A juried international photography exhibition
February 19 – March 11, 2015
There are two kinds of photographs with respect to the significance of their colours. On the one hand, ever since colour film technology became widely available, colour has become the default in most photographic practices. In other words, some photographs are in colour not because their colours bear some special significance (compared, for instance, to their possible black and white counterparts), but simply because the available film or digital technology has long turned colour to be the common method of capturing photographic images. We may think of these photographs as colour by default. On the other hand, colours are often central to the meaning of photographs for their emphatic, symbolic, psychological, social, compositional, etc. significance. These photographs would not work in black and white at all; that they are in colour is not merely a technological given, rather, it is an integral, formative and significant aspect of their photographic meaning. We may think of these photographs as colour by significance.
Eva M. Brown: The Dive
Caroline Heitkamp: Untitled No. 5
Josiane Keller: Lee in a green dress (at an art opening)
Alexandra Emese Lázár: Red Pot
Thomas Pearson: Untitled No. 2
Robin Apple (Palo Alto, CA, USA), Martina Assandri (Leeds, UK), Achraf Baznani (Marrakesh, Morocco), Eva M. Brown (Oakland, CA, USA), Karen Cox (Limerick, Ireland), Diane Fenster (Pacifica, CA, USA), Caroline Heitkamp (St. Louis, MO, USA), Sarah E. Holroyd (Budapest, Hungary), Josiane Keller (Salzburg, Austria), Alexandra Emese Lázár (Budapest, Hungary), Jenna Hepburn LoSavio (Hollywood, CA, USA), Chrissy Lush (New York, NY, USA), Nicola Jayne Maskrey (London, UK), Margarita Mavromichalis (Athens, Greece), Richard S. McWherter (Derry, PA, USA), Trevor Messersmith (Marlboro, NY, USA), Thomas Pearson (Hattiesburg, MS, USA), Marian Rubin (Montclair, NJ, USA), Steve Short (West Midlands, UK), Joshua Tann (Long Beach, CA, USA), Benita VanWinkle (Winston-Salem, NC, USA)
Please click on the names to see contact information (website or e-mail) where available.
Some photographs are in colour because our technology makes it possible to record and produce photographic images in colour. In other cases, however, colour is not merely a technological given; rather, it is an integral, formative and significant aspect of photographic meaning.
Juror’s choice The Dive by Eva M. Brown is, indeed, one of those images whose complex communicative content is based on the colours of the photograph. Colours in this case are not accidental or automatic features; they are not in the image merely because it is technically possible for them to be there but because they must be present in order to create the meaning of the picture. As we begin to study the photograph we notice some components that we recognise as flowers, perhaps petunias. Then we realize that they are considerably more subdued in colour than an ordinary petunia flower, so we may decide that they are likely to be something else. We are also a bit uncertain about their location and context. Are they in water? Do we look at them from below as they float around from the perspective of a diver as suggested by the title of the image? What is the bluish green substance that provides the background of their floating dance made of? Their pattern is most unusual, different from the familiar flowery arrangements. As our recognition is becoming less and less precise and certain, we are letting ourselves be carried away with the sophisticated dance of the colour patterns emerging from the swirling arrangement. The forms and patterns are themselves captivating but it is the colours of this image that mesmerize us, that make recollection effortless and most rewarding.
Honourable mention Untitled No. 5 by Caroline Heitkamp is a beautiful composition based, in part, on the tonal quality of the photograph. The disciplined lines of the hardwood floor, the wall and the bed are countered by the curves of the blanket and the rhythmical arrangement of white shapes and lines in the soft background of warm tones. Josiane Keller’s Lee in a green dress (at an art opening) captures an impression of shapes and colours. The dark background draws our attention to the tones of the washed out hair and the green patches of the dress, and we are gently transferred into a dreamy state of perceiving just the bare coloured essence of a place and a figure. The third honourable mention is Red Pot by Alexandra Emese Lázár. As we hesitate to distinguish between red paint and dried blood, the image grabs and holds our attention with the brutality it evokes as well as the gravity of the composition and its identifying colour.
Associate’s choice Untitled No. 2 by Thomas Pearson presents an almost monochromic, deserted, and rather bleak place with a tiny bright green plant in the middle which, in a minimalist sort of way, lends a sense of life-affirming cheerfulness and redemptive potential to the image. Robin Apple’s I Never Promised You a Rose Garden has an abundance of colours in the vertigo of a hug. Achraf Baznani’s Paperman creates a world of its own by the subtle tones of the colours themselves. The atmosphere created by the colours of the image Evelyn had a Chosen Baby by Diane Fenster beautifully complements the surrealistic portrait locked up in a glass. There is a very interesting tension between the vibrating contours of the shapes and forms and their pronouncedly clear colours in Sarah E. Holroyd’s Luxembourg. Desert Song by Jenna LoSavio presents a nude that is unusual not only in terms of posture but also in terms of its colour tones. Untitled by Margarita Mavromichalis reminds us of the importance of colours in shaping the visual trace of special moments to be remembered. Trevor Messersmith’s Fire Island relies on the patterns of a few blue spots to create an exciting composition. Joshua Tann experiments with colour manipulation in his “Contours” series to help us discover new spatial relationships.
I think that the images of this exhibition exemplify the potential of colour photography in forceful, capturing and eloquent ways. They remind us again that colour can be so much more than mere technological default.
High quality (ProLine Pearl Photo paper) exhibition catalogue is published with Blurb Books. (Please note that for some reason Blurb's preview is low resolution. It is suitable for studying the design and layout of the catalogue, but it does not always present the photographs faithfully. The print catalogue, however, is professional high quality.)