaningful photographic experiences with the potential to reach a widespread audience across the world.

In some circles, photography remains a predominantly printed medium. Books and prints are highly collectible and their physical presence is still essential for many photographers. But the Internet is transforming photography so it can flourish outside the constraints of traditional publication and exhibition. A thriving online community will most certainly play a vital role in the discovery and dissemination of new work produced by contemporary image-makers. And social media empowers each of us to shape the photographic conversation by participating in its ongoing creation and curation. The Web’s innovations promise important possibilities for photography’s evolution. And we’re only beginning to understand them.

1 Evans’ essay originally appeared in Words Without Pictures, an interactive online publication produced by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2007. Initially issued as a print-on-demand title, the complete collection of essays and responses is now available from Aperture. Find it at Aperture.org/books/books-new/words-without-pictures.html 2 My colleague Miki Johnson does a great job of summarizing our findings at FOPB.tumblr.com. The modes of production have obviously changed, but photobooks are as popular as ever (more so maybe) and with more indie publishers producing small press runs, contemporary print publications are valuable collectibles in their own right.

This essay appears in the FORMAT 11 International Photography Festival catalogue

Andy Adams is the founder and editor of FlakPhoto.com, a contemporary photography website that celebrates the culture of image-making by promoting the discovery of artists from around the world. An online art space + photography publication, the site provides opportunities for a global community of artists and photo organizations to share new series work, book projects, and gallery exhibitions with a web-based photography audience. More about him at AndyAdamsPhoto.com

gabriela bulisova – iraqi refugees

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Gabriela Bulisova

Iraqi Refugees

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The Option of Last Resort: Iraqi Refugees in the United States

One of the least reported stories of the U.S. invasion of Iraq is the dispersal of close to 5 million Iraqis displaced internally or forced to flee across the country’s borders.  This exile is one of the greatest refugee crises in modern history—the statistical equivalent of nearly 50 million Americans leaving the United States. These masses of people displaced by the war in Iraq have become invisible and insignificant, overshadowed by other war-related events. Many of the displaced were the brains, the talent, the pride and the future of Iraq. Many of them, traumatized by unforgettable violence, will never return home.

In 2007 and 2008, I traveled to Syria to photograph Iraqi refugees living in Damascus. I found them in dire economic and emotional straits—often scarred, desperate and disillusioned.  Uprooted from their homes and families with no future and no hope for return, they are the lesser seen, lesser-known consequences of the war. I wanted to tell their stories. I also heard about the plight of Iraqis who were forced from their homes specifically because they had helped the United States. Some of them had made it to America where they were having experiences and feelings both similar to and different from those of Iraqi refugees who had remained in the Middle East.

Some of the most recent Iraqi refugees in America had signed up to serve as translators working for the U.S. military or as experts with other U.S. government agencies, NGOs, or American companies in Iraq. They saved lives, they built cultural and linguistic bridges, they sacrificed their own safety and the safety of their families to help participate in what they thought would be the creation of a better Iraq. They quickly became one of the most hunted groups in the country. They bore a lethal stigma as “collaborators” or “traitors” that transcended sect or tribe, and they were targeted in assassination campaigns that drove many of them either into hiding or out of the country.

For people who fear for their life and seek refugee status in America, the U.S. government offers resettlement as the “option of last resort” for the most vulnerable refugees. In this project, I photographed and interviewed Iraqi refugees who have been resettled to the United States and are living in Washington, D.C. or other American cities. In some respects, these immigrants might be considered lucky, since they made it safely out of Iraq where their lives were in immediate danger.  Thousands of others are still in Iraq or neighboring countries.  In fiscal years 2007 and 2008, the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs issued only 1,490 special immigrant visas for Iraqi translators and interpreters who had assisted the United States. This number includes family members.

Once in the United States, these refugees encounter the intricate, challenging and often disillusioning process of transitioning to life in America.  Many feel abandoned by the country they helped and risked their lives for; many are unemployed and facing dire financial crises; many yearn for the embrace of family and friends left behind; and many wish they could return home. Still fearful for their own safety and the safety of family members in Iraq, many refugees asked that I not reveal their faces or names.

Under President George W. Bush, questions about assistance and safety did not receive serious attention until 2007 when Congress passed legislation to facilitate asylum for Iraqis who had aided the United States. As a candidate, Barack Obama declared, “We must also keep faith with Iraqis who kept faith with us. One tragic outcome of this war is that the Iraqis who stood with America—the interpreters, embassy workers, and subcontractors—are being targeted for assassination. Keeping this moral obligation is a key part of how we turn the page in Iraq.” Yet today, a new challenge is emerging as the United States cuts back its military presence in Iraq, and takes with it the ability to protect the Iraqis it employs.


Gabriela Bulisova is a documentary photographer from the former Czechoslovakia, based in Washington, D.C.  She carries her camera to marginalized communities in places such as Azerbaijan, Chernobyl, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and the Unites States. By bringing the faces of the forgotten to light and giving voice to those who have been silenced, she hopes to capture people through the lens of an advocate, rather than a dispassionate observer.

Bulisova has received numerous recognitions and awards including the Open Society Institute’s Documentary Project: Moving Walls 18, the Aperture Portfolio Review Top Tier Portfolios of Merit, the CANON “Explorer of Light” award, a CEC ArtsLink Projects grant, the Corcoran School of Art and Design Faculty Grant Award, a PDN Annual Photography Competition (Student Category), and a Puffin Foundation Grant. Bulisova was a participant at the Eddie Adams Workshop for emerging photographers and a graduate fellow at the National Graduate Photography Institute, Columbia University.

Bulisova received her Master of Fine Arts in Photography and Digital Imaging in 2005 from Maryland Institute College of Art/MICA in Baltimore. She is currently an adjunct professor of photography and photojournalism at MICA and at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Washington, D.C. Bulisova is a member of the Metro Collective Photographic Agency and the Women Photojournalists of Washington.

Related links

Gabriela Bulisova

Metro Collective Photographic Agency