Perspectives - The Blog

Tagged: Juror’s Statement

JUROR JOHN PAUL CAPONIGRO

Posted by The Center on February 22, 2010


(Photo credit: Ron, The Shower Series by Manjari S. Sharma)

With such a rich and complex theme it’s not surprising that the entries for this exhibit were so diverse. The images spanned the gamut of human responses to a single theme—documentary, graphic, impressionistic, clinical, avante-garde, romantic, personal … The results are a kaleidoscopic survey of possibilities.

The Center was honored to have photographer John Paul Caponigro as the juror for the “Elements of Water” exhibition, which is on display in the Center’s Main Gallery from February 19th to March 13th, 2010.

Juror’s Statement:

I welcomed the opportunity to jury this exhibit. The subject of water is near and dear to my heart. It has been and will remain a core element in all of my work.

Water is a fascinating and important subject with many dimensions to explore. With its ever-changing surface reflecting shimmering light and its crystalline depths that hold light within, water resembles a living thing. Water is the sustainer of life. We can survive only minutes without air, days without water, weeks without food. Though some organisms have adapted to living with extremely little water, without water life as we know it cannot exist. The blood in our bodies are chemically most similar to the waters of the ocean currents. The hydrologic cycle is the circulatory system of Gaia. Water is essential to wilderness and agriculture alike. Water use and access to clean water has become a growing global concern, and it will continue to become increasingly so. In a world where desertification, overpopulation, and health are acute issues, water availability, quality and use have become core issues. Water brings purification, renewal and fruition. It’s used in countless ancient spiritual practices and healing rites and in modern therapeutic treatments both physical and psychological. Water is entertaining. Who doesn’t like to play with and in water?

With such a rich and complex theme it’s not surprising that the entries for this exhibit were so diverse. The images spanned the gamut of human responses to a single theme—documentary, graphic, impressionistic, clinical, avante-garde, romantic, personal. This made it almost impossible to select images based on a single focus or to break them into groups of separate subthemes within the larger theme and at the same time evaluate images based on their strengths as individual images rather than illustrating a point. The results are a kaleidoscopic survey of possibilities.

There were approximately 5000 images submitted. Fully, half were unremarkable. The top 100 were remarkable. The top 50 better still. The top 25 even better. The top 10 truly exceptional. Singling out only 3 and 1 was tremendously challenging.

As much as I’ve tried to be balanced and fair, my personal sensibility is reflected in this selection, especially when selecting between closely matched candidates. I’m delighted there is a Director’s selection as well as a Juror’s selection. I agree with those selections and I’m delighted those images were also highlighted.

Looking at work intensely raises many questions.

  • Does a good idea make a good picture?
  • Does the relevance social concerns make up for, compliment, or overtake a good picture?
  • Does clearly describing a person, place, thing, or event make a good picture?
  • Does a strong graphic structure make a good picture?
  • Does a strong emotional appeal make a good picture?
  • Are decisive moments magic moments?
  • How much is enough?
  • How much is too much?
  • How much is too little?
  • How much do small flaws reduce core strengths?
  • What are the core strengths of an image?
  • How are core strengths combined with and modified by other elements?
  • When does abstraction become suggestive or storied?
  • How do those vary from image to image and artist to artist?
  • Are there consistent strategies that work?
  • Are the notable exceptions?
  • Does the challenge presented by outliers reinforce or weaken what’s been found?

These are among a few of the questions I kept in mind while enjoying this work.
I invite you to do the same.

John Paul Caponigro

John Paul Caponigro is an artist, author, educator, and digital pioneer. John Paul is one of Canon’s Explorers of Light and an Epson’s Stylus Pro. He is a contributing editor for Digital Photo Pro and a columnist for PhotoshopUser and Apple.com. John Paul’s work has been published widely. Well respected as an authority on creativity and fine digital printing, John Paul teaches both privately in his studio and internationally at prominent workshops in North America. He also lectures frequently at universities, museums, and conferences. In 2002, Zoom Magazine named John Paul one of the 15 best artists of the past 30 years. In 2006, John Paul was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame.

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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.