There’s the surprise of the moment when you part the grasses and you find the bride and groom staring back at you in an endless field. There is the oddity of a parrot being snuggled in bed and a dog sitting at the table, eyes askance, looking vaguely like an angry relative. There are faces obscured by shadows and hands and netting and machines and even a horse’s nose. All shrouded in mystery. There are also the defiant stares back at the camera, the daring, the bewilderment, the longing, the loss, the emptiness…the human condition.
With the hundreds upon hundreds of images entered into this call for portraits, I had a very difficult time whittling the number of pictures down to a mere forty. As I chipped away over the weeks, I realized that the images that made a cohesive show didn’t necessarily encompass every aspect of the genre of portraiture. I had to lose some fantastic street portraits and some startling documentary pictures and some tragic self-portraits and some heart-breaking images that didn’t relate to the photographs that were beginning to emerge as a set. The final selected images were more in the style of Arnold Newman’s environmental portraits, with a few wild cards thrown in like a tiny tableau with a towering face, two scenes sewn together carefully, but somewhat menacingly, and then an obsessive multi-lens pinhole photogravure self-portrait. (Sometimes the rule breakers have interpreted things in such a way that they can’t be ignored).
Looking at the selections, I wondered for a while if everyone had shifted back to a view camera on a tripod. Or maybe the images I gravitated towards were shot in a slower way. The rules as to what makes a compelling portrait aren’t hard and fast…they are fluid and I realize that this portraiture exhibition could have been one comprised of entirely b&w social documentary work. Or it could have been all color studio shots. Or all self-portraits. Or all nudes for that matter. Or it could have been a show about family. I tried to strike a balance in subject matter and styles while also creating a show that held together and what I found were some wonderful moments, some hard moments too, balanced with a dose of humor which is perhaps something we all need right now.
I wish I could have had twice the number of prints in this show, but alas…there are only so many walls.
Ann M. Jastrab, Independent Curator
VENUE: The Art Lab in Fort Collins, CO
ARTIST HONORS AND AWARDS: All selected artists’ work is included in the gallery exhibition and online exhibition complete with artist website links. The Center also provides professional installation images, event press release and social media promotions with an audience of 180,000+ followers internationally. All artists and friends are welcome to celebrate the exhibition with us at the Reception.
These Awards will be announced at the Reception.
+ JUROR’S AWARD: Kennady Schneider
+ DIRECTOR’S AWARD: Kennady Schneider
+ HONORABLE MENTIONS: Dan Farnum, Kinda Kuo, Kurt Simonson, JP Terlizzi, Shahab Naseri, and Toni Pepe
COPYRIGHT AND USE: All submitting artists retain copyright to their images. Artists whose submissions are chosen for the exhibition grant The Center for Fine Art Photography the right to use their images for the purpose of promoting the artist, Center programs, exhibitions and subsequent display on the Center’s website of current and past exhibitions. Artist’s recognition is provided with any use. Images may be placed on social media by The Center for Fine Art Photography with artist credit.