I’m hitting the road and hanging up the blog. Join me for a non-virtual visit in Memphis (Oct. 5th) and Atlanta (Oct. 11th). Otherwise, send me a letter – I’m sick of email.
I’ll leave with a poem:
When I Heard the Learned Astronomer
by Walt Whitman
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Fontainebleau, France, 2007 by Alec Soth, 2007
I’m leaving for Germany and doubt I’ll be able to post much over the next week. While I’m gone, I want to share with you something that is very close to my heart.
While my mother-in-law, Linda Francis Cartee, was battling cancer, she participated with an organization called Pathways. Pathways is a non-profit organization that provides programs designed to support a creative healing response for people with life-threatening illness. Linda’s experience with Pathways changed her and everyone she touched. My book, Sleeping by the Mississippi, was dedicated to Linda and could never have been made without her inspiration.
Last year I donated over 25 prints to charitable auctions. This year I’ve pooled all of my prints for the Linda Francis Cartee Memorial Fund at Pathways.
For more information, go here.
And if you live in Minnesota, you’ll want to go to this event.
Still from Wild Strawberries
Not long ago I wrote about my fantastic experience with the first Magnum Portfolio Review. I wish I had the opportunity to be part of the first Magnum Masterclass.
Here are the details (or you can download the .doc file here):
Ted Hartwell by Dan Dennehy, 2002
I worked for seven years at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts doing darkroom work and digital archiving. Now and then the photography curator Ted Hartwell would pop his head into our studio. I think he missed the smell of the darkroom. Ted started working in the same studio in 1962. Like nearly all museums of that time, the MIA didn’t have a curator of photography. So Ted did double duty and started putting together small shows. By the time he officially became curator of photography in 1972, he’d mounted major exhibitions and developed the foundation for a world-class photography collection.
I loved Ted’s visits to our studio. Where else in Minneapolis could I talk to a guy who hung out with Richard Avedon and Henri Cartier-Bresson? Despite traveling in those circles, Ted was utterly approachable. For all of his curatorial achievements, he was still doing double duty – he still loved the life of photography: making pictures, hanging out, chewing the fat about the new Nikon.
Like Ted, I eventually graduated from the old studio to larger pastures. He showed me love and encouragement every step of the way. Last year he led a MIA group to my studio. He spoke about me with almost parental pride:
Ted Hartwell at Soth Studio, 2006 by Greg Jansen
A proper obituary for Ted should talk about his incredible achievements. But right now I can only talk about the man. Ted Hartwell was a good, good man. He will be greatly missed.
- Read the Star Tribune obituary here.
- Mary Virginia Swanson’s tribute here.
Read Gerry Badger and Karl Baden’s stories and then post your own here.
John Szarkowski, New York, 1963 by Jacques Henri Lartigue
There is nothing more valuable for emerging artists than getting an honest and in-depth reaction from established professionals. But it isn’t easy. Professionals normally don’t have time to be teachers.
Every week I get numerous emails asking me to review work online. Even if I had time, I don’t feel capable of sinking my teeth into jpegs. Moreover, it seems impossible to give a worthwhile reaction without having a face-to-face discussion.
This is why I’m a big believer in portfolio reviews. These reviews provide a time and place for genuine exchange. As I’ve previously mentioned on this blog, I’m a fan of Review Santa Fe. It is a great place to get the opinions of editors, publishers and galleries. But the one thing Santa Fe doesn’t offer is the opinions of established working photographers.
Magnum Photos is helping to fill this gap with its first Portfolio Review event. On Sunday, June 17th, visitors can meet with three of the following photographers in New York City:
- Larry Towell
- Alec Soth
- Susan Meiselas
- Trent Parke
- David Alan Harvey
- Jim Goldberg
- Mark Power
School can be great, but there is so much filler. For tens of thousands of dollars, you sit in circles and talk in circles. Here, for $250, you can cut to the chase with both up-and-comers and established legends.
This is going to fill up quickly. So if you are interested, click here for details and an application.
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