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Martin Parr


Terry Richardson


Nan Goldin

When we first saw the line up for the new photo show opening tomorrow at the Aperture Foundation Gallery, simply titled Photography, we fell out of our chairs. The show features new (new!) work from William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Martin Parr, Terry Richardson, and Stephen Shore. You don’t have to be a photo nerd to know that this selection of artists are some of the most important photographers making work today. To have new work by them all in one room is crazy. We decided we had to sit down with Ken Miller, the curator of the show, to figure out how he pulled it off. Turns out it was pretty simple.

VICE: What’s up, Ken? How did this project start?
Ken Miller: It started with a sort of unrelated exhibition of abstract photography that I did in Tokyo about a year and a half ago. That was kind of a weird way for it to begin. It was a show with Sam Falls, Marcelo Gomes, Mariah Robertson, and this Japanese photographer named Taisuke Koyama. Somebody from Fujifilm came by and I guess they liked the show, so they got in touch. They took me out to drinks and showed me these cameras they were coming out with and were like “Do you think you could get photographers to use these?” The cameras were really nice, so I was like, “Yeah probably, it’s a free camera.”

We started putting a list of photographers together. I was initially thinking of people I’d worked with before, who seemed easy to approach. Then I thought, Fuck it. I’ll just ask ambitiously and worst comes to worst, they’ll say no. And amazingly, basically everybody said yes. Of the initial people we asked, only two passed for different reasons. It was remarkably easy.

That’s pretty amazing.
I don’t want to sound like an advertisement for the camera, but it’s a digital SLR that works like the camera you studied in college. It has a lot of manual functions. So, I think there’s a certain nostalgia for a lot of these photographers who think “Oh, this works like a classic point-shoot Nikon” and they were psyched about that. You sort of forget photographers are camera nerds too, so they wanted to try it out.

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New York winter self-portrait
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Like many photographers who struggle to find subject matter worthy of photographing, Sandy Kim turns her camera on a subject with which she is intimately familiar – her friends, her love and her life.

“I use what I have, and since my life is readily available that’s what I shoot,” she says.

Kim, now 26, came into the public eye a few years ago when Girls, a San Francisco band she had befriended and was photographing religiously, started to make it big. Suddenly her photos were in The New York Times and Fader. Her unique style garnered praise from both audiences and other shooters and she was name-checked in an interview with art photographer Ryan McGinley.

Her photos continue to appear in Fader – the mag calls her their “BFF” – and her latest project ties together the last two years of her life through sexual degrees of separation.

“I started making this map of sexual relationships between me and my friends,” says Kim. “Once I started mapping it out on paper, I was surprised to see how big and complicated it became. We live for sex, and because of sex we’re alive. The photos represent the different intersections on the map. There are portraits, feelings, and special occasions, kind of like different stations on a subway map.”

Sex Degrees of Separation Rail Map. Image: Sandy Kim

Kim is not the first photographer to turn the camera back on herself, and its rare to have conversations about her work without hearing references to Nan Goldin and McGinley, among others. Yet her work is more carefree and loving than Goldin and less contrived than McGinley.

Her photographs allow viewers to be voyeurs in lives they may or may not ever lead themselves. The images deflate the youthful fantasy that people never have to grow up and that summers are forever endless. Viewers watch her grow up, watch her fall in love and, by proxy, get to re-live their own versions of these moments. Her pictures of her relationship with her boyfriend, Colby, are intimate and genuine in a way few photographers accomplish, if for no other reason than they are a document of tender moments, pure and simple.

“Sex has always been present in my work,” says Kim. “Especially because I started shooting more after I fell in love. I think sex is beautiful and ugly at the same time and I try and show both sides, mostly the beautiful part.”

Kim grew up in Portland. In 2004, at age 18, she moved to northern California where she found herself exposed to a world she never knew existed.

“When I lived in Portland I lived in this little bubble and didn’t really look past it,” she says. “After moving to San Francisco I was introduced to a badass music scene where artists were so talented, inspiring and beautiful, I got excited and wanted to photograph everything around me.”

She befriended artists and musicians, and was asked to tour with local bands. That’s when she hooked up with Girls.

Though she’d been taking pictures on her own, and got her BFA in Graphic Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Kim started to take photography more seriously through the external pressure of friends. Girls bassist JR encouraged her to shoot more, and photographer Bryan Derballa (who shoots for Wired), built her a blog to use as a platform and pushed her to use it.

Kim uses various point-and-shoot cameras purchased at thrift stores, from Yashica T4s to Olympus Stylus Epics to her favorite Contax T2.

“I didn’t consider myself as a serious photographer, or even photographer at all, so I couldn’t justify spending more than 10 bucks on a camera. I still prefer film over digital. It’s changed my process because when I edit digital photos it takes me a lot longer to edit and look through. With film you’re kind of stuck with the photos you get and have to make it work. Sometimes I get unexpected surprises that come out to be pleasant in the end or used to my advantage.”

While the camera in her hand has an impact on how the images ultimately look, her pictures are less about the tool and more about the events unfolding around her.

“I think my friends enjoy being photographed by me because I’m capturing a time of their youth and just like for me and everyone else 10 years from now things are going to be different but we’ll have photos to remind us of our wild youth,” she says.

Her work is a reminder that photography can be used not as a means to experience, but as a means to remember. Her photos are reactionary rather than anticipatory, composition and lighting not meticulously thought through or planned. Her exploration of themes in sexuality, tinged with love and naïveté, are painted with a brush of carelessness and mild sentimentality.

“I find that I’m constantly changing. Even by the day. I also feel that I’ve matured over the last year. I used to go out and get wasted every day so I would be taking photos of crazy situations my friends and I would get into because of us being drunk. But nowadays I find myself wanting to hang out with my boyfriend all the time so I end up photographing him. Also I’m madly in love, which helps. He’s a beautiful person inside and out. Sometimes I find myself just staring at him, watching him, learning him, the way he plays a guitar or the way he peels an orange in bed and eats it. And while I find myself in this trance I realize, why don’t I just take a photo and remember this moment forever.”

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Easily one of the most impressive photography books of the year, “The New York Times Photographs”, published by Aperture and edited by Director of Photography Kathy Ryan, brings together a collection of four hundred photographs shot for The New York Times Magazine from the late 1970′s to 2011.

In an insightful foreword Kathy Ryan explains the unshrinking approach to assigning photographers that the New York Times Magazine has become known for: “Why not send a veteran war photographer to photograph the Oscar- worthy actors one year? Or commission a gallery of Olympians by an artist with a very personal iconography, rather than by a sports photographer? “Cross-assigning” is a signature of this magazine, an approach that came clearly into focus with the publication of the “Times Square” issue in May 1997—an issue devoted entirely to images by a group of photographers working within all genres of photography.”

As Kathy Ryan notes, cross-assigning takes faith. Of course this approach can be risky, but perhaps no more hazardous than always doing the expected. Turning the glossy pages of this substantial book, the reader will see that its rewards are rich and varied.


Ryan McGinley, Courtesy the artist/Team Gallery, New York. Emily Cook, 2010 Olympic freestyle skier (aerials). From “Up!,” published February 7, 2010.


Lars Turnbjork, 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. March 23, 1997.


Gregory Crewdson, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery; Untitled. From “Dream House,” 2002.


Malick Sidibé, Courtesy André Magnin. Assitan Sidibé in Marni polka-dot top, Christian Lacroix striped top, Marc Jacobs dress, and Christian Louboutin.


Laura Letinsky/Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.


Simon Norfolk/Institute, One section of a particle detector in the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, 2006.


Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas images


Stanley Greene/NOOR, the road to Samashki in Chechnya, 1996.

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Name- Tatum Shaw
Age- 31
Where are you from?- Originally from Cartersville, Ga. Been living in Portland, Or for the past seven years.
Your equipment- Contax G2
Influences and photographers you like- Juergen Teller, Malick Sidibe, Mark Romanek, William Eggleston, Viviane Sassen, Terry Richardson, Harris Savides, Ryan McGinley, Keith Davis Young, Katherine Squier, Missy Prince.
A little about you- I work as an advertising copywriter at Wieden Kennedy for clients such as Coca-Cola, Target, P&G, Nike. Advertising can get creatively frustrating, so photography allows me to have an un-fucked-with outlet. I started taking photography seriously about four years ago. Currently, I'm working on a few books I hope to have out early next year.

Flickr page
tatumshaw.com/
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ALL PHOTOS BY TATUM SHAW

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Features and Essays

I love 15th of every month as the following month’s National Geographic features hit their feature hub… Two good photojournalism pieces in the October issue…which I’m very much hoping to receive in the mail…We became annual subscribers for the first time…Time mag too… Buying single copies ends up getting rather costly…

Terrific photos by Kitra Cahana…Subject: “Moody. Impulsive. Maddening. Why do teenagers act the way they do? “…

Kitra Cahana: Teenage Brains (NGM: October 2011) Cahana’s website

Mark Leong: Ulanbaatar, Mongolia (NGM: September 2011)

If you enjoyed Leong’s essay, do also see Timothy Fadek’s Mongolia work…done last year, but definitely worth having a look, if you aren’t familiar with it…

Timothy Fadek: Mongolia: Golden Promises (Photographer’s website: September 2011)

Uriel Sinai documents life West Bank settlements as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to ask the United Nations for statehood…

Uriel Sinai: Inside West Bank Settlements (Time: September 2011)

Related…

Amnon Gutman: The Promised Land (Foreign Policy: September 2011)

Julien Goldstein: Ramallah: Portrait of a West Bank City (MSNBC: September 2011)

Stefan Boness: White City (Panos: September 2011) Tel Aviv

To other stories…

Dominic Nahr: Somalia: The Catastrophic Famine (Magnum: September 2011)

Larry Towell: Afghanistan 2011: MEDEVAC and the Taliban Close-up (Magnum: September 2011)

Denis Dailleux: Scenes from a Ghana Witch Camp (Newsweek: September 2011)

Mads Nissen: Chinese Roulette (Panos: September 2011)

Warrick Page: Pakistan Floods (Guardian: September 2011)

Seamus Murphy: 17 Years in Afghanistan (Life: September 2011)

New York Times: Repressing the Religious Majority (NYT: September 2011) Photographer’s name withheld probably for security reasons

Brendan Corr: Faithful Albion (Panos: September 2011)

Chiara Tocci: Life After Zog (Foto8: September 2011) Tocci’s website

New Yorker: Beyond Words: Photography in the New Yorker (New Yorker: September 2011)

Sam Phelps: Train Portraits Pakistan (Photographer’s website: September 2011)

Sam Phelps: Gadani Ship Breaking Yard, Pakistan (Photographer’s website: September 2011)

Steven Siewert: Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly! (Agence Vu: 2011)

Piotr Malecki: Where Meat Means Money (Panos: September 2011)

Martina Bacigalupo: Wanawake, Being a Woman in Congo (Agence Vu: 2011)

I didn’t know Ara Güler is a Magnum photographer…That’s what Guardian states anyway, and indeed his photos are in the Magnum archive, eventhough he is not listed in the members….Enjoyed these Istanbul frames…Especially since we are heading there end of November for Veronica’s 25th birthday…

Ara Güler: Istanbul (Guardian: September 2011)

Newsweek: The Mexican Suitcase: History Lost and Found (Newsweek: September 2011) Related in NYT T Magazine

Ron Haviv: Blood on the Grass (VII Magazine: September 2011)

Ron Haviv: The Making of Dan Choi (Global Post: September 2011)

Kate Brooks: In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey After 9/11 (TIME LB: September 2011)

TIME Lightbox featured some of the great work available for purchase at Friends of Anton to support Anton Hammerl’s children…

photo: Kenneth Jarecke

TIME Lightbox: Banding Together for a Fallen Colleague: The Friends of Anton (TIME LB: September 2011)

Also available at Friends of Anton…Yuri Kozyrev’s iconic Libya photo… Remember the moment he took it?  Others running away, but Yuri still shooting behind Tyler Hicks.

It’s great so many photographers have donated prints…Now they need people buying ‘em!

More features…

Allison Payne: College Bound (TIME LB: September 2011)

Zhe Chen: Bees (Inge Morath Foundation: September 2011)

Elinor Carucci: Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood (TIME LB: September 2011)

Lori Grinker: Piecing Together an Ancestral Puzzle (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Greg Constantine: The Places Where Nowhere Is Home (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Andre Liohn: Arab Spring (Photographer’s archive: September 2011)

Etienne de Malglaive: Storming Tripoli (Photographer’s archive: September 2011)

Interviews

Photographer Kitra Cahana talks about her NatGeo assignment about teenagers…

Kitra Cahana (NG: September 2011)

Toby Smith (MorningNews: September 2011)

Martin Parr and his fancy new camera…he seems to be pretty excited about it as you can see below…

Martin Parr (Youtube: September 2011)

Although, it’s not really his camera, is it? Magnum have partnered with Nintendo…. Related  on PopPhoto and PetaPixel

Some really good interviews on the Ideas Tap website…

George Georgiou : Photographer (IdeasTap: September 2011)

“I invest myself emotionally in the people I photograph – not just to gain their trust but also to make myself feel comfortable. I’m not a quick, brash photographer – I was encouraged at Newport to understand compassion and humility and understanding, and that’s something I’ve tried to adhere to. “- Ivor Prickett

Ivor Prickett : Photojournalist (IdeasTap: September 2011)

“Realistically, unless you’re an individual like Ryan McGinley, it’s going to take 10 years to establish yourself: five years to pay the rent and five years to hone your practice. But the beauty about photography is, if you make it work for you, you never have to retire” – David Birkett

David Birkett : Photography Assistant (IdeasTap: September 2011)

Laura El-Tantawy (Burn: September 2011)

Martin Roemers (Noorderlicht festival: 2011)

Hans Aarsman (Ted Talks video on Conscientious: 2011)

Sebastian Junger (Guardian: September 2011)

Damon Winter (APE: September 2011)

Erroll Morris :  Truth Outside Photographs (NPR: September 2011)

Doug Mills (C-Span: 2008)

Jason Howe (BBC: September 2011)

Fernando Moleres (BJP: September 2011)

Michael Mack : Mack Books: From print to the iPad (BJP: September 2011)

Platon on Perry: Behind the Scenes of the Cover of TIME (TIME LB: September 2011)

Philip-Lorca diCorcia (ASX: 2011)

Kosuke Okahara (La Lettre: September 2011)

Philip Cheung (Thisisthewhat: 2011)

Pete Brook (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Pete Brook (BJP blog: September 2011)

Articles

John Stanmeyer has written more about working for National  Geographic…

Must read. John Stanmeyer: The Amazing Yellow-Bordered Magazine, Part II (Photographer’s blog: September 2011) Side note: Noticed Stanmayer’s blog presents us a differently processed file from his NGM Girl Power story. His own vision?

Joao Silva back at work…

NYT Lens: Joao Silva at the White House (NYT Lens: September 2011)

Olivier Sarbil was injured in Libya last week…

French freelance journalist wounded in Libya as NTC battles on (Vanguard: September 17, 2011)

Olivier’s friends have shared info on Facebook that he is now back in France, at Percy Hospital in Paris – a military hospital that specializes in injuries from the battlefield. I wish him good recovery. | Olivier’s website

Very good piece on pricing your work….

Jessica Hische: The Dark Art of Pricing (Jessica Hische blog: 2011)

Guardian: Joel Sternfeld’s First Pictures: the opening chapter of a colourful career (Guardian: September 2011)

photo: Peter van Agtmael

Leo Hsu: HomeFrontLine at Silver Eye (Foto8: September 2011) the exhibition

photo: Christopher Anderson

BJP: iPublish: Photojournalists turn to the iPad to tell their stories (BJP: September 2011)

BBC: On Bruce Davidson Subway photos (BBC: September 2011)

Foto8: Preview of Jocelyn Bain Hogg’s new book The Family (foto8: September 2011)

Thames and Hudson: Magnum Contact Sheets: Design # 2 – The Jacket (Thames and Hudson blog: September 2011)

David Campbell: Who Believes Photographs (DC: September 2011)

PDN: Burmese Photojournalist Sentenced to 10 More Years (PDN: September 2011)

APE: Real World Estimates – Magazine Article Reprints by Jess Dudley (APE: September 2011)

Unbelievable….

Poynter: Daily Mail lifts from WP, then asks its reporter for help finding photo (Poynter: September 2011)

Life: Taking Great Portraits (Life: September 2011)

Huffington Post: Reuters Raises Profile With Marquee Hires, Editor Aims To Become ‘Best In The World’ (HP: September 2011)

The 14 Most Influential Cameras of All Time (Adorama: September 2011)

Guardian: Featured photojournalist: Attila Balazs (Guardian: September 2011)

Guardian: Wolfgang Tillmans’s best shot (Guardian: September 2011)

photo: Jason Lee

Reuters: Unmasking the masked boy (Reuters blog: September 2011)

NPR: A Teenager’s Photo That Helped Inspire Libya’s Revolutionaries (NPR: September 2011)

Crowd funding…

PhotoShelter : 14 Tips to Crowdfund Your Next Photo Project (PS: September 2011)

Social Media Examiner: 11 Tips for Crowdfunding: How to Raise Money From Strangers 

Events

Epen Rasmussen : Transit : Frontline Club : 7pm Thursday : 22 September

multimedia

World Press Photo Enter

Awards, Grant, and Competitions

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize shortlisted works seen in the Guardian last week… (see that bigger here)

BJP: Shortlist unveiled for Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011

International Photography Award 2011 | Deadline extended | Entries close 26th September 2011

Unicef POY 2011 (Lightstalkers)

Conscientious Portfolio Competition 2011 Winners

Congratulations to Matt Dunham and other winners at The Picture Editors’ Guild Awards…

Journalism.co.uk: AP photographer overall winner in press photography awards |slideshow The Picture Editors’ Guild Awards 2011 (Guardian: September 2011)

BJP: Deadline approaching for Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award

Young Photographer of the Year Competition 2011 

Screenings

MSF Delivers 3D film exhibition at Spitalfields market in London from 22nd to 27th September…I went to Duckrabbit/MSF 3D photofilm premiere on Monday at Royal Society of Medicine here in London, I was very impressed.

Videos

Annie Leibovitz : Life Through a Lens 

Nick Turpin: In- sight

Portfolio reviews

Roof Unit Portfolio Reviews 

Photographers

Zalmai

Samuel Aranda

Jamie-James Medina

Scott Goldsmith

Katherine Leedale

Mary Turner | archive

To finish off… Dingle!!!!

Final end note…The Twitter feed has now 20,000 followers. Can’t be all bots,so thanks for following.I’ll try my best to keep the tweets relevant and interesting…

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Olivia Bee

Converse, 2009

At 11, Olivia Bolles started shooting when she was enrolled in a photography class by accident. Now 17, the precocious Portland-based photographer’s portraits of teen life have appeared in campaigns for Nike and Converse, as well as American Photo magazine. Bolles—who goes by Olivia Bee professionally—spoke to fellow teen, Style Rookie fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, to talk about her images and inspirations.

TG: Who are your influences?

OB: For the most part, my muse is everyday life. It’s kind of like enjoying where you’re at and appreciating what’s going on around you. Photographically, Ryan McGinley is my favorite. [Also,] Annie Leibovitz, Nan Goldin.

TG: Something about your photos I really like is [that] they feel really intimate. You feel like you’re getting to learn about this person and her life, but at the same time, a lot of them capture more universal experiences about everyday life as a teenager. Do you think about whether a photo [will be] more diary-like or more about being a teenager in general?

OB: I think it’s both. My photos are my diary. But a lot of the things I photograph I’m sure happen to other people too. That specific moment happened in my life, but other moments like it happened in other people’s lives. So it’s a diary but it’s kind of relatable, and that’s what I want to be doing with my work.

TG: Yeah, and I think that’s one thing I like most about your work—that you’re independent and unedited.

OB: Yeah, it’s all honest, you know? That’s the important part for me, being honest about everything.

TG: It can be so mind-blowing seeing someone’s earlier work, or freshman year versus senior year. Do you ever feel embarrassed?

OB: (Laughs.) Totally. There are some things where I’m like, “Oh my god, what the hell was I thinking?” I look back at my old Flickr, and that’s the stuff that gets on Tumblr like every day. I’m like, “I hate this picture. Why are people hyping over this?” But then I think this is a fortunate thing. I hate it now, but it had to happen to get where I am now.

TG: How do you think that being in Portland affects they way you think about your work or what you end up photographing?

OB: I definitely think it affects me a lot, because in Portland it rains all the time. So everybody plays an instrument, and is in a band and working on a project. Being in a creative atmosphere 24/7 just encourages me to make something every day. And my friends are my muses. Being in Portland is awesome (laughs). It’s such a warm, friendly atmosphere, but it’s really real.

TG: Are there any movies that inspire you?

OB: I’m like every other girl, and I like The Virgin Suicides. There’s this movie Wonderwall. George Harrison did the soundtrack to it. It’s like a really bad 60’s movie, but it’s really beautiful visually. Anything ’60s or ’70s—The Partridge Family. But Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is also a gorgeous movie.

TG: Who are the other young photographers you like?

OB: I love El Hardwick, Francesca Allen … There’s so many people on Flickr, it’s ridiculous. Chrissie White, Maggie Lochtenberg. Oh, and Lauren Poor. And Mike Bailey Gates, obviously, Erica Segovia.

TG: It’s great that with the Internet, there has come this sense of creative independence. Having your stuff online—some people think of it as gimmicky, but in a way, it’s one of the most pure forms of having your work judged.

OB: Because so many people can see it, you know? It’s the only thing that makes sense in 2011. You can have shows or whatever, but that’s going to be seen by like 50 people, or a hundred or a thousand or whatever. But if you put your stuff on the Internet, millions of people can see it.

TG: Do you ever want to balance out this public content? Do you keep anything just for yourself, or just for a show?

OB: There are a lot of photos that are so intimate to me that I don’t want to show other people. Someday when I make a book, I’ll put in all these pictures that I’ve kept secret. And some of them are my favorite photos, but I just don’t think they should be public, because they’re so special to me.

TG: Can you fill in your readers on some of that commercial work you’ve done?

OB: I just finished shooting the Fiat 500 campaign in April. And then I did some Degrassi stuff for TeenNick—production stills. I shot Nike and Converse, Zeit Magazin, which is like the German New York Times. Yeah, that was cool. I got to shoot the cover for that. And then I did the FOAM International Photography Museum magazine; I just did their cover and a feature. I have a really big editorial coming up, but I obviously can’t talk about it in this. 2011 has been a good year to me.

TG: Do you find that when you’re with a crew of people, that your age seems to factor into how they work with you, or talk to you?

OB: When I’ve shot alongside other photographers, sometimes people really look down on me…Sometimes people will be like “What the hell is she doing on this set?” But when you get to know people, [they] kind of become my mentors. It all depends on how long I’ve worked with someone. But it’s still weird (laughs); I’m still 17.

TG: I could definitely see being shot by you as the foray a Dakota Fanning-type would take to being, like, a cool teenager. If you could put together a photo shoot that wasn’t just the things you see every day, what would your dream setting be?

OB: It’d be on the moon cause that’d be so amazing! But I don’t know who my models would be. I like shooting anybody, so the models wouldn’t really be specific. But if it was on, like, the moon—that would be killer.

TG: Where would you like to go with your skills?

OB: Honestly, I just don’t want to stop. I’ve been happy with the kind of commercial stuff I’m doing. I don’t want to stop making personal work. I’m just going to photograph my life all the time, because that’s what I really like doing. As I grow older, I’m sure my pictures will change, but that’s basically what I want to keep doing. I’d love to shoot AnnaSophia Robb; I think she’s just gorgeous. And I’d like to shoot Dakota Fanning or Kate Moss, or someone like that—that’d be fun. Or shoot bands. If I got to shoot The Strokes, I’d basically die.

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Bolles, who goes by the name Olivia Bee, lives in Portland, Oregon and has worked for clients including Nike, Converse, Fiat, and TeenNick, among others. She is represented by Candace Gelman. More of her work can be seen here.

Fifteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson lives in the Chicago, Illinois area and has run the fashion blog The Style Rookie since 2008.

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Ryan McGinley is being sued by the photographer Janine “Jah Jah” Gordon, who claims that over 150 of his photographs are taken from her work. Gordon’s argument has been backed up by the former New Museum curator Dan Cameron, who wrote “my long-term expertise as a critic and curator gives me, I believe, sufficient authority to say, without hesitation, that Ms. Gordon’s work is completely original, in concept, color, composition and content, and that Ryan McGinley has derived much of his work from her creations.”

McGinley’s lawyers are dismissing the suit on the grounds that the images in question “do not look alike in the slightest,” saying that Gordon is “really complaining that the images share the same fundamental idea.”

Looking through the images in question, and through Gordon’s site, I have two thoughts. On one hand, I think some of the examples of copyright infringement she provided for the lawsuit feel like a pretty far stretch. The guy in a mosh pit (image below) seems particularly weak as what she’s saying is stolen is the body position. Does she really claim the sole rights to photographing someone with outstretched arms? On the other hand, I suspect McGinley is aware of her work and may reference it from time to time. I don’t know any photographer who works in a commercial context – myself included – who doesn’t work with references, and since a number of the images in question come from a campaign that McGinley shot for Levi’s x Opening Ceremony, it seems totally plausible that some of her images were used by McGinley as references for that.

I ran Nan Goldin’s studio for several years, and we often had to deal with case of Nan’s work being copied. There was one case while I was there of a really big commercial photographer referencing several of Nan’s photos. The other photographer settled out of court for a huge sum because I think everyone knew had it gone to court, Nan would have won. The whole thing left a weird taste in my mouth, I think because of my awareness of how commercial shoots are put together (though to be fair the images in question were fairly blatantly copied ). The whole process, starting with the ad agency and moving through to the photographers, requires images to illustrate intention for the shoot, and while those images sometimes belong to the photographer doing the job, they often come from other people’s work.

It’s not just commercial photography that works that way. Nan told me that when she started Larry Clark didn’t like her because he thought she was stealing from him, and McGinley so clearly references Nan, and his work has become a reference for so many artists younger than him. I’m not sure what the line between referencing and stealing is, but referencing is very much a part of photography. How can your eye not be influenced by what you’ve seen?

My feeling is that some – but not all – of these claims of copyright infringement are going to be decided in Gordon’s favor. I think her examples involving the monochromatic color palate (top photo) are reasonably convincing, and if Gordon can prove she did them first then she might get some money. That’s my psychic prediction, but I’m not actually sure what I think of the whole thing. I’m curious to hear what you guys think…

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5_window_big.jpegGrand Haven Pier, MI, United States (2002-2011) by Jay Van Dam

Memories are a funny thing. You never quite know what will trigger a flood of them rushing through your mind—a gleaming ray of light that catches your eye, a sudden scent that surrounds you, the feel of the air at a certain temperature and density on your skin, tunes that pour out of a car that sits still at an intersection... Often times they are small instances, but are just enough to raise the corners of your mouth or make your eyes water. Sadly, these crucial elements of memory are also seemingly impossible to replicate. Sometimes the harder you try to relive a moment, the further away you end up being from it. Contender Jay Van Dam's in memory of series deals exactly with that—memory, and the re-creation of it.

1_hardy_dam_big.jpegHardy Dam, Newaygo, MI, United States (1998-2011) by Jay Van Dam

Whether intentional or not, a photograph captures a unique point in time. By capturing a moment, one also inevitably captures the memory associated with it, and vice versa. With a large-format camera and hand-built mini sets, Van Dam has managed to re-create and photograph past moments in his life, removing reality from the images as much as possible, making them almost timeless in the most literal sense. What remains is memory without "the moment," feelings and emotions in their purest visual form. Van Dam writes in his statement: These images are manifestations of memory. Each is a testament to an impression of what once was, with the understanding that each individual recollection of a time and place will never be able to be re-presented in its entirety. Mediation is what prevails upon crafting these images, presenting both truth and fantasy to be one and the same.

2_fushimi_inari_big.jpegFushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan (2007-2011) by Jay Van Dam

A recent graduate with a BFA in photography from the Ringling College of Art and Design, Van Dam has been greatly influenced by his photographer father. He has interned at different studios in New York City since last summer, including with the famed photographer Ryan McGinley. Keep up with Van Dam's latest projects on his blog, where he posts updates and behind-the-scenes photos.

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Camerabag.tv recently sat down with New York-based photographer Tim Barber to speak about his background, his inspiration, the historical origins of tinyvices, and his affinity for rudimentary point-and-shoot cameras over expensive DSLRs. Barber also speaks about the first time he met Ryan McGinley and the found memories he has of travelling the world with him.

Camerabag.tv's main aims are "to celebrate the image-makers and to highlight the beauty and style of the camera" and "to raise the profile of emerging photographers, while also providing an intimate glimpse of the workplace and trade tools of the masters."


Watch the video.


www.camerabag.tv

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