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NYC Photo Community | June 5 - June 12 | Issue No. 38

Something that you feel will find its own form.  - Jack Kerouac

Dancing hand to Crotch at Hurrah Wild Wild West Party
NY, NY, March 1978 by Meryl Meisler (ig)
From book “Purgatory & Paradise SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City” Signed copies available (here)

I was introduced to Meryl's work in the wake of the publication of her book Purgatory & Paradise SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City and fell in love at first sight. The book brilliantly juxtaposes photos of the middle class Jewish community in suburban Massapequa, Long Island, where Meryl grew up, with wild scenes of disco-era New York City in the throes of sexual revolution and liberation.  The images are a uniquely dynamic and life affirming record of an era where the extremes of a Dionysian city and a 'square' suburbs were sometimes closer in spirit and adventure and excess than first appearances might suggest.  The photos also reveal a charming photographer at ease in both of these worlds, and one who clearly put her subjects at ease as well.  Hers is a joyful celebration and warm embrace of people and place.  Looking at them today feels like a healing medicine for the pain of our difficult times. I asked Meryl to tell me more about her start in photography, and the work she loved to make.

The passion for photography is in my genes. My dad Jack Meisler, his brother Al and their father Murray were all avid photographers. It didn’t matter if they ever shared their photos; the act of photography was something they did for pleasure- like humming or whistling a tune. My parents gave me a camera for my 7th birthday. Inspired by the Diane Arbus retrospective at MoMA, I took my 1st photography class in 1973 and began photographing myself, family and friends in Long Island, NY. In 1975, I moved to New York City, continuing to photograph my hometown and the streets of NYC. After working as a freelance illustrator by day, the book Brassaï: The Secret Paris of the 30's was influential as I frequented and photographed the infamous NYC discos, nightclubs and Go Go bars. As a 1978 CETA Artist grant recipient, I created a portfolio of photographs  exploring my Jewish Identity for the American Jewish Congress.  After CETA, I began my 31 year career as a NYC Public School Art Teacher. 

Upon retirement, I started to release large bodies of unseen work in books and exhibits. Throughout my careers and personal life, photographing has been a form of memoir. I’m drawn to photograph people and situations that make me smile, feel bewilderment, seem stereotypical and/or unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. My archive is full of dichotomies and mystery. I’ve barely begun to uncover and understand its depth. 

My first book “A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick” (Bizarre Publishing 2014) sold out. The work featured here is from “Purgatory & Paradise SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City” (Bizarre Publishing 2015). Signed copies are available  Now I’m working on “New York PARADISE LOST Bushwick Era Disco”; it will be a knockout. 

Current or upcoming group exhibits:
Studio 54: Night Magic

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, through November 8, 2020

then at Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, Canada) December 20, 2020—April 11, 2021 

•Pride Marches On, Celebrating 50 Years
Art of Our Century, NY, NY June 26 – July 19, 2020

•From Acid to Ecstasy
Lockwood Gallery, Kingston, NYC, July 4 – August 1, 2020

Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio

Nottingham Contemporary (UK), dates to be rescheduled due to CoVid 19

Meryl Meisler is represented by ClampArt Gallery

Follow Meryl!

Editor's Note

My last encounter with the police was a couple of years ago and of course involved photography. I was visiting my dad in Virginia, and decided to take a long walk through a neighborhood I'd never explored as a kid. As a passionate NYC street photographer, I thought it possible I might find some pictures on these quiet suburban streets as well.  The few people  I encountered outside looked at me with some suspicion as I walked around with my big DSLR, but I just smiled at everyone, kept walking, and didn't really give them a second thought.

I eventually came to some woods, and it looked like I could walk through the woods to get to a big road on the other side.  Google maps showed a short walk, but about a half mile in, and a ways to go, a sudden summer storm blew in with lighting and rain, and me and my camera started to get wet despite the forest canopy.  I saw a big house on a hill up ahead, so I figured I'd walk up there to get back out to the main road and hopefully find shelter. I shielded my camera the best I could under my shirt, walked up to the house, and headed down their surprisingly long driveway to the road. 

Just as I was coming off the driveway, soaked and still hiding my camera under my shirt, the homeowner, a woman, drove up in a big SUV.  She kind of slowed as she started to turn in her driveway, and rolled down her window a crack to ask what I was doing. I knew I looked crazy, so I tried to explain how I got lost and stuck in the storm in the woods.  She directed me back to the main road and I set off walking again. It wasn't more than a few minutes later until a police officer pulled up besides me.  He told me right away that she had called, and really, who wouldn't?  I had clearly been trespassing on her property, had some large object hidden under my soaking shirt, looked pretty disheveled, and was on foot in a neighborhood where everyone drives. I know I scared her. But I showed the officer my camera, explained what happened, gave him my (out of state) drivers license to run, and everything was fine.  He wished me better luck on my next photo expedition. That was it. 

I made some innocent mistakes that day. It is not hard to imagine a black photographer in the same situation not being granted the privileges I drew on as a white man to reassure the officer of my innocence. I reflected on this story as I thought about the cruel murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many more before them at the hands of police or 'concerned neighbors'. These people, these Americans - these fellow human beings were granted no presumption of innocence.

The protests that have now risen up against these injustices in all fifty states and around the world have been inspiring, and the ongoing 'law enforcement' brutality with which they have sometimes been met has been outrageous and sickening.  I'm grateful to all the amateur and professional photographers who have been documenting these events with immense courage. Racism and white supremacy are so deeply embedded in our country.  We were raised in it, it permeates our institutions and economy, and no white person is immune or free from its entrenched presence and privileges.

Sadly in this very medium I love, and celebrate weekly in these newsletters, there is an ugly history replete with examples of photography being used to deliberately prop up and perpetuate systems of racism, bias, and injustice.  

Enough.   We can end this together.  Start with love.  Start with our love for our photography and our photography community, and our desire to make it better and more equitable and inclusive. Start with our love for the people we photograph, and our desire to connect with people and to share this connection with others.  We are photographers.  The word photography literally means 'drawing with light'.  Our tools are our eyes, our hearts, and light.   We can end this darkness.  Stay safe, stay strong, and let's keep snappin' together.  ❤️

James ProchnikJames Prochnik
NYC Photo Community lists public photography events collected from public online sources. ALWAYS verify events and times with venues/venue websites before heading out. Also, please be mindful that some events require pre-registration, tickets, or RSVP to gain entry.  


Tuesday, June 9 and Friday June 12
10x10 Photobooks Present InstaSalons on Instagram Live

If you haven't checked in on this terrific series, you really should!  A very interesting and intimate look into the photobook world you'd never see otherwise. All InstaSalons are at 1pm NYC time. Each salon lasts approximately 40-55 minutes and allows for comments and questions. All #INSTAsalons remain available for 24 hours after the end of the salon on Instagram @10x10photobooks.
Tuesday, June 9, 1pm
Endia Beal, artist & educator, Live from North Carolina. Author of the forthcoming Performance Review.
Friday, June 12, 1pm
Ricardo Báez, book designer, Live from Caracas Discussing some of his recent projects.
More Info: (here)
Tech Needed To Attend: Instagram. Go to @10x10photobooks at 1pm on appointed dates, and click logo/icon to join

Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - SVA 
i3 Photo Lecture: Jon Henry

This is the the most timely, and most important photo talk of the week.  Don't miss it.
"Contemporary photography often veers away from the world and off into escapism and abstraction. Not so with Jon Henry, who is best known for his ongoing project "Stranger Fruit," which comes "in response to the endemic murder of African-American men at the hands of authorities. Henry’s photographs turn to the mothers of the communities, to the women who must endure the senseless loss and carry on."
Date/Time: Tuesday, June 9th, 7:00pm
Zoom link - Click a couple minutes before start time: (here
Tech Needed To Attend: Zoom.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - MOMA
Poet Tess Taylor on Photographer Dorothea Lange

"We are delighted that the poet Tess Taylor will join us to discuss Lange, poetry and photography, using the exhibition Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures and Taylor's remarkable book Last West: Roadsongs for Dorothea Lange as points of departure."
Date/Time: Wednesday, June 10, 5:30pm NYC time
Register to Join talk: (here)
Tech Needed To Attend: Zoom.  

Thursday, June 11, 2020 - Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
Thursday Night Photo Talk with Dominic Bracco II

"Dominic Bracco II is an installation artist, documentary photographer, playwright, author, and journalist. His series of multidisciplinary projects on the U.S. Mexico borderlands earned him a 2016 Tim Hetherington Visionary Award for innovative media, a W. Eugene Smith fellowship, and a National Geographic Society Explorer’s grant. He is also the recipient of multiple Pulitzer Center grants, and a grant from the Chris Hondros Fund. Bracco is also a National Geographic Explorer. His works have been displayed at festivals, galleries and museums around the world, and are part of private and institutional collections including Worcester Art Museum, and theUniversity of Texas at Arlington Center for Southwest Studies; where he holds degrees in Journalism and Spanish literature."
Date/Time:  Thursday, June 11 / 7pm NYC Time
More Info /Register to attend: (here)  (Free - please consider a donation when registering)
Tech Needed To Attend: Zoom.  Meeting Link provided after registering.


David Zwirmer - Philip-Lorca diCorcia 

"David Zwirner is pleased to reopen its Paris gallery with an exhibition of photographs by Philip-Lorca diCorcia. The exhibition will feature images from a series of eleven editorial projects that the artist created for W magazine between 1997 and 2008, including several photographs that have never been exhibited before. In 1997, diCorcia began traveling around the world to produce the photographic essays in collaboration with W magazine's creative director, Dennis Freedman. Depicting his own models as well as people cast on the spot, these images weave together richly loaded narratives and sometimes appear far removed from the fashion industry’s traditional emphasis on formulaic beauty and harmony.."
View Portraits/Learn More: (here)


Support The Organizations You See In This Newsletter!

Do you like all the great talks we list here each week?  Organizations like 10x10 Photobooks, Aperture, ICP, Penumbra, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and so many more?  Well, if you want these organizations to survive the financial pain this Pandemic has caused, help them out if you can.  Take a class. Enter a competition. Make a donation.  Buy a book.  Subscribe to magazine.  These places have really helped us stay engaged with photography over the past few months - we need to help them -  or they won't be there when we're able to get back out in the world. 


ICP Talks: Collaborative Practice (June 17–19)

"Join us for three dynamic lectures on collaborative practices, diving into the synergies between photographs and words, among photographers and their muses, and within collective creation on a global scale. In this session of ICP Talks: Lessons and Insights in Photography, learn from collaborative partners Alex and Rebecca Webb on working collaboratively with image and text, photographers Sheila Pree Bright and Danny Wilcox Frazier on collaboration in community; and Dysturb co-founders Benjamin Petit and Pierre Terdjman on collective collaboration. All lectures are scheduled to take place from 1 to 2 PM EST. Tickets are $35 for general audience and $30 for ICP members and give access to all three lectures.
Dates /Time: June 17, 1-2pm, June 18, 1-2pm, ad June 19, 1-2pm
More Info / Register: (here)

Penumbra Foundation - Online Learning

Penumbra has launched a series of online classes.  Full lineup here.

ICP - International Center of Photography

ICP has developed a full catalog of online classes.  Browse them here.

Self Publish, Be Happy
Contemporary Photography Online Masterclasses

These classes are the best deals out there right now - £10.00 (US$12.72) for a two-hour online class.  I just finished a photobook class series they did in May, and each one was great.   Here's the remaining June schedule (all classes at noon NYC time):
Friday 12 June Contemporary Photography and Fashion with Shonagh Marshall
Friday 19 June Contemporary Photography and Feminism with Carmen Winant
Friday 26 June Contemporary Photography and Technology with Milo Keller
More Info / Register [here]


▪️Elsa Dorfman created enormous 20x24" polaroid portraits from her studio in Cambridge using one of the biggest cameras you'll ever see for thirty years.  Her work and her life were wonderfully profiled in Erroll Morris's film, The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography.  I highly recommend watching the film which is available now on Netflix and other streaming platforms.  She died last week and was remembered in this NY Times Obituary.
▪️Are you an independent photographer documenting the ongoing protests who wants to post your images but not them be used by bad actors to potentially harm yourself or people in the images from information they can obtain from your photograph?  Here's an easy to use browser tool that strips the exif data from your images, and allows you to easily blur faces as well. 
▪️This is an interesting overview of LaToya Ruby Frazier's project, The Geography of Oppression, which documents how the assassination of Martin Luther King led to changes in the physical structure of cities.  


Photographer Michael Wolf had an eye for the quirky and ordinary and the mind of someone who was able to elevate these sometimes mundane subjects into extraordinary fine art through a formal rigor and a keen intelligence.  In this short video (8 minutes) he talked to the Los Angeles Review of Books about some of his most well known projects made in Hong Kong.


Are you interested in how racism can manifest in photography, whether knowingly or unknowingly?  There's a lot to learn.  I'll start with a 1992 essay from Bell Hooks' book Black Looks: Race & Representation called 'Is Paris Burning?' (pdf). It's is a critique of Jenny Livingston's classic movie about Ball Culture, 'Paris is Burning'  The essay is short, 12 pages, but it crackles with energy on every page as it critically examines the movie a gay white woman made about a black and latino lgbtq culture.  If you're a white photographer who makes work in or about black or brown communities, Hooks' questions and critique are a good starting point to interrogate yourself and your work.  In the essay, Hooks' quotes a fellow educator, Patricia Williams, describing an Easter Sunday walking tour she took in Harlem with a group of white folks.  The quote is worth repeating here (emphasis mine):
"What astonished me was that no one had asked the churches if they wanted to be stared at like living museums. I wondered what would happen if a group of blue-jeaned blacks were to walk uninvited Into a synagogue on Passover or Sst. Anthony's of Padua during high mass-just to peer, not pray. My feeling is that such activity would be seen as disrespectful, at the very least. Yet the aspect of disrespect, intrusion, seemed irrelevant to this well- educated, affable group of people. They deflected my observation with comments like ·We just want to look," "No one will mind," and "There's no harm intended.· As well-intentioned as they were, I was left with the impression that no one existed for them who could not be governed by their intentions. While acknowledging the lack of apparent malice in this behavior, I can't help thinking that it is a liability as much as a luxury to live without interaction. To live so completely impervious to one's own impact on others is a fragile privilege, which over time relies not simply on the willingness but on the inability of others-in this case blacks-to make their displeasure heard."


Photography Curatorial Fellowship

Photographer Geoffrey Biddle was featured in issue 36 of the NYC Photo Community Newsletter. He and his family are launching two curatorial fellowships - one around his photography, and one around the work of his late wife, sculptor Mary Ann Unger.  These are well paid positions, and a great opportunity for art and photography curators.  Full info on the positions here.  Deadline June 15. Please spread the word.

Photo Lucida Critical Mass 2020 - Registration Now Open

Critical Mass is an annual online program that makes connections within the photography community. Photographers at any level, from anywhere in the world, submit a portfolio of 10 images.
Through a pre-screening process, the field is narrowed to a group of 200 finalists who go on to have their work viewed and voted on by over 200 esteemed international photography professionals.
From the finalist group, the Top 50 are named and a series of awards are given. In the past, awards have included a monograph award, residency awards, solo show awards, and group show inclusion. Critical Mass 2020 will open in May, and remain open for submissions for about four weeks.
More Information / Apply: (here)
Submission Deadline: June 19th ($60 to enter)

Photoville Fence - Open Call

"This year-round public photography project is an opportunity to have your work seen in 9 major parks and downtowns across North America: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Calgary, Denver, Durham, Houston, Sarasota, Seattle, and Winchester. Photographers of all levels from around the world are invited to submit their work reflecting one of the following themes: People, Streets, Play, Nature, Food, Home, and Creatures.
More Information / Apply: (here)
Submission Deadline: June 11, 2020 ($35 and pay what you can entry) (LAST WEEK TO ENTER)

Photo Emphasis - 'Backtalk - Open Call'

PHOTO-EMPHASIS is pleased to announce BACKTALK, our fifth juried exhibition. We’re looking to exhibit fresh, diverse work by emerging and established artists. What is missing from contemporary photographic discourse? Who is missing from contemporary photographic discourse? Now more than ever, it’s imperative to critically examine the photographic canon, to expand it to include who and what is missing. We want to see work that is irreverent, that challenges authority, and calls bullshit on prevailing notions of what photography is and should be in 2020. BACKTALK, juried by Aaron Turner, will consist of an online exhibition hosted here on the PHOTO-EMPHASIS website, as well as a smaller physical exhibition at The Center for Photographers of Color at the University of Arkansas. The physical exhibition will be scheduled and held at a later date, when it is safe to do so.
More Information / Apply: (here)
Submission Deadline: July 5, 2020 ($5 and a fee waiver for photographers having financial hardship) 

NYC Photo Community Newsletter

We want to feature YOUR work  Follow @nycphotocommunity and tag your photos @nycphotocommunity or #nycphotocommunity to be considered.  If you've enjoyed what you read, please spread the word by sharing this subscription link.  Thanks!

Man in a 3 Piece Suit Dancing Within the Circle at a Wedding
Rockville Centre, NY, March 1976 by Meryl Meisler (ig)
From book “Purgatory & Paradise SASSY ‘70s Suburbia & The City” Signed copies available (here)

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