Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 7 December 2018

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – Robyn Stacey’s sublime as still as life at MGA and The Print Swap holds its annual one-day holiday exhibition in New York.

Plus Associated Press releases the Year in Photos – the featured image above was taken by Rodrigo Abd on 27 October and captures the U.S.-bound migrant caravan outside the town of Arriaga, Mexico.

Mass migration, mass shootings, mass protests, conflicts, natural disasters, the crises in Yemen, in Palestine, Syria – there’s little good news in amongst what is a very western-centric collection, which is to be expected. But surely photojournalism is also about celebration of life and compassion. It’s not all bad news out there, all the time. While there are pictures of royal weddings and babies, positive tokens, the constant focus on disaster seems out of balance. Good news is newsworthy too. Check out the year in pictures here

Exhibition: Melbourne

Robyn Stacey – as still as life

Beau Monde (C) Robyn Stacey

Australian photographic artist Robyn Stacey’s inspiration draws on historical art forms. I interviewed her a couple of years ago when she was working with camera obscura creating epic images inside luxury hotel rooms and artists’ studios. But her enduring passion has been working with still life, spending years on bodies of work, hours on a single image. It is an obsession she is happy to admit to.

In her intricate still life compositions, Stacey weaves a complex story drawn on the personal histories of the original owners of these artefacts. Stacey says, “The still‐life qualities of rendering detail lovingly and creating a powerful mise‐en‐scene through lighting lend themselves brilliantly to photographic interpretation.”

“Underpinning the compositions, whether simple (The First Cut) or complex (Fontaine de Vaucluse, Mr. Macleays Fruit and Flora), is the search for order and meaning. Every element is there to educate and elucidate, and the image is incomplete unless the viewer participates in this de‐coding, inviting an investment in the image by both the maker and the viewer.”

“Underpinning the compositions, whether simple (The First Cut) or complex (Fontaine de Vaucluse, Mr. Macleays Fruit and Flora), is the search for order and meaning. Every element is there to educate and elucidate, and the image is incomplete unless the viewer participates in this de‐coding, inviting an investment in the image by both the maker and the viewer.”

Mr. Macleays Fruits and Flora  (C) Robyn Stacey
The First Cut (C) Robyn Stacey 
Miss Eliza Wentworth’s Glassware (C) Robyn Stacey

as in still life features 24 of Stacey’s magnificent, large scale images selected from projects that have documented some of Australia’s most significant scientific and historic collections, including the Macleay collection (Sydney University) and the Royal Botanic Gardens collection (Sydney). In addition to Stacey’s work, the exhibition features over 50 Australian photographs from MGA’s collection including Olive Cotton, John Eaton and Anne Zahalka, as well as a Baroque still life painting on loan from the National Gallery of Victoria.

Until 3 March 2019

Monash Gallery of Art 860 Ferntree Gully Rd Wheelers Hill

Exhibition: New York

The Print Swap Holiday Show

(C) Anne Closuit Eisenhart

The Print Swap began as an idea on Instagram, an easy way for photographers to collect prints from other photographers. As with other Instagram innovations, The Print Swap has crossed the cyberspace bridge into the real world.

This year The Print Swap has held exhibitions at the Indian Photography Festival in Hyderabad, Photoville in New York and the London Art Fair. Now The Print Swap returns for its second holiday exhibition and party at Root Studios in Brooklyn for one day only on 13 December.

Founder Australian Alison Zavos, who is also behind Feature Shoot, says The Print Swap was started “to bring photographers together, from all different backgrounds, in a tangible way. I just thought it would be a cool experience for say a photographer in Dubai to open their mailbox and find a surprise print from a photographer in Costa Rica”.

Collecting prints is an anonymous process in as much as the person receiving the photograph doesn’t know which picture they will receive until it arrives. All prints are fully credited and come with a bio on the photographer whose print they receive. In addition, they discover where in the world their own print is going.

By using Instagram to promote the collecting of physical photographs The Print Swap is tapping into the phenomenal popularity of the platform and also challenging it. Zavos says the tangible nature of the printed image can be transformative creating “a real connection to photography. We are so accustomed to “liking” images and then moving on quickly to the next bright, shiny thing posted. Seeing a printed image is a totally different, and much more meaningful experience than seeing it online”.

Zavos says the exhibitions are more about exposure than revenue. “(We want) to get the work of participating Print Swap photographers seen by a wider audience. Sometimes we sell work at shows and sometimes not, it really depends on the venue and audience”.

Photographers at all levels of experience are welcome to hashtag their images #theprintswap on Instagram for consideration. “We make no distinction between amateur and professional. We look at only the image when deciding whether or not to include a particular photographer, not a CV”.

Once an image has been selected by The Print Swap curators, the photographer pays $40 to participate, which covers the printing and shipping of the 8×10” print. The Print Swap covers all exhibition costs.

Most of the exhibitions are curated by professionals and include gallerists, photographers and photo editors. “I like to choose curators that have some sort of a connection to the place where we are holding the exhibition and we leave it open for the curators to choose the imagery that they resonate with the most. They don’t curate from Instagram, so they are not influenced by the “likes” or lack thereof”.

The images chosen for this year’s holiday exhibition, which is The Print Swap’s 9th real world outing, are an exception. This is the first time that every photographer who submitted during the open call will be included. Expect to see a lot of photos!

Root Studios 131 North 14th Street, Brooklyn

6-8pm December 13 – a one day only event

The pictures featured in this story are from the Top Ten The Print Swap on Instagram

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