Bear Kirkpatrick: Wall Portraits
Coco Martin: Opus Incarnate
Marc Wilson: The Last Stand
Leonardo Fabris: Dance of Vitiligo
“Art is the most intense mode of individualism the world has ever known,” Oscar Wilde said. As time goes by, the photograph brilliantly illustrates this ideal, for it is a path to understanding the world in which we live through the eye of the singular man or woman. As we peruse these photographs, we search for evidence of who we are and how we live, for it is in art that we see ourselves, and it is in art that we pause to reflect.
It is the curator who creates this space of contemplation, cultivating a sanctuary for the body and mind to become one, as our gaze holds us spellbound in quiet, unrelenting hold. It is the curator who creates a mood and guides us along the path, leading us from image to image, as a story unfolds before our eyes. It is the curator who understands the relationship between artist and audience, and creates a lasting connection born of the experience from the work itself.
Julie Grahame has always been on the cutting edge of the medium, with the intuitive ability to understand the future of photography in the present tense. She has recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of aCurator, a website dedicated to photography that is well ahead of its time.
Grahame speaks with The Click about her life in photography. She recalls, “I left school and went to college briefly when I was 16. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing and was thinking about something I could start working in outside of school. I chose photography. It was a bit random. I wanted to work. I didn’t want to carry on studying; school wasn’t the place for me at that time. I remember standing in the career room at college, thinking, ‘Photography. I could do that.’
“I got a job as a photography processor at a one-hour photo shop on a high street. Then I got into further education and had a great time doing a photo course for two years. I wasn’t particularly good but I knew Iwanted to do something in photography professionally. It was 1989 and I ended up at Retna, a photo agency, where I met Michael Putland (well-known music photographer and owner of the company). It was the start of many good things.
“I moved to New York in 1992 with the agency. Michael needed someone to come over and sort out the New York office and I thought it should be me. One of the first thing I did was go to the Time Life archive. I was just 22 years old—still a kid. I didn’t know anything about anything and the archive blew my mind. I was struck by the breadth and depth of the features and how there were few publishers running more than a couple of images of a subject.
“I remember being disappointed that magazines were no longer doing big picture spreads like Life any longer, and that gave me the idea to create a photography-based magazine. When I left Retna in 2006, I started working with ZOOZOOM.
ZOOZOOM was an online fashion magazine that was an early adopter of the digital photography format, coming along years before mobile and desktop technology could adequately support visually-driven content. ZOOZOOM helped to create a vision for digitally produced photographic magazines. As Grahame recalls, “I was out shooting shows, which was like my old life, and getting them up online that same day, which was now my new life. As a full-screen magazine, ZOOZOOM was ahead of its time. It won a Webby Award and was a beautiful platform for photography. It was a fantastic experience and It tipped me over the edge. With the help of web designer (and my husband) Mike Hartley, I started aCurator in 2010.
“In a sense, aCurator’s mission is simply to show more and larger images than average, more depth, and give the photographer a voice. Digital publishing has a lot of advantages. It has wide audience reach and no distribution costs. It allows for the opportunity to view images in large, back-lit format. My long-term relationship[s with photographers made it easy to launch with great content. There is no advertising, which means there are no restrictions on content. Freedom means everything to me. That will never change.
“The opportunity to simply reach untold more people is key. I work with the Estate of Yousuf Karsh; within a year of launching a new website we were receiving as many as 500+ unique visitors every single day (from almost 200 countries) and if there is an exhibition overseas, we see an increase in traffic to the website from that country. For the Estate, being able to monitor visits and what people look at and how long for, has really supported their web-positive approach toward ensuring Karsh’s work endures.
“Now, seeing a Karsh silver print in real life is a whole other thing entirely, but the number of people physically able to do that is minuscule compared to who we can reach online. At the same time, you might also say that some images look better on a computer screen. My feeling is that the web improves and sometimes actually creates the relationship between audience and work—it’s an oppressive ‘optional’ $20 to enter some New York City museums; free to enter a gallery but I know I find galleries in New York among the most uninviting establishments. I will add that I don’t necessarily feel frustrated looking at a small print but I do looking at small images online.
“I like to publish political and controversial work. I like when people tell me, ‘We don’t know anyone else who could publish these photographs.’ I feel like if someone doesn’t unsubscribe from my mailing list each feature, I’m doing something wrong!”
Giles Clarke: Portraits from 2014
Avinandan Sthanpati/Hok Kolorob: Lets Make Some Noise
J A Mortram: David, Small Town Inertia series
Francisco Salgueiro: Portuguese Circus
Justin Borucki: Wet Plate Project