Lenswork Publishing is best known for its bi-monthly photography magazine, published since 1993. If you haven’t seen it, the publication is different from most photography magazines. Featuring meticulously printed portfolios of photographs in black and white and color, the magazine does not include how-to articles or advertising, but focuses on the creative process and photography as a way of life. Lenswork celebrates 25 years this year with a special anniversary issue, out now.
Lenswork also publishes Seeing in Sixes, a book of six-image photographic projects. The book evolved from publisher Brooks Jensen’s appreciation of haiku, and the six-word story, originated by Ernest Hemingway. The concise formats appealed to Jensen, as they obviously do to many people. Over the years, as Jensen published photographers’ work in Lenswork, he noticed that many portfolios he viewed became repetitive after the 6th image. This led him to wonder if small projects – presentations of work that are more than a single, stand-alone image one sees in a gallery, but less than a lengthy photo essay – might be a particularly satisfying way to see someone’s work. Ultimately he decided that the best vehicle for six-image projects is a high quality book that inspires readers, and so in 2016 Jensen put the word out to the community of Lenswork readers to submit their projects. The response was overwhelming. Seeing in Sixes 2016 was published, followed by a 2017 iteration, and now, Seeing in Sixes 2018.
It’s a pleasure to tell you that my work appears in Seeing in Sixes 2018. The 311-page book includes projects by 50 photographers, in black and white and color. (The projects in the book are only 4% of the entries that were submitted, so I’m very pleased to be included.) I chose to submit six photographs from the series I’ve been working on for several years that explores plant life seen through foggy windows. The project is titled, “At the Conservatory: Transgressing Expectations.”
For the current book, Brooks Jensen and Maureen Gallagher (the co-author) looked for “projects about life rather than about photography.” Other criteria included originality, consistency of style, excellence of craft, and projects that “create their own small world within the limitation of six images only.”
I like the concept of photographic projects. I think distilling a project down to six images is a valuable exercise. Below are six photos of spider webs and lichen strands suspended from twigs and touched by dew or sunlight, made in the last few weeks. They are likely the beginning of a new subject I’ll focus on. I recommend giving the six-image project a try, and when the call for entries for a 2019 Seeing in Sixes is announced sometime next year, submit your photographs! There is so much great work being done, and I bet some of it is yours.
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