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Week in Review: 01.24.2014

Aperture aggregates the photography blogosphere’s most trending stories from the past week.

Olga, © Rob Hornstra / Courtesy Flatland Gallery

››The Winter Olympics are fast approaching, and the world is beginning to take notice of more than just the games. The traveling exhibition The Sochi Project, by Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen, is making waves on Fox News and in Chicago magazine after its opening at the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago. Everything from the Games’ budget and Putin’s politics to Sochi’s place in Russia as a subtropical conflict zone are being called into question. (Here, the Guardian interviewed Hornstra and van Bruggen about the project). The BBC also noticed that Sochi has some pretty strange bathrooms.

››The Associated Press is breaking ties with Narciso Contreras, a freelance photojournalist who won a Pulitzer Prize with a team of other AP photographers last year, due to a single Photoshopped image, the New York Times reported. Contreras turned himself in, admitting that he had removed a colleague’s video camera from one of his images taken in Syria. Contreras, who has covered the conflict in Syria extensively, accepted full responsibility. Even though it’s unfortunate, it was good to see one man’s honesty and an industry that still holds photojournalists accountable.

››This week, Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video opened at the Guggenheim Museum. Reviews of the retrospective, which was originally organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, have been mixed, though certainly not because of Weems’s work. The exhibition has been cut down to half its original size and split between two floors of annex galleries. However, given the show’s restrictions, Holland Cotter of the New York Times gave its curators credit for showcasing the work, and Maurice Berger stressed their importance. We looked back at Weems’s conversation with Dawoud Bey at Aperture.

››From the impact of stock photography to the use of social media, the ways people are making and sharing images are rapidly changing. Here, the Bold Italic gives some entertaining insight into how Instagram has made us all into liars. And when Stephen Mayes, a major player in the field of photography, weighs in on the future of the medium, it’s worth taking notice. Instead of hiding under a rock, Mayes encourages photographers to take the changes wrought by social media seriously, and maybe even get inspired by them. “What does that mean for the future of photography?” he says. “Every day I’m amazed by what’s happening.”

››For those of us not hiding under a rock, it was difficult to miss the hype surrounding Jezebel’s leaked un-altered images of Vogue’s latest cover girl, Lena Dunham. From the originals, we can see photographer Annie Leibovitz’s Photoshop job, and everyone from Time to Dunham herself had an opinion on whether or not it was ethical to leak the photos—for which Jezebel paid $10,000—and whether the images themselves sent the wrong message. For photographers, it raised questions about the purpose of editorial imagery: aren’t these photos sometimes supposed to be a bit fantastical?

››Speaking of photo-sharing, this Thursday was Museum Selfie Day, a call to museum-goers across the globe to do what, apparently, they do best: take selfies with priceless works of art. Everyone from college students to Jay-Z posted images—some funny, some just plain bizarre. From the New Republic, the event generated talk of the museum experience, but overall the day just showcased some great art from around the world.

››Since Aperture’s photobook This is Mars was published in 2013, we’ve been keeping an eye on updates from our favorite red planet. This week, NASA’s Opportunity rover, in its tenth year of exploration, discovered a new rock. That sounds pretty boring, but apparently, the rock is made up of material formed in aqueous environments, fitting with a picture of a Mars that was once more hospitable to life. And according to NASA’s lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program, Michael Meyer, “It looks like a jelly doughnut.”


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Katie Booth is an Aperture Work Scholar and a photographer. Originally from the Adirondacks, she holds a BFA in photography from SUNY Plattsburgh.