Perspectives - The Blog

Christopher James Juror Statement for Alternative Processes

Posted by staff on August 18, 2014

The Alternative Photograph

Juror’s Statement 2014-15

Christopher James


Damn that was fun! … The task of isolating and selecting an exhibition of 50 strong images, out of nearly 1500 entries, was not difficult at all. What was complicated however was dealing with the problem of having to reject the nearly 1000 images that equally deserved to be included after the first editing passes. It took the better part of a week to get down to 75-80 images and then I finally gave up and asked Hamidah to let me put an end to the impossible and include all that were left… I simply couldn’t reject another great piece of work. Hamidah, who was at this point in the process showing great patience with me (thank you) showed mercy and told me that with that many images, the gallery would be bursting at the seams. What that meant is that there will simply be a bigger party for you all to celebrate your art!

From the beginning, I was making notes in the margins of my paperwork and here are a few of my thoughts that I want to relate. When the medium was in its infancy, and for a long time into its adolescence, images were judged by how well they technically represented representation and not by the conceptual, contextual, or inspirational risks taken by the artist… in essence successful photographic work was assessed by its ability to do what a photograph was supposed to do… accurately representing the subject in front of the lens.

From its inception, photography has never been a single, identifiable, technology or process. Throughout its evolution, the medium has been a slowly moving glacier of change, adaptation, and obsolescence followed closely by another metaphorical glacier influenced by the heat of science, industry, technology, aesthetics, and cultural. I think of these separate entities as I do the boulders I find in the woods near my studio… evidence of the glacier’s melting. Each of these transformations, the great majority of them overlapping, has ushered in an ever-greater democratization of photographic image making and resulting public adoption and adaptation. Each of these cycles have had the same family name regardless of how odd the offspring appeared… and they have always shared the genus, in a philosophical sense, a class of things that share common characteristics, and DNA of photography… that of making marks with light.

Alternative process image making is not about the technique employed, the camera, or the use of digital or film capture. Nor is it about the “artifact” or accident within the image that represents a contemporary artistic gesture that miraculously makes an image artistic and expressive. Alternative process image making has its heartbeat strongly allied to a tradition of making images by hand, using light and chemistry. It is driven by a curiosity to see where a process will lead the artist and her imagination and that living philosophy is the soul of this modest collection and exhibition. It is, in my mind, a representation of the new photography.


Christopher James

August 2014

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Posted by staff on February 13, 2014

Photoshelter has published a downloadable guide to selling your Fine Art Photography. The Center’s director, Hamidah Glasgow, gives some tips for working with non-profit organizations.



In the world of fine art photography, one of the most powerful resources for getting your work seen is a nonprofit organization like the Center for Fine Art Photography. As with most non-profits, we provide exhibition opportunities for beginning, emerging and established artists. These opportunities provide avenues for making vital industry connections.
The Center has been noted by many as a launch pad for artists. In my tenure at the Center, I have seen many artists juried into an exhibition and shortly after, their career takes off from the exposure and connections that were made during the exhibition. It has also been my experience that some artists continue to submit to our juried exhibitions, and through that, their trajectory as artists is evident. Many artists have been invited for solo exhibitions at the Center for Fine Art Photography based on the relationships that are formed.



With that in mind, here are 6 tips for developing a successful relationship with non-profit galleries and organizations:
1.    MAKE GREAT WORK. There are so many people out there working and creating work, but none of them have your experience, vision, and/or voice. Make work that matters to you, that pushes you and the viewer to see the world in a new way. Make work that is in conversation with history, society, or with yourself. The Art in fine art Photography is the most important piece of it all. Be bold and true to yourself.
2.    SUBMIT TO CALLS FOR ENTRY. People enter juried exhibitions and competitions for many reasons. Some enter to try out a new body of work or to begin the process of getting their work “out there.” Entering a juried exhibition can also be a great way to get your work in front of a specific industry influencer. May that be a curator, publisher, gallerist, or famous artist. Most importantly however, you should be strategic in your approach. Make sure that the organization is well vetted and that you retain the rights to your images (always read the Terms and Conditions) and that the exposure and opportunities associated with the exhibition are significant. Opportunities can include things like gallery and online exhibitions, promotion through social media, and receptions or other networking events.
3.    ATTEND NETWORKING EVENTS. As mentioned before, creating connections with artists and “influencers” is one of the most important pieces of getting the work seen. Receptions, talks, work- shops, gallery openings, and other similar events. As we all know, this industry is based on networks and connections. Working with others to support and promote fine art photographers is fundamental to creating success for the artists whose work we have the honor to exhibit. While commercial galleries have to take into consideration the sale- ability of your work, the non-profit has a different business model and therefore, can show work that is not commercially successful, is controversial, or is exploratory in nature.
4.    INVESTIGATE SOLO EXHIBITION OPPORTUNITIES. Solo exhibitions are offered to artists whose body of work is substantial and compelling.Usually this comes through a relationship with the artist or the artists work. Most non-profit galleries provide the opportunity to submit exhibition proposals. Before submitting, it’s best to consult the website for each organization’s particular requests, rules, and timelines. If there is no information regarding proposal submissions, contact the gallery and ask what their policy is regarding submissions. Another effective way to garner opportunities for solo exhibitions is through portfolio reviews.
5.    PARTICIPATE IN PORTFOLIO REVIEWS. Portfolio reviews come in all sizes shapes and price ranges. If you’re looking to participate in one, a great place to start is by contacting your local organization or finding out if there are reviews in your area. Attending portfolio reviews is a skill set of its own, so start slow, pace yourself, and hone your skills so you can effectively and comfortably talk about your work and your strengths as a photographer. Once you are ready for the larger reviews (for example, at Photolucida or FotoFest), you will thank yourself for the practice and procedural knowledge. You want people to see you at your best and to make the most of the time that you are investing in yourself and your career at the larger reviews.
6.    NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. This part speaks for itself. The key is to be yourself. Treat people like you want to be treated. Remember, it is all about relationships. Give more than you take. Be real, helpful, and make great work.



To download the full Photoshelter guide click here:

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