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Opportunity Type
Calls for Artists
Jul 24, 2020
Aug 11, 2020

Open Call: Two Way Lens

Humble Arts Foundation

Humble Arts Foundation: Two Way Lens Open Call

What can a portrait tell us about the subject? What does it mean to fall under someone's gaze? Can the dynamics of power be equal for both the artist and subject? What is the audience's role in establishing this sense of power? Does the word “subject” imply a power imbalance?

Photographic portraiture has a long history of reinforcing problematic or false narratives. This discussion and the previous questions are centuries old. They’ve been dissected by scholars from Susan Sontag to Teju Cole. They frame a panoptic eye in academic critiques and beyond, yet portraiture goes on - sometimes continuing in harmful directions, other times with critical awareness. 

For Humble’s next open call, we want to see your photographic portraits as tools of empathy: images that offer an equal exchange between the photographer and the photographed. Portraits that may not reveal “truth,” but demonstrate a new and open engagement. A way of looking “with,” rather than “at.” 

Interpret this however you like. 

Deadline: August 10th, 2020

GUIDELINES: (please read carefully. No, really. Please read carefully. We love you.)

1. Before you submit: please donate at least $5 to one of the organizations listed towards the end of this page. If you cannot afford to do this, please let us know and we will accept your submission.

2. Please submit your 50-75 word bio, statement, and other information via THIS FORM.

3. Email 5-10 JPGs  (sRGB color profile ) at 1,200 pixels on the longest side to with "HAF PORTRAITS Submission" in the subject line and each image titled with your name and the title of the image (i.e. FirstName_LastName_Banana_01) and a screenshot of your donation receipt (must be dated AFTER June 9th, 2020 - no cheating!)

IMPORTANT: Please do NOT submit zipped folders of images and do NOT send us download / WeTransfer links.

ALSO IMPORTANT: Please do NOT watermark your images (unless that’s part of the concept).We cannot take your submissions seriously if you don't trust us.

OPTIONAL: Want quicker visibility on your submissions? AFTER submitting via email, Hashtag #HAFEMPATHY @humbleartsfoundation on Instagram.

FEE: As stated above, $5 minimum donation (if you can afford it) to one of the organizations listed below. If you feel the need to call us “virtue signalers,” we offer you a warm, wet, sloppy hug and invite you to join us. (And as usual, this is not a "contest" or "competition."  It's an OPPORTUNITY, friends :)

Black Voters Matter
National Bailout
Equal Justice Initiative
Campaign Zero
Gordon Parks Foundation
Transgender Law Center

Kris Graves, Humble’s co-founder Jon Feinstein, and Humble’s Co-Curatorial Director Roula Seikaly will select images to feature in HAFNY's online Group Show Two-Way Lens: Portraits as Empathy, which will go live on Humble's website around September 2020 and potentially be shared on Humble’s Instagram.

We will announce selected photographers via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and through our mailing list.

About the curators:

Kris Graves is an artist and publisher based in New York and London. He received his BFA in Visual Arts from S.U.N.Y. Purchase College and has been published and exhibited globally, including the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; Aperture Gallery, New York; University of Arizona, Tucson; among others. Permanent collections include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Brooklyn Museum, New York; and The Wedge Collection, Toronto. Graves also sits on the board of Blue Sky Gallery: Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, Portland; and The Architectural League of New York as Vice President of Photography.

Roula Seikaly is a curator and writer, and Humnle’s co-curatorial director based in Berkeley, California. Her curatorial practice addresses contemporary photography and new media, social justice efforts in contemporary art, exhibition practice, and institutional critique. Her writing is published virtually and in print on platforms including Hyperallergic, Photograph, BOMB Magazine, and KQED Arts. She has curated exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, SOMArts, SF Camerawork, Blue Sky Gallery, and Colorado Photographic Arts Center.

Jon Feinstein is a Seattle and New York City-based photographer, curator, writer, co-founder of Humble Arts Foundation, and content director for The Luupe. His writing has been published in Vice, Hyperallergic, Aperture, Photograph, Daylight, and PDN. Feinstein and Seikaly won Blue Sky Gallery’s 2019 curatorial prize for their exhibition An Inward Gaze.