Lydia Panas is an award-winning photographer whose work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad, and has won numerous awards. She was one of nine International Discoveries, Houston Fotofest in 2007. Her work is included in numerous collections, including Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Brooklyn Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. Lydia has degrees from Boston College, the School of Visual Arts, New York University/International Center of Photography, as well as an Independent Study Fellowship from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Lydia has taught photography at a number of institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, Lafayette, Muhlenberg and Moravian Colleges, Kutztown University, The Maine Media Workshops, The Vermont College MFA program, and the Baum School of Art/Lehigh Carbon Community College.
Jade Doskow is a New York-based photographer and professor. She is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts and City University of New York, where she teaches architectural and digital photography. She is a photo-blogger for the Huffington Post and has exhibited her work widely. Her work has been featured on WIRED, NPR, and the New Yorker Photo Booth. Her large format photography examines the visual paradox between utopian architecture and its unpredictable current environment.
Sarah Palmer was born in San Francisco, and lives in Brooklyn. She received her MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from School of Visual Arts in 2008, where she was awarded an Aaron Siskind Scholarship, and her BA from Vassar College in 1999. Her work has been exhibited in the US and in Europe, at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, in satellite exhibitions at the New York Photo Festival in 2009 and 2011, and at Foam_fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, among others. Her photographs and writing have been published in print and online journals and exhibition catalogs. She was awarded the 2011 Aperture Portfolio Prize2011 Aperture Portfolio Prize in spring 2012 and has had solo exhibitions at the Wild Project, in 2010, and at Aperture Gallery in fall 2012. She is on the full-time photography faculty at Parsons The New School for Design and the Board of Directors of Rooftop Films.
Born and raised in Shanghai, Shen Wei is a fine art photographer currently based in New York City. His work have been exhibited nationally and internationally, with venues including the Museum of the City of New York, Southeast Museum of Photography, Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall, the Harn Museum of Art and the CAFA Art Museum in Beijing. His photographs have been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, Aperture, ARTnews, PDN, American Photo, and Chinese Photography. Shen Wei's work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Philadelphia Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, Library of Congress, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Museum of Chinese in America, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Kinsey Institute. He holds an MFA in photography, video, and related media from the School of Visual Arts, New York; a BFA in photography from Minneapolis College of Art and Design; and an AA in decorative arts from Shanghai Light Industry College.
by his parents. The exposure to a wide range of films during his formative
years provided him with a unique vision: “Working for my father allowed me to
view the same movie repeatedly,” he recalls, “until the story line began to
recede and the images became independent of the narrative.”
Robert received a BFA in film making from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and received his Masters in Digital Photography from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Later as a production still photographer on
independent feature films, Herman discovered the life at the periphery of film
locations was more compelling than the film sets. His book of his NYC color street photographs, The New Yorkers, to be self-published in the fall of 2013 with help from a successful Kickstarter campaign. His is currently also working with Fractured Atlas to defray additional costs and accepting additional tax deductible donations.
Eastman House and the Telfair Museum in Savannah, GA. His photographs are also
in many private collections and has exhibited across the United States including
the Museum of Modern Art, the galleries of the Savannah College of Art &
Design, The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art and The Henry Gregg Gallery in
DUMBO. This spring, photographs from The
New Yorkers were included in a traveling exhibition that originated at the
Istanbul Photography Museum, and then moved to Ankara, Turkey with more venues
to be announced in the coming months.
York City is like a diamond mine. The pressure will turn one into coal dust or
a multi-faceted jewel. To survive with some sort of evolving grace, it is
absolutely essential to cultivate a Zen-like awareness. Consciously choosing to
be in a state of openness is also useful for making photographs. To paraphrase
the art critic John Berger: A photograph that surprises the photographer when
he makes it, in turn surprises the viewer. No matter how hardened and cynical
one becomes, the act of taking a picture, forces one to try to return to an
innocent wonder. Every time I go out to make photographs, I ask myself this
question: Can I see the world with vulnerability and clarity?
New Yorkers is a body of work that I began when I was still a student at NYU,
when I was learning to be a photographer. I was living in Little Italy at the
time and everyone around me seemed to be a subject: the man who changed tires,
the superintendent of the building next door. I discovered Harry Callahan’s magnificent book: Color and
Robert Frank’s The Americans. These images opened my mind to what a strong
photograph could be. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then this
was my starting point. Both of these photographers re-made the mundane, the
ordinary and the everyday and transformed them into small and transcendent
the years, I lived in several different apartments and I continued making pictures
in whatever neighborhood I happened to be living in. Becoming comfortable in my
new surroundings would ease the way for me to make the authentic photographs I
was seeking. Key to this body of work was letting the subject matter determine
the outcome. I would make myself available, allowing my intuition to be my guide
and let the content rise to the surface. The true epiphany was not to embellish
or to judge: with the removal of the internal impediment strong subject matter
would speak for itself. Like a man searching for water in the desert with a
dousing rod, I became a vessel and allowed the images to pass through me onto
As an illustration of this, “Eldorado” was made
on a day when I was sitting around my loft with my girl friend at the time when
suddenly I said, “ I’ll be right back, I have to go out and take some
pictures.” Ann nodded her ascent and with my Nikon F in hand, I walked around
the corner onto Mulberry Street.
In the bright afternoon sun two luxury cars were parked angling in from
the street towards a large green garage door. I chose my framing just as two
boys walked into the shot and I made my picture. I was back at home five minutes later and knew I had captured
something truly special. I was at a loss to explain what had just happened. It
was truly a mystery. I realized that if I were wiling to relinquish some
control, I would occasionally be rewarded with strong photographs. I went out to search for water
in order to survive, and I was led to something shining down from the sky and bubbling
up from the ground.
is synchronicity and coincidence present everywhere. Photographs are a way of
revealing hidden relationships that are only present for a moment in space and
time, seen from a unique vantage point. The New Yorkers is the record of my
self-discovery as a photographer, inside and out, manifested on the streets of
New York City.
On Wednesday night, Magnum photographer Peter van Agtmael received the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, joining a legion of photojournalists that includes James Nachtwey, Paolo Pellegrin and Brenda Ann Kenneally. Established in 1978, the W. Eugene Smith Grant is one of the most esteemed in the industry, named after the legendary photographer whose harrowing pictures of World War II gave an unparalleled and poignant view of the human toll of the conflict. In a fitting tribute, the annual grant aims to recognize a photographerwho has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to documenting the human condition in the spirit of Smiths concerned photography and dedicated compassion.
Van Agtmael has done that with his long-term project, Disco Night September 11, which focuses on the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their consequences within the United States. But it was his existing work along with his proposalto show the side of the ongoing wars through Iraqi and Afghan perspectivesthat earned him this years honor. An additional $5,000 fellowship was awarded to photographer Massimo Berruti for The Dusty Path, a combination of works examining victims of drone strikes, missing persons and the fight against militancy in Pakistani classrooms.
At 24the same age as many of the soldiers he would go on to documentvan Agtmael began the project during an embed with Americantroops engaged in heavy fighting around Mosul, Iraq.As an American of the generation shouldering these wars, I feel a strong responsibility to document their cost,” says the photographer, whose lens captured everythingfrom violent firefights and days-long foot patrols to the rehabilitation of those maimed by war.”Over the course of my lifetime, I intend to keep returning to [these conflicts] to create a comprehensive document.
To that end, van Agtmael, now 31, plans to use his grant to capture the other side of the conflictto give face to our ‘enemies’ in the fight. “Im ready to shift my focus to the other side of the war,” he says. “The Iraqis and Afghans that have been most affected remain depersonalized and shadowy in our collective consciousness. We live in a self-absorbed cultureone largely unburdened by memory.
Van Agtmael plans to return to Iraq and Afghanistan to follow these stories, but will also travel to the Middle East and Europe in hopes of documenting their diaspora. He’s timed the conclusion of his project to the American withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014another reminder of the human sacrifice and cost of the war. Heplans to use photographs, video, audio and text to share the entire range of what hes witnessed over the last seven years; still, van Agtmael maintains it’s a small shred of the whole. “Most stories will remain forever anonymous, and I’m very grateful to the W. Eugene Smith Grant for the opportunity to document the stories that would otherwise go unseen,” he says. Ive seen a nasty and primal side of mankind, but its been balanced by enough displays of extraordinary humanity to give me hope.”
The $30,000W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is given once per year along with an additional$5000fellowship to a second recipient. blog comment . LightBox previously featured the work of 2011 Smith Grant Award winner Krisanne Johnson.
The subject of luck and money is always an intriguing one. The mix of judgement, fascination, and a sliver of hope are a combination worth exploring. Boston photographer, Edie Bresler is doing just that with the lottery culture and her series (in progress), Lottery Economies.
Edie received a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts and an MFA from the Art Institute of Boston. She was recently awarded an artist in residency at The Boston Center for the Arts beginning Spring 2013. Her solo exhibits include The Griffin Museum of Photography, the Visual Studies Workshop, and CEPA. She has been included in numerous group exhibitions in the United States, Canada and the Middle East and her photographs are featured in public collections such as the Houston Museum of Fine Art, The Whitehead Institute, and Fidelity Bank. Edie also writes for Photograph magazine, covering exhibitions and photo-related happenings in the greater Boston area. Edie is on the faculty of Simmons College in Boston, where she teaches photography and digital imaging.
As the economy continues to stagnate and income disparities widen, communities across America grow more dependent on state lotteries to cover budget shortfalls. $70 billion is spent annually in North America on the lottery, which is more than the total spent on movies, music and porn combined. In the US, 44 states operate lotteries and Massachusetts has the highest per capita lottery spending in the nation ($807/ adult). Aggressive media coverage paid for by the state, typically highlights big winners and annual revenues generated for education and other essential services, but finding tangible effects in communities is illusive.
Azores Discount Tobacco located in a one-family house in Fall River, MA. They sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2011 and the owner received a $10,000 bonus commission.
I focus on archetypal lottery stories not part of the usual hyperbole. A lot of these stories happen in small family-run convenience stores and marketplaces where lottery tickets are sold, and where the big money sometimes trickles down. Owners are a diverse cross-section of the community. Some are recent immigrants but others have operated their small store for decades.
Fast Freddie’s located in Wakefield, MA sold the first winning $10,000,000 scratch ticket, which in 2009 was the largest payout for a scratch ticket in the nation. The store received a $50,000 bonus commission.
The lottery is an endemic part of their business or as one vendor put it, “a store without lottery is like a bar without alcohol.” After selling a winning ticket, stores become known as lucky and the resulting happiness contagion creates brisk sales we all benefit from whether you play the lottery or not. Owners receive a 1% bonus commission but each state has its own designated maximum payout. I photograph winning stores during the fleeting moments of twilight to evoke the tenuous seduction of hope and desire that accompanies the purchase of every ticket.
Located in Hull, MA, this family-run marketplace sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2011 and received a $10,000 bonus commission.
Steve is the fourth generation of his family to operate Coulson’s News in Albany NY, which has been open for business since 1895. In March 2011 they sold a winning MegaMillions ticket worth $319 million. So far this is the largest jackpot won by a single ticket in the games history. An office pool of 7 workers who were all regular customers shared the money. Steve received the maximum bonus commission, which in NY State is $10,000.
In March 2012, the jackpot for MegaMillions reached a record $640 million. One of three winning tickets was sold in this store located in the town of Red Bud, Illinois (pop. 3683). FKG Oil, a corporation that owns 73 other stores, received the maximum bonus commission, which in Illinois is $500,000. In an unusual gesture they gifted $50,000 to the 7 workers at the store.
Denise, the manager at Motomart received a small share of the $500,000 bonus commission. With her $25,000 windfall she was able to purchase a bassoon for her husband, a retired member of the Air Force band. “We tried to get a bank loan several years ago but were turned down.”
Darla, a regular player, sold the winning MegaMillions ticket in March 2012 at Motomart. As assistant manager she received a bonus commission of $12,500. When the other 7 clerks in the store found out they had to split the remaining $12,500 bonus, 3 of them quit in protest. “Money changes people.”
Frank and Rafaella DiFonzo own and operate Bill’s Food Shop, the oldest family-run convenience store in Somerville, MA. Frank points to a photograph of his father who helped him buy the shop. They raised three children in the apartment above the store. After 54 years in business they have never sold a big winning ticket.
Ed and Nancy have been in the convenience store business for over 25 years. They currently operate four stores in rural communities in central Maine. Theirs is a family business where all three children lend a hand after school and on vacations. Kate is a college junior, Nick recently enlisted in the Army and Matt is a star athlete at the local high school.
The owner is the third generation of his family to work this small shop located in Randolph, MA. He sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2010 and received a $10,000 bonus commission. Eight years earlier he sold a winning $4,000,000 scratch ticket and received a $40,000 bonus. His customers consider Minihan’s a lucky store.
Harry Patel with his family inside Jay’s located in Lowell, MA. He sold two winning $1,000,000 scratch tickets in the last 5 years and the customers in the surrounding neighborhood consider his store very lucky.
Amar Ramadan, proprietor of Neighborhood Market located in Somerville, MA. He sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2001 and used the $10,000 bonus commission to put a down payment on a house nearby where he still lives with his wife and two daughters.
Peter Wong with his youngest son is the proprietor of S&R Market located in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn, NY. He makes origami sculptures with the discarded lottery tickets his customers leave behind.
Cassie’s Corner Store, a family-run business in Canton, MA sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket and received a $10,000 bonus commission.
Tony is a ticket hunter. He collects discarded tickets from the trash of neighborhood stores looking for winners that were inadvertently thrown away. “Some weeks I make as much as $250.”
New York photographer, Ellen Wallenstein‘s ideas and interests navigate in and out of all sorts of interesting arenas, and maybe that is just part of being a New Yorker where inspiration is never an issue. Her bodies of work reflect a broad range of approaches and subjects from projects such as Dead Men from New Fairfield, CT, Ellis Island Self Portraits, Pocketbook of Drag Queens, and the project I am featuring today, Respecting My Elders. Ellen is an engaged photographer, teaching photography and book arts at School of Visual Arts and Pratt and writes articles and book reviews for PDNedu and Fraction magazines. She received a B.A. in art history from SUNY Stony Brook and an M.F.A. in photography from Pratt Institute and was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize in 2011.
Her project, Respecting My Elders, Ellen was supported by UnitedStatesArtists.org, a “micro-philanthropy” which supports artists projects across the country. She raised funds for an upcoming website and a first catalogue of (26) portraits of creative elders, which should be in print by the end of the year. She will be giving a public talk on her portraits at the Center for Alternative Photography/Penumbra Foundation in NYC, on October 23rd. (It will be streamed live, as well)
my daily life. For the last few years I’ve been making portraits of older people in