News from Barry Guthertz
Two images from my “Chasing Clouds” portfolio, including “Norwalk Storm Coming”’ (above), are in the “Socially Distant Art: Creativity in Lockdown” show at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum April 8- August 29. When Covid hit and Barry couldn’t pursue his landscape and botanical images, he captured clouds and storms rolling in across LI Sound.
News from Norm Borden
Paula Tognarelli chose two of my images, “No Diving, Coney Island” and “Pink” for Griffin Museum’s “Splash” exhibition, June 21 – August 29, 2021, in Lafayette City Center in Boston. Stop by if you’re in the ‘hood.
News from Pat Beary
Juror Wendi Schneider chose this piece from my Helianthus Series for Flora, a group exhibition at the Southeast Center for Photography in Greenville, SC from May 7 to 29. View the exhibition and catalog here.
News from Martin Frank
This image (kallitype) was accepted for the upcoming “Black and White “ magazine “Looking Back/Looking Forward” issue
News from Mandy Seligman
I am thrilled to announce the launch of a new charity: SeeingHappy. SeeingHappy encourages people to see the good in their life and to share that in a supportive community attuned to the positive.
Through this endeavor, we hope to build individual well-being and resilience and to create communal pieces of art – imagine happiness images from around the world –what does that look like? What does kindness/gratitude look like? We want as many different voices as possible. You can learn more and support us by visiting our website: SeeingHappy.org
SeeingHappy’s status as a Pennsylvania nonprofit and federally tax-exempt corporation is currently pending. We welcome your contributions of all kinds, including photography, time, resources, and look forward to working together to use photography to promote well-being through positive psychology. Please spread the word and help us reach as many people as possible. SeeingHappy is doing well – 16,000 views in just over 3 weeks.
A Note from the President
Back in the day, with no air-conditioning, Soho Photo would just shut down in August so we could clean and repaint for the fall season. I remember painting gallery radiators in the summer heat, which seemed absurd, but logical.
In 2019, with excellent project management by our member Michael Schenker, we installed air conditioning. Last summer, we were closed, of course. This summer, we’ll be open with cool air and hot shows:
- In mid-June, the Alternative Processes 2020 Winners, plus alt-pro guest artists Dan Burkholder and Jill Skupin.
- In July, we’ll exhibit two Portfolio Competition winners, plus member shows.
- In August, Ellen Jacob’s Art Justice Cohort, with a related Members’ Group show upstairs.
- On September 10, 11, and 12, we’ll pause for a gallery-wide 20th-anniversary remembrance of the 9/11 attacks, curated by Linda Sandow and Lee Day.
- And in mid-September, we’ll present the long-anticipated gallery-wide Abstractions exhibition, featuring over 85 images from 20 members.
It’s an ambitious schedule, which emphasizes our commitment to present strong, diverse, exceptional work on our walls, every month.
So, this summer, help us celebrate our return to our walls. As was proclaimed 60 years ago, when A/C became an important public essential – “It’s cool inside.”
Alec Rill: New and Eager
By Norm Borden
Alec Rill, our newest member, really wants to meet you. Having just joined the gallery in April, he readily admits his priority is to get to know members and learn what they do, rather than having a show.
Although Alec was introduced to the PRC by Neil Lawner, he was no stranger to Soho Photo. His wife had taken Sandy & Lois’s Portfolio Development class at B&H Photo and was one of the 25 finalists who exhibited at the gallery. So, when Neil invited him to apply for membership, Alec said, “it would be a wonderful thing to belong to Soho Photo and meet people who really know their stuff.”
Alec’s interest in photography began early on. He explains, “I was born in Mexico and my father gave me a Kodak camera when I was ten years old. I loved going to the zoo in Mexico and taking pictures of birds and elephants. Over the years, I got better cameras. I took pictures of people on the margins of society. As a Mexican Jew, I went to a Jewish school, so I was segregated from other Mexicans. Feeling I was kind of an outsider, I began photographing people who were outsiders in their communities like the homeless.”
At age 18, Alec moved to Israel to study engineering at the Technion in Haifa where he also got his MBA. He says, “I lived in Israel for eleven years and kept taking pictures and reading the classic photography books. During the 1973 war, I couldn’t go in the army because I was Mexican, but it was fascinating. I was in a city where the men were away in the army, and again I felt like an outsider. I documented that and in an interschool competition, I won second prize for my picture of someone coming out of a tank.”
Alec moved to New York about 38 years ago to work on computers; over the years, he discovered the New School, George Tice and alternative processes. More recently, he took Natan Davir’s street photography class at ICP, which became a Zoom class due to the Covid shutdown. Although he considers photographers like Cartier-Bresson, Winogrand, Alex Webb, and Jay Maisel as influences, Alec says “Eli Atias, a top Israeli photographer, totally changed my photography and got me where I am today. He’s like Alex Webb and takes people from Israel on group photo tours. I went to Ghana with him about two years ago on a ten-day tour and documented a group of Muslims in a large Christian community — the trip was the best thing I ever did in photography.”
Although Alec doesn’t have any specific projects for a show, he was inspired to start one after sitting one afternoon with Anne Lawver and hearing about her approach to photography. He explains, “While walking in Central Park, I saw people with bright uniforms playing softball and speaking Spanish. This was an interesting culture, with many different groups playing softball. I spoke to them in Spanish and said ’I’d like to document your life and the way you interact, maybe we could do a book.’” Alec says, “This is why I belong to a group– it will help me with my photography because I learn a little bit from everybody and translate it into my own style.”
Well, Alec, maybe we’ll also learn something from you.
George Greenstein on The 100-Year Pinhole Camera
In last month’s What’s Up @ Soho Photo, Sandy Carrion mentioned some pinhole camera work that had appeared in some of her KK competitions. That reminded me of a piece of conceptual art involving pinhole cameras that I had seen a few years ago. Normally I have no interest in conceptual art, but this one blew me away.
The artist’s name was Jonathon Keats. He prepared a whole lot of tiny pinhole cameras. Each one was a little metal canister maybe 2 inches across. There was a little bit of tape on its front end. Once you peeled off that tape you would see a tiny hole — the aperture of a pinhole camera.
Inside, on the back end of the canister was the film to be exposed. The gimmick was that this film was so insensitive that an entire century would be required to expose the film! So, your task was to put this canister somewhere, positioning it so that it had an interesting view — and then remove the tape.
Along with that canister was a postcard where you would fill in the latitude & longitude of where you left the canister, and then mail it to the museum. The museum promised that one century later, they would pick up your canister, develop the film, and exhibit the result.
That was it.
I decided I’d like to participate. But then I realized that I had no idea where to put the canister. Where could I put it so that it would sit there undisturbed for an entire century? I stewed over it for days. Eventually, I realized that there was no place at all that I could think of. So, I gave up. It is still sitting around somewhere in my house.
It seems to me that the conceptual art didn’t have much to do with the pinhole camera. It had to do with me – with how I wrestled and wrestled with the mystery of where to put it, and eventually gave up.