Various and Sundry, Friday the 13th Edition

"Montpelier #1", Copyright Jim Nickelson. Courtesy Montpelier.
“Montpelier #1”, Copyright Jim Nickelson. Courtesy Montpelier.

I realized that there are a whole slew of subjects I wanted to talk about in September that relate to the art and photography world, so I decided it was time for another Various & Sundry post. I’ll cover some online and free resources as well as new and controversial decisions/offers by Adobe, Apple, and Facebook.

VoxPhotographs and Maine Photography Shows

First up is a great resource on current and upcoming photography shows by Heather Frederick of VoxPhotographs. Her blog is always full of insightful posts, but her ongoing posts on upcoming photography shows in Maine and beyond are particularly useful. The exhibition reviews are excellent, too, like this one of the current Olive Pierce show at Portland’s PhoPa gallery and this one posted today about Cig Harvey’s new show at Dowling Walsh in Rockland.

And speaking of photography exhibition reviews, check out this excellent review by Daniel Kany of the similarly excellent show at CMCA/Maine Media Mentors show. This show is only up until September 22nd and is the photographic must-see of the year here in Maine, in my opinion.

Lenscratch 2.0

Aline Smithson’s essential Lenscratch website has been totally reborn as a broader platform and resource for fine art photography. You can read her thoughts on the change here. I’ve always found the site to be an essential resource for finding new quality work and she has now added many other resources such as information on portfolio reviews, calls for entries, and free online exhibitions. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in fine art photography.

Adobe Offers a Good Thing in an Annoying Fashion

Adobe has just announced a modification to their new (and controversial) Creative Cloud subscriptions that will be of interest to many photographers. Now they are offering a combined Lightroom/Photoshop subscription for only $9.99/month, which I think is a perfect solution for many photographers. They claim that is the forever price but I suspect they mean that it is not an introductory price. Adobe continues to be ham-handed on their marketing of this, though, and it is annoyingly only available to people who own a license to Photoshop CS3 and above and who sign up by December 31 — but is not available to people who licensed the Creative Suites or to current Lightroom-only users.

So, essentially, the people who have been Adobe’s biggest customers are not eligible. And, amazingly, there is no way to sign up for this package at any price if you aren’t someone who owned a previous version of Photoshop — if you are a Lightroom user who wants to move up to Photoshop also, or someone who wants to downsize from the Creative Suite, you are out of luck. I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually offered this to everyone at a higher price, but for now it is limited. I’m assuming Adobe will figure out at some point a somewhat consistent message on this Creative Cloud subscription service, but for now it remains a confusing mess.

Amazon Art

A little while back Amazon, the ubiquitous retailer, moved into the fine art market in a collaboration with 150 or so galleries with a new storefront called Amazon Art. You can find artwork, including photography, at all sorts of price prints, ranging from a $4.85 million dollar Normal Rockwell (free shipping for Prime members!) to $50 C-print photographs. The fact that such expensive pieces are available and the fact that Amazon Art works for the consumer just like browsing and buying anything else on Amazon leads to all kinds of hilarious reviews and incongruities. I doubt anyone will buy the expensive art from Amazon because of lack of provenance, information about condition, or the fact that one’s credit card limit is usually less than $4 million. I suspect, though, that they are hoping such pieces have a halo effect on the whole business and make it more likely for people to buy, say, a $500 piece.

The conventional art market could certainly use a bit of shake-up and I’m definitely curious how this develops. One way they could extend this down the road would be to allow individual artists to have Amazon “stores” where they sell directly to purchasers and collectors. Now THAT would certainly be of interest to many who would like to piggy-back on Amazon’s e-commerce platform.

Facebook Terms of Service

Facebook has always been the target of criticism for their policies and their latest changes continue that tradition. Facebook basically is saying they can use your information and content that you provide to them however they would like and without compensation to you. I’m glad organizations such as the ASMP continue to fight these changes, but I don’t see these changes as dramatically different than what was there before.

If you are using a free social media platform, you are paying for it by providing them with information, whether it be by uploading a photo or them detecting what you like and don’t like. Monetization of your information is their goal. I agree with Jim Goldstein’s excellent post that if you use services like Facebook (or G+, or Flickr, or Twitter, or whatever) you have basically already given up these rights. It is up to each of us to decide for themselves whether the benefits of using Facebook for personal and/or business use is worth giving up these rights.

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