The Producer’s picks for this week’s news relevant to the photography, art, design and production industries:
1) Eiko Yamazawa: Cracking the Glass Ceiling of Photography
Most of Eiko Yamazawa’s formative and mid-period photography career is vivified by her biography. It was during the early postwar period, when she went to America for a second time to study, that her interest in “making” photographs rather than “taking” them was revived. She shut down her successful commercial photography practice in Osaka and at 61, returned to her “art” vocation. The Otani Memorial Art Museum’s “Eiko Yamazawa: What I Am Doing” accordingly focuses on Yamazawa’s golden years, though its 140 works address the entire oeuvre of one of Japan’s first female photographers.
Yamazawa (1899-1995) developed an interest in photography during her teens, though she pursued formal nihonga (Japanese-style painting) training and entered Japan’s first art school for women, now the Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo. Returning to Osaka after graduation, she frequented the Young Women’s Christian Association, which promoted women’s wide-ranging societal integration, studied English and learned about Western painting.
2) This New Website Helps Artists Swap Studios across the WorldThis New Website Helps Artists Swap Studios across the World
For artists, residency programs are often opportunities to get out of their studios and work in a new environment. Sometimes, residencies offer funding or stipends, or enticing accommodations in far-flung corners of the world. And research has suggested that traveling abroad and experiencing other cultures can make us more creative. However, artist residencies are often competitive and aren’t always accessible to all artists.
“If you have a family, or you’re very young in your career, or you have disabilities, or so on, you can’t really be part of those programs,” explained Helsinki-based artist Timo Wright. He and curator Anni Fahler built a website to help more artists reap the rewards of the residency experience. Launched this spring, Artist Residency Swap allows artists to list their studios online, then connect with fellow artists and make arrangements to trade spaces and take their art practices abroad.
Still in its infancy, the website currently has around 120 users from around the world. Postings include a midcentury two-bedroom in London, a jungle studio in Tulum, and a large space for painting in Manhattan.
3) You Can’t Fight Without an F-You Fund
When it comes to negotiations, as a photographer (or any freelance artist, for that matter) you’ve got to master the art of not being emotionally invested in the outcome – something that is nearly impossible to do. But without it, you’ll never be able to break free of difficult clients and underpaid gigs.
What is an F-You Fund?
The “fuck you fund” isn’t something you say to your clients, or tell them that you have. It’s essentially a slush fund of money that you have in your bank account, under a mattress, in bitcoin, or somewhere, that is enough money for you to live your life as you normally would without having to work for a predetermined period of time. Mine is about one year worth of cash-on-hand that would allow me to maintain my current lifestyle while not getting a single commission or payment of any sort in that period of time. You can pick any amount of time, but set this money aside and don’t touch it unless you need to. This is NOT money that is tied up in retirement accounts, depreciating assets, a house, or otherwise. You might have it invested in a money market account or bonds, or something like an index fund which is not subject to crazy volatility, but the point is that it’s money that you can get at easily if needed.
4) Photographers Need to Reexamine What Consent Means
Looking back at the deeply personal photographs that Mary Ellen Marktook of a young prostitute named Tiny, or Robert Mapplethorpe’s BDSM portfolio, or Donna Ferrato’s harrowing portrait of domestic abuse, how could any of them have imagined their images one day populating online publications and Instagram feeds? Photographers who examined critical issues before the digital era wielded more control over where their sensitive images appeared.
Today, keeping subjects apprised of where their faces will appear is an especially important factor in obtaining consent to take their photograph. “Consent shouldn’t just be one conversation,” said Nina Berman, a photographer and professor at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. What starts as a personal series may be published by a magazine, or become a touring gallery show, or a book, each iteration releasing more images across social media. Images from photographer’s websites can be saved or screenshotted, becoming fodder for Instagram and Pinterest. Asking someone to sign their rights away without their full understanding of the photographer’s intentions for the work—and that it could potentially be viewed by anyone—means taking advantage of people who may already be vulnerable. Obtaining consent from subjects is no longer enough; photographers should make sure they have informed consent.
5) 2019 Contemporary African Photography (CAP) Prize Winners Announced
Jodi Bieber, Sanne de Wilde & Bénédicte Kurzen, Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo, Abdo Shanan and Jansen van Staden have been named winners of the 2019 Contemporary African Photography (CAP) Prize, award organizers announced today at the PhotoBasel international art fair in Switzerland.
The prize, inaugurated in 2012, recognizes five photographers annually who create work on the African continent or who create work elsewhere that is meant to engage the African diaspora.
The 2019 winners were selected from a list of 25 finalists
6) Indigenous Photographer Challenges the Whiteness of Travel Photography
An Indigenous photographer is challenging the whiteness of travel photography with a new exhibition in Kitchener.
Two years ago, Shawn Johnston was just an amateur photographer with a dream to travel the world. Now, their photography exhibition, titled "Nations and Voices" is exhibited at Cafe Pyrus in downtown Kitchener. Johnston decided to take a year off from their job as a student co-ordinator at the University of Waterloo's Indigenous student centre to pursue their passion.
At their day job, they encourage their students to re-claim their voices and celebrate Indigenous identity. That job translated to a series of portraits Johnston took while travelling.
"I really wanted to use my photography as an opportunity to bring a spotlight to people's voices," Johnston said. "There's so many times where those stories go untold."