Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Current State of the ART Market Series # 12-Women In Photography NYC -Founders and Photographers, Cara Phillips & Amy Elkins

Women In Photography New York City Founders, Amy Elkins & Cara Phillips

This is installment #12 of The State of the Art Market Series . ARTmostfierce had a chance to catch up and ask a few questions to Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips,Photographers and  founders of Women In Photography NYC. Let's see what this talented and quite busy ladies have to say. In addition please see information below regarding the first and new project grant program from WIPNYC.

Photo-Cara Phillips-Ultraviolet #23

Ruben Natal-San Miguel- Can you explain in brief words what WIPNYC is all about?

Amy Elkins/Cara Phillips-Women in photography is an online showcase created by and for female artists working in the photographic medium. It was launched in
June of 2008 and is co-curated by both Cara Phillips and Amy Elkins.
The site is open to submissions on a rolling basis, showcasing
bi-monthly solo shows, group shows and the occasional guest curated

Amy Elkins
Title: Alexander, Brooklyn, NY. 2008

RNSM- What additional criteria other than being of female gender does
WIPNYC look for when selecting featured photographers?

CP- Personally, I respond to submissions that are well crafted. If an
artist can pick 5 images that are strong individually and that can
work together, I will invest the time in looking closer at their work,
statement, and bio. Also, basic rules of politeness are good, as is
including your website and contact info. You would be surprised how
many people do not read the submission guidelines.

As for a curatorial strategy, I would say we look for variety as well
as for quality. Being artists ourselves, we are not so concerned with
our role as "curators" perhaps in the traditional sense. I hope that
the site functions more as an open space to explore the various
methods and aesthetic choices being made by both contemporary and
vintage artists.

AE- We look to the strength of work and the strength in an artists
editing ability. In addition we are looking at subject matter,
concept, originality, approach, etc. We look for diversity on the
site and remain conscious of the genres of work that we are
showcasing. Our curatorial strategy stems from all of these decisions
we are making together. We don’t have traditional curatorial roles,
rather a collaborating role with our artists.

Robin Schwartz
Title:The Tower
Represented by Michael Mazzeo Gallery

RNSM- I like to know what kind of approach and business tactics is WIPNYC
taking with regards the current economic situation?

CP- Well that is the great thing about the web, we have almost no
overhead, and for now, no salaries, so it really does not affect us.
I think it actually provides an opportunity for the site. In a bad
economy, when the cost of mounting a show is so high, we are poised to
be an ideal place to show emerging artists or to show work that has
enormous artistic appeal, but less commercial value.

AE- Being a two-woman operation, things are very simple for us in
terms of maintaining We don’t have to worry about paying
rent, selling art, overhead or salaries. We therefore are freed up to
showcase works without worrying about these things and can take more
risk with the curatorial decisions we are making. Our online
following for the site is quite large and reaches a much broader
audience than a physical space could. This is fantastic for the
artists on the site, especially as more and more editors and gallery
owners have been keeping their eye on wipnyc. This in turn has the
ability to connect artists and the artist community. While our cost
remains next to nothing, our approach is to provide opportunities to
the artists on our site, which in the past has led some of our artists
to getting publications, gallery opportunities and sales as a direct
result of their wipnyc show being seen. Those publications, gallery
opportunities and sales brings money right back into the economy, so
it’s an interesting way to connect back into the physical world.

Erika Larsen
Title:The Flag
represented by REDUX
RNSM-In what sense WIPNYC is being affected by it? Yes? No? and Why?

CP. I think I answered that above

AE- On a personal level, I’m pretty sure both Cara and myself are
feeling the current economic situation as artists. While the site
itself doesn’t feel the strain, our level of multi-tasking during this
economic downturn has definitely been stressful at times. We are both
working next to full time jobs to pay the bills, all-the-while
maintaining our own art careers and trying to make new work. The
level of attention wipnyc takes is equivalent to an unpaid part-time
job. We both absolutely love the project, the site and the way it has
been received and wouldn’t give it up for the world though. It’s
truly a labor of love.

RNSM-Are you currently or in the near future seeking any private
donations? Fundraising events?

AE/CP- We just received a generous donation from Lightside
Photographic Services
and we are currently gearing up to launch our
first grant: The WIPNYC - Lightside Individual Project Grant. One
photographer will be awarded a $3,000 grant to provide funding to
support project costs. We will begin accepting applications on April
1st, 2009 - May 1st, 2009. The application process will be online,
and the grant winner will be announced in June of 2009. An
application link will be posted on the site on or before April 1st.

RNSM- Is a Limited Edition Print program a possibility to be developed as
a good fundraising tool to help spread the visibility of the artists
featured and to help fund the WIPNYC organization?

CP- Well, now that we are launching the grant we are a bit busy at the
moment, but we are definitely interested in expanding the site, in
ways that make sense for our artists and for WIP.
AE- It quite often is a good opportunity to fundraise and bring
awareness to emerging artists and organizations working to showcase
such photographers. And it is a possibility for us, though at the
moment we are not focusing on developing a limited edition program for WIP.

RNSM-Is it always going to remain only as an on line gallery program?

AE/CP- Currently we are happy being an online venue, however, we will
see what the future brings.

RNSM-What kind of contribution and at which level do you think that
WIPNYC can contribute to help endure, support, facilitate, and manage
the featured artists through these tough economic times?

CP- As I mentioned before, because we do not have high overhead, we
can continue to show work that is not necessarily commercially a 'safe
bet.' Also, this year we are excited to reach out into the larger art
community. We are working on some of these ideas now, and hopefully
we will have some of these new projects on the site within the next 6

Alessandra Sanguinetti
Title:The Conjurers

RNSM-Are most of your featured artists considered Emerging Photographers?

CP-No not at all. We have worked very hard to include the work of
women at different stages in their careers. For instance, Nicola Kast
& Naho Kabota are relatively recent graduates, while Lisa Kereszi
received her MFA from Yale in 2000. And some of artists including:
Lisa, Laura Letinsky, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Elinor Carucci and Sally
Gall, are represented by major NY galleries, while some have just
started showing in group exhibitions--others are somewhere in between.
Currently, we are also working with galleries and publishers to show
work in conjunction with physical exhibitions and with book releases.

AE- The definition of ‘emerging’ can be so hard to figure out at
times. Our site focuses on making sure we have a range from emerging
(perhaps fairly unseen photographers) all the way to highly successful
photographers. Even those who have had their taste of success still
have expressed the fact that they still feel uncertain about things at
times. The site for us is a good way of bridging the gaps between all
of the various stages of careers out there, hopefully connecting the
artists with one another and the community.

RNSM- There are several organizations like lets say for example GMHC
(Gay Mens Health Crisis) that started exclusively only to respond to
gay men health needs only, but eventually grew and now caters and
provide services to anybody regardless gender, age, religion etc
etc...Do you think that down the road if that happens to WINPNYC,your
organization will you be open to accommodate and embrace such demand?

CP- That is a good question; currently we have our hands full, and
have more work than we have room to show. And there are so many great
online venues that show a large range of work. Right now, I am not
sure what we could add to that mix by expanding. The internet does one
thing exceedingly well, and that is providing places to discover and
archive information. I like to think of as a long-term
project that hopefully will be a source for research. Because when
you try to search online for many of the great early women
photographers, a great deal of it is missing.

AE- I think, will in the long term, serve an amazing
purpose of archiving a huge range of female artists. I don’t see us
opening the submissions to all genders, as it would go against our
main goal of bringing attention to the works of female photographers.
We have always been open to works by female photographers regardless
of age, religion, race, etc though. There are plenty of other sites,
resources and organizations helping both male and female

RNSM-Lets say if there is a transgender talented photographer or someone
does not identify at all with being a male as gender...Can this person
be considered as a potential feature in WINPNYC if the work fits the
standard program criteria?

AE/CP- Absolutely. If a transgender female artist applies, they will
be considered just like any other female artist.

RNSM-Thank you Cara and Amy for taking time of your busy schedule to be part of this interview series

Photos Below:
Francesca Romeo
Title Billy Keith (left);

Tema Stauffer
Title: Matthew, Main Street, Binghamton, NY, 2008

Contact for both:
Daniel Cooney Fine Art

Please read below the information for the new WIPNYC Lightside Individual Project Grant.

WIPNYC - Lightside Individual Project Grant

Women in Photography, co-founded by Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips in June 2008 to showcase the works of female fine art photographers, is pleased to announce their first project grant, funded by Lightside Photographic Services/ and co-sponsored by LTI. The $3,000 grant award will provide funding to one photographer to support project costs.

GRANT: $3000.00. One grant will be awarded

APPLICATION PROCESS OPENS: Wednesday April 1, 2009 12am
Link to online application will be made available on


Grant announcement will be made at evening event at the National Arts Club, Grand Gallery. There will be a reception for the grant winner and a slideshow presentation of their work. The Grant winner's work will be featured in a online solo showcase opening on 6/16/09.

Applications will be only be accepted from photographers who are at least 18 years old, and who are NOT currently enrolled in any full-time or part-time degree program.

Projects submitted for consideration can be new or ongoing. Applicants should submit no more than one proposal in support for one project.

WIP’s curatorial staff, Amy Elkins & Cara Phillips will review projects for visual & conceptual strength, rigor of purpose, and clarity of stated
project goals.

WIPNY will only accept online submissions.
Applicants must submit exactly five images. Each image must be:

JPEG format
650 pixels wide

Contact Info
BIO (Under 200 words)

**Please direct all grant submission questions to the email address which will be made available as APRIL 1, 2009**

Describe the project in 300 words or less* ( IN PLACE OF ARTISTS STATEMENT)
Please include: Project start date, or in progress staus. Estimated finish date?*
Please provide a detailed list of expenses. Itemize each expense and provide a dollar amount.*
Please list any estimated income or other funding sources.*

Women In Photography
co-curated by Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips
WIPNYC is a Humble Arts Foundation project.

1 comment:

Tema Stauffer said...

Another great interview.

Thank you Cara, Amy and Ruben for your labors of love.