Our Weekly Update is here to bring you our favorite links from the past week: art and design news you might have missed, must-see stories, and the best new contests and calls for entry.
Actual advice for artists on how to make a living
Artist and career coach Caroll Michels shares some solid, practical tips for artists looking to balance a day job with their dream job, including loads of useful resources and examples of real artists who’ve made it work. Via Artsy:
"Before jumping into employment, assess carefully and honestly what you are looking for and why. Does the job provide a real means to an end, or is the job likely to annihilate your end? For example, two of my clients took jobs with art service organizations. Both jobs provided the artists with sufficient income as well as opportunities to meet people related to their profession and expand contacts and networks. One job involved low-pressure, routine duties. Although the artist was not mentally stimulated, she had energy to sculpt and work on developing her career because her job responsibilities were minimal.
“The other job was full of responsibilities. It was demanding and stimulating. Although the artist found the work fulfilling, at the end of the day she was drained, and on weekends she found herself recuperating. Consequently, she did not have any energy left for her artwork.”
“Originality, always hard to come by, is getting harder.”
A new essay by Teju Cole explores the current landscape of phone photography, and the hidden politics of tourist images. It’s a quick and fascinating read. Via The New York Times:
“Photography on social media, if you know where to look, can astonish with its hypnotic stream of inexact repetitions. We think we are moving through the world, while the whole time the world is pulling us along, telling us where to walk, where to stop, where to take a photo. Why have so many people looked straight down a stairwell at the New Museum and taken a photograph there? Each person who does it feels a frisson of originality but unknowingly reveals something that was latent in the stairwell all along.”
What this year’s best book covers all have in common
Lit Hub offers a take on the design trend defining book covers in 2018—it’s the year of all-caps typography. A very specific type of all-caps, with a sans-serif font and a bold background; they’ve rounded up a bunch of examples, and the similarity is undeniable:
“It’s easy to see why this is such a popular style right now. First of all, like skinny jeans, it pretty much looks good on everybody. More importantly, this style proclaims literariness, importance, and coolness all at once. The big letters say: this is an important literary book. The exuberant backgrounds say: and it’s totally hot right now.”
Portraits of exonerated convicts offer a crucial view of an overlooked population
Photographer Isabelle Armand 2018’s photo book Levon and Kennedy: The Mississippi Innocence Project, published by powerHouse Books, takes a close look at the lives of two exonerated men of color in Noxubee County, Mississippi. Art in America reviews the powerful work:
“Armand, a veteran photographer who has shifted from fashion to magazine to documentary work, spent over five years visiting and photographing the lives of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, two African American men living in rural Mississippi, who were convicted and sentenced, respectively, to life in prison and death, for separate crimes they did not commit. Brooks was incarcerated for sixteen years and Brewer for thirteen before they were exonerated by the Innocence Project, a nonprofit that works toward overturning wrongful convictions. In a sense, Armand’s book is an extended portrait of the lives they were nearly never allowed to live. Her black-and-white photographs return some of the dignity and humanity that was denied to them by the justice system.”
Call for entry: American Photography Open
American Photography has held pro photo competitions for the past three decades. This year, they’re introducing an open competition. The contest isn’t just for Americans; photographers from anywhere in the world are welcome to submit. There will be prizes for ten finalists as well as $5,000 and a fancy Tamron 24-70 G2 lens for the grand prize winner. While the contest is open until August 24, you can get a discount on your entry if you submit before July 1:
"For over 30 years American Photography has been holding a juried competition for pro photographers. Now with the proliferation of so much great photography taken by everyone we are introducing a new competition for photo enthusiasts at all levels.
“Our judges will include members of the Pro Photo Daily staff, Julia Sabot from Blink, Alison Zavos Editor of Feature Shoot, Reuel Golden Editor at Taschen, Marc Asnin from Boulevard Artists, Jonathan Thorpe a Tamron Image Master and they, along with the community who register, will award prizes for the best images submitted in 2018.”
Call for entry: Magnum Foundation’s Photography in Collaboration
The photographic heavyweight has a major call for photographers on now. Serious photojournalists and documentary photographers take note: five selected projects will receive grants of $25,000 to create interdisciplinary work exploring migration and religion. Magnum is also offering selected photographers the opportunity to work with BBC World Service on an audio documentary. Proposals are due on July 13:
“We are seeking proposals for projects that are careful interdisciplinary explorations at the intersection of migration and religion, broadly defined, and that explore how forms of social organization transform under the pressures and processes of migration. Applicants are encouraged to explore a range of stories that illuminate this theme and to challenge familiar representational tropes.”
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