Flickr’s Your Best Shot 2017 Opens Soon!

It’s the Most. Wonderful. Time. of the year. Not the holidays, no no. Your Best Shot! We’re back with the Your Best Shot 2017 Flickr Group, opening on December 1st, and we invite you to add your best, favorite, most popular shot of the year.

Far from gravity.

You can join the group now, so go ahead and click on over! Submissions will be accepted from December 1st through January 3rd, 2017 (to give you time to edit those photos you took in the last couple days of the year). You can only add one photo to the group, so be sure it’s the one you most want to symbolize and showcase your work from the past year. Just to be clear, the group is for photos uploaded in 2017 — it doesn’t really matter when the photo was taken.

What qualifies as “best” is surely in the eye of the beholder (or the photographer), so it’s entirely up to you what you submit. That said, we’ll begin sifting through the awesomeness in the group pool in early December and publish selection galleries of our favorites on the Flickr Blog and our social media channels. We’ll select photos from various themes starting in mid-December and continue highlighting our favorites through January or February.

Please note in the Group Rules that by submitting your photos to the group, you are granting us permission in case we use your images to celebrate the group on social media, such as in Tweets, Facebook posts, Tumblr, etc. We won’t use your images to make money or for commercial purposes, but we include the legalese so that you are aware of the rights you grant us for this event.

So check out your portfolio and dust off those hard drives. We can’t wait to see the amazing photos you share in the Your Best Shot 2017 Group starting on December 1st.

Thanks,
Flickr Community Team

Source: http://blog.flickr.net

Spidergirl out my kitchen window

One of my first tips in the SnapShop DSLR course is to keep your camera readily accessible. For me, that means keeping my camera in my kitchen because 90% of our home life happens in the general area of the kitchen. I keep my camera on a side counter, but if you don’t have a safe counter space, I would recommend clearing a little spot inside a cabinet.

If your camera is charged and ready, the chances of you opting for it instead of your phone are greater. Though camera phones have improved greatly, I still prefer my DSLR.

All that to say…the other day I was cooking in the kitchen and glanced out the window to see Spiderman stole my boxing gloves and was waiting to pounce on a sibling.

I grabbed my camera and ran out the door….

After the first snap, I asked her if I could take a few more. She was happy to pose…

The muscle kissing – definitely learned that from her big brothers!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Source: http://ift.tt/qd8WY6

A Bavarian Sunset

A Bavarian Sunset wallpaper

After fours hours on trains and buses and a hay fever-intensive hike, we got to our destination. Sunsets in Bavaria are always a special experience and alpine sunsets are truly magical. If you ever plan to hike in Bavaria, I would highly recommend checking out the Allgäuer Alpen in the west.

Licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0.

Rawtherapee

Nikon D600, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR.

Photo Settings: 20mm, f/11, 1/10 second, ISO 100.

Mac users: download Macdrops the official InterfaceLIFT app for Mac OS X.

Source: http://ift.tt/uZTAwX

We Shoot Polaroid Originals Duochrome Pink and Blue – Instant Film Profile

Polaroid Originals recently brought back two fan-favorite films from the days of Impossible Project; Duochrome Pink and Duochrome Blue. These instant films use the same chemistry as the company’s black-and-white film, but substitute the white for pink or blue, respectively. Sounds predictably underwhelming, but the resultant images are just the opposite – unexpected, energetic, and unique.

But rather than just regurgitate Polaroid Originals’ press release, we thought we’d dive a bit deeper, shoot the film, show some results, and let you know whether or not this stuff is worth your cash. Let’s do that.

To start, I should specify that Duochrome is a 600 series film. That means it will work with older 600 series Polaroid cameras and with Polaroid Originals’ new OneStep 2, which we covered in great detail last month.

Polaroid Originals sent us four packs of Duochrome (two pink, two blue), and I shot them in all lighting conditions, indoors and out, with and without flash, in an old Polaroid OneStep 600 and in Polaroid Originals’ new OneStep 2. For the most part, the film worked beautifully, creating dreamy, saturated images with incredible pop and clarity. With Duochrome, I made images that are imbued with a natural playfulness, even though my subjects are almost terminally mundane when testing film. Shots of my dog in the backyard, friends in the office, and random cameras lying around the shop took on entirely new life simply on account of Duochrome’s inherent weirdness.

The film, much like Polaroid Originals’ current black-and-white film, is dreamy and contrasty with a delightful interplay between highlights and shadows. When subjects are still, well-illuminated, and within the camera’s focusing sweet spot, images are crisp and detailed. And when we make a frame in which darkness and light are in roughly equivalent balance, Duochrome really shines. As with most Polaroid cameras and film, more light equals better photos. Don’t be shy with that exposure compensation and built-in flash; using these will get you the brightest blues and pinks.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that along with these wonderful images came a number of technical failures ranging from minor imperfections to completely wasted frames.






Two shots suffered extreme chemical artifacts, and many of the rest showed aberrations in the form of spots and flecks. These technical imperfections, while somewhat disappointing (especially for those on a strict budget), don’t really detract from the final image. Polaroid Originals makes it a point of emphasis that their film is delightfully imperfect, a marketing angle I’m willing to buy into, as it’s actually true. The best Polaroid shots are the ones that look a bit spontaneous. Even when shots aren’t properly exposed, well framed, or clinically perfect, they work, and the punchy splash of wild color only adds to this charm of imperfection.

But then again, some shots failed in ways that are irredeemable even when we adopt Polaroid’s romantic perspective. Four shots from a total of thirty-two failed to develop into an image at all, leaving me with just a black image surrounded by a black frame. Averaging this number over the four packs of film we tested, that’s one wasted frame per pack. In reality, two packs worked perfectly and two packs had two bad frames each. Good news for whoever would’ve bought the two working packs, yes, but bad news for the other poor sap who would’ve only gotten six of his eight shots. And I should mention that in one pack, six of the eight photos leaked blue chemicals onto my hands, a situation I’m hoping is only mildly toxic.

This is hit-and-miss film, there’s no denying that. But when the new Duochrome hits, it hits hard. The film produces images that are gorgeous, incomparable, and worth making. It’s almost silly to say, but there’s a ridiculous amount of joy to be extracted from this film by the simple virtue that it makes shots that are primarily pink and blue. Without hyperbole, I love this film. Which is why it’s so depressing when a shot fails due to chemistry or for whatever other reasons Polaroid Originals’ shots seem to fail.

Are these occasional failed frames common enough for us to suggest you pass on Duochrome? Maybe, maybe not. If you love Polaroid cameras and instant film, and you’ve bought into the resurgence of Polaroid, you will surely regret not trying Duochrome at least once. But if you’re on a strict budget, there may be better ways to spend your film or camera cash; instant photography can be an expensive hobby, after all.

This film is something special, and longtime supporters of Impossible can attest to that. The old company’s Duochrome film (which came in orange, yellow, and other colored packs) was gobbled up immediately by ravenous fans, and expired packs still sell for rather ridiculous prices (when you can find them for sale). The fact that Duochrome has returned is great news for lovers of instant photography, and the film’s lovely tones, gorgeous saturation, and yes, its unpredictability, make it a film that’s not to be missed.

Want to shoot Duochrome yourself?

Buy it from Polaroid Originals

Buy it from B&H Photo

CASUAL PHOTOPHILE is on ElloFacebookInstagram, and Youtube

Source: http://ift.tt/2bb8ot8

Dignify: Kantha Quilts

I cannot believe it is Thanksgiving next week! I usually try to keep our calendar open, but we have stuff every day until December. Good stuff, but for someone that likes nothing on the calendar – it feels overwhelming. November is National Adoption Awareness month, which means Chris has been gone most days, nights, and weekends speaking to various groups and leading meetings all over the state (he runs a non-profit in the foster care realm – 111Project.org). We are ready to see him again!

Next week I hope to post my photography gear guide before all the Black Friday deals hit, hopefully it will help those of you looking for a little direction on what to purchase.

Today I want to highlight Dignify and the Kantha blankets my kids fight over. Almost exactly 4 years ago, I began working with Dignify as a result of a local Christmas gathering I participated in each November. The story behind Dignify is beautiful. I can’t do it justice…click here to read it.

The Kantha blankets are hand-stitched in Bangladesh from six layers of sari cloth by women who were previously on the streets in dire circumstances. Over the years, Dignify has sent us 2 blankets and the kids fight over both because they are so soft. When I see them wrapped in the blankets, I often wonder about the women who stitched them.

The pillow covers are also from Dignify. We are currently working on making cushions for the couch my dad built last year (slow moving on projects around here). The next cushions are a super busy green floral fabric. The Dignify pillows will help break up all that green!While attempting to take photos of my oldest daughter, her sister and the dog photobombed her. She’s pretty used to it and just rolls with it.

Dignify also carries bedding, holiday items (tree skirts, stockings, ornaments), pillows, items for baby, and so much more!! Seriously, it is all so beautiful and unique…and soft, so very soft!

You can find Dignify in the following places:

Website & Shop | Facebook | Instagram

 

Source: http://ift.tt/qd8WY6

Moon Setting Over Yacht

The Same Morning

Often times, when we have photo workshops, I try to challenge the group to take as many different types of photos as possible from a scene. This usually means a combo of wide-angle shots and telephoto shots. The two photos today are a good example of this!

The Moon Sets Over Grand Cayman

Daily Photo – Moon Setting Over Yacht

My first morning in Grand Cayman Island was probably the most productive of all my photo-mornings there. For one thing, I was SO TIRED when I woke up that I could barely force myself out of bed and out of the room to take photos. But I saw the view (above) from the balcony, so I knew it would be a winner! It’s rare to see the full moon setting like this across the ocean, so I dragged myself out of the room and onto the beach to get this view below.

Moon Setting Over Yacht

Photo Information


  • Date Taken2017-01-12 19:48:19
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Source: http://ift.tt/2sX4vPC

Why Aren’t There Any Famous Asian American Photographers?

Three young artists discuss the histories, struggles, and complexities of making photographs in America today.

By Will Matsuda

Tommy Kha, Unity, Memphis, Tennessee, 2013, from the series A Real Imitation
Courtesy the artist

The first time I saw a Rinko Kawauchi photograph, it felt a little like home. I connected with the softness, the warmth, the subtle hints of Japan. Like everyone in the photography community who comes from a “diverse” background, I’m always looking for images that the industry rarely provides—images that reflect my experiences, made by people who look like me. But, that doesn’t happen very often.

In the hands of a white elite, photographs have long constructed ideas of racial Others in America, and have preserved and propagated white supremacy. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Edward Curtis presented Native Americans as a people nearing extinction, which contributed to the movement to erase them from American social consciousness. In the Jim Crow South, photographs of lynchings were printed onto popular postcards. From the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century, anthropologists used photographs as “evidence” that colonial subjects in Africa were inferior. During the same period, American photographers, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Science, photographed hundreds of Filipinos, ranking their subjects on a hierarchical scale from savage to civilized.

Because American photographers have utilized photography as a tool of racial oppression, images made by people of color are vital. Today, a new generation of Asian American photographers is answering the call.

Mary Kang, 28, was born in South Korea, raised in Austin, Texas, and now lives in New York. She began by working in photojournalism, but now shoots fashion and music editorials. Tommy Kha, 28, from Memphis, Tennessee, now lives in New York and makes self-portraits. Jessica Chou, 32, was born in Taiwan and raised in Los Angeles, where she now lives now, and works in editorial and documentary settings.

I recently spoke with Kang, Kha, and Chou about the histories, struggles, and complexities that make Asian American photography a crucial part of American culture. Despite their differences, themes of belonging and community unify their work. And while these photographers are all of East Asian descent, the stories of Asia, in all its vastness, are not represented here. Kang, Kha, and Chou’s images don’t directly address grievances. Instead, they make visual space for nuanced dialogue.

Jessica Chou, Bruce and Sherry, 2013, from the series Suburban Chinatown
Courtesy the artist

Will Matsuda: Do you think being Asian American has affected your relationship with the photography industry? Do you feel pigeonholed in the assignments and opportunities you are given?

Mary Kang: When it comes to telling stories about Asians in America, I think it’s so important that Asian Americans do it.

Tommy Kha: YES.

Jessica Chou: Yes, we are the ones who can talk about it in a nuanced way.

Kang: We need to decolonize the narrative about Asian American communities.

Matsuda: What would a “decolonized narration” look like in images?

Kang: When photographing people with different identities than our own, we really have to confront our own biases. We have to be on the lookout for our blind spots. White men largely dominate the industry; their biases help them to maintain power. Most surviving histories are written by people in power.

Recently, I was in Perpignan, France, to attend the international photojournalism festival, Visa Pour L’Image. For six nights there were screenings of award-winning images. A lot of the images showed people of color in vulnerable positions. How does this imagery feed the people in power? When the narration is this one-sided, it does not recognize people of color as full human beings. So when it comes to East Asian American narratives, it would make a lot more sense to have someone from our own community tell the story.

Mary Kang, Mimi, 2016
Courtesy the artist

Kha: I think we’re always going to be seen as Asian photographers. One really well known photographer found out I was from Memphis and immediately dismissed my work, A Real Imitation (2011–15), because he said William Eggleston already photographed Memphis and the South. He thought that no one else could do it. As minorities, our work is easily dismissed. People are like, “Oh that’s a very specific voice, but is anyone really asking for this kind of work?” I feel like what we do is important no matter how many times we are told otherwise. I get a lot of, “Who really cares about your Asian grandma?” Or, “She survived a war; so what?” We get dismissed so easily.

Kang: I can’t believe the Eggleston thing. Just because a cisgender, white male did it, no one else can? That there’s a singular vision of Memphis?

Chou: That has to do with who has power in the industry. We need to have an industry that is much more diverse, and that sees the value in our stories. When I was showing my series Suburban Chinatown (2013), the nuance of the work went over a lot of editors’ heads. It’s not necessarily their fault for not understanding; it’s more about how there should be diverse voices and leadership in the photography industry. Who is making the decisions about what stories are elevated and heard?

Tommy Kha, Iron Closed , Batesville, Mississippi, 2013, from the series A Real Imitation
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: Has the current political climate influenced your recent work?

Chou: It makes me want to get out and understand what is happening. My work in the San Gabriel Valley looks at where I come from—it’s mostly Asians and Latinos. If you asked me, when I was growing up, what the percentage of the U.S. population was Asian American, I would have said, like, thirty percent. Everyone I knew came from immigrant households.

I spent a couple of summers up in upstate New York, and that was the first time I experienced the “textbook” version of America. That was the first time I met people whose families had been in America for generations. I don’t know my family’s history beyond my grandparents, so I am interested in people whose sense of place in America has deep roots. Ultimately, I am trying to find my bearings here, and at the same time, understand what’s happening in these communities.

 

Jessica Chou, Back Lot, 2013, from the series Suburban Chinatown
Courtesy the artist

Kang: When I shoot fashion, I sometimes get to cast the models. I want to work with diverse communities, but I am still learning in terms of ethics. For example, looking back on it now, a year-and-a-half ago, what I would have considered to be cultural appreciation is actually cultural appropriation. There is always so much to learn, but that does not provide an excuse for people of color to misrepresent or disrespect other people of color. I have to question why I want diversity in my work. Is this benefiting the people represented, or just a white audience who is consuming these images and products? I continue to think about this. I think the closest solution is to listen. Listen more. Research more. Diversify the people who are making decisions, who have power.

As an East Asian American, I could push and elevate East Asian models only, but that gets complicated too. As East Asian Americans, we carry oppression, but we also must acknowledge that we carry privileges too. We should definitely stand for our own community, but also go beyond our own issues and help others who are even more unjustly discriminated against.

Kha: In self-portraiture, the body is immediately politicized. I don’t think I’m overtly political, but in my work I talk about representation, otherness, and the image itself. It’s very much attached to the political climate recently, but also connected to the politics that have been around for centuries. Yellowface and blackface emerged in America around the same time. Yellowface still continues in Hollywood. It’s our job, as photographers, to be aware of what is going on. How do we affect the people we photograph?

Mary Kang, Swae Lee, 2017
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: Since you all come from different areas within the photography industry, do you think there is more “freedom” in the art world, which is about self-expression to a degree, than in editorial commissions for major media, which have gatekeepers and sometimes conservative or just majority-white perspectives?

Kha: I don’t think there’s more “freedom” because all aspects of the photography world came from a Western standpoint, thus the art world, fashion, and editorial industries have long been influenced by predominantly white, often male, voices.

Chou: There are gatekeepers everywhere deciding what is a legitimate and what tone an expression should take in order to be celebrated or considered “serious” work. In the editorial world, what is considered a worthy story or a worthy angle is sometimes decided by a newsroom that might not be asking the right questions, or it’s asking questions only from one perspective.

Kang: But with more people gaining access to cameras and access to online platforms such as blogs and social media, there is a sense of freedom in being able to share and see multiple perspectives. I find photographers on social media I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Tommy Kha, Headtown III, New York City, 2017, from the series I’m Only Here to Leave
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: Do you frame your work as resistance for yourself and your communities?

Chou: I think so. It’s an unwillingness to be defined by other people. Growing up, I tried bending over backwards to fit in. At some point, I stopped caring about being accepted. What I want is to be included. For all of us, it’s about defining ourselves. That’s a form of resistance.

Kha: Picking up the camera was a form of resistance and rebellion to my family. Jessica said it really well—we are defining our own space. But it’s important also to consider intersectionality and speak across difference.

Kang: We bring our own experiences and histories with us when we photograph. It’s our gaze. It’s not what we usually see in photography, which is the white male gaze. When we make photographs, it is already a form of resistance against the usual way images are produced.

Kha: White male photographers have been photographing people of color since the invention of photography. Give us some space here.

Kang: It is a form of resistance, even if we don’t get accolades. Even if we don’t get recognized by this audience. Just by producing photographs, we are resisting.

Kha: Holy shit, that is true.

Kang: If it inspires or connects with marginalized communities, it’s worth it.

Jessica Chou, Kids on Newmark Ave., 2013, from the series Suburban Chinatown
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: There are many Asian American photographers making important work today. Ligaiya Romero, Pete Pin, Ka-Man Tse, Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong, and Chan Chao come to mind. But, in general, Asian Americans still aren’t very visible. There isn’t a touchstone Asian American photographer. Why do you think this is?

Kha: Yes, we are definitely here. But I think a lot of Asian Americans are first generation immigrants, so growing up, they didn’t get to go to museums to appreciate and learn about art. My mom had to clean the minefields.

Our parents want to see us succeed. Their relationship with art is almost nonexistent. It’s complicated to explain to them that it’s really fulfilling. My family didn’t really talk to me during my four years of undergrad. Just my mom, aunt, and my sister. But it was still like, “Maybe you will be lawyer later.”

Kang: My parents were not very happy when I told them I wanted to pursue a photography career. I know they have the best intentions, but they pushed me to become a pharmacist. I wanted to do art. I’m not speaking for all Asian American parents, but my Korean American parents really wanted to push for upward mobility. I feel like it has to do with the hardships our parents endured in their home countries. They fled from poverty and war. They want their kids to have what they couldn’t have. They want security. Their lives and their circumstances were much harder, so art wasn’t really encouraged.

Chou: My parents were actually really supportive of me. I think that mostly has to do with the fact that if they told me to do one thing, I’d just turn around and do the other. My parents are as hippy as Chinese parents can be. Even my grandma was one of the few girls in her time to get an education in China. She became one of the few women reporters in Beijing. So there is a bit of understanding about my path, and they respect it. But they are still confused about how I make money [laughs].

Mary Kang, Pink Narcissus, 2015
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: Do you have any advice for young or emerging Asian American photographers reading this?

Kang: I had the privilege of being taught by Eli Reed in school. He went through so much bullshit as the only black member of Magnum Photos and in the wider industry as well. He said that even though these institutions are white-dominated, and they are usually racist, don’t let that stop you from doing your work. If you let that stop you from doing your work, then they have already won.

Kha: Everyone is just going to tell you “no” all the time. It’s so important to make the work you are making because no one else has your perspective. If they say “no,” push back. Arm yourself with a camera and your vision. Go out there and make pictures.

Chou: What makes you different is literally your own vision. Keep persisting. Show what could be. Show what you aren’t seeing.

Kang: When I first started photographing and pursuing photojournalism, I would think, what is the ultimate goal? Is it joining Magnum? And then I would look at all these photo agencies, and they are so predominantly white. Lack of representation is quite discouraging. But recently I’ve been seeing more organizing in the industry with Women Photograph and Diversify Photo.

Kha: If there isn’t space for these voices, create it. Elevate other voices, and surround yourself with them.

Will Matsuda is the social media associate at Aperture Foundation.

The post Why Aren’t There Any Famous Asian American Photographers? appeared first on Aperture Foundation NY.

Source: https://aperture.org

Why Aren’t There Any Famous Asian American Photographers?

Three young artists discuss the histories, struggles, and complexities of making photography in America today.

By Will Matsuda

Tommy Kha, Unity, Memphis, Tennessee, 2013, from the series A Real Imitation
Courtesy the artist

The first time I saw a Rinko Kawauchi photograph, it felt a little like home. I connected with the softness, the warmth, the subtle hints of Japan. Like everyone in the photography community who comes from a “diverse” background, I’m always looking for images that the industry rarely provides—images that reflect my experiences, made by people who look like me. But, that doesn’t happen very often.

In the hands of a white elite, photographs have long constructed ideas of racial Others in America, and have preserved and propagated white supremacy. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Edward Curtis presented Native Americans as a people nearing extinction, which contributed to the movement to erase them from American social consciousness. In the Jim Crow South, photographs of lynchings were printed onto popular postcards. From the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century, anthropologists used photographs as “evidence” that colonial subjects in Africa were inferior. During the same period, American photographers, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Science, photographed hundreds of Filipinos, ranking their subjects on a hierarchical scale from savage to civilized.

Because American photographers have utilized photography as a tool of racial oppression, images made by people of color are vital. Today, a new generation of Asian American photographers is answering the call.

Mary Kang, 28, was born in South Korea, raised in Austin, Texas, and now lives in New York. She began by working in photojournalism, but now shoots fashion and music editorials. Tommy Kha, 28, from Memphis, Tennessee, now lives in New York and makes self-portraits. Jessica Chou, 32, was born in Taiwan and raised in Los Angeles, where she now lives now, and works in editorial and documentary settings.

I recently spoke with Kang, Kha, and Chou about the histories, struggles, and complexities that make Asian American photography a crucial part of American culture. Despite their differences, themes of belonging and community unify their work. And while these photographers are all of East Asian descent, the stories of Asia, in all its vastness, are not represented here. Kang, Kha, and Chou’s images don’t directly address grievances. Instead, they make visual space for nuanced dialogue.

Jessica Chou, Bruce and Sherry, 2013, from the series Suburban Chinatown
Courtesy the artist

Will Matsuda: Do you think being Asian American has affected your relationship with the photography industry? Do you feel pigeonholed in the assignments and opportunities you are given?

Mary Kang: When it comes to telling stories about Asians in America, I think it’s so important that Asian Americans do it.

Tommy Kha: YES.

Jessica Chou: Yes, we are the ones who can talk about it in a nuanced way.

Kang: We need to decolonize the narrative about Asian American communities.

Matsuda: What would a “decolonized narration” look like in images?

Kang: When photographing people with different identities than our own, we really have to confront our own biases. We have to be on the lookout for our blind spots. White men largely dominate the industry; their biases help them to maintain power. Most surviving histories are written by people in power.

Recently, I was in Perpignan, France, to attend the international photojournalism festival, Visa Pour L’Image. For six nights there were screenings of award-winning images. A lot of the images showed people of color in vulnerable positions. How does this imagery feed the people in power? When the narration is this one-sided, it does not recognize people of color as full human beings. So when it comes to East Asian American narratives, it would make a lot more sense to have someone from our own community tell the story.

Mary Kang, Mimi, 2016
Courtesy the artist

Kha: I think we’re always going to be seen as Asian photographers. One really well known photographer found out I was from Memphis and immediately dismissed my work, A Real Imitation (2011–15), because he said William Eggleston already photographed Memphis and the South. He thought that no one else could do it. As minorities, our work is easily dismissed. People are like, “Oh that’s a very specific voice, but is anyone really asking for this kind of work?” I feel like what we do is important no matter how many times we are told otherwise. I get a lot of, “Who really cares about your Asian grandma?” Or, “She survived a war; so what?” We get dismissed so easily.

Kang: I can’t believe the Eggleston thing. Just because a cisgender, white male did it, no one else can? That there’s a singular vision of Memphis?

Chou: That has to do with who has power in the industry. We need to have an industry that is much more diverse, and that sees the value in our stories. When I was showing my series Suburban Chinatown (2013), the nuance of the work went over a lot of editors’ heads. It’s not necessarily their fault for not understanding; it’s more about how there should be diverse voices and leadership in the photography industry. Who is making the decisions about what stories are elevated and heard?

Tommy Kha, Iron Closed , Batesville, Mississippi, 2013, from the series A Real Imitation
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: Has the current political climate influenced your recent work?

Chou: It makes me want to get out and understand what is happening. My work in the San Gabriel Valley looks at where I come from—it’s mostly Asians and Latinos. If you asked me, when I was growing up, what the percentage of the U.S. population was Asian American, I would have said, like, thirty percent. Everyone I knew came from immigrant households.

I spent a couple of summers up in upstate New York, and that was the first time I experienced the “textbook” version of America. That was the first time I met people whose families had been in America for generations. I don’t know my family’s history beyond my grandparents, so I am interested in people whose sense of place in America has deep roots. Ultimately, I am trying to find my bearings here, and at the same time, understand what’s happening in these communities.

 

Jessica Chou, Back Lot, 2013, from the series Suburban Chinatown
Courtesy the artist

Kang: When I shoot fashion, I sometimes get to cast the models. I want to work with diverse communities, but I am still learning in terms of ethics. For example, looking back on it now, a year-and-a-half ago, what I would have considered to be cultural appreciation is actually cultural appropriation. There is always so much to learn, but that does not provide an excuse for people of color to misrepresent or disrespect other people of color. I have to question why I want diversity in my work. Is this benefiting the people represented, or just a white audience who is consuming these images and products? I continue to think about this. I think the closest solution is to listen. Listen more. Research more. Diversify the people who are making decisions, who have power.

As an East Asian American, I could push and elevate East Asian models only, but that gets complicated too. As East Asian Americans, we carry oppression, but we also must acknowledge that we carry privileges too. We should definitely stand for our own community, but also go beyond our own issues and help others who are even more unjustly discriminated against.

Kha: In self-portraiture, the body is immediately politicized. I don’t think I’m overtly political, but in my work I talk about representation, otherness, and the image itself. It’s very much attached to the political climate recently, but also connected to the politics that have been around for centuries. Yellowface and blackface emerged in America around the same time. Yellowface still continues in Hollywood. It’s our job, as photographers, to be aware of what is going on. How do we affect the people we photograph?

Mary Kang, Swae Lee, 2017
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: Since you all come from different areas within the photography industry, do you think there is more “freedom” in the art world, which is about self-expression to a degree, than in editorial commissions for major media, which have gatekeepers and sometimes conservative or just majority-white perspectives?

Kha: I don’t think there’s more “freedom” because all aspects of the photography world came from a Western standpoint, thus the art world, fashion, and editorial industries have long been influenced by predominantly white, often male, voices.

Chou: There are gatekeepers everywhere deciding what is a legitimate and what tone an expression should take in order to be celebrated or considered “serious” work. In the editorial world, what is considered a worthy story or a worthy angle is sometimes decided by a newsroom that might not be asking the right questions, or it’s asking questions only from one perspective.

Kang: But with more people gaining access to cameras and access to online platforms such as blogs and social media, there is a sense of freedom in being able to share and see multiple perspectives. I find photographers on social media I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Tommy Kha, Headtown III, New York City, 2017, from the series I’m Only Here to Leave
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: Do you frame your work as resistance for yourself and your communities?

Chou: I think so. It’s an unwillingness to be defined by other people. Growing up, I tried bending over backwards to fit in. At some point, I stopped caring about being accepted. What I want is to be included. For all of us, it’s about defining ourselves. That’s a form of resistance.

Kha: Picking up the camera was a form of resistance and rebellion to my family. Jessica said it really well—we are defining our own space. But it’s important also to consider intersectionality and speak across difference.

Kang: We bring our own experiences and histories with us when we photograph. It’s our gaze. It’s not what we usually see in photography, which is the white male gaze. When we make photographs, it is already a form of resistance against the usual way images are produced.

Kha: White male photographers have been photographing people of color since the invention of photography. Give us some space here.

Kang: It is a form of resistance, even if we don’t get accolades. Even if we don’t get recognized by this audience. Just by producing photographs, we are resisting.

Kha: Holy shit, that is true.

Kang: If it inspires or connects with marginalized communities, it’s worth it.

Jessica Chou, Kids on Newmark Ave., 2013, from the series Suburban Chinatown
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: There are many Asian American photographers making important work today. Ligaiya Romero, Pete Pin, Ka-Man Tse, Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong, and Chan Chao come to mind. But, in general, Asian Americans still aren’t very visible. There isn’t a touchstone Asian American photographer. Why do you think this is?

Kha: Yes, we are definitely here. But I think a lot of Asian Americans are first generation immigrants, so growing up, they didn’t get to go to museums to appreciate and learn about art. My mom had to clean the minefields.

Our parents want to see us succeed. Their relationship with art is almost nonexistent. It’s complicated to explain to them that it’s really fulfilling. My family didn’t really talk to me during my four years of undergrad. Just my mom, aunt, and my sister. But it was still like, “Maybe you will be lawyer later.”

Kang: My parents were not very happy when I told them I wanted to pursue a photography career. I know they have the best intentions, but they pushed me to become a pharmacist. I wanted to do art. I’m not speaking for all Asian American parents, but my Korean American parents really wanted to push for upward mobility. I feel like it has to do with the hardships our parents endured in their home countries. They fled from poverty and war. They want their kids to have what they couldn’t have. They want security. Their lives and their circumstances were much harder, so art wasn’t really encouraged.

Chou: My parents were actually really supportive of me. I think that mostly has to do with the fact that if they told me to do one thing, I’d just turn around and do the other. My parents are as hippy as Chinese parents can be. Even my grandma was one of the few girls in her time to get an education in China. She became one of the few women reporters in Beijing. So there is a bit of understanding about my path, and they respect it. But they are still confused about how I make money [laughs].

Mary Kang, Pink Narcissus, 2015
Courtesy the artist

Matsuda: Do you have any advice for young or emerging Asian American photographers reading this?

Kang: I had the privilege of being taught by Eli Reed in school. He went through so much bullshit as the only black member of Magnum Photos and in the wider industry as well. He said that even though these institutions are white-dominated, and they are usually racist, don’t let that stop you from doing your work. If you let that stop you from doing your work, then they have already won.

Kha: Everyone is just going to tell you “no” all the time. It’s so important to make the work you are making because no one else has your perspective. If they say “no,” push back. Arm yourself with a camera and your vision. Go out there and make pictures.

Chou: What makes you different is literally your own vision. Keep persisting. Show what could be. Show what you aren’t seeing.

Kang: When I first started photographing and pursuing photojournalism, I would think, what is the ultimate goal? Is it joining Magnum? And then I would look at all these photo agencies, and they are so predominantly white. Lack of representation is quite discouraging. But recently I’ve been seeing more organizing in the industry with Women Photograph and Diversify Photo.

Kha: If there isn’t space for these voices, create it. Elevate other voices, and surround yourself with them.

Will Matsuda is the social media associate at Aperture Foundation.

The post Why Aren’t There Any Famous Asian American Photographers? appeared first on Aperture Foundation NY.

Source: https://aperture.org

Creative: Cover Design, Same Image

I’ve done cover design posts before, but I think this one is a good one. At least a good visual post. I created this post because I see a lot of bad covers coming through the Blurb network.(I see plenty at the local bookstore too.) And I’ve made plenty of books with lame coves, so always looking to improve my skills. I think often times people are so excited about the book they end creating the cover first, then rush through the remainder of the book because they are so amped to see their work in print. I’ve done that too, several times.

But the cover is unforgiving. Yesterday I spent an hour going through the Blurb bookstore’s “recently published” category and saw lots and lots of bad covers. Really bad. But I also saw more than a few that were very well done, and I found TWO that were brilliant. (at least in my unskilled opinion) The cover is going to make or break your book in a very, very short amount of time. The cover sets the mood and feel of the entire project, and should leave viewers wanting more. Humor, shock, drama, beauty, simplicity, all things I’d use to address the idea of a solid cover.

In this post I’m showing you four different treatments with the same cover image to give you an idea of how impactful your cover design is. Just feel how small changes in image placement, type face, font size, layout all work for or against the overall feel. Also note how the image content works with some designs better than others. Which designs feel like a travel magazine? Which ones like an adventure magazine? And what cover design fits the actual content of the images and the copy? To follow up my post from a few days ago, I’m using templates here so I can create options in a very short amount of time. I can print these out and lay them on my desk, living with them for a few hours or days to see what grows on me, the same way I do with my images.

Also, as I said before, the template is my trail map. I can hold to it like the law or I can morph it into something entirely my own. The point is to give yourself options. Take chances and experiment till you find that perfect feel. You can find Blurb templates here.

I gave a talk in San Francisco last night and told one of the attendees that as a creative person I always try to keep myself on the fringe of what I feel comfortable doing and that most of what I make ends in abject failure. But, I’m old enough, and seasoned enough to know the edge of the abyss is where most good things are made. These templates I’m showing here aren’t cutting edge but the point is to study them to find what resonates with you and what doesn’t which will hopefully help you get started when your next bookmaking voyage begins.

Source: http://shifter.media

Great Buffalo Pecan Farm

The last several years we have ventured over to Great Buffalo Pecan farm at the end of their harvest (perks of being friends with the owners!). They graciously welcome my crew to gather our favorite pecans. It has become our kick-off to the holiday season…and ushers in our nightly routine of cracking pecans around the kitchen table.

And for fun…let’s take a moment to appreciate how I used to get my kids to dress cutely for our pecan picking tradition…

Ah the good ole’ days when I put in the effort to get them all to at least coordinate. Maybe next year. Maybe next year.

The majority of our pecans we just crack and eat. However, they are also my favorite nut to use in recipes. Ann of Great Buffalo Pecan Farm has several recipes on their website. She sent us home with the Butter Pecan Sugar Cookies – YUM!I’m pretty picky about cookies. Hands down I choose cookies over any other kind of dessert. I am super picky about chocolate chip cookies and typically prefer the flat, gooey kind. However, Ann introduced me to her version and they are delicious! I tried my had at following her recipe for Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mine came out flatter than Ann’s, but I don’t mind experimenting with them!

You can order your own pecans from Great Buffalo Pecan Farm…be sure to check out their recipes too!

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Source: http://ift.tt/qd8WY6