$1000 Working Artist Grant/Art Purchase Award

$1000 Working Artist Grant/Art Purchase Award | Call for Submissions Deadline: October 31, 2017
Submission fee: $25

Image Courtesy: Emily Kepulis

We offer a small art purchase award to help serious artists keep working. Our award is open worldwide to all visual artists, including but not limited to those working in traditional styles, ie., painting, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, sculpture, glass, installation, or with digital/new media, photography and film/video. 

See our complete submissions guidelines at: http://ift.tt/1hnOWcZ

Also look out for our next Photography Award Deadline: January 17, 2018

Working Artist Org. is dedicated to discovering, collecting, and promoting great contemporary art and artists. 

Image Courtesy: Emily Kepulis 

Working Artist Org.


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Tell me her story because war is only the half of it.


[dropcap type="2"]T[/dropcap]he project focuses on the journey her grandmother, Teresa, began with her family when she was only 11 years old. Born in 1927, she was raised in Ostrow Wielkopolski (Poland) which was in the territories of the Republic of Germany. Her family left on the eve of the Second World War by train, and arrived first in Belgium before establishing themselves in the north of France. In December 2016, Nowak went to Europe and traveled to Poland, Belgium, and France in order to find out more about her polish roots. In Ostrow Wielkopolskki, she researches traces of family member in the National Archives where she was able to know more about Teresa’s father, Stanislaw.

Jozefa, Teresa’s mother, remains a mystery as no traces of her were found. The only thing known about Jozefa is that she was a single child living in Krempe, a neighborhood near Ostrow Wielkopolski’s center. This area was destroyed during the war. Nothing concrete emerged from the research in Europe. Yet, the idea that Teresa’s mother was from a Jewish family is growing as Nowak found out that her last child’s name was Salomea. Although, it is only a couple of months ago that she discovered that her aunt’s first name was, in reality, Salomea. Salomea comes from the Hebrew “Shalom” and means “peace.”

Tell me her story because war is only the half of it is about Nowak’s quest in order to find out more about her roots. It focuses on the portrait of her family’s members, people who knew Teresa and others who did not. It mixes as well places she visited last December and archives from her father’s collection as well as documentation from the Museum of Ostrow Wielkopolski. The project is a combination of a non-linear sequencing mixing past, present, and future of a family whose descendants escaped their homeland on the eve of the Second World War. It raises the question of the post-memory as well as it echoes current events of the contemporary immigration crisis in Europe.

About the author:
Born in 1982 in France, Dorothée Nowak is a documentary photograher currently based in Montreal, Quebec. After studying Visual Arts at Valenciennes University, she received in 2017 a BFA in Photography with Distinction from Concordia University.
Her work has been featured in several collective exhibitions in Canada, and has been published both printed and online.

The post Tell me her story because war is only the half of it. appeared first on Positive Magazine.

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Cool Product Alert: A Smart Button Pusher For Your Dumb Devices

Want to convert some of your really old devices from a remote location using just your phone? Check out the Microbot Push from Prota which is a button pusher that really helps you put the smarts in your devices.




Check out this switch in action below:

Get it on Amazon.

If you love gadgets that further smarten your home, we recommend you check out: 50 Insanely Useful Smart Home Products To Make Your Life Easier

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Sunday Sound Thought #92: Some Thoughts On Audio Games

Sunday Sound Thought #92: Some Thoughts On Audio Games

As has come before; many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…Please bare with us as we traverse the abstract canals of audio musings.

This year & took part in Audio Game Jam 2. A game jam with the goal to raise awareness of accessibility issues experienced by visually impaired people when playing video games.

If you haven’t heard of audio games, these are games which are played mostly or solely through audio. There’s lots of audio games across many genres like narrative adventures, flight simulators, RPG’s, RTS games or even GTA style games.

My goal for this jam was to inform myself better about the topic & try to make sth. that is accessible. In many of the projects I’ve been involved so far, accessibility was often neglected & I want to change that.

To prepare for the jam I watched a fair bit of audio game lets players on youtube. What really surprised me was the speed at which in many audio games screen readers or text to speech tools are reading explanations & instructions to the player.

This is an extreme example:


My immediate reaction was: Wouldn’t it be possible to create make sth. that doesn’t rely on screen readers?

With all the new technologies for spatial audio, HRTF processing & physics based reflection systems for game engines, that take into account the geometry of a 3D space & materials, maybe there’s a lot of new untapped potential in regards to designing audio only games that take place in a 3D space?

Then I watched this really informative talk on accessibility through audio by Adriane Kuzminski to find out that it’s just not that simple.


One important thing among others that I overlooked is, that in a 3D space the player not only has to be aware of location but also the right direction in order to progress.

For my game I decided to keep it really simple and use a specific sound cue to guide the player. A bird that you have to follow through a forest. This is explained through another character in the game through voice over. So I got away without any screenreader.

But of course this mechanic is limiting in regards to which type of game such a guide system might work well with, because you’ve got to find a way to somehow integrate this element into the story (if there is one).

Also, the more complex the game or the game world gets, the more information the player has to be made aware of & voice over is also often a budgeting issue.

So I guess you maybe can’t take screen readers completely out of the equation?

I want to explore audio games further & over the past days I’ve been theorycrafting if it might be possible to make a mechanic like the Witcher sense ability in the Witcher games, which lets you analyze your surroundings for clues & interactable items, but does not rely on visuals & convey the same information through sound only.

I’m still not sure.

What I’m sure about is that accessibility is important & that it’s also our responsibility as game sound designers to make other team members aware of it if it’s neglected.

For every sound or system I create I should not only ask myself how it could help make the game better, but also how it could potentially help make it  more accessible.

Further Resources on Audio Games & Accessibility through Audio:

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Leica’s Thambar-M 90 mm f/2.2 lens is back to life


[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter reproducing the Summaron-M 28 f/5.6, another legend is reborn. Leica introduces the Thambar-M 90 mm f/2.2, a remake of a legendary lens that has fascinated collectors and photographers all over the world. The name comes from "thambo", a Greek word that means "vague", and it is used in a sentence that is perfect for the photos that this lens creates: "me thambose me teen omorfia tis", which means "to be blinded by beauty".
The Thambar is now available again and it is distinguished by its characteristic soft-focus effect and unmistakable bokeh. Perfect for your romantic-like photos in the country. While the outside-aesthetic is new and fresh, the internal structure is the same. 
Originally produced in 1935, this lens didn’t reach a high producing level with only about 3000 units, making collectors curious about the new remake of this product. The soft look is the result of intentional under-correction from its spherical lens elements. This under-correction increases towards the edges of the frame, allowing both the level of softening and the depth of field to be precisely controlled by the smoothly-turning ‘stepless’ aperture ring. The effect is most pronounced at wider apertures, and is progressively reduced as the lens is stopped down.

We are used to modern lenses, which typically strive to achieve the highest levels of sharpness and clarity, but the Thambar-M 90 mm f/2.2 is all about the looks. The Thambar lens is known for its ability to capture portraits with a signature style that cannot be reproduced in digital post processing. Its focal length of 90 mm and optical design together give photographers the perfect tool to compose images with a romantic look and narrative in mind. All those YouTube tutorials for perfect bokehs will be useless against the perfection of this lens.
Photographer Jolie Luo uses her Leica with the Thambar lens for her Instagram photos to recreate what she sees in her trips and the people she meets. She is part of the Chinese Photographers Association and the British Royal Photographic Association. Her photos are dreamy and with a glossy appearance, resembling a romantic dream.

The post Leica’s Thambar-M 90 mm f/2.2 lens is back to life appeared first on Positive Magazine.

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New Week, More Burning Man 2017 photos!

And here we go again! Here’s a link to all the Burning Man posts here on the blog. Enjoy!

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

It was her first Burning Man and I told her she looked like a pro! I’m not sure her name… I got the contact info for her and her boyfriend, but I bet someone on the internet knows who she is.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Check out this fun new art car! There are over 100 art cars out there… some big, some tiny, and some extra-tiny like this. Even better, this one takes photos! I meant to go for a ride in it, but I never saw it again

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Carla and Kristyna, BFF. This is basically just like me and Rene, but we don’t hug like this in camp. Well, guys kinda hug when they first see one another, and then a 2nd hug a week later when they part. So, well, it’s not like us at all. It’s like us if we were girls, I guess. Okay, the more I talk about it, it’s actually a really bad analogy. Anyway, this is Carla and Kristyna. They’re super-friendly.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
A surprising, gnarly sand-twister came over the desert one day. I chased it for about three minutes. I know it sounds crazy, but they are actually fun get close too because the wind whips your bike around and you don’t have to pedal… just kind of hang on for the ride with one hand, the other one taking photos!

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There weren’t as many sandstorms this year as most years, but it was one of the hottest in the past five. It gets depressingly hot if you just sit around the camp, so the best idea is to jump on your bike and let the afternoon winds cool you off. I did this almost every day, and found other random people doing the same sort of thing. Your camp/RV/tent can be kind of a vortex, so it’s good to get out, ride your bike, and roll around to see what you can find.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
A wonderful Israeli couple had just finished an acro-yoga performance for me. They were amazing and I got some great photos that I still haven’t processed. After they finished, they embraced. This was somewhere around 8:30 and E (that’s how addresses work in Black Rock City… time + letter).

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Art Quote of the Day

Art Quote of the Day: “My eyes were made to erase all that is ugly.” – Raoul Dufy “My eyes were made to erase all that is ugly.”

Poem of the Day: Three Trees

The aqua green goes with the pink
in a way no one knows what will happen.
Every step is a dangerous taking.
Amazing the time span of a trunk
(a door opens in it and suddenly,
someone is asking how this came to be).
The green curtain is a pressed chime
which when rung rings in a dogwood
white as if a storm were approaching
its green extreme.
Brick crumbles into living pond particle
while a bent hook holds back
the last dissolve.
An uneasy leap over a sharky sea.
Gravity plays its little emotive role.
It’s Elm Street all over
again, ragged walkways lead to Toon Town.
Hello kids. Hello Jimmy Neutron.
The blanket rises, and under it,
a fetishistic pompadour
green, greener and paler than bluebird.
But hush, the nuclear power plant
is about to blow unless
Jimmy can locate the elusive button.
A siren and standing-by fire truck.
It looks like a lost cause until presto,
a messenger. A racketing aside.
The day is dragged here and there but still
can’t be saved. BAM. Immediately
the next second clicks into the skyscape
apocalypse. In the dust, a celluloid woman
mows a multilayered lawn.
The arch overhead reads, O Art
Still Has Truth Take Refuge. Where? There.
There, there, says someone.
“Three Trees” reprinted from Elegy by Mary Jo Bang. © 2007 by Mary Jo Bang. Used with permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Source: Elegy(Graywolf Press, 2007)

Mary Jo Bang

More poems by this author

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Review: the Canon EF-M 22/2 STM

Just when I thought my temporary flirtation with the Canon EOS-M6 was over, Canon Malaysia came back to me with the EF-M 22mm F2 STM lens which I was very interested to try out. In my recent review of the Canon EOS-M6, I concluded that it performed well, with the only serious downside being the sub-standard kit lens. Therefore, I was hoping that the 22mm F2 pancake would do justice to what the M6 is truly capable of! 

As usual, a little disclaimer – the review of the Canon 22mm F2 lens is independent and based on my personal experience shooting it on the Canon EOS-M6. Both the 22mm lens and the M6 body were on loan from Canon Malaysia. Neither me nor Ming Thein are connected to Canon Malaysia. The loan was strictly for review purposes and these products will be returned after the review.

All images were shot in RAW and post-processed in Capture One Pro version 10.2. Higher resolution images with full EXIF data intact can be viewed at online image gallery here.

The Canon 22mm F2 STM lens has been around for several years now, and I’ve been surprised to find that not many photographers have reviewed it. I have a thing for pancake lenses, I think they fit perfectly in the world of mirrorless cameras. The slim profile of the lens matches the small Canon M6 body, making the combo truly compact.  Mirrorless camera manufacturers should produce more good optical quality, affordable and genuinely compact prime pancake lenses!

The 22mm focal length provides an equivalent field of view of 35mm in 35mm terms, which is a versatile, easy to use, and classic focal length. The wide aperture of F2 is respectable considering it is “pancake” in design. The minimum focusing distance is about 0.15m, good for decent close up shots with a maximum 0.21x magnification. The lens weighs almost nothing, at only 105g. The thing that caught my attention most was the affordable price tag, with the lens retailing at about RM1,000 (~ $240) in Malaysia.

Awesome Yana from AbsoluteYana

I was trying to figure out what Canon’s target market for this 22mm pancake lens is, especially on the EOS-M series bodies. Surely one spectrum of target consumers is the social media savvy user, hoping to take their photography to the next level with a better albeit affordable lens on a mirrorless camera body. That means, lots of “Instagram-able” food pictures taken at hipster cafes, never-ending selfies, and the typical OOTD/fashion shots. With that in mind, I stormed out and did just that for the review! Ok, that was a bad joke, but I can totally see how people would buy this lens just for those purposes.

On a more serious note, I was looking for subjects to photograph so that the images would not look too similar to my previous Canon M6 review. Knowing that the lens yields 35mm equivalent field of view, it was almost impossible not to do the usual street photography thing. Luckily, I had the opportunity to shoot a singer-songwriter’s live performance on stage – which I did entirely with the 22mm lens. Also, Deepavali, a celebration that is best translated as the “Festival of lights” was taking place and I went out on the eve to a local hotspot to witness and capture the celebration.

I like how this image is sharp from edge to edge.

Crop from the previous image. Look at the extreme corner, no sign of softness. Impressive!

Based on initial tests of the Canon 22mm lens, I was happy to find that the lens performs well as an all-rounder. There is no noticeable soft corners and the sharpness of the lens was quite good – much better than the kit lens. To my eyes, the sharpness of the lens is quite even from the centre to the edges of the frame. The amount of fine detail captured is also quite good, but to achieve optimum sharpness, it is best to stop down to F4 or F5.6. Wide open at F2, the lens is sharp enough that I find myself shooting wide open most of the time. However, it is worth mentioning that the sharpness is not at the same level as higher grade lenses (Canon L lenses, for example). In bright, outdoor conditions, the images rendered by this lens feature rich contrast and good colour.

Considering the 1.6x crop factor and F2 aperture, I was not able to create as much blur in the background as I would’ve liked, but when it works, the bokeh quality is beautiful and smooth. I was also pleased to find that chromatic aberration is well controlled, and there isn’t a lot of noticeable distortion. This 22mm pancake lens corrects all the technical flaws that the original kit lens suffers from.

The true torture test for the Canon 22mm F2 lens came when I was shooting Bihzhu’s live performance at Shook! at Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. Before the event, I received a text from Bihzhu, preemptively warning me about the horrible stage lighting. Indeed, the horror was revealed when the show began with the stage light consisting of a saturated mix of purple and pink highlights (I spent considerable time correcting for skin tones). Additionally, the lighting for the stage was so dim compared to the backdrop large LED screen that I was basically shooting into the light for the entire event.

Another challenge, self-inflicted in this case, was that I was stuck with a 35mm equivalent focal length. If you have known me from my old blog, you will know that this is not a comfortable focal length for me to work with. Especially for stage performances, I prefer working with much longer focal lengths for that extra reach and so that I don’t have to be too close to the performers. I guess, not having this flexibility and being stuck with a focal length was not my favourite experience, but I did push myself to get the shots that I needed. I definitely put extra effort for this round of shooting, getting myself as close as I can to the stage, while keeping in mind that I must not stay at one spot for too long for fear of blocking the audience’s view.

The Canon 22mm lens and M6 body combo performed incredibly well for this set. I was amazed by the autofocus capability, nailing crucial shots throughout the show. To my surprise, Bihzhu commented on how much she liked one of my shots! While the stage had horrible lighting, the lens handled the back-light situation well. I did have some misses here and there, and I can tell you that some of those failed shots were entirely my fault (you must understand that this is not my main working camera). There was a surprise birthday celebration for Bihzhu halfway through the show and I managed to react quickly enough, and the M6 + 22mm was capable enough to capture the right moments.

Is that not what a good camera and lens is supposed to do, perform when you need it to, be able to capture the right moment and deliver the shot?

The Canon colour is starting to grow on me.

The close up shooting is also quite good, going in as close as 0.15m.

Deepavali, the festival of lights is a huge celebration in Malaysia. I brought the Canon M6 and 22mm combo out on the streets to witness the Deepavali Eve celebration. Lighting was inconsistent, mostly from street lamps, or fluorescent lights from nearby vendors and stalls. It was dim most of the time, and that was the point of this test, to see how the 22mm handled low light conditions. I shot wide open the entire time with ISO varying between 1600 and 3200.

It was a 4 hour walk along the streets, the atmosphere was vibrant and lively with loud, up-beat music, and a huge crowd busy with last minute shopping for the festival. Having a small and light camera helped a lot. With the tiny pancake lens, it was as if I had nothing on the camera at all, in terms of weight. Being truly mobile and not being weighed down by your equipment is the primary purpose for using a mirrorless system after all. It was a joy using such a small camera and lens combo.

My only complaint from this experience, was having to constantly watch my shutter speed. Coming from having a reliable image stabilization system all the time, I was used to handling extremely slow shutter speeds and still getting away with reasonably sharp images. This was not the case for this set of images as even at 1/50 shutter speed, there was plenty of blur in my shots due to hand shake. Yes, I admit, this was probably my fault for not having a steadier hand-holding technique but I wish the lens or camera had some sort of image stabilization, which would help keep the ISO numbers low.

One of the blink and you miss it moment, and the 22mm pancake lens on M6 managed to nail this.

Image stabilization aside, I don’t think there is anything bad to write about the Canon 22mm F2 lens. My experience has been positive with consistent sharpness from corner to corner, good control of optical flaws, minimal chromatic aberration and negligible barrel distortion. Autofocus was quick and reliable enough that I managed to capture critical moments. The 35mm effective field of view provides an easy to use, versatile focal length for everyday use and is a must for street photographers. The 22mm lens features a superbly slim and compact profile that creates a truly small and light mirrorless system for Canon.

I can confidently say, that for Canon EOS-M users, the Canon 22mm F2 STM pancake lens is a must have in your camera bag. This is a no-brainer upgrade from the kit lens, giving you improved results and a better shooting experience. Canon should make more lenses like this for different focal lengths, maybe an equivalent 24mm F2.8, and also a 50mm F2 pancake?

The Canon EF-M 22mm F2 STM Lens is available from B&H
The Canon EOS-M6 is available from B&H


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