Friday, May 15, 2009

Tim Carpenter – A Most Serene Republic





Tim Carpenter, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Powerhouse Books portfolio review event in NYC, just had an essay published over at Camera Obscura. In the essay, titled “A Still Small Voice: Thoughts on Making Photographs,” he talks a fair amount about the writing that has inspired his work. While I had seen his unpopulated images before, he is now working on integrating his portraiture into the greater body of images.

Go and check out the article and view the accompanying work from Tim’s project “a most serene republic.”

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 11:06 am  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kohlton Ervin – Banff



Images by Kohlton Ervin. Check out his new website here.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 2:22 am  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

She’s Mighty Mighty, Full-Figured and 35,000 Years Old: Venus of Hohle Fels


Move over Willendorf, there’s a new woman in town. Technically, it’s an older woman. And while it’s a fact, the lady is stacked (all further Lionel Richie references aside) it’s just been verified that she’s around 5,000 years old than the other well known “Venus.” You can read all about the figure in this New York Times article. I find it a little interesting that the article is posted in the Science section, since I think it’s of extreme importance to arts and culture. I’ve always held that the distinction is a lot fuzzier than many posit, though, so I’m not against its placement – I’d like to see more crossover, not less. Here’s another mention of it at Wired.

Returning to the figure itself though, the images of it are already titled “Venus of Hohle Fels.” I could have sworn that there had been a movement to have the Willendorf figure retitled with something less loaded. So little is known about these figures, and while there is a strong case for the sexual/fertility aspects of them, the title “Venus” may skew the perceptions of the figures. I’m not sure if they should be associated with the classic/mythological connotations of the word. I’m not an expert on this, my specialization being neither in the presentation of women in the arts nor in prehistoric art history, but I know there’s got to be some serious discussion on this somewhere.

Regardless of the title, I think the sexual characteristics are not meant to be subtle. Or as is written in the times:

The short, squat torso is dominated by oversize breasts and broad
buttocks. The split between the two halves of the buttocks is deep and
continuous without interruption to the front of the figurine. A greatly
enlarged vulva emphasizes the “deliberate exaggeration” of the
figurine’s sexual characteristics, Dr. Conard said.

Try getting through that paragraph without flushing. I like to think of Dr. Conard as having one of those subtle accents and a slight stutter when flustered.

One thing of note, is that the bump at the top of the figure may not be designed to be a head – it’s a ring so the figure could be hung, perhaps worn. The NYT article is specific about it not being a head, though personally I feel it could be both a head and functional, but I find it interesting either way. It certainly seems that much early figurative art is meant to be representational of general forms and not individuals.

But perhaps people were simply easily frustrated – god knows I can never get my noses looking right when I work with clay.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 1:32 am  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Loop The Web


posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 4:59 am  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cristy Lange – Critical Values from Frieze Magazine

I just read a great little article. In it, Cristy Lange, assistant editor of Frieze Magazine, touches on her initial feelings about blogging and her role as a critic. There’s a bit of a focus on “snark” (a word I’ve never gotten much use out of) and negative commentary.

Here’s an excerpt:

There’s a difference however between a thoughtful argument and wilfully anti- intellectual invective. So as art critics, especially in the forum of the blog, we are presented with a dilemma: presumably our love of art is what makes us critics, but we also want to point out what we see as its flaws and faults without dissecting what we love too cruelly. It’s as if art were a friend we cared deeply about, but who’d made a horrible mistake, and we at least try to temper the way we tell them, as a sign of respect.

Check out the rest here. It’s a quick read.

She also mentions a review of the book ‘Snark’ by David Denby. You can find that article here: Snark Attack by Adam Sternbergh at New York Magazine. Here’s a snippet of the review.

The first difficulty of writing about snark is that you have to define snark. This proves consistently tricky, no less so for Denby. His definition is a tap dance on hot coals, as he mostly tells us what snark is not. It’s not irreverence or spoof or satire. It’s not Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert or Keith Olbermann. It’s not irony, at least not irony as exemplified by “the sharpened blade of Swift.” “Snark is like a schoolyard taunt without the schoolyard,” he writes. “Snark is hazing on the page.” Basically, Denby argues that snark is humor as a vehicle for cruelty. Of course, a book titled Cruelty: It’s Ruining Our Conversation hardly jazzes the reader, as it might have been published at any time in the last 400 years. Snark, as a term, feels current, modern: a viral killer for our cacophonous age.

Charges against snark are valid, especially when backed up with cherry-picked evidence. But you could make the same accusations against all strains of humor, throughout history, when misapplied. In targeting snark, Denby sights a trendy straw man, but he misses the important point that snark is not an idea; it’s a conduit—an outrage delivery device. He claims that snark is the favored voice of a generation “who know, by the time they are 12, the mechanics of hype, spin, and big money,” and about this, he’s exactly right. But instead of moving on to denounce the toxic pervasiveness of hype, spin, and big money, he blames the refuseniks who rail against it, claiming that everything seems “lifeless and unreal to them.”

You know how you can go years without hearing a word like “refusenik” and then suddenly you hear it many times in quick succession? Is there a word for when that happens?

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 2:38 am  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art Deadlines and Calls For Entries – May 2009

Following up on March and April, here is the deadlines list for May 2009. There have been tons of calls for this month, and there are plenty I’ve missed. As always, email me if you see any that I should post.

Each is posted at the absolute deadline. For some of these it is a postmark date, for others it is a receive-by date. Check carefully and plan ahead!

Remember to read the fine print whenever you send work out – I post these as an informational service not as an endorsement, though I highly recommend submitting to many of them.

May 15th – i-want-a-print Emerging Talent Award

i-want-a-print announces the i-want-a-print Emerging Talent Award devoted to promoting the work of art students and/or recent graduates making the transition from the academic environment to professional careers. Finalists will have the opportunity to sell museum-quality limited edition prints of their works with the soon-to-be-launched i-want-a-student-print website, which will handle the production and sales of these editions.

May 15th – Arbitrary Art Grant in Sculpture

$500 for building a sculpture inside a grocery cart using only items found in the store.

May 15th – What’s Your Function In Life? in Waterfall Magazine

“It could be a short film. an essay. a novel. an installation. a sculpture. a set of photographs. a song. an on-going project. a speech. a mixtape. a television program. a painting. a piece of furniture. a letter. a dream. a place. a performance. a whatever-it-is……… just sent them in if you think they fit.”

May 15th – W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography

The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is presented annually to a photographer whose past work and proposed project, as judged by a panel of experts, follows the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s concerned photography and dedicated compassion exhibited during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist.

May 15th – Breaking Boundaries, 2009 International Photography Festival

Free juried exhibition for students of 100 images from American colleges and universities. Accepted work will be exhibited at the 2009 Pingyao, China International Photography Festival held each September in the 2700 year old walled village, a World Heritage site.

May 15th – Photographic Center Northwest 14th Annual Photographic Competition Exhibition, Photo-Op, Juried by Jen Bekman

Selected entries will be exhibited at the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle from July 13th – September 4th, 2009. First, second, and third prize winners will take home $1000, $500, and $250 respectively.

May 17th – Foam Magazine Talent 2009

As in 2008, Foam Magazine’s Fall issue will present the work of young talented photographers worldwide.

May 22nd - Art Of Photography Show

A world-class international exhibition featuring all forms of photographic art — images shot on film, shot digitally, unaltered shots, alternative process, mixed media, digital manipulations, montages, photograms, etc. The Art of Photography Show will be exhibited at the two-level Lyceum Theatre Gallery, a perfect venue for exhibiting a large showcase of awesome photographic art.

May 25th – Lehmen College Art Gallery Call for Artists

Lehman College Art Gallery is looking for work that is broadly described as portraiture for our exhibition Beyond Appearances. The exhibition will explore identity in a broad range of media and less conventional styles.

May 27th – Axis Gallery 4th National Juried Exhibition

Juror, Janet Bishop, curator at SFMOMA

May 29th – A Sense Of Place

The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art is currently accepting entries for its 29th annual juried fine art competition, A Sense of Place 2009. Open to all U.S. artists ages 18 and older working in the following media: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, and mixed media.

May 31st – Google Photography Prize for Students

The Google Photography Prize is a global competition for students to create themes for iGoogle. Run in collaboration with the Saatchi Gallery London, the Google Photography Prize is open to students across the world. The shortlist: 36 shortlisted entries will be turned into iGoogle themes, shown on Google and put to public vote. The finalists: 6 finalists will be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery London, and reviewed by our independent jury. The winner: 1 winner will receive a £5,000 ($7500 USD) bursary and an invite to spend a day with Martin Parr.

(as always, be sure you are ok with the fine print when entering commercial contests – they often want permanent usage rights to your images and you must decide if this is worth the potential cash and prestige)

May 31st – Magnum Photos Membership Submission

Magnum Photos is a co-operative owned and run by its members/photographers. They meet once a year during the last weekend in June to discuss the organization’s affairs. One day of the meeting is set aside for looking at and voting on potential new members’ portfolios.

June 1st – Landscape Photography show at Paul Engstrom Fine Art

Call for entries for landscape photographs for second show at new gallery in Grosse Pointe Park, MI.

June 5th – 2009 Adobe Design Achievement Awards

The Adobe® Design Achievement Awards celebrate student achievement reflecting the powerful convergence of technology and the creative arts. The competition — which showcases individual and group projects created with industry-leading Adobe creative software — honors the most talented and promising student graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, digital filmmakers, developers, and computer artists from the world’s top institutions of higher education.

June 6th – Self Portrait: Silver Eye at 30

Self Portrait: Silver Eye at 30 will be a group exhibition on view July 8 – September 12, 2009 that weaves a visual understanding of one theme. This open exhibition will not be juried and is a perk of membership.

June 15th – MyArtSpace Art Scholarship

MYARTSPACE is giving away $16,000 cash Scholarships for students to continue their education in an approved MFA, BFA or higher level degree program for the arts. Early Deadline is the 15th, Final Deadline is December 16th.

June 19th – Open Society Documentary Photography Grant

Eligible photographers must have already completed a body of work surrounding issues of social justice, and would use the grant in partnership with a non-profit organization, NGO, or a community-based organization as a means for enacting social change through photography.

June 26th – “What’s The Big Idea?”

Seeking entries for its 7th annual international juried art show, “What’s the Big Idea?” to be held November 6 – December 3, 2009. Artists 18 years and older, working in all 2-D and 3-D art media, are invited to submit digital entries. The exhibition is limited to original artwork created within two years of the entry date. Artists should consider the theme, applying concepts considered to be visionary, lofty and bold. The exhibit is open to the general public and artwork must be viewable for all ages. Prizes include a $2,000 purchase prize as well as numerous other prizes. Entry fee is $35 for up to three submissions.

June 29th – Caliente/Hot at New Orleans Photo Alliance

The New Orleans Photo Alliance is seeking documentary, fine art, and conceptual photographs that explore and interpret the many meanings of the word CALIENTE (Spanish) or HOT (English). Selected entries will be exhibited in the New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery during the hottest months of the year, August and September 2009. The winning images will also be featured and archived in the Alliance’s online gallery and considered for publication in the New Orleans Photo Alliance Best of 2009 Photo Annual.

July 1st – A Million Little Pictures

Seeking 1,000 people from around the world to receive 1000 disposable cameras. Art House will mail the camera to you to document your life in 24 exposures and then you simply send back the prints. Not only will Art House have an exhibition in Atlanta, GA – Art House will also travel to the city with the most participants. So, tell your friends, mom, sister, cousin, or whoever to sign up. The exhibition will be home to 24,000 photographs of 1,000 people’s lives across the globe.

July 1st – The Competition in Digital Arts

The Competition in Digital Arts brings together artists and digital art communities to promote both digital technology through the arts, and the arts through digital technology. Students are especially encouraged to submit their works to the Competition in Digital Arts. The competition consists of two categories. Short films should not be longer than five minutes. Animation should not be longer than three minutes.

July 16th – PDN/Blurb Photography.Book.Now

Photography.Book.Now is a celebration of the most creative, most innovative, and finest photography books – and the people behind them.

July 17th – Berenice Abbot Emerging Photographer Award

One person is selected for this prize and is given a one-person, all expenses paid, exhibition at the Julia Dean Gallery in Venice Beach, California, on October 17, 2009, plus a Canon EOS50D/E 28-135 Kit.

July 31st – Santo Foundation Individual Visual Artists Awards

Two $2500 grants will be awarded to individual visual artists in any area of expression.

August 1st 2009 – SECAC Artist’s Fellowship

The Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) is an organization devoted to the promotion of art in higher education through facilitating cooperation among teachers and administrators in universities and colleges‚ professional institutions and the community served by their institutions. This is a $3000.00 grant to be awarded to an individual artist or to a group of artists working together on a specific project.

September 30th – Magnum Expression Award

The Magnum Expression Photography Award was established by Magnum Photos and HP with the goal of raising awareness and inspiring change through campaigns using photography as an expressive medium. The judges are searching for revealing imagery that illustrates a dedicated compassion and intensity using photography as a medium.

???/ongoing – Ian Aleksander Adams Blog

I figured that I’d add myself to this list – I’m always looking to review and feature new work. Just send me some jpgs and some text about what you do in an email. That simple!

???/ongoing – X-TRA Artists’ Projects

X-TRA invites artists to submit original ideas for direct-to-print artworks for publication. Proposals should address the content, context and format of the magazine. Selected projects will be allocated up to four pages in an upcoming edition of X-TRA. Proposals that incorporate a web-based element for publication at are encouraged.Submissions must include a complete description of the proposed project, an artist’s statement, representations of previous work, and the artist’s contact information (name, address, phone number and email). Send proposals to: X-TRA, Artists’ Projects Committee, PO Box 41437 Los Angeles, CA 90041. Please direct questions to Email submissions will not be considered. Include an SASE if you would like your proposal returned. Rolling deadline. Students are not eligible.

???/ongoing – Cerise Press

CERISE PRESS is an international online (with forthcoming print) journal of literature, arts and culture based in the U.S.A and France. The journal, published three times a year, includes poetry, poetry in translation, interviews, reviews, essays, art and more.

Each issue features several selections from photographers’ galleries. We accept both black and white and color work, and read submissions year-round on an ongoing basis.

Please visit our website for guidelines:

Contact: Greta Aart, Sally Molini, Karen Rigby

???/ongoing – Entopic Group

The work showed here is a mix of invitations and submissions. Submissions are always open and are welcome. When we receive enough work we will put group shows online. If you think that you would fit in please submit your work for consideration. There is no theme. Send us an email to with a short bio, some info about the work that you are submiting and up to 8 jpegs of your work.

???/ongoing – Eyestorm Submissions

Since its inception in 1999, Eyestorm has attracted many of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists and photographers, including Damien Hirst, Abigail Lane, Anoushka Fisz, Marc Quinn, Helmut Newton and Jeff Koons.

Eyestorm has also been active in nurturing new talent in original painting and sculpture through Britart, which Eyestorm acquired in 2003, and which has now been fully incorporated into Eyestorm.

Eyestorm will continue to promote work by established and emerging artists, both online and through changing exhibitions at our gallery.

???/ongoing – Women In Photography

We accept submissions on a rolling basis. If you are interested, please submit five (5) jpegs and a short statement from a body of work to:

Please submit images @ 72 dpi, 550 pixels wide, sRGB, JPG format. Rename your images “myname_title.jpg, etc.” No zip files, please.

???/ongoing – Ahorn Magazine

Photographic works:
About 8 – 12 photographs from a single body of work
Sized at 450px in height, 72dpi, jpeg format
Please label the files with your name and numeration. Like this: name_lastname_1.jpg
Please attach also a short statement (with title, if relevant) and your bio

Written works:
We are always looking for articles, essays and book reviews.
Please attach a brief summary of your proposal and your bio.

We would be happy to review your book and photo-zines.

???/ongoing – Flak Photo

To submit your work for consideration, email your photograph (sRGB JPG format, minimum 1000px on the longest dimension) with title and place of capture including city, state/province, country and year to Contributors are encouraged to include their website URL with their submission.

???/ongoing – We Can’t Paint Blog

Noel also accepts submissions from photographers as well as ideas for interesting articles to showcase on We Can’t Paint. There is no guarantee that your work, article, etc, will be featured on the blog but don’t hesitate to try. Send all submissions with the subject line: “Portfolio” to [Also, watch the blog for Wassenaar Magazine's next submission cycle.]

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 1:41 am  

Monday, May 11, 2009

Website: Updates and Background

This week I’ll be working on the website a little. I’ve just got to keep the resume up to date and I hope to add some of the newer projects that I’ve shared on the blog.

While I’m at it, I thought I might tweak the color scheme a bit. Scott emailed me to tell me that he found the text on the blog hard to read. I tend to agree. When I designed this site it was primarily with the galleries in mind. I still like how they look, so I’m a little torn.

Do you think I should change the overall color scheme? Should I leave most of the site light gray on black and change the blog part to something easier to read?

If you’ve got any more feedback or suggestions, please send them on over! Or post a comment here if you’d like. The website is always a work in process and I’m always happy to hear advice.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 11:28 am  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Screenshot


posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 3:21 pm  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In Response to Joerg Colberg’s “Defining One’s Work”

Joerg, over at Conscientious in Limbo while his webserver recovers from a crash, posted some thoughts on Defining One’s Work.

A lot of the points here are good ones, points that work for the majority of photographic work. I understand where he is coming from, having experienced much of the same frustration when trying to get students to open up about their work.

The student responses he describes are often associated with the fears and lack of understanding depicted. I’m always refreshed when someone is willing to say they are still exploring, to tell me what their gut has told them about the work, and help me understand that while they don’t have a statement, they are thinking. This is much preferrable to some kind of faux philosophical anti-statement stance – however, I know some work does not need a statement. Some work does suffer under unnessesary verbiage.

I think a lot of people don’t believe in the idea of “misunderstanding” work. Can work be misunderstood if one believes part of the art process is the myriad of interpretations a viewer brings to the work? What if someone believes that art is not about some sort of succinct communication (a view blasted into mainstream society by the graphic and commercial arts) and is instead about something more organic, more mysterious?

I love writing, but I don’t feel that it is always necessary for work. Sometimes the best thing about a photograph is that it is silent. Sometimes the best thing about a work of art is that it is confusing and overwhelming and there is nothing there to catch you, to stop you from coming to your own grasping conclusions.

Of course, in art school, this work is rare. On the internet, it’s common. On surf clubs and with people who work with appropriation, pulling things out of context is often of more importance than describing the new context.

Regardless, it’s always important to be able to talk about work. I can’t think of anything that can’t benefit from discussion.

Printing words makes them concrete in some way. If you are going to put a statement in a book or on a wall, there is a sliding scale. Some work needs only a title. Some needs a sentence. Some needs an extensive discourse. And of course, some needs silence. Don’t let yourself be forced into any position, but remain open to the idea of words with your work. It’s true that many photographic works benefit from some kind of lead.

Joerg continues this discussion here, and here, where he talks about an email from Bradley Peters on the dangers of overdefining work.

I feel that Joerg and I are coming at this from pretty similar standpoints, and he is right to point out my contrarian stance: I hope I’m at least an atypical refusenik (I’m lucky enough that my great grandparents were allowed to emigrate from the soviet union, haha). I love writing statements and talking about my work. I just hate absolutes, so if someone says that there needs to be an artist statement for work, I have to try and think of a situation where an artist statement would be detrimental to the work. It is feasible, I think.

When Joerg holds the viewpoint that a well written artist statement will never be detrimental, I find I want to agree. Perhaps my reluctance is due to the actual words “Artist Statement.” They come loaded, with certain gallery, art school, and system related connotations. I certainly think that words can work well with anything, but so many people have an idea of what an artist statement has to be. It’s possible that they are ignoring all the less predictable ways words can work with other art forms. I hope that makes some sense.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 2:40 pm  

« Previous Page