Wet Weather Exhibition

Don’t Take Pictures is pleased to announce the results of our online exhibition Wet Weather. 50 photographs depicting rainy weather were selected and will be on view through August 25. Visit the exhibitions page to view the entire exhibition.

Regenfenster, Charlotte Thömmes

Regenfenster, Charlotte Thömmes

Washing away the snow and grime of winter, April’s showers do indeed bring May’s flowers. Whether gloomy or relaxing, rainy atmosphere elicits an emotional response. Distorting the world through reflections, splatters, and color shifts, rain can transform our surroundings in ways both magical and disastrous. 

Fog Marsh, Mark Yaggie

Fog Marsh, Mark Yaggie

From spring drizzles and fleeting summer thunderstorms to treacherous hurricanes and monsoons, the photographers in this exhibition have braved wind and the rain to create photographs that explore the regenerative and destructive powers of precipitation. 

Rain, San Francisco, 1965, Harry Wilson

Rain, San Francisco, 1965, Harry Wilson

Don’t Take Pictures holds free, quarterly calls for work for online exhibitions.

Some Assembly Required: Jonathan Checler

This series focuses on those who take the making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.

Photo from a modified Polaroid ONE600

Photo from a modified Polaroid ONE600

Jonathan Checler, Brooklyn, NY

To help further his understanding of analog photography, self-taught photographer Jonathan Checler modified a Polaroid ONE600 by replacing the camera’s standard mirror with a shattered one. The idea was to examine and study how the internal mirror would alter the light projection onto the emulsion of the film if it were modified. By fragmenting the light, Checler discovered, the resulting image became a sort of kaleidoscopic deformation; and he was able to visualize how light translates into a tangible image.

The camera itself took only 20 minutes to modify, but the preparatory work to understand the inner-workings of Polaroid cameras, and what modifications would best help him to visualize light, took nearly a year. The photographs made with Checler’s Polaroid use the same properties as the original Polaroid ONE600. Checler removed the reflecting mirror through the top of the camera and replaced it with a mirror mosaic made from a 99-cent store hand mirror that he smashed with a hammer. He overlapped the broken pieces to create a mosaic and placed it where the original mirror had been.

The resulting photographs embrace Polaroid’s signature color distortion and are further distorted through fragmented light to create dreamy and soft one-of-a-kind prints. Unfortunately, the film used for this camera was discontinued shortly after Checler completed the camera in 2007, shortening the lifespan of this project. 

Modified Polaroid ONE600 with mirror mosaic

Modified Polaroid ONE600 with mirror mosaic

View more of Checler’s work on his website.

Have you made or modified your own photographic equipment? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com.

News Recap: May 22, 2015

Weekly recap of art world news.

Brooklyn Museum Exterior ©Brooklyn Museum via Wikimedia Commons 

Brooklyn Museum Exterior ©Brooklyn Museum via Wikimedia Commons 

Anne Pasternak Named New Director of The Brooklyn Museum
Beginning September 1, Anne Pasternak will assume directorship of The Booklyn Museum. Pasternak will succeed Arnold L. Lehman, who is retiring after serving as the museum’s director for 18 years. For the past 20 years Anne Pasternak has served as president and artistic director of Creative Time. In her new role Ms. Pasternak will oversee the museum’s entire collection of over 1 million works, and a full-time staff of 308.
Read the full story (New York Times)

Telephoto Lens Causes Major Bicycle Accident during the Tour of Italy
A spectator at the Giro d’Italia, one of the world’s major cycling races, caused a crash by hanging his DSLR camera and telephoto lens too far into the road. One cyclist slammed into the lens, falling off of his bike and caused a chain reaction that resulted in injuries. One cyclist suffered a broken arm and another has a dislocated shoulder.
Read the full story (Peta Pixel)

Chrysler Museum Curator Amy Brandt Dies at 37
After a valiant struggle with her health, Amy Brandt passed away on Friday, May 15. She had served as curator of modern and contemporary art of the Chrysler Museum since the position was creation in 2011. In her few years as curator Brandt oversaw the Museum’s entire post-1945 collection and curated a dozen exhibitions. Described as passionate and academically distinguished, Brandt was considered a bright spark in the new generation of art historians.
Read the full story (ArtNet News)

Crowd-funding Roundup: Enfojer - A Darkroom for Smartphones

Crowd-funding is becoming increasingly popular among creatives. With more sites springing up and more artists asking for funds, Don’t Take Pictures presents a monthly roundup of some projects we find exciting.

 This month’s crowd funding roundup presents a darkroom enlarger that makes silver gelatin prints from your smartphone.

Enfojer – A Darkroom for Smartphones

The explosion of smartphone photography apps has indicated to some photographers that there is a waning interest in analog photography. But the desire to make tangible prints from digital images is still strong. While searching for an easy and affordable way to make such prints, photographers Vanda Voloder and Ilija Stepi´c blended the two technologies to create the Enfojer, a portable enlarger and darkroom that makes silver gelatin prints from smartphones.

Instead of printing out an inkjet picture from your home printer, you can now make a silver gelatin print using quality photo paper and traditional chemistry. The kit contains everything needed for a small and simple darkroom, including a battery powered red light, small trays for chemistry, tongs, Ilford black and white photo paper, and the enlarger itself. The Enfojer works similarly to a traditional enlarger and produces prints up to 6x6 inches. Simply place your smartphone into the specially designed holder, adjust the image size, expose the paper, move the paper through the chemistry using the timer app, and hang to dry.

While the Enfojer is not a replacement for professional darkrooms, it fills a void with its portability and, at just $284.90 for the entire kit, affordability. Designed as an entry-level darkroom, the Enfojer is also capable of making prints from negatives and is ideal for schools that want to teach darkroom techniques. For more advanced photographers, the possibilities for experimentation and modification are limitless, or it could simply reignite a love of analog in a photographer who have either forgotten its magic or never had the chance to experience it. 

Read more about Enfojer on their website.

This product was only partially funded through Indiegogo and is accepting pre-orders to move into production.

Do you know of a crowd-funding project that benefits the art community? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.om

Rule Breakers: Michael Joseph

“I never want to see another picture of ________.” Industry veterans share their pet peeves on themes in contemporary photography. In this series they present their “rule” along with five photographs that break the rule in an effort to show that great work is the exception to the rule.

Rule Setter: Kat Kiernan, Editor-in-Chief, Don’t Take Pictures
Rule Breaker: Michael Joseph

I never want to see another picture of a homeless person on the street. Regardless of the ethical issues that someone may or may not have with the act of photographing this particular demographic, the fact remains that each year hundreds of practically identical photographs are making their way into classrooms and street photography exhibitions everywhere. Often depicting the homeless with their meager belongings on sidewalks, in parks, or sleeping on doorsteps, these photographs rely on environment instead of the subject to make a compelling portrait.

For his series Lost and Found Michael Joseph eliminates the environment entirely in order to show the storied faces of the voluntarily homeless, a youth counter culture group who travel the country by rail. His subjects are photographed on the street, where they live, but they do not depict “life on the streets.” Using a nearby wall as a backdrop, Joseph’s portraits are devoid of environment. Each person confronts the camera, allowing the viewer to see him or her as a person first and a transient person second. People of various ages, ethnicities, and genders are photographed in the way that he might photograph his sister or friend or teacher. By removing the background, Joseph allows his subjects to tell their own stories through their expressions and gaze. I don’t view them with pity, nor do I romanticize their choices.

—Kat Kiernan

Parker, Austin, TX 2013

Parker, Austin, TX 2013

Ari, Provincetown, MA 2013

Ari, Provincetown, MA 2013

Hot Sauce, New Orleans, LA 2013

Hot Sauce, New Orleans, LA 2013

Abbot, Cambridge, MA 2013

Abbot, Cambridge, MA 2013

Gabe, New Orleans, LA 2013

Gabe, New Orleans, LA 2013

News Recap: May 15, 2015

Weekly recap of art world news.

Prismatic Lake 2 ©Tony Hisgett, Birmingham, UK via Wikimedia Commons

Prismatic Lake 2 ©Tony Hisgett, Birmingham, UK via Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming Law Makes Photographing on Public Land Illegal
Signed into law this spring, the Data Trespass Bill prohibits the collection of “resource data” from federal, private, and public lands in Wyoming. This includes photographs of the land, which lawmakers fear could be used as evidence of pollution. Violation of the law could result in one year in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Read the full story (Popular Photography)

Peter Beard Sues Over Stolen Works
Photographer Peter Beard has sued California business man Bernie Chase and the Hoerie-Guggenheim Gallery in Manhattan for attempting to sell stolen works. The three pieces were allegedly stolen from a mutual friend of Beard and Chase’s apartment two years ago. 
Read the full story (New York Daily News)

University of Southern California’s Entire First-Year MFA Class Drops Out in Protest
USC has lost all of their first year MFA students at the Roski School of Art. Citing among their reasons for leaving as falling victim to a “bait and switch”, in their statement, the students listed numerous grievances with the administration and the decrease in their tuition subsidization.
Read the full story (Hyperallergic)

Summer Reading List 2015

Summertime is upon us and book recommendations are pouring in. For the third installment of the Don’t Take Pictures reading list, I have compiled a Summer reading list for all of you arts readers looking for something to take on vacation or fill time between semesters. I have chosen to limit this list to printed books and not include online content or periodicals. I have read each book on this list (often more than once), and selected titles that I have found helpful in my own art and business practices. This list is not intended to be a review of each book, nor is it focused on new releases, as there are so many great books that remain relevant today. 

I Like Your Work: Art and Etiquette
Paper Monument
Publisher: Paper Monument, 2009
Pages: 56

The art world can be a complicated and sometimes snobby place to navigate socially. This slim volume features contributions from 38 artists, critics, curators, and dealers. The advice presented varies widely from serious to sarcastic and should not be interpreted as a how-to or even as a what-not-to-do manual. But as a whole the book presents a great picture of the spectrum of behavior as experienced by those who frequent social situations in the arts. 

Purchase from Paper Monument



Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else
David Balzer
Publisher: Coach House Books, 2014
Pages: 144

“Curate” is the buzzword of the decade. But with its frequent overuse, what does it really mean to curate? Author David Balzer provides an overview of the history of the curator as a profession before moving into the current cultural definitions and examples of the word. This small book is longer than an academic essay, but shorter and easier to digest than a dissertation. It is a good read for those looking to further understanding of how the art of selection infiltrates our culture. 

Purchase from Coach House Books


Understanding a Photograph
John Berger, Edited by Geoff Dyer
Publisher: Aperture; Reprint edition, 2013
Pages: 256 

Essayist Geoff Dyer has selected some of John Berger’s more influential art criticism essays as well as previously uncollected pieces that discuss the meaning of photographs and the impact that the medium has on society, culture, and politics. I Recommend this book for anyone interested in insightful examination of photography’s evolving influence. 

Purchase from Aperture


Witness in Our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers
Ken Light
Publisher: Smithsonian Books, 2010 (second edition)
Pages: 280

Featuring essays by some of the most influential documentary photographers of the 21st century, this book provides a solid foundation to the history of documentary photography. Each chapter begins with the photographer (or editor’s) brief biography before moving into a first-person essay about the their life and experiences as related to photography. I highly recommend this book for photographers interested in social documentary and for those looking for compelling biographies. 

Purchase from Amazon


The Artist-Gallery Partnership: A Practical Guide to Consigning Art
Tad Crawford & Susan Mellon
Publisher: Allworth Press, 2008
Pages: 216

Author Tad Crawford is an attorney and artists’ rights advocate. To help make sense of consignment contracts, this book offers an easy-to-follow explanation of what a consignment relationship is and how it functions, including a breaks down of legal terms. Complete with state-specific laws and sample forms, this book is a must-read for artists and dealers alike. 

Purchase from Barnes and Noble



Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs
Sally Mann
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2015
Pages: 496

Mentioned previously on DTP, acclaimed photographer Sally Mann’s memoir is a beautifully crafted story about a life of photography. Regardless of your feelings towards the artist of her work, I recommend this book for those interested in what a successful artist has to say about the thought process, struggles, and triumphs involved in making of photographs and living a creative life. 

Purchase from Photo-Eye Bookstore


For more recommended reading, see 2014's Summer and Winter reading lists.

Kat Kiernan is the Editor-in-Chief of Don't Take Pictures

In Motion: Scott Carthy

This series showcases those who have expanded their artistic palate, moving from still to motion, or motion to still.

Search “Showtime NYC” on YouTube and you will find that most videos of the street and subway breakdancers are made by tourists. They are often shot vertically, have terrible lighting and camera shake, and are overwhelmed by the squealing sounds of the subway. With a simple kit consisting of a Canon EOS 7D, a stabilizer, and a rented lens, visiting Irish filmmaker Scott Carthy followed a Showtime dance duo, recoding their performances as well as their thoughts and motivations for performing in the narrow, moving subways cars day after day. Carthy’s filmmaker’s eye makes for a beautiful seven-minute film about street dance culture in New York.

The film goes beyond a simple dance video or fly-by documentary. At the time of production, arrests had increased dramatically for these performers under the code that also serves as the film’s title 1050.6(c). Voiceovers of enforcement policies and arrest statistics are layered over slow-motion footage of the dancers on subway platforms and inside the train cars. The opening sequence shows a series of beautifully choreographed breakdance moves in slow motion. Shot on a rooftop, the city’s skyline at dusk serves as a backdrop. Through voiceover, the dancers speak about what Showtime means to them, an escape from rough neighborhoods, and a love of dance.

View more of Carthy’s work on his website.

Do you make moving images or know of someone who does? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com.

News Recap: May 8, 2015

Weekly recap of art world news.

Are We Stardust? Photo ©Amy Friend

Are We Stardust? Photo ©Amy Friend

Photolucida Critical Mass 2014 Book Award Winner Announced
Each year, one photographer from Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50 is selected to receive a hardbound monograph of their portfolio. This year’s book award recipient is Amy Friend for her series Dare Alle Luce. The book will be produced and distributed by Photolucida.
Read the full story (Photolucida)

Renowned Curator Jane Farver Dies at 68
Jane Farver died suddenly in Venice, where she was preparing for a presentation for the American Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. Farver served as the chief curator at the Queens Museum before heading the MIT List Visual Arts Center until 2011 when she left to pursue independent projects. She was widely respected by artists and curators alike. Sources say that she suffered a heart attack.
Read the full story (ArtNet News)

Flash Forward Emerging Photographers Announced
The Magenta Foundation has announced the recipients of their 11th Flash Forward Emerging Photographers Competition. Winners are selected from Canada, UK, and US. Selected photographers will be published in an exhibition catalogue and will be included in a traveling group exhibition. One $6,000 cash prize will be awarded to the 2015 Bright Spark Award winner and a Book Award will also be announced.
Read more (Magenta Foundation)