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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Remain in Light

I am always a fan of artist-led, grass roots projects. Recently, I got an email from some fine folks launching a new publication for emerging photographers called Remain in Light, including Boston's own Shane Lavalette. You have until midnight to submit a handful of jpgs, with no trip to the post office needed. (Given the PRC's recent submission postmark deadline, I can only imagine the scene at Boston's main branch on Feb. 15th!) Read more about Remain in Light and the submission specs here.

4 comments:

Bob George said...

I think it's a telling comment on the state of the "emerging photography" world that a vaguely described publication put together by some college students can be considered a desirable opportunity. Nothing is promised other than that the work will be "published" in an apparent card-like format. Where will it be available? Who will see it? Who knows? Also the only information they request is the photographer's name, location and *age*. What's that about?

At least they're not asking for money. Regarding the rise of the particularly bottom-feeding custom of the "juried show," and what that means, I strongly recommend that every "emerging" artist read this post from the now defunct "sellout" blog. Don't skip the comments, there's a pretty devastating one from a curator/juror about the whole process.
http://www.imasellout.info/2008/01/against-submiss.html

LKB said...

Hi Bob - Thanks for your comment. I hope we can get a discussion going, respectfully of course, as that's what blogs are for I hope!? I wish that you had left a link or had a blog.

I will say that Shane is one of the most driven college students out there. He is a force in the blogging world (a true force), and the publication will surely have as much care put into it as his blog. (I encourage you to check it out here, http://www.shanelavalette.com/journal/) I have no doubt that this will grow to an even bigger, better thing after a few issues. The power of the internet is huge, and even if it was online alone, it would be far reaching.

I understand your comment about age and as we all know, one can emerge at any point. I am sure that they are just targeting a certain sector, which they might not even take it into account in the end. In an online series I oversee, I have featured a whole host of "emerging" artists, ranging from those who are about 20 to those who are in their late 40s and above. If someone came to me and was 80 and their work had merit, and was switching gears and wasn't out there enough, I would certainly count them as emerging.

I am not speaking for all, but such fees do cover important costs. A non-profit is that, a non-profit. For me, the juried shows that select a smaller pool, but allow artists to show more than one piece, are the most beneficial to all parties. With this, the artists and visitors get to see an idea in progress, not just one piece.

I have juried many shows, and disagree with many comments on the blog you sent. I HAVE found people via juried shows, both ones I have juried and ones I have attended, and have featured them online and in physical shows. I DO think that they lead to other opportunities and have seen concrete examples of this.

I applaud folks who are taking matters into their own hands, away from the establishment (and that even means me). Their focus and philsophy brings something very important to the discussion and to photography. I look forward to seeing the vision and the product.

Bruce Myren said...

Sure juried shows are not for everyone but they can provide a foot in the door. At least a way for young artists to put their work in front of a curator/gallery owner they feel may like their work. The point really is to find juried opportunities from well respected institutions. Though I cannot comment on the viability of "Remain in Light" it does seem as though a small portfolio presented in this way a number of times a year is a good idea.

Maybe you should try to make some wine from those sour grapes.

Shane said...

Hi Bob,

I wanted to quickly respond to your comments in hopes of answering some of your questions and maybe swaying your opinion about grassroots efforts in the arts, particularly Remain in Light.

I assure you - if that's what concerns you most - the publication will most certainly find itself in the "right" hands. We've been speaking with a very well-known publisher of photography books (unnamed for the time being) about distributing Vol. 1 through them. This would bring an even larger audience than already expected. If we didn't distribute through them, we'd still make sure the book is stocked at select independent bookstores in major cities. As Leslie mentioned, though, the online presence alone will be adequate exposure for the artists involved. We expect most of the sales to be online.

I'd go ahead tell you how many artists have submitted work or how many people have joined the mailing list thus far, but I think numbers shouldn't play a role in this conversation. I'll just say this: A LOT. Some of them are unknown names, some of them are emerging and there are quite a few established photographers who submitted, thrilled about the publication. And there's no doubt in my mind that many gallerists and curators are looking (quite a few joined the mailing list) and are awaiting release to pick up a copy. There are even a few "important" people that we're planning to give copies to.

As for the vagueness you mention, we wanted the Call for Entries for Vol. 1 to be open-ended, allowing photographers of any age, country, or style of working to submit their photography. We want an international selection of work, representing a variety of approaches, and this is the best way to get it. I should also mention that we're not looking to showcase just the images - we're seeking critics and writers to contribute essays and potentially even pieces of fiction to essentially "frame" the work. We think this will be more interesting than choosing a specific theme. Our goal for the project was to both to present photography in a way that is challenging/unique and also include text that sparks dialogue, critical thought.

Your skepticism about such efforts is really unfortunate, but you're certainly entitled to it. Ultimately, we're doing this because we love photography. We're not profiting from it. We hope other people love the medium just as much and are also interested in looking at and thinking about it in a new way. And, as with any artistic endeavor, I'm sure the publication will evolve over time.

If you have any further questions, we'd be more than happy to answer them. Visit the website (www.remaininlight.org) for the latest news and, if you'd like, feel free to join the mailing list to make sure you're updated directly!

Hope that helps.

All best,
Shane

P.S. Leslie, thanks for the kind words! One note: in the post, my first name has a typo. Hope everything at the PRC is great. I stopped by the other day to drop off my application for Exposure. You've chosen a great juror this time around!