Fine Art Photography Daily

Sound the Alarm


©Clay Lipsky

I’m taking a break from sharing work today as I need to speak to the important consideration that this moment in history is significantly impacting organizations that have worked tirelessly to promote photographers and photography. I am on the board of a number of organizations, so I know first hand how hard it is to keep the doors open, the programming going, and the level of value to the photographer, high. All of the non-profits, in particular, brick and mortar photo centers, museums and photo organizations, are in or will be in a critical state without our support.  Schools and workshops are also in jeopardy. I can’t stress how dire the situation is and institutions that you have counted on may disappear.

The issue is not all from COVID 2019, it also stems from lack of participation from the next generation of photographers, who in dealing with student debt, do not have the funds to participate in portfolio reviews and submissions to exhibition opportunities.

Twenty years ago, when I  started submitting to calls-for-entry, attending portfolio reviews, and becoming active in the photo world, there were limited opportunities. I have watched the photo world expand into an amazing space where photographers can build resumes in a significant way. But that is shifting again–things are changing, galleries and venues are closing, requiring directors to consider new platforms and templates for disseminating information and images.

So what can we do?

First, submit to organizations that have supported photography in a meaningful way. Submit to calls where your entry fee is going to a place that needs to pay the bills, pay the rent, pay a staff, and not to calls where it is a money-maker for the host. If you have time on your hands, start submitting!

Second, donate generously and/or become a member of your favorite organizations, help them through the next months. We need to keep doors open. Here is a list of some of the organizations you should consider.

Third, stay open and flexible in these trying times. Organizations are trying to rethink how to present work without an audience, how to continue forward into uncharted areas. Changes take time, so be patient and understanding.

This period of resetting the norm offers opportunities for creative thinking. If you have suggestions, reach out to your local or favorite photo organization and help with them plan the  future. Your voice counts, as do your dollars.

Thanks for consideration and back to regular programming tomorrow.


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