2017 in the Rear View Mirror
The wild ride of 2017 has been a year like none other. As our White House reflects an administration out of control, Mother Nature has simply had enough and is doing her best to make us pay for our sins. As I write this post, the air in California is still sour with smoke, weeks after watching my beautiful state burn it was if the gates of hell were just around the corner. This on the heels of floods and hurricanes and other life changing travesties that have impacted so many in our community. We’ve witnessed more mass shootings this year than one can bear and the result is facing the new reality that we really aren’t safe any where. As we traverse our lives, heads down in our cell phones, we are raising a generation where almost every child suffers from anxiety. These are a few of things that keep me awake at night.
On a bright note, 2017 was the Year of the Woman. The year started off with a remarkable global protest on January 21st, allowing women’s voices to be heard, loud and clear. At the end of 2017, we have watched sexual harassers and abusers fall from power which is an interesting bookend to the charge that started on streets around the world at the beginning of the year. And when I reflect on the place of women in the fine art photography community, the landscape has completely morphed from my early days in photography when all the gate keepers were men. There are more women determining what work hangs on walls and gets promoted than ever before–many photo center and festival directors are women, and more and more women curators are determining what conversations take place on museum walls. There are more women gallerists than ever before and more women are making inroads into publishing. Here’s a toast to making work in a supportive and equal community where all voices are considered no matter of sex, race, or age.
As for 2017 and Lenscratch, I’ll start by thanking our incredible long time staff for their tireless efforts–Grant Gill, Sarah Stankey, Patty Lemke, Julia Bennett, Jonas Yip, Noelle Swan Gilbert, Val Patterson–you are so amazing. We added Katie Harwood as our Marketing Director, Brian Van de Wetering as our Managing Editor, and have had two amazing interns these last 6 months, Daniel McCullough and Daniel Chung, both from MIAD in Milwaukee. Two of our most vital editors are now ensconced in intensive MFA programs, Sarah Stankey and Grant Gill, but they have managed to continue their efforts with Lenscratch, for which I am forever grateful. We have added some new writers to our roster: Dana Stirling, co-founder and editor of Float Magazine, Virginia Wilcox, a recent graduate from the Hartford MFA program, Daniel George, a photographer and educator from Utah, Tara Cronin, a writer and photographer from Hawaii, and coming up, a new monthly series on Collaborators by Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman. A big thank you to Linda Alterwitz, our Art and Science Editor, who has been an incredible support to this site, and thank you to writers Polly Gaillard, Greer Muldowney, Kyler Zeny, Evan Aaron and Ken Weingart for their contributions. And finally thank you to our amazing 2017 States Project Editors for sharing so many wonderful image makers that we would never have discovered on our own: Jess Dugan for Missouri, Rachel Cox for Michigan, Tara Cronin for Hawaii, Amy Jorgensen for Utah, Jay Gould for Maryland, Mariana Vieira for Colorado, Amy Franks Wells for North Carolina, Jon Feinstein for Washington, Lisa Emelah for West Virginia, Meg Griffiths for South Carolina, Ashley Craig for Maine, and Greer Muldowney for Massachusetts. These thank yous remind me that all good things take a village and boy, do we have a wonderful one.
In 2018, we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary and we are excited about the future. We are making a few changes to start off the year where we will only post Monday-Friday, except for weeks when the editor would like more days to share work, like the States Project and Art & Science weeks. This allows us to have a little more time to focus on our own photographic practices. We will also adding a DONATE button to the site, in case anyone wants to support our efforts. After ten years of free content, it would be nice to help the site grow and compensate those who have given a decade of hard work.
And finally, my advice for 2018 is navigate this journey carefully. You don’t have to show up to every party and have a minute-by-minute presence on social media. Don’t give away your precious time, money, and photographs without consideration. Remember, time spent focusing on your work is the most important thing you can do to move your career forward.
Have a fantastic year, let us know what you’d like to see on Lenscratch, what ideas you have, questions you’ve always wanted answered…and hope to see you along the way!
“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.”
— Imogen Cunningham
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