I Am Because We Are

There are a lot of things to like about Brooklyn-based powerHouse Books. It was started in the mid-90’s by Daniel Power, which is a sweet name in and of itself. His powerHouse Arena is an old warehouse space converted into a loft-like bookstore/exhibition space, providing hosting to book launches and events like the New York Photo Festival. But mostly, powerHouse is one of the good guys in the industry because they continue to publish photo books that range from the socially conscious to the political to the frivolous.

A few months ago, I picked up Scout Tufankjian’s Yes We Can, which chronicled her coverage of Barack Obama’s rise to the presidency.

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And on Thursday, I’m heading over to Brooklyn for Kristen Ashburn‘s launch party for I Am Because We Are, which is a companion book to Madonna’s Malawian documentary of the same name. Some critics, not so surpisingly, claimed the best part of the movie was Kristen’s photos, but given the trail of awards she’s left in her wake, it’s no surprise.

So here’s the details, and I hope to see you there.

I Am Because We Are
Book launch and fundraiser for Raising Malawi
The powerHouse Arena
37 Main Street, Brooklyn

The exhibition runs from March 27 – April 27, 2009, but there’s only booze on the launch date….Tell them PhotoShelter sent ya!

Speaking of books and photography, one of the factors that I believe has influenced the hardships in the industry is the rise of the digital camera, which has (rightfully) empowered millions of people to take more photos, and subsequently turned photography into a commodity. And yet, there is clear difference between a good photo and a bad one.

Support of the professional industry would therefore manifest itself through the greater consumption of good photography. If you are a professional photographer, when is the last time you paid to consume good photography? When is the last time you purchased a photo book, or attended a photo exhibition? Clearly a few thousand photographers buying photo books won’t solve the woes of the industry, but I think there is a resonant effect much in the way that “reach” in the magazine world is several times great than “circulation.”

So I challenge each photographer to purchase a photo book each month for the rest of the year, and blog about it. Buy your friends photo books as gifts. Help yourself by expanding the consumption of better photography.

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Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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