DIY project: V-Cards

I think sometimes I spend a more time surfing for ways to construct light modifiers than I do actually shooting ... but I do run across some useful ideas. Check out this super-easy one about how to build your own essential set of $15 V-card reflectors from Home Depot.


2009 PhotoNOLA Review Prize Winners

At the close of the PhotoNOLA Portfolio Review, each reviewer is asked to select three favorites from the work they have seen. The photographer earning the most votes wins the PhotoNOLA Review Prize, which includes a solo exhibition at the New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery during the following December and a cash award of $1,000. Second and third place winners are showcased online and profiled in NOPA e-newsletters.

Congratulations to the 2009 honorees:

2009 PhotoNOLA Review Prize Winner
Jessica Ingram

2nd Place
Michael Donnor

3rd Place
Nancy Newberry


Mary Virginia Swanson Video Interview

Mary Virginia Swanson discusses the PhotoNOLA portfolio reviews.

PhotoNOLA on Inside Art

Susan Burnstine at Canary Gallery

An excerpt from a PhotoNOLA review at Inside Art:
December used to be an almost sleepy time in local art, a month of group shows featuring “affordable” works suitable for Christmas presents. But that was before the tsunami known as PHOTONola suddenly appeared with dozens of photography exhibits and countless other photography related activities in a kind of imagistic frenzy attended by artists and collectors from all over. The first wave hit last Saturday, and there is indeed a lot to see, with additional expos cascading along as this is written. Since PHOTONola is the handiwork of the New Orleans Photography Alliance, it seems fair to start with its own gallery, where Sarah Wilson’s BLIND PROM is in full swing ... [more]


The Oxford American Dictionary defines displacement as follows:

The moving of something from its place or position
The removal of someone or something by someone or something else that takes their place
The enforced departure of people from their homes, typically because of war, persecution, or natural disaster
The amount by which a thing is moved from its normal position
The occupation by a submerged body or part of a body of a volume that would otherwise be occupied by a fluidThe amount or weight of fluid that would fill such a volume

Using these definitions as a point of departure, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), of Grand Rapids, Michigan, seeks artists to submit entries to dis.place.ment, an international juried exhibition. As part of an ongoing commitment to promote challenging, innovative practices in the visual arts, this exhibition's open framework serves as a catalyst for a multitude of approaches and media. Accepted works will be exhibited in the Monroe Avenue Gallery of UICA, from April 2-July 31, 2010.

Entries due January 15, 2010

Download the prospectus:


Reviews for Sarah Wilson's "Blind Prom"

Two more reviews have been posted about Sarah Wilson's exhibit, "Blind Prom." Check them out on The Best of New Orleans and NOLA.

Here's a sample from the NOLA review:

It's prom night at The Texas School of the Blind and Visually Impaired, with the usual stiff suit coats, shiny gowns, corsages and cuddling. Only the thick glasses and white walking canes make the colorful shots seem a bit odd.

Anyone who has been to a high school prom remembers the awkwardness of the moment, the utter self-consciousness, the microscopic attention to appearance. You have to wonder how typical prom night vanity plays out among kids who cannot see.


And a touch embarrassing.

Isn't there something inherently uncomfortable about enjoying photographs of people with disabilities?

In 2005, Wilson's boyfriend, Keith Maitland, a documentary movie-maker, began a film about goalball, a game they play at the Texas School of the Blind in Austin. Wilson's role in the project was to take still photographs. In time, Maitland's film project and Wilson's photo documentation expanded to cover other aspects of campus life at the live-in school. For three years, Wilson, 32, volunteered to do formal and candid shots of the prom. Students and their parents can download digital prom shots for a nominal fee.

Wilson, an Austin native, said she doesn't sense the same level of prom anxiety among the School of the Blind students, as she did when she attended her own prom. Some kids pick their prom outfits by feel; others take the advice of sighted friends. She said that taking photographs always makes the moment seem all the more important -- even if her subjects never see the results ... [more].

The exhibit runs through December at the New Orleans Photo Alliance, 1111 St. Mary St., 504-975-4002.

Triple Canopy looking for artists proposals

Triple Canopy is pleased to announce its first call for proposals. We will be commissioning ten projects spanning the five areas outlined below, to be published in the magazine and presented in public programs in the next year.

We accept works in progress and proposals on equal footing. Some issues are defined by a particular theme, others are not; we will list upcoming themes as they are developed. The best way to gauge whether or not your submission is appropriate is by reading the magazine and reviewing our general submission guidelines.

For proposals, please send a 300-to-500-word outline of the project, links to past work, and a CV or resumé; for works in progress, please send a selection of relevant images, texts, and other media, a 200-word outline of the project, links to past work, and a CV or resumé. (Please do not attach large files.) Email all materials to submissions@canopycanopycanopy.com by February 15, 2010.

I checked out this sample project titled "Star Wars: A New Leap." It's a pretty neat essay with photos regarding the history of minimilism and how it connects to Star Wars graphics. If you're into that sort of thing.


Smartflix rents Dean Collins instructional DVDs

I was browsing through some Strobist info lately and found this bit on Dean Collins. He was a well-known photographer who died some time ago, but left us with a viable treasure of instructional videos from the 80's about off-camera lighting. I took a look at the examples, and yes they're dated, but I think they still work just as well when it comes to teaching how to set up a lighting rig in various situations.

Here's the kicker: you can buy the 6-DVD set on Software Cinema for $179, or you can go cheap and rent it on Smartflix -- along with other training videos -- for about $35. It seems like a great way for semi-pros to get some inexpensive and worthwhile training.

You'll have to wait a week, though. I just rented it myself. I'll post a short review here later.


Jonathan Traviesa receives 2009 Michael P. Smith grant

Congratulations to Jonathan Traviesa on becoming the Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography Grant Recipient for 2009.

His project is titled: "New Portraits in New Orleans."

Summary: To continue an ongoing environmental portrait project but with a new shift: documenting the newest residents of New Orleans - ones that have helped rebuild and restructure the city in positive ways.

"Traviesa's portraits of his community in New Orleans demonstrate artistic maturity, a welcome collaboration with his subjects, and a long-term commitment to documenting the social facts of life in New Orleans today. The photographs delight the eye and thrill the heart. In addition, they reflect something often lost in contemporary art practice: patience and real communication between artist and sitter. In essence, Traviesa allows himself to be a medium through which he and the residents of New Orleans can express their desires, worries, thoughts, and dreams.” - Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator, Department of Photographs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

See a list of finalists here.

The Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography (MPS Fund) was created by the New Orleans Photo Alliance to honor the life and work of Michael P. Smith, one of New Orleans’ most legendary and beloved documentary photographers. The MPS Fund awards one $5000 grant annually to a Gulf Coast photographer whose work combines artistic excellence and a sustained commitment to a long-term cultural documentary project.

Both emerging and established photographers residing in the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida are eligible to apply. The subject matter for the proposed project is not limited to the Gulf Coast region.

For more information about the MPS Fund or if you wish to make a contribution please contact us at MPSFund@neworleansphotoalliance.org

Matthew White: "The End of the Great River: Photographs of the Lower Mississippi River Delta "

This exhibit features fine art landscape images of the Mississippi River Delta, from Port Sulphur in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana south to the end of the three passes that drain the river into the Gulf of Mexico -- Pass a Loutre; South Pass; and Southwest Pass. This delta, full of history, culture, and industry, is sparsely populated and rarely seen in detail by outsiders, but is a landscape of vast, simplistic beauty. Photography for this project began in the spring of 2000, made on both black and white film and digital color, continuing to the present day.

Dec. 1, 2009 – Dec. 16, 2009

Port of New Orleans
1350 Port of New Orleans Place
New Orleans, LA 70160
Mon – Fri 8-5


PDN photo contest w/ $15,000 prize

PDN is looking for your compelling work ...

NEW THIS YEAR! The Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation and Maine Media Workshops Scholarship and Prize for New Directions in Creative Photographic Portraiture. Photographers are invited to enter portrait photography for consideration in this new category. The winner will receive $15,000 and a solo exhibit at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.

Prizes total over $20,000!

Marty Forscher Fellowship
The Marty Forscher Fellowship recognizes students and young professionals with a talent for humanistic photography. The fund will award two grants in 2009. Photographers are eligible by entering humanistic documentary images to the PDN Photo Annual. The Fellowship is sponsored by Parsons School for Design and Photo District News.

An awards celebration for the winners will take place in May 2010 in New York, NY. The winners and their work will be featured in the May issue of PDN and on our Web site.

Entry Fees
STUDENT:$25 (single or series)

Entry Deadline
Late? Pay $10 Per Entry For An Extended Deadline 1/25/10


Here are some of the PDN PHOTO ANNUAL recent entries.

PhotoNOLA gala volunteers

PhotoNOLA is still seeking volunteers for our 2009 Photo Gala at the New Orleans Museum of Art this Thursday December 10th at 7:00pm. There's still time to sign up and help out! Please email Morgan at kmsasser@gmail.com if you're interested in lending a hand at the Gala. Thanks in advance for all your help and hard work! -Morgan

Six Shooters Panel Discussion Tonight at CAC

Six Shooters Moderated Panel Discussion

Contemporary Arts Center
900 Camp St.
Tuesday, Dec 8, 7-9pm
Free and open to the public

This moderated panel discussion will feature six photographers from various disciplines discussing their processes, influences, inspiration and work. The third in an ongoing series produced by the New Orleans Photo Alliance, the PhotoNOLA edition of Six Shooters will feature an accomplished mix of local and visiting photographers, each bringing a unique perspective to the table.

Featured panelists are: Jane Fulton Alt (Chicago, IL), Sesthasak Boonchai (New York, NY), David Halliday (New Orleans, LA), Andy Levin (New Orleans, LA), Ellen Susan (Savannah, GA) and Linda Troeller (New York, NY). Dan Cameron, founding Director and Chief Curator of Prospect New Orleans and Director of Visual Arts for the CAC will serve as moderator. The program will include a slideshow with examples of each photographer’s work and allow for time at the end for questions from the audience.

Please join us for a lively insightful and informative group discussion. Doors will open at 6pm. Come early for wine & socializing. Jerry Ward of Canon will be on hand to show off the latest photo gear from Canon, a PhotoNOLA festival sponsor.

For more information about the featured panelists and moderator please see: photonola.org/2009/09/15/contemporary-arts-center/


Photography & Film Night at Zeitgeist Tonight!

Photography & Film Night


Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70113


Monday, December 7, 2009

7:00pm “Frame After Frame: The Images of Herman Leonard” (running time: 27 minutes)

8:00pm “Clarence John Laughlin: An Artist With a Camera” (running time: 65 minutes)

9:30pm “Kids + Money” (running time: 33 minutes)
Ticket prices for “Kids” will be $5 for the general public, $4 for students & senior citizens, and $3 for Photo Alliance & Zeitgeist members.


Anyone Have Room at the Inn?

Our fine blog-master Eric Lincoln is in town for the weekend & less than pleased with his motel. Can anyone put him up for two nights? He comes with his very own cot! Please call Eric at 504-813-2461 if you're able to offer shelter. Thanks!


"3 the Hard Way" exhibit at Gallery Gigi

Frank RELLE, Terrence SANDERS and Lisa SILVESTRI present "3 The Hard Way"

Opening Reception: Friday December 4th from 6-8pm

Exhibit: December 4th - January 1st

Galerie Gigi 627 St. Peter Street between Chartres and Royal Street
Hours: Thursday - Saturday 11am - 5pm

Contact: galeriegigineworlreans@gmail.com or 504 525 5299 / 713 385 7890


Tonight's PhotoNOLA Events

Get thee to the French Quarter!

Opening tonight -

Louis Sahuc on Jackson Square
Rita Posselt at CC's Cafe
Alavaro Villela at Jazz & Heritage Gallery
and Jonathan Traviesa at the Ogden

David Guttenfelder, Associated Press,“Sichuan Quake" featured in POYi Visions of Excellence exhibition at the Louisiana State Museum.

Complete info here: http://photonola.org/category/december-3rd/

Pictory, the newest online photo-zine you've seen

Photojojo emailed me about a new online photo-zine that was launched last night by Laura Miner, the former Editor-in-Chief of JPG Magazine. Pictory is, or could be, what future magazines for the web aspire to. Very cool, and worth a bookmark.


Sarah Wilson's "Blind Prom"

Studio 1318 Presents "Wine, Women and Song"

Photography by Brian Perkins, Eric Waters and Michael Gildersleeve

Studio 1318, in the dependency of a French Quarter mansion on Chartres and Esplanade, will house a new show that presents three photographers focused on the ‘joie de vivre’ – the joy of life - that makes New Orleans culture unique the United States.

“We are fusing the visions of three American views of life that are diverse, but connected,” said Morgan Molthrop, curator of the show.

New Orleans native, Brian Perkins, who has made a decade-long transition from wine aficionado to photographer, has been crafting provocative portraits of women as metaphors for oenology. The photographs are part of new book that will feature these images with explanations of how they relate to the making, storage and tasting of fine wines.

Eric Waters will present new photographs of Dr. Michael White’s clarinets, ruined by Katrina flood waters. Entombed and corroding in their cases, Waters provides colorful insight into the beauty of elegant decay, and the contrast between tragedy and resurrection. Mr. Waters is known for his intensely colorful images of the Mardi Gras Indians and for knowing how to translate the feeling of music, movement and landscape into a visual context.

The photographs of Las Vegas native and recent transplant Michael Gildersleeve, and up-and-coming ‘eye’ on the scene, provide a trifecta that invites the visual palate to join an ongoing celebration. Gildersleeve, who has spent the last few years traveling the West, trying to capture diverse spectrums of American life, fell in love with the ‘tapestry of New Orleans’ and moved here in February. This will be the first public showing of his images in the Crescent City.

Wine Women and Song will open with a reception on Thursday, December 10 from 6 PM to 9 PM. Studio 1318 is on 1318 Chartres St., just off Esplanade. Gallery hours are 1 – 5, Thursday through Saturday. For a private showing, call Morgan Molthrop at 504-638-3057.


PDN Virtual Trade Show

I did this a while back and was surprised at how useful it actually was. The sessions were informative. It's really like a conference without all the traveling and walking around, plus you can leave whenever you want to. And hey, it's free.

December 2nd & 3rd, 2009

Attend this free online-only event this week and you will get the same experience of an in-person conference without leaving your desk.

• Chat and network with other industry professionals
• Browse the tradeshow floor filled with the latest products hitting the market
• Learn about the trends that impact your business

Check out these live webcasts on December 2nd:
11 AM EST - Keynote: Best Holiday Buys For Photographers with Photo District News Technology Specialist, Dan Havlik - Sponsored by Apollo Imagizing
1 PM EST - High Glamour, High Fashion Weddings with a Flow - Sponsored by Doug Gordon Workshops
3 PM EST - Finding A Digital Workflow That Works For Me - Sponsored by ASMP

And then join us again on December 3rd for these live webcasts:
11 AM EST - Keynote: The Perfect Print with Photographer, Andy Biggs - Sponsored by B&H
3 PM EST - PhotoShop and Lightroom: The Dynamic Duo - Sponsored by Asuka Books and Kubota

Andy Levin: December 100Eyes Newsletter

Check out the December issue of 100Eyes, The American Dream, featuring work by Brenda Ann Kenneally, Martin Miller, Q Sakamaki, Mustafah Adbulaziz, Caleb Cole, Simone Lueck, David Taylor, Rania Matar, Daryl Peveto and Brad Moore.

Just a quick update on those of you who might be interested in one of the 100Eyes workshops, we have announced the Coney Island 360 Degree Workshop in Brooklyn for June 2010. Our Haiti Carnival Workshop will be taking place in Jacmel in February, and Stephen Shames will be hosting a LEADUganda Workshop in May. For information on those projects visit 100Eyes workshops.

In the 100Eyes blog Mentor and Time Magazine photographer Adam Ferguson is interviewed about his recent cover story on Afghanistan and his experience as a young photographer dealing with reporting a war under difficult circumstances.

PhotoNOLA Begins Today!!

PhotoNOLA begins today with an opening at the Historic New Orleans Collection. Come on out and join the fun!!

New Orleans Magazine gave us a nice plug this month: http://www.myneworleans.com/New-Orleans-Magazine/December-2009/Marquee/

The Boston Globe featured us in their travel section: http://www.boston.com/travel/getaways/us/articles/2009/11/15/new_orleans_focuses_on_the_visual/

Eric Bookhardt gave us a nice shout out on his blog: http://www.insidenola.org/

And Doug MacCash wrote a nice article that appeared in last Friday's lagniappe.

Interview with Mary Virginia Swanson

Mary Virginia Swanson is considered an expert in the area of marketing and licensing fine art.  Swanson makes it her goal to help guide photographers towards the strengths in their work and to identify appreciative audiences for their prints, exhibitions, editorial and licensing placement.
Interviewed by Ann Marie Popko

Author image © 2009 Athena Lonsdale

What's the first thing you notice when you look at a photographer's portfolio?
Consistency of craft, style, and clarity of intention (or not).  If bringing smaller samples of what you typically exhibited larger, start with an installation view showing the work in the scale you prefer.
What's the biggest hurdle for most of your clients?
Strategizing about who make up their most appreciative audience(s), and conducting effective research on how to find them. If I may list another:  most artists are weak when it comes to branding themselves and their bodies of work.

How did you first become involved in the world of marketing photography?
I always helped friends navigate offers that came their way, be they from a gallery, a museum, a private commission or a graphic designer.  I have a natural ability to see both sides of issues, a fierce desire for artists to be appreciated and for copyright to be retained.  From my Special Projects desk at Magnum Photos in NYC, I overheard the diversity of day-to-day business of photography being conducted.  I realized that artists knew little about the many opportunities for their existing images, mixed in my fascination for reading contracts and this is how I became an agent for artists.  With the launch of Swanstock in 1991, I managed licensing rights for fine art photographers, and that experience is part of what makes me an informed advisor for artists today.

Do you have any favorite photographers you have met through your consulting work?
Impossible question to answer!  I am most happy when my clients reach their goals, be it regarding completion of a body of work, determining final presentation, exhibition or publication of that work,
and the courage to begin new work after finding success.

What do you do to stay tuned in to the market?
Print mailers, art and photography blogs, the New York Times and art magazines, attending exhibitions and art fairs, and seeing new work at portfolio reviews.
Your "FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Does Your Website Speak For You?" lecture during PhotoNOLA will focus on the importance of a photographer's website... http://photonola.org/photo-nola-2009/education/...what do most photographers miss in this arena?
While many photographers may clearly express themselves and present their work well in person, many more do not effectively communicate in the web environment.  Reading a website is not in any way similar to reading a print brochure or listening to an interview.  Attention spans are shorter, visual distractions are greater...it is, I believe, a tremendous challenge to hold one's attention on the web.   A clear, simple, well-designed and branded website that speaks in the "language" of the desired audience is not a simple task.

I want artists to consider whether they are reaching out to a collecting community, to photo editors, to graphic designers & art directors, to educators, to today's youth...to whom are you wishing your images will touch?   The availability of an increasing number of templates (with monthly billing plans) gives everyone a chance to have an effective website, with design-coordiated e-communications as well.  You want to exist in the on-line space that your desired audience occupies, and the tools are available for you to do so.  These are but a few of the issues I will cover in my lecture at PhotoNola.

Could you offer any advice to photographers who will be bringing their work to the PhotoNOLA 2009 Portfolio Reviews?
Do your homework on the reviewers, and on your work.  Know what you want to accomplish as a result of your investment of your time and your resources.  Are you seeking advice towards editing, final presentation format/materials, pricing/editioning and more?  Do you feel your project is completed, or do the reviewers sense gaps?  Do we feel there is a "book" within the project, and if so, what will make it unique?  If the reviewer doesn't comment on something, don't hesitate to ask that question or raise that issue. 

Be mindful of two major elements that contribute to defining your experience:  20 minutes, and one table.   Think ahead about how to capture all the advice you will gain.  Your hands will be full...if you prefer taking notes on paper, bring it within a firm binder so you can easily take notes in your lap.  Perhaps a stack of post-its to flag favorites...or a sheet of thumbnails of what you are showing for you to note favorites or those that reviewers feel don't fit the edit...consider bringing an audio recorder (ask first if the reviewer minds if you tape for personal use).  I discourage burning discs as leave-behinds for reviewers unless you are sure that the edit won't change...rather, make adjustments and then provide a disc as a follow-up.   I encourage a very simple card with an image to share with reviewers and photographers at the event, with a more complete package sent as a follow-up for those who request it.  

Most valuable question to ask a reviwer:
  "Would you like me to keep you informed about this work?"
Second most valuable question to ask (if they say YES to the first question!):  "In what format do you prefer that I communicate?"  Email, print, link to website, CD-ROM?  This is the key to clear communication ahead, in the method they prefer.

When you're not talking about marketing, what's on your mind??
The future of print publishing, design as it impacts our lives, how to stay on top of new technologies, how to bring what's on my mind to my writings and lectures, and when on the road, imagining what my dogs are up to (and wishing I were there!) 

What are you currently working on?  Any upcoming projects/news?
My co-author (and co-reviewer at PhotoNola!) Darius Himes and I have just turned in our manuscript for an exciting book project that Princeton Architectural Press will release in the Fall of 2010.   It is a comprehensive project on publishing your photo book, covering traditional and self-publishing, from concept to market, with contributions from experts in so many areas - book agents, packagers, editors, designers, publicists, photographers and more. Our book will have an accompanying website and workshop series, too.  We are so excited about this project and can't wait to share it! 

Individually, I'm constantly researching towards updating my public presentations and 2010 workshops (including an upcoming workshop mid-April  www.neworleansworkshops.com), and I'm working on bringing my next solo title "Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs" to print, and/or to audio/PDF/epub/mobi formats...stay tuned!

Anything else we should know?
You should know that PhotoNola is one of my favorite photography festivals of the year! 
Hats off to all the hard-working people involved!

NO-based photo website management from "Postmedium"

There are dozens of great website template options out there, including a few that integrate quickly into Lightroom for little cost ($20 or so), or others that give a wiz-bang look but can cost thousands more. "Postmedium" is a local company, it appears, that is offering website solutions specifically to NO artists. They may be worth a look.

Lee Celano reception for "Coming Home"

Lee Celano invites all to his opening reception for "Coming Home: New Orleans Street Scenes 2005-2009."

December 5, 2009, 6- 9 PM

Bacchanal Wine
600 Poland Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70117