Oh, what a year it was…. Fine….. NEXT!

Say goodbye to 2009. And not a moment to soon.

It’s been a wild ride with the new economy firmly in place.
With wretched excess getting forcibly kicked to the curb and the rest of the population firmly ensconced in the best new ways to communicate all of that, it has been a full year.

Since we are all about photography though, lets take a look back on some of the things that made 2009 a standout year for us.

It was no doubt the Year of the App, as we now were able to control our DSLR operations from our phone on the top end, and do multiple image corrections/ stylizing on the other, more snap shot-ty end.
And you didn’t even need a phone. It could all happen from an iPod.

DSLRs with HD became the norm, as the megapixel wars appeared to have ended.
Are photographers videographers, though?
Let’s see how this bubble goes in 2010. Talk about economic stimulus!

Nikon was the first to introduce a camera capable of 102, 400 ISO! The D3s. Seriously, when we were first starting photography, there were the mythical “press” emulsions, with ASA’s of 1600 or 3200, and the push/pull, 2 step developing baths to help you eke out an additional few stops.
And that was black and white!
But 102,400 ISO is like shooting in the dark.
Canon followed with a similar camera, although not full frame, shortly thereafter.

Widely considered by many, THE premiere photographer of the current day, Annie Leibowitz, saw her days of wretched excess get hampered by a huge financial downfall. About 24 million in loans, secured by her current copyrights and photographs yet to be made, were defaulted upon this year.
Lots of messy deals made, and in the end the lenders gave her more time.

Steve McCurry lecturing at the Annenberg Space for Photography © Damon Webster

In Los Angeles, a new photographic crown jewel emerged, in the Annenberg Space for Photography. A unique venue, the first of it’s kind in LA, and free to the public.
Not only an ultra modern technologically advanced showcase space, but also consistently high quality lectures, and workshops from some of the best people working in photography today.

We saw a huge boom in the vanity press market. Why wait for a publisher to accept your work, when you cannot only publish the tome yourself, but you have an online bookstore just waiting to stock it. Blurb.com skyrocketed this year in the field of self-publishing.

On the other side of the coin, many paper magazines ceased to exist, clobbered by the advancing lack of interest in the printed page, and advertisers scrambling to be on-line.
The concept of a career in commercial photography became a much more difficult mountain to climb with less outlets and lowered fees.
At the same time, publishing giant, Hachette Filipacchi sold 2 of the photographic stalwarts in the magazine world, Popular Photography and American Photo to Bonnier Corp.
We’ll see how that fares.

2 Major Exhibits of note this year were the Robert Frank Retrospective at the Metropolitan in NYC, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking book, the Americans; and the Irving Penn: Small Trades exhibit at the Getty in Los Angeles, giving the viewer a unique look at an artists vision through 2 methods of execution. The Getty promise is being fulfilled.

We lost some of the masters this year, but their legacy of work lives in most of our collective visual memories. 5 of them were at the 90 year mark or more, except for Larry Sultan, who just passed away, at the age of 63.
With deep respect, we say goodbye.
Willy Ronis
Irving Penn
Helen Levitt
Julius Schulman
Roy DeCarava
Larry Sultan

The highest price ever paid for a photograph remains the Andreas Gursky 99 Cent II Dyptichon at 3.34 million in 2007.
The fine art world of photography was also not hot this year, not surprisingly.

Photo at right © Janis Krums
Conversely, we may see the first ever camera phone photo win a Pulitzer for the shot of the Hudson River emergency landing.
This photo was twit-pic’d ( sent over twitter) and seen by millions, as a member of the rescue crew approached the scene.

And of course there are those that will say that film is dead. or died. or is dying. Was that this year?
OK, the point is we’ve been hearing it for years. It is still being made. People still use it.
Just not commercially. Get over it.

On the other hand, the Impossible Project announced this year, the return of Polaroid Instant Film.

So, that’s what hit our brains this past year.
What did we miss?
Has to be a bunch of stuff. Comment here and we’ll share with the rest of the group.

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Current Exhibitions

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  • May 12th-Sept 7th
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