Print is Not Dead: American Idle in the Pacific Standard



“I also wanted to let you know that I’ve had to look at thousands (millions?) of images in my current job, and yours really stand out. Provocative and beautiful subjects and compositions, and such a range of natural, expressive poses. The body language, the look on the faces–people lost in their own moment, good, bad, neutral. You must be really charming and disarming.”

-salient words by editor Michael Fitzgerald of the Pacific Standard

With these words ended a most brief but beautiful collaboration between myself and editor Michael Fitzgerald of the Pacific Standard.  The magazine, based in Santa Barbara, hosts a fabulous photo column in the spirit of the Harper’s Magazine Index.  Each issue, it pairs an unassigned photograph with a bunch of factoids of loosely or tightly ascribed to the information in the photograph.  Fun and interesting, right?

Por ejemplo:

  • In 1964, Col Harlan Sanders, then age 74, reluctantly sold his stake in KFC for $2 million to his attorney, John Brown Jr. The Colonel started appearing on popular TV programs, including I’ve Got a Secret and The Tonight Show, clad in his trademark white suit, sometimes pushing a chicken cage filled with $2 million in cash.
  • Researchers at Stanford University interviewed athletes and coaches and concluded that boxing’s physical intimacy produces a sense of “at-homeness” among fighters. One of the most salient effects of boxing, according to fighters, is the closeness that develops between boxers in the ring.

So glad that print is not dead. How would we read in the bathtub?

Photographer Job Opportunities in Amherst, MA & London, UK Imperial War Museum

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The Northeast Document Conservation Center (aka NEDCC), based in Andover, MA 25 miles north of Boston, is hiring a full-time Photographer. The position description and application instructions can be found here

Current Job Opportunities

Digital Operator 

Collections Management Team
Imperial War Museum

£22,349 to £25,289 plus 20.9% employer pension contribution


Normal Working Hours: 36hrs net per week

Person Specification Category: Level 2, Professional

Applications for a job share will be considered*

Closing date: 5 Oct 2015

We are one of the world’s leading authorities on conflict and its impact on people’s lives – from 1914 through to the present day and beyond. Our collections are filled with personal stories and experiences, inspiring powerful and often conflicting emotions. We aim to share these stories with as many audiences as possible across the world in a way that engages and challenges them, increasing understanding of why we go to war and the effect that conflict has on people’s lives. In other words, we expect our stories to change the way people think about war.

We rely on our staff to help us achieve this aspiration. You should be able to demonstrate the skills and competencies set out below, but equally we are looking for people who believe in what we do and who we are, and can treat every colleague, customer or visitor with respect, courtesy and honesty. We expect our staff to work flexibly and with enthusiasm. These are the qualities that make IWM such an extraordinary place to work.

Purpose of the job

The Digital Operator is a skilled image specialist working in a team of creatively minded people. They are adept at using a wide range of high end capture hardware and are intuitive in the use of various software packages. All computer work is undertaken on Apple Mac machines with high quality calibrated screens in a colour managed environment. A high level of concentration and attention to detail is a pre-requisite as are “an eye” for the image. Staff working in this area support each other with learning and keep abreast of current developments.

The material for capture ranges from small posters, to photographic prints and negatives as well as maps, documents and microfiche all captured to an exacting archival standard. The majority of work undertaken is project based and specific training on the various hard and software will be given. Examples of past and current project are Their Past Your Future scanning 24,000 negatives over 24 month period, On the Case CWR 3,500 paper items over 48 months and Q series negatives 115,000 over 30 months.

Working with pre-existing image files you will also be part of a team that prepares content to our client base both within and without the organisation.

Key duties

You will be expected to work independently as well as across different teams in order to contribute to and deliver the priorities of IWM – using your knowledge, skills, talent and potential to the best of your ability.

You will focus at all times on delivering excellent customer service, ensure value for money at all times while being  professional, courteous and demonstrating the behaviours and attributes expected of all IWM employees.  You will also adhere to all corporate standards, and use corporate systems as directed to ensure consistency of service, brand and operational standards.

You will be expected to work across departments effectively, working with individuals, partners and where appropriate volunteers.

To identify and implement learning and development needs for both yourself and your team, including volunteers, if appropriate.

You will be expected to comply with corporate standards, and use corporate systems, processes and procedures– and undertake any necessary training as directed.

In addition, your duties will include:

• SCANNING Flatbed  To make scans of original Collections Photographs Section materials including prints, negatives (glass and film) and transparencies to agreed specifications and targets.  You will also assist the team in the production of scans for other departments as necessary working to and following established workflow procedures within a colour-managed environment.

• PROCESSING  Photograph Section (Flatbed)  After capture of the image you will process the data to an agreed specification creating a master file to represent the analogue original.

• CAPTURE Black and White negative, documents, art etc, Using hi-end digital camera equipment (Hasselblad, Nikon) produce digital imagery of materials and post process the level required for use as “Master” images and after repurposing for access via Explore History facility and web site.

General  Dependant on the requirements of the job (specified by job sheet) you will source and repurpose images using Photoshop to colour balance, retouch, stitch etc. saving these to newly made delivery folders.

• OUTPUT Taking note to work within the colour managed environment output repurposed files as required – email, disc, inkjet, digital print.

• QUALITY CONTROL  In addition to maintaining defined standards of capture and processing for your own work, you will quality assess the output of other operators and liaise with them over any image quality failures (your work will be similarly assessed).    You will play an important role in ensuring that monitors and other equipment are calibrated regularly, as testing to ensure that reference standards and settings are maintained within a colour managed environment will form part of the duties.  Training in the specifics of this will be available.

• HOUSEKEEPING AND GENERAL You will be aware of the principles of conservation and ensure that the collections are cared for within departmental guidelines. As part of the workflow process you will manage the temporary storage and handling of archive material and safe return to the workflow co-ordinator on completion.

You will be required to maintain an up to date production log and report on a weekly basis for project monitoring purposes.

To maintain a constant flow of project deliverables you will liaise with the workflow co-ordinator as required and archive master and derivative files on the image server, in readiness for daily backup routines.

During times of absence and sickness cover for the Digital Suite Manager.

Maintain awareness of digital imaging practice, applications and innovation, advising department staff accordingly.

Work in such a manner as to ensure their own safety and the safety of others including members of the public and report to their Manager any hazards, dangerous occurrences or dangerous equipment they see, and any accident they are involved in or that they witness.

For further information, please follow the link:

Photographer Dolores Huerta Vivo @NPG talks about her life, art, & activism this Thursday 9/28 7pm sharp

A nice little programmatic offering for Hispanic Heritage Month by the National Portrait Gallery. Curator Taina Caragol is really keeping things moving over there.  Join me?

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The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with programs to highlight and pay tribute to the invaluable contribution of Latinos to American history and culture.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the museum features

Living Self-Portrait: Dolores Huerta

Thursday, Sept. 24, 7–8 p.m. | Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 

FREE & open to the public! 

Dolores Huerta was a champion of the farm workers’ movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Hear more about her life and activism in a live interview with Taína Caragol, curator of Latino art and history at the Portrait Gallery. Huerta’s story is also told in the special exhibition “One Life: Dolores Huerta,” on view now.

La Galería Nacional de Retratos del Smithsonian celebra el Mes de la Herencia Hispana en Washington D.C., con diversas actividades para destacar y rendir homenaje a la invaluable contribución de la comunidad latina a la historia estadounidense.

Como parte del Mes de la Herencia Hispana, el museo presenta

Retrato Vivo: Conversación con Dolores Huerta

Jueves, 24 de septiembre, 7–8 p.m. | Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium

Puertas abren a las 6:30 p.m.

Evento gratis & abierto a todo el público! 

Dolores Huerta fue campeona del movimiento de los trabajadores agrícolas de los años 1960 y 1970. Conoce más sobre su vida y su rol como activista en una conversación en vivo con Taína Caragol, curadora de arte e historia latina del museo.

Dolores Huerta, Huelga, Delano CA Grape Strikes by Harvey Wilson Richards, 1965. Harvey Richards Media Archives © Paul Richards

Openings around town Labor Day Weekend: Robb Hill @ Glen Echo Photoworks; Louviere & Vanessa @Candela in Richmond

Torn I was. Between two lovers as it were. Which to attend? Louviere & Vanessa in Richmond or Robb Hill in DC?  Then the divine hand of fate intervened and will plucketh me to Nova Scotia with a friend for a last-minute road trip up the coast and I can do neither.  One must not stand in the way of divine hands. But don’t let that stop you from attending – it is just the beginning of some excellent Autumnal programing.

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from Louviere & Vanessa’s Resonantia series

in Richmond-town we have an exciting exhibit by my good friends, husband and wife Louviere & Vanessa, who present their Resonantia series inspired by sound. Like everything they do, it is some crazy idea that only they could cerebalize and turn into beautiful prints.

Louviere + Vanessa will transform Candela Books + Gallery into an immersive, multi-sensory environment, incorporating animated vinyl record, film, and abstract photographs. Their new series,Resonantia is a reflection of their extensive exploration through a multitude of media, blurring the line between sight and sound.

Resonantia encompasses 12 photographs that pointedly capture the changes in traveling compression waves, depicting the 12 basal notes of music. Their evolving concept of crossing the sensory barrier further led to the conversion of photographs into otherworldly soundscapes. Louviere + Vanessa’s multidisciplinary approach came full circle by re-visualizing all 12 photo-tones in the form of spectrograms. This artistic fusion encourages visitors to reconsider the experimental possibilities between sound and photography and to reflect on the transformation of the normally invisible.

Their harmonic exploration across photography and music translates into audible imagery that unifies the visceral senses of the time-based medium sound and the space-based form of photography.”

The Comprehensive Consumed in Le Monde Diplomatique


So there I am minding my own business when an email pops up from Bruno.  Turns out he is the art director at Le Monde Diplomatique, which is a French issue oriented publication that goes out to people who like to read more than 140 characters at a time, which is simultaneously old-school and refreshing.  So he’d like to run a portfolio of Consumed in their issue dealing with global food production.  We talk and work out a deal. A few days later Bruno comes back to me and asks, “Do you have images of a poultry farm.” Why yes, I do.  I actually do not show all the images from my projects on my website, so I have a lot of stuff in the archive.  Another few days, “Do you happen to have any images from a slaughterhouse?”  Why yes, I do.  Long story short, Diplomatique has just published the most comprehensive array of images I produced for Consumed ever, and I am very pleased that the images have been combined with (I am assuming) cogent dialogue on the serious issue of food production and consumption.  Oh, and how did he find my work? Turns out he found me on the PhotoNola website from a 2008 posting when I won a portfolio review prize.  So you just never know . . . Mercî Le Monde Diplomatique, and thanks PhotoNOLA!


A Chicken in Love, Athens, Ohio © Susana Raab 2015

A Chicken in Love, Athens, Ohio © Susana Raab 2015

A Chicken in Love, Athens, Ohio © Susana Raab 2015

MIgrants in Immokalee, Florida © Susana Raab 2015



Migrants in Immokalee © Susana Raab 2015


Poultry Farm, DelMarVa Peninsula


Sonic Drive-In, Oxford, Mississippi Migrants in Immokalee © Susana Raab 2015


Ronald McDonald Migrants in Immokalee © Susana Raab 2015


The Chicken’s Dilemna © Susana Raab 2015


Pleasant Meats, Athens, Ohio


Pepsi Bottle, Portsmouth, Ohio


Dixie Cup Flag, Mississippi © Susana Raab 2015


Super Soda Metropolis, Illinois © Susana Raab 2015


America’s Favorite Clown, Athens, Ohio


Tofu-Dog, Playboy Playmate © Susana Raab 2015


Too Long at the Fair, McArthur, Ohio © Susana Raab

Starry Heavens: A Game for One Ruler and Several Silent Players Interview with Designers Nathalie Pozzi and Eric Zimmerman

June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

A performance of the kinetic game and art installation, “Starry Heavens” by Eric Zimmerman and Nathalie Pozzi in the Kogod Courtyard of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.
Photo © Susana Raab 2015

The starry heavens above, the moral law within.

– epitaph of Immanuel Kant

June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

Eric Zimmerman in the Kogod Courtyard of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.
Photo © Susana Raab 2015

Nathalie Pozzi and Eric Zimmerman have cool jobs.  Nathalie is an architect and Eric is an interactive game designer and professor at NYU.  When Eric contacted me to ask if I would shoot their interactive game at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on June 27 my answer was an emphatic yes. Eric did a good job of explaining what they were planning to do, but I still had no idea how this was going to manifest. This is the kind of job I love.

After I had the experience of photographing this game installation, I was so impressed by the performance I asked Nathalie and Eric if they would do a Q&A. They kindly said yes, and here it is, along with some photographs from the event.

LU: In June Smithsonian American Art Museum hosted your interactive game, Starry Heavens at American Art in the Kogod Courtyard, which is a beautiful skylit air-conditioned venue in the middle of downtown.  It brought together a lot of strangers into a symbiotic space and created interaction, connection and touch among disparate groups of people.  Your day jobs are related but different: architect and professor of game design. How did this collaboration come about and how does it relate to your day jobs?

E: Our collaboration came about a bit unintentionally. I had designed a sport for the Come Out & Play Festival of street games and at the last-minute, I asked Nathalie for help with the final installation. We really enjoyed working together, which led to our first collaborative project: Sixteen Tons, an installation for the Art History of Games Conference in Atlanta.

N: I see our work together within a shared context of design. As an architect I always combined more traditional projects (I’m renovating a house on the Alps) with projects that are related to temporary installations or artworks (I often assist artists in the installation of their projects). Eric also makes a wide variety of games – some more traditional, some more experimental. So working on these large-scale game installations is very much integrated into our ongoing design thinking.

June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

 LU: What was Starry Heavens’ genesis and previous iterations? 

N: The first version of Starry Heavens was commissioned by Kill Screen for an event at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2011. We installed it in the MoMA sculpture garden, in front of a 2-story glass window facade. That version of the project used ten helium-filled meteorological balloons as the “floating” element. We have also shown the work at the Play Publik festival in Berlin and the Playful Arts festival in Den Bosch, Netherlands.

 E: From the start, Starry Heavens was intended for a party or social event. The game design reflects this: there is no start or end to the game, so people can enter and leave as they wish. Starry Heavens works with as few as 6 or 7 people, but it really scales well up to 30 or 40 players at once. We also like the way that the game draws a crowd – people learn by watching and then gradually can decide to enter the game and play.

“The game is a kind of moral fable” – Eric Zimmerman

June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

LU: And the giant white balloon? how did you come up with that? Did you get any feedback on that? Its too bad it was only up a few days. 

N: The idea of a “Starry Heavens” that floats above the players is an important part of the space design. In the past, we used large helium-filled weather balloons for this element. But given that Helium is a non renewable resource, and some of the limitations of using giant helium balloons in the past, we decided on a different approach for the Smithsonian. The white “curve” is a cold air inflated, suspended structure that we designed specifically for the Kogod Courtyard with Erik van Dongen at Air Design and designer Clara Ranenfir. We think it is a good improvement from a technical and space design point of view.

 June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

LU: What was the idea behind the nomenclature: ruler, banish? the kant quote: the moral law within?

E: The title of the project is a reference to Kant’s epitaph: “The starry heavens above, the moral law within.” The game is a kind of moral fable.

The central player – the Ruler – commands all of the other players, telling them how and where to move. These players must work with and against each other to overthrow the Ruler, who stands at the center pulling down the central balloon.

But the Ruler’s desire to reach skyward feels meaningless and absurd, and ultimately distracts from the unruly subjects.

Starry Heavens is a kind of abstract political cartoon in the form of a game.

June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

 LU: How was your experience exhibiting at American Art compared to other productions of your interactive experiences? audience, etc.

 N: In the past, Starry Heavens has generally been played outdoors at night. The Kogod Courtyard, although indoors, has many qualities of an outdoor space. It is an incredibly beautiful setting that had a strong influence on defining the new inflatable element. We are very grateful to the American Art Museum for supporting this new version of the work – they pushed us conceptually and technically to evolve the work to a new place.

E: The audience was also incredibly diverse! We haven’t had a situation with such a great mix of players – young children, college students, older adults – all playing together.

 June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

LU: What is your goal in creating this work?

 N: As designers, we like the idea of responding to a specific space and context. Each time we exhibit Starry Heavens there are new considerations in terms of design, audience, and installation. For me, working with these changing constraints are what keep the project interesting.

E: I love inventing new ways for people to play. Working with Nathalie lets me design games for spaces and contexts where people don’t normally encounter games. And hopefully they interact in ways that would never happen otherwise.


June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

And how does its practice jive with your day job?

 E: We both have independent design practices – making videogames and tabletop games (for me) and designing buildings, furniture, and objects (for Nathalie). The work that we do together is a kind of design research – because there are less commercial constraints, we are freed to do stranger and more unusual work. And we continue to learn from each other on each project we make together.

June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

LU: What are you two working on next, do you have any upcoming events?

E: We are in fact working on a concept for a new project.

N: But that’s not very helpful – sorry! We can’t say too much about it since it is in the very early stages, but… we do know it would take over several rooms of a building and the working title is “Waiting Rooms.” Hopefully there will be more to say in the months to come!

June 27, 2015 - A performance of the kinetic game and art installation,

Fiber Artist Grethe Wittrock Studio Visit: from Denmark to DC

Artist Grethe Witthrock's Northeast Washington Studio. © Susana Raab 2015

Artist Grethe Witthrock’s Northeast Washington Studio.
© Susana Raab 2015

I had the pleasure of photographing Danish fiber artist Grethe Wittrock‘s work in advance of her solo show Grethe Wittrock: Nordic Currents at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts September 12, 2015 – January 31, 2016.

As a photographer, people often make the mistake of thinking the only thing I appreciate and study is photography and documentary photography at that.  Nothing could be further from the truth, I am most inspired by painting, nature, literature and music and appreciate art in all its forms.  I’m also very interested in why people make art, how they sustain their practice, and what inspires them.  I was quite taken with Grethe’s work. She recently moved to DC from Denmark for her husband’s work, and has already set up shop in the fabulous Okie Street artist studios in NE, one of the rapidly changing areas in DC.

Grethe Wittrock's space in the Okie Street artist studios. © Susana Raab 2015

Grethe Wittrock’s space in the Okie Street artist studios.
© Susana Raab 2015

I asked Grethe if she’d do a Q&A in advance of her show, and despite her busy schedule she agreed.

Artist Grethe Witthrock's Northeast Washington Studio. © Susana Raab 2015

Artist Grethe Witthrock’s Northeast Washington Studio.
© Susana Raab 2015

LU: Please tell us a bit about your work.

GW: Over the years, I became fascinated with the interplay of the sea, the sky, the wind, the birds, and the sails. Since Denmark is surrounded by these elements and I walk along the shores, I observed all these things. I wanted to incorporate them in my art. So I created large bird wing sculptures, created in weather beaten used sails, which I cut, painted and sculpted.

LU: Did you always know you wanted to pursue an artistic career; how did that come about?

GW: No, actually I wanted to become an archaeologist, maybe that’s where my love for stones and earth and structures in nature comes from.

I guess I could have chosen to become a ceramicist as well, but ended choosing to apply to get into the textile department at the Danish Design School in Copenhagen back in 1987.

© Susana Raab 2015

© Susana Raab 2015

LU: Why fiber arts? How did working with sailcloth come about?

GW: Because I could work with structures, layers, surface changes and imitate the wonders I saw in nature, for example the lime grass at the coast.

In 2008/2009 I worked for 2 years creating a large expensive gold wall hanging in a small studio next to Empire State Building. The photographer, Finn Føns, a Danish photographer living in New York, took the official photo of the gold wall hanging. When I visited his home, I saw his large photos of the Danish trainee vessel Georg Stage, with its enormous sails.

I immediately got struck by the beauty and rawness of these sails and felt it would be the right medium for me to work in for my next project. I needed a more raw and tough material after the years with extremely fine gold threads and delicate handwork.

Detail: Grethe Wittrock's fiber art. © Susana Raab 2015

Detail: Grethe Wittrock’s fiber art.
© Susana Raab 2015

LU: what is it you hope to achieve through your work?

GW: To succeed in combining rawness with poetry.

Artist Grethe Witthrocke's work in her Northeast Washington Studio. © Susana Raab 2015

Artist Grethe Witthrocke’s work in her Northeast Washington Studio.
© Susana Raab 2015

LU: Your pieces have a beautiful sculptural quality to them – what are your sources of inspiration? sculpture? Painting? books? music?

GW: One of my inspirations is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci ”The Annunciation” where the angel is kneeling in front of the Virgin Mary-and the interesting thing is that the wing of the angel is an anatomic correct imitation of a bird wing. I have had that painting in mind many times when sculpting the bird-wing-sculptures.

LU: How do you find yourself in Washington and how is the exhibit? Are there many spaces for artists back home?

GW: I moved to Washington in January 2015 because my husband got a job as senior advisor on climate and energy at the Danish Embassy, and it was a great chance for me to get closer to the American audience, and a big chance for me to show my work in a museum.

Yes, there are many fine exhibition spaces in Denmark, but the commercial galleries hesitate to take a chance on that area, where they consider my works belong, somewhere between art, craft and design. America is much more open for fiber art, there are a much wider audience and awareness and appreciation of the medium in the states.

Thank you Grethe! I wish you much success for your show! See more of Grethe’s work at

Artist Grethe Witthrocke's work in her Northeast Washington Studio. © Susana Raab 2015

Artist Grethe Witthrocke’s work in her Northeast Washington Studio.
© Susana Raab 2015