Saturday, October 31, 2009

CENTER set to host a SlideLuck PotShow

Attention residents of New Mexico!

Join Center for an evening of photography, food and fellowship. Center has partnered with the nonprofit photography organzation Slideluck Potshow to bring this exciting event to Santa Fe, NM.

Location: TBA
Date: December 9, 2009, 6:30-9pm
Submission deadline: November 28, 2009


SLPS is a forum for exposing artists, curators, collectors, and editors to new work while infusing the arts community with a non-commercial vitality and refreshing exchange. "More than anything else, this is a fun, inspiring evening that is meant to remind us of why we create in the first place," states SLPS organizers.

This slideshow will feature emerging and established photographers and artists including, photojournalists, still-life, commercial, traditional, and fine-art photographers.

Past contributors to Slideluck Potshow include: The Guggenheim Foundation, Elliott Erwitt, Todd Hido, Elinor Carucci, Martin Schoeller, Gregory Crewdson, Shepard Fairey, Alec Soth, Chris Buck, Spencer Tunick, Martin Parr, Nina Berman, Pete Souza, Vincent Laforet and many others.

Center is now accepting submissions for SLPS Santa Fe. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, November 28, 2009.

For submission guidelines, please click here. For more information on Slideluck Potshow, please email Jessica at

Go here for all of the details

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Documenting the Global Recession

The socially concerned website is having a call for entries for their latest competition.

From the site:
In the spirit of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the New Deal in the 1930s, when photographers documented the hardship and proposed solutions, (SDN) is issuing a
Call for Entries. We are looking for photo essays that provide insight into how ordinary citizens around the world are coping during these new “hard times” and how individuals, companies, industries, family businesses, communities, and governments are responding to the crisis.

We encourage a broad definition of the global recession. Suggested stories include those of people losing their jobs, homes, and health benefits; or the effects on vulnerable communities in conflict zones, global climate change; or how the UN’s millennium goals in economic development and health improvement have been stalled by lack of resources. We are also interested in how people and governments are working to overcome these challenges in creative ways such as agricultural development; wind, solar and other alternative energies; public health programs to stop the spread of disease; or technological innovations to reduce greenhouse gases and dependence on oil. These are just examples. We welcome new stories and approaches to documenting this important topic. If photographers are not sure if their stories fit into our definition of the global recession, they are encouraged to inquire at

The deadline for the entering is December 1. Find out all of the details at the Social Documentary website.

Judging Critical Mass, Part 2

I finished all of the entries from PhotoLucida's Critical Mass competition. There were 180 entries and 10 images each. That is a lot of photographs.

After their winners have been announced, I plan on writing a bit about what I reviewed. Some good, some not so good. I won't be naming names but I will certainly talk about styles and trends that are so apparent.

But for now, it's time for bed. I am exhausted and my eyes are burning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Directions 2010 Photography Show

Wallspace Seattle has a call for entries out for their newest show, New Directions 2010. The curator this year is Carol McCusker, of the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego.

A little info from Wallspace:

We are currently accepting submissions for our fourth annual juried show - New Directions.

New Directions seeks to discover new talent in the world of photography. Past shows have included the works of Joseph O. Holmes, Priya Kambli and Joelle Jensen. Each year emerging artists have an opportunity to have their work seen by a nationally recognized figure in the field of photography. From these entries a cohesive show emerges for display at Wall Space in January, and this year we are excited to have 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland join forces to show ND10 in Portland during the month of February.

All submissions for this exhibition are considered for gallery representation. wall space directors and associates, as well as 23 Sandy Gallery will review the work, however the galleries review will not affect the outcome of the selection process.

The focus of this call for entries is an exhibition called Down & Out.

The request from Ms. McCusker -

This call for entries privileges two points of view: looking down from a high vantage point, and looking out to a vanishing horizon. Art historian, Albert Boime, described the former as a "Magisterial Gaze" that gave early Americans, through painting and printmaking, a view at one with God, hence, Manifest Destiny. The latter may simply be the romance of the road, or curiosity about what lies just out of sight - an American impulse from early pioneers to Jack Kerouac.

Numerous painters and photographers have employed these vantage points, subsequently, they run the risk of cliché. When done well, however, each reveals the unexpected, as in Szarkowski's photograph, Country Elevator (see wall space blog to view picture). The optimist in me delights at the disorienting perspective of looking down whereby familiar objects become abstract and dizzyingly beautiful, to looking out, with that forward motion promising adventure or escape.

The title Down & Out might conjure images of ne'er-do-wells (risky, if the public decides not to inquire further). What I hope the photographs provide, however, is pleasure in the variety of ways 'down' and 'out' can be imaged, and what emotional liberation such points-of-view can have on our often confined and overly responsible psyches.

For more information please contact the gallery.

Entries are due November 15

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Judging Critical Mass

I am busy at work, judging ten images each, from the 175 Critical Mass finalists.

As of this writing I have looked at and judged 60 photographers' work, about 600 photographs. I don't feel it is right to single anyone out at this point, but I will after the winners have been announced.

If the work has made it to the finals, it is pretty damn good. And of course, there is some that I really like, and some that I don't. There is some very original work and some that is very close to being just like someone else's. Already at this point, I can see trends that are going on within the photo world.

I've decided that Fraction Magazine will showcase five of the so-called non-winners in February after the relaunch of the magazine.

So for now, it's back to looking at work. I have a deadline.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interview with Claire Beckett

In the last year or so I have come across a few artists who have put together a body of work that really intrigues me and Claire Beckett’s work is near the top of that list. I was ecstatic when Claire agreed to answer some questions for me about her series Simulating Iraq. I would like to thank Claire for taking the time to answer my questions and to Fraction and David for posting the interview.

JS: How did you get into photography?

CB: I started making pictures while in high school. As a kid I was always into art, and I’d been pretty seriously dedicated to pottery. Then in the 11th grade my pottery teacher, whom I was very fond of, retired and I refused to study with the new one. In need of an art class, I ended up taking photography with the attitude, “I’ll hate this, it’s not me.” But I ended up loving photography from the very first day. I have been making pictures ever since.

JS: How important is your camera equipment to you? Do you consider yourself a gear junkie or not?

CB: The gear is only important to me so far as it enables me to make the picture I want. So for my current project I want a large, focused negative that I can enlarge to a decent size. Compared to other photographers I think I’m not that into gear. Gear in of itself does not interest me all that much—what I want is a really great picture.

© Claire Beckett “Army Privates Kendra Duffy, Allison Bronner and Jessica-Ann Layug, playing the role of Iraqi villagers at Basic Training, Fort Jackson, SC, 2006”

JS: What is the impetus behind the photographs in your latest series Simulating Iraq?

CB: Prior to working on “Simulating Iraq” I did a project called “In Training,” in which I dealt with young soldiers preparing for war. “Simulating Iraq” sprung directly from my experience photographing soldiers in training. One day I saw a bunch of Basic Training soldiers dressed up like Iraqis and made this picture “Privates Kendra Duffy, Allison Bronner and Jessica-Ann Layug, playing the role of Iraqi civilians during Basic Training, Fort Jackson, SC, 2006.” (see my website under “In Training”) Afterwards I did some research and learned that cultural role playing was becoming a major component of pre-deployment training, and so I pursued the opportunity to photograph at several specialized facilities. Personally I am very interested in the concepts of cross-cultural interaction and role-playing, and these interests stem in large part from my undergraduate training in Cultural Anthropology and my experiences working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa.

JS: I've noticed as I look through the series that it plays back and forth between photos that seem very quiet and some that seem very shocking. Could you explain the importance of this, if any, in this series?

CB: Yes, you’re absolutely right. With the Simulating Iraq series I move between quiet, contemplative photographs and more jarring ones. This interplay is important to me. I think of some of the calmer landscapes as setting the scenery or providing the context for the more forceful pictures. If I had a whole wall of the bloody pictures, for example, I think it would really be too much. Mixing the pictures together I think a viewer has a better chance to enter the work and spend some time with it.

JS: How do you find the locations you shoot in?

CB: I do a lot of research before ever going out to photograph. I discover places to photograph through a combination of secondary research and speaking with my contacts in the military. Often I’ll hear about something in the news and then call someone I’ve worked with in the past to get more information about the logistics of photographing at the site and also get more information about the look of the place, which is hugely important to the photography.

JS: How many photos do not make it into your final series of images you show?

CB: Many photos do not make it into the final edit. I don’t edit myself when I shoot. I prefer to make many photographs and edit down in the printing stage.

© Claire Beckett “Lance Corporal Joshua Stevens playing the role of a Taliban fighter, Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, 2009”

JS: How much of a directorial influence do you exert over your portraits?

CB: I am absolutely the director of my photographs. Using a 4x5 view camera it is nearly impossible to make a candid photograph, so everything in composed by me in collaboration with the people I photograph. I say “collaboration” because I do solicit a lot of input from both the people I photograph and the other people around. Most recently, when photographing Marines role-playing as the Taliban, I asked these Marines a bunch of questions about their Taliban character as we made the pictures. I tried to base the photographs off of what the Marine said his Taliban character did, or what the Taliban character thought or how the Marine imagined the Taliban character felt, or how the Marine felt about being the Taliban.

JS: How do you begin a new project and when is a project or a body of work finished for you?

CB: I begin a new project when a new idea starts nagging at me and won’t let me be. If the idea doesn’t really stick around and bug me then it probably isn’t a good idea. Likewise a project is finished when it isn’t exciting me anymore. I usually try to make some more photographs just to be sure.

JS: What does the future hold for this project?

CB: At this moment I’m in the editing stage, so I’m not sure. I’ll know once I’m done printing and editing my newest photographs.

JS: How do you get over a creative slump in your work?

CB: I try not to indulge in too much negative thought about a creative block. Instead, there is always something to be done to move the work forward, whether that is shooting pictures, editing, printing, sharing proofs, drafting an artist statement, reading, doing research, revising the website, etc. If I don’t exactly know what to do next I work on whatever is in front of me. I don’t regard not knowing what to do next as a problem, rather I tend to see it as an opportunity for the next thing to present itself to me organically.

-Joshua Spees

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Journey to Iceland: Photographs by David Bram at photo-eye Bookstore

photo-eye Bookstore is pleased to host an exhibition and artist's reception for A Journey to Iceland: Photographs by David Bram on Friday, October 23rd, 2009 from 5 to 7 pm at photo-eye Bookstore, 370 Garcia Street, Santa Fe, NM. The exhibition will be on display from October 23rd through Saturday, November 28th, 2009.

In April of 2007, David Bram traveled to Iceland with a group of seven photographers, all of whom concentrated on and enjoyed the landscape. The result of 55 rolls of medium format film is 20 silver gelatin photographs of the amazing and moody Icelandic earth. photo-eye Bookstore is pleased to present a small number of the fine silver-gelatin prints from this artistic expedition.

David Bram Bio:
Artist David Bram was born and raised in New York. He moved to New Mexico in January of 2000. Following a short stint in software development, he followed his heart and began to study photography again after being away from it for several years. His work has been included in many group shows in New Mexico and is in the collection of the Palace of the Governors, as well as many private collections. He is the editor and founder of Fraction Magazine, an online venture promoting and exploring emerging photographic artists. When not traveling around New Mexico seeking out the new and unexplored, he can be found in a few coffee shops, enjoying a latte and playing with his one-year-old daughter. The

photo-eye Bookstore is located at 370 Garcia Street, Santa Fe, NM and is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. Email for more info.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Flash Flood !



Flash Flood is pleased to announce the launch of Issue One at on October 8, 2009.

Flash Flood is a new media collective that investigates and promotes the intersection of photography and culture in the state of New Mexico. We are dedicated to bringing awareness to the global art community about both historical and contemporary photography from all regions of the state.

Flash Flood was founded by New Mexico photographers and colleagues Jesse Chehak (Santa Fe); Jonathan Blaustein (Taos); Melanie McWhorter (Santa Fe); David Ondrik (Albuquerque); and Jennifer Schlesinger (Santa Fe). The online magazine will also host guest contributors in the future.


• The Clock Didn't Really Stop Long Ago by David Ondrik. A review of Craig Varjabedian’s photography exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum, on view through October 11, 2009.

• Scott B. Davis- New Mexico Influences by Jonathan Blaustein. An interview with Scott B. Davis, Artist and Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, California, who received his BFA from University of New Mexico in 2000.

• An Interview with the New Director of Scheinbaum & Russek, Ltd, Andra Russek, by Jennifer Schlesinger. Russek recently migrated back to her hometown from New York where she worked at Swann and Sotheby’s Photography Departments.

• Flash Flood’s New Mexico, curated by Jesse Chehak. A call for images for Flash Flood-curated essays and portfolios from readers contributions.

• Coming Soon:
A Brief History of the Photobook in New Mexico, by Melanie McWhorter

Photography's purpose in New Mexico has historically been the documentation of place prompted by the demand for tourist photographs of our exotic landscape, architecture and native population. Numerous photographers working today continue to perpetuate this aesthetic. The members of Flash Flood, as evident in our mission, believe that the contemporary photographers featured here are moving this legacy in a different direction. Flash Flood will discover and promote photographers from many backgrounds who are generating a new and fresh approach to New Mexico photography. We will also showcase previous generations of artists, and place much of the historical work in its rightful place of reverence.

Flash Flood will examine the wealth of artistic and photographic institutions in our state. We will explore the relationship between photography and the state of New Mexico, directly and indirectly, and its influence on interdisciplinary fields of study including anthropology, history and economics. Welcome to Flash Flood.


Jonathan Blaustein
Jonathan Blaustein received a BA from Duke University in 1996, and an MFA from the Pratt Institute in New York in 2004. While in Brooklyn, he ran the underground gallery BQE33 in Greenpoint from 2003-4. His photographs are in several permanent collections, including the Albuquerque Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Jonathan’s work has been exhibited extensively in the United States over the last decade, most recently at the Albuquerque Museum and Zane Bennett Gallery in Santa Fe where he is represented. In 2009, Jonathan was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography, and became a finalist for Critical Mass. Blaustein resides just North of Taos where he runs the studio and gallery, photographic, and teaches photography to at-risk youth through the University of New Mexico - Taos.

Jesse Chehak
Jesse Chehak (b. 1979, Tarzana, California) is an artist living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Best known for his large format photography, Chehak's wanderlust spirit and thirst for adventure propel him to spend most of his time on the road with his cameras. Born and raised in Hollywood, CA, his work continuously addresses themes related to the mythic iconography contained within the American West. He has exhibited his fine-art work in New York and Los Angeles and is currently represented by Bruce Silverstein in New York, NY. He regularly contributes photographs to numerous international publications and is represented in New York, London, and Sydney by M.A.P.

Melanie McWhorter
Melanie McWhorter was born and raised in a small mill town in upstate South Carolina. In 1991, she received her BA in History from Lander University in Greenwood, SC. Soon after graduation, she found a job as a school photographer and later had a brief stint as a dude ranch photographer in Jackson, WY. She is a regular contributor to the online magazines—Fraction and photo-eye—and maintains her own photo-related blog, Melanie has been with photo-eye Bookstore and Gallery since 1997 working in several capacities. Most recently, she is the Book Division Manager, bookstore Curator of local photographer’s exhibitions, and organizer of the “First Wednesday Salon,” where local photographers showcase their work. Recently her photography was included in the exhibition, Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe. She resides with her family in Santa Fe, NM.

David Ondrik
David Ondrik received his BFA In 1998 with an emphasis in photography, from the University of New Mexico. Ondrik’s photography is part of the permanent collection at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe and the city of Albuquerque’s Public Art Program. He is the youngest of twenty-five photographers included in “Photography: New Mexico,” published in 2008 by Fresco Fine Art Publications. In 2009 he was nominated for Center’s Santa Fe Prize for Photography. Ondrik resides in Albuquerque where he is also a high school art teacher.

Jennifer Schlesinger
Jennifer Schlesinger graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 1998 with a B.A. in Photography and Journalism. She has exhibited widely at regional as well as national venues including the Santa Fe Art Institute, Portland Northwest College of Art, Chelsea Art Museum and the Bridge Art Fair in Chicago. Her work has been published online and in print and is represented in public collections including the Huntington Botanical Art Collections (CA) and The New Mexico Museum of Art. She has received several honors in recognition of her work including a Golden Light Award in Landscape Photography (Maine Photographic Workshop 2005); a nominated finalist for the Willard Van Dyke Grant (NMCP 2005) and the Santa Fe Prize for Photography (Center 2007); and the Eliot Porter Fellowship (NMCP 2007). In 2007 she was awarded the CCA Photography Auction Award (Santa Fe 2007). Schlesinger has also held positions in various non-profit arts organizations such as being the Assistant Director of Santa Fe Art Institute (2002-2005). Her work is represented by Wallspace Gallery (Seattle, WA) and Verve Gallery of Photography (Santa Fe) where she is also the Gallery Director.

For more information, please contact :
Jennifer Schlesinger, or 505-577-6708.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Joshua has left the building.

It has been twenty months since David and I sat down in Satellite Coffee in Albuquerque and hatched the idea of Fraction Magazine. It didn’t take long to get it up and running and we have seen lots of great work in that time. The magazine has changed a few times, grown to be respected within the community, and followed by quite an impressive audience.

It is with great sadness that I must tell you all I will no longer be a part of Fraction Magazine. Over the past twenty months I have put any amount of free time I have had into the magazine, through design, programming, constantly looking at new work, updating the blog, etc. While I have enjoyed my time doing it, one thing has suffered in the wake, the amount of time I have left to work on my own personal art and projects. When it comes down to it my own need to produce and create seriously outweighs the time I have to donate to the magazine.

Fear not, David will continue at the helm on his own. With the help of people like Melanie McWhorter and the larger photo community I am sure his efforts will be grand. Don’t be afraid to offer the man your time and help if you are so obliged. I will continue on making new work and remain part of that photo community at large and hopefully lend David a hand whenever I can. You can follow all of my work and my incessant ramblings and bitching about the world of art at my blog The Word. I’ll always be looking at and talking about new work I have come across and posting new thoughts and ideas.

Thanks to all of you for making Fraction a success and stay tuned to see what David has planned for the future of Fraction. ¡Adios compañeros!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Turn your $2000 DSLR into a $12 camera instantly

That's right. While I am not a big toy camera shooter, I can tell from the amount of images we see here that many of you are. The Lens Baby has been around for years but at a hefty little price tag. Why not just buy a Holga and stick with film? Well now you have a $12 alternative. Well not really $12, you still have to have a Diana lens laying around or buy one (starting at around $40). The really creative among you may well be able to find some things to do with some of your old toy cameras no longer in service. Frankenstein something together and see what happens.
While it may not be the least expensive option it may well be a conversation starter on your D3. It also gives you a little more creative freedom when shooting with exposure time. So get out there and make some fuzzy pics with your really expensive camera!
You can see the the adapters here.