Amy Miller’s Update from Day 4 of Houston’s @FotoFest_Intl

April 2nd, 2012
My final day at Houston Fotofest was full of great photography. This morning, I saw the work of photographer Karen Marshall. Karen has several bodies of work, but the one that intrigued me the most was her 25 year long project (and counting!) photographing the same group of friends (from their teens into their 40's) called Between Girls: A Passage to Womanhood. Karen has so much material that she has been able to put together photographic installations, books, video... an in-depth visual study. In today's world of short attention spans, where three years seems like an impossibly long time to spend on a project, seeing this work was a refreshing reminder that good things come to those that wait, and depth comes to those that seek. In the afternoon, I had a very interesting conversation with Lais Pontes from Brazil. Lais creates self-portraits as characters (ala Cindy Sherman). I had some trouble reconciling the similarities between Pontes' portraits and Sherman's work....but Pontes' project only starts with the portrait - then it moves into social media. Pontes takes the portraits and then posts them on facebook. Social media takes over, and comments from around the world determine the final identity of this 'person'. The virtual lives of over a dozen characters have been determined by facebook users - and the project continues. Some of these characters are now on! Pontes is not afraid to push the boundaries and wants to explore the social media aspect of how we are eager to judge others and create personas from such a small amount of superficial information. Follow the facebook links to see more. I am still somewhat hung-up on the Cindy Sherman style self portraits - which may be an obstacle that prevents this project from being seen for the truly interesting experiment in social media that it really is. Perhaps Pontes can find a way to re-imagine her project to avoid this comparison. My last review of the day was just what I needed after a week of reviewing almost 60 portfolios...a moment of zen. Normand Rajotte of Canada has been photographing the same square mile of land for many years. He rarely looks up, but focuses instead on the quiet terrestrial changes that evolve over time - from moment to moment, morning to afternoon, week to week, or year to year. These photographs are slow, quiet and contemplative. A tiny event, like a worm's trail, is a big deal. There is a lesson here - one that we all need once in a while and one that I needed today. I'm headed back to Atlanta to tackle my Fotofest follow-up to-do list that has been growing each day. Thank you for letting me share some of my experience with you!

Amy Miller’s Update from Day 3 of Houston’s @FotoFest_Intl

March 29th, 2012
Day 3 at Houston Fotofest - another great day of reviews. This morning I met photographer Tom Morin. Tom had three different bodies of work, all tightly edited and neatly printed. The project I enjoyed most is his chalkboard series. He has travelled far and wide to capture the palimpsest nature of the chalkboard.

Another photographer that I enjoyed meeting was Susan Goldstein. Susan had a large body of work that was her ongoing b&w, medium format landscape series of the "New American West". Susan's work showcases her clever sense of humor and I delighted in all of the serendipitous moments that she captured - one of the signatures of an accomplished (and dedicated) photographer.

This evening, after the reviews was the Portfolio Walk - an open viewing of all the artist's work. In addition to being a reception for the general public, this is also supposed to be the opportunity for reviewers to see the work of the photographers that we were not able to meet in a one-on-one review. Even with this event, there are still artists that I have missed. Fortunately my fellow reviewers are great at spreading the word when they encounter a photographer worth seeing.

This evening, ACP Portfolio Reviewer from 2010 and Blue Sky Gallery founder Christopher Rauschenberg brought to my attention local (Houston-based) photographic and video artist husband and wife team of Hillerbrand & Magsamen. I plan to spend some time on their website exploring the inventive photographs and videos. Keep your eye on this pair, I have a feeling that we will all be seeing a lot of them soon.

There is one last day of reviews, and I'm looking forward to sharing my next discoveries!

Amy Miller’s Update from Day 2 of Houston’s @FotoFest_Intl

March 28th, 2012
I had another great day at Houston Fotofest today. It was a long day with little time to catch up on emails or maintain connection with the outside world, but it made for more networking time with our peers in the photo world. Because of the time constraints, this will be a short post. I met today with a dynamic photographer I've known for several years named Elaine Ling. Elaine has several well-known projects, and some new work of temples in Myanmar. We also looked at her recently completed project - a set of stunning, enormous black and white prints of baobab trees. She has travelled to the ends of the earth to photograph these giants. Her artist statement sums it up beautifully .
"In some of the most arid and infertile regions of Africa, Madagascar, and Australia the Baobab tree grows to enormous size These miraculous giants are one of the largest living things on the planet and have a potential lifespan of more than a thousand years. They are great friends to their human neighbours—providing an ever-renewing source of textiles, netting, baskets and roofing. Their nutritious fruit has many medicinal properties My photographs are reflections on the ancient, life-sustaining dialogue between these enduring mega-trees and the people—grandmothers and fathers, parents, youths and small children—who live among them. These portraits, pairing individual Baobabs with their human neighbours, document a most intimate relationship. They were taken in South Africa, Mali and Madagascar."

After the reviews, busses shuttled us to several exhibitions of Russian photography. Fotofest visited Russia for the first time last year and found some great photography - both historical and contemporary, and they mounted impressive and insightful exhibitions all over town. Several photographers that were in the shows came over for Russia and gave artist talks which helped us contextualize the work within its historical timeframe (in the 70's and 80's creative expression was considered subversive, and these photographers risked making art at their own peril). Here is more information about the exhibits.

Amy Miller’s Update from Day 1 of Houston’s @FotoFest_Intl

March 27th, 2012
I saw some very interesting work on my first day of the Fotofest Meeting Place Portfolio Reviews in Houston. I had the pleasure of meeting 14 photographers - all of whom had very different work and were in different places of development with that work. Some were showing work-in-progress, and others had finished "gallery-ready" bodies of work. A portfolio review is the perfect place to discuss concept development, get feedback on work-in-progress, or strategize your next steps for getting finished work out into the world. My tip of the day: it is important for photographers to fully understand where they are in this process, and not to mistake work-in-progress for a finished body of work. Having a clear understanding of where you stand will help you ask the right questions and plan the appropriate next step. Jumping the gun, and putting your unfinished work out into the world as finished and "gallery-ready" could possibly hurt your career. Be patient! You want to be known for excellent work; nothing less will do. I'd like to highlight a few photographers that I met today. Their work is vastly different from one another, and illustrates the beautiful diversity of this medium. This morning I met Felisa Prieto. We looked at her latest body of work - a work in progress (she even has it labeled as such on her website). Recognizing that the work was new, Felisa was asking for feedback on her concept and the work's strengths and weaknesses. Based on Felisa's strong eye for formal relationships, pattern, line and color, the diptych format works well for her. Two of my favorites are included here.

The inspiration for this work is her exploration of a deeply personal experience - but the resulting photographs say something else entirely. It is often hard for a photographer to realize that this transformation occurs, but it does, in differing degrees - inevitably. What comes in as stimulus gets filtered or even reinterpreted by the photographer and output as a photograph. Understanding how this applies to your own work is an essential step in a photographer's growth. Felisa has a good grasp of this concept and is off to a good start in the development of this project.

Right before our lunch break I met with Joanne Miller. Joanne has a body of work that is she has been working on for 18 years - her life's work. These small, simple photographs of animals (mostly birds) are printed as traditional gelatin silver prints. The sensibility is resonant with the work of Masao Yamamoto or Michael Kenna...but the work is different enough and comes from a different place (figuratively and literally). The series grows and changes, but it is a finished body of work - well-edited and ready for exhibition.

One last photographer that I'd like to mention briefly is Jonathan Blaustein. Many of you may know Jonathan's photographic series "The Value of a Dollar" in which he photographed a dollar's worth of different food items. The work has been blogged about all over the world, discussed on NPR's Marketplace and exhibited in many galleries. Jonathan and I had a great time visualizing even more ways to get his work seen and to find new audiences for this project which is still powerful and relevant. When visiting his website, do not miss his writings on photography and interviews with greats of the photo-world.

I'm looking forward to day two of my 2012 Houston Fotofest experience, and will share some discoveries with you once again.

Chip Simone at Steven Kasher in NYC, Opens April 12th

March 26th, 2012

"Exhibition: April 12 - May 26, 2012
Opening Reception: April 12, 6-8pm

Steven Kasher Gallery is honored to present Chip Simone, the first exhibition by the artist outside of the American South in over 20 years. The exhibition presents over 40 digital color photographs made in the last decade. It follows the extraordinary 2011 exhibition The Resonant Image: Photographs by Chip Simone at the High Museum of Art, and is accompanied by the book Chip Simone Chroma (Nazraeli Press, 2011).

Simone’s work is a unique confluence of two traditions, the American modernist photographic tradition epitomized by his teacher Harry Callahan, and the new digital street photography that has only recently burst out. Simone brings together the studied constructedness of the mid twentieth century New Vision with the nanosecond quick captures made possible by the digital photographic revolution. He is one of the first photographers to make wholly satisfying digital prints, prints both monumental and full of quicksilver 21st century perceptions.

Simone is a street photographer. He describes his method: "I explored the city. Sometimes I walked, but more often I rode a bicycle and traced eccentric routes through the prosaic urban landscape hoping to see it for the first time. I lurched along, trusting happenstance and serendipity, wishing for epiphanies and praying for the sliver of light or queer shadow that fell just so and transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary."

Simone describes his roots: "I grew up in an Italian-American community known as Shrewsbury Street, a working class neighborhood of three-decker tenements in Worcester, Mass. I mention this because Shrewsbury Street profoundly influenced how I see and what I photograph. Surviving on the street called for sharp reflexes and a quick wit, which was excellent preparation for becoming a photographer. Shrewsbury Street was filled with eccentric Runyonesque characters that talked with their hands and their fists: laborers and bookies, wise guys and butchers, with names like Teddy Rags and Nicky Show-Show. Men wore fedora hats and topcoats and hung out in front of all- night diners. Women cussed like men. They waited tables or did piece work in necktie factories. They wore seamed nylons, cheap perfume and furs that were sometimes stolen. It was a vulgar and textured place, full of broken language and rough edges. These were the people who I saw on the street every day, the ones who taught me how laugh out loud and to see with all my heart, and I still celebrate them in my pictures."

Since 1966 Simone’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and in France. His photographs were exhibited at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. In 1985 The French Ministry of Culture exhibited his work at the Chapelle De La Sorbonne in Paris, The Refectoir Des Jacobin in Toulouse and The Centre D’Action Culturelle in Angouleme.

Simone’s photography can be found in scores of museums and private collections worldwide. Simone’s work currently resides in the permanent collections of High Museum of Art, Sir Elton John Collection, Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC, Worcester Historical Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Harry Ransom Center for the Humanities and more.

Chip Simone is being presented at Steven Kasher Gallery in conjunction with a second exhibition Vivian Maier: Unseen Images, a first hand look at the artist’s never before developed work.

Chip Simone and Vivian Maier: Unseen Images will be on view from April 12 through May 26, 2012.

Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 521 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.

For more information or press requests please contact Christiona Owen at 212 966 3978 or"

Alec Soth’s Portraits from Rockford in the NYTimes

January 19th, 2011
Alec Soth's Portraits from Rockford in the NYTimes
Portraits From a Job-Starved City, Alec Soth & Michael Catano.
More info on NYTimes Lens Blog.

McCallum/Tarry Retrospective at Maryland Art Place

April 28th, 2010
We're pleased to learn that 2008 ACP Public Artists McCallum/Tarry have a retrospective opening May 4th in Baltimore at Maryland Art Place. The video they created for their ACP installation in the water tower in the Old Fourth Ward, "Within Our Gates", will be part of the exhibition. Maryland Art Place, McCallum Tarry

Impossible Project Sounds Quite Possible!

January 6th, 2010
Glad to hear that The Impossible Project is looking to begin shipping new Polaroid film in February! Here's yesterday's story on NPR.

Roger Ballen Interview and New Work on

January 14th, 2009
Roger Ballen, the South African artist who had a print in the ACP 10 Photography Auction, has recent work and a great interview over on

© Roger Ballen

[Lensculture interview w/ Roger Ballen, 11/2008]

Prospect 1 New Orleans Video, featuring McCallum/Tarry

December 18th, 2008
Coolhunting has a great new video up featuring the work at Prospect 1 New Orleans. Toward the end of the piece, you can see McCallum/Tarry's "The Evidence of Things Not Seen", which was shown (in part) at Kiang Gallery earlier this year. Click through the video to view it in "hi-quality" on youtube: [youtube=] Here's more from ACP Now! on McCallum/Tarry.

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