Guest blogger: Holly Hughes, Editor, Photo District News

      Image

Photo District News recently announced our 2013 PDN’s 30 new and emerging photographers to watch. Now in its 14th year, this special issue and online gallery, http://pdn30.pdnevents.com/gallery/2013/ celebrates 30 photographers who have worked as professionals for five years or less, selected by PDN’s editors from more than 300 portfolios submitted from around the world.  The announcement of our selection elicited the reaction we’ve come to expect: excitement, curiosity, warm congratulations for the selected photographers and some grumblings, mostly from veteran photographers, about all the attention lavished on upstarts. But PDN’s 30 is more than a showcase for new talent. It also has an educational mission.

andrew_quernerNoris

Our profiles of the PDN’s 30 include details about how they honed their photographic vision, the challenges they’ve faced in launching their photographic careers and the most valuable lessons they’ve learned so far. With the support of sponsors like Kodak and other companies committed to helping professional photographers succeed, PDN holds panels at photo schools and workshops around the country. During these panels, some of the PDN’s 30 photographers share with students and aspiring professionals their real-world experience of getting started in today’s competitive and rapidly evolving business. Not so long ago, the PDN’s 30 photographers sat where these students are now: Uncertain how to approach clients or galleries, unaware how much to charge for their work or where to turn for advice. It’s encouraging for students to hear how these emerging photographers learned the ropes, what they use, how they found their own voice and style, how they shoot. The majority of this year’s PDN’s 30 say they shoot film, in fact. But what I think what makes their stories interesting is not only the technical information they share, but the inspiration they offer to photographers at every stage of their careers.

It's Not What She Said, It's How She Said It…

Spread of food and homemade pretzels at Easy Tiger in Austin, Texas

How are the PDN’s 30 chosen? Based on the recommendations of photo editors, gallery directors, curators, art directors, photographers and educators, as well as suggestions made by PDN’s editors based on work we’ve seen throughout the year, we invite photographers to submit work that we review (and re-review) and debate. We look for the qualities that are essential for a long and creative career—a distinctive vision, versatility, and a proven ability to experiment and to complete interesting, enterprising projects. We strive to represent a mix of subjects and genres, including portraiture, fashion, photojournalism, fine art, editorial and commercial work. Once we’ve made our selections, the fun begins. As PDN’s senior editor Conor Risch writes in his letter introducing the 2013 PDN’s 30, “One of the satisfying aspects of working on the PDN’s 30 feature each year is the opportunity we have to get to know the people behind the portfolios of images that stood out to us.” No two photographers have shared the same path to success, but they are all share a passion for photography that is infectious.

The North Corrida

When I prep photographers to speak on PDN’s 30 panels, I always tell them that the students appreciate candid talk about setbacks and mistakes. What’s impressed me most, however, about the enterprising PDN’s 30 photographers of the last two to three years, is their ingenuity. In covering the professional photography market today for PDN, we hear a lot about how the traditional business models are changing. Fewer clients underwrite assignments; the gallery world has contracted; advertisers are cautious about taking risks on new talent or new ideas. In a rapidly changing marketplace, many established photographers are scrambling to adapt. But photographers who got their start within the last five years have no preconceived notions about how the business is “supposed to work.” They’re coming up with new ways to fund their projects and get their work seen.  They’re open-minded about the media, platforms and techniques they use to tell their stories. They don’t let categories like fine art or commercial photography define who they are.

toby_smith

PDN’s 30 photographers may be newcomers, but they’ve put a lot of work into finding something interesting to say and crafting an original way to say it. They’re deeply committed to sharing the stories they want to tell and they’re confident that if they stay true to themselves, someone will pay attention. If you want an idea of where the photo industry is headed, you could do worse than to look to these future stars who are reinventing the business as they go.

Hogslop String Band, Harpeth River, TN

Melissa Niu: Kodak and [F] Network partner for Film Season 2

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.19.33 AM

[F] Network is an educational platform stocked full of inspirational shows and resources for photographers.  And with the ever-changing photography industry that is rapidly shifting to bigger tools and slicker cameras, it’s easy to push and educate to the rising digital world.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.32.04 AM

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.32.45 AM

But within the industry, there is a group that has fallen back in love with history.  They have fallen back in love with film.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.31.17 AM

Shooting with film has been described by our viewership as a pure, simplistic and actual art form that has taken hold of and awakened their inner artist.  And with the film crowd rising with incredible talent, we couldn’t resist producing a show featuring talented film shooters that is real, relatable and educational for the industry.  We call the show, “Film”.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.30.22 AM

Starting in 2012 with Film Season 1 and back again by popular demand, we now are in post-production for Film Season 2 featuring the talented Jan Scholz, Ryan Muirhead, Tanja Lippert, Tia Reagan and Jonas Peterson.  Filmed in the bright lights of Las Vegas, the episodes will be everything analog complete with educational, inspirational and of course, with the unique personalities on the show, moments of relatable and laughable entertainment.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.30.55 AMScreen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.30.01 AM

Kodak film is undeniably the most used and highly favored by each of the hosts featured in Film Season 2.  At any given time, we would see rolls and sheets of PORTRA 160, PORTRA 400, TRI-X, EKTAR 100 and BWCN400 being loaded into the cameras of this talented group. They rave about the smoothness, quality and richness that the Kodak products provide.  This show is about film.  And put quite plainly, it is a must to showcase the film that the hosts love, the film that is a necessity to their art, and most importantly, the film that launched the start and history of image making. See behind the scenes shots on Instagram at http://instagram.com/framednetwork.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.32.25 AM

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.27.38 AM

Our partnership with Kodak is indeed an exciting co-branding opportunity to properly educate the beauty and possibilities of the analog art.  With the Kodak products in the hands of Film Season 2’s talented photographers and the episodes that are soon to hit [F] Network mid 2013, you’ll feel the love and complete passion that these artists have for film photography.  So if you’re a photography fan and want to watch a few episodes of Film, consider yourself warned.  You, too, just might fall in love with film.

Melissa Niu, CEO [F] Network

Photo by Ashely Wall

PRINT. PRESERVE. PROTECT

So what is Pixel Preservation International and who is this guy, Joe LaBarca?

Image

I retired from Kodak in January of 2011 after 34.5 years in R&D, commercialization, technical and management roles.  I spent my entire career in various aspects of hard copy output technologies, with the first two-thirds of the career working on professional color photographic paper.  I managed the Kodak Professional Imaging Systems lab and oversaw the systems and integration development of KODAK PROFESSIONAL Endura papers and display materials (look for “ENDURA” on the back next time you purchase prints).  A majority of my career found me involved in work on image permanence testing, reporting, and communications, both internally with Kodak and externally with the ISO international committee developing image permanence and physical durability standards. Within these roles I became expert in the permanence of not only traditional silver halide color photographic paper, but also the newer “digital technologies” – thermal dye transfer (think instant prints from retail kiosks), inkjet (think prints at home from your inkjet printer), and electrophotographic (think photo books from retail and online locations).

So why tell you about this? Here’s today’s reality. People – your customers – have millions, if not billions, of pictures stored on mobile devices, computers, external drives and clouds.  When those technologies become obsolete, how will they access those memories, those moments, those stories? There is only one proven technology that we know consumers can use to view their images today, tomorrow and 100 years from now. And that is the print. Your job: help your customers free those images from their devices to create lasting, viewable photographs.

In the coming weeks, I’ll guest blog here on Wednesday Works on the topic of long term preservation of images through printing. Last week, Ed Monahan wrote about how soft-copy offerings can drive more hard-copy output. This need for hard copy and preservation are the reasons I founded Pixel Preservation International in 2011. Hard copy is the only format that is totally independent of any current or future digital technologies. Think about that – the only format.

This reality drives Pixel Preservation International and similarly, much of the R&D at Kodak. In essence, only technology independent preservation of digital files through printing can help ensure that as technology advances, your images and your customers’ images are “future proof.” This means making prints, including professional prints on silver halide paper, complementary professional products using electrophotographic media, and instant printing at places like Kodak Kiosks. Kodak has created a framework through which it offers commercial labs, professional labs, wholesale labs, retailers and by association, consumers, multiple proven methods to print, preserve and protect their valuable images. This will help ensure that decades into the future, these moments, these memories, these stories, will be accessible for generations to come.

Holly Gordon: My Ode to Kodak or “Owed” to Kodak

My origins are rooted with Kodak. To say that I was born with a Kodak reflex camera around my neck is a hyperbole, but when I was five years old, my father placed a Kodak Reflex camera around my neck, who said, “ Hold it against your belly, look into the viewfinder and when you are ready to take a picture hold your breath and snap.” I walked around with that camera, constantly documenting my world…and sometimes I even had film in it. There was such a thrill of anticipation as my little fingers split the paper wrapper and threaded the film onto the sprocket…what joy!

That camera is a most cherished possession and sits close to me in my office today. It looks so much smaller than it did when I was five.  I wish I could still get film for it – my T-Max just doesn’t fit. But no matter…Kodak is inexorably woven in my being. My dad set up a darkroom in our bathroom. Oh, the aroma of those Kodak chemicals and viewing the contact strips he made was pure magic…and those sensations led me into every darkroom I have worked in! I wish those early photographs survived….but the camera and memories do.

Untitled-2

Years later, in 1991 to be exact, I took a two-week black and white photography course at the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport, Maine with Steve Bliss, the now-head of photography, at Savannah School of Art and Design. I created a self-portrait with an assemblage of Kodak film and developing reels. I called it The Kodak Smile….and that was at least 10 years before Kodak saw my Antarctica photographs printed on Kodak Metallic paper and invited me to become a Kodak Professional Partner.

To add to the serendipitous events in my life, during the summer of 2011, I ran into Steve Bliss in Provence where Savannah School of Art and Design has a satellite program. That’s how I discovered he had been made head of the photography department… and to think that 20 years later our paths intersected….like magic!

Untitled-6

Untitled-11

Kodak is integrally woven into my creative roots, was instrumental in defining me as an artist and will always be part of me.

The words of T.S Eliot from The Four Quartets sum up, so appropriately, my relationship with Kodak:

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

Untitled-10

In my early years of photography my subjects were flowers and butterflies and I searched for perfect specimen. Unconsciously or subconsciously, I composed beyond the flower or butterfly, aiming and focusing on the entire frame because the background had to complement the subject to make the image work.  How I chose to see and compose resonated with others because it was those early butterflies that brought attention from the press and the public.

Untitled-9

As I travel the world Kodak, film fills my camera bag…to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica and to Australia and New Zealand, Europe, South America….

Untitled-12

Wanting to wiggle my way into a newspaper project, I purchased my first digital camera and began shooting with it so I could say I was experienced….but Kodak film, especially T-MAX 100 and TMAX 400 continue to dominate my camera bags.

Untitled-3

I am still running as fast as I can…and so is my slide and film scanner…translating my precious chromes and negs into digital files for printing purposes.  Kodak is ever-present in my heart, viewfinder and printed image.

Untitled-1

Every time I see the Kodak brand, be it in China, France…anywhere…it gets documented…and I smile knowing that all is well with the world of photography because I am not alone. Photographers world-wide still choose to shoot with film.

Untitled-5

Kodak is part of my past, present and future and photography, for me, is the synthesis of my love-affair with life. Thank you, Kodak, for providing me with the means to capture, document, and share my journey.

www.hollygordonphotographer.com

Untitled-4

Josh Moates and Indie Film Lab

Josh Moates, photographer and founder of Indie Film Lab in Montgomery, shares why he got into the film processing game and how a business decision has impacted his art.

I’ve been taking pictures since my mom gave me a 35mm camera for Christmas when I was in high school and for the last 10 years, it’s how I’ve made my living. When I re-discovered film in 2004, it changed the way I thought about photography, and then it changed my business.

A big chunk of my work is weddings, which I love shooting. But in Alabama, I couldn’t charge enough to make shooting film for my clients a truly cost effective option.

Josh_Moates_portra160

Still, I couldn’t shake my belief that shooting film for an occasion as special as a wedding was important to me and to my clients. We all know the quality of film photos outshines that of digital, and for me, the quality of my composition is better when I’m shooting film.  It stokes my creativity, and not just when shooting happy couples. I have been a 100% Kodak shooter for years because of the new PORTRA line and the classic look of TRI-X.

JoshMoates_Portra4002

When shooting weddings, I use Kodak’s PORTRA color negative films because how easily they scan and how amazing the colors are. The skin tones are truly the best of all the other film brands I have shot. Especially the new Portra 800 – it’s super awesome for lower light situations.  Thank goodness for that film, it has saved me in so many hard to shoot situations.

joshmoates_tri-x

And I love, love love TRI-X for black and white; it has the most classic look of any black and white film. When I look at a TRI-X photograph, it almost looks like it has a soul. I keep it loaded in my Leica M6. Not to mention it is the most versatile film ever. It can be shot at pretty much any speed. I mainly push it to 1600, but I have shot it at 3200 with great results.

I enjoy photographing anything that relates to Southern culture and history—landscapes, architecture and people. But my favorite subjects are always people. Trying to capture someone’s personality in a split second and then share that moment is a challenge that keeps me coming back.

joshmoates_kodak_400nc2

When I look into the faces of my portrait photos done on film, I see an added layer of depth, a layer that enhances and underscores what I’m trying to express.

joshmoates_kodak_400nc

The point is I wasn’t going to stop shooting film. Instead, I decided to find a way to make it work for me. So I took a leap, gathered some partners, and we bought our own lab equipment and scanner. Kim Box, my partner in my photography company, came onboard, as did my shooting assistant, Asheley Willet, who is absolutely integral to the process. He has a degree in chemistry from the University of Alabama and is the technical guru who makes everything come out just right.

joshmoates_portra1603

The original intent was to just process our own film and let the equipment pay for itself. Once we started, we were really happy with the results and shared some shots on a Facebook film shooters’ group. “Who did your lab work?” kept popping up in response to our posts. When I told those asking that we did, they wanted us to process their film too. The light bulb turned on overhead, and I saw a void in the film-processing market just waiting to be filled.

To process the film, we use Kodak Flexicolor chemistry in our color processors and Duraflo RT in the BW machines. The chemistry has been consistent and very stable and we depend on it to deliver top notch negatives for our clients day in and day out. We figure why not use the best chemistry we can get.

Josh_Moates_Portra400

In response, in 2012, we created Indie Film Lab, and in less than a year, it has grown into one of the largest film-processing labs of its type in the world. We had some growing pains initially, but we’re moving full-steam ahead.

Indie Film Lab is more than a successful start-up company. It began as a business decision, but it has moved far beyond that for me. Now, it is my way to play a part in the film community and in the renaissance of film, and as a huge film fan, that’s just cool.

Josh_Moates_Portra_160

Shooting film again has re-awakened my passion for photography, and I suspect it has done the same for many others who started in photography when digital was “king”. I love that now my company is a resource for other artists that shoot film and that we give them a great product. There aren’t many things that give me more satisfaction than doing what I love, on my terms, and being successful doing it.

So I guess the morals of my story if you’re looking for some, are: Don’t be afraid to walk through the doors life opens for you; if you’ve got a great idea, push to make it happen; and never underestimate the value of good partners.

Indie Film Labs road tripped to Vegas and WPPI the 2nd week in March, documenting their adventures with Kodak film. You can see the team’s journey on Instagram, Facebook and on Twitter @IndieFilmLab1

Click here to find more information on Indie Film Lab online.

Guest blog post: Keith Canham & Large Format Photography

Kodak Professional is in Chicago, IL for the annual Society of Photographic Education conference. You can find Tim Ryugo, our national sales manager for professional film, in our Booth #44. along with Keith Canham, owner of K.B. Canham Cameras. Keith tells us how he partnered with Kodak to deliver large format film to the market.KB Canham 7 X 17 3/4 rear view<br />wood large format field cameraLet me introduce myself: I am Keith Canham, owner of K. B. Canham Cameras, Inc. I have built large format cameras for more than 30 years.  I did not start building camera with the intent of owning a camera business. I just wanted a large format camera. I had been photographing for more than 10 years when I had my first opportunity to use a 4×5 camera. Up until that time I had used medium format. It was love at first sight with the 4×5. Not the camera, but the image made with it. The detail and tonal range -just stunning. The topic of the image was not great. It was an assignment shot for a photography course I was taking at the university, but I was hooked. As they say, the rest is history.

I still do all the design work on the cameras. As the owner of the business, I seem to do some of just about everything else, too. We make the wooden parts in our own shop in Arizona. Most of the metal parts are made by two machine shops, also in Arizona. All of the metal parts are machined from solid billets of 6061 aluminum. My company builds everything from 4×5 to 20×24 and will do special one off cameras as well. But enough of the techy stuff.

KB Canham 20X24 3/4 front view with film holder<br /><br /><br />metal ultra large format cameraThe environment of photography today is very exciting. Digital has changed my customers from a large percentage of commercial photographers to a large percentage of fine arts photographers. People with a discerning eye know that digital does not look like traditional. Both can be beautiful in their own right. The artist needs to decide which method or combination of methods best produces the final work of art.

Four years ago I approached Kodak about selling special order films. I had seen others put together groups to order film from Kodak that was not a standard size listed in the Kodak catalog. They would do this only once. Photographers didn’t know whether there would ever be another order put together or even how they could put together such an order. Kodak is a big company and it can be daunting for an individual to figure out how to place a special order. It is also a significant amount of work for Kodak when every special order is from someone new who doesn’t know how it all works. I wanted to make it easy for photographers to acquire film in sizes not listed in Kodak’s catalog. Kodak agreed. Now if you want one of Kodak’s emulsions in any sheet film size, I can get it for you. There is one footnote here. I should say that I can get any size so long as one of the dimensions is 40 inches or smaller. In fact, right now I have an order placed for 6″x7″ Ektar 100, a size that I have never heard of. Over these four years, the film sales have increased. I can tell you from talking to people I know in the film industry that film sales are strong.

No matter what some people say, film is not dead. In fact, it’s very much alive. People were convinced when photography became possible that painting was doomed. Who would paint a picture when a camera could capture it in seconds? Look around – there are still many artists that paint. Why should we believe that film photography is over?

If you want to learn more about us a K. B. Canham Cameras, Inc. take a look at our web page www.canhamcameras.com or like us on Facebook.

The Kodak Sponsored “Developing Lives” Photography Program

Developing Lives is a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) photography program partnered with the Eastman Kodak Company. The program provides residents living in New York public housing with one-time-use Kodak cameras and educational-training workshops. The participants create a visual and oral history of daily life that, without being heavy-handed, effectively counters many popular misconceptions about life in public housing. NYCHA residents are most often on the other side of the camera lens; Developing Lives turns that paradigm on its head.

Image

The project was piloted at the Manhattanville Houses in Harlem in the fall of 2010, with some 20 participants equally divided between seniors and children. The project has been expanded to include a total of fifteen developments in three boroughs with close to two hundred participants.

Just this fall, the Developing Lives program added a lecture-style class setting for seniors, in addition to the classes held in a small classroom environment. The lecture classes are similar in nature to a college-level photography class and offered for free to any resident living in public housing. Currently, classes have included about 10 participants per session from 5 developments; the lecture series includes 25-50 participants and is advertised to all seniors across all NYCHA developments.

Image

Each Developing Lives session includes weekly one-hour classes that run for a twelve-week period. Each week instructors demonstrate a new photography technique (light, shadow, camera language, etc.) and introduce a well-known photographer whose work exemplifies that technical style. The one-time-use Kodak cameras are distributed at the start of every class and returned the following week. The film is then processed and photographs reviewed and returned. Participants are asked to bear in mind the new photography technique when documenting their lives throughout the week.

Image

In addition to teaching technical skills, Developing Lives also helps participants become documentary photographers. The classes discuss the art of storytelling through a photograph. All photographs are paired with handwritten captions from the photographer.

The photographs are displayed on our Studio NYCHA website, which was launched shortly after the Developing Lives program piloted in 2010  (www.StudioNYCHA.org/DevelopingLives).

The New York Daily News ran a full-page article about Developing Lives in March 2011, at the end of the pilot program.  The piece demonstrates that the truer aspects and creative richness of daily life in public housing can garner the attention of the broader public, in stark contrast to typical negative coverage. Through participatory photography, Developing Lives gives residents control over their own narrative. As one senior participant who never used a camera before put it, “Holding up the photographs of my neighbors and neighborhood was like holding up a mirror to myself and allowing me to see things I never noticed before.”

Image

In addition to Kodak, which donated over 300 cameras, Developing Lives’ other private sector partners include Dell Computers, one of America’s most admired American corporations, who provided laptop computers at no cost; Seeing for Ourselves, a not-for-profit grassroots photography organization that helped initiate the Developing Lives program­ and conceive StudioNYCHA.org; and Duggal Visual Solutions, a premier American imaging studio (with a client-list that includes MoMA, The Whitney, and The Smithsonian, along with many Fortune 500 corporations), which provided all lab work at cost.

Meet our team:

ImageProject Creator, George Carrano organized and curated “50 Years on the Frontlines,” a retrospective of the works of top war photojournalist Philip Jones Griffiths that The New York Times called “One of the great tragic portraits of their time, and required viewing in ours.” And in a participatory photography exhibit curated by George, “Unbroken: Photography Subjects Speak Out”, photographers from around the world provided a visual journey of their daily lives —”poignant,” The New York Times termed.

ImageCity-Wide Project Director, Chelsea Davis was born and raised in New York City. Chelsea previously established two programs in participatory photography. In 2004 she created an art class for autistic children at the Association for MetroArea Autistic Children in New York, and the success of that program motivated her to set up a similar class in 2007 in the pediatric oncology ward of St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She believes in the communicative power of art and hopes to share this with the participants of Developing Lives.

Lily Randall has ably assisted the Developing Lives program since the summer of 2012.

A special thanks to the Kodak team for helping make the Developing Lives program possible.