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© Victoria Trevino

An update on the second contest over at LifeFramer. Photographer Olivia Bee judged last month's theme, "An Instant," and the winning image is this one by Victoria Trevino. 

Short listed is this image by Alessandro Falco, whose work I became familiar with last year when I judged the Grand Prix de Découverte. I love his eye!

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© Alessandro Falco

The current theme is "A Human Touch" and will be judged by Julia Fullerton-Batten. It's $10 a punt for a $400 prize, along with an exhibition and other bits and pieces such as potential publicity in photography blogs! Deadline is May 31st.

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It was lovely to have the opportunity to attend the NYU Photography and Imaging thesis students' portfolio review recently. I saw the work of five of the most confident youngsters I've ever critiqued, each with something interesting going on. I connected with all of them, but it's Andrew who has followed up on my request for a copy of the cheese couch from his cheese-melted-on-plastic-toys series... We discussed the unlikely nature of the American cheese slice and its reluctance to melt at the edges. 

His thesis project, however, is about human interaction with LCD screens, as seen below in this panorama of the artist's parents. Love the art work!

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Kunterbunt is a travel agency for mentally and/or physically disabled people, located in southern Germany. Photographer Piotr Pietrus sometimes joins them.

"Kunterbunt offers around 60 trips a year of various kinds and destinations while strongly focusing on a respectful and easy approach towards the individual. Based on this philosophy the disabled people are allowed to find themselves in the very rare occasion where usual structures, borders and roles defining their everyday life no longer exist. Whether they are able do it consciously or not, for a while they can experience a freedom and room for self-expression that every person is deeply longing for. Being on the road and documenting their time is a unique opportunity to gain insight into a world unknown to most of us. It is easy to fill a book with the countless experiences of every trip but what remains so special for me is the real honesty I had been confronted with. So refreshingly different from 'our' life the disabled mostly don't wear masks, they simply are themselves. Their inner child can be very inspiring and reminding us of our own one."



Dead Man's Island © Fleur Alston

Fleur Alston, reporting from the UK's south east county of Kent. According to Wikipedia, Kent's location between London and continental Europe has led to it being in the front line of several conflicts, including the Battle of Britain during World War II. East Kent was known as Hell Fire Corner during the conflict.

Fleur has made a project out of photographing her local historic sites of former gore.

"The wonderfully evocative named Dead Man's Island is the site of a mass grave. Prisoners were kept in the hulks on the Thames estuary and when they died they were buried on Dead Man's Island. The bones of Napoleonic prisoners as well as cholera victims are supposedly lying on the shore. It is difficult to get there though; unfortunately I do not have a boat and even if I had one it is a bird preservation and the wardens are not particularly friendly."


Gallows Hill

"Possibly self-explanatory, this was the site of a gallows. The extraordinary thing is you can almost mark the spot the gallows stood still today. The photograph is of the ancient path the prisoners would have more than likely walked to there final destination. Out of all the places I have visited so far this was the most strangest and atmospheric! It was a very spooky place."


Deadman's Point


Deadman's Bay

"Deadman's Bay has an ominous history; due to tidal currents, numerous bodies have been and possibly still are washed up on its shore. There is also a folklore that two fish-like creatures with legs have been found on two separate occasions. There is a tiny strange museum close to the bay.

Deadman's Point, however, not more than 200 yards away, is named for an entirely different reason. It is a Roman burial site, now the home of a holiday caravan park. Not sure it's somewhere I'd want to stay knowing all the history of that area."

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Blood Point

Blood Point was the scene of King Alfred`s famous defeat of a Viking invasion force and a bloody battle took place there.


Slayhill Marshes. All images © Fleur Alston

Slayhill Marshes is the site of a Roman battle which took place before the marshes were formed.



Artist Bill Westheimer's current project: "Ascent - an art installation exploring the evolution from analog man to future digital man - revealing who we are about to become."

Using photograms, sculptures and ultimately, 3D printing, Bill suggests how as "Man descended from apes, now humanity ascends to the digital future."

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In 2012, Maja Kaszkur and Radek Polak spent two months traveling with championship diver Mateusz Malina in Egypt, Norway, Poland and South Africa, and a month shooting with large and medium format cameras.

"Matt comes from a modest family. Wishing to make his passion come true he worked for two years in a BMW factory in England. He learnt English to learn to dive. His familiarity with the theory is a result of persevering study of the online sources. He could not afford to pay for professional courses nor for individual training. Matt is like Rocky Balboa. People love him as he reminds them of themselves. He is not a star of superhuman abilities. He is just a young man from Ustroń who reached the highest peaks thanks to his great determination."




Here's another post from my guest contributor Elyse Weingarten. 

The surprising discovery of previously unknown street photographer, Vivian Maier, has been ubiquitously reported internationally for the past two years. Maier, who worked on and off as a nanny in Chicago for almost forty years, prolifically photographed the city's streets on her days off, ultimately creating a body of work that has been compared to such twentieth-century masters as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee and Diane Arbus. 


In just a short time, Maier's work has been in exhibitions throughout the world and curated in two book published by CityFiles Press, with another book set to come out later this year; a documentary about Maier and the discovery of her work, 'Finding Vivian Maier,' is also currently in production. John Maloof, a local historian in Chicago, uncovered Maier's work when he bought a trunk full of prints and negatives at an auction house selling off Maier's belongings from a storage locker she'd left unpaid. Part of Maier's meteoric rise in popularity is undoubtedly due to the spectacular nature of how her work was uncovered. This, and the narrative of Maier's life, overshadows her photography; like many touted artists, she is known more as a personality than for her work. 


In Maier is the unraveling of one of our most necessary social myths. In the name of societal order and reason, we must live with the illusion that the external self presented is the veracity of one's entire character, a near reflection of their interior being. That anyone could hide such a significant piece of their life brings us to a state of wonder and awe. It seems so anomalous that it, like a good piece of gossip, becomes a story to be told over and over, juicier with each telling. 


It is interesting to note that this division between the private and public selves rests at the foundation of photography. If we walk around with only our outsides showing, the camera, in gifted hands, is a device to illuminate our emotional exoskeletons. So glued in place are our facades, it takes an artist to raise them. - Elyse Weingarten.



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© Mary Scanlon

There seem to be more and more and more photo-related events going on, worldwide. 

"The Photo Art Fair is a four-day exhibition of carefully curated, collectable works from up to 50 international photographers. As a brand new show, the Photo Art Fair is designed to provide visitors with the unique opportunity to purchase collectable photographs direct from both undiscovered and emerging artists." It is taking place at London's Victoria House in Bloomsbury Square, from May 3-6, 2013, and will also feature panel discussions and all that stuff. There is a fee for becoming an "intelligent collector;" it's £7.50 in advance or a tenner at the door. 

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© David Gardner Short-listed in the inaugural theme "A Modern Life" whose series Marking Our Place was published in aCurator around this time last year.

Life-Framer hit my radar a couple of months ago and I remember emailing my old man: "Interesting model?" Now they have held their first monthly theme and announced winners, and are looking for entries for the next. Here's the deal:

1. Take some photos for each monthly theme
2. Upload them and pay (1 image = $10, up to 3 = $20, up to 5 = $30)
3. We narrow it down to our 10 favourites each month, from which a special-guest judge picks their winner and runner up
4. You get some great monthly prizes and exposure
5. We exhibit all of the winners and runners up in a special end-of-series exhibition in London

Life Framer is crowd sourced; "both the content and the funding to run an exhibition at the end in a London gallery, theprintspace. We hope it's a little different from the myriad of other awards that are out there, and is of real value to photographers."

Although this is judged by photographers, and I do worry about photographers being stuck in a feedback loop, I do think there is value in the online and offline exposure and, well, a bit of cash, which some competitions don't offer and which is always nice. There's no rights grabbing, they'll sell prints for you without a commission if you're in the exhibition - it seems like a straight-up, fairly appealing arrangement.

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© Olivia Bee, upcoming judge

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A sweet, thoughtful project by Giovanni Savino morphed into a personal effort to preserve a piece of local history.

"A couple of years ago, in a small Dominican town near the Haitian border, I met and became friends with Georgette Michelen and her family. Georgette lives in a beautiful, enormous wooden house her father built at the beginning of last century: 'The House of the Sun.'


"The house has thirty-three external doors and it shines in a decayed, almost surreal beauty, replete with a long, fascinating oral history, virtually embedded in its walls. With Georgette's blessing, I embarked on a completely self-financed project: an extensive photographic exploration of the house, for nearly two months. 

My work was primarily motivated by a sense of impermanence I shared with Georgette; a feeling, perhaps a certainty, that this house and the marvelous mnemonic capsule it embodied wasn't to last much longer due to Georgette's age as well as to a brutal agenda of urban 'modernization,' quite rampant in many Dominican cities nowadays.

While brainstorming with Georgette on how to save and protect the house in a bleak-looking future, I promised her that I would try to edit the best shots as well as some of her thoughts and recollections, derived from the many audio recordings, into a book. Two years and many working hours later, on my own and with the help of several friends of mine, both a self-published book and a website now exist: my humble contribution to preserve at least some of the images, sounds and memories associated with this wonderful building, if not the building itself.

I recently had the immense pleasure of traveling to see her in the Dominican Republic and present her with a copy of the book. As she turned the pages, almost in disbelief, her face glowing, she would only stop smiling to thank me over and over again for all my hard work and commitment. Hopefully, through the book and some web presence we will find someone interested and able to help preserve the incredible house her father built."


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