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The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls
— Pablo Picasso

Lots of us are spending more time at home.  Many are entertaining/teaching children who are home from school.  Plans and social get togethers have been canceled leaving us with time to ourselves.  For some, the corona virus not only upends plans and social life, it is also a source of anxiety and fear. For others, it is lost income, lost business and lost employment.  The next little while is going to be a tough slog for all of us on many fronts.

It’s okay to be wondering or worried about what we face— that sense of urgency is what is going to get everyone through this pandemic. But it’s also important to take a break, to not let those concerns consume us. That is where art comes into play. Taking the time to enjoy and appreciate art can be the respite we need. In times of uncertainty, like this, art can be a steadying force. It can also be good for you.

When we marvel at something, whether it is a painting, a photograph, a turn of phrase or a piece of music, we are reminded of the human capacity to create and endure. When we engage in art, it is not always about escapism. It is also a practice in patience, such as figuring out the meaning of a poem or a novel, and an exercise in appreciating beauty.

Did you know that looking at art makes us feel good, improves perception skills and helps us process information in a way that we can better understand the world around us?

  • Art helps us understand the world around us: Neurological researchers at the University of Toronto showed painted art to 330 participants in 7 countries while they underwent MRI scans. The study’s results  showed that looking at art led to increased activity in the brain systems that ‘underlie the conscious processing of new information to give it meaning. In other words, looking at art helps us understand the world around us better.
  • Art makes us feel good: Another study found that “when you look at art there is strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure.” The blood flow to the brain increased when looking at a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. This tells us “art induces a feel good sensation direct to the brain.”
  • Looking at art improves perception skills: Art is unique in unlocking multiple perception skills at once. Research suggests that more engagement with the arts is linked to a “higher level of subjective well being.”
  • Art helps our bodies re-balance.  Looking at art is a proven way of helping us de-stress and improve our brain function and thinking patterns. It can also improve our physical wellbeing, with studies identifying a link between looking at art and the normalisation of heart rate, blood pressure and even cortisol levels. Gazing at art – even for a minute a day – represents a chance to switch off and to give our brains and bodies a moment to pause, reflect and refresh.
  • Art enhances children’s education: Research shows that children who are involved with the arts make greater achievements in their education

Sources and more info: https://www.littlevangogh.co.uk/blog/2016/3/16/lkguq03frjfr5viqhw8lomf65lmlzm
https://www.shenarttherapy.com/single-post/2016/04/14/Viewing-Art-Rewards-the-Brain

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time
― Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

Enjoy Some Art…here are some starters

While museums, galleries, Broadway shows, concerts and other arts and cultural facilities and events are canceled, we have seen the people of Italy singing on their balconies together.  Musicians, from their homes, and orchestras, from empty concert halls, have streamed mini-concerts online.  The Broadway veteran Laura Benanti, a Tony Award-winning actress and singer who found herself sidelined, thought about the young people facing their own canceled shows and she created the hashtag #sunshinesongs where kids whose shows have been canceled could share their personal video performances.  As we social distance, these are just a few of the new and interesting ways artists are sharing work. So, if you have some time, look around and take some art in…or order a good book and dive in.

And don’t forget, as you check out art online, many arts organizations have closed and artists are small businesses too–so if you see something you like or want to donate to a local arts organization, this is a good time to support the arts and artists to help them get through this too.

Here are some links that might be fun starting points for some adventures and time with art:

Here us a great collection of Youtube videos about great photographers put together by Andy Adams.  Or check out my Flipboard magazine for some interesting reads about photography.

From CNN, just a few options in a virtual sea of things to do. Explore, or look up your favorite local cultural landmark to see what online offerings they have.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers The Met 360, an immersive video series exploring the Met’s art and architecture. It offers virtual tours of the Great Hall, the Temple of Dendur and the Arms and Armor Galleries, as well as the Cloisters museum and the Met Breuer. The Whitney has its Watch and Listen page online to offer discussions with artists, and other presentations related to the collection.

Google Arts and Culture offers online access to 500 cultural organizations around the world, from museums to historic sites, all viewable without ever leaving your living room. The virtual platform features some of the most prestigious institutions on the planet, as well as an opportunity to explore smaller, more obscure institutions that you might never have discovered otherwise, such as  National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.  TED talks about art can be found here.

With venues & bars shut down from coast-to-coast, here’s your guide from Billboard to the best live-streamed music content.

Check out the Library of Congress digital collections for everything from the Farm Security Administration dust bowl photos to Aaron Copland music archives.

The Way I See It is an art podcast dream-team: the BBC and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York partnered late last year to create The Way I See It. In each of the 30 episodes a person of note discusses a favourite work from the museum’s collection. Hosted by the art critic and broadcaster Alastair Sooke, accompanied by MoMA’s curators, the guests include the actor and comedian Steve Martin, the Minimalist composer Steve Reich, and the artist Richard Serra. Also, check out the Modern Arts Notes Podcast — a weekly, roughly hour-long interview program featuring artists, historians, authors, curators and conservators.

For something completely different, Comic book writers and artists are rallying online to offer activities for those staying at home. They are offering scripting lessons, art activities and even posting some of their own public service announcements.

So, here is to hoping you all manage your way through and stay well in these unusual times.  Also hoping a little art along the way brings you some joy and some benefits

This is an excerpt from my monthly newsletter, where I write about photography and share some news.  You can get a feel for the previous newsletters and sign up for the mailing list here.

Photography has every right and every merit to claim our attention as the art of our age
Alexander Rodchenko, Russian artist and photographer

I wanted to write about the LIGHT gallery in NYC in the 1970s because it reminds me a little about what PhotoNexus is all about — a place where people meet, discuss and share ideas about photography. PhotoNexus 2020 will go live in the next few weeks.  This is based on the Center For Creative Photography recent symposium about the LIGHT gallery

Legacies of LIGHT, a pioneering New York City Gallery: Imagine in the 1970s a new gallery devoted to photography opening in the heart of New York City’s gallery district. They call The New York Times to get listed in the arts section and are told photography is not art. Few commercial galleries included photography.

At that time, Fern and Tennyson Schad had a vision to make photography an accessible and collectable art through a gallery devoted to photographers and their photographs. Photographers would be at the center of all they did. They lured Harold Jones away from the Eastman Kodak House to build the gallery — which was premised on modern photographers, monthly exhibits of new work that was matted, framed in standard silver aluminum frames, and hung beautifully in the gallery. Exhibit openings became parties and part of the evolving New York Art scene. It was a place where both staff and visitors learned about photography from the photographers. The gallery was known for the flat file cabinets which made the gallery inventory accessible for visitors to peruse.

LIGHT became more than a gallery. It became the epicenter for the photography community. It was a place where people could meet, discuss ideas and feel a sense of camaraderie. Its impact touched artists, institutions, curators, writers and critics and existing and future photography galleries, such as Peter MacGill, Robert Mann, Laurence Miller and Rick Wester.

The early Market: LIGHT was also at the center of building the market to make photographs collectible. Staff often filled boxes with photographs and went across the country to meet museum directors and private collectors – encouraging them to buy prints or complete portfolios from the photographers LIGHT represented. When LIGHT opened, Harry Callahan’s pictures were sold for $75.00 – $150.00. In the late 1970s his photographs started selling for $750, following his exhibit at MOMA. “Young people started buying photographs” – 10 photos at $300.00 paid off monthly through LIGHT’s installment program (see the 1:56 minute point of this video). Today, in one gallery Callahan’s work starts at $15,000.00. At auction he has commanded $25,000,00.

For more context, you can check out this video from the live stream of The “Legacies of LIGHT” symposium at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) at the University of Arizona which I was thrilled to attend earlier this month. More videos here)

Image of Light Gallery via Charles H. Traub

Explore Photography at PhotoNexus 2020
One of the reasons I was excited to attend the LIGHT symposium at the Center For Creative Photography at the University of Arizona was because in its own very small way, PhotoNexus is a little bit like LIGHT, without the gallery component. PhotoNexus brings together people interested in exploring the art of photography and those who want to buy photographs with the people behind the art — including curators, educators, galleries and photographers. It is an opportunity for photography enthusiasts to learn and share about photography while taking advantage of the small group setting to gain insights and personal perspectives from the people behind the art.

PhotoNexus 2020 will include several new components including:

Collecting American Snapshots: It is all about the Image an evening with a well known collector discussing his collection and what makes for powerful photographs. His collection has been part of exhibits at the National Gallery and other galleries across the country;
Ansel Adams and Advocacy for American Photography a lecture from a person who worked with Ansel Adams and is a prominent consultant in the marketplace today. This session will look at the impact of Ansel Adams on the growth of the fine photographic print market and its evolution to new buyers and new paths to purchasing collectible art;
Photo Books a visit and discussion with the pioneering book store in this field

PhotoNexus also includes salon-like discussions and experiences, such as: a photo walk with photographers to gain insight into what they are shooting; gallery and studio visits with discussions about how they choose to mount shows and work with photographers; a photographers panel; a look at trends in photography; and, a panel about the photographic print.

PhotoNexus 2020: The Art of Photography
Behind the camera. Behind the print. Behind the art.
Save the dates and plan to join us in Santa Fe, NM, July 23-25, 2020.

You can see last years program online. The PhotoNexus 2020 webpage will replace the current page in the next few weeks.

Behind PhotoNexus 2019

PhotoNexus 2019 launched today.  It is a new, distinct and immersive weekend experience about the art of photography. PhotoNexus brings together curators, gallerists, photography educators and photographers to share their personal perspectives and behind-the-scenes insights with a small group of people who are curious and/or passionate about photography as art.  Whether you are considering or already collecting photographs, or you want to understand more about the art form, the PhotoNexus weekend is an experience for you.

When I started BinhammerPhotographs, PhotoNexus was the idea and dream of doing something to support understanding and insights about the art of photography and the photograph as art.  More than just sell small batch limited and personal exclusive edition prints, I thought it would be fun to create an experience where a small group of people could come together to explore the creation and realization of the photograph as art.  It was first referenced and foreshadowed here. I’m excited that this idea and dream is now a reality.

Details and Registration are here.

The Idea of PhotoNexus and the Path to Reality: The thinking behind PhotoNexus was that I was a self taught photographer.  Once I started down that path, I also became a self taught lover of photography as art.  To understand photography as art (beyond making the photographs) I read books, such as: Why People Photograph; Core Curriculum; At the Edge of the Light; The Nature of Photographs; and, The Photographer’s Eye.  I went to museum exhibits, read the wall plaques and looked at the photos on my own. Many of those (and the gallery visits) were focused on individual artists or thematic shows.  You learned from them but not necessarily about the art itself in a more general way.

I went to galleries to see photography exhibits but not having the thousands of dollars to buy any, I never really asked the gallerist too much — thinking it would be kind of embarrassing to me, and since I wasn’t buying, sort of a waste of time to the gallery.  One exception to that was a visit to the Andrew Smith Gallery (when it was in Santa Fe) years ago.  The staff person welcomed me and my dog with open arms.  I explained I was not in a position to buy an Ansel Adams worth tens of thousands of dollars. He said it didn’t matter, said he would show me around and after a little highlights tour, took me into the back room where the drawers of pictures are that are not on display opened them up and said, “OK who would you like to see” and what else can I answer.

With the Andrew Smith Gallery exception, all of my learning has been on my own…and sort of compartmentalized.  PhotoNexus was an idea that we could bring together a diverse group of people involved in different aspects of the art of photography to share their insights and passion with a group people who would like to learn more about photography — and do it in a fun, engaging way.

The People and Program: Over the last several months, I have reached out, “cold-calling” and emailing dozens of private collectors, museum curators, private curators, photography and art critics, galleries and photographers. To all of those who replied and gave this event consideration or made referrals, I am extremely appreciative and thankful. Since December I have been reaching out wondering if the idea had merit.  Along the way, there was a lot of encouragement and support, including from many who could not be involved for various reasons.

The result is PhotoNexus brings together an outstanding and diverse community of people across the “sectors” of photography in Santa Fe.  I am excited by the talented and special people who have agreed to contribute to the event and share their talents and expertise.  It is their personal perspectives, passions and talent that will deliver real insights and value to people who love photography and want to learn more about it as art.  To them I say a huge thank you.  To each and every one of them from my heart.  There may be two or three others yet to be announced, but for now, this is an outstanding and generous group:

Mark Berndt is a photographer whose work celebrates people and the circumstance of life. He brings the experience of a long and varied career in the visual arts, including more than 20 years of private teaching.  His commitment to the art and business of professional photography brings considerable knowledge to the art of photographing and photography. http://markberndt.com/

Reid Callanan has a deep passion for photography and has spent his entire adult life focused on it, especially as a photographic educator — the past twenty-eight years as Director of the world-renowned Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and before that working at Maine Photographic Workshops.  Well known for his workshop “Cameras Don’t Take Pictures” he also makes time to photograph every day and for his ongoing projects. https://www.santafeworkshops.com https://www.reidcallanan.com/about

Natalie Christensen is a photographer and has shown work in the U.S. and internationally including London, Dusseldorf, New York and Los Angeles. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the University of Texas at Tyler.  In addition to pursuing her interests in art and design, Natalie also worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years. https://nataliechristensenphoto.com

Anne Kelly is the director of the Photo-Eye gallery.  Photo-Eye was founded in 1979 as a mail order photography book source. It is the world’s foremost online photography bookstore featuring more than 30,000 fine-art photography books.  It has grown to include one of the world’s foremost websites devoted to contemporary photography. The Photo-eye gallery was established in Santa Fe in 1991 and has been selling prints online since 1996. https://www.photoeye.com

 David Michael Kennedy has a body of work spanning over 40 years which is held in both private and museum collections including The National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution and The Harwood Museum.  His body of work includes iconic portraits of musicians, actors and artists. Leaving New York and commercial photography in 1986, David Michael Kennedy moved to New Mexico and focused on his fine art photography. His images are materialized through the traditional analogue technique of Platinum/Palladium printing, of which he is widely considered to be one of the best in the world. https://www.davidmichaelkennedy.com

Pilar Law has been in the business of photography and a photographer’s advocate for 14 years. She’s worked with photo stock agencies, technology companies and photo labs to bring them online and to develop new approaches to fine art printing, book making and exhibiting, social media marketing and sales.  She is also a curator, gallerist and photographer.  Her Edition One Gallery is a unique contemporary photography gallery specializing in editions of one both from emerging and established photographers. http://www.pilarlaw.com/about.html https://www.editiononegallery.com/

Sidney and Michelle Monroe maintain extensive personal connections with important photographers, clients, collectors, dealers, estates, auction houses, and archives world-wide. They advise private collectors, museums and corporations with an emphasis on building significant collections with a variety of prudent focuses. Their Monroe Gallery of Photography specializes in classic black & white photography with an emphasis on humanist and photojournalist imagery. http://www.monroegallery.com/

Alan Ross is an internationally respected master photographer and educator who worked side-by-side with Ansel Adams. He was personally selected by Ansel to print his Yosemite Special Edition negatives. As an artist, Alan is known for his tonally exquisite black-and-white photographs of the American west; his photographs hang in collections and galleries around the world including Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, The Yale Museum of Art and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson.  He teaches the art of seeing and is also a master printer. https://www.alanrossphotography.com/

Jennifer Schlesinger is the owner and director of Obscura Gallery. She is also a curator, educator and artist. Jennifer has approached her fine art photography with an interest in how the historical development of photography has influenced the contemporary artistic medium. Jennifer graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 1998 with a B.A. in Photography and Journalism. Jennifer has exhibited widely. https://www.jenniferschlesinger.com/  https://www.obscuragallery.net

Scheinbaum & Russek, are celebrating 38 years in business and they specialize in 20th century vintage and contemporary photography as well as representing the Estates of Beaumont and Nancy Newhall and Eliot Porter. Scheinbaum & Russek have approached the gallery world through their roles as educators, artists, and collectors and bring to their gallery an appreciation of photographers, the fine print and the history of photography. http://www.photographydealers.com

Join us at PhotoNexus and engage more deeply with the art you love.

  • Discuss the creation of images, their realization in prints and the world of photographic art
  • Meet Santa Fe’s premier gallery owners for professional perspectives about what to look for when viewing photographs
  • Learn about photobooks and the evolution of online photography galleries
  • Understand trends impacting the art, the market and a world awash in imagery with leading photography experts and educators
  • Experience and explore fine art prints with a first-hand look at how they are made at one of the world’s leading platinum/palladium printers
  • Take a photo walk with some of Santa Fe’s finest photographers and go behind the camera to take a look at what they see and why they are shooting. Bring your camera
  • Engage in a dialogue with a panel of contemporary and internationally acclaimed photographers about their visions, fine art work and photography today

As noted in the Collectors Guide,

“New Mexico,” Ansel Adams said, is “the most completely beautiful place I have ever seen.” Everywhere, it seems, there’s a scene just waiting to have its picture taken: horses grazing in the shadow of Shiprock, the bustle of the SantaFe Plaza, the sunlight raking the adobe walls at the Ranchos de Taos church. Then there’s the photo scene itself. Galleries, museums, colleges, even bookstores, continually hang new photographic exhibits and hold openings, book signings, and lectures.

For photographers and those who appreciate their art, Santa Fe may be the most rewarding destination on the planet – and the third largest photo market in the country.”

Hoping you will join us for the experience to explore the art of photography with people behind the art. See the program and register here

A little photo compilation from ArtExpo New York including the new aluminum prints, the booth and the photography friends

Time magazine recently published an issue reflecting on how art is at the heart of optimism.

“Art calls to the optimism within us and beckons us to breathe…To meet us where we are and to invite us in – to think, to feel, to wonder, to dream, to debate, to laugh, to resist, to roam, to imagine. Art is worthy of our interrogation”

For 41 years and counting, Artexpo New York has changed how people buy and sell art. This year, Artexpo New York champions the transformative power of art with the powerful theme of “Transform.” Art challenges the status quo, changes our perceptions, and pushes us to see ourselves and others from a new perspective. Through its power, art transforms.

ArtExpo New York is an ideal opportunity to wander and enjoy more than 1,000 established and emerging artists, galleries, and art publishers.  Running from April 5-7, 2019 (with a special trades day on April 4th for galleries, designers and other trades in the art market), this annual curated show brings the biggest industry buyers and collectors together with artists and 35,000+ attendees.  It is a chance to see the newest, brightest faces of the art world and to purchase works from exhibitors in person.

Here is a link to ArtExpo NYC “discoveries” collection which features great options at $5,000 or less and is among the favorite picks from ArtExpo NYC.  Here are some of my items selected for the Discovery Collection and you can also see a set on Flickr.

 

New Dye-Sublimation Aluminum Prints: In addition to exhibiting these photos, I am excited to be working with BlazingEditions and trying something new beyond my own small batch limited edition archival prints on paper.  For ArtExpo NewYork, I am going to also show the two images below in a larger format (the cactus will be 30”x 40”) printed on aluminum.  Here is an explanation from Blazing Editions:

“Sublimation onto metal is a new, cutting edge, way to reproduce an image. Sublimation itself is the process of going from a solid to a gas, back to a solid – skipping the liquid state.

The image is first printed onto a transfer paper and then is adhered to pretreated aluminum (other substrates such as tile, wood, or glass are also available).

The aluminum and transfer paper are placed into a custom heat press, which is heated to temperatures exceeding 380 degrees Fahrenheit. While being subjected to extreme heat and pressure, the dyes from the transfer paper turn into a gas, are pressed into the surface of the metal, and then solidify into the treated aluminum. As the dyes cool they are permanently infused beneath the surface of the metal substrate.”

Fine art photograph of urban architecture Fine art conceptual photography of cactus landscapes, black and white infrared

The black and white infrared image is printed on clear gloss aluminum.  It not only “pops” because of the glossy metal surface but also has a sort of 3-dimensional feel to it.  The image “changes” as you walk around it going from a flat gray photo negative appearance to the popping 3-dimensional infrared image (this is influenced by the light reflecting off the aluminum).

I am both excited by this new print format and how it impacts the image, as well as a little nervous since the infrared image on clear gloss is a bit “out there” as it changes with the light.

Art Talks: In addition to exhibiting new works at ArtExpo NYC, I will also be participating in the Art Talks Topics & Trends Education Program where I will be discussing aspects of my art, inspiration and career as an artist.

Worth Noting the AIPAD show: At the same time as ArtexpoNewyork (and just up the street at Pier 94) is the Annual Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) 39th edition of The Photography Show. Nearly 100 of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries will present a range of museum-quality work including contemporary, modern, and 19th century photographs, photo-based art, video, and new media. When I lived in NYC, I enjoyed this show every year.  Check it out too if you can.

If you are in New York, please drop by and say hi