FlakPhoto founder Andy Adams and Humble Arts Foundation co-founder Jon Feinstein share with us some background to Winter Pictures, the digital exhibition resulted from an open call for winter pictures that Andy and Jon launched last December.
Ciao Andy and Jon, thank you for this quick interview. Can you please briefly introduces to FlakPhoto and Humble Arts Foundation?
JF Humble is a non profit platform for showcasing challenging new photography, and finding innovative ways to get “emerging” photographers work in front of people of influence. We launched in 2005-2006 as “group show,” one of the first online exhibition spaces, and evolved our work to include brick and mortar exhibitions, book publishing projects like The Collectors Guide to New Art Photography, grant initiatives, and various online programming.
AA FlakPhoto.com is an online art space + digital photo publication that celebrates the culture of 21st century image-making. The site, its Facebook group The FlakPhoto Network and Instagram feed highlight new series work, photobook projects and gallery exhibitions from a global community of contributors.
You recently joined forces and put out a call for winter pictures – the result is a digital exhibition now available online. First of all, why did you choose winter as the call’s theme?
JF I’d been a fan of Andy’s call for Winter Pictures a few years ago. The images were impactful and smart yet widely accessible. While we’ve worked with many of the same photographers over the past decade, we’ve had decidedly different aesthetics, so I thought it would be interesting to see how a collaboration might manifest a fusion of our two visions.
The exhibition includes 100 photographs by 100 different photographers. How many submissions did you receive?
AA We received submissions from close to 1,000 photographers worldwide, and roughly 5,000 images.
The images selected for the exhibition show a broad range of styles and approaches. What criteria did you follow to choose the final 100 pictures?
JF Photographs that make us “blink or twitch” was something that Amani Olu, Humble’s co-founder and I established early on as our basis for selecting work. To add to that, I’d say the images had to move us profoundly, not just in technical prowess or aesthetic “oohs and ahhhs,” but in their ability to convey a particular idea, to shake us from within, to make us want to spend more than 30 seconds looking at them. I often look for work that has a playful element to it, takes chances, etc. For Andy and I, it was also important to think about how the different images, with their range of styles could speak to each other. Using a single image from each photographer, what kind of larger narrative can we create?
Was there more agreement or disagreement between the two of you about which images to include in Winter Pictures?
JF Our final “curation session” was a brutal, bloody curatorial death match. Just kidding. I’d say that we initially agreed on at least ⅔ of the initial selections, but things got more interesting when narrowing down the final edit. It had to go beyond “This is a great photograph,” and somewhat deeper into why it would make sense to the edit, why we found images to be particularly moving, and I think the process gave us each a deeper window into how we respectively “see.”
How is it different to curate an online show from producing an exhibition in a gallery or a museum?
AA The gallery walls are digital. You have to think about how the images will read and be related to one another on a screen. There is less breathing room and the experience is more immediate, yet something you can return to again and again. Some work that looks amazing on the wall, might look terrible digitally, or vice versa. Additionally, the process requires an understanding that the pace of looking at images online is a bit different, and often distractible.
Do you have plans to repeat this experiment in the future?
JF We’ve received a great response to this so far. Time will tell!
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