The Official MIPP Newsletter
FOCALPOINT January 2013
in this issue featured MARTIN AGIUS & Photography Resolutions Tips for 2013!
Issue No. 25
ecently, since it was Christmas I got a tshirt (shown in my portrait) and the words really struck me... ”Dreams never end....” This t-shirt inspired me for my editorial piece which you can read about in the following pages....it’s about resolutions.... you know the drill... a new year, several resolutions which we end up giving up on by the second week of the year....so how can we hold on to our firm belief that this year we can stick through a resolution, at least one? I have no secret formula, however I tried to search on the net and get inspired about some photography tips which can become projects for this new year! On another note, on 12th February 2013 we have the Annual General Meeting and also the elections for the Executive Committee Members. So those of you who wish to run for the Executive Committee are more than welcome to show their interest, and/or nominate a member whom you think is ideal to be in the Executive Committee. Your attendance is also important at the AGM so hope to see you there! Till then I wish you all a gentle start to this new year 2013 and keep tuned to our calendar of events!
Newsletter Team Editor: Therese Debono Design: Therese Debono Articles: Kevin Casha, Sergio Muscat & Therese Debono Editorial Advice: Kevin Casha Contact: email@example.com
CONTENTS pg 3 pg 5 pg 11 pg 15 pg 19 pg 25 pg 26 pg 28
president’s viewpoint sergio’s blog special features member’s article featured panel MIPP Notices upcoming exhibition archives
Throw out the old To Limit or not to Limit Transitions Photography Resolutions Martin’s Girls AGM & Elections Live the Fairytale MIPP Images through the years
sergio is well known for his street photography
as well as his architectural shots, art photography and environmental portraits such as the jazz festival portraits. I picked up one of the images from his Fellowship Panel for the January front cover and here is his take on it. Dance of the Shadows - Valencia, Spain “The summer sun strikes the rails, casting a broken shadow on the stairs below. As they dance, struggling to hug the stairs, the shadows taunt us with a doubt on their origin, and their nature. It all falls into place on realisation of what we’re actually seeing.”
Throw out the old...
ell, so much for the Mayan prediction that the world will end – or was this just a commercial exercise for some opportunists to make some money from churning out documentaries, books, publications and disaster movies on the earth’s impending doom! I am inclined to blame more the latter than the poor, long extinguished Mayans. On the other hand, could it be that the Mayans where referring to the seemingly never ending recession brought on us by bankers and politicians? So we are again at the dawn of another year and wondering what 2013 will bring for all of us. One thing seems a bit certain; unfortunately it will not be an easy year. Like most other lines of work and businesses, photography is faced with seemingly ever increasing challenges. Today everyone has the facility to take images with ease with the iphone becoming another integral tool of the photographer. The move by manufacturers to improve low light technology in their cameras is also enabling us to take “flash less” photography in situations where with analogue we would not even have contemplated. There is also the current proliferation of high quality video in all our SLRs
and, for me; this can be the next real challenge for photographers. Technology has really given us the tools to be creative – we must now really take advantage of these advances and not shun these new tools but exploit them. I am not one who loves video, but I aim to start trying my hand at the accessibility of this medium in our SLRs. I also think that we need to be more conceptual and start asking ourselves why we are shooting the images we are and start looking more at the idea and message we wish to convey with our photography. There are so many subjects that we are neglecting, just waiting out there for us! I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best year possible both in your personal lives as well as in your photography and can I be so bold as to ask you to make a New Year’s resolution? That is to attend as much as possible our events and meetings. It is the only thing we really ask from our members so as to keep motivating ourselves in what can sometimes be a thankless job.
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To Limit or not to Limit continued from previous newsletter......
Forced to Stop Whenever I am asked for a print, I make it a point to take a good look at the work before printing, and if needed, tweak and improve it to my liking. As it happens, it is very rare that I find myself going to print without changing anything. First of all, this makes each print subtly unique, and secondly, in between printing runs, I will inevitably have learnt something new, or just feel that there is a need to give it a slightly different look. It is not the first time that I have totally scrapped my previ-
ous work and started over again. It is a natural process of improvement, and it will never stop as long as I’m around. It is very similar to the approach taken by a darkroom printer. It is true that in a darkroom one is forced to redo the process each time, however in both cases, it all depends on the approach taken by the artist. Some great photographers outsourced their prints to professional custom printers who were able to produce almost identical prints with great dexterity and incredible speed. Others preferred to do it on their own, taking more time and changing styles slightly with each print. None of these approaches is wrong – they are equally valid. Some artists prefer to concentrate on the shooting aspect, outsourcing the work to those who have more experience in the field. Others enjoy the process from start to finish, maybe because they find themselves able to define their artistic expression at each stage. I happen to fall in the latter group. Let us consider the implications of limiting the number of prints, and let us assume that early in an artist’s career, a great photograph is produced, which sells out completely. That artist will be forced to see his/her great work stuck on negative or digital file, locked in time to the last print produced, knowing how much more could be achieved with all the knowledge gained in the successive years of his/her career. Considering both the advancements in printing
and post processing techniques, it is inevitable that better ways of producing a print will emerge regularly. It would very frustrating to be unable to create new prints using those new techniques because that would break the edition limit. I know this from first hand experience since I have a couple of images I am very fond of from a couple of years ago, which I have almost sold out and would not bear to know that at some point I will not be able to create any more prints of these images. Some photographers have over time opted to destroy the original of a photograph, be it the negative or digital file. I can say with absolute certainty that I will never do that. First and foremost, it is a practice which is totally unnatural to the medium. There is no reason whatsoever which justifies the destruction of the original work. If the original were to deteriorate with each subsequent print, such as lithographs I could understand it, but not for photography. Secondly, I know that try as I might, I would not be able to get myself to do it – it would be akin to cutting off a finger or a limb. We all know what a great tragedy the loss of Ansel Adam’s negatives to a darkroom fire was. But that’s an accident, which happens – doing it purposefully is totally another matter. Being forced to stop producing new prints from a photograph is not only a saddening thought for me as the author, but also to the art community in
general, since prints would stop evolving at the point they are sold out, even when new methodology emerges which allows these prints to be improved upon. By keeping an edition open, we know that as long as I’m around (and possibly also after I’m gone), prints can still be produced which reflect the time in which they were produced.
A Choice There are two main points (apart from marketing reasons) for limiting prints. Both are linked. The first one is that by limiting prints, the artist is fuelling the secondary market (i.e. auctions), since once the prints are no longer available directly from the artist they will start selling at auctions, raising the price of the print. While this is a very valid point, I do tend to see some flaws in
“First and foremost, what is the artist gaining through these sales? Nada.“ it. First and foremost, what is the artist gaining through these sales? Nada. The practice is there to fuel speculation and earn money to collectors and auction housed. Fair enough, they need to make a living too, but it’s far more important for the artist to make a living while he/she is alive, since that will trigger even more work from the artist, and that’s what we want from artists after all. True, by selling prints in the sec-
ondary market, the same artist is gathering momentum and can sell prints at higher prices. This is true, but really and truly, how many photographers actually make a prominent appearance in the secondary market in their lifetime? I’d bet even the most venerated of the lot didn’t get there until after their death. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Andreas Gursky. Secondly, I believe there are other ways in which one can improve their asking price without going into the secondary market and gain full benefit out of it. I will get there shortly. The second point is that unlimited prints will struggle to sell in the secondary market even after the artist’s death because there’s loads of them out there, therefore making it a less worthwhile investment. This is certainly untrue. A good print from a great photographer will remain in demand even if there are others around. Case in point, “Moonrise over Hernandez” raised a very respectable $609,600 in 2006, shortly after the artist’s death, and was then superseded by the sale of “Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park” for $722,500 in 2010. I doubt the original purchasers paid that kind of money when they bought them from Ansel Adams. I believe that while artists are alive and producing work, it is they who should be the main beneficiary of the sale of their work. Galleries play an important role in the primary market, and in the
end their role usually benefits the artist’s cause, since they take care of what the artist couldn’t care less about. Art collectors purchase art for various reasons. Those who do it because they like the work will not care about immediate financial gain, while those who do it for investment usually accept the fact that it will most probably bear fruit when the artist stops producing new work, be it photography, painting, sculpture or any other kind of medium. In all this, there are, as always, exceptions. Some artists tend to benefit greatly from secondary markets during their lifetime, and collectors sometimes tend to reap gains from their investment very quickly, however the artists who fall into this
“A good print from a great photographer will remain in demand even if there are others around.” category are few and far between – and even then, I am pretty sure that only a small percentage of these are photographers. The choice here is whether as an artist and photographer I want to put myself in a position which will focus mostly on the primary or secondary market during my lifetime. Being realistic, the likelihood of my work gracing the catalogues of Sotheby’s in my lifetime is not
exactly a given, so in my view it makes more sense to focus on the primary market, endorsing those who purchase my work for love over those who purchase it for investment.
The Bottom Line I have read many essays and participated in numerous discussions about this subject. I have probably heard all possible arguments in favour and against limited editions. Each have got valid arguments, however, I believe that whatever direction artists decide to take should be a personal decision, based on what they believe and what makes them most comfortable with their art and themselves. We should not try to rationalise such decisions, because it would be next to impossible (not to mention incredibly frustrating) to derive a conclusion and take a decision based on these arguments. I now realise that this is why I have not been able to do so beforehand. The moment I realised I don’t really care much about what others might think or what the “market dictates”, the decision came quickly. The bottom line is that while all arguments are valid, decisions are and should be dependent on other factors – personal, artistic, intangible factors. Some of these factors are temporal, and might as well change through an artist’s career – in which case, decisions and attitudes might change. Every artist has the right to choose the direction to take and everyone – artists, galleries
and collectors included – should respect such decisions. Making it “Worth it” One concern faced by collectors, galleries, etc, which I fully understand and respect, is the “investment factor”. Collectors love to feel that they are spending money on something that will increase in value over time. One way in which this can be addressed in open-edition prints is to create pricing tiers. Each print starts at a base price, and as it gets sold, slowly increases in price. For example, the price might increase by 25% after every 5 prints sold. This method addresses numerous factors. Collectors can choose to purchase newer or less popular prints for lower prices, spending less up front and balancing the risk of a print not becoming very popular with the benefit of gaining a much higher return if it does. Alternatively they may choose to purchase prints which have already proven popular, investing more on high value prints which might still increase in price, although less likely than newer prints, but which would already have a proven market value and would most likely sell better if placed on the secondary market in the future. I have decided to adopt this approach since I feel that it best addresses my needs and those of anyone who decides to purchase my work. Each print will be signed, with the print number and printing date at the back. A certificate of authenticity would accompany each print, containing details of the print, printing medium and any other relevant details. In the end, different strategies will inevitably work better for some artists than for others, and it is up to each one of us to take the decision on how best to approach the situation. Whatever we do, it needs to be the best possible solution for us and for those who believe in us enough to buy our work. Anything beyond that is irrelevant. Featured image in this article by Sergio Muscat(FMIPP FSWPP) Follow Sergio here: www.sergiomuscat.com
TRANSITIONS Transitions has been the latest exhibition by Kevin Casha and Ali Bosios....in this article we get a glimpse of both artists from one another’s point of view....and what is this exhibiton really all about! Words by Therese Debono
was looking forward to this exhibition since Kevin mentioned it to me. I was quite interested to find out what Kevin Casha, a photography veteran and Alixandra Bosios a fine art student would have in common or rather what they would both come up with knowing that they are both eccentric in their own ways.... So it came as no surprise really to be faced with the erotic yet very female images from Ali contrasted by Kevin’s street photography ones. Both sets leave you wondering and wanting to know more. Really and truly this is what I really think of Kevin and Ali. Since I met Kevin, and recently Ali, they both leave me wanting to get to know them more. During his speech Kevin explained the reason why they chose the title ‘Transitions’.... “We chose this heading because we both feel that change is important in an artist’s evolvement. Without change there is stagnation, without challenge there is mediocrity, without the will to explore, there is a narrowing of horizons.” Guess you members who have been in this field for a while have also started to notice change in your own work, whether you do this professionally or not. Kevin mentioned how he has become aware and also preoccupied with today’s technology which now is enabling an image to be ficticious. In the earlier days photography was a means of documenting things as they really are, however with evolvement of technology an image has become more easy to bend, twist and turn reality into fiction or rather into what the photographer wants the viewers to believe they are seeing. Kevin’s transition was from depicting the aesthetical beauty of glamour, fashion and advertising photography towards this attraction which is today being termed as Street Photography.
On the other hand Ali courageously manages to give us a glimpse into hidden taboos and is not scared to question tricky subjects like gender identity and the complexities of erotic art. Our traditionally religious culture has at times prohibited and inhibited us from exploring these issues, particularly in public. At this point Kevin stresses out that our society needs more artists like Ali, who are ready to challenge convention not for the sake of being different but for the sake of enabling us to discover ourselves. Ali’s work is an exhibition concerning the female form. In her photographs she attempts to capture the mystery and allure of this world. Perhaps here, the transition element is not so much in Ali’s work but in the attempt at changing the mentality of the spectator. Another interesting thing during the exhibition was that at the beginning and end of the exhibition panels there were two boards. One one there was a brief summary about Ali from Kevin’s point of view and on the other side there was the same thing vice versa. This has really made me stop and read them both and with a smile on my face I couldn’t agree more with Ali when she wrote “When it comes to Kevin Casha, you either love or hate him”. After reading both impressions I came to realise why a combo exhibition made sense for these two artists. Apart from both of them respecting the other there is also a strange admiration and gratitude which make these two artists gel and collaborate together Ali clearly states this bond with her words here “There is an unspeakable bond between us, our love for photography binds us together. He has introduced me to photography in a way I have never thought possible. Cementing a bond which is everlasting. Showing me how to make love through my lens.”
Wheresas Kevin quite enthusiastically refers to Ali like this - “One cannot ignore Ali. She is a walking and living statement of liberty, freedom and yes, perhaps transgression, who is definitely not afraid to be provocative and different. Still, beneath the seemingly tough exterior veneer, beats a heart which is very sensitive and at the same time tolerant, to all that is around her. Controversial? Yes! Original? Yes! Unique? Yes! After a good look at the artists’ work some lovely wine couldn’t go amiss kindly sponsored by Ten Green Bottles. This was truly a great exhibition opening and I hope you managed to visit it.
Photography Resolutions A
the year. The great thing about this project is that you use the camera every day and you can do the project about anything you want. I came across people on Flickr for e.g. who do this project on a specific theme and not only generic. Some go for a particular subject like landscapes, others opted for self portraits. You can decide to do this anyway you wish, as long as it stimulates you I often try to keep at some resolutions I then its great. Another idea is to go rethave made throughout the years, how- ro and use an analogue camera for this ever my one and only resolution which project. worked was pursuing photography. As for the rest.... I just quit on making any The 52 week Project: resolutions, they are just not my thing. This is an alternative to the above, made However there are some cool photog- simpler maybe since one is not commitraphy related resolutions which can ted to post an image a day, however it be quite fun and maybe be interesting can be even more interesting say for e.g., enough to keep one entertained for if you pick a topic a week. One week it longer than a week or two into the new will be long exposures, the following year plus you also get to improve your week can be about any other topic which photography techniques. strikes your mood. You can follow the seasons for instance or you can go as far Scanning a bit the net you come across as recording people’s habits around you. several ideas so let’s get cracking: It’s up to you really, if it is fun for you then it’s a project. fter all the festive cheer and the overload of food and alcohol of the last couple of weeks, January never sparkles much in comparison, so somehow we all set about planning new year’s resolutions just to have something to look forward to, even though we all know that those same resolutions will be chucked out the window a week or so later.
The 365 days Project: This is a common project which can be started on any day of the year as long as one keeps track of the days, however it’s a nice project to start on the first day of
The Photo Blog: This is another interesting project to get into especially if you have the gift of writing to go with your photography talent.
It’s that time of the year when we all try to keep at a resolution. Read on for some photography inspirations to keep at this year’s resolution! sure that you will find a tutorial which suits your needs. So find time to sit through and practice a tutorial every weekend for e.g. It will give you something to look forward to on weekends and also an excuse to go out and shoot The scrapbook Project: This is an alternative to the blog, how- so you have images to edit. ever instead of going online you just do this for yourself and your eyes only. You Get a Mentor: can maybe keep this as a memento for You do not need to sit for a qualification your kids. Those of you who have kids to get a mentor, all you need to have is might decide to record their kid’s years the will to get better at photography. If and put it in a scrapbook, or if your hob- you want that, then get yourself a menby is cooking or cake decorating, why tor who specialises in your genre and get not take photos during the preparation working on your images to go from detill the final step. It is fun and maybe cent to stunning! It’s not bad to get help those of you who are have a partner who when needed, plus a good mentor can grumbles because you are not spending guide you well and still helps you retain much time together....then this is a sim- your style and passion for photography. ple and effective solution for you both. You are spending time together and Sit for a Qualification: both parties are enjoying doing what You know you want to do it, however they are so good at! something always crops up preventing You can choose to blog daily, weekly or maybe monthly, on a topic that inspires you and top it up with a series of images from that day/week/month.
The Photoshop Challenge: On the other hand, you can simply decide to tackle and master Photoshop (or part of it at least) properly. On the net there are ways and means of how you can learn different techniques. It’s simple really to find tutorials, all you have to do is do a thorough search and am
you from committing yourself to just do this. No matter what, there will always be something keeping you from doing this, so the best way to get to it is to simply just go for it. Now during the year in our lectures we always stress how much preparation one needs to sit for a qualification so think ahead and January is a good way to start. First things first get a
mentor and come up with a theme you want to tackle depending which qualification you want to sit for. We are here to help, so ask away!
Participate in Competitions: Whether it’s the MIPP Photographer of the year challenge or any other online competition locally or abroad, just go for it. Competitions are a great way of opening new challenges for you and an excellent way to learn what makes an image ‘competition- worthy’. So get those images and submit, submit submit!
Share: Yes share, share your knowledge and your gear (not to everyone!), however share! By sharing you will be helping others and in the meantime you stand a chance at learning too. There is nothing wrong in sharing nor will you have others ‘stealing your ideas’ if you share. Your ideas remain your own, it just takes you to put your ideas into images that work. So sharing your knowledge, whether its in image editing or simply lending a nifty fifty or contributing with an article to this very same newsletter (hint hint!), you are helping and am sure that you will feel great afterwards, when you see someone improving by simply pointing out a few tips in the right direction!
Dare to Bare: Now this is big, bigger than you imagined maybe but it is not impossible. You got qualified (even if not), you participated in endless competitions (even if not), you know you have a good body of work you would love to share....so why not dare to bare? Why not set up an exhibition? Sounds big, and it is, but it is also fun, and those who have dared, actually loved it and do it over and over again. So get advice from your mentor, get the prints done, maybe a sponsor, a good venue, some vino, send out invites and people will flock around and you end up having a great time too, plus you get the exposure and more contacts. Really and truly its a win win situation if you plan this right. Guess the list of photography resolutions can go on and on right! All you need is the will to do this and take it as a fun experience rather than a dull resolution to stick to! Happy Snapping in 2013! Article by Therese Debono (AMIPP ASWPP)
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martin’s girls In 2011 Martin Agius sat for his Licentiate Exam and did not make it. Last year he came back with a vengeance and not only did he pass but he got his Associateship in Fashion & Glamour! Leaf through these next few images and see the stunning beauties which Martin presented for his exam and a few words of how he approched this genre.
I met Carmin through one of Kevin Casha’s workshops. She is from Venezuela and represented Spain in Miss Bikini placing amongst the top ten in the world. At first I was shy to ask Carmin for a shoot, however at my wife’s insistence I asked and was surprised when she accepted. I did 3 shoots with Carmin and she provided the clothes, make up and hairstyling herself which made things somehow easier.
This page: I met this model because I really insisted on having a model in my panel which was not Caucasian. I met Ingrid when she came to Malta on holiday. She had no modeling experience however that did not keep me back. We worked on this shoot on Carnival day in Mdina, thinking that it will not be crowded however I was wrong because on the day there were over ten other photographers working on shoots. However this shoot went well and this image is the one I chose from this shoot for my panel.
Left: I came across Nora through a website called Model Mayhem. I registered on this website since there are also photographers on it. Soon after Nora contacted me, for a shoot since she was visiting our islands. It was a great shoot and we both really had fun. We already have another planned shoot for when she visits again.
Right: I met Katarzyna through a friend of mine who is also a photographer however he passed her on to me since he does not do model shots! I did not to pass out on a foreign model even though she only had 3 days left in Malta. With the help of another model (Antonella) we managed to get some clothes together and do the shoot within a day I met Katarzyna
Left: When Ian Scicluna and myself started doing photoshoots we contacted Corinna since she was recommended as very professional and easy to work with. We had no idea from where to start and our equipment was limited, however we ended up doing four shoots with her and most of the work was great, thus me having 3 images of her in my panel.
This page: I contacted Sabrina (in black) through Facebook for a photoshoot, however when we met to choose the lingerie from the sponsor, she came with her friend Irene (in red) and they agreed to both pose for me. On the day of the shoot, Ian Scicluna joined me and so we started by using a model each, however as the shoot progressed it turned out that they were very good at posing and were having fun. Towards the end of the shoot, they started fooling around so I did not stop shooting. This image popped in my head and here it is part of the panel!
NOMINATIONS FOR MEMBERS INTERESTED IN STANDING FOR MIPP ELECTION TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: We would like to bring to the attention of those members wishing to stand for election to the MIPP committee that nominations are now open. Closing date for nominations is the 19th of January, 2010. Nomination forms can be obtained from MIPP CEO Charles Calleja and are to be delivered by hand to the CEO. Pertaining Clauses in the current statute are: Clause 2 (d) A member standing for election to the Executive Committee must be proposed and seconded by any two fully paid members. Nomination forms, signed by all three, shall be submitted by no later than two weeks prior to the Annual General Meeting (being held on Feb 2nd), MIPP official sponsors and/or their official representatives cannot apply to stand for election to the Executive Committee but may be opted in as Consultants by a majority vote from the Executive Committee. Clause 2(e) Members may also opt to contest one particular post in the Committee. In this case, the applicant must have been a full member of the MIPP for the last two years prior to that particular AGM. This option must be declared when submitting the nomination form.
AMENDMENTS &/OR ADDITIONS TO MIPP STATUTE: Any Amendments or additions to the current MIPP statute are to be submitted in writing to MIPP CEO Charles Calleja by not later than 2nd January, 2010. Pertaining Clauses in the current statute are: Clause 8 Alterations to this statue shall be subject to a two-thirds majority of the Eligible members present at the Annual General Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting. Fully paid members only may submit Statute amendments to the Executive Committee at least four weeks prior to such meetings.
Live the Fairy tale
A Photography Exhibition by Kerstin Arnemann This January 9th, do not miss out on visiting the exhibition put up by Kerstin Arnemann at Mater Dei. It’s a small collection of images featuring fairytales from her childhood which will surely make us recall our childhood too. “With all the electronic progress I thought to bring back the MAGIC NIGHTS when my mum told me the fairytales before falling asleep. I still remember the joy she gave me, sitting close to my bed and reading the books ..... With this photographic exhibition I hope to motivate young and old people to remember the magic moments fairytales can give us..... and keep them alive.....” At the end of the exhibition all pictures will be donated to Mater Dei Hospital.
from the archives
Featured here are some images highlighting past events and activities helping us to commemorate our eventful history. LEFT: Daniel Cilia, Benny Tufigno and Frank Attard with their 2008 Awards of Recognition
LEFT: Paul Mizzi shows Witold Flak one of the finer points of the Hasselblad in 2008
BELOW LEFT: Jane Connor Sizer during her workshop in 2008 BELOW RIGHT: John Henshall briefing the delegates during the 2008 covention