Archive for the “Conferences and Events” Category

By Ron Cowie, photographer

I’ve attended AIPAD every spring for years and love every minute of it. There is no other place where I can see the entire history of photography under one roof in one afternoon besides AIPAD. Galleries of every stripe show up and showcase their strongest work to sell. That in itself is interesting because I get a snapshot of current market trends. I won’t say the collection is comprehensive but just about every base is covered by one gallery or another.

 AIPAD is the ice cream parlor in the belly of the “Photo World’s” beast. Something sweet for everyone.

It’s fun to make art and not think about money. However, if you plan to have any career in the arts that is based on the selling of said art, you had better see what people are willing to pay for work that is similar to what you are making. That’s right, if you attend AIPAD, you’re going to bump into some work that looks a lot like yours. This is a necessary dose of humility, which frees up some space for making better work. Knowing there is an audience for the work I create saves a lot of energy in the creative process.

I go to be inspired by the work of old masters and new “stars.”  I also get a better idea of which galleries are “right” for my images by seeing what they are showing in their booth. Websites don’t always accomplish this in the same way. It costs a lot more to ship actual photos to New York than it does to upload images to a website. That kind of commitment to an artist speaks volumes.

At AIPAD, I get to talk to people who are just as interested in photography (gallery owners, artists, fellow collectors, curators) as I am. At AIPAD, I get to I introduce myself to a gallery owner or artist, take his/her cards and get in touch later. Some call it speed dating; I call it a lovely way to meet people who share the same interests for the sake of meeting. It beats Facebook hands down.

After all is said and done about social networks and whatnot, making and collecting art comes down to old fashioned face to face relationships. I don’t go to AIPAD to have my suspicions and cynicism confirmed but to have them dispelled. It is nice to know there is a place at the “Photo Industry” table for just about anyone willing to do the work. Galleries play a very important part in promoting photography. The investment they make to participate at AIPAD is not a small one and should be respected.

Also, I like rubbing elbows with the big shots. I know, I’m shallow for thinking that way, but it’s true. It is reassuring to see people I admire hustling as hard (if not harder) than I do. You can’t leave the Park Avenue Armory without a profound respect for the work that is being done in order to get seen there. No one gets off easy in that regard.

Business woes aside, the main reason I go is just to be an audience member for my fellow photographers. I love being able to look at the photos and buy them. I collect photography because I need to be a good viewer in order to be a good photographer. I don’t have the time or budget to make every opening that I want to attend or collect every piece that inspires me. AIPAD allows me to cover a lot of bases in an afternoon or two. Even if I leave empty handed, I’m encouraged by what I see and the people I meet. That’s worth the price of the ticket alone.

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By Liz Ellenwood, PRC Volunteer

My work at the 2013 Krappy Kamera Exhibition at SoHo Photo Gallery.

The Krappy Kamera just celebrated its 15th year at the Soho Photo Gallery in New York City, and the theme is simple—you can only apply with photographs that were created using “equipment from the low end of the technological scale.”  That means toy cameras, Holgas, Dianas, etc., cameras that you can pick up at a garage sale or even make yourself. My image was created with a Holga that I have had for a few years now, and it has seen better days. There is black tape on the sides to protect my film from light leaks and apparently something inside it broke off so it can double as a maraca if I shake it. Did I mention it’s also a plastic camera (both body and lens)? Regardless of its musical talent and its durability (it won’t shatter if I drop it), it is SO much fun! As is the Krappy Kamera Exhibition.

I was actually made aware of the call for entry for the Krappy Kamera by Jesseca Ferguson when I was her workshop assistant for the PRC’s “Pinhole Madness Workshop with Jesseca Ferguson.”  Ferguson primarily works with pinhole cameras, which you guessed it, are considered to be “Krappy Kameras.” Her work is anything but “krappy” it is eye catching and ethereal. So with her encouragement I decided to apply with my recent work made with my Holga. Needless to say I did a little happy dance when I received the acceptance email to the Krappy Kamera Exhibition. My selected image was Untitled 002, an in-camera multiple exposure that was then printed as an archival silver gelatin print.

I was thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful show juried by Christy Karpinski, the Founder and Editor of F-Stop Magazine. Karpinski selected 47 artists from 180 applications and pieced together a fantastic grouping of photographs, ranging in both subject matter and printing processes. I am honored to have been in this show with photographers from all over the United States and from other countries. I even knew one of the selected photographers from Boston, Suzanne Revy.

I was able to attend the opening night at Soho Photo Gallery. The gallery was even more beautiful in person: great lighting, terrific wall space, I could go on and on about the space but lets focus on the show. The exhibition celebrates the excitement of cameras that people have written off as “not good enough” because they are not at the top of the camera food chain. Looking around the room I felt proud to be a part of something so simple yet beautiful. We were taking away all of the fancy settings and digital capabilities and just having fun with photography. That was my favorite quality of the show, the lighthearted exploration of photography.

At the end of the opening, I was awarded the People’s Choice Award and won a GOLD Holga. I can’t wait to take this baby out for a spin!

Winning the People’s Choice Award and receiving the “Gold Holga.”




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During my first year of college, a classmate of mine declared that she wanted to work in an art museum because it was the one place where all cultures, represented by objects and visitors, could gather under one roof. Of course our art professors spent the next four years challenging this idealistic view of an institutional space. As a photography curator, I’m happy to say that there are some places where at least those of us passionate about photography can gather under “one roof.” One example is the Society of Photographic Education’s annual conference—an inclusive gathering that promotes dialogue amongst photographers, scholars, educators, critics, students. curators, publishers, enthusiasts, vendors, industry leaders, and gallerists from around the country and some from abroad.

Entitled, “Conferring Significance: Celebrating Photography’s Continuum,” this year’s conference encouraged debate and discussion while providing ample opportunities for sharing work, networking, socializing, and giving one another advice and support. The Society for Photographic Education (or SPE) fulfills a lot of concrete professional needs. Intangible and yet equally vital, SPE fulfills an emotional one: the need for inspiration.

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