Editorial: Annanberg Space - Publication: Fabrik Magazine - July 2009 Back to Editorials

The Los Angeles art community has long been a global beacon for fine arts photography- from its stalwart art fair Photo LA through to an assortment of iconic galleries.

A new venue, less bound to the rigors of commerce and with a more philanthropic premise, The Annenberg Space for Photography, offers an innovative cultural destination dedicated to both digital images and print photography by established and emerging artists.  The intimate environment features state-of-the-art, high-definition digital technology as well as traditional prints by some of the world’s most renowned and emerging photographers. The exhibits change three times a year, however the common thread  is exhibiting, rather than selling a exceptional photography.

The Photography Space informs and inspires the public by connecting photographers, philanthropy and the human experience through powerful imagery and stories. It is the first solely photographic cultural destination in the Los Angeles area.

Chief curator Patricia Lanza AKA Talent and Content manager confides,“This is a purist exhibition space. We aren’t driven by salability. Is someone wants to buy, we will refer them to the photographer concerned, but out main concern is exhibiting exciting work.”

“We opened on March 25 and have had phenomenal interest from the public, having had over 15000 people visit the space. Patrciia adds that the Annanbergs real function is that of a  conduit to connect people with  the art of photography.

Testament to this  commitment to facilitate the public’s access is a regular lecture series held at the space, with a lecture series called IRIS NIGHTS. a public program offered free of charge, by reservation online on a first come first serve basis. IRIS NIGHTS brings to life the featured exhibit with hour-long lectures by the photographers featured in the Photography Space exhibits, as well as by other notable guest artists and experts.

 Despite what seems a Los Angeles Times  monopoly, lectures so far have included the likes of  commercial photographer Patrick Ecclesine is a 33-year-old commercial photographer  and  Helen K Garber a fine arts photog.  Times photographers Kirk McCoy and Genaro Molina  recently offered a talk about  the joys of their daily beat .

Later this month  photojournalist Carolyn Cole will offer insights into her world. ,  Cole has spent the past 15 years traveling to distant places to capture the news and bring it to the readers of the Los Angeles Times. She has covered the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Sudan and Liberia, often focusing on victims caught in the crossfire. Her high impact photography, not only informs, but captures the aesthetics of light, color and composition, often under chaotic circumstances.

The Annanberg’s premier show inaugural exhibition of the Annenberg Space for Photography celebrates contemporary photography through works by eight internationally renowned photographers John Baldessari , Carolyn Cole Greg Gorman , Lauren Greenfield,  Lawrence Ho , Douglas Kirkland , Kirk McKoy , Genaro Molina , Catherine Opie , Julius Shulman and Tim Street-Porter
Their work focuses on the complexity and vitality of the city of Los Angeles by featuring different genres of contemporary photographic exploration - architecture, portraiture, photojournalism, and art - with interrelated themes weaving throughout. Through a relationship with the Los Angeles Times,  L8S ANG3LES also featured the work of celebrated Times staff photographers and a selection of archival photographs of the city going back over 100 years.

Julius Shulman and Tim Street-Porter are famous for their focus on both modern and vernacular southern California architecture. Douglas Kirkland and Greg Gorman memorably portray the city's celebrities from the industries for which LA is best known, while Lauren Greenfield's photographs probe the lives of children who "grow up in the shadow of Hollywood." Carolyn Cole's visual reports from international war zones are made for The Los Angeles Times as are the works of Lawrence Ho, Kirk McKoy, and Genaro Molina. Catherine Opie's series "In and Around Home" merges personal and local issues with global perspectives. And John Baldessari adds dry wit to the practice of "nip and tuck" and to "painting" one's face in his most recent series.

June 28 will mark  a return to photojournalism for the space with the second exhibit featuring the work of winning photojournalists and visual editors from Pictures of the Year International (POYi), the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism competition in the world.  The top images are chosen from more than 45,000 global entries. 

Traditionally they were shown on a smaller scale at the University of Missouri at the Missouri School of Journalism.   Now, for the first time ever, after 65 years of success in the Midwest, Pictures of the Year International is moving to Los Angeles, where it will exhibit over 80 prints and thousands of digital selections in its new home at the Annenberg Space for Photography from July 11 to November 2, 2009.
Kicking off this year’s exhibit will be a two-day conference-style event comprised of presentations, discussions and lectures given by the winning photojournalists and visual editors.  Named the 66th Annual Pictures of the Year International Education & Awards Program, this program will take place at the Annenberg Space for Photography on Friday, July 10 and in the Ray Kurtzman Theater at Creative Artists Agency on Saturday, July 11, 2009. The exhibit will be open to the public on Saturday, July 11, 2009.

The full-day program celebrates the work of the award recipients. Presentations by winners include Photographer of the Year Emilio Morenatti, The Associated Press; the World Understanding Award recipient Jakob Carlsen; and the Photo Editing portfolio recipient Angus McDougall, National Geographic; among others.

Some of the award-winning presenters include:
NEWSPAPER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR - Emilio Morenatti, The Associated Press
DOCUMENTARY PROJECT OF THE YEAR - Seth Gitner, Roanoke Times & roanoke.com
GLOBAL VISION AWARD - Balzas Gardi, VII Network 
WORLD UNDERSTANDING AWARD - Jakob Carlsen, Freelance

Again embracing the notion of photography as a documentary tool, Sport, another forthcoming show  set for November observes the work of esteemed Sports photographers Walter Iooss and Neil Leifer"

Running from Early November, 2009 through March, 2010 the work of two of the world’s most preeminent sports photographers come together in this compelling exhibit celebrating the athlete. Iooss is best known for his work seen on the front of Sports Illustrated (his images have been shown on more than 300 covers) as well as for his portraits of famous athletes like Michael Jordan and Ken Griffey, Jr.
Leifer’s work has also been seen on numerous Sports Illustrated covers as well as well in the pages of Time Magazine. Leifer’s love of sports photography started at a young age when, as a boy in New York City, he would gain free admission to Giants games by pushing the wheelchairs of disabled patrons and then use his free ticket and camera to position himself on the field with professional photographers.

Removed from the need to commodify the work it exhibits, The Annanberg’s future shows aim to not only entertain but also educate patrons, offering them valuable insights in to both the technical and creative vision  of photographers on show. Chief curator Patricia Lanza concludes, “by offering lectures and digitally documented interviews with photographers, the public has a greater insight and understanding of their work. Its all about intimacy, where people are connected with  the work on every level.”

Written by Craig Stephens

Back to Editorials