Mar 7, 2009

thanks doesn't pay the bills

This blog has made a ugly turn toward self indulgence lately. I guess personal blogs, in general are self indulgent...and for that matter, photogra...never mind. It's time to pay some respects.

The photography community, or I should say more specifically the online photography community, has produced some fantastic grassroots efforts to help other photographers over the past couple years. I'm regularly amazed lately by the smart, innovative, and collaborative ways photographers are banding together to help each other, and dare I say the art world in general. The thing that strikes me time and again, is that so many of these ventures are created by photographers that are accomplished in their own right, and find the time and energy to help others. With the increasing financial obstacles of producing art, time, family, the day job in many cases, and the tangles of life in general, I find it incredible that some of these projects gain traction in the first place, let alone grow and evolve. This success is born on the broad shoulders of a few very capable and progressive photographers. These grassroots efforts, and those that drive them, inspire me.

A few friends and favorites:

* The dynamic Duo of Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips are the talented team behind Women In Photography. They saw a void, and they filled it. Done. In a dizzying short period of time they have hosted work by the likes of Erica Larson and Allesandra Sanguinetti, and now offer a grant. Money? In 2009? That's saying something. Watch WIP for details - submissions will start being accepted on April 1st.

© Erika Larsen

* Humble Arts has become a force in a very short period of time. Amani, and his team, are tireless. There is no better organization at getting young photographers seen in a broader context. Exhibitions. Books. Prints. Grants. They, literally, do it all with precision and no compromises. Newly anointed PDN 30 member Corey Arnold participated very early on in Humble's print edition sales. Coincidence?

© Corey Arnold

* Andy Adams started Flak Photo in 2006. Since then he has build an archive of the most compelling singular images anywhere. I've found more great work, photographers, and inspiration here than anywhere lately. I'd pay for a poster of the grid of his archive.

* Ben Alper's The Exposure Project and it's sister blog have been around forever (in the blogoworld) it seems, and has set the table for many other efforts by others. Ben will be publishing the third installment of The Exposure Project Book soon. Issue #3 included, among others, good friend Justin James Reed.

* Let me be frank, Shane Lavalette pisses me off. Okay, that's obviously said in jest, but the grumpy (read jealous) old man in me fights the urge to mutter "damn kids" every time something terrific like Lay Flat is born. Shane has penned one of the smartest art related blogs for some time, and his efforts, with Karly Wildenhaus, on Lay Flat reinforce that trajectory. He continues to push forward with intriguing work, and a beautiful package to present the work of others. I expect huge things from this young endeavor.

* Finally, Daylight Magazine is the godfather. This brainchild of Taj Forer and Michael Itkoff, their non-profit has positioned photography as a means of intelligent discourse, activism, and community education. Their story based approach is fresh without being trendy, and their podcasts are embracing where we are headed. Theirs is no less than a blueprint for where photography is headed.

I know I'm missing a heap of other worthy efforts here, but have to leave it at this for now. Please comment with any others that need to be mentioned. And, give a 'thanks' to these folks when you get a chance - It doesn't pay the bills, but its necessary.

Oh, and if you have the means to break out your check book...that does pay the bills.

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