Richard Ehrlich Steps Up to the IRIS Nights Podium

Photographer Richard Ehrlich opened up his IRIS Nights lecture last night by saying that he loved quotes so much that he would incorporate many of them into his presentation. His first quote of the night was a light-hearted one by photographer Elliott Erwitt: "It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby."

Richard stressed that he wanted his lecture to provide him an opportunity to be an advocate for photo manipulation, or rather, photo optimization as he prefers to call it. Tinkering with photos, he said, has been a part of photography since the medium's inception in the 19th Century.

He pointed out that the cannonballs in this photo taken during the Crimean War had been added to the original photo over 150 years ago. A convincing image even by today's standards.

Another favorite quote by Richard is credited to Richard Avedon: "A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth."

Richard talked in depth about the "decisive moment," the point in time that a photographer finds the right image. Learn more about his thoughts on this when his lecture is posted on our website very soon.

He also spoke about recent technological advances with digital cameras, detailing the impressiveness of Femto photography and the amazing Lytro and Red cameras.

One of our favorite quotes of the night was said by none other than the man of the hour himself. Said Richard, "There's nothing like the ability to realize your dream and the imagination than the digital." We couldn't agree more.

Thanks for such a great lecture, Richard! Check back soon to view his lecture online.

You can learn more about Richard on his official website.

All images by Unique for the Space

The Joy Of Living In A Digital World

By Brooke Shaden

When I picked up a camera for the first time it was not to experiment with photography. In fact, I didn't even like photography. Instead it was to very strategically turn my dreams into reality. The first time I picked up a camera I never doubted that I would be able to create my own dream worlds using this tool. To me, this was a fact and that fact has propelled me into creating my own unique worlds.

As most people do, I start with an empty frame in a camera. The possibilities of what I could fill that frame with are endless. I choose not to point my camera at the world around me and click, hoping to get something magical. Instead, I fill the frame with my imagination. I will not take a picture unless the scene in front of my camera is as surreal and whimsical, or dark and mysterious, as what I see in my dreams. My pictures are staged, very much the same way that a painter chooses his subject, composition, color palette and other aesthetic choices before picking up a paint brush. I make these decisions before a camera lands in my hands, often only taking about five pictures per photo shoot. Every detail is pre-conceived before a piece of equipment ever enters the picture. However, every detail could hardly be conceived of in the world of photography without technology. I am a girl of the digital age.

In my image "Running from Wind," I was able to carefully construct the details of the picture. The girls run in front of the camera, both looking back, insinuating that something is chasing them. Every detail speaks to a timeless scene, a world that is unique from our own yet still touches on reality, and a mood that is not of this world. All of this is possible because of the digital age. That picture was created on a very early, foggy morning, just me, a camera, tripod, and my friend. It was created in a day but conceived of for much longer. My dreams are my reality; I know them very intimately. The joy of living in a digital world is that dreams no longer have to be kept inside. They can be turned into new worlds; they can be our reality.

The journey from the moment I picked up my first camera to my current life has been one of rebirth. The technical pieces that I taught myself along the way are irrelevant compared to the way I have changed how I think. No longer do I imagine the world I want to live in, I live in it every day. To part with my camera now would be like saying goodbye to a piece of myself. The two have become woven together and intertwined, and there is no future for me without photography.

Brooke Shaden's photographs seem like little films, complete with character, tension and a lush visual sense that might easily be called cinematography. One of her exhibited photographs was recently selected by director Ron Howard as one of eight photos used to inspire a short film. See her work in Digital Darkroom which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

Mother's Day at The Space

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate Mother's Day at the Space for Photography on Sunday! There was complimentary food and drinks on hand for everyone who came in to celebrate mothers and take in the final days of our current exhibit, Digital Darkroom. Those who stopped in even had the option to have their photo taken (like the adorable one above!) and share it via Facebook, Twitter or just plain old email. We hope everyone had a marvelous time and an outstanding Mother's Day!

The Creative Revolution

By Joel Grimes

It is estimated that in 2009 Flickr hosted over 4 billion photographs and Facebook users uploaded 30 billion images.  This is just the tip of the iceberg with no end in sight. On the video front, YouTube now has over 12 billion views per month.  We are without question in the greatest age of photography since its introduction.  Never in the history of mankind has there been a greater opportunity to experience the creative process, and the ability to share it with the masses. We are in a Creative Revolution.

I often meet people that have only been taking pictures for a few years, and when presented with their work, I am simply blown away. In today's digital capture and manipulation era and with the hyper accelerated pace of learning and sharing, it is possible to accomplish in one or two years what took an average person say, 20 years ago, to accomplish in 10 years.

In 1979 Bob Dylan wrote about a "Slow Train Coming," but in 2011 that train is moving at a high rate of speed.  Miss that train and you will be left behind.  It is a rude awaking for those of us who grew up with Bob Dylan and have dug in our heals, resisting the digital age.

Part of accepting this new digital era is being willing to re-examine the very definition of photography.  If we define photography by the technical process or by the tools used in that process then we are bound and obligated to work within that definition.  A few years ago when I first started doing photographic composites, I received all sorts of criticism stating I was no longer a photographer but had now become an illustrator.  Somehow we had accepted the manipulations done in camera and in the darkroom, but when it came to working in programs like Photoshop, well that was somehow cheating and crossed the line of traditional acceptance.

A few years ago I sat down and asked the question, "from the glass plate process to the new digital process what constant denominator has never changed and will never change in the future?"  The answer is this: the creative process.  In the end, the single greatest dominating unchanging force that drives the photographic process is that it takes an artist to create.  What tools we use should be completely secondary to the creative process.

Once I let go of my preconceived definitions of photography and focused on my exploration and uniqueness as an artist, my work literally took on a whole new life. I was now free to explore the creative process without the restraining boundaries that once kept me in check by the definitions established by others.

Joel Grimes makes his living in commercial photography but has a parallel career in art. Grimes combines an artistic vision with an impressive fluency in the technical aspects of photography, creating images that make viewers see the world anew. See his work in Digital Darkroom which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

'Digital Darkroom' Film Wins Award

Congratulations to Arclight Productions on their recent win at the New Media Film Festival here in Los Angeles. Their film, Digital Darkroom: The Art of 3D won Best in Category for 3D Content. The short documentary film was presented exclusively at the Annenberg Space for Photography's Digital Darkroom exhibition.

The 4th annual New Media Film Festival was held on June 11 & 12, 2013 at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles.

Watch Digital Darkroom: The Art of 3D (in either 3D and 2D!) in its entirety here.

Digital Darkroom Opens At The Space

Digital Darkroom is now open at the Space and last week's opening night gala saw almost all of the photographers gather at the Annenberg Foundation offices above the Photography Space to celebrate. Just before the party, 16 of the 17 artists (Khuong Nguyen was definitely missed!) posed for this once in a lifetime group shot.

After the upstairs festivities, the photographers joined the rest of the revelers downstairs at the Space to enjoy the amazing artwork presented Digital Darkroom, our 8th exhibit.

Here's the show's Pierre Beteille with friend to the Space (and L8S ANGL3ES photographer) Douglas Kirkland and his wife Françoise.

Partygoers learn more about the art by maneuvering the Microsoft Surface tables.

And here's Steve Kochones, whose Arclight Productions produced both the feature film and 3D movie that accompany the exhibit.

Kirkland poses with Digital Darkroom curatorial advisor Russell Brown.

Brown gets silly with 3D artist Mike Pucher. Get your own free 3D glasses at the Space!

Annenberg Foundation Executive Director took to the podium to say a few words just before the presentation of the 3D film.

He was followed by Brown who then introduced...

The Space's Pat Lanza, our Director of Talent and Content.

Time for another group shot of the photographers and a round of applause, just before the start of the film.

Brooke Shaden, whose work is showcased in the show, takes a seat while she and her guests absorb the film for Digital Darkroom.

Ted Grudowski went around the party taking photos - in 3D! Look for those images here very soon.

Claudia Kunin and a partygoer enjoy the gala.

Martine Roch poses in front of her photographs.

Pierre Beteille's images can be very playful - just like him!

Jerry Uelsmann and Russell Brown also get a little silly toward the end of the night.

Everyone loved wearing their 3D glasses - this was the most popular pose of the night! Remember, hang on to your 3D glasses when you visit the Space. We'll have a slew of 3D content for you to look at on The Shot very soon.

Digital Darkroom runs through May 28, 2012! Come see the show soon!

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

Put On Your 3D Glasses...

...Because here is a great in your face group photo of 16 of the 17 artists featured in "Digital Darkroom" (also including Russell Brown and the Space's Pat Lanza) - in 3D! The photo was taken by Ted Grudowski's own 3D camera. We'll have more 3D content on this site very soon so hang on to those 3D glasses you get when you come visit the Space in person!

Click the photo above for a larger image.

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"My Goal Is To Bring A Smile To Peoples' Faces"

By Martine Roch

I've just returned home to France after a trip to Los Angeles for the fantastic opening of Digital Darkroom at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Being part of the stellar group of artists in this exhibit is a great honor. Both Pat Lanza, Director of Talent and Content at the Photography Space, and Russell Brown, curatorial advisor and one of the creators of Photoshop, have done an outstanding job with the show. Pat is a wonderful organizer, and Russell is such a comedian - the camera absolutely loves him, which makes him an entertaining subject in any photo.

The Annenberg crew was very attentive and did a great job making this event special for everyone - the artists as well as visitors to the Space. The Annenberg Foundation held a VIP reception for the artists just before the opening gala. It was fun to clink chilled champagne glasses with my fellow exhibitors and the Annenberg Space for Photography team.  I also had the great privilege of meeting Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor, living legends of American surrealist photography. There were several other Frenchies exhibiting, including Jean-François Rauzier, Pierre Beteille and Jean-Marie Vives, who were also very happy to be part of the special exhibition. We'll meet again, I'm sure! After the bubbly reception, we went downstairs and crossed the esplanade to the Photography Space where the gala's guests awaited us.  What a great evening!

Over the last several months, many of the photographers featured in Digital Darkroom had been filmed for the show's short documentary film, which premiered at the opening gala. It was such a treat to see the finished film, which is an amazing Hollywood-like production. Seeing the artists talk about their work on huge, pin-sharp, high-definition screens really brought them and their work to life! The show also represents artists working in 3D with their own film shown in a special 3D screening room.

Something that caught my eye was the set of two impressive touch sensitive Microsoft Surface tables that featured digital images from the show. The interactive tables looked like oversized iPads, the likes of which I've never encountered before.  They're definitely worth taking the time to play with when you come see the show.

As for the photographs in the show, my ''characters'' are hung in a group together in the gallery, which seems to create a kind of family for them. For those unfamiliar with my work, these are created with friendly animal heads merged with human bodies. I was delighted to hear some people call my images ''unique!''

When creating one of my portraits, I think about the animal's back story. What would this creature say if it were human?  I then try to sum up the image's story with an amusing caption. My goal is to bring a smile to peoples' faces. I've heard various reactions to my work such as:

"It makes my pet special."

"I've never seen my dog this way before! It's too funny."

"My cat is like my baby. Seeing him like this makes me love him even more, if possible!"

"Oh! Now she's looking like my Auntie!"

I hope my work continues to evoke similar reactions from people who see my images in Digital Darkroom and elsewhere!

Street banners promoting the exhibit are peppered all over Los Angeles, and I can tell you that fellow Frenchie, Pierre Beteille, was happily surprised and, yes, quite proud to see his eggs image on streets all over the city!

This was such a wonderful experience and such a magical moment. Digital Darkroom is an impressive show, and I encourage all of you to come see it before it ends in May!

Martine Roch has pursued an artistic style that reflects her love of animals. Her digital creations have become an Internet sensation on the photo-sharing site Flickr, and now, have become available commercially throughout the world on notebooks and postcards. See her work in Digital Darkroom which runs from December 17, 2011 - May 28, 2012.

(Top photo by Pierre Béteille)

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The "Digital Darkroom" Opening - In 3D!

Here's another reason to hang on to the free 3D glasses provided to you when you visit the Space. During last month's opening gala for "Digital Darkroom," Ted Grudowski, whose impressive 3D images are featured in the exhibit, walked around the party with his own 3D camera, snapping images of the artists and partygoers. Ted has kindly provided us those photos and here they are below. Put on those 3D glasses and enjoy!

Pre-opening gala, Ted's fellow "Digital Darkroom" 3D photographer Christopher Schneberger in front of the Photography Space.

The man behind the camera - Ted Grudowski himself!

The legendary Jerry Uelsmann striking a 3D pose.

Maggie Taylor in front of her outstanding digitally manipulated work.

Annenberg Foundation Executive Director addresses the crowd gathered to celebrate the show's opening.

The excited aforementioned crowd!

3D artist Mike Pucher, right, and his proud parents.

Exhibited photographer Martine Roch, who wants to make all of us smile, gives her best 3D pose.

Guests at the gala alongside some Annenberg Foundation folks.

Pierre Beteille strikes a pose toward the end of the night.

Thanks for the images Ted! Be sure to check out other (2D!) photos from the gala we posted shortly after the opening.

(all images by Ted Grudowski)

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