Invasion of American Johnny

American Johnny, Oxford, Mississippi, 2007

American Johnny, Oxford, Mississippi, 2007

Here in DC, it’s that time of year, with the inauguration of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and in anticipation of the July 4 festivities, the great harbinger of humanity, the porta-potty is almost as ubiquitous in our fine district as the Jersey barrier. This year the Smithsonian folklife festival features the Mekong River, Northern Ireland, and Virginia. It’s a fun event, with lots of displays and spectacles, both planned and inadvertent, so come on down. The facilities are waiting.

If you need a friend in Washington . . . .

get a dog, Pres. Harry Truman famously said ( a pres. whose approval rating was the lowest in history until the entrance of our current Commander-in-Chief, but I digress). The White House Visitors’ Center is honoring this statement with an exhibit dedicated to presidential dogs. While this may not be the high-art of Wegmanesque puppies amidst flowering geraniums, there will be something for every dog lover at this exhibit which runs through through March 9at the White House Visitor Center, 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Like most good things in DC, it’s free!

Roosevelt’s Fala donates his rubber toys for the war effort.

Roosevelt’s Fala donates his rubber toys for the war effort.

A Friend in Need

Operation AZRA banner

Kudos to Stephanie Sinclair for making the big effort to help one of her subjects. Here is her post on the matter:

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to draw your attention to an online print auction that just started to help Azra Latif, a Pakistani girl I met who was severely disfigured when her brother-in-law threw acid on her face during an argument.

When I met Azra and asked to photograph her, she agreed but said to me, “Everyone photographs me but no one helps.” This is my attempt to prove her wrong, but I need YOUR help to do that!

We are trying to raise money to pay for her and her husband’s transportation costs and three months of housing and living expenses in France, where she will receive several surgeries to help repair her significant injuries graciously donated by the French NGO HumaniTerra. Extra funds will will start a fund to help future victims through the same life-saving process.

Photojournalists from prestigious organizations such as National Geographic, German GEO, the photo agency VII, TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times and more, are donating iconic works in an Exhibition and Online Print Auction to benefit victims of acid burning in Pakistan.

Online auction presented by November Eleven

Begins at 1am EDT June 6, 2007 and closes EDT midnight July 1, 2007

Live event presented by SeenUnSeen and The Bubble Lounge to support the auction June 26th at 7 pm at

The Bubble Lounge 228 W Broadway, New York City, 212.431.3433

In addition to the 20 photos currently for auction on the website – Jim Nachtwey, John Stanmeyer and Jan Grarup will each be donating a print only available for bidding at the Bubble Lounge event. The evening will end with a musical performance by singer Sparlha Swa.

World-renowned photojournalists are donating their favorite images, signed and printed, to raise money for female victims of acid burning and to raise awareness about a fate inflicted on many women in Pakistan. Marked with dishonor, their harsh disfigurement often forces them live in the shadows of every-day life—excluded by family and society.

Initially, the proceeds will help Azra Latif, a Pakistani woman who suffered third-degree acid burns on her face and torso and faces a lifetime of agony as her injuries continue to scar and worsen the longer they remain untreated. Any remaining funds will go towards helping start a fund to help future victims through the same life-saving process.

Items include never before available work by such photographers as The New York Times’ Todd Heisler, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning and very emotional work on the return of deceased soldiers from Iraq will be available for purchase for the first time.

Participating photographers include Lynsey Addario, Samantha Appleton, Andrea Bruce , Marcus Bleasdale, Tamas Dezso , Jessica Dimmock, Balazs Gardi, David Gillanders, David Guttenfelder, Todd Heisler, Lynn Johnson, Ed Kashi , Gary Knight , Antonin Kratochvil, Yuri Kozyrev, Teru Kuwayama, Shaul Schwartz, Stephanie Sinclair, Kadir Van Lohuizen and Ami Vitale.

For more information, please contact .

My Cup Runneth Over

Well, Amy must’ve been right: that bird crapping on me in Madrid was good luck. Just received news that my series from the Holyland Experience will be exhibited at the Noorderlicht Photofestival 2007 in Groningen, The Netherlands. This year’s festival theme is “Acts of Faith.” I take much comfort in the fact that my photos are seeing more of the world than I am.

Simeon’s Corner, The Holyland Experience, Orlando, Florida, 2005

Simeon’s Corner, The Holyland Experience, Orlando, Florida, 2005

Right on Toby Jurovics!

For the third year in a row, I am honored to have made the Photo Review’s annual competition issue. This year’s judge was Toby Jurovics, curator of photography at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. The piece that made it in was a panoramic holga shot of writer William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak, in Oxford, Georgia.

Just to illustrate how subjective photography is, this same body of work, which I was describing to a curator recently, was dubbed, “gimmicky,” sight-unseen mind-you, I was merely using words to describe the photos, when I was rudely interrupted with the G-word. Holga-users take note: when describing the use of a holga to potential curators call it poor-girls Hassy, that may fool them. Now I’m not saying it’s not, and I’m not saying it is gimmicky, but what I would argue to the death is that any photo-technique can be seen as gimmicky, tilt-shift focus, photoshop-added burned-in borders, saturated digital colors, and over-the-top artist statements: pick your poison! Let’s face it the photo scene is rife with gimmicks. Full of P.T. Barnums and naked emperors, we are as bad a lot of mongrels as ever scoured the earth looking for our prey. Shoot for yourself!!!

But I digress, here is my photo, gimmicks and all:

William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, Oxford, MS, 2007

William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, Oxford, MS, 2007

Thank you Toby J., now can we talk acquisition????

Group Show

Going under several nom de guerres, Suzanna Raab, Susanna Raab, and last but not least, Susana Raab, I am featured in this month’s Group Show, an online curatorial masterpiece by the fantastic Humble Arts Foundation.

group show no. 16

18 photos that tread the boundaries of narrative, documentary, landscape and portraiture. From Sean Fader’s digitally altered self-portrait “trying on” nude female figures, to Alexis Pike’s image of a young boy dressed as Davy Crockett playing in front of a faux-landscape interior, these images revisit notions of truth and representation in photography. Contributing photographers also include David Black, Ryan Pfluger, Tim Atherton, Mark Wyse and Susana Raab.

Check it out here.

Best Quote from Modernism Show

Almost forgot to recount the best quote from the Modernism show at the Nattie Gallery:

“Photography will one day suppress and replace all painting!”

-by contributing photographer John Heartfield (b. Germany but changed his name from Heard in reaction to anti-British sentiment in Germany )

I think he was pre-supposing Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop!

BTW, as I’ve stated here before I LOVE painting!  Some of my best friends are painters. And there is NOTHING wrong with painting!