Breaking Ground: Contemporary Photography at the College of William & Mary

Breaking Ground

Breaking Ground: Contemporary Photography at the College of William & Mary

Photographer/s: Aaron Blum, Acacia Johnson, Adam Neese, Alex Leme , Aline Smithson, Alyssa C. Salomon, Amy Elkins, Amy Friend, Andrea Bonisoli Alquati, Angela Bacon-Kidwell, Anne Berry, Anthony Antonellis, Arnaud Teicher, Ashley Kauschinger, Ben Huff, Bill Schwab, Blue Mitchell, Brandon Thibodeaux, Brian Ulrich, Brittany Nelson, Bryan Schutmaat,Bryon Darby, Carla Richmond Coffing, Christa Blackwood, Cig Harvey, Clay Lipsky, Daniel Coburn, Dave Jordano, David Carol, David Emitt Adams, David Goldes, David Hilliard, David Leventi, Elizabeth Mead, Eliza Lamb, Eugene Ellenberg, Euphus Ruth, Frances Denny, Frank Hamrick, Gareth Phillips, Gordon Stettinius, Greer Muldowney, Holly Roberts, Ian C. Bates, Ian van Coller, Jamey Stillings, Jared Ragland, Jason DeMarte, Jay Gould, Jeff Rich, Jennifer Chan, Jennifer McClure, Jess Dugan, Jim Fitts, JK Keller, John Mann, Jonathan Blaustein, Jon Horvath, Joshua Dudley Greer, Justin James Reed, Justin Kimball, Ken Rosenthal, Kevin Strickland, Kyle Ford, Kevin Parent, Lawrence McFarland, Lisa Robinson, Lori Nix , Lori Vrba, Lottie Hedley, Mark Dorf , Mark Klett, Byron Wolfe, Matt Eich, Matt Gamber, Matthew Swarts, Matt Siber, Maude Schuyler Clay, McNair Evans, Meg Griffiths, Michael Tummings, Michele Tecco, Nate Larson & Marni Shindelman, Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick, Nicole Killian, Paula McCartney, Petra Cortright, Polly Chandler, Rachel Jerome Ferraro, Rania Matar, Rebecca Nolan, Rebecca Norris Webb, Richard Bram, Rollin Leonard, Rob McDonald, Robert Sulkin, Ryan Zoghlin, S Gayle Stevens, Sara Macel, Stan Strembicki, Stephanie Shively, Susan Burnstine, Susan Lipper, Susan Worsham, Suzanne Elise, Terri Warpinski , Tim Hyde, Tom Rankin, Walker Pickering, Yoav Friedländer, Zach Nader

Contributor/s: Eliot Dudik, Charles Palermo

Date of publication: 2014

Place of publication: College of William & Mary

Dimensions: 6.5 x 9.25″

Edition size: 1000

Type of binding: Perfect

Type of paper: 80lb. Ubrand Velvet Text

Type of printing: Offset

Number of pages: 126

Number of pictures: 110

Printer: The Prolific Group

Publisher: College of William & Mary

Designer: Nicole Killian

Editor: Eliot Dudik, Charles Palermo, Elizabeth Mead

Language: English

Category: Exhibition Catalog

Summary: On this 175th anniversary of the invention of photography, excitement and anticipation are stirring in the Department of Art & Art History at the College of William & Mary as we prepare to break ground on a new photography program, the first in the College’s long history. This dynamic new offering will engage students in dialog and practice as they study historic through contemporary developments in photography pushing the boundaries of photographic art making in the 21st century.

Inaugurating this celebration, the College has generously furnished the exhibition Breaking Ground: Contemporary Photography at the College of William & Mary, a collection of photographic artworks by 110 national and international artists, and accompanying catalog. The exhibition relays a sense of the vast breadth of contemporary photographic art with prints, handmade books, video art, assemblage, sculptural works, and installation. The possibilities afforded through the amalgamation of traditional and new technology, techniques, and materials are boundless.

The show’s variety is meant to reflect a basic principle of the new photography program – it is a celebration of photography as a liberal art, as an extension of the humanistic and critical discipline of art-making that has always been the foundation of our university. Photography at the College of William and Mary is not solely a technology; it is a vehicle of visual expression with a history of nearly two centuries. Our approach to it will therefore embrace its newest potentials and also grow out of its history, its historical techniques and processes, and its historical achievements, to integrate contemporary and future practices of photographic art at a deep level into William and Mary’s liberal arts tradition. This is what it means to call photography a new way, our newest way, of engaging humanistic thought.

Please join us in celebrating the College of William & Mary’s newest contribution.

Exhibition Details:
October 15-31, 2014
Opening Reception: October 17, 4-7 pm
Alumni Reception: October 18, 10am-12pm

Date and place of birth of photographer/s: International

Website: http://www.wm.edu/as/arthistory/news/breaking-new-ground.php

Donated by: Eliot Dudik

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iPL moves to Yale

iPL Yale

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University recently received, through acquisition and donation, the Indie Photobook Library (iPL), a major collection of photobooks from Larissa Leclair ’03 M.A. The collection includes more than 2,000 photobooks from around the world along with related ephemera, archives of the iPL’s history, and Leclair’s personal collection related to self-publishing.

“We were delighted to work with Larissa to acquire this major archive,” says George Miles, Curator of the Yale Collection of Western Americana at the Beinecke. “These volumes build on an already great strength of the library and will surely be used extensively by scholars and students at Yale and beyond for a long time.”

The iPL focuses on self-published photobooks, imprints independently published and distributed, photography exhibition catalogs, print-on-demand photobooks, artists’ books, zines, photobooks printed on newsprint, limited edition photobooks, non-English language photography books, and more.

“This collection reflects a contemporary movement in publishing,” explains Leclair, who began collecting independently produced photobooks in May 2010, “and it allows for the development of future discourse on trends in self-publishing, the ability to reflect on and compare books in the collection, and for scholarly research to be conducted years, decades, and centuries to come. To have this work now at Yale ensures this legacy.”
Inspired by Wexler’s master class

The catalyst for her collection, Leclair notes, was Yale professor Laura Wexler’s “Photo Memory Workshop” master class at the Beinecke, which focused on Peter Palmquist’s Women in Photography Archive. “He had and his collection will continue to have a big impact on the history of photography specifically relating to women in photography,” said the alumna. “He was one individual collecting independently of an institution, making an impact and shaping history. What he had encapsulated for his collection was what I wanted to do for self-published photobooks.”

“As early as 2005, with photographers Stephen Gill, Rob Hornstra, Jason Fulford, and Alec Soth independently publishing amazing photobooks, there wasn’t a platform for the presentation of self-published titles. So the idea of wishing for a central place to look at self-published photobooks was in my head on the day I saw Peter Palmquist’s collection,” notes Leclair.

The moment spurred her own specific collecting, she says: “I was blown away that a single individual could follow his passion, create a collection, and in the process have an impact on the history of photography. I was not only interested in promoting these kinds of books but most importantly I was very interested in creating an archive for the long-term. So two weeks after that master class, with an idea, one book, and a Facebook page, I founded the indie Photobook Library, a browse-able archive for self-published photobooks.”

For Leclair, placing the iPL at the Beinecke fulfills an aspiration she had from the very beginning. “I always intended that the iPL would one day transfer to an established archive. I wanted it to be preserved and accessible to future photo-bibliophiles long after my lifetime. For the legacy of the photographers and photobooks that collectively make the iPL what it is, I am absolutely thrilled that these artists will be part of the Beinecke’s collecting history.”

[Yale Professor Laura Wexler presented the Larissa Leclair with the 9th Annual Focus Awards' Spotlight Award for far reaching impact in the field of photography, October 2014. (Copyright Griffin Museum of Photography)]

Yale Professor Laura Wexler presented the Larissa Leclair with the 9th Annual Focus Awards’ Spotlight Award for far reaching impact in the field of photography, October 2014. (Copyright Griffin Museum of Photography)
The Beinecke has an renowned collection of 19th century American photographically illustrated books, including such classics as Alexander Gardner’s “Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War,” A.J. Russell’s “Great West Illustrated,” Josiah Whitney & Carleton Watkins’ “The Yosemite Book,” and Ferdinand Hayden’s “Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery,” as well as dozens of other, less well-known examples of the genre.

In the 1920s and 1930s photobooks continued to be a form of artistic expression but also emerged as a major vehicle of social commentary and criticism. The Beinecke holds first editions of such artistic works as Ansel Adams’ “Parmelian Prints of the High Sierra” and Taos Pueblo,” Walker Evans’s “American Photographs,” and Paul Strand’s “Paul Strand.” The Beinecke also boasts a wide range of such politically charged books as Julia Peterkin and Doris Ulman’s collaboration, “Roll Jordan Roll”; James Agee and Walker Evans’ “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” and “Many are Called”; and Evans’s collaboration with Carleton Beals “The Crime of Cuba.” Yale’s library also holds first editions of all the important Farm Security Administration related books featuring work by Dorothea Lange and Margaret Bourke-White among other photographers.

“Robert Franks’ ‘The Americans’ is often seen as ushering in a new kind of photobook,” Miles observes. “We at the Beinecke have both the French (1958) and American (1959) first editions, as well as a complete collection of every book in which Lee Friedlander has ever published a photograph, while the acquisition of Peter Palmquist’s collection of women photographers brought more than 2,200 photobooks by and about women photographers.”

The iPL is particularly interesting in its own right, according to Miles. “While photobooks became more economical with the emergence of photo mechanical reproduction in the 19th century, they still required considerable investment and with the exception of a few very high-end artistic productions, they were commercial ventures that relied on publishers to underwrite production in the hope/expectation of profitable sales.”

However, the early 21st century emergence of digital photography and ink-jet printing dramatically changed the landscape for photographers looking to present their work in book-form. “Photographers can now self-publish their work in ways unimaginable 15 to 20 years ago,” he emphasizes. “They can distribute them through their websites and book fairs. This has allowed photographers to experiment in content and in form: to share images that commercial publishers might have been reluctant to take on, or to play with sequencing and/or narrative strategies.”

Leclair recognized the potential of this transformation when it was in its infancy and cultivated relationships with photographers. She has been a leader in creating this independent archive and identifying artists important to the contemporary movement in self-publishing, all while curating exhibitions and lecturing throughout the United States and in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Australia, the Philippines, and China. The alumna has built an “extraordinarily complete” collection of these books, according to Miles. “The staff at Haas Arts Library and I have been following and collecting photobooks, and when Larissa first approached us, I thought we would have at least half, if not more, of the books in her collection. I was way off. Our searching revealed that we had only around 10% of the collection.”

“Larissa started collecting this material at a critical time, when photographers started to reconsider and experiment with the printed book format through self-publishing,” notes Heather Gendron, director of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale. “A lot of these publications fall outside of typical library acquisition streams, making it a real challenge for librarians to keep up. That’s what makes this Indie Photobook Library so special. On the heels of the reopening of the Beinecke, this broadens the university’s holdings in a very contemporary way.”
“Essential records of human expression”

Miles says that the Beinecke’s growing collection of photobooks, including this new acquisition, complement important creative work across campus collections, such as the Arts Library and galleries, and the curriculum. “These materials in the Indie Photobook Library/Larissa Leclair Collection are essential records of human expression,” he notes, “and the Beinecke works to make sure they are accessible and used by students and scholars through our reading room, classroom visits, and our fellowship programs for graduate students and for visiting postdoctoral scholars.”

Barbara Tannenbaum, curator of photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art has described the Indie Photobook Library as “an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the contemporary photobook.”

The iPL also complements other collections at Yale, Miles adds. “One of the great strengths of the Yale Collection of American Literature are the many examples of poetry and short stories published by small, non-commercial presses throughout the country — ‘Little magazines’ as Pat Willis and Nancy Kuhl call them. They reflect the ways in which American writers have found to share their work. The photobooks in the iPL reflect a similar pattern in the visual arts and scholars will be able to explore and discover how these materials speak to each other and speak to the broader culture.”

Leclair says that the iPL inspired the creation of other independent photobook archives, including the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive; influenced museum photobook exhibitions; and spawned the promotion and celebration of self-published photobooks. “I’m thrilled that the photographers in the iPL who challenged and subsequently shaped the current publishing industry will add to the continuum of printed expression at Yale along with cuneiform tablets, the Gutenberg Bible, Fox Talbot’s ‘Pencil of Nature,’ and works by Robert Frank and Ed Ruscha — adding to that Soth, Fulford, Fujii, de Middel, Galjaard, Cartegena, and Sancari, among many others,” she says.

With the iPL now part of the Beinecke collections, Leclair will promote its use with the library’s curators and collaborate on curriculum. The entity of the iPL is closed to submissions now, existing as a unique look at self-publishing from around 2008 to 2016. Leclair will continue to look at new titles and work directly with museums and libraries to collect self-published titles from around the world, directly connecting collectors and makers and shaping photobook history.

“Ahead of her time, Larissa’s farsighted vision will benefit future generations of photographers and scholars to come,” states Elizabeth Avedon, independent curator and photobook designer.

For more information on the Beinecke Library, visit: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu

Exhibition Catalog for “A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photobooks”

More about the exhibition here, here and here.
Order the book here.
Thank you to Patrick Aguilar of Owl & Tiger Books who did such an outstanding job designing the iPL’s first exhibition catalog!

“…the Indie Photobook Library is fast becoming one of Washington’s more interesting small collections.” – Mark Jenkins, Washington Post Express, November 9, 2011

America in Color

America in Color

Title: America in Color

Photographer/s: Brian Dailey

Contributor/s: Wendy Grossman, Klaus Ottmann

Date of publication: 2013

Grìmsey

Grimsey

Title: Grìmsey

Photographer/s: Cole Barash

Contributor/s: Ian Frisch

Date of publication: 2015

Grays the Mountain Sends (Second Edition)

Grays the Mountain Sends 2

Title: Grays the Mountain Sends (Second Edition)

Photographer/s: Bryan Schutmaat

Date of publication: 2014

Islands of the Blest

Islands of the Blest

Title: Islands of the Blest

Photographer/s: various

Date of publication: 2014

L.A., 1971

LA 1971

Title: L.A., 1971

Photographer/s: Anthony Hernandez

Date of publication: 2014

Transmission

Title: Transmission

Photographer/s: Lucy Helton

Date of publication: 2015

NEWFOTOSCAPES

NewFotoScapes

Title: NEWFOTOSCAPES

Photographer/s: Jonathan Shaw

Contributor/s: Andy Adams, David Campbell, Charlotte Cotton, Donall Curtin & Nathaniel Pitt, Mishka Henner, Francis Hodgson, Dewi Lewis, Stephen Mayes, Katrina Sluis

Date of publication: 2014

Crash

Crash

Title: Crash

Photographer/s: Jonathan Shaw

Contributor/s: Foreword: Stephen Snoddy and Stephen Dutton Essay: Jean Baird

Date of publication: July 2009

(re)collect

recollect

Title: (re)collect

Photographer/s: Jonathan Shaw

Contributor/s: Foreword: Debra Klomp, Essay: Peter Ride, Essay: Jean Baird

Date of publication: 2006