Friday, July 27, 2007

Inside the Surge: Video by Photographer Sean Smith (E)

Sean Smith / Guardian

The Guardian's award-winning photographer and filmmaker Sean Smith (2006 Britsh Press Photographer of the Year) spent two months embedded with US troops in Baghdad and Anbar province. His harrowing documentary exposes the exhaustion and disillusionment of the soldiers.
Click to View

I saw this piece on the CBC National news the other night. It is so difficult to watch and not feel anger to the core and ask for what.

In the World Press Photo exhibit this year, there is also a series of stills taken by Peter van Agtmael as he follows American soliders as they raid homes searching for insurgents.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Photo Gallery for the MET

New Gallery for Modern and Contemporary Photography to be Inaugurated at Metropolitan Museum in September
Inaugural Installation: Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan
Opening: September 25, 2007

The Metropolitan Museum will inaugurate the Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography on September 25, 2007, establishing for the first time a gallery dedicated exclusively to photography created since 1960. With high ceilings, clean detailing, and approximately 2,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Menschel Hall is designed specifically to accommodate the large-scale photographs that are an increasingly important part of contemporary art and the Museum's permanent collection. Photographers represented in the collection include such modern masters as Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Jeff Wall, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Doug Aitken, and Sigmar Polke......

Complete Media Release

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Toronto Video Contest

Do you think you can make a commercial for Toronto that’s better than those ad agency campaigns? Toronto has always been a hard place to sum up -- slick marketing campaigns are often criticized for not getting to the heart of what makes this city great and why people should visit. Now you have the chance to make your own commercial for Spacing’s My Toronto video contest.

Over the summer, put together your own 30-second commercial for Toronto. Use your camcorder, camera phone, or even a still camera. Edit it, animate it, set it to music, or give it a voice-over. Be creative. When you’re done, upload it to our YouTube group. Famous places like the CN Tower are fine, but in making your commercial, you should think about the subtle stuff in your neighbourhood -- from Malvern to Kensington to Long Branch -- that makes Toronto unique. The commercials will be judged both by jury and by popular vote, and the best will be shown at a public event.

If you know of a budding filmmaker that loves Toronto but might not reading Spacing, please let them know. Help us spread the word to all corners of the city.

My Toronto Video Contest
DEADLINE: Friday, September 7th with an exhibition to follow.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Saturday Night Photo Projections

For those in Toronto, many will be aware of the innovative work Holly and Ka-Sing Lee are doing with IndexG - galleries, Gzine, Gnews, Gbay auction and GoodEdition, to name some of their initiatives. Info may be found on the site IndexG site.

The galleries are located on 50 Gladstone, just north of Queen St W...basically across the street on Gladstone from the Gladstone Hotel.

But now, they are offering photography and art lovers something Saturday evening projections and discussion. The first screening was held last night and showed work from the European photo collective 'Smoke'. Bob Black, who is curating the projections, will introduce viewers to international photographers we might not otherwise see in Toronto....including photojournalism and documentary work.

The projection was only about 30 minutes, but the hope is discussion within the group of attendees will emanate from the work shown. If this event catches on, the possibilities are quite exciting. So, if you are looking for something informal yet stimulating to do on a Saturday evening, come out to these free projections and help support a new photo initiative in the city.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


POWERHOUSE ARENA - A laboratory for creative thought. Home to world-renowned art book publisher POWERHOUSE BOOKS, the Arena is a gallery, boutique, book store, performance, and events space located at 37 Main Street, in New York City’s scenic DUMBO neighborhood. With soaring 24-foot ceilings on the 5,000 square foot ground floor (with over 175 linear-feet of glass frontage and arena-style seating), the POWERHOUSE ARENA showcases a series of landmark exhibitions, performances, and controlled mayhem fusing the worlds of art, photography, design, fashion, pop culture, advertising, music, dance, film, and television into a glorious whirlwind of captivating spectacle.

Photo: Martha Cooper

Summer At The Skylounge
July 19 - August 26, 2007
Work from the powerHouse Collection, features a dynamic selection of emerging and established artists.

ALSO: See June 22 posting 'NEW PHOTO FESTIVAL SLATED FOR 2008' - a partnership between powerHouse and VII Photo Agency

Friday, July 20, 2007

Conservatives Increase Canada Council Funding reports....Heritage Minister Bev Oda has announced a permanent $30-million increase in annual funding for the Canada Council for the Arts.

The May 2006 federal budget raised the Canada Council's funding by $20 million in 2006-7 and $30 million the following year, but the increase was not guaranteed in future.

Oda, appearing in Toronto on Friday, announced the funding increase would be rolled into the Canada Council's budget, raising its annual total to $180 million a year...

Complete Article

'Sicko' Night in America

If you are still thinking about seeing Michael Moore's 'Sicko', this might be the weekend to go.

...And, to show my thanks to all of you who'll go see "Sicko" this weekend, I'm going to send one of you and a guest on a free weekend to the universal health care country of your choice! That's right. You'll get to pick one of the three industrialized countries featured in the movie where, if you get sick, you get help for free, no matter who you are. All you have to do is send us your ticket stub (make sure it says "Sicko" on it and has the name of the theater and this weekend's date on it -- Friday, Saturday or Sunday - July 20th, 21st, 22nd). Attach the stub to a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and email and send it to: 'Sicko' Night in America, 888c 8th Avenue, Suite 443, New York, NY 10019. (Yes, you have to use that old 18th century device called the U.S. Postal Service, and it has to be postmarked on or by Tuesday, July 24th). First prize is a weekend in the city of your choice: Paris, London or Toronto. This includes airfare, hotel, meals and, most exciting, a representative from their fine universal health care system who will give you a personal tour so you can see how they treat their fellow citizens. You'll meet people who pay nothing for college and citizens who are in the fourth week of their six-week paid vacation. Oh, and you'll have time to see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or whatever they have in Toronto that is old and tall. (funny guy that Michael, he obviously has not seen the new lighting on the CN Tower!!!)

Canadians who are reading this -- you're probably thinking, "Hey, what about us? Where do we get to go?" Quit complaining! You're already there! But just to make it up to you -- and to prove we don't hold it against you for smugly walking out of a hospital with the same amount of money in your wallet that you went in with -- we'll let you participate in the drawing, too....

Complete Details

Group Exhibit: Jaret Belliveau, Marco Bohr, Scott Conarroe

A Group Exhibition: Jaret Belliveau, Marco Bohr, Scott Conarroe
July 26 - September 1, 2007
Opening Thursday, July 26 from 5 - 8pm

Stephen Bulger Gallery
1026 Queen St W

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Photographer Lauren Greenfield Nominated for Emmy (E)

Photographer Lauren Greenfield has been nominated for a 2007 Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming for her powerful and important HBO documentary Thin.

Eating disorders affect five million people in the U.S., and more than 10% of those diagnosed with anorexia nervosa will die from the disease. Seeking to put a human face on these sobering statistics, acclaimed photographer Lauren Greenfield went inside a Florida treatment center to tell the stories of four women who are literally dying to be thin. The devastating HBO documentary THIN reveals what she found there - and explores the issues underlying their illness.

Thin is available in dvd and book formats on
Other Lauren Greenfield books on

Montreal Photographer Wins $64K Infringement Suit

PDNonline reports...

A US federal judge recently awarded Robert Burch a $63,866 judgment against a New York City travel agency, finding that the site used four of Burch's photographs on its Web site without permission.

Burch, who is based in Montreal, Quebec, specializes in travel photography from African countries, particularly Ghana. He posts his images on his own Web site and licenses them to a number of companies, including other Web sites.

But Burch claims he's counted 474 Web sites that have infringed on his work since 1997. Most are in Ghana, but some include American businesses and schools. He says he has filed 29 lawsuits in Ghana, which has tough copyright laws because of its music industry. But Burch has had little luck with the legal system there, having been awarded a total of $1,200 and collecting none of it so far.

Complete Article

Exhibition: Morden Yolles in Conversation with Ed Burtynsky

Morden Yolles: A structural engineer and photographer. The Yolles Partnership projects included: The Benvenuto Apartments, Toronto; Champlain College, Bata Library and The Reginald Faryon Bridge at Trent University; the Indo-Malayan and African Pavilions at the Metro Toronto Zoo; the World Financial Centre, Battery Park, New York; and Canary Wharf, London, England. Morden Yolles was appointed a Member of the Order in 2003

Toronto Image Works
Ed Burtynsky

Exhibition: *a Light unto the Nations

Gilad Benari - coEXISTence

*a Light unto the Nations* showcases eight photographers -- four Muslims and four Jews who have submitted images, mostly from the Middle East arranged around the theme of tolerance and the consequences of intolerance. Hezbollah, Neo Nazi Parades, ethnic, social and religious imagery with the underlying theme “we can teach our children to love, or we can teach our children to hate”

Tamara Abdul Hadi
Aasil Ahmad
Anthony Asael
Gilad Benari
Kitra Cahana
Lamya Gargash
Steve Simon
Sawsan Yassine

Jacobs Lounge Visual Arts Space – Miles Nadal Centre
750 Spadina Avenue (at Bloor)

July 18 - August 31

Opening Reception
Thursday, July 26th
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Gallery Hours
Monday - Sunday
10:00 am - 10:00 pm

Lana Slezic to Speak About Her Afghan Women Photographs at Congressional Briefing in Washington

As a documentary photographer, it may seem lonely with your topic, shooting and feeling like you are in a vacuum, wondering if anyone will be interested enough to showcase or even buy the work. But as much as the goal is to make some kind of return on the time and funds outlayed, it is the dedication to the need to tell the story that seems to be the main drive for many the documentary photographer.

Well, here is a motivating story to help keep the drive going...

This September, Lana Slezic will see her first book published. Forsaken: Afghan Women A book presented with committed passion to the women of Afghanistan. For two years Lana lived in Kabul and documented the women she met.

...but more on the book in upcoming posts. This post is about what is happening on July 24.

In this issue, July/August, of Mother Jones, Lana's photographs are featured in the story, The Hidden Half. How Afghan women have fared since the Taliban's fall.

On July 24, Lana will be a speaker at the Mother Jones sponsored Congressional Briefing in Washington - The Hidden Half - Women in Afghanistan, a Story in Pictures.

"The morning discussion will feature the difficult yet honest photographs of Lana Slezic as a means of understanding the harsh and repressive reality that persists for most women in Afghanistan. Though the Taliban may be gone from the halls of power, its cultural legacy of oppression continues. The burka is more common than before, a majority of women experience domestic violence, and honor killings are on the rise. Some statistics consdiered in 'The Hidden Half' include:

- Afghanistan suffers the 2nd-highest maternal mortalitly rate in the world: 1 mother every 28 minutes

- Female students attend schools at half the rate of male students.

- An estimated 2 million women are widows and many must turn to prostituion to survive.

In addition to Lana Slezic, speakers at the event include Co-Editor of Mother Jones Clara Jeffrey, and award-winning journalist and CNN Terror Analyst Peter Bergen. They will provide commentary on the importance and power of photography, media and politics in addressing the plights of women in Afghanistan."

If you would like to learn more about the situation of women in Afghanistan - RAWA

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Panel Discussion: Future of Photojournalism in a Digital World

A panel discussion on what's next for photographers, photo editors, and designers
Photojournalism is changing quickly. Ever-improving image technology, multi-platform photo presentation, and radical business models all guarantee that the future of professional photography will look very different than the present. What do photographers need to know? How should photo editors and designers prepare? This panel will address the latest thinking on issues including high-definition video, online slideshows, ethics, and marketing.

How much of what news photographers produce will eventually go to video, and what does this mean for large news organizations and freelancers?

How does the popularity of online slideshows change how photographers approach assignments and how organizations deal with payment? What are the emerging standards for presenting slideshows?

Digital photography presents new and sometimes troubling ethical implications for photographers and editors. Where do you draw the line between photo and photo illustration? When does 'color correction' become 'color enhancement?' How should altered photos be captioned? Is it ever OK to change a photo to respect community standards?

Panelists will include:
- James Estrin, photographer, The New York Times
- Travis Fox, The Washington Post
- Spencer Platt, photographer, Getty Images (World Press Photo winner)
- Jonathan Wells, bureau chief, SIPA Press
- John Smock, moderator

WHEN Tuesday, August 7, 7-9 pm. Reception to follow.
WHERE Cooper Union, 51 Astor Place, New York, NY
PRICE $25 (additional $5 fee when paying at the door)

- 90 minutes of fast-paced panel discussion
- 30 minutes of audience questions submitted in writing
- Reception to follow

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Update: Photojournalist Alexandra Boulat

PDNonline reports that VII photographer, Alexandra Boulat has been transported to the neurosurgery department at Lariboisière Hospital in Paris.

She is breathing on her own and in stable condition. Her prognosis remains unclear, though doctors were to monitor her condition and make an assessment this week.

Boulat, who is one of the founding members of VII suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while stationed in Israel and underwent surgery at a Jerusalem hospital on June 21.
Complete Article

Monday, July 16, 2007

Doc Soup Tickets

July 20 is the last day to purchase discount for Hot Docs, Doc Soup series tickets.


$125.00 + GST (After July 20 - $140.00 + GST)

* one ticket to each Doc Soup selection (early or late screening)
* ten screening tickets for the 2008 Festival

DOC SOUP DATES: October 3, November 7, December 5, January 9, February 6, March 5 and April 2. All dates feature two screenings, 6:30 pm and 9:15 pm.

DOC SOUP VENUE: Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West.
Single tickets for a Doc Soup screening are $12.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

One Step Forward | One Back

As a women, some days I just wonder how far we have progressed. This weekend, I saw two articles referencing the departure of Chatelaine magazine Editor In Chief, Sara Angel.
Apparently it was a sudden departure, so assume why the media interest.

Below are the two article headlines, links to read the full articles, and quotes from the articles in reference to this post.

As you read the articles, consider this question...if Sara Angel were a John Angel, would the fact he was a new father with 2 children be mentioned in the context of the story, when reasons for the departure are not known? I think not. Yes, personal matters may play a part in anyone's decision, but at this point it is all surmise. I feel that children and parenting references would not have been mentioned in early stories about a man in a similar situation.

Headline: Chatelaine Editor Abruptly Resigns by James Adams

In a brief interview yesterday from her home in Toronto, Ms. Angel, 37, said she resigned Thursday "for personal reasons . . . that I can't get into now. But I do want to stress that I do have very positive feelings toward the magazine."
Ms. Angel, who gave birth to her second child last fall, said she has no new job. "At this stage, I'm looking forward to taking a hiatus in my career and some time off."

CBC.CA Article
Headline: Chatelaine Editor In Chief Steps Down
(byline - CBC Arts, but seems to be reworked from Globe story)

The 37-year-old mother of two told the newspaper that she left her job Thursday "for personal reasons" but declined to divulge details. Angel gave birth to her second child last fall.

So why One Step Forward | One Back....well, it seems women in the workforce are not allowed to escape from their reality of being a mother. I just feel that a man's reality of being a father is seldom positioned in public, in fact or conjecture.

Rita Leistner: Portraitscapes of War: Lebanon 2006

Rita Leistner: Portraitscapes of War: Lebanon 2006
C-Print, 45 x 98 inches
open July 14 -- close August 12

This detail from Rita Leistner's photograph of Bilal Haider is from her series Portraitscapes of War: Lebanon 2006. The Portraitscapes are juxtapositions of portraits and landscapes she made during the Hezbollah-Israel conflict last summer. Journalism and artistic practice merge in Rita's efforts to show the human side of war.

Rita Leistner's Portraitscapes of War: Lebanon 2006 is opening at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto on September 14 and running through November 4.

Titus Nemeth's award-winning Nassim typeface is shown for the first time in Canada at convenience in collaboration with Portraitscapes of War. Rita and Titus met while studying Arabic at the University of Damascus.

Nassim is a typeface family which supports typesetting in the Arabic and the Latin script. A harmonious appearance and equal prominence in bi-script setting were among the main considerations during the design process. Both scripts were developed as independent and authentic, yet matching, designs that achieve harmony while preserving their respective characteristics. For more info

24/7 window gallery
58 Lansdowne Avenue, Toronto ON M6K 2V9
(at Seaforth Avenue, one block North of Queen)

Contact: Rita Leistner

Support of the Toronto Society of Architects is gratefully acknowledged.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Anne Frank Photo Contest for Youth (E)

Sources of Inspiration: How Do You See the World

Freedom, goodness, giving, courage, happiness, humanity, usefulness… Anne Frank wrote about these things in her diary. But how do you see them?

Visualize one of the themes with a photo and explain why you took the photo. What inspired you? Looking for original and personal photos that tell a good story.

Contest is open to youth around the world ages 10 - 18.

Deadline: October 1, 2007.

For complete details visit the Ann Frank website.

Chief of CBC News Leaves With Final Blog

Today was the final day of Tony Burman's helm as Editor and Chief of CBC News. Burman had been with CBC for 35 years and parts with a worthwhile read on the CBC Inside Media Blog.

Ian Parry Awards - Canadians Honoured

The annual Ian Parry Scholarship and Award definitely had a Canadian connection for the past few years, but this year Canadians receive 2 of the 5 awards.

University of Wales, Newport student Ivor Prickett received this year's Ian Parry Scholarship for his work on war-displaced Serbian Croats returning to Croatia.

Runners up were Liz Rubincam (highly commended), Gareth Phillips (commended), Liz Hingley (commended) and Dominic Nahr (honorable mention).

Both Liz and Dominac are Ryerson Image Arts grads. Liz has spent the last year in New York studying at ICP.

The Ian Parry site lists the photographer links and will shortly showcase their winning stories.

The annual Ian Parry Scholarship awards £2,500 (about $5,080) to support the winner's project, plus £500 worth of vouchers to the winner and £250 (about $508) to runners up. Sponsors are The Sunday Times, Getty Images and Canon Europe.

The scholarship recognizes photographers who are under age 24 or attending a full-time photo program. It is named in honor of Ian Parry, photojournalist who died at age 24 while covering the 1989 Romanian revolution for The Sunday Times.

In 2006, Kitra Cahana (Montreal) received the "Highly Commended" award.
The 2005 Ian Parry Scholarship winner was Arantxa Cedillo, who is presently living and freelancing in Toronto.

VII Agency Looking for New Members

Following info is taken from the VII site...

VII Membership
July 11, 2007
VII is welcoming applications for membership during its forthcoming semi-annual meeting in California in November 2007.

Anyone may apply for membership, but membership will be offered to a small number of motivated photographers who we believe will enhance and strengthen the body of work that we currently produce; to photographers whom we believe we can work with in the management of VII; and to photographers whom we believe have high standards of integrity.

As VII is solely owned by its members, it comes with shareholder responsibility. New members will spend at least one year with VII before full membership is offered. All members will be obliged to purchase shares, attend shareholders meetings and contribute dynamically and responsibly to the business of the agency.

Candidates are considered by the existing members only during the VII annual (or semi-annual) meetings and should submit work on DVD or CD in Jpeg Format compressed at level 8 and at a size no greater than 100 dpi x 16 x 12 inches. No more than 40 images should be submitted and each image should have caption and contextual information embedded in it.
Each photographer should submit a brief biography, and tell us what their future intentions are professionally and what motivates them to want to join VII.

The submissions should be delivered to one of our bureaus in either
New York, or Paris by September 30th, and clearly marked "SUBMISSION FOR VII MEMBERSHIP"

For more information, please visit our website at

Magnum Photos Membership Update

Following their recent annual meeting, Magnum Photos announced news regarding new member status and new nominees.

Member status was voted for: Trent Parke, Mark Power
Associate status was confirmed for: Christopher Anderson and Christina Garcia Rodero

New Nominees:
Allessandra Anguinette - 38 years old, Argentinian
Jacob Aue Sobol - 31 years old, Danish
Mikhael Subotzky - 25 years old, South African

Larry Towell is now Vice-President New York.

Inge Morath Award Winner

This $5,000 annual award is given to a female documentary photographer under the age of 30, in memory of the late Magnum Photos photographer Inge Morath.

This year's winner is: Olivia Arthur (London, UK), in support of her project “The Middle Distance,” documenting the lives of women along the border between Asia an Europe. Information and images on Runners up : Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan) and Newsha Tavakolian (Iran).

Inge Morath Foundation
to learn more.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reuters Photographer and Driver Killed in Iraq

An Iraqi photographer and driver working for Reuters in Iraq were killed in Baghdad on Thursday, the international news and information company said.

Photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, were killed in eastern Baghdad at a time when clashes had been taking place between U.S. forces and militants in the area.

The cause of their deaths was unclear, although witnesses spoke of an explosion in the area. Iraqi police said either a U.S. air strike or a mortar attack had occurred.

The deaths take to six the number of Reuters employees killed in Iraq since U.S.-led forces invaded the country in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein.

Full Article

Committee to Protect Journalist site lists the number and information about the deaths of journalists killed, worldwide in 2007.

Book Prices to Fall

A hopeful heading on - Book Prices to Drop This Fall as Loonie Strengthens, but after reading the article still feel Canadians are getting the bum deal when buying books. Our loonie continues to rise, yet the price difference between US & Canadian shown on the book cover is still significant.

As the Canadian dollar picks up against its U.S. counterpart, retailers and readers are noticing there is still quite a difference between the Canadian and American list prices on books.

Publishers set the prices and print them on new books, often months or more than a year before books hit the shelves.

But Steve Budnarchuk, past president of the Canadian Booksellers Association, said Wednesday that ongoing negotiations between publishers and booksellers over the past year are starting to result in lower prices on new books.

Books coming into Canadian stores last fall and winter were about 25 per cent above the U.S. list price, Budnarchuk said, which was acceptable, given the exchange rate at the time. With a strengthening dollar, he said, he's expecting to see lower prices this fall.

"We'd like to see a price point of no more than 20 per cent above U.S. list, in order to be fair, and to have the consumer be able to accept the pricing," Budnarchuk said.

Full Article.

A Liberal Promise for the Arts

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion met with a group from the Toronto arts community on Tuesday and spoke these word....A Liberal government would reverse the Conservative government's $11.8-million cut to cultural diplomacy, and add another $11-million to promote and tour Canadian artists abroad.

We can only hope.

Here is the full article from the Globe and Mail...

Dion's gamble on culture
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
July 11, 2007 at 3:46 AM EDT

Normally an oppressed-looking demographic, Canadian writers - at least, those eight senior literary types faces drinking beer in the lounge of Toronto's Drake Hotel late last week - were in an unaccustomed state of cheer. They'd just had an in-person session with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, and he'd told them something they wanted to hear: A Liberal government would reverse the Conservative government's $11.8-million cut to cultural diplomacy, and add another $11-million to promote and tour Canadian artists abroad.

"The meeting with Dion was a huge relief," said Susan Swan, chair of the Writers Union of Canada. "We got a feeling of being on the same page with a politician after months of trying to have a dialogue with the Harper government."

The Liberal leader is on a charm offensive with Canadian artists and arts leaders and has had face time with artists and leaders from the music industry, theatre, museums and dance in Montreal, Winnipeg and Toronto. He is gambling that culture matters to urban voters. Whether or not that's true, "it's a weak spot for this Conservative government," says Peter C. Newman, one of the writers at the Drake. "With globalization, we've lost the battle for economic independence, but cultural nationalism is our saving grace."

This time, however, the Liberals aren't chanting old mantras about "We need Canadian culture to tell Canadian stories." Dion has a more pragmatic formulation: "The way to be strong economically is to be creative." He also argues that the cuts have undermined Canada's international image: "Compare this to what other governments are spending - the Germans through their Goethe Institutes, the French through their Alliances Françaises," Dion says. "To cut this [cultural diplomacy] is beyond understanding."

Since the Harper government assumed power last year, the foreign service has become more narrowly focused, or "instrumentally minded," as staffers put it.

Gone is most discretionary money for embassies and posts to host book-promotion readings and concerts, contact local media, buy blocks of tickets, top up performers' fees, help with tour logistics and generally prime new markets.

However, there is money to promote Canada's multicultural image, advance the war on terror, and leverage big names into useful political connections. Next month, the Canadian high commission in London is throwing a party to salute the world premiere of Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad at Stratford-Upon-Avon.

But Atwood is one of those most alarmed by the cuts, which she first heard about while attending a party at the American embassy during the Festival Amérique in Paris. Why was she at the U.S. embassy? "Though Canada was the festival's featured country," explains Atwood, "we had no money." Things have become more dire since then, staff at the Canadian embassy in Paris complain privately.

In Berlin it's worse. The new $90-million Canadian embassy that opened in 2005 was built with concert hall and exhibition spaces. Much of the time they appear to be empty.

Canadians in London recall when the high commission would make concert recording space available for artists such as pianist Angela Hewitt, and then throw black-tie receptions for local cultural leaders - such as the novelist Ian McEwan, who had mentioned Hewitt in his novel Saturday. "The cuts have hammered the life out of Canada House," says Judy Harquail, former tour director for Les grands ballets Canadiens. "The public face of Canada has taken a huge hit."

Staff at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International trade rightly point out that the Arts Promotion Program budget to help artists tour has remained untouched at $4.4-million.

But the Liberals hope to score points with Dion's promise to more than triple that.

Of course, Liberal promises of support for culture are just promises. But with Canadian cultural exports (including advertising services and film production) totalling almost $5-billion a year, Dion's pragmatic arguments may win new voters, and won't alienate artists already angry with Ottawa.

"Dion sees culture and the arts as part and parcel of a creative, innovative society," says the Writers Union's Swan. "Now he just has to get himself elected."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reuters: Teens Have Little Interest in News

Recent study completed at Havard, found "War and politics are largely ignored by American teenagers, according to a Harvard University study released on Tuesday, which found that 60 percent of them pay little attention to daily news."....and it seems current affairs on the internet is not generating much interest either.
Full article.

Recognize this is a US study, and I would venture the numbers are not quite as low in Canada, but would estimate not much better.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New on MediaStorm (E)

Black Market is Patrick Brown's in-depth look into the wildlife trade, the third largest illegal trade in the world. A driving force behind the trade is the ancient belief that animal parts contain "magical" properties. Although science has largely disproved these superstitions, these illegal practices continue.

In Ivory Wars J. Michael Fay and Michael Nichols take us to Zakouma National Park in Chad, one of the last places on earth where thousands of elephants roam together. As perennial rains arrive to replenish the desert landscape, some 3,500 elephants seek better forage outside the park perimeter where poachers await them.

Monday, July 9, 2007

John Szarkowski: Photographer/Curator Dies at Age of 81

John Szarkowski, who was influential in raising the status of photography in the world of fine art, died on Saturday at the age of 81. His many writings play an important part in the study of photography, and his curated exhibitions at the MOMO, became a key catalyst in the validation of photography as an art form.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

CONTACT - 2008 Theme

The 2008 Thematic Focus is Between Memory and History.

The enormous impact of technology was clearly evident in much of the photography presented in this year’s festival on the constructed image. While we questioned whether the increasing popularity of constructed modes of working was leading to the demise of traditional photography, we celebrated the great effects to which constructed images could address major events of global significance. It is quite relevant that this years theme developed from the thematic focus of our last two festivals, Questioning Truth in Photography and Imaging a Global Culture, which both clearly revealed how constructed image making was a vital tool for so many.

Now we look towards next year and take our inspiration from some of the great works in this year’s festival. While of course they utilized various constructed modes of working, they also explored a variety of the most basic of social subjects – from private experiences to family histories. So it appears that our focus on the global has brought us back to the importance of the personal. Whether based on fact or molded through fiction, these images have reminded us of the fundamental splendor of photography to “capture the moment”.

Is this reinvention of social documentary as a constructed fiction challenging our relationship with the photographic image as a receptacle for the storage of memories? How do these constructed images co-exist with those that continue to represent “real” social situations? These questions invite a consideration of the evolution of the tradition of social documentary photography. Here too we now find a renewed interest in exploring personal and collective societal issues. To what extent do these subjective images contribute to a new contemporary reality, and at what point does personal observation become history?

The rapid pace of technology continues to diversify the ways in which we encounter and negotiate photographs on a daily basis. Images are transmitted to a global audience at record speed via the Internet, while cell-phone cameras are commonplace at every social event we attend. We are overwhelmed with images of our daily life, yet somehow depictions of the everyday remain a fundamental source of inspiration and pleasure for all of us. These great contrasts in the ways the ever-multiplying technologies of photography are utilized to document our personal and collective experience, call for an investigation of photography’s relationship to the forms of memory produced through these different types of social documentary. It is with these issues and questions in mind that we have entitled the thematic focus of CONTACT 2008 Between Memory and History.

This theme will undoubtedly enable us to explore the richness and complexity of imagery depicting social relations and provide fertile ground for discovery, discussion and debate - from explorations of photography as a surrogate for memory to reconstructions of history through photographic representation. We welcome your participation and look forward to once again showcasing the great community efforts that continue to grow in scope and scale and have made the CONTACT Toronto Photography Festival the great success it is today.

Further details will be distributed and posted on the CONTACT website in the weeks to follow.

Lecture on Documentary Photography

Danish large-format documentary photographer Jesper Sorensen will be showing images and speaking about his photo-documentary project "Endurance" on Tibet, and Toronto physician Mark Nowaczynski will be speaking about his House Calls photos.
The idea is to experience the process and thinking that goes into long-term documentary projects, and the understanding between photographer and printer.

Free Event
Tuesday, July 10
Space is Limited
Elevator Gallery
42 Industrial St

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Travelling: Photography Worth Seeing

Museums and galleries to consider if interested in viewing some photography exhibits in your travels.

Art Gallery of Ontario -
A Couple of Ways of Doing Something
Photographs by Chuck Close, Poems by Bob Holman
to September 16

National Gallery of Canada
Modernist Photographs
to August 26
Cheryl Sourkes: Public Camera
to October 21
Platinum and Photogravure
August 17 - November 12

International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York

George Eastman House
- Rochester, New York

Monday, July 2, 2007

Arles 2007

Rencontres d´Arles begins July 3 and runs throughout the summer. If travelling in France, worth the visit.

The DigitalJournalist

July issue of The DigitalJournalist is posted.

Features include 'Death of a Soldier' by Michael Kamber and 10 years of the 'Burning Man' festival documented by Barbara Traub.

If new to the site, be sure to check out previously featured documentaries.

Shoot Nations 2007 Student Contest

Received this e-mail today regarding, what looks like, a worthwhile photo contest for youth.


Hello, I am writing to make you aware of SHOOT NATIONS 2007, a free Global Youth Photography & Drawing Competition for 11-24 year olds, and to ask if you could kindly spread the word of the project to your network.

Winning images will be showcased at the UNITED NATIONS international headquarters in New York, for International Youth Day on 12th August and the exhibition will travel to five other countries around the world - so this is an exciting chance for participants to become an internationally exhibited artist!

Judges will include professional photographers & cultural 'bigwigs'.
Prizes include a digital SLR camera worth £1,000 and more!

Working in association with Plan UK and Tate Modern, our aim is to help promote the voice of young people around the world, and provide them with a genuine un-biased opportunity to be heard on a global level. The theme of the competition is GOVERNANCE (more 'youth friendly' information on the meaning on governance can be found at and we are keen to receive a broad range of submissions - we are aware that you have a strong photography movement, and would like it to be represented in the competition.

Photos must be scanned and submitted as a JPEG by Friday, 20th July 2007.
Interested people can sign up at:

We believe that this is a truly fantastic opportunity for young people in many ways, so please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Please find a press pack and photos here -

SHOOT NATIONS - A global photography competition for young people aged 11 to 24. Prizes to be won, photos to be exhibited in 5 countries plus at the UN headquarters in NYC.