From the project, “Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor." © Benjamin Rasmussen.

Benjamin Rasmussen, a freelance photographer currently based in Denver, Colorado, has spent the past few years pursuing independent documentary projects in locations such as Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor and the Faroe Islands. To make said forays possible, he has taken on commercial work and assignments for clients including The New York Times and The Chronicle for Higher Education.

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Image © Philip Wolmuth

I try to focus my weekly contributions to Daylight Daily on community photography programs, or individual artists who are engaged in community-based projects. Recently, I read an article online from the British Journal of Photography that was written this past June (yes, not very timely, but maybe you missed it too) about the closing of Photoworks Westminster, a community arts group in London that was formed in 1976 (originally formed as the North Paddington Community Darkroom, or NPCD).

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Swimming Hole Salesman - Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust-Norman Rockwell Li

The wonderful show "Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera" has made its way to New York City, via Brooklyn. Of course, it's not a secret that painters and illustrators often use source photographs for their work, but how may of them make those elaborate photographs in a studio set with full lighting, casting and a camera crew? (This is all before the likes of Crewdson, Sherman, Simmons and Wall.) The pictures can stand alone, though they are presented in this exhibition with the painted pieces they ended up becoming. The images remind one of staged Americana in early television, advertising and Speed Graphic new photos of the 50's. A favorite moment is when it is revealed that a person walking was really just one standing still, but with a book propped under part of the foot. Another is when a lively ponytail is held up, not by it's own springy-ness, but by a cute assistant's hand.

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Ron Jude: Emmett

About this time last year, I was visiting my parents in Upstate, NY. I found boxes of 4"x6" prints I had made when I was a teenager. I was surprised at what the images revealed about myself and my attempts at being a good photographer nearly ten years later. I immediately began making piles of photographs. There were flowers, night-scapes, portraits of my siblings, insects, cars, sports, etc. After looking at those pictures for a couple a weeks, I realized that those photographs, the ones that most of us made as kids, contain an strangely clear narrative. The photographs were no longer about what the actual subject was, but linked with the other images, they seemed to explain why I was photographing in the first place.

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"Camera Obscura: View of the Brooklyn Bridge in Bedroom, 2009" © Abelardo Morell

Abelardo Morell’s current New York exhibitions — “The Universe Next Door” at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery and “Groundwork” at Bonni Benrubi Gallery — reinvent conventional photographic landscapes. Using the age-old practice of camera obscura, Morell (b. 1948) casts outside scenes onto interior walls; other times, he sets up a tent, projecting his nearby surroundings onto surfaces ranging from a Brooklyn rooftop to a dried-up plot of Texas desert.

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Wojnarowicz as Rimbaud in NYC

Kudos to NYC's New Museum of Contemporary Art for a last-minute addition to their Winter schedule. In the lobby of the Bowery art space through January 23, 2011 will be the now controversial video "A Fire in my Belly" that was unceremoniously, suddenly removed from view at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. David Wojnarowicz was an artist who used photography and film, and who died of AIDS in 1992. A watered-down 4 minute cut of the original 1987 video was on display and outraged a conservative religious group, the Catholic League, led by Bill Donohue, who threatened the NPG until they relented and censored the piece.

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In conjunction with the exhibition HELP ME: Found Photos from the Collection of Gillian McCain, the Camera Club of New York (CCNY) is hosting a panel discussion about found photography at School of Visual Arts Ampitheater this Tuesday, December 14, at 7 p.m.. Luc Sante, W.M. Hunt, and Leslie Grant, and moderator/co-curator Megan Cump will each present excerpts from their collections of found photographs and related projects while addressing the resonance, subversive possibilities, and relevance of found and vernacular photography, including themes from the HELP ME exhibition. Tuesday, December 14 7pm The School of Visual Arts Amphitheater 209 East 23rd Street (2nd and 3rd Ave), 3rd Floor. HELP ME is on view at CCNY through December 18th. http://www.cameraclubny.org/exhibitions.html

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Voix Pictures out of Zaragoza, Spain follows the traditional model of news photography agency, but aims to serve more than just news outlets. They have (or are attempting to) combine[d] multidisciplinary skill sets in hope of serving a wider client base, all the while keeping in mind their goals as humanist documentary photographers. I recently asked them a few questions:

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From the series, “Lejos de las Urbes, Cerca de la Tierra," by Elizabeth Moreno.

After moving to the U.S. to study photography, Mexico-based photographer Elizabeth Moreno has spent the past two and a half years documenting her birthplace of La Paz, Baja California Sur. During that time, with help from a Jovenes Creadores 2009-2010 Grant (given by FONCA-CONACULTA), she has been able to document the daily life of the ranchero communities in the area. For her efforts toward this burgeoning project, which is titled “Lejos de las Urbes, Cerca de la Tierra,” Ms. Moreno was recently awarded the 2010 Daylight Magazine / CDS Work-in-Process Prize.

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Ellen © Jonathan Traviesa, the 2009 Grant Recipient

The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA) will begin accepting applications January 1, 2011 for the second annual grant of the Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography (MPS Fund). Through the MPS Fund, established in honor of legendary New Orleans photographer Michael P. Smith, NOPA awards one $5,000 grant annually to a Gulf Coast photographer whose work combines artistic excellence and a sustained commitment to a long-term cultural documentary project. Both emerging and established photographers residing in the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are eligible to apply. The subject matter for the proposed project, however, is not limited to the Gulf Coast region. Applications will be accepted from January 1, 2011 to February 28, 2011.

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