Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Note of Thanks!

Well, we finally all put on our happy face and made nice. From now on we'll all see a more representational proportion of sexes and races as editors, judges, panelists, and reviewers. All delusions aside, I would just like to thank those who gave a damn enough to participate- we even managed to stir that ironically titled Conscientious blogger to finally take notice and move to action. If this ain't deserving of the high end discourse he always pines for concerning this medium we all hold so dear, I don't know what the hell is. And I anxiously await the results of his inquiry.

I can only hope that other highly visible movers and shakers in the medium also take note and do whatever they can to further the cause. No, I'm not talking quotas, tokens or charity considerations. I am talking policies commencing in academia and continuing into the public and private sectors that promote and increase the participation of qualified artists and professionals of color. Really, got nothing against white folk getting their piece of the pie- would just like others to have equal access to their fair share. Aint that what it's always been about? Isn't that why PDN would never, ever dream of posting the photos of a 24 member all male jury in 2009?

I would really like to thank: Benjamin Chesterton of Duckrabbit, if it weren't for him this whole thing would have remained the lone, "paranoid" rantings of a small time,"racist" blogger. Yes folks, you heard right- the white man, once again, saved the day! Or was it just his money? It takes passionate people of good will and sound reason (whatever their color) to see past themselves and into the lives of others. Benjamin- forever in your debt.

Rob Haggart of A Photo Editor, for being such a gracious host and allowing the majority of this much needed, and long overdue discussion to take place on his home turf.

And Jim Johnson of Politics, Theory and Photography for breaking it all down and connecting the dots with such moral and academic zeal and certitude (kinda like having Noam Chomsky on your side)!

This was a nice, albeit small moral victory. One magazine erred big time, and how many even noticed? We've all become so accustomed to having the one minority token thrown in there amongst the sea of white faces that we now just automatically assume he or she is in there somewhere without even looking... and who's gonna be crazy enough to waste their time and bother looking- but another minority.

So the next time you're at a photo review or festival, check out the panel, the speakers, the participants- are they diverse, or the usual sea of white faces? You may want to ask, why or why not? Isn't that we photographers are supposed to do- look, notice, question?

In my original letter to PDN about a year ago concerning their Movers and Shakers edition, I mentioned how little some things had changed in my 35 some years involved in photography. Alex Harsley was the sole African-American photo gallery owner in NYC back then, and dollars to donuts- retains the same "distinctive" title to this day. I'll make sure to look him up when I go back to see my folks there this end of June- and be happy to share a pint with any y'all back home, despite your color (or lack thereof)...


brnyc said...

Alex is still on East 4th Street where he's always been. He has a gallery, yes, but it's his own photography that he often puts on the walls that is worth the trip.

If curators and other photo movers and shakers were looking beyond the latest crop of art school grads, they'd discover Alex's work, an important chronicle of street life in New York--particularly the African American community.

Stan B. said...

Amazing isn't? Major living history right in the freakin' open, and you'd think (at the very least) a major spread in some major publication...