Friday, May 22, 2009

Image Chosen by AP25

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Thanks to American Photography 25 for including us in this year's chosen category. The image above was shot during a road trip story for Budget Travel.

There is a slide show of selected and chosen images here: For a little friends and family background information on the contest, here's the press release email:


May 15, 2009

We are pleased to present the Selected and Chosen images from this year's American Photography 25 sliver-anniversary competition. All winners were previously notified by email in April.

On behalf of the entire jury, I’d like to thank everyone who entered this year for their submission and support of American Photography. It’s greatly appreciated and we look forward to the opportunity of viewing your best work again next year.

From a record-breaking 10,100 photographs submitted through our online submission site, our distinguished jury (which include all past Jury Chairs) met in February to select the best images from 2008. After careful consideration, and quite a lot of fun, they humbly Selected only 351 photographs by majority vote or better to appear in the book. AP25 will be distributed world-wide in hard cover in November. Another 171 images were then Chosen with at least two votes to accompany all images on our web gallery TRIBUTE to be launched with the book in November at

A link is provided below that will take you to a slide show of the Selected (book) and Chosen (website) images. From here you’ll see the winning images presented in alphabetical order by photographer. Additional credits, photographer's contact and complete captions will be included in the book and on the permanent web gallery in November.

American Photography 25 Slide Show

The slide show will be up for a limited time in preparation for the official launch at The Party on November 12th! Be sure to mark your calendar for this one-of-a-kind, highly-anticipated, annual event - and stay tuned for details and upcoming announcements on the book design and production. Discounted, advance orders for AP25 will be available in September at (A few copies of the current volume AP24 are still available at

Again, our thanks to everyone who submitted work this year and our congratulations to all the winners! We are proud to present your work in the 25th edition of the industry’s finest example of Pulp and Circumstance.

Congrats to all the other photographers and photos in AP.
Thanks to the makers of the memorial, and respect to those it represents.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Doctor Jessie Morgan-Owens, Ph.D.

Last week, Jessie finished her dissertation, 250 pages entitled "Black & White: Photographic Writing in the Literature of Abolition." Her abstract reads:
In Black and White: Photographic Writing in the Literature of Abolition, I examine the influence of photography on American abolitionist literature and culture following the Compromise of 1850. My study of the diverse print culture of abolition focuses on instances of what I call photographic writing, or description reconceptualized in relation to a distinctly photographic way of seeing. I compare visual and verbal representational modes in anti-slavery rhetoric to show how this new technique of persuasion was intended to prompt the reader to action.

Photography was introduced into the United States in 1839, but four decades would elapse before innovations in print technology enabled the dissemination of photographs in the media. During this period, abolitionist authors used photographic writing in their didactic texts to convince audiences of the truth of their claims. My dissertation offers an analysis of the production and dissemination of anti-slavery photographs, before pursuing a second order of photographic testimony in texts in which actual photographs play no part. Throughout the daguerreian period in the United States, “to daguerreotype” meant to represent or describe with minute exactitude. This figurative connotation builds on the assumption that photographs register a neutral copy of what they represent without mediation or interference. I argue that photographic writing functions as a means of borrowing the immediacy, veracity, and accuracy promised by photography. When Harriet Beecher Stowe offers to “daguerreotype” Uncle Tom for her readers, or when Frederick Douglass describes scenes as “daguerreotyped” upon his memory, they express the culture-wide assumption of the medium’s fidelity and claim its representational authority for their narratives.

Historicizing the innovative literature of abolition within the history of photography, my dissertation offers a new perspective on these early attempts to appropriate the power of visual evidence. Abolitionism in the 1850s provides a test case for radicalism in America. I argue that the modernization of the art of persuasion began with these efforts to deploy images strategically in antebellum political discourse.

She has been researching and writing this dissertation for many, many years under the guidance of her advisers at New York University, Nancy Ruttenburg and Bryan Waterman. The first thing most people read when they look at a dissertation is the acknowledgments page:

I would like to thank my advisor Nancy Ruttenburg, who, with a singular warmth, has directed these thoughts into writing. Her praise, though effuse, must be earned, and for that I am grateful. My gratitude also goes to Bryan Waterman, who has guided me through graduate study with unflagging energy. He makes scholarship look cool.

This study was enriched from the start by conversations and seminars with Virginia Jackson, Elizabeth McHenry, Patrick Deer, Ulrich Baer, Mary Poovey, Eduardo Cadava, Cyrus Patell, Mary McCay, and Leslie Parr. My final year of writing was made possible and pleasant by the Humanities Initiative. My thanks to our roundtable of Fellows for the opportunity to test and refine my ideas in your distinguished company.

I was lucky to come to NYU when I did, for I found in my cohort Maeve Adams, Sam Anderson, Alan Page, Melissa Hillier, Susan Harlan, and Jon Farina, my most brilliant and jovial companions. Maeve, the dearest of these, tells me she admires this work so often that I have begun to believe her. Even so, I hope to keep her by my side. For our long summertime conversations about writing, life, and politics, I’d also like to thank Raphaëlle Guidée and Xabi Molia. I also count among my educators the members of GSOC, who taught me about solidarity, equity, and long campaigns.

This city has provided me with both the resources to do my research and the environment to make pictures of my own. I’d like to recognize my photo editors, for the assignments near and far that have refreshed my vision with the steady clicks of practice, and to express my gratitude for the esteemed photographers I am lucky to count among my friends, for indulging my theories about the art we produce.

I come from a large and far-flung family that has kept pace with every turn of this dissertation. My thanks to all of you, siblings and parents, aunts and uncles, Morgans and Owenses alike, for your pride and understanding have blessed my labors with love. In everything I do, I owe my success to the women who have taught me balance, my mother Missy Cotita and my grandmother Ruth Liuzza.

And I must acknowledge my partner in art and in life, my beloved James Owens, who makes my dreams possible.

On Wednesday, May 27th, Jessie will defend her dissertation before a committee. On that day she will have completed all of the requirements for her PhD. So last Wednesday she turned in a copy to her department for them to read. Here's her desk on the last day of a long road.

Her family came up to New York last weekend to celebrate her graduation. Her Mom and step-dad Tim from Monroe, Louisiana, her dad who works in El Salvador, her sister Katie and her husband Nick from Tuscon with their little girl Emma, and her brother Andy, who lives in Belgium, and his girlfriend, Quinn. We had a wonderful weekend eating and celebrating all over Brooklyn. This was a week to remember.

After the ceremony at Lincoln Center:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The BIG coast of little Istria

Last summer, Jessie and I shot a wonderful feature for Budget Travel in Croatia. The shoot list took us all over the Istrian coast…on a map, it’s but a pin prick, but once there it's as big as any southern european coastline. The Italians, Germans, and Russians love this place (that’s mostly who we saw there)…and with good reason. The food is every bit as good as much of Italy, inland ranges as lush and gorge-ous as much of Germany, and something about it…could be history?...feels a touch of Russian.

So we roamed from mid-size Pula in the South to mid-size, and slightly more roulette-ish, Piran just inside Slovenia. In-between is Istria, a peninsula that looks like a bunch of grapes. It’s got coast towns, gorge towns, medieval towns, towns filled with truffles, loaded with salt flats, and of course tear-drop towns jutting out into the Adriatic…. We liked it.

One of the more surprising treats, was the trip into Slovenia, where the town of Piran didn't blow us away completely--could have been the vegas-strip style drive into it--but just south is something films could be made of, and perhaps have been. The salt flats are just gorgeous, and if I had our negs here, I'd slip in a few shots from the rain-hewn inlet that draws it's flavor from the uppermost portion of the Adriatic. We brought home a bag of salt (Piranski Sol, one for us, and one for our friends Maeve and Robin) and are just near emptying its contents....10 months later! It's a gem-like bag, and try as we may to empty it, there seems to be more for the next meal. I think it's magic, but Jessie thinks I'm just stingy with it. I do have just a couple more scans from Piran below.

Check more out in the May issue of Budget Travel!