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Photogs / Photo Exhibits This is the place to discuss a particular Photographer (work, style, life, whatever), as well as to post Gallery and Museum Photo Exhibitions and your own impressions of them. As we march on in this new digital world, it is often too easy to forget about the visual importance of the photographic print, as well as their financial importance to the photographer. It is also interesting to remember that some guy named Gene Smith shot with lenses that many lens test reading "never had a picture published in their life" amateurs would turn up their their noses at, as being "unacceptable."

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Inspired Eye published my Coaltown Photos
Old 10-13-2016   #1
giganova
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Inspired Eye published my Coaltown Photos

I'm honored that the Inspired Eye magazine published my "Coal Town" photo series! Please see the Inspired Eye Issue 38. pp 98-119 (or a reduced size PDF file here).

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Old 10-13-2016   #2
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Right pictures in the right place!
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Old 10-13-2016   #3
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That's great! You made a wonderful series, great images, heart-felt. Congratulations!
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Old 10-13-2016   #4
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I like it. Thanks for posting these.

I found your responses to Inspired Eye's interview questions to be interesting as well and provide some context to your photographs.

Poverty has unfortunately been a way of life in those mountains for a very long time and probably predates coal mining. Though it is distressing to see many of these mines close and to see many of these people lose the one source of income they may have, it is one more example of how progress is affecting people.

I also find it somewhat interesting that people get all excited about building an oil pipeline through the US to transport Canadian oil in the interests of the temporary jobs it will provide, but we seem to have totally forgotten the people in these out of the way mountain hamlets who are slowly losing their only way of support.

Interestingly, while the continued use of "dirty fossil fuels" is creating much controversy, it is cheap oil (another dirty fossil fuel) that is destroying coal in this country and I'm not at all certain this is smart. For starters, in many ways oil is just as dirty as coal. While we would all love to see cleaner renewable energy sources, it is certain that we will not be able to deploy enough wind powered generators and solar panels to satisfy our energy needs, even with massive government subsidies.

Thanks for your interesting perspective of Coal Country USA.
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Old 10-13-2016   #5
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Most coal miners blame Obama for all that, of course, even though they are ones that benefit from his health care reform the most

I've been trying to find a wider audience for my coal town project and have contacted around 20 book publishers. Some expressed great interest but they all expected that I cover the printing cost. It's been a very frustrating process so far in getting these pictures out.
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Old 10-13-2016   #6
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Sweet!
Good to see it getting out there. Now I just need to find the time to sit back and take a look at it properly. If it's anything like the shots you posted in your coal town thread, then I can't wait!
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Old 10-13-2016   #7
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Michael -- it's just a small selection of what I have posted in the other thread.
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Old 10-13-2016   #8
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I really like Inspired Eye.

Thanks for sharing the reduced pdf of your spread. I encourage folks to check out Inspired Eye in its entirety, even subscribe. They only publish electronically, but the quality is great.

Stefan, I think we've seen a few of these images in some older threads here. They look great. Great work all around.
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Old 10-13-2016   #9
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beuatiful portraits
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Old 10-13-2016   #10
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Extraordinary photos which I had seen through Inspired Eye. I enjoyed them even more through your link. Thank you so much for your time and effort.
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Old 10-13-2016   #11
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Not to get political but I live in Appalachia and HAD a coal mining client and have done considerable documentary work over decades in coal mining areas. Yes Obama killed many communities in my area. Scott county, Morgan County Tennessee, Bell County Kentucky and several other communities are now sites of extremely high unemployment. Meth production, oxycodone (hillbilly heroin) and other illegal substances have become a serious problem to say the least.

The residents typically have very little education and their only skills were in the coal and oil industry. Often where you find coal you find oil. I was born in a coal town and lived several years in it. I remember even as a child how had life was for folks. The town I came from was known for the worst mining disaster in US history in 1951 when 200 miners were trapped in a mine for a week during Christmas. When the miners were finally reached by rescuers one survived and 199 were dead. This was just too common In coal mning towns.

Sadly those people Obama care was aimed at can't even afford the deductibles to be able to use their health care. Unfortunately black lung kills many of these fine people.

Everyone seems to think the only use for coal is to make electricity. Coal is actually a major source for synthesizing chemicals like acetic acid ( stop bath), white vinegar and the plastic used in soft drink and water bottles. Tennessee Eastman (no longer connected to Kodak) syntgesizes these plastics, acids, industrial chemicals and pharmicuticals including vitamin E from high sulfur coal. Tennessee Eastman has been one of my clients.

Much of the electricity in my area is generated by coal. Coal has become very clean through the use of new high tech scrubbers that remove the majority of the undesirable solids and gasses. Unfortunately politics and misinformation has killed over 200 years of cheap energy and destroyed thousands of jobs and families.

Sorry for the lecture but there's so much wrong information.
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Old 10-13-2016   #12
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The loss of mining jobs started way before Mr. Obama became president. You can now mine more coal with a tenth of the work force it used to take. And mountain topping made that situation even worse.

That said, you did a very good job of showing the desperation of the area without sensationalizing, Stefan. And Inspired Eye was the perfect place to do it. Congratulations.

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Old 10-13-2016   #13
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Having seen your pics here I have to say that this is very well deserved.

Congratulations.
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Old 10-13-2016   #14
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Fantastic!
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Old 10-13-2016   #15
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Thanks for your kind words, which mean a lot to me!

I need your collective help with this: how can I bring this project to the next level, get a book published and/or a gallery to show my work? I got tons of photos, the ones in Inspired Eye are just the tip of the iceberg. I sent about 20 book publishers an expose and bio, some have expressed interest, but they all expect that I would cover the printing costs myself.

Shall I keep submitting to book publishers or is this a futile exercise?
Shall I approach a non-profit sponsor (e.g. a university press) so I'm eligible to submit grant proposals to finance a book?
Is self-publishing my best option?
Shall I submit to competitions/salons?
Shall I just walk into galleries, slap my portfolio on the desk and ask if they are interested?

Having never published or submitted my work before, where do I go from here??

Thanks!
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Old 10-13-2016   #16
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BTW, I give you guys all the credit for my work: I only became serious about photography last year when I accidentally stumbled across RFF and saw the amazing photos that you guys post here every day! So I thought I'll give it a try, jumped right into it and bought a rangefinder camera that is as old as I am. I will never forget the look on my wife's face when she saw me load my first roll of b&w film -- in an age where mirrorless and cell phone photography is king!
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Old 10-13-2016   #17
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Excellent work, and I enjoyed reading your interview questions. Kudos.
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Old 10-13-2016   #18
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Wonderful, Congratulations !
I very much Enjoyed your Photos and Dialogue....

My only thought and please understand it's just my 'Eye' , purely subjective
Quite a number of the Photos were just a tad too 'overprocessed' in look....
Works Fine for depicting the Gritty, and harsh circumstances but I thought it lost a bit of edge regarding the human quality in the portraits /faces


Otherwise Well Done, keep going . !!
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Old 10-13-2016   #19
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I recently read a book by Steve Simon who described his disappointment trying to get his project published (it was 911 themed). He submitted his project to many publishers and was rejected by them all. They usually said his photos were good, but they didn't want to publish the book for any variety of reason. Eventually he had a turn of luck (can't remember the details) at least a year (or more) later and the book was finally published. The moral of his story: don't give up so easily, even after lots (LOTS) of rejections. If you know the work is good and you've gone through the steps to have confidence in that assertion, its worth continuing the attempt to get it out there.

You have reason to believe your work is good. I think this thread is evidence of that. Being published in Inspired Eye is another. And so on....

Sounds cheesy I know, but you're bound to have success in one way or another. I dated the daughter of a gallery owner -- worked for me, might work for you too?
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Old 10-14-2016   #20
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Hi Helen --

Thanks for your "overprocessing" comment! You'd be surprised how little post processing is actually going on, but I'll keep your concern in mind when I edit future scans.
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Old 10-14-2016   #21
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The "overprocessing" might be an artifact of scanning. These are film images, right?

My scanner tends to emphasize film grain, especially negs that are "grainy" already, such as Tri-X. I don't remember the exact reason why, but its a known phenomenon -- possibly related to the resolution of the scanner.
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Old 10-14-2016   #22
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Stefan,

Congrates on publishing your work. My suggestion is to springboard off your most recent success and mention how this most recent publication is only part of a much larger body of work to anyone you solicite.

Also be aware that it is your own best interest to be ready as possible by editing your archive to chapters, segments and into a full blown book. This is work that you can do without a publisher to be prepared if you get a break.

One fact that I think is very-very important, and to me this is very disturbing: The U.S. has the largest reserves of coal in the world and basically we are the Saudi Arabia of coal. Two questions come to mind that make no sense to me and our future: why is/was coal abandoned?; and why were these people abandoned? Think of these two questions when editing your book. Makes no sense to me for us to throw away people and also an important resource.

Aperture is a Foundation here in NYC that promotes photography in the form of books. I suggest contacting them and pitching your work.

Good luck

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Old 10-14-2016   #23
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Great suggestions, Cal!

From what I read, the only gateway into an Aperture publication is by winning one of their competitions. I'll look into it.
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Old 10-14-2016   #24
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Great story. Really enjoyed the photos and interview..
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Old 10-14-2016   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
Great suggestions, Cal!

From what I read, the only gateway into an Aperture publication is by winning one of their competitions. I'll look into it.
Stefan,

That is one way, but I have seen too many books published at aperture to think that is the only way.

Your work has the social hook that if presented properly to the right person, editor, or publisher would be a compelling book.

Sometimes the work as photographs for exhibition becomes a book. This is another alternative. Do you have prints that are "exhibition" prints?

I saw one compelling show of schoolyards around the world at Aperture. The photos were large color prints, and it was a rather big show, but the book I had to purchase for some NYC teachers that are a married couple that both teach in the Bronx.

Anyways the schoolyards were the vehicle to show the disparity of wealth and privelage around the world. One school in India was once a Palace, another school in rural India for girls that were the first to be educated. Somehow the photographer was able to convey a powerful narrative that told a compelling story of the powerful and the powerless limiting a school's playground to capture the political, social, and cultural backgrounds that depicted vast disparity.

Also coal as an energy source and a resource is very complicated. What could be really important is to bone up, do research on the topic, and have extensive knowledge in your back pocket.

I live in NYC, a shooter's paradise for both street and landscape. I for one have done a lot of research on the locations, neiborhoods and history. I try not to be a tourist and try to really understand why things are the way they are.

I have shot a lot around Newtown Creek which geographically separates Brooklyn and Queens. It extends 4 1/2 miles into Long Island and raw sewage was first dumped there in 1853. It is one of the most polluted waterways in the U.S., but only in 1973 was it labeled a Superfund Site. Over the decades oil has spilled into the groundwater, and it is estimated that an oil spill three times the size of the Exxon Valdez accumulated over the decades. In the summer you can actually smell the oil...

Anyways all this information helps you get your book published and makes your work more important. I think many a time deals are not made because really people get ahead of themselves and really need to do everything they can do working alone. I think being prepared makes publishing your book more likely. Let the work continue.

Cal
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