Perspectives - The Blog

Category: Jurors

NEW VISIONS {JUROR MICHAEL ITKOFF}

Posted by The Center on January 13, 2010


(Photo Credit: Grate Butts by Joseph Schuyler)

“As one who daily traffics in images, I take seriously the interplay between vision and reality. I believe in the potential of photographic process to reform or re-envision our reality by presenting unique ideas and perspectives.”

Juror’s Statement:

Traditionally defined as having unusual foresight and imagination, visionaries have often faced negative repercussions for challenging societal conventions. Galileo Galilei, for example, was hounded by the Catholic Church for publicizing his observational hypothesis that the Earth revolves around the Sun and is not, in fact, the center of the universe. This is telling as the destabilizing effect of Galileo’s belief had the power to literally shift humankinds’ worldview off-center. Many more free thinking individuals in society have been persecuted as dangerous while still others have been celebrated for their clairvoyance, the acceptance or rejection being largely dependent on the historical and political context of the day.

Today’s world remains similarly dependent upon visionaries to look deeply at the world as it is and envision the potential successes and pratfalls of the future. Numerous essays have been written, for example, on the significant impact of creative science fiction writers in helping to shape the research and experimentation of scientists. By indulging in the imagination and sharing their thoughts, writers such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne inspired legions of tinkerers to tease out potential facts and fantasies contained within the stories.

As one who daily traffics in images, I take seriously the interplay between vision and reality. I believe in the potential of photographic process to reform or re-envision our reality by presenting unique ideas and perspectives.

Although the digital age is not without its own challenges, the photographers in this exhibition, entitled “New Visions”, thankfully operated without fear of censorship or persecution. All of the photographers who took part in this show have struck-out into unexplored territory and attempted to test the limits of their image making ability as well as our perceptive faculties. While shaping this exhibition I was repeatedly confronted with visual information at once strange and disturbing. Overall I was quite impressed with the multiple applications of digital imaging technologies as well as the widespread use of seemingly outdated analog processes that collectively seemed to remake the world with fresh eyes and an open mind.

Michael Itkoff
Editor of Daylight Magazine

Michael Itkoff is a Founding Editor of Daylight Magazine, a print and online publication. Daylight has become one of the premier showcases for contemporary photography, by collaborating with established and emerging artists, scholars and journalists. Itkoff has been a reviewer for New York Photo Festival, En Foco, Critical Mass, ASMP and Santa Fe Center for Photography. He has been a recipient of the Howard Chapnick Grant for the Advancement of Photojournalism (2006), a Creative Artists Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Arts Council (2007), a Puffin Foundation Grant (2008) and recently published his monograph, Street Portraits, Charta Editions 2009.

JUROR KATHY MORAN {ART IN NATURE}

Posted by The Center on December 9, 2009


(Photo Credit: The Wall by Bernd Geh)

I don’t work in an environment where photographs are named, so the very act of doing so makes it impossible to not bring more to viewing the image.

Juror’s Statement:

As the juror for the “Art in Nature” exhibition, I had the delight of taking off my journalist glasses and indulging in photography that veered from the wonderfully imaginative to the deeply personal to the downright kooky. Of course, the best photographs come from a combination of passion and vision, the desire to communicate, to share the photographer’s experience. But, what role does interpretation play in making, viewing, and understanding images?

I spend my days immersed in storytelling, working to create visual narratives. While reviewing this competition, I took the images as they came, no judgments made for or against digital manipulations, B&W vs. color, content, focus or not. Instead I concentrated on how I was affected on seeing the work, how I reacted to both the photographer’s interpretation of the scene as well as my own. I was deeply moved by the abstractions and patterns that so many photographers see in nature, sometimes in chaos and sometimes in perfect order. I loved the range of color palettes, from the soft pastels of a desert floor to the deep purple of a tulip. I even found myself reacting to photo titles – Fractal Nature, Calligraphy, Precipice. I don’t work in an environment where photographs are named, so the very act of doing so makes it impossible to not bring more to viewing the image.

Oddly enough, the image that I found most evocative didn’t have a name. Yet for me, David Zimmerman’s “Untitled, Desert 60” is a beautiful combination of realism and abstraction. I love the hard edge of the dune, the way the light hits, the grounding of this part of the frame. But, it is the shifting landscape behind the dune that gives this photograph a haunting quality that won me over. When I look back over the photographs that made my cull, I do see a commonality – there is tension between hard and soft, real or not. Maybe that is my interpretation of nature, duality in all its beauty and wildness.

Kathy Moran
National Geographic magazine

Kathy Moran is National Geographic magazine’s first senior editor for natural history projects. A twenty-seven year veteran of the Society, Moran has produced projects about terrestrial and underwater ecosystems for the magazine since 1990. At last count she had edited over 135 articles for the magazine. Recent highlights include editing a special edition of National Geographic magazine “100 Best Wildlife Photographs”. She was also project manager for the NGS/Wildlife Conservation Society’s award winning collaboration of photographer Nick Nichols and Dr. Michael Fay’s trek across Central Africa. The resulting articles were the impetus for the creation of Gabon’s National Park system. She was named “Picture Editor of the Year” for her winning portfolio in the 2006 Pictures of the Year competition. Moran believes that every story and every photographer need to be edited individually. There is no formula that can be applied.

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