The Burns Archive
On April 27, The Burns Archive gave an exclusive tour to a group from the New York Chapter of ASPP, affording us the rare pleasure of being transported back in time and immersed in the physical pleasures (and claustrophobic abundance) of an extraordinary photographic archive. Stepping through the red door of the Gilded-Age brownstone was like stepping into the past. As the world’s largest private collection of early medical photography and historic images, the archive was established more than forty years ago by Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York ophthalmologist. Dr. Burns personally regaled us with facts and fancy about his astounding collection of medical, historical, and memorial photography, including “everything except sports and entertainment.” To get an inside look at three floors of galleries and the extensive research library—on bookshelves wrapping around the townhouse—was both overwhelming and grotesquely fascinating.
In addition to publishing many books of photographs and images on the darker side of life—disease, disaster, mayhem, revolution, war, surgery, and crime—the archive has also served as a primary-source consultant for television shows, including “Mercy Street” and “The Knick.” Dr. Burns himself guided the actors as early-20th century surgeons and physicians, and advised the productions on-set for all medical procedures and operating scenes, covering everything from the wardrobe to the look and feel of the surgeries. Dr. Burns also has an extensive collection of Nazi officers’ photo albums that cover everything from the grizzly aspects of war to the stylish holidays taken by elite SS officers.
It was fascinating to see how he and his team develop book concepts by digging deeper into the collections in order to build complete pictures of unique subjects, such as old New York City storefronts. With about 30,000 images currently scanned, they are working hard to further archive and scan the slide library, thereby capturing Dr. Burns’ extensive knowledge and passion for collecting photography.
“This was indeed a rare glimpse into the meticulous assembly of a visual record of human life and social history, and a valuable lesson in the many ways in which such obscure artifacts can be used to inform and enrich our current lives and culture,” said Jill Waterman, B&H Creative Content Writer. ASPP thanks Dr. Burns, Jason Burns, and Elizabeth Burns for their time, stories, and access to what is one of the most specialized archives in the world. For licensing questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.burnsarchive.com.
Ilon Art Gallery with Loni Efron – Archiving & Collection Management
This past June, ASPP member Loni Efron welcomed us into her home and gallery. She spoke about her approach and experiences with a variety of archiving projects and gave us a private viewing of her then-current exhibit: MUSIC—a group show including the work of many well-known portrait and celebrity photographers such as Albert Watson, Annie Leibowitz, Kevin Mazur, Martin Schoeller, and Roxanne Lowit.
In 1996, with two clients—Annie Leibovitz and David LaChappelle—Loni Efron established one of the first archiving firms in the country, Ilon and Company. Specializing in archiving and editing, she has now coupled with current technology-based solutions including the iDatabase, iGallery, iManage, and iInventory. These database management solutions were tailored for photographers, galleries, collectors, agents, and large inventories and include tools for archiving negatives, positives, prints, ephemera, and equipment.
Loni gave a wonderful talk and shared how she changed and adapted with the industry in an organic and natural way—by solving the archiving problems of the talented shooters with whom she worked. She spoke about growing her business through lots of networking and social connections, wherein each client referred her to another, spreading her good reputation. She also spoke about working with Keith Richards on his book project and the struggles of moving from an analog to digital environment.
The exhibition was fabulous. Loni spoke about curating it and what it takes to get photographers to offer prints. She also discussed how important her move to Harlem was and how working with her local community through their Harlem Nights program has greatly increased her exposure and grown her audience.
The house is an architectural and historic gem and we thank Loni and her family for generously opening up their home to ASPP. To experience the setting in person, and enjoy upcoming exhibitions:
ASPP Summer Party with APA New York
Our local membership had its annual summer party on August 10th at Professor Thom’s on East 13th Street. Co-hosted with the local APA|NY chapter, we celebrated together and, of course, networked. About 125 people mingled and enjoyed an evening of food and drinks, served by the lovely Gina. A slide show, organized by Lindsey Nicholson and facilitated by Luan Luu, ran in the background throughout the evening; photos came from members and sponsors, agencies and individuals, in response to an open call for work.
At the end of the night, we raffled off wonderful gifts: a B&H Gift Certificate (won by Dan Russleman, donated by APA|NY); the latest Harry Potter book (won by Lynn Eskenazi, donated by Scholastic); and several bottles of artisanal whiskeys and tequilas (winners names are protected, lest they be asked to share at the next meeting!). It was great to get together, catch up with everyone, and celebrate another successful year.
Special thanks to our co-hosts Michael Seto and Ron Jautz from APA|NY, as well as to our own team of organizers, Daniella Nilva, Laurie Fink-Green, Mary Fran Loftus, Luan Luu, and Robin Sand. We appreciate your dedication to making all our ASPP events both fun and informative.
We would especially like to thank our generous sponsors: Glasshouse Images; Agency Access; Wonderful Machine; SuperStock Images; Thomson Reuters; Disability Images; Fundamental Photographs; Universal Images Group; Media Bakery, and Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP.
We’re already planning the upcoming holiday party and invite you to become part of the action. Please let us know if you’re interested in helping to organize & fundraise. It’s a great way to meet more people and get more involved! Thank you.
© Robert Erving Potter III
It’s no secret—our industry has changed more in the past decade than most of us could have ever imagined. Many of us had workflows figured out for the way things were, and then almost all the rules changed. To survive, we have learned to adapt instead of resist. This has made us better communicators, artists, and business professionals. I have adapted thanks to our ASPP community.
I intend to revitalize the Midwest chapter of ASPP by building community with online and face-to-face networking and educational events. Many different disciplines make up our visual communications industry, and my goal is to create opportunities for those professional, semi-professional, and educational organizations to work together with established and emerging picture professionals.
To help in this quest, I have accepted the position of Education Chair of the Chicago Midwest chapter of ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers). In these dual roles, I intend to forge a working relationship between the Chicago/Midwest Chapters of ASMP and ASPP.
I Need You! Please contact me if you can help our Midwest chapter of ASPP by being on or chairing a committee, or filling a seat on the board of directors—secretary, membership, events, communications, treasurer, vice president, and even possibly co-president.
Together we can continue to grow, building community by opening lines of communication, and sharing education.
Robert Erving Potter III, President of the Midwest Chapter, ASPP
The board of the ASPP West/Los Angeles chapter met on Monday, October 17th. Our agenda included the following items:
• Organizing a 50th anniversary party at a location or event relevant to the members and the photography community
Many galleries in the Hollywood/Culver City area were mentioned. The aim is to create an event in an inspiring location that would bring together the local photo community. We are looking for a space for a nice, casual gathering to network and reconnect with friends.
• Planning for our Saturday, October 22nd, group outing—the Brewery Art Walk Tour
Many members agreed that it would be best to meet up at the food tables in the center of the Brewery at noon. From there, we could visit the studios as a group. Using the Brewery website would allow us to find photographers located in the complex and easily see what’s happening in the LA photo community.
• Discussing the 2017 calendar year, specifically future outings and events
In past years, events we enjoyed most were the behind-the-scenes tours of museums and smaller photo collections. The main issue with planning this type of tour has been the limited collections willing to host a group such as ours. Many archives are either housed in small locations, or in the process of being consolidated into larger collections. These consolidations are, unfortunately, the result of limited assistance in digitization—most smaller photo collections just don’t have the budget or other resources to accomplish this on their own. Other ideas discussed were contacting the Norton Simon Museum to see if they would host our group for a tour in Pasadena, and looking into partnering with groups such as the Lucie Foundation, which creates the Photo LA trade show. That kind of pairing could give us a crucial audience, in which we could reach a new group of photographers, aka potential members, who may be unaware of ASPP and its cause.
• Nominating board members for the Los Angeles ASPP chapter
No potential nominees were recommended at this time, so it was suggested that we conduct an online search with an email blast to members. I mentioned to those present that, as co-president of the LA chapter, it has been difficult to get volunteers to assist with event planning; I have been doing this as a one-man show during my tenure in this position. Ideally, we welcome at least two others to assist. This would be beneficial to the future of the club and would expand our horizons with different viewpoints.
Members who were there said they would help in any way necessary to organize the 50th anniversary party. As any good anniversary, the goal is to celebrate where we’ve been as an organization, and to join together before the end of the year. As we move into winter, there will be more to come. After this meeting, I feel the group is becoming more energized and positive about ASPP’s future.
ASPP New England Members,
The New England chapter has not had local board officers since the beginning of 2016. That means that no meetings have been held, no one is calling into the national board on behalf of New England members, and there are no events, trips or panels planned.
We need your help! We’re hoping to fill the following positions as soon as possible: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Chair, and Technology Chair. An added benefit of being an officer is free annual membership.
Please consider how you can step in and step up your game. If you are interested in leadership, support, and making a difference, please contact Darrell Perry, ASPP Executive Director at email@example.com or call 917 783 0127. Thank you!
Photo: © 2012 Y.Sawa/Wikimedia Commons