subscribe: Posts | Comments

Camera USA judges sound off on this year’s submissions


Camera USA 2018 opened June 1 at the Naples Art Association. This year, 218 photographers from around the country submitted images for inclusion in the show. From these, jurors Christopher Jones, Mark Sloan and Paul Tognarelli selected 75 photographs, with work coming from California (7), Colorado (1), Florida (21),Georgia (2), Illinois (2), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (3), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (2), New York (8), North Carolina (2), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (2), Texas (4), Virginia (2), Washington (4), Wisconsin (2) and Wyoming (1).

The judges have a week to rate the 218 images submitted for the show. They rate each image on a scale of one to twenty. While they have a statement that the photographer has prepared in connection with the image, they don’t know who created the picture. Nor do they consult with each other during the evaluation process. As a consequence, none of them knew which images made it into the show because their scores had to be aggregated with those of the other two jurors.

Jones remarked on the wide variety of motifs, perspectives and approaches represented by both the submissions and the images juried into the show. “Photography in the twenty-first century is excitingly varied and more accessible than ever before,” Jones observes. “From portraiture and nature photography to street photography and staged tableaux, all the genres of the tradition remain activated and photographers continue to push the boundaries of the medium and challenge our expectations. Surveying the work in this exhibition is a reminder that from its inception, photography was never a single, unified practice. Instead, it has always been a continuously evolving set of aesthetics and ideas in dialog with technology.”

Of course, this degree of diversity creates challenges in formulating an objective metric with which to evaluate submissions. “My personal strategy is to evaluate each work on its own terms and reflect on how well it realizes it own potential,” adds Jones. “In an era in which we are distracted and awash with images, pictures that entice me to stop, linger and look more closely have considerable value. Not always, but often, the photographs that are the most enticing are the ones that are the most balanced: form, content, perspective and technique all supplement each other equally in creating a unique and lasting experience.”

Paula Tognarelli also remarked about the diversity of the images she evaluated. “In every selection, I looked for photographs that subscribe to the fundamental principles of art and design, as well as visually composed elements that provide structure as well as a clue to the intent of the photographer.”

Tognarelli also marveled at the synchronicity she found among common motifs or thematic bodies of work.

“Several photographs focused on the boxing ring, others on surfing,” Tognarelli noted.

She was favorably impressed by submissions that pointed to our humanity.

For his part, Mark Sloan found himself drawn to submissions that expressed an understanding of the complexities and frailties of nature. “Perhaps the attention to nature shown her is a result of our collective awareness that the planet is in trouble, and we should work to chronicle it while we can,” he remarks somewhat glumly.

Sloan also comments on the overall technical quality of the images submitted. “Lots of artists represented here use digital techniques and exploit its creative potential, while other die-hards are still committed to the capabilities of film,” Sloan points out. “All in all, this exhibition represents a singular cross-sectional view of what is happening in photography at this moment in time.”

June 4, 2018.



Comments are closed.