A juried international photography exhibition
January 8–28, 2015
Photography is a highly contemplative endeavour, as manifested in the numerous genres, styles, traditions and applications of the medium. As photographers make sense of and react to the world around them their interpretative efforts bring about meanings that would often go unnoticed if it were not for photographic images. From tiny meaningful details of our physical environment to complex psychological and social affairs photographs help us understand each other and ourselves better. Photographic contemplation cuts through genres and subjects because all photographic genres and subjects have contemplative potentials. In addition, photographers often surprise us with profoundly meaningful images that have been created in contexts or genres where thoughtful reflection may be one of the last things we would expect to find.
Russ Rowland: Coney Island No. 1
George E. Holroyd III: Untitled (From the series "And I")
Susan Keiser: Find What Will Suffice No. 5
Nancy Oliveri: Pink Fern Petals
Jeff Alves de Lima (New York, NY, USA), Michael Bach (Troy, NY, USA), Greg Boozell (Mahomet, IL, USA), Gabriela Farías Islas (Puebla, Mexico), Kirsten Fenton (Toronto, Canada), George E. Holroyd III (Budapest, Hungary), Judith Hornbogen (Leipzig, Germany), Valer Inovo (Minsk, Belarus), Susan Keiser (Ossining, NY, USA), Nicola Jayne Maskrey (London, UK), Joseph Mougel (Milwaukee, WI, USA), Nancy Oliveri (New York, NY, USA), Britney Prince (Savannah, GA, USA), Eunika Rogers (Memphis, TN, USA), Ryuten Paul Rosenblum (San Anselmo, CA, USA), Russ Rowland (New York, NY, USA), Wil Scott (Annapolis, MD, USA), Gabriele Viertel (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Please click on the names to see contact information (website or e-mail) where available.
There are numerous ways a photograph might be contemplative. It may portray contemplation, it may invite us to join the contemplative endeavour of the photographer, or it may prompt us to contemplate ideas well beyond what is presented in the image.
Juror’s choice Coney Island No. 1 by Russ Rowland is one of those unique images that turn interpretation into a profoundly contemplative process. On the depictive level we are already left with several possibilities as we cannot even tell for sure what it is exactly that we can see in the photograph. Are we looking at a person who is sleeping, or having a rest, or perhaps lost himself in a pensive state of mind? Given the unusual body posture we become uncertain and start to search for possible interpretations. We quickly find plenty of them. Then we start to look around, away from the animal print blanket hiding all but the feet and legs of the person wrapped into it, away from the plastic bag that may as well be just a piece of trash. The red pole on the far right side is no less mysterious. Having long lost its function that it does not readily reveal for the stranger, it gravely displays its own history through the peeling layers of red paint. The air of decay, loneliness and serenity that dominates the front of the image is softened by the comforting warmth of the blanket; then again, it is promptly complemented by the vast emptiness of the sand of the beach and the subdued background where sea and sky are almost blurred into one. The small contour of the sailboat and the marked shape of the pier are easy to recognize, but we get lost once again when turning to the shapes beyond. However, we are not let wondering around freely for we cannot ignore the disciplining horizontal structure of the lines of the bench, the railing, the shore and the horizon. The powerful horizontal structuring of the image is disturbed by the human figure, the pier and the pole, bouncing our gaze back and forth. Why are we here? Is this the end of a painful journey with a bleak future – or is it a new beginning, not yet worked out, unfriendly but maybe hopeful. There is a lot to consider.
Untitled, from the series “And I” by George E. Holroyd III. is one of the three honourable mentions. The captivating rhythm of shades gently leads our eyes around the image. This diptych is a beautiful visual contemplation of the shapes and textures of the female body. The blending of the décolletage and the arm into a unified image makes it all the more engaging for the interpreting mind. Susan Keiser’s Find What Will Suffice No. 5 is part of a series that challenges our imagination by presenting shady figures of pronounced colour in unearthly scenes at the very edge of our recognition capacity. As if out of a dream, this image makes us think hard about our everyday conception of reality. The third honourable mention went to Nancy Oliveri for her Pink Fern Petals. This mage turns the unnoticed textures, colours and patterns into a world of significance where every little detail of the composition matters. The simultaneous simplicity and turbulent complexity of the image call for our close attention and invite contemplation over and over again.
Queluz by Jeff Alves de Lima sends us on a visual journey through the exuberance of colourful interlaced patterns. Michael Bach’s Photographing myself while modeling for an art class is a sensitive image at the intersection of public and private. Playground's rest by Gabriela Farías Islas captures an atmosphere that is harmoniously vivid and peaceful at the same time. Judith Hornbogen’s Canal de Bourgogne makes us think about complex meanings in accidental situations. Dancing with Demons by Valer Inovo engages our imagination with a powerfully dynamic story. Do I trust what I see? by Eunika Rogers reflects on perception by blurring the distinctions between charcoal drawing and photography. Ryuten Paul Rosenblum’s mesmerizing Irrawaddy River 4 enables us to experience the mystical peace of being alone in a small boat on the vast river. Storm No. 1 by Gabriele Viertel transforms our visual experience by creating storm under water.
The images in this exhibition push photographic contemplation forward in creative and thoughtful ways. They all deserve our careful study.
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.)