Flickr Friday – Raise the Bar

The FlickrFam has once again found a way to #RaiseTheBar for Flickr Friday’s latest theme. We expected to see dramatic photos of what it means to take things to the next level, but in classic Flickr fashion we got fabulously quirky interpretations like this:

...Flickr Friday asked us to “raise the bar”, so I did 😀

The phrase ‘raising the bar’ was redefined as photographers put their personalized spin on the word ‘bar’.

Clean and Jerk
Raise the Bar

Keep up the creativity, folks. We can’t get enough!

raising the bar

If your photo wasn’t selected and you can’t control the flames from your raging fury, not to worry! You can add your photo to the comments section of the gallery with this format: [FLICKR URL] This way your photos will get some more exposure and everyone will have the opportunity to ooh and ahh over your work, as they should. Want your photo featured in next week’s roundup? Stay tuned for the announcement of the next theme tomorrow morning.

Source: http://blog.flickr.net

Creative: First Blurb Layflat Sample

Fellow Passengers,

Blurb now has layflat. You asked for it. Here it is. Now go forth and prosper, or better yet, do a test book and see how this new format fits your visual, tangible world. That’s what I did. Those of you who know me know I make a lot of test books, so what you are looking at here is a comparison between my Wyoming book in both standard-style and layflat.



Technical notes:

20-110 pages
100#, double thick, 148 GSM paper

Layflat is another arrow in your book quiver. That’s it. Is it for everything? No. It’s a unique little offering that makes me think marketing collateral, portfolio or the perfect way of showcasing panoramic images. Or, if you are like me and are known to purposely put key elements of your images dead center in the gutter then this format is calling you. Layflat is more costly, but again, this isn’t designed for all encompassing, self-publishing style projects and sales but rather a specialty product that fits a very specific bill. It lays flat and it looks GOOOOD. Mission accomplished.

As you will see, one image has both the standard book and the layflat open to the same page and you will see the difference in how the book handles. Plus, you can hold this book with one hand and easily read the entire spread, something to consider when most humans have their phone in their hand the bulk of their waking hours. (Yes, I’ve seen people try to look at book while on IG.) There is also a significant difference in thickness. The cover is a slightly different texture as well. You lose nothing in the gutter.

I really like what Blurb is doing. That might sound strange. I work for Blurb, full time, so yes, I SHOULD like what Blurb is doing, but because I’m so awesome I often think of myself as another person, someone pure and stoic who tames animals for a living and ALWAYS does the right thing. When I’m this person I see layflat, magazine, trade, photo, Amazon, Ingram, custom books, bespoke options, offset runs, etc. and I just wonder would I could do given the right amount of time. The tools are there. The good version of me thinks about a book of Fuji, digital files because he hasn’t done a book like that. He thinks about continuing his magazine series ESSAY and he thinks about a collaborative, custom offset book run with some of his equally stoic friends. And then he finds 128 episodes of Miami Vice online and he knows he will stop everything and attend to this magical find.

On a serious note, layflat is a good option and the perfect fit for specific projects. I would start small, like a 7×7, and test out what works best for you. Any questions hit me up in the comments below.

Source: http://shifter.media

Night in Feng Huang

Japan Photo Walk Events

In most of November I’ll be in Japan and I am super duper excited. It’s a great place for photos and I’m a huge fan of the culture. Check out our page that has more information about the upcoming events.

Daily Photo – Night in Feng Huang

I took this photo about 6 years ago. I have been thinking about going back, but I wonder if it still looks like this. Things change so fast in China and I’m afraid maybe it’s lost a lot of its charm. Or maybe its overrun with tourists now. I was only there for 2 days, but now I wish I would have stayed longer because there was a lot more to shoot there.

Night in Feng Huang

Photo Information


  • Date Taken2010-10-07 11:17:21
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1.5
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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

Personal truths about photography

Photography is an ongoing journey, there is so much to learn and explore and so much to experience. Some lessons come easy, some difficult. It is crucial to acknowledge that there is no one right way in photography, given that it is so open and subjective. I  believe that we all want to improve and get better at what we do. After all, something is more enjoyable only when you continue to get better at it.  What is the point of photography, if it’s not fun?

 1. There is no bad camera nowadays. I honestly can’t think of a bad camera from the many in production today. The discussions on what camera to buy or avoid is no longer relevant. Even an entry level dSLR or mirrorless camera can perform well in a wide range of shooting conditions, and surpass the output from top of the line of cameras released 5 years ago.  I don’t see a reason to lose sleep over being unhappy with the choice we have today. Sure, there will always be better, more powerful cameras out there in the near future. Just because your camera isn’t the best available doesn’t mean you can’t shoot good photographs. The most important step, is realizing that your camera is MORE than sufficient. Don’t worry about what your camera can’t do, worry about what you can do with it. The happier you are with your camera, the less you worry about what you don’t have, the better you can concentrate on what truly matters: creating images.

2. Don’t worry about how a good photograph should look. Shoot the way you want an image to look. I have observed many photographers trying so hard to follow their favourite photographer’s footsteps, trying to emulate their shooting style, composition, thinking process and post-processing techniques. There’s nothing wrong with learning about how other photographers work. However, don’t throw away your own unique personality from your photographs. Photography is not about following a set of rules or  a long list of guidelines to accomplish a certain finalized, repeatable outcome. There are many reasons why photographers shoot, but it is a form of art and it is universally agreed that art is an expression of creativity and an outlet for ideas and emotions. In order for that to effectively take place, the photograph should contain traces of the creator’s personality, their thought process and their emotions and. Let your photographs speak for you and be unique representatives of you!

3. Growth is important. To grow, leave your comfort zone. When we start, everything is new and the cup is empty, but as we learn and get into the deep end of photography, over time, the cup fills up. We become comfortable, and no longer accept new ideas, and form our own opinions of what we should and shouldn’t do in photography. That is the most dangerous thing to happen to a photographer: getting stuck in the comfort zone. Many people don’t realize that when they stay still, they no longer continue to learn. In his article, “The Passion is In The Risk” Kirk Tuck, “Beyond that, risk also means removing yourself from a comfortable situation to an uncomfortable situation that elicits responses in a photo which in turn make it interesting to you and your wider audience.” To keep the passion burning, we have to push ourselves and take necessary risks. The most successful photographers I know are never satisfied with their own work, and always seek to get better. Their hunger for growth and improvement is insatiable.

4.  Success is not measured by fame. Photography is personal and it is no secret that photography has evolved into a game of ego. We constantly put our photography work on display in the hopes that we will receive gratification. Acknowledgement that we are doing the right thing and creating good photographs. We seek approval from our audience and we want our audience to “like” our photographs. I don’t think it is wrong to share photographs with an audience. It is after all a form of communication, and it demands to be seen and shared. Having an audience will help you grow, and provide the inspiration to do better the next time you go out and shoot. However, the shooting process was never about pleasing a crowd. Are you shooting for yourself, or are you shooting for someone else? (Bearing in mind that I’m speaking of photography as a hobby, not a profession. For professional photographers, you need to deliver to clients and that is an entirely different discussion). Make photography personal. It is your own game fueled by your own desire to pick up the camera and shoot what you want. Sharing your work, while important, is secondary. Those who can identify with you, those who can relate to your work are your true audience.

5. The greatest investment in photography is time. What is the biggest sacrifice in photography? Not the money spent on gear. It’s the time you have spent shooting. Dedication to the craft means you need to religiously (not the best word, but dedication is closely related to devotion) pick up your camera and shoot as frequently as possible. You may have the “best camera” or attend dozens of workshops by famous, successful photographers, and read the best photography books, but you won’t go far if you do not spend time shooting. The only question is, how much time can you spare for photography?

__________________

We are also on Facebook and there is a curated reader Flickr pool.

Images and content copyright Robin Wong 2017 onwards. All rights reserved

Source: http://ift.tt/20qMcfK

Explore OK {Greenleaf State Park, v.2)

So…I turned 38 over the weekend. The day began on the sidelines cheering for the Seattle Seahawks. These Seahawks were of the 1st & 2nd grade variety and were playing in the semi-finals. We lost, but Coach Ashley got some pretty sweet birthday wishes and hilarious dance performance from older siblings.

Since we didn’t make it to the championship game, we were able to load up the trailer a bit earlier and head out of town. Camping is my favorite way to spend my birthday & Mother’s Day.

We met up with my in-laws for a few nights at Greenleaf State Park. My parents, sister & her family joined us the next day.

My parents’ oldest and youngest grandsons…


My sister spent most of her time chasing her little guy. I think every mom of toddlers can relate to these pictures. Camping (fishing docks) isn’t so relaxing with little ones. It gets better with older kids…still dangerous because they want to light everything on fire or dare each other to do stupid things…but better. The older they get, chasing becomes pointless and you just end up winded without ever catching the kid.We arrived on the weekend, so the first-come-first-serve prime spots were all taken. By Sunday night the park was empty and we relocated to the perfect spot. We do 75% of our cooking using an electric skillet because it is fast, easy, and super versatile. The rest we do over the campfire using foil, pie iron sandwich makers, or skewers. I started a Pinterest board with a few of the recipes we’ve tried and some we will try. I need to add a bunch to it that we’ve tried, but it is a start for now.

If you are at Greenleaf, make the stop by Donna’s Malt Shop – you won’t regret it.She posed. Then I posed. I should totally be a fashion blogger. And, yes, I did wear my walking sleeping bag all weekend. It is so warm and comfy. A tad bit hard to walk long distances it, but totally worth it for being warm. If it was below 65 – I had it on. I also slept in it. Basically, I rolled out of bed and was ready for the day. No shame in my fashion game.The men in the family. Manning the first and the computer (sometimes work has to go camping too!).The last time we came to Greenleaf was 5 years ago! If we come back in 5 years…the kids will be 18, 16, 14, 13, and 11. That is nuts. And I’ll still be 38.

Just kidding. I’m good with getting older. I’d rather get older than younger that is for sure!

_______________

Source: http://ift.tt/qd8WY6

A Different Kind of Protest

How did Michael Schmidt’s independent workshop change postwar German photography?

By Sabrina Mandanici

Michael Schmidt, Sozialarbeiterin beim Bezirksamt Wedding (Social worker at Wedding district offices), 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding © Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

Michael Schmidt, Sozialarbeiterin beim Bezirksamt Wedding (Social worker at Wedding district offices), 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding
© Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

In 1976, the same year that Bernd Becher inaugurated his now-famous photography class at the University of the Arts in Düsseldorf, Germany, the photographer Michael Schmidt founded the Werkstatt für Photographie. Sprung from a need for creative dialogue about the medium, for the following ten years the Werkstatt offered an elaborate program of classes, and invited German and international photographers, including Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Larry Clark, William Eggleston, Robert Frank, John Gossage, and Stephen Shore, to hold workshops and exhibit their work. Often, this was their introduction to a German audience. In what was then West Berlin, it was by no means inevitable that an independent workshop would be at the heart of change in German postwar photography. Now, with the expansive catalog Werkstatt für Photographie. 1976–1986 (2016), produced for the occasion of three exhibitions organized by the curators Florian Ebner, Felix Hoffmann, Inka Schube, and Thomas Weski, a hidden chapter of the country’s photographic history has been rediscovered.

Michael Schmidt, Sozialarbeiterin beim Bezirksamt Wedding (Social worker at Wedding district offices), 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding © Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

Michael Schmidt, Sozialarbeiterin beim Bezirksamt Wedding (Social worker at Wedding district offices), 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding
© Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

The Werkstatt was not a school in the traditional sense. Despite its quick development as Germany’s leading institution to develop, teach, and advocate for a new understanding of documentary photography, it did not provide a degree. Independent, yet part of the Volkshochschule Kreuzberg (Adult Education Center Kreuzberg)—one of the country’s public adult-education centers, many of which still exist today—the workshop’s operating principle was accessibility based on passion. The school was open to anyone, as Schmidt stated in a 1979 interview with Camera magazine, who was interested in studying “photography as a serious means of personal expression.” With darkrooms, various cameras, an office, and two spaces that served simultaneously as classrooms and exhibition venues, the idea was to provide an alternative to standard institutions—to allow for a less technical, more creative, approach to teaching, focused on innovations in content and style, as well as lively discussions about the medium.

Michael Schmidt, Müller-/Ecke Seestraße, 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding © Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

Michael Schmidt, Müller-/Ecke Seestraße, 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding
© Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

As Ute Eskildsen, one of Germany’s first photography curators, describes in the 1995 exhibition catalogue Michael Schmidt: Fotografien Seit 1965 (Michael Schmidt: Photographs since 1965), Schmidt, who was born in Berlin in 1945 and who hadn’t trained as a photographer, encountered the medium by chance while working as a policeman. Intrigued by a colleague’s camera, he began to make pictures in 1965. At first, eager to acquire the skills needed to master the camera as a technical tool, he joined the Verband Deutscher Amateurfotografen (Association of German Amateur Photographers). In 1969, Schmidt’s growing need for a more creative dialogue, and the development of his own practice of subjective response to Berlin and its inhabitants, had exceeded the association’s educational capacity. Instead of looking for other classes that could provide such an exchange, which, in any case, didn’t exist, he began to teach at the adult education centers in the Berlin districts of Kreuzberg and Neukölln.

Wolfgang Eilmes, Untitled, 1979, from the series Kreuzberg © and courtesy the artist

Wolfgang Eilmes, Untitled, 1979, from the series Kreuzberg
© and courtesy the artist

By the mid-1970s, like Schmidt’s career, West Germany’s photographic infrastructure was heading in a different direction. Schmidt had successfully published his first book, Berlin Kreuzberg (1973), had held several exhibitions in Berlin, and was teaching and working full time as a photographer. Meanwhile, a few commercial and nonprofit galleries had been established in Aachen, Berlin, Cologne, Essen, Hamburg, Hannover, and Kassel. Museums had begun to recognize photography as a medium worthy of display, and art schools offered photography classes, although often not with a degree in creative photography. The increasing exposure of the visual language of photojournalism, promoted through a variety of magazines, also informed and influenced a number of individual photographic practices, including Schmidt’s.

Uschi Blume, Untitled, 1980, from the series Worauf wartest du (What are you waiting for) © the artist and courtesy Museum Folkwang, Essen

Uschi Blume, Untitled, 1980, from the series Worauf wartest du (What are you waiting for)
© the artist

According to Eskildsen, however, it was Camera magazine—through which Schmidt was introduced not only to historic photography, but also to contemporary, international approaches, particularly in American photography—that would have a more significant impact on him. In 1976, after Schmidt had already been developing the Werkstatt’s concept and program, he became a member of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Lichtbildner (Society of German Photographers), where he met André Gelpke, Heinrich Riebesehl, and Wilhelm Schürmann—all photojournalists, yet each pursuing a distinct personal practice. (All would be future guests of the workshop.) In sharing their desire for a photography that was not compromised by commercial pressure, Schmidt must have felt confirmation that is was time for an alternative network to emerge.

Wilmar Koenig, Untitled, 1982, from the series Portraits, 1981–1983 © and courtesy the artist

Wilmar Koenig, Untitled, 1982, from the series Portraits
© and courtesy the artist

As Thomas Weski and Enno Kaufhold have described, to attend the Werkstatt’s program, participants who did not already have a background in photography first had to sign up for a series of introductory classes. After acquiring the necessary technical skills and presenting their portfolios to the faculty—initially consisting of Schmidt and his former student Ulrich Görlich, and joined by Wilmar Koenig and Klaus-Peter Voutta in 1977—students could attend core and advanced courses. Classroom debates around content, aesthetics, and intention were grounded in Schmidt’s belief in a “sincere” photography, which required photographers to probe their personal relationships with their subjects. Given that these images were, therefore, intimately connected to the person who made them, the critiques could be quite tough. This new generation of photographers made images of landscapes and cityscapes, neighborhood studies, interiors, and portraits. Hildegard Ochse’s photographs of Berlin courtyards and street views, for example, focus on the tamed or uncontrollable appearances of nature, whereas Wolfgang Eilmes’s Kreuzberg (1979) is a sociological study of that neighborhood and its people.

Christa Mayer, Untitled, 1983, from the series Abwesende, Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees, Portraits from a long-term psychiatric ward), 1982-86 © the artist

Christa Mayer, Untitled, 1983, from the series Abwesende, Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees, Portraits from a long-term psychiatric ward)
© the artist

While the Werkstatt and its faculty did not impose a specific type of imagery or genre, Weski, and former students, have stated that the photographic method taught throughout its first years was closely connected to Schmidt’s creative practice: a sober, factual, almost analytical style of documentary photography, as exemplified in Schmidt’s 1978 book Berlin-Wedding. Divided into two sections, “urban landscape” and “people,” Schmidt depicts Berlin’s Wedding district as a complex fabric of postwar architecture, pavement, and wasteland particular to construction sites. While these fabricated spaces are deprived of any human presence, the neighborhood’s inhabitants are portrayed at work and at home, juxtaposing the manifestation of their personalities in social and private spaces.

Christa Mayer, Untitled, 1983, from the series Abwesende, Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees, Portraits from a long-term psychiatric ward), 1982-86

Christa Mayer, Untitled, 1983, from the series Abwesende, Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees, Portraits from a long-term psychiatric ward)
© the artist

To focus on his own work, Schmidt stopped managing the Werkstatt in 1977 and was replaced by Ulrich Görlich, yet he continued to teach and to assist in developing the workshop’s profile. The following years were marked by the Werkstatt’s increasing interest in American photography and establishing a dialogue between Berlin and the United States, mainly organized by Wilmar Koenig. Individual and group exhibitions were presented by Ralph Gibson, Larry Clark, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke, and Stephen Shore, who introduced his pioneering approach to color photography; the collective influence of these photographers, in addition to Schmidt’s increasingly looser involvement, the influx of new photographers, and changes in the Werkstatt’s leadership—Wilmar Koenig and Klaus-Peter Voutta replaced Görlich in 1982—allowed for a more subjective photographic language to emerge, as revealed in the portraiture of Christa Mayer and Uschi Blume.

Instead of observing from a distance, Mayer and Blume engaged with their subjects in close proximity, at times even including the photographer’s shadow. In fact, they are part of their environment: Blume of the punk scene she depicts at a Berlin nightclub, and Mayer of the psychiatric ward where she worked as a therapist. As much as Blume’s Worauf wartest du (What are you waiting for) (1980) and Mayer’s Abwesende. Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees. Portraits from a long-term psychiatric unit) (1982–86) resonate, respectively, with the grunginess of Larry Clark and the oddity of Diane Arbus, the series are also innately German. Blume and Mayer, together with this new generation of German photographers, reacted to the country’s sociopolitical past and its ramifications in the present, and posed questions about the relationship between society and the individual, as well as the complex notions of place and belonging.

Michael Schmidt, Untitled, 1985–1987, from the series Waffenruhe © Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

Michael Schmidt, Untitled, 1985–87, from the series Waffenruhe
© Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

From 1984, when the Werkstatt underwent its last change of leadership, until its eventual dissolution two years later, an increasing number of photographers continued to push the subjective possibilities of the medium, culminating in the 1986 exhibition Remains of Authenticity at the Museum Folkwang in Essen, which was organized by one Ute Eskildsen. Many of the exhibition’s participating artists and photographers were connected with the Werkstatt or were former students of Schmidt. In her essay “Remains of Authenticity. Notes on photographic perspectives in 1980s Germany,” Carolin Förtster remarks that in different ways, most of them, including Schmidt, questioned not only the narrative, but also the representational capacities of the medium. Yet, it was not a disenchantment or crisis in photography that brought the Werkstatt to an end, but a change of management of the Volkshochschule Kreuzberg, ultimately leading to budget cuts and restrictions regarding the workshop’s autonomy. With the collective resignation of its members, the Werkstatt closed in the summer of 1986.

There’s more to rediscovering the Werkstatt für Photographie than only amending the history of German photography, or giving artists the credit and exposure they have earned, such as recognizing the striking imbalance between male and female teachers. The Werkstatt was first and foremost driven by the idea to make a difference, to create an environment that other institutions did not or could not provide. In doing so, it became a place of autonomy and a proof that art, indeed, can change our consciousness of what is possible.

Sabrina Mandanici is independent critic based in New York and Berlin.

The post A Different Kind of Protest appeared first on Aperture Foundation NY.

Source: https://aperture.org

A Different Kind of Protest

How did Michael Schmidt’s independent workshop change postwar German photography?

By Sabrina Mandanici

Michael Schmidt, Sozialarbeiterin beim Bezirksamt Wedding (Social worker at Wedding district offices), 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding © Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

Michael Schmidt, Sozialarbeiterin beim Bezirksamt Wedding (Social worker at Wedding district offices), 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding
© Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

In 1976, the same year that Bernd Becher inaugurated his now-famous photography class at the University of the Arts in Düsseldorf, Germany, the photographer Michael Schmidt founded the Werkstatt für Photographie. Sprung from a need for creative dialogue about the medium, for the following ten years the Werkstatt offered an elaborate program of classes, and invited German and international photographers, including Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Larry Clark, William Eggleston, Robert Frank, John Gossage, and Stephen Shore, to hold workshops and exhibit their work. Often, this was their introduction to a German audience. In what was then West Berlin, it was by no means inevitable that an independent workshop would be at the heart of change in German postwar photography. Now, with the expansive catalog Werkstatt für Photographie. 1976–1986 (2016), produced for the occasion of three exhibitions organized by the curators Florian Ebner, Felix Hoffmann, Inka Schube, and Thomas Weski, a hidden chapter of the country’s photographic history has been rediscovered.

Michael Schmidt, Sozialarbeiterin beim Bezirksamt Wedding (Social worker at Wedding district offices), 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding © Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

Michael Schmidt, Sozialarbeiterin beim Bezirksamt Wedding (Social worker at Wedding district offices), 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding
© Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

The Werkstatt was not a school in the traditional sense. Despite its quick development as Germany’s leading institution to develop, teach, and advocate for a new understanding of documentary photography, it did not provide a degree. Independent, yet part of the Volkshochschule Kreuzberg (Adult Education Center Kreuzberg)—one of the country’s public adult-education centers, many of which still exist today—the workshop’s operating principle was accessibility based on passion. The school was open to anyone, as Schmidt stated in a 1979 interview with Camera magazine, who was interested in studying “photography as a serious means of personal expression.” With darkrooms, various cameras, an office, and two spaces that served simultaneously as classrooms and exhibition venues, the idea was to provide an alternative to standard institutions—to allow for a less technical, more creative, approach to teaching, focused on innovations in content and style, as well as lively discussions about the medium.

Michael Schmidt, Müller-/Ecke Seestraße, 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding © Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

Michael Schmidt, Müller-/Ecke Seestraße, 1976–78, from the series Berlin-Wedding
© Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

As Ute Eskildsen, one of Germany’s first photography curators, describes in the 1995 exhibition catalogue Michael Schmidt: Fotografien Seit 1965 (Michael Schmidt: Photographs since 1965), Schmidt, who was born in Berlin in 1945 and who hadn’t trained as a photographer, encountered the medium by chance while working as a policeman. Intrigued by a colleague’s camera, he began to make pictures in 1965. At first, eager to acquire the skills needed to master the camera as a technical tool, he joined the Verband Deutscher Amateurfotografen (Association of German Amateur Photographers). In 1969, Schmidt’s growing need for a more creative dialogue, and the development of his own practice of subjective response to Berlin and its inhabitants, had exceeded the association’s educational capacity. Instead of looking for other classes that could provide such an exchange, which, in any case, didn’t exist, he began to teach at the adult education centers in the Berlin districts of Kreuzberg and Neukölln.

Wolfgang Eilmes, Untitled, 1979, from the series Kreuzberg © and courtesy the artist

Wolfgang Eilmes, Untitled, 1979, from the series Kreuzberg
© and courtesy the artist

By the mid-1970s, like Schmidt’s career, West Germany’s photographic infrastructure was heading in a different direction. Schmidt had successfully published his first book, Berlin Kreuzberg (1973), had held several exhibitions in Berlin, and was teaching and working full time as a photographer. Meanwhile, a few commercial and nonprofit galleries had been established in Aachen, Berlin, Cologne, Essen, Hamburg, Hannover, and Kassel. Museums had begun to recognize photography as a medium worthy of display, and art schools offered photography classes, although often not with a degree in creative photography. The increasing exposure of the visual language of photojournalism, promoted through a variety of magazines, also informed and influenced a number of individual photographic practices, including Schmidt’s.

Uschi Blume, Untitled, 1980, from the series Worauf wartest du (What are you waiting for) © the artist and courtesy Museum Folkwang, Essen

Uschi Blume, Untitled, 1980, from the series Worauf wartest du (What are you waiting for)
© the artist

According to Eskildsen, however, it was Camera magazine—through which Schmidt was introduced not only to historic photography, but also to contemporary, international approaches, particularly in American photography—that would have a more significant impact on him. In 1976, after Schmidt had already been developing the Werkstatt’s concept and program, he became a member of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Lichtbildner (Society of German Photographers), where he met André Gelpke, Heinrich Riebesehl, and Wilhelm Schürmann—all photojournalists, yet each pursuing a distinct personal practice. (All would be future guests of the workshop.) In sharing their desire for a photography that was not compromised by commercial pressure, Schmidt must have felt confirmation that is was time for an alternative network to emerge.

Wilmar Koenig, Untitled, 1982, from the series Portraits, 1981–1983 © and courtesy the artist

Wilmar Koenig, Untitled, 1982, from the series Portraits
© and courtesy the artist

As Thomas Weski and Enno Kaufhold have described, to attend the Werkstatt’s program, participants who did not already have a background in photography first had to sign up for a series of introductory classes. After acquiring the necessary technical skills and presenting their portfolios to the faculty—initially consisting of Schmidt and his former student Ulrich Görlich, and joined by Wilmar Koenig and Klaus-Peter Voutta in 1977—students could attend core and advanced courses. Classroom debates around content, aesthetics, and intention were grounded in Schmidt’s belief in a “sincere” photography, which required photographers to probe their personal relationships with their subjects. Given that these images were, therefore, intimately connected to the person who made them, the critiques could be quite tough. This new generation of photographers made images of landscapes and cityscapes, neighborhood studies, interiors, and portraits. Hildegard Ochse’s photographs of Berlin courtyards and street views, for example, focus on the tamed or uncontrollable appearances of nature, whereas Wolfgang Eilmes’s Kreuzberg (1979) is a sociological study of that neighborhood and its people.

Christa Mayer, Untitled, 1983, from the series Abwesende, Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees, Portraits from a long-term psychiatric ward), 1982-86 © the artist

Christa Mayer, Untitled, 1983, from the series Abwesende, Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees, Portraits from a long-term psychiatric ward)
© the artist

While the Werkstatt and its faculty did not impose a specific type of imagery or genre, Weski, and former students, have stated that the photographic method taught throughout its first years was closely connected to Schmidt’s creative practice: a sober, factual, almost analytical style of documentary photography, as exemplified in Schmidt’s 1978 book Berlin-Wedding. Divided into two sections, “urban landscape” and “people,” Schmidt depicts Berlin’s Wedding district as a complex fabric of postwar architecture, pavement, and wasteland particular to construction sites. While these fabricated spaces are deprived of any human presence, the neighborhood’s inhabitants are portrayed at work and at home, juxtaposing the manifestation of their personalities in social and private spaces.

Christa Mayer, Untitled, 1983, from the series Abwesende, Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees, Portraits from a long-term psychiatric ward), 1982-86

Christa Mayer, Untitled, 1983, from the series Abwesende, Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees, Portraits from a long-term psychiatric ward)
© the artist

To focus on his own work, Schmidt stopped managing the Werkstatt in 1977 and was replaced by Ulrich Görlich, yet he continued to teach and to assist in developing the workshop’s profile. The following years were marked by the Werkstatt’s increasing interest in American photography and establishing a dialogue between Berlin and the United States, mainly organized by Wilmar Koenig. Individual and group exhibitions were presented by Ralph Gibson, Larry Clark, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke, and Stephen Shore, who introduced his pioneering approach to color photography; the collective influence of these photographers, in addition to Schmidt’s increasingly looser involvement, the influx of new photographers, and changes in the Werkstatt’s leadership—Wilmar Koenig and Klaus-Peter Voutta replaced Görlich in 1982—allowed for a more subjective photographic language to emerge, as revealed in the portraiture of Christa Mayer and Uschi Blume.

Instead of observing from a distance, Mayer and Blume engaged with their subjects in close proximity, at times even including the photographer’s shadow. In fact, they are part of their environment: Blume of the punk scene she depicts at a Berlin nightclub, and Mayer of the psychiatric ward where she worked as a therapist. As much as Blume’s Worauf wartest du (What are you waiting for) (1980) and Mayer’s Abwesende. Portraits von einer psychiatrischen Langzeitstation (Absentees. Portraits from a long-term psychiatric unit) (1982–86) resonate, respectively, with the grunginess of Larry Clark and the oddity of Diane Arbus, the series are also innately German. Blume and Mayer, together with this new generation of German photographers, reacted to the country’s sociopolitical past and its ramifications in the present, and posed questions about the relationship between society and the individual, as well as the complex notions of place and belonging.

Michael Schmidt, Untitled, 1985–1987, from the series Waffenruhe © Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

Michael Schmidt, Untitled, 1985–87, from the series Waffenruhe
© Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

From 1984, when the Werkstatt underwent its last change of leadership, until its eventual dissolution two years later, an increasing number of photographers continued to push the subjective possibilities of the medium, culminating in the 1986 exhibition Remains of Authenticity at the Museum Folkwang in Essen, which was organized by one Ute Eskildsen. Many of the exhibition’s participating artists and photographers were connected with the Werkstatt or were former students of Schmidt. In her essay “Remains of Authenticity. Notes on photographic perspectives in 1980s Germany,” Carolin Förtster remarks that in different ways, most of them, including Schmidt, questioned not only the narrative, but also the representational capacities of the medium. Yet, it was not a disenchantment or crisis in photography that brought the Werkstatt to an end, but a change of management of the Volkshochschule Kreuzberg, ultimately leading to budget cuts and restrictions regarding the workshop’s autonomy. With the collective resignation of its members, the Werkstatt closed in the summer of 1986.

There’s more to rediscovering the Werkstatt für Photographie than only amending the history of German photography, or giving artists the credit and exposure they have earned, such as recognizing the striking imbalance between male and female teachers. The Werkstatt was first and foremost driven by the idea to make a difference, to create an environment that other institutions did not or could not provide. In doing so, it became a place of autonomy and a proof that art, indeed, can change our consciousness of what is possible.

Sabrina Mandanici is independent critic based in New York and Berlin.

The post A Different Kind of Protest appeared first on Aperture Foundation NY.

Source: https://aperture.org

Inside Jeff Liao’s Studio

On September 26, Aperture Members met for a private visit to the Long Island City studio of photographer Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao.

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Reagan Brown © Aperture Foundation

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Reagan Brown © Aperture Foundation

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Reagan Brown © Aperture Foundation

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Reagan Brown © Aperture Foundation

Surrounded by vibrant images of Taiwan and New York City, Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao recently hosted Aperture Members at his studio, and explained what first drew him to photography. Following the discussion, Members had an inside look into Liao’s extensive editing process, and watched as he demonstrated the specific positioning of his equipment to perfectly capture the large composite landscapes that he has become known for.

Liao also spoke about his book Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: New York (Aperture, 2014) while Members sipped wine and flipped through not-yet-released images of his most recent trip to Asia.

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao (born in Taiwan, 1977) first received recognition with his series Habitat 7, which was featured in the September 11, 2005 issue of The New York Times Magazine as the winner of the Capture the Times photography contest. His solo exhibition, Central Park New York – 24 Solar Terms is on view at Foley Gallery, New York, through October 15, 2017.

To learn more about Aperture’s membership program or to join today, visit aperture.org/join or contact the membership office at 212.946.7108 / membership@aperture.org.

Aperture Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that relies on the generosity of individuals for support of its publications, exhibitions, and public and educational programming.

The post Inside Jeff Liao’s Studio appeared first on Aperture Foundation NY.

Source: https://aperture.org

Loss

I have been seeking out and listening to ambient music a lot this year, it’s kept me grounded. In this space the ambient music label 12k has been releasing solid gold all year. In fact, this is the second “now spinning” post in a row featuring one of their albums. They recently released a new album by Marcus Fischer, one of the modern kings of dreamy, introspective ambient music and I have been coming back to it time and time again lately.

What I admire about ambient music is that it is such a broad genera sonically, it has no rules, no collection of senseless subgenera classifications (outside of a couple maybe), and no pressure to be the hot new sound. It can be electronic, it can be acoustic, it has no boundaries and I love that.

My personal favorite ambient music explores sound as a means to amplify emotion; a protective shell of sorts that gives life unexpected weight and a sense of warmth. Music that feels honest and from the heart. Marcus Fischer’s latest solo release simply titled “Loss” encompass all of my favorite things about ambient music perfectly.

The music here is achingly beautiful and organic. It manages to merge seamlessly into my life at home while it spins on the record player, or in the background of my life while out at work through my headphones. This album centers my thoughts and gives a backdrop to contemplation. It’s perfect through and through.

The notes and melodies feel like distant memories played through an old radio in environments lost in time. The recording style and mix give the music a dream like quality making the collection feel like an artifact containing audio recordings of overlooked moments; shadows cast through leaves, light reflecting off of water, the moon lingering low on the horizon. Life often feels like chaos to me and recordings like this give it focus and provides me with a chance to seek out meaning and beauty in the cracks between the obvious.

Weighty, possibly pretentious description aside, this music is beautiful and makes the environment it is played in feel that much more inviting and whole, something we all could use a little more of today so if that sounds like something you could use I highly suggest picking up a vinyl copy or seeking it out on your digital service of choice.

Source: http://ift.tt/kcUgsq

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Or maybe you want some Photoshop training, if so, my friend Serge Ramelli’s 5 hour Photoshop for Photographers course is included. Maybe you’re a people person, then head into Joel Grimes’ portrait photography tutorials… that’s just four of the products from the 25 or so that are included. Over $2500 worth of goodies for the sweet price of $117! Grab the 5DayDeal Now!

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