Perusing the 2009 book of Yousuf Karsh photographs 'Regarding Heroes' this morning I stopped at this portrait of composer Kurt Weill, taken in 1946. About 46 minutes later, I got a request for this same photograph. Not having one in the digital archives, I was rescued as I often am by my colleague in Canada, photographer and scanner-man, Charles Britt, who made this beauty.

'Regarding Heroes', like so many Karsh publications, is full of great stories, so herewith, Mr. Karsh on Mr. Weill: "...His 'Threepenny Opera', 'One Touch of Venus', and 'Lady in the Dark' were all certified triumphs when I photographed him at his country home in Rockland County outside New York, where, for the first time, he was enjoying financial success. "It is lots of fun to have a smash hit," he remarked happily. The farmhouse was near a running trout stream which we both could hear and see as this photograph was being taken. The session was sometimes boisterously interrupted by his sheep dog, Wooly."

Kurt Weill, 1946 © Yousuf Karsh

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Morrissey. Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester, September, 1983 © Kevin Cummins

I've just about stopped panting enough to write about Proud Galleries' new exhibition of The Smiths by Kevin Cummins this week. The Smiths have the biggest place in my heart that a band has ever occupied, and Kevin Cummins has a place in my heart for making my first day in the photo biz, back in 1989, mounting transparencies into cardboard and writing his name by hand, just that bit less boring.

Manchester: So Much To Answer For, opens at Proud Camden, June 1st to July 15th 2012. I trust my London pals will be sure to go see this and let me know how great it was.

Proud Galleries have been doing the 80s, and music in general, well, proud!

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Morrissey. Jones Beach, Long Island, New York, July 1991 © Kevin Cummins

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The Smiths. Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester, September 1983 © Kevin Cummins

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Smiths Fans. Salford. September 1988 © Kevin Cummins

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Get your photos ready! The International Fine Art Photography Competition is now open for submissions. The first year of this annual competition is gaining momentum - with the express purpose of celebrating fine art photography and discovering new talent. Promising emerging and mid-career photographers will receive the recognition they deserve - a path to have their work seen and appreciated by a wider audience, with a rich exhibit and publication schedule for the winners and finalists.
 
A diverse jury will review the work - a panel noted for their creativity, expertise, and support of emerging photographers. We're honored to have two of the most distinguished museum curators of their time, Jean-Claude Lemagny of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and David Travis of the Art Institute of Chicago, both making significant contributions to the appreciation of fine art photography around the world. We're also honored to have two talented and successful contemporary photographers, Michael Kenna (who had a major retrospective at the Bibliothèque Nationale last year) and Jane Evelyn Atwood (who had her retrospective at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie). And rounding out the jury panel are Alexandre Percy, owner of the Acte2 experimental gallery in Paris and Julie Grahame, publisher of aCurator magazine in New York.
 
Also called the Grand Prix de Découverte, this international competition is open to photographers around the world. The images submitted can be far reaching - any subject - as long as they fit into one (or more) of the seven categories - People/Portraits, Landscape/Seascape/Nature, Cityscape/Architecture, Street Photography/Documentary, Still Life, Abstract, Experimental.
 
What are the Paris connections? The exhibit of finalists will be presented in Paris in November at NoFound Photo Fair in the Marais (more than 10,000 visitors), in conjunction with Paris Mois de la Photo and Paris Photo 2012. The awards ceremony will take place the week-end of November 17-18, and there will be a special event at the American Library for the jurors and the Grand Prix winner on November 13.
 
The winner of the Grand Prix de Découverte (the best image in the competition) will be awarded travel to Paris and accommodations for the awards ceremony, in addition to the cash prize of $5,000. There are cash awards for the winners of each category, and winners and finalists' work will be accepted into the prestigious collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale. There will also be a catalog of the winners and finalists' images and publication in aCurator magazine (seen by curators all around the world).
 
So, take a look through your photographs (or get your camera ready) and find/make images that have the elegance, impact, or creative chutzpah to make them speak out to the jurors.
 
Bonne chance! Bon courage! Go get 'em!

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Alice Austen perches on a fencepost while Gertrude Tate watches the second photographer. 

A unique opportunity awaits!

"Thanks to a generous grant from New York Community Trust, the Austen House is able to offer two emerging photographers the opportunity to develop their technical skills and aesthetic sensibility over the course of nine months. It is our hope that the residency will launch a serious career."

The residency is for nine months, and the artist will be involved with various aspects of the museum, and will receive a stipend. You'll need to either live in Staten Island or demonstrate a strong connection thereto and eligibility marvelously includes 'Photographers who are members of groups under-served by the museum community.'

"When Alice Austen turned eleven in 1877 she received a camera from her uncle Oswald. Over the following half a century she developed into one of America's earliest and most prolific female photographers. Her technical skills and strong aesthetic eye continue to fascinate us."

Contact Alice Austen House for details.

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Barbie and Ken © Jana Cruder

Jana Cruder and I met last year at NYC Fotoworks. Go see her exhibition at Barneys New York, Las Vegas, which opens on June 15th.

"The collection of new works, Great Expectations, explores sexuality, identity, and the dichotomy of the male-female relationship in the 21st Century."

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A New Day. Platinum Palladium print from waxed paper negative © Peter Liepke

Every day we're faced with more and more 'iPhoneography' or whatever the hell it's being called. If someone wants to turn a little phone-camera file into a platinum print maybe I'll pay more attention*. In the meantime, making me feel calm is Peter Liepke, a photographer working on this series 'Above and Beyond' - "the most ambitious fine art project I've done to date since leaving the commercial photography world."

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Listening to Sinatra. Platinum Palladium print from waxed paper negative © Peter Liepke

"Some people have said that perhaps it's my own visual love letter to New York, and maybe that's partly true, but to me it's much more than just that. To me the series is about each of us chasing a dream, while at the same time finding and exploring our own sense of place, with each of us being a small but valuable individual piece of a much bigger jigsaw puzzle."

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Morning Commute. Platinum Palladium print from waxed paper negative. © Peter Liepke

The prints are already selling well through Peter's galleries "All of the prints are combinations of Platinum/Palladium, Gum Bichromate, and Cyanotype hand made only by me... All of my gallery frames are made from scratch as well."

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Let's Go Home. Platinum Palladium print from waxed paper negative © Peter Liepke

Peter intends to produce about 40 images in the series and is planning the book (with foreword by a secret A-list New Yorker!)

Peter_Liepke_Sollsbury-Hill_02.jpgHead over to Peter's website for many more.





















Sollsbury Hill. Platinum Palladium print from waxed paper negative
© Peter Liepke


*Get off my lawn etc.

Photo-Secession_Steichen_EleonoraDuse.jpgHans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs will present Heinrich Kuehn and the Photo-Secession: Selected Works from May 23rd to  June 29th. This exhibition complements two current exhibitions in New York City: Heinrich Kuehn and his American Circle at the Neue Galerie and Heinrich Kuehn: Viennese Photo-Secessionist at Howard Greenberg Gallery. "Kuehn, an Austrian photographer, was influential in the Pictorialist movement, which strove to create photography that would be accepted as fine art. Before the turn of the 20th century, the Pictorialists experimented with processes and manipulated the photographic image to create tonalities and textures that resembled drawings, prints or paintings. They consciously distanced themselves from earlier approaches to photography that, they felt, emphasized scientific and technical expertise over artistic expression."
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From top:
Edward Steichen. Eleonora Duse, 1903. Carbon print

Julia Margaret Cameron. Sir J.F.W. Herschel, April, 1867. Albumen print from a collodion negative.

Alvin Langdon Coburn. Wings!, 1914. Gum bichromate over platinum print

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© Tabitha Soren

On June 1st, 2012, Tabitha Soren's series 'Running' opens at Indianapolis' Museum of Contemporary Art as part of their 'Natural World' exhibition. Photographing first friends and then strangers, Tabitha says "My static landscapes needed people on the verge of something." The photographer has been shooting this series across three years in Mexico and Canada, and the prints are nice and big.

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All images © Tabitha Soren

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1960s, California © Anderson Smith Sr.

Anderson Smith, photographer and radio show host, told me about having proudly inherited his father's archive. Left in boxes, the logistics and challenges that accompany sorting, editing and digitizing analog materials are complicated and stressful and I wish any of you good luck with that! I am thrilled to publish his work for the first time - here's to you Mr Anderson!

"My father's name was Anderson Smith Sr. He was a machine shop worker who had a passion for photography. He was a part of the Chicago Camera Club and had won numerous awards. He photographed everything. He was very passionate about photography, however never really pursued it professionally."

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Muhammad Ali


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Anderson_Smith_Sr_walk.jpgAll images © Anderson Smith Sr.

Tune in to One Hour Photo, Wednesdays at 1 pm on Armada FM

Alice_Austen.jpgThe Alice Austen House needs you!

Alice Austen, one of America's earliest and most prolific female photographers broke away from the constraints of the Victorian era to create her own life. Her home, located in Staten Island, now serves as a museum dedicated to her work and life. The Alice Austen House Museum is up for the 2012 Partners in Preservation grant - a grant that will allow the museum to help preserve a very important part of the history of photography.

Partners in Preservation is a community-based program which provides preservation grants for local historic places. All you have to do is Vote! and help Alice Austen house win the grant.

Alfred Eisenstaedt pushes photographer Alice Austen in a wheelchair, Staten Island, New York, in 1951, one year before Austen died. Alfred Eisenstaedt - TIME & LIFE Pictures

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