What's Next? is a project by Foam Photography Museum
In 2011, Foam did its best to look into the crystal ball....
In 2011, Foam did its best to look into the crystal ball. We
asked a lot of questions about the future of the image, visual
culture, even the future of Foam itself. 'What's Next?' has been a
constant in our day to day lives, so it would be a shame for
that investigation now to slip into the background of our
collective consciousness. Even though our tenth anniversary project
is now coming to a close, the issues are just as relevant in 2012
they were in 2011.
Last week I met a group of students from the University of
Applied Sciences in Bielefeld, Germany, to talk about how we
could maintain that discussion and perhaps make it more meaningful
to a new generation of photographers. With so many forums and
sharing platforms, how do we add value to what is already out
there? The students were clear they would be more comfortable
dealing with personal practice or ideas rather than make pure
predictions or speculate about the big questions. With this in
mind, we are now looking to adapt the online part of What's Next?
so we can improve and build on the results that have been achieved
over the last twelve months.
We'll keep you posted about developments, but if you have your
own ideas about where you would like to see this project go from
here, let us know by leaving your comments in the 'Are You Next?'
Nadim Asfar was born in 1976 in Beirut, were he still lives and
works. He received a BA in Cinema Studies from the Academie
Libanaise des Beax Arts and 2001 and completed a masters in
Photography in 2003 at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumière
in Paris. Nadim Asfar's work has been shown in several group
exhibitions such as Présence that toured to the Institut du Monde
Arabe, Paris and Centro de Arte Contemporaneo in Sevilla among
other venues between 2006 and 2007. He was included in the
collective exhibition of Lebanese artists, 'All about Beirut',
organized by Galerie Tanit and White Box Kunsthalle in
Nadim Asfar makes videos, among which the short movie Print (1) was
presented at several festivals including the Cinemaeast Film
Festival at the Independent Film Center in New York. His video,
'Everyday Madonna' was selected to be in international competition
at the Festival International du Documentaire, Marseille and at the
Curtacinema Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro. Nadim Asfar is
represented by Tanit Galerie in Munich.
Mirthe Berentsen is a Dutch, Berlin-based writer and critic. She
contributes to several magazines and newspapers, such as de Groene
Amsterdammer, VPRO, NRC Handelsblad, Mister Motley and Kunstbeeld,
as well as to individual artist's publications and projects. She is
currently working on her neverending book and a research project at
the Freie Universitat Berlin and the Universiteit van Amsterdam in
which she researches the imagology of nationalities in translated
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin have collaborated for over a
decade during which time they have exhibited widely and have
produced six monographs which all test the limits of documentary
photography: Trust, Ghetto, Mr Mkhize's Portrait, Chicago, Fig and
The Red House. Their next book, So This Is Life, a collaboration
with the writer John Berger, is published in the spring of 2010.
Their latest project Afterlife, is an investigation and a
de-construction of an iconic image taken in 1979 that came to
define a moment in both Iranian and photographic history.
Dr. Jörg M. Colberg was born in Germany in 1968. He studied
physics/astrophysics at the universities of Bonn and Munich and
moved to the US in early 2000. Jörg is the editor of the blog
'Conscientious', one of the most widely read and popular blogs
dedicated to contemporary fine-art photography. He is a faculty
member of the international low-residency MFA program at the
University of Hartford, Art School; he has organized successful
gallery shows (most recently 'Bare' at Michael Mazzeo Gallery), and
he has been writing for photography magazines nationally and
Constant Dullaart born in 1979 in the Netherlands, is a
Berlin-based artist/curator who works primarily on and with the
world wide web. During his residency at the Rijksakademie in
Amsterdam he curated several events in the surrounding city, such
as the periodically held Lost and Found evenings (with his final
event in the New Museum, NYC), Contemporary Semantics Beta in Arti
et Amicitiae, and Versions in NIMk (Netherlands Media Art
Institute). His work is shown internationally in places such as the
Centre Pompidou in Paris, Art in General and MWNM galleries in New
York, the ICA in London, and NIMk, de Appel, W139, the Stedelijk
Museum, Ellen de Bruijne projects, and Gallery West in the
Netherlands. Dullaart lives/works in Berlin and Amsterdam.
Lidewij Edelkoort (b.1950, The Netherlands) studied fashion and
design at the School of Fine Arts in Arnhem, and upon graduation
became a trend forecaster at the leading Dutch department store, De
Bijenkorf. There she discovered her talent for sensing upcoming
trends and her unique ability to predict what consumers would want
to buy several seasons ahead of time. This brought her to Paris in
1975, working first as an independent trend consultant and soon
creating Trend Union. Li has received continual recognition for her
work in providing inspirational stimulus and fostering creative
talent. In 2003, TIME magazine named her as one of the world's 25
most influential people in fashion.
Joan Fontcuberta (b. 1955, Barcelona) has had his work exhibited
globally, amongst others in the MoMA in New York and the Art
Institute in Chicago. He is also the founder and editor of the
magazine PhotoVision and he has written several books about the
history, aesthetics and education of photography. Publications
containing his photographs are The Artist and the Photograph
(2000), Twilight Zones (2000) and Sputnik (1997). Fontcuberta is
represented by Zabriskie Gallery in New York, Galerie Nathalie
Pariente in Paris, and Galeria Senda in Madrid.
Melinda Gibson was born 1985 in Aldershot, UK and currently
lives and works in London. She studied for a BA in Photography at
the London College of Communication and has plans to complete an MA
in the next few years. After graduating Melinda Gibson assisted
various photographers, notably Martin Parr and Wolfgang Tillmans,
while still continuing to develop her photographic practice.
Melinda Gibson has exhibited in London and will be participating in
the European Capital of Culture exhibitions in Finland 2011. The
Magenta Foundation has selected Melinda as one of the UK winners
for this years Flash Forward Emerging photographers award. In The
Photograph as Contemporary Art Melinda Gibson is interested in the
changing perspectives of the photographic medium, itís positioning
within contemporary art and the help and hindrances brought about
through the technological advances in photography.
Rose Issa is a curator, writer and producer who has championed
visual art and film from the Arab world and Iran for nearly 30
years. She has lived in Iran, Lebanon, France and, for the last 25
years, London, where from her private project space in Kensington
she showcases upcoming and established artists, and produces
exhibitions and publications with public and private institutions
Anne-Celine Jaeger is a British based journalist and critic.
Most recently she wrote Image Makers, Image Takers: The Essential
Guide to Photography by Those in the Know (Thames & Hudson,
2007), a collection of interviews with some of the world's most
established photographers as well as other professionals from the
world of photography. She has written for many publications,
including The Guardian, The London Sunday Times, Foam Magazine and
Wallpaper* as well as Süddeutsche Zeitung and Du magazine.
Erik Kessels (b.1966, Roermond) is a founding partner and
creative director of KesselsKramer, an independent, international
communications agency based in Amsterdam. He has curated
photography exhibitions at Les Rencontres d'Arles Photographie,
France, and most recently at the New York Photo Festival. As a
passionate photo collector he has published several books (the
Almost in Every Picture series) and has been one of the editors of
the alternative photography magazine, Useful Photography.
Timo Klos was born in 1983 in Bad Hersfeld in Germany. He
started his photography studies at the University of Art and Design
in Offenbach am Main, and moved to Helsinki in 2008 for an exchange
year at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. He plans to graduate next
Benjamin Lowy was born in 1979. He received a BFA from
Washington University in St. Louis in 2002 and began his career
covering the Iraq War in 2003 for Time Magazine. Since then he has
covered major stories in Afghanistan, Darfur, Chad, Haiti,
Indonesia and China. In 2004 Lowy attended the World Press Joop
Swart Masterclass and was nominated for the ICP Infinity Award. He
was named in the Photo District News 30 and his images of Iraq were
chosen by PDN as some of the most iconic of the 21st century. Lowy
has received awards from World Press Photo, POYi, PDN, PGB,
Communication Arts, American Photography, and was a finalist for
the Oskar Barnack Award. He most recently won Duke University's
First Book Prize. Lowy's work from Iraq and Darfur has been part of
several gallery and museum shows, including at London's Tate
Modern, and the San Francisco MoMA.
Benjamin Lowy is represented by Reportage by Getty Images.
Flora Lysen is an independent writer, curator and researcher who
graduated from the history of art MA program at Leiden
University. She was a visiting scholar at the University of
California, Berkeley and subsequently worked at performance art
platform If I Cant' Dance... in Amsterdam and contemporary art
space BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht. In 2010, she was
the curator of The Smooth and the Striated, an exhibition in
collaboration with the University of Amsterdam, showing work of
eight contemporary artists.
Ann Marsh is Director of the Art Theory programme at Monash
University in Australia. As well as being a
Fine Art graduate from Adelaide College of the
Arts, she has a masters from Monash and a Phd from
Melbourne University. Her research ares include photography,
performance art, feminism, postmodernism and psychoanalysis. She
has written several books and has been a contributing
editor to Eyeline, Contemporary Visual Arts, since 1998.
Lesley A. Martin is Publisher of the book-publishing program at
the Aperture Foundation, where she has worked on-and-off since
1995. In between stints at Aperture, she served as senior editor
and production director of Umbrage Editions. Her writing on
photography has been published in Aperture, American Photo, and
DoubleTake, among other publications and she has edited over fifty
books of photography, including Reflex: A Vik Muniz Primer; An-My
Lê: Small Wars; My Life in Politics: Tim Davis; Istanbul: City of a
Hundred Names by Alex Webb; Richard Misrach: On the Beach; Beate
Gütschow: LS/S; Paris o New York o Shanghai by Hans Eijkelboom.
Katja Mater graduated from the Free Media department of the
Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2003, and subsequently
attended the artist institute 'The Ateliers,' from 2003 - 2005. In
2006 Mater attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
(Maine, USA ) and in 2009 she was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony
(New Hampshire, USA). Presently she is an artist in resident at The
Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. Her work has been exhibited
throughout Europe and the US, with shows at the Gagosian Gallery
during the 4th Berlin Biennial in Berlin (2006), at the Stedelijk
Museum Bureau in Amsterdam (2007), her solo 'Principle Matter' at
V&A Gallery, New York (2008), FOAM - Photography Museum in
Amsterdam and the Dutch Photography Museum in Rotterdam (2009). End
of 2010 her solo exhibition 'Density Drawings' opened at Gallery
Martin van Zomeren in Amsterdam. In 2009, 'A Study on Colour',
Mater's artist book was published by Heden, The Hague The
Nicholas Mirzoeff (b.) is Professor of Media Culture and
Communication at New York University. His publications and projects
contributed fundamentally to the general development of Visual
Culture as a field of study and a methodology. He wrote and edited
An Introduction to Visual Culture (2nd ed. 2009) and The Visual
Culture Reader (3rd ed. forthcoming 2012), both being standard
books for academic research into our image-dominated culture.
Sean O'Toole is a culture journalist, art critic and writer. A
PhD candidate at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of
Cape Town, he formerly served as editor of the magazine Art South
Africa (2004-10), writes regularly on photography for the Sunday
Times and contributes a bi-monthly art column to frieze
Lisa Oppenheim (1975) lives and works in New York City.
Her films and photographs have recently been exhibited at the
Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao, the New Museum, and at
the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, as well as in many gallery
exhibitions throughout the US and Europe. Recent solo exhibitions
include Blood to Ghosts at Galerie Juliette Jongma and Klosterfelde
and Invention without a Future and Harris Lieberman. She is
represented by Galerie Juliette Jongma in Amsterdam, Harris
Lieberman, New York and Klosterfelde in Berlin. Upcoming
exhibitions include a solo presentation in the Art Statements
section of Art Basel with Juliette Jongma.
Sarah Palmer has an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media
from School of Visual Arts and a BA in English and Italian from
Vassar College. Her work has been exhibited at the Center for
Photography at Woodstock, the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art,
Like the Spice Gallery, and various other galleries and pop-up
spaces, and has been published in both print and online journals.
Her first solo exhibition was held at the Wild Project in New York
City in Spring 2010. She is currently full-time faculty in the
Photography program at Parsons, The New School for Design.
Asmara Pelupessy (US/NL) is an independent curator, researcher,
writer, editor & project organizer in photography & visual
culture. Together with Sara Blokland (NL) she is the co-founder of
UNFIXED Projects (www.unfixedprojects.org),
a nonprofit organization aimed at creating platforms for dialogue
between photography, contemporary art & theory, developing
& producing projects with a strong focus on cultural
Laurel Ptak is an independent curator based in New York City
whose interest in contemporary art veers towards image-based
practices, socially engaged work, and network culture. Her URLs
in Real Life
Moira Ricci (Italy, 1977) studied photography at the Brera
Academy and the Bauer School of Photography in Milan. She is
working in the field of photography and video, and by basing her
works on her own experiences and emotions her themes of family
relationships and identity are often universal. In 2000 she
was awarded the first Riccardo Pezza prize, organized by the Museo
della Fotografia Contemporanea (Milan). She has participated in
several group exhibitions since 2001, VideoRom 2.0, Milan, The
Rising Generation in 2003, Visioni Dall'Interno in 2004 and
Photocells in the Italian Cultural Institute in London, 2005. In
2006 she had a solo show at Artopia in Milan entitled Interfruit.
In 2008 Ricci has participated in a number of international group
exhibitions: Talent Latent, Scan Photography Festival in Los
Angeles, A Snake on a Tree and Location 1, both in New York. She is
now busy with a new project: a musical about her difficulties in
coming to terms with adult life. Moira Ricci lives and works in
Milan and Grosseto.
Ilse van Rijn is a Dutch writer and art critic. She contributes
to magazines, like /Metropolis M/, /Open/, /Mister Motley/ and
/Foam Magazine/, as well as to individual artist's publications and
curatorial projects. She is currently working on her PhD, in which
she researches the status of 'artist's writings'. Ilse teaches at
the Gerrit Rietveldacademie, Amsterdam.
Fred Ritchin (b.) is Professor of Photography & Imaging at
New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. His book After
Photography (New York: W. W. Norton & Company) was published in
2008 and his blog is afterphotography.org. In Our Own Image: The
Coming Revolution in Photography (New York: Aperture, 1990) has
just been relaunched in a twentieth anniversary edition by
Thomas Ruff (b. 1958, Zell am Harmersbach) is an internationally
renowned German photographer who lives and works in Dusseldorf.
Having studied photography from 1977 to 1985 with Bernd and Hilla
Becher at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, he developed his method of
conceptual serial photography. He is one of the most influential
photographers of our time.
Aaron Schuman (b. 1977, Northampton) is an American
photographer, editor, writer and curator based in the United
Kingdom. He exhibits his own photographic work internationally, has
curated a number of exhibitions including 'Whatever Was Splendid:
New American Photographs' for the 2010 FotoFest Biennial, and
regularly contributes photography, articles, essays and interviews
to many publications. Schuman is also a Senior Lecturer at
the Arts University College at Bournemouth and the University of
Brighton, and is the founder and editor of the online photography
journal, SeeSaw Magazine.
Anika Schwarzlose was born 1982 in Berlin, Germany. She received
a BA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2009. After
graduating from the photography department of the academy, she was
granted the startstipendium by the Fonds BKVB. At the moment she
works in Sweden and Amsterdam and has recently started a MFA study
at the Konsthögskolan i Malmö. Her practice revolves around the
structures, methods and devices we invent to organize the world
around us. Often engaging photographic principles like processes of
image creation and mediation not only as means but as subject to
her work. Much of her work is fueled by the need to make complex
and potentially frightening technology accessible, enabling her to
retrace the process of it's invention. She has had exhibitions in
The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Latvia and Sweden. She is
represented by the Gallery Van Zoetendaal, Amsterdam.
Alec Soth (b. 1969, Minneapolis) is an American photographer and
member of Magnum Photos. His work is represented in major public
and private collections, and has been featured in numerous solo and
group exhibitions. Being passionate about photography and
bookmaking he started his own publishing company Little Brown
Mushroom and regularly writes on his blog.
Frank van der Stok (1967) studied art history at the University
of Leiden (Netherlands) from 1987 to 1993 and decided to major in
photography and lens-based arts. From 1989 to 2000 he was a member
of staff at Fotomania Gallery, Rotterdam. Curating exhibitions for
the gallery became his main focus, but his curatorial activities
gradually expanded to include larger, independent venues, while he
was also becoming more interested in the subject of the visual arts
'reflecting on issues of representation'. Currently Van der Stok is
the curator of the Dutch Doc Days Festival 2011 in Utrecht
This year Foam Amsterdam celebrates its 10th anniversary. For us
it is a time to reflect, not about the past, but about the future
of photography. To do this we have asked ourselves the question:
'What's Next? '. And for some answers we have asked various experts
to give us their views.
The question 'What's Next?' is founded in our conviction that
photography has fundamentally changed during the last twenty years.
And this process of change and transition might not be finished
yet. The digitalization of the medium has altered every aspect of
photography, whether it is the photograph as an object, the
position of the professional photographer, the function of the
photo lab, the news agency or the photography museum.
In fact the question 'What's Next?' is about far more than 'just'
the future of photography. It is also about the future of a society
dictated by visual media, of a society in which people primarily
communicate with technological tools that have been developed and
made into consumer products with incredible speed. It is about the
future of a society in which every layman can and will be a
photographer, sharing his experiences with newly made online
communities, a society in which the experience of time and space
have drastically changed.
In short, 'What's Next?' is about the future of a medium and of a
society in transition.
During the course of 2011 a series of activities involving a
variety of experts will address the question, 'What's Next?'.
Leading figures from artistic, technological and sociological
fields are all asked to think with us and formulate an idea, a
dream or a vision about what they believe the future holds. Based
upon their specific knowledge, each expert will be asked to make a
short, but inspiring statement on 'What's Next?'. You can read them
here and then make your own contribution to the debate. This is
your space and we hope you enjoy it.
For a long time a photograph was primarily a tangible, paper
based object with a number of physical and chemical
characteristics. Due to the continuous technological developments
the photograph has now evolved into a digital screen-based image.
Physical appearances are mostly limited to presentations in museums
and in order to supply the (art) market. Photography has turned
from a tangible object into an ephemeral image. These changes in
technology question the nature of what we still call 'a
In the pioneering days a photographer was often a mixture of
scientist, craftsman and artist. Over time, being a photographer
became a true profession. We could justifiably talk of studio
photographers, photojournalists, documentary photographers, artists
and photographers who exclusively work in the world of advertising.
Over time the borders between different genres have blurred. The
current changes within the media landscape forces photographers
with different backgrounds to fundamentally reconsider their
working methods, visual strategy and their professional
In our technology driven society the photograph is everywhere.
We constantly make photographs, we look at them, share them, talk
about them and can change their appearance within seconds. Visual
communication has gained importance equally quickly. The importance
of visual literacy has grown at a similar pace. People need to be
able to read, judge and understand an image in order to understand
its often implicit meaning. The current impact of a single
photographical image can't be compared to the way it functioned
decades ago. The visual landscape and the behaviour of its
inhabitants has dramatically changed and will continue to do
Recent changes within the photographical field are truly
fundamental. It touches upon the nature of the photograph, the
nature of the photographical practice and the way we use and
appreciate a photographical image. This also influences the way a
contemporary photography museum needs to operate in order to remain
a viable cultural institution. Traditional tasks such as
collecting, presenting and learning need to be reconsidered.
Options to load the museum with a new sense of meaning vary from
cultural theme parks dictated by the needs of modern leisure to
places of contemplation and learning.
Photography is primarily a technological medium. In general
terms it is the chosen equipment that dictates the final image to a
large extent. An old camera with glass plates negatives or
the equipment on board of the Cassini spacecraft, it all influences
the resulting image and therefore our perception and knowledge of
the photographed world. The exhilarating technological developments
are hard to keep track of. Do we still know what it is we are
looking at? we have an opinion of reality based upon images
presented to us by visual media, including photography. An opinion
that might be just as truthful (or false) as what we see.
This project has been made possible with the help of:
What's Next? is also supported by:
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