I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Hamidah Glasgow, Executive Director, and her entire team at The Center for Fine Art Photography for the opportunity to jury this exhibition. I have long been aware of the Center and I hold great respect for its commitment to displaying distinctive and significant contemporary photography. There are too few exhibition spaces for artists and the Center provides a welcome professional and challenging platform for photographers to share their work with broad audiences. It was a true honor to join the long list of very distinguished jurors for the Center.
While the subjects or themes for this exhibition are rather large, many of the submissions shared powerful aesthetic and content connections. There were multiple poignant images of veterans. Moreover, several extraordinary references to World War II and its historical and cultural resonance in our society were present in multiple submissions. Profound representations of immigrant experiences and the resulting hybrid cultural representation occurred in multiple submissions as did references to the history of art. Although the title of “Memories, Stories, and Histories” easily conjures thoughts of personal histories and identities, the plethora of submissions that exuded raw painful and deeply personal emotions still took me by surprise. As I worked my way through my final selections I was struck by the strength of the submissions and the powerful and intimate exploration of self, family, and cultural and political identities. After I narrowed my choices to 100 images, the process became almost excruciating as the honest and courageous displays of memory, story, and history yielded emotive responses from this viewer.
As I juried the show, I looked for photographs that fit in a larger conversation of contemporary art but also exude their own distinctive qualities. The final choices demonstrated technical skill, compositional strength, and compelling content. The juror’s choice for this exhibition incorporates text and image, a leitmotif in the submissions and a visual strategy employed by many artists. The perspective of the ceiling evokes a relatable experience. Even if the does not look like your bedroom or mine, the experience of looking up where the wall and the ceiling meet can be a mundane act. For the artist, the text reveals that it is a part of a contemplative process of coping with a relationship. The text written in what presumably is the artist’s hand adds content, but also visual intrigue to the photograph. The personal nature of the photograph seemed fitting given the many intimate narratives submitted for this exhibition.