Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery Reviews | Glassdoor

Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery Reviews

Updated April 17, 2017
11 reviews

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3.1
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Chris Boot
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11 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great company, passionate about photography"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Aperture is a thought-leader in the world of photography, and the staff here are all passionate about it. It's a stimulating place to work if you love art and photography, and there's a strong sense of community.

    Cons

    As a non-profit with a small staff, there are always financial concerns, and issues with organization that need to be worked out, which puts a lot of pressure on team members to meet goals. Be prepared to be self-sufficient in a fast-paced work environment (not necessarily a bad thing).


  2. "5 Stars for Creativity, -2 Stars for Lack of Structure"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    This is a creative but chaotic environment. Great place to be if you enjoy working independently and figuring things out for yourself. New ideas are encouraged and the heritage of high-quality is honored although not always executed. Expectations are high.

    Cons

    Supervision is erratic and decisions often get reversed mid project. There are very few systems in place and when new policies are implemented in an effort to streamline the business, they usually get ignored Employee is training is minimal - get ready to jump feet first into the fire.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management tends to take on too many responsibilities and side projects.

  3. "Fun Work Environment, Needs Organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Aperture is a very important and historic voice in the world of photography. Great office environment. Coworkers are approachable and the overall attitude is laid-back.

    Cons

    Management needs to implement better organization throughout the foundation. Communication is sometimes complicated if not impossible. Pay was very low in comparison to similar roles in other companies.

    Advice to Management

    Aperture's internal organization and communication are suffering in part because of the laid-back office culture. Meetings need to start on time.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great company for an internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Pleasant work environment, something interesting is always going on, great location, interns get free lunches every two weeks or so, and they really do make an effort to make this a learning experience. Plus there's an office cat. It seems like the workforce is split between employees who stay for a few years max, and employees who have worked there forever.

    Cons

    Like many other former work-scholars have said, the pay is incredibly low, which makes it almost impossible to afford to work there, unless you already live in NYC. Also overall, there was less diversity among the employees than I would have imagined.

    Advice to Management

    If it were possible, maybe you could provide your work-scholars with a transit card in addition to their stipend, because the cost of getting to work is sometimes about equivalent or even higher than their monthly stipend.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Good mission at a badly managed organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery full-time

    Pros

    long history of important work in photography, shows interesting artists, publishes well-respected books on photography

    Cons

    management and board constantly fighting and senior staff very unhappy. this means the culture there is very negative. this has been an ongoing issue for the organization. executive director is not well-respected by staff and had not worked in nonprofit industry before. bad management has led to lots of turnover. executive director and board have lots of ideas of how to grow the organization but these ideas are not well-thought out or backed by financial capacity.

    executive director i

    please note: Executive Director is not awilliam clifford (as noted below by glass door, this seems to be confusion with another company's CEO).

    Advice to Management

    invest in staff and value of a positive organizational culture. move on from the past and focus on building a healthy organization. punish bad behavior and management. hold executive director accountable for problematic management and continued issues. listen to professionals who make recommendations about financials. board is too involved in day to day and contributing to negative atmosphere.

    Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery Response

    Jul 19, 2016 – Executive Director

    I am extremely sorry any time I hear that anyone has a bad experience of Aperture. I also appreciate all feedback – here and in person. Any cause to reflect on how we are doing things, and for me... More


  6. "Work Scholar"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Good work/life balance. Nice team.

    Cons

    Low pay.
    Very high turnover.


  7. "Communications Work Scholar"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Communications Work Scholar in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Communications Work Scholar in New York, NY

    I worked at Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Aperture puts a ton of energy into ensuring that its work scholars get something out of the program. Weekly lunches, trips to galleries, and talks from different members of the organization created a community and helped us learn about the industry. Vibrant workplace.

    Cons

    Stipend was extremely small, given that it was full-time. Sometimes there wasn't enough to do.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Aperture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Director of Institutional Giving in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Director of Institutional Giving in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    There is a wealth of knowledge about photography and publishing at Aperture. It is adapting to the new economy, becoming a curator of books published elsewhere as well as publishing the books and magazines that have been their core business in the past as self-publishing continues to be on the rise. Aperture also offers a greater number of hands-on self-publishing workshops than in the past. It's a place where you can be constantly learning.

    Cons

    As a non-profit photography publisher in the digital age, it was a challenge to adapt to new economic realities. There was quite a bit of pressure on meeting financial targets for projects that were not easy to sell, or raise money for, even though they had great merit

    Advice to Management

    It looks like education is being given a higher priority and more resources now, and Aperture is having success with securing grants for the programs. It's good to see that happening.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Negative environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery full-time

    Pros

    Outstanding projects. They work with top photographers and writers and have a very impressive list of books and shows.

    Cons

    Very stressful environment. Staff juggling too many projects at once, trying to keep partners and board members happy, which creates a volatile culture in which there's a lot of sniping and finger pointing. Internal communication is poor, even though there are way too many meetings. Exec director takes a confrontational tone with the staff--this is an arts nonprofit, not Harvard Law School--and I didn't see this bring out the best in most people. I've never worked in a place where staffers were so on edge and defensive. Pay is low compared to the industry.

    Advice to Management

    People enter this field because of their interest in and passion for the photographic arts and literature, you should not quash that spark by micromanaging and putting staff on the defensive. Good work can result from a collaborative environment. Pitting people against each other makes for very low morale.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Great people, but not for the faint of heart"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Aperture Foundation/Burden Gallery full-time

    Pros

    All photography all the time. Everyone who works here is highly engaged with the field internationally and is very committed to the organization. A very active place with lots of events and chances to learn more about photography, interact with artists/photographers/authors/curators, and gain valuable and unique insight into the workings of a publisher, gallery space, and non-profit all at once (not a lot of places have that mix). Many people have been here quite a long time, which could be seen seen as either a pro or con, but it's worth noting that some people find serious job stability. People often take on several roles within their position. This could be seen as a con (see below), but also a pro in that it's possible for a highly motivated person to take initiative and develop their professional skills more than at other organizations. There is also lots of cross-departmental work, no matter what job you have. You know everyone in the office and have worked with them at some point. Everyone is genuinely nice, and it's like a family even when there's professional dissension.

    Cons

    A large portion of the staff is overworked. This doesn't just relate to workload (which is all NGOs and most professional jobs in NYC), but also people's roles not being well-defined and often encompassing what would be 2-4 positions at another organization. No one does just one job and does it well. This is mostly a result of too many projects happening at one time in relation to staff resources and budgets, as well as projects not being thought out thoroughly and in advance. There isn't much room for career growth, unless you're in the editorial department, where there's a little more flexibility (This is probably because these jobs are the most specialized and therefore, the most valued). Staff morale can be low because people feel overloaded and like it's nearly impossible to do a good job. In a staff full of dedicated people and perfectionists, this is a real downer!


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