However, one piece of news that will definitely have a bearing on the time I spend on this endeavour is the fact that as of tomorrow, I'll be leaving the U.S. where I have lived for the past 5 years to relocate to Singapore. Things for me will (hopefully) be pretty busy so I doubt this blog will get noisier anytime soon. It's a shame, as I've enjoyed trawling through the world of photography and spouting my opinions on things. But there are people who do that more frequently and much better than me. I may occasionally use this as a forum to post something I wish to say or share, and maybe one day I'll get round to writing those long rambling posts that I keep meaning to write, but probably not anytime soon. I hope you've enjoyed the blog and the archive is of course always there (until I delete it or we advance over to holographic computing and all Google's server's get junked). But for now, it stays. There may be something worth looking at in there, you never know!
Anyway, until the next post. Farewell.
The symposium itself is on June 11th. More info here. There is also a series of public events, check the website here for details.
Check it out.
Curated by Minny Lee
Vicky Amian Azcoitia, Alejandra Ugarte Bedwell, Sieglinde Cassel, Tara Cronin, Christian Erroi, Rachel Gardam, Sarah Girner, Sheila Griffin, Becky Holladay, Daniel Kukla, Minny Lee, Ruben E. Reyes, Liz Sales, Erica Silberstein, Yasmine Soiffer, Brendon Stuart, Hiroshi Sumiyama, Alessandro Vecchi, Tom White, and Ann Woo
Nature Within features the recent works of twenty photographers from diverse backgrounds comprising ten different countries. Their photographic genre ranges from documentary and photojournalism to conceptual and all have had their prior works featured in galleries throughout the world.
In a world and society faced with monumental environmental issues and crises, our concern for nature grows by the day. This concern and cognizance of the gravity of the problem are at odds with society's needs to keep up with our increasing population and big businesses' desire to increase the bottom line. Nature Within is an exhibition that attempts to rethink our relationship and existence within nature. The exhibition takes us to a personal space and place embedded within our experience with it.
Many of the photographs in the exhibition do not have an overt human presence. In the subject matter, however, there are trace elements of society. Some photographs were taken on a familiar American city street or Local Park, while others were taken in places as geographically distant as Bolivia, Israel and South Korea. Whether the photographers produced work locally or while traveling abroad, nature is omnipresent in the photographs, and the images unveil how we live within it and in respond to its power.
Congratulations to my good friend Gabriele on reaching the $6000 goal to finish his project on refugees in the U.S. alongside writer Juliet Linderman. I've followed this work since he started it almost 5 years ago. It's good stuff. There's still a few days left if you want to pledge some money and pre-order your copy of the book that will result. I'm hoping to sit down and have a chat with him about it for this blog, if we can ever both find the time at the same time, if you know what I mean...
Now I'm a big fan of the Wind In the Willows story, with it's straight moral compass, it's yearning for a simpler time and it's obvious love for the British class system. No, seriously, all that aside, I do love it. Watching the old TV episodes with my kids I came across one where Toad sets up his own newspaper, and I just had to share this little clip. This is one for all you journalists out there.
This Thursday, April 21st will see an auction event in NYC that I'm pleased to be a part of. The auction will raise funds for Architecture for Humanity's efforts in the rebuilding of Japanese communities affected by the Tsunami.
There was some talk during planning of donating the funds to something other than just the relief efforts in Japan, but eventually we settled on Japan and specifically Architecture For Humanity as the original suggestion came from New York based Japanese photographer Shiori Kawasaki and we wanted to do something that would directly benefit these communities in a unique way.
It is true that Japan is regarded as a rich country, and that there are many other desperate people in need of help, but for me it's not about this. This was about a friend of mine wanting to help her home country in the wake of a natural disaster, and enlisting her community to help her achieve that. It's about bringing together people and organisations to do some good. When you have lost your home, your livelihood, maybe even friends and family, it matters not to me what your situation was before. You need help. For me this is an opportunity to help rebuild and improve. That is why the choice of AFH as the target of the fundraising effort is fitting. Their work is not just about buildings, it is about making improvements to the quality of people's lives through better design. That is something I am happy to support.
So, enough of the preamble and justification - here is the information.
WA PROJECT PRESENTS:
Japan Tsunami Relief
April 21, 2011 6-9pm
25CPW, 25 Central Park West, NYC
Advance tickets $20 - http://tiny.cc/waauction
Wa Project is pleased to announce a photographic exhibition and auction benefiting Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding efforts following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The auction will be held at the 25CPW gallery in New York City on April 21 2011.
100% of the funds raised will be donated to Architecture for Humanity's work in rebuilding devastated communities in the affected area. Partnering with Nuru Project, 25CPW and Sombra Projects, with contributions from the Magnum Foundation and Friends Without Borders, this auction event has already gathered support from the Japanese and photographic communities in New York and beyond. The night will be a celebration with a display of photographic art, music from Koto player Yumi Kurosawa, American folk band Thomas Wesley Stern and Japanese cuisine from Blue Ribbon as well as Soba-ya and Robata-ya of the T.I.C. group with liquid refreshment from Sapporo and Ito En. In addition, all ticket holders will be entered into a raffle.
Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit design services firm founded in 1999 working to build a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. By channeling the resources of the global funding community to meaningful projects that make a difference locally, each year 10,000 people directly benefit from structures designed by Architecture for Humanity. Advocacy, training and outreach programs impact an additional 50,000 people annually. From conception to completion, all aspects of the design and construction process are carefully managed. Clients include community groups, aid organizations, housing developers, government agencies, corporate divisions, and foundations.
The donated auction prints follow the theme of 和 (Wa). This ancient name for Japan also describes a cultural concept which underpins much of Japanese society. It has no direct translation in English, though the closest term that could be applied would be the idea of 'Harmony'. We are pleased to feature prints from a diverse range of photographers who have interpreted this theme in a variety of ways and provided us with a unique collection.
Last year Lucy Helton, Tiana Markova-Gold, and myself set up Sombra Projects as a platform for documentary photography and socially conscious art. This in itself was born out of numerous collaborative projects with our immediate community and was our attempt to create a formal organisation for these efforts. While we three are the current administrators, our inaugural exhibition at the New York Photo Festival involved the hard work of many people, and this is the spirit in which we aim to continue. Our goal is to facilitate projects that are not just showcases, but collaborations where the viewer, the subject and the photographer/artist/journalist are all part of a community and involved in the discussion. Recently we have started producing a series of projects updated monthly and available as pdf downloads from our website.
Our latest pdf is of Tiana’s recent work with The Fondation des Jeunes Haitiennes Optimistes in Haiti, a country she has a long standing relationship with both photographically and personally. The FJHO was founded in September 2009 by Jocelyne Firmin to help Haitian girls develop leadership skills, build self-esteem and reinforce their human dignity.
Direct link to the PDF download:
With an eye to the future, we are always keen to link up with people for possible collaborations – you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also sign up to our mailing list – email@example.com – to receive updates and regular downloads of our featured projects.
My wife and I subscribe to the paper edition, as we got an introductory deal which meant that daily home delivery worked out cheaper than buying the Sunday paper every week (which is what I was doing - plus I'd often buy it at least one other day to read on the train or something, cos I don't have an Ipad, and I hate squinting at a mobile phone screen). The price will go up when our 12 week offer runs out, but then we'll probably just juggle the subscription to a weekend delivery or something, which will still be cheaper than buying it on the news stand on Sunday and also give us unlimited digital access. If we didn't live within spitting distance of NYC then I wonder if we would still subscribe...
Anyway, this rambling explanation of my news consuming habits has a point. Yesterday I was reading the paper on the train. The business section to be exact. Now, I rarely check out the business news when I read the NY Times online, but in it's physical form, I at least flick though and scan every single page of every single section. And here's the thing, I discovered 3 articles in the business section relating to, in turn, long-form online journalism, social media & activism and online mapping, all of which I found interesting and all of which I would probably have missed had I been only using the website. Online, I often am looking for something specific, rather than browsing. Only if someone recommends an article to me, or if it's on the front page of the website, or linked to from an article I am reading, will I check it out. Never will I go through every new published article online. And this is habit, and my defense of the printed page. Now I fully expect the printed edition of newspapers to become less than daily not far into the future, but until then, I will continue to pick up the paper, and scan every page, and discover some gems I may have missed.
Oh, and those articles? Here, here, and here. Enjoy.
On one of these afternoons (they were rarely mornings...), I was introduced to Karen. I cannot remember for the life of me the content of that afternoon's conversation, but I do remember it was wide ranging and enjoyable. Our paths crossed many times while I lived in London, we shared many close mutual friends and it was always a joy to see her and catch up. Karen is one of those rare artists whose conceptual approach is as practical as it is intellectual.
After the recent global news events it was an absolute joy to hear of her latest project. So, if you are, like me, currently reeling from what she calls 'the brutality of reality' then please check out the video below.
Karen will be opposite the Houses of Parliament, between 1-4pm on the 22nd & 29th March for a series of happenings and she's exhibiting at the Bird's Nest, 32 Deptford Church Street, SE8 4RZ until Sunday 3rd April. That's a pub, by the way...
There are issues that have been raised in relation to accountability and integrity when basically asking the public to fund a journalists work, and there is the issue of the mainstream media seeing crowd funding as a way to avoid using their own budgets, but these problems - though important - are ones that already exist with the current/previous financial model. Corporations want to buy products, not pitches. It is a rare thing to get a cheque up front. Integrity and accountability should always be scrutinised, no matter where the money is coming from, and in some cases, especially because of where the money is coming from.
One thing that troubles me though is the audience. Where will the work be shown, and to what purpose? Does crowdfunding only stoke the fire that turns photojournalism in on itself so that we end up with a situation where work is being funded by the photojournalism community, produced by the photojournalism community and distributed amongst the photojournalism community with little regard to those outside of this little world? An analogy might be a church congregation, with the plate being passed around during a service and a pastor preaching to the choir.
Of course, we should support our colleagues and our community - the congregation in the church of journalism let's call it - but those who we really need to reach are the ones who currently spend their money on the gossip rags, the producers of entertainment and celebrity tittle tattle who call it news and the advertisers who want us to buy their products without question or even thought. If crowdfunding can bring us together, make us stronger both in terms of community and finances so that we may take on the producers of dross and distraction then I am all for it, but if I can get my project funded, only to have it displayed as thankyou prints in the homes of my backers and at a photojournalism festival, then I am doing no more good than if I had put the whole thing on my credit card myself.
Let's use these tools to spread the word and look for sources of income beyond our peers, not to turn inward and bleed ourselves dry while no one notices.
On 22nd February a violent 6.3 magnitude earthquake brought widespread
destruction across Christchurch. Lyttelton was the epicentre of this
devastation. Hundreds of homes, historic buildings, and virtually all
businesses lie in ruin. Many have lost their livelihoods and still
more are displaced, disorientated, or left grieving for the loss of a
family member, friend or colleague. As the ground continues to rumble
we focus on the now, on each other, taking small steps into an
As each day dawns the realisation of what we have lost sinks in a
little more, but as each day dawns we also stand a little taller,
together, and realise that the inspiration and strength of this
community is not in its bricks and mortar but in its people, their
passion and compassion, their energy and spirit and that has not been
broken. Together we dare to look to the future.
Before 22nd February Lyttelton was an exciting vibrant little town,
taking bold steps towards sustainability, exploring new ways to create
and nurture community. Lyttelton had created an invaluable community
radio, highly successful farmers market, thriving volunteer network
and time bank, community garden, grow local co-operative, information
centre and supportive local business network to mention but a few
initiatives. All these are in jeopardy as a result of last week’s
Already, only days after tragedy there is talk amongst this resilient
community about not just rebuilding what we have lost but of using it
as a chance to create something new. Already minds are whirring,
imaginations sparked and hearts focused on creating a sustainable,
bright, better place, a Lyttelton of and for the future.
If you feel moved to be part of this creation, if you are able to help
us regenerate in a clean, green, sustainable, community focused way,
then please follow this link and donate to Lyttelton today.
You can also find us on facebook... search for Love Lyttelton and like
Project Lyttelton is a registered charitable trust that has been
working in and for the community for many years. Project Lyttelton
will engage the whole of the community in how best any funds are