As always, Maine photographer and master printer Jim Nickelson keeps a running list of competitions worthy of your time to consider. Check it out by this link, and better yet – sign up for his blog:
Archive for the MAINE RESOURCES I LOVE… Category
I’ve used the Maine Historical Society‘s vintage image division several times in the past couple of years to find just the right images for clients. It was easy to use and the staff is very accommodating. The low cost per image provides a resource of real value. Created in 2004, Vintage Maine Images‘ purpose is to showcase historic photographs from the Maine Memory Network that are available for purchase by the public.
An announcement just came to my IN BOX that Vintage Maine Images is celebrating a re-designed website with two events – this Friday, 5/3, is their launch party and it ties in with First Friday, so an easy opportunity to stop in and see what’s what, including an exhibit of cool images. Food, beverages, AND a vintage photo booth are also part of the celebration!
If you’re a business owner and/or a member of the design community, there’s an invitation-only cocktail party: “A Vintage Maine Evening” on May 22 from 5-7 to introduce you to this wonderful treasure and answer your questions about how you can take advantage of it. Want an invite? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are currently 21,000 images available for purchase and more added every day. Not only photographs can be had for the money: maps, postcards, paintings, broadsides, daguerreotypes, drawings, architectural plans, and letters are there at your fingertips. If you want, VMI will make a print for you, but I always order the image electronically and have my gallery printer (Jim Nickelson) print it for clients. We’re often asked to add location and date as a caption layered on top of the image, and if there are multiple images we neutralize the tones to match if wanted.
Another great development is in the Museum store on Congress St. in Portland – merchandise will feature photographs from Vintage Maine Images and that will be fun to check out.
Many of the works available come from “partners” of the project – historical museums, libraries and museums in Maine and they get half the fee when an image is sold, so…your purchase is a great way to support the preservation of Maine’s past.
Frankly, it’s really fun to troll through this website and I’ve never failed to find what my clients need while having a rather good time doing it.
The camera speaks a universal language, and in Maine no place confirms that quite like Maine Media Workshops in Rockport. Students and instructors come from all over the world to take pictures together. No interpretation necessary.
Sujata Khanna lives in New Delhi, India, but since the summer of 2012 has been a Rockport, ME resident and participant in the Professional Certificate Program at the Workshops. Three other students are in the program: Collin Howell, Adam Pitula and Jourdan Selkowitz. We’ve spent many hours together since September, 2012 in Brenton Hamilton’s History of Photography course learning about those who have shaped photography since 1839.
So, always interested in seeing photographs, and curious about what these four young photographers are up to in their other Certificate Program classes, last November I went to the showing of their fall 2012 documentary studies projects, a course led by Workshops Vice President of Academic Affairs Elizabeth Greenberg. “For many students, that project in the fall is their first experience working on an extended project. A point I emphasize is that the subject of their photographs is not only what is in front of their lens, but rather what is behind the camera – their “concerns” if you will – what it is they are curious about and want to share their unique vision and voice of through their photographs.” she says.
Well. I came away from that humble scene of four projects spread out neatly on re-configured tables in the dining hall kind of unable to blink. I spent a considerable amount of time with the images and their creators, and still feel a little thrill whenever I think of how extraordinary these projects are. These were young, unseasoned photography students? I couldn’t quite believe it.
Besides pricing their work, one of the most common concerns I hear from photographers is their inability to edit their own work – honing, winnowing, chucking until only the very best – the A++ images – are left. Sujata told me she had taken almost 2500 photographs and had edited them down to these…EIGHTEEN. Adam told me a similar story (500 taken, 17 shown), as did Collin (3000 taken, 23 shown). (Jourdan wasn’t able to attend the event.)
But it’s not just about numbers, okay? Most important, they are terrific photographs – and that’s always the priority no matter what is cool about process, content or anything else. Second, these groups of photographs told the stories resulting from weeks of work (Adam tells me he spent about 3 days a week over 6 weeks with his subject) and they told them so well – succinctly, and at same time, very completely. Stories with a beginning, a lot of middle, and a wrap up.
Sujata’s project is titled “Being a Teenager” and she focused entirely on a group of rebellious teens who hang out together in the amphitheater behind the Camden Public Library (see first photo at top). Collin’s project developed down a different track than she had originally thought it would, she told me – she was documenting a woman who is resurrecting a 40 acre farm that had long been dormant. But it was 6 yr. old Sage who became the story instead. Collin says “Sage and her siblings are schooled at home and spend many hours of their day outside helping to run the farm. Sage plays and explores with the wonder of a child, but works with the strength and maturity of an adult. What is it like to be this six year old farmer?”
Adam documented the life of a local hermit. He told me he gradually gained Dave’s trust and was let further and further into his life as the weeks went by. “I remember the first time I saw Dave. He was slowly making his way up the small hill from Camden Harbor towards Elm Street. Groups of tourists moving around him quickly, I watched as he took his time seemingly unaware of the people around him. He stuck out visually in comparison to the other people out on the streets that day, almost like he was from a different time. Dave Conray grew up here, this has always been his home and he was not out of place in the least. Yet he has become somewhat of a stranger in his own habitat. He lives on the outskirts, and spends his days in the heart of town. Just beyond the gaze of society, he occupies the spaces in between.”
Now, just to make things even more interesting, I’m including a couple of photos from Sujata’s winter project – 3515 images taken, 7 selected – and the group of 7 images is perfection – but that perfection you’re not going to see with me isolating these two out of the pack*. She questions, “whether we are aware of the amount we consume, whether we are mindful of the volume of material we throw away that can be reused – are we conscious of the footprint we are creating on the earth?”
And finally, you too, can see the newest work of these students: right now at Zoot coffee shop in Camden Sujata is showing 11 (mostly Portland) photographs taken for a social landscape project in their Visions & Themes class led by Brenton Hamilton. As well, the class will be showing their work in Rockport at the MMW Gallery opening May 30, and at PhoPa Gallery in Portland opening June 12. They deserve your attention.
*But MMW needs to create a link online so these projects can be seen in their entirety. It’s how they were meant to be viewed and I want to get them in front of more people and share their success.
Elizabeth Greenberg says it best: “…it was a major achievement for each of them to refine and develop their ideas and connect those ideas to how they see photographically. There were many “aha” moments.“
Update! April 15: Tim’s a cool guy. You’ll like him. He’ll be talking about this collection on Sunday, April 21, at 2 p.m. at PhoPa in Portland. His talk is titled “The Inside Story.” I love behind-the-scenes insider stuff. If you do too, head up the hill on Sunday and enjoy yourself.
Tim Whelan doesn’t know it, but he changed my life. Back in say, 2005, after I had sold my publishing company, I was self-studying photo history. But I wanted more. I went online to locate a college-level course, but had no luck: anything available required studio work courses.
One day I dropped into Tim’s bookstore in Rockport. It was mecca for anyone in the midcoast area interested in photographs, especially the staff and students at Maine Media Workshops around the corner. I complained to him about my lack of success in finding an accessible course anywhere in the country on the history of photography. Tim looked at me and said, “But the best course is right here in Rockport.” Hello? Yep, the photo world’s best kept secret is Brenton Hamilton’s History of Photography course at Maine Media Workshops, part of the Certificate Program offered there. I signed up and five minutes into the first lecture I was on the edge of my seat with excitement. Here was someone who understood art is tied into everything! Thus began many happy hours and years at Brenton’s feet soaking up how we got to where we, in the photography community, are today. And because of Brenton’s inspiring teaching, I started VoxPhotographs to represent Maine’s fine art photographers. So, Tim Whelan was vital to me, my artists, and countless students and instructors at Maine Media Workshops over the decades. He was the hub of a community wheel.
Tim was, among many things photographic, a student at the workshops from time to time, and tells me the tradition was to trade your work with the other students in your class and the instructor. So, since his first purchase (thanks, Mom!) – Ansel Adams’ “Clearing Winter Storm”, a whopping $25 per print at Yosemite National Park almost 50 years ago – and through several different means, Whelan has built a collection of perhaps 1,000 prints and thus, we have a glimpse into that collection on view through May 4 at PhoPa Gallery in Portland. The show is curated by Bruce Brown and Jon Edwards.
The exhibit starts off with four sweet landscape photographs by Tim himself, and then immediately kicks into high gear with two Joyce Tenneson images, including the gorgeous “Dasha, Russia”. Circle around the 38 works from the collection to see who you know and who you don’t, and then go around again to focus on the images.
Besides Tenneson, Maine is well represented with Paul Caponigro, Jon Edwards, Dave Stess, Olive Pierce (an exhibit of her work is part of the summer exhibit schedule at PhoPa), Tillman Crane, and Madeleine de Sinety. Oh, and Gary Briechle, that elusive and brilliant Camden photographer who, Tim told me, just launched a website.
What I like about this exhibit is seeing old friends, yes. But I also like learning about photographers I’m not familiar with but who have definitely made their mark. There is bio info. available on each photographer and it’s a resource to spend time with.
So this exhibit is a great antidote to cabin fever and feeds our mud-season need for a change of scenery. You can explore the work of artists like Arno Minkkenen, Lary Wiese, Ted Orland, John Isaac and others who deserve our attention, and feel like you’ve experienced a glimpse of spring – fresh, unexpected and beckoning.
One of the first things I learned in the first History of Photography class I audited with Brenton Hamilton at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport several years ago is that from the beginning photographers have been lying to us.
Brenton showed us examples of very early works that had fake content, fake skies, fake scenes. His lectures (starting again on next week on Tuesday the 11th of September and running for ten weeks at $20/class to audit) started me on a path of unceasing study of photographic works since the beginning of the medium, and nowhere did I find an era when photographers were committed only to reproducing the truth.
Matthew Porter (American, born 1975). 110 Junction, 2010, printed 2012. Inkjet print; 81.3 x 101.6 cm (32 x 40 in.). Purchase, Vital Projects Fund Inc. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2012 (2012.274). © Matthew Porter. All Rights Reserved.
So where did we come up with the ridiculous saying – “The camera never lies”??
Photography is an art form, not a copying machine. From the beginning, photographic artists and experimenters in the medium have had no compunction whatsoever about creating in whatever way they want whatever it is they wanted to see, and it’s the rare photographer who simply recorded.
So, it is with great joy I am getting the word out well in advance that a mind-bending new exhibit will open October 11 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art called “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop”. It runs through January 27, 2013 and I hope like crazy I can get there. I learned about it yesterday in my new September/October 2012 issue of PHOTOGRAPH in an excellent short essay by Lyle Rexer – “About the Cover”.
I can’t tell you the number of conversations I have had with photographers that went one of two ways – a whispered apology that this photograph was put through some new paces in, yikes!, Photoshop, OR an adamant avowal that this photograph has never seen the inside of Photoshop and never will. Yawn. These photographers have obviously never cracked a photo history book and that brings them immediately down a notch or two in my estimation. How can you move forward in your craft without knowing what has come before you stepped into the medium? Can you imagine a painter having no interest in previous painters? No, because painting is a living, breathing, ongoing mind of millions and you can’t pretend you aren’t part of something much larger than your own lifespan.
So, this is why I’m adamant about why Brenton Hamilton’s History of Photography lecture series at Maine Media Workshops is vital: if you are a photographer, it will change your life and your work irrevocably to hear Brenton bring all who have gone before you back to life before your very eyes, and you will understand how YOU got to this point in YOUR OWN work.
And when the series ends in November, hop on a bus or plane to NYC and enjoy the heck out of The Met’s “Faking It” exhibit, which, by the way is made possible by Adobe Systems Incorporated. The truth is, that’s exactly how it should be and it makes the point beautifully.
PS – just saw an ad for “Cut & Paste – Photomontage and Manipulation in the Pre-Digital Age” opening at Keith De Lellis Gallery in NYC o September 27 and running through Dec. 1. Two-for-one on the subject of fake images from the past.
There are opportunities and shows of work coming across my desk that I want to share:
A. Maine Media Workshops: History of Photography class opened to the rest of us!!
My prayer has been answered at last! Five years ago I took a weekly History of Photography class with Certificate Program Director Brenton Hamilton and his class, and within 5 minutes of the start of the first lecture knew I had landed the big one. Can this guy teach! He knows the best learning mode is horizontal and deftly ties in the era’s culture and politics, social mores and fashion, to the birth of photography and its subsequent journey through the decades. Brenton’s analysis and weaving together of the processes, photographers and images is nothing short of brilliant, even though Brenton himself is a pretty humble guy. I had been searching for months for a History of Photography course and here it was right in my own backyard of Maine! and you, too, can join me starting September 10.
My prayer has been answered because this History of Photography lecture series it has finally been scheduled for Tuesday a.m. this semester and that is one of two weekdays I’m able to attend. Whoopee! I took the first semester course (1839 – 1900+-) two years in a row, and the spring semester (1900+- – present) once. I would take them every year if I could, they are that good. Brenton changes many of his supporting images from year to year and this 3 hour lecture once a week for ten weeks this fall is one of the best investments for the money you could ever hope to make. How much? $20 per class for “community members”. Maine Media Workshops is getting the word out finally that you, too, can attend this inspiring series of lectures – and for pennies. To sign up contact Kerry at email@example.com.
Rio Moonset©Babak Tafreshi. All Rights Reserved.
B. Astrophotography Workshop with Babak Tafreshi, through Bates College Museum of Art. This three day workshop from October 18-20 is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to study with Tafreshi, a brilliant night sky photographer, who was born in Tehran, but travels worldwide shooting the night sky and lecturing. His work is included in the Starstruck exhibit currently on view at Bates College Museum of Art through mid-December. This class, taking place in West Pond Branch Camp in Kokadjo, Maine (where the heck IS Kokadjo, Maine??) will definitely be a life-changing experience for the 15 people lucky enough to get on the list.
C. Creative Capital – Maine Arts Commission is partnering with Maine College of Art to offer this “retreat” led by Creative Capital - “a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing adventurous projects in five disciplines: Emerging Fields, Film/Video, Literature, Performing Arts and Visual Arts.” It’s being held at MECA.
Bad news: it’s sold out. Good news: two of the lectures – on Saturday a.m. 10 a.m (Strategic Planning). – 12:30 p.m (Business Plan Fundamentals) – are open to the first 114 people who fill the seats at Osher Auditorium in Portland. Contact the Maine Arts Commission for more information.
Magnus Stark and Christopher Morse have sent me links to shows of their work opening here in Maine… put them on the list if you’re headed to Deer Isle or Bangor areas:
Magnus Stark: August 21 – October 22, The Innocent Bystander Dilemma, Sohns Gallery, Bangor. Artist’s Talk: September 20, 7 p.m.
Christopher Morse: Opens August 30 with reception for the artist 4-7 p.m. at The Lester Gallery in Deer Isle Village.
and always, on the first of every month, you can check into Artist News at VoxPhotographs.com to see other exhibits and shows of photography in Maine, in the US and in the world, by thirty gallery artists.
Vanessa Helmick, owner of Fiore Interiors, is a transplant from California, but she’s been here through a couple of winters, and I figure she’s seasoned by now.
If there’s one thing we’re good at here in Maine, it’s finding each other. I first met Vanessa at an Angela Adams Open House sponsored by the Maine Center for Creativity. Vanessa spoke that evening about incorporating the Adams wares into her clients’ space overhauls, and I liked her enthusiasm.
Vanessa is a go-getter. I invited her to visit the VoxPhotographs private gallery in Portland and she was over like a shot. Since then, she has successfully included VoxPhotographs in several design proposals for clients -from helping transplants connect with their new State through Maine Heritage images, and discover the extraordinary talent of Maine’s contemporary fine art photographic community. She included six works in her vestry and upstairs hallway in the Portland Symphony Orchestra 2011 Show House in Portland’s west end. I scratch my head over the fact that many of the interior designers I invite to the gallery never respond. Vanessa understood immediately that the thousands of contemporary, Maine Heritage and vintage photographs I have available would clearly enhance her value to her clients AND her design proposals.
Well, here we go again. Vanessa was accepted as the designer for the guest bedroom suite for the Kennebunk Show House that is opening on Saturday, June 23 . Again, we are honored to be included in her design concepts – and six contemporary works by Joe Muir, Jim Nickelson and Mary Woodman will be incorporated into the spaces for which she is responsible. Vanessa has a soft spot for photography – she grew up in the shadow of Yosemite and fell in love with Ansel Adams’ powerful work.
Little Sister©Joe Muir. All Rights Reserved. Kennebunk Show House featured work.
For Vanessa, Show House gigs aren’t hit-and-run. First, she knocks herself out pulling it together and puts in some long days to get it just right. Second, she actually works her spaces when the Show House is open for the public to tour and gets terrific results in the way of new clients, and sales of the items she is featuring.
Surf#55©Mary Woodman. All Rights Reserved. Kennebunk Show House featured work.
At VoxPhotographs, I work with some terrific corporate and residential design partners – see some of them here. Maine is a place where the usual professional barriers and fear of competition are minimal and there’s a real desire for partnering with other professionals. If you don’t make the word “collaboration” a big part of your business, you’re missing out on one of the best things Maine has to offer.
Nightfall, Otter Cliffs, Acadia©Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved. Kennebunk Show House featured work.
The Kennebunk Show house is the former Kenneth Roberts homestead – the famous novelist who based much of his best-selling historical fiction in the Kennebunk area. Talk about an opportunity to see a fabulous home and use this destination as the starting point for a jaunt to the Kennebunks. Check out the site and plan your trip. Say “Hi!” to Vanessa for us while you’re there.
Check out Jim’s blog posting including some real quality places to submit your work. Do yourself a favor: enter at least six competitions this year and kick open a few doors.
http://56×56.com/. Bookmark it.
Not a day has gone by in the last 10 that I haven’t received a quick and happy e-mail from one of the artists whose work I represent telling me of a competition they won or a show they were accepted into or some other honor. Great way to make these wintry days shine bright, I can tell you. I’m feeling giddy.
But what I’m discovering is that they learned about a lot of these quality opportunities by subscribing to Jim’s blog at http://56×56.com.
Jim Nickelson is a friend. He’s also a terrific landscape photographer and I represent his work. He has become one of the top digital printers in Maine, and he prints the work of many photographers associated with VoxPhotographs. He recently gave up a career as a patent attorney (and before that an aeronautical engineer at NASA) (I’m not kidding about this) to focus entirely on photography and printing. Anyone who works with him loves him. And from time to time Jim writes about the technology of the craft on this blog for me. But all of this is an aside, actually.
I want Maine’s fine art photographer community to put itself on the international map, and to that end I never cease reminding the VoxPhotographs artists to get their work out there. COLOR magazine is a good example: Abigail Wellman’s image was on the cover of the COLOR Single Image Competition issue two years ago – the first competition she had entered in years. This time around, Sharon Arnold and Mary Woodman’s submissions have received GOLD Awards in the same competition – awarded to only 15 images out of this year’s total submission of 1900 images. And that’s not all: 6 more images submitted by VoxPhotographs artists have been awarded MERIT awards by COLOR. I want the world to know something incredible is happening in Maine with respect to fine art photography, and this is a darn good way to get the word out – the magazine will be out in March.
In the current issue of B&W/COLOR, VoxPhotographs artist Arla Patch is a featured Spotlight artist and won that right over hundreds of other artists after submitting her work last year for COLOR’s portfolio competition. Others have won regional, national and international competitions, awards and acceptance into a myriad of show and exhibits, from the 2012 San Francisco International Photography Exhibit Top 40 (Boucher) to PhotoPlace Gallery/VT juried shows (Nickelson, Yudelman, Szwajkos, Boucher), to Creative Portland’s next Pecha Kucha presentation evening/Feb.16 (Wade) and everything in between.
These successes increase their appeal to curators putting exhibits together here in Maine as well. It says they are serious players who believe in their work.
You play, you win. And nice guy that he is, Jim Nickelson is willing to help. http://56×56.com/.
Glad to get the notice from CMCA yesterday about their upcoming panel discussion: CURRENT TOPICS IN PHOTOGRAPHY, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 14.
Although I’ll be in Presque Isle that morning, I’m going to make every effort to get to CMCA for this. Panelists will be: Andy Graham (Portland Color), K.K. DePaul and Jonathan Laurence (fine art photographers) and George Kinghorn, Director and Curator of UMMA/Bangor.
With several hundred fine art photographers in Maine, this should be a SRO crowd. I’m very curious to hear what these shakers and movers say and hear the questions from the audience as well. See you there?