PhotoPlace Gallery, 3 Park Street, Middlebury, VT 05753
Selected for online annex: Bird Mask 2
It is often said that a good photograph leaves us with more questions than answers, but I think a good photograph also makes a statement, defines a relationship, exposes an emotion or is a stunning study in design. The jurying process for this exhibit began with no preconceived idea about the exhibit I would put together. Examination of the photographs came first from the foundation of qualities I believe a good photograph must have:
1. The use of light must work with the subject matter. The light must compliment the subject not work against it.
2. Has the vantage point been considered? What information does it provide us? Is the subject enhanced, diminished or equalized by the vantage point?
3. How carefully are the edges of the frame used? Did the photographer pay close attention to all four edges, making a conscious decision about what to include and what to exclude?
4. What is this single image doing – asking a question, making a statement, defining a relationship, evoking an emotion and/or stunning us with beauty of design?
When entering images for a juried exhibit there is one very important thing to keep in mind: The jurying process is a process of selection, not one of rejection. As the juror I looked for images that spoke to me, that echoed my biases, challenged my preconceptions, and/or made me say, “Wow, I wish that was my image”. I was a tougher judge of work that was most like my own and fascinated by work that was completely different. I looked for distinctive voices and visions. I looked for images asking questions as well as those making declarative statements. I looked for images using the full tonal range as well as those using only a small, distinct slice of the black and white spectrum. From the digital files I was looking at I couldn’t discern technique so no bias crept in regarding camera format or print making choices. I simply looked at the individual images in light of the above-mentioned parameters.
My selections were images that spoke to me in a particular way at a particular point in time. Those that were not selected were not rejected. They simply were not selected. On another day, with another juror, they may have been selected. The most important point is that you entered your work. You took the time to edit and select what you felt was your best black and white work. You put this work in front of someone who loves black and white work and values the your effort in making the image and preparing it for review.
This is where your real growth takes place, having the courage to put your work in front of others to see. This brings out the best in your work. I encourage everyone, those who had an image selected and those who did not, to continue making new work and putting it in front of others to see.
Thank you for the opportunity to jury this exhibit. The quality of the work submitted was such that I could have put at least 5 shows of 75 images together, each completely different than any other. I hope that you will agree that the breadth as well as depth of this exhibit demonstrates what black and white photography can be at its best.