PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2014
Juried by Julie Grahame
April 5 – June 15, 2014
Reviewing well over 500 entries was quite a challenge, but the level of creativity, and the diversity of topics and of methods made it an enjoyable one.
Amongst the international pool of entries were explorations of personal politics; social commentary; conflicts with/love of nature; health, and healthcare issues; and a whole host of “seeking beauty within the mundane.” There was not much levity or joy. There was a lot of ice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with the onslaught of ephemeral digital imagery, there were a lot of entries using alternative processes.
For this year’s installment of Photography Now, I sought out thoughtful series that demonstrated a different perspective to that which I regularly see. Each one of those selected is a little twisted.Continue Reading...
Thomas Jackson’s Emergent Behavior features hovering sculptures made from unnatural items such as non-biodegradable plastic cups and artificially processed cheeseballs, these amazing installations created for the camera evoke swarms and colonies. Teeming creatures are both fascinating and discomforting and these images echo those feelings. Jackson’s project serves as a harbinger to the growing efforts of bio-engineers who increasingly turn to nature for inspiration.
Marcus DeSieno’s Parasites combines micron technology with old photographic processes to scrutinize otherwise invisible creatures, examining the unseen world of bugs around and inside us and confronting the artist’s not-uncommon fear of these parasitic microscopic organisms in the process.
Romy Eijckmans made my heart sing with Living Light. Her camera-less images are made using the bioluminescence of fireflies in an “outdoor darkroom” resulting in twinkling, cosmic patterns. The resulting collaboration between Eijckmans and her fireflies invite us to engage the natural world in sparkling fashion.
William Miller also utilizes an object for something other than what it was originally intended. Recycling an abandoned project long since considered a failure, Miller folded, crumpled, sliced, and scanned old negatives that didn’t work as initially planned. Allowing the physical aspects of the film to manifest, Miller opened the doors for both us and himself to see photography anew.
I am wary of self-portraits-exploring-childhood-experiences, but the colorful, wistful, frank images by Jung S. Kim are not as trite as such projects can often be.Kim references various characters from Korean folk tales, projecting her experiences onto them. Though the viewer may have no familiarity with these tales per se, the images are compelling and the titles provide enticing clues.
In a self-reflective project that is less fanciful, Linda Alterwitz’ While I Am Still uses P.E.T. scans, M.R.I.’s, radiographs, and sonograms, re-captured, and layered with other imagery. Using her personal experiences of medical testing she creates these intense but fragile images that echo how one must feel undergoing such procedures, mind drifting as the body is explored.
Farideh Sakhaeifar’s series Workers Are Taking Photographs seems straightforward at first but initial viewing belies a greater dynamic. The making of these images entails the artist having to leverage her position as an Iranian woman of higher social class than the subjects of her photographs – laborers – in order to get them to comply in making a self-portrait. As environmental portraits, they are powerful on their own, yet with the cultural elements considered, they give us an insight into a side of Iranian culture we don’t see too often.
Using photography as a democratic tool in a different setting and falling under the category of “things we see everyday” I chose Natan Dvir’s Coming Soon for his humorous photographs that highlight the bizarre intrusion of advertising into the urban landscape, to which we have become so inured. These temporary hoardings are too big to really even take in. Their massive messages are ultimately subliminal. Dvir’s photographs reveal an understanding of how to make images on the street, a skill I value greatly and which not all can attain.
Simplistic or convoluted, there are successful combinations of beauty, the surreal, and multiple messages in the chosen projects and each command a closer look.
– Julie Grahame, 2014
Julie Grahame is the publisher of aCurator.com, a full-screen photography magazine, and the associated aCurator blog, named one of the ten best photo sites by the British Journal of Photography and one of Life.com’s top 20. She is also the editor for Photography&Architecture.com, and represents the Estate of Yousuf Karsh. Born in London, England, Grahame emigrated in 1992 to manage the New York office of a photo syndication agency representing 400+ photographers and collections. She is a contributing writer for Photo District News’ magazine Emerging Photographer.