Portland Photo Month is here!
At Blue Sky, not only are we excited to be presenting the amazing work of photographers John Faier and Critical Mass 2011 Solo Exhibition Award winner Nigel Dickinson, we are also pleased to debut 68 new bodies of work in the Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers (“Drawers”).
During January of this year, jurors Laura Moya of Photolucida and Clint Willour of the Galveston Arts Center reviewed more than 175 submissions from photographers across the region. Here’s what they had to say about the process and making the final selection:
I entered this process thinking about the identity of a “Pacific Northwest” photographer is there such a thing? Would viewing the Drawers submissions give shape to any kind of regional definition?
Ultimately, for me, the answer was “not obviously.”
Projects such as Birthe Piontek’s “The Idea of North” and Hal Gage’s “Strangers: Tidal Erratics of Turnagain Arm” are Northwestern explorations, but some submissions covered grounds as far-flung as Africa, China, and Paris. And, a large percentage of work examined interior landscapes, portraiture, and conceptual ideas.
So, this question answered, I turned to jurying the work on individual merit. First, strong work should have an original point of view, and not too derivative of other well-known artists. Second, one should always avoid visual clichés. Third, work should not rely primarily on technique–even if technique is flawless, what is the point? What is one trying to say with one’s work?
I enjoyed viewing original, personal work where the photographer has a well-crafted, consistent sensibility. I cannot emphasize enough that a brief, strong, thoughtful artist statement goes a long way. Before one puts work out into the world, define what makes it compelling for others.
I look forward to seeing the work in person!
I am very pleased with the final selection we arrived at independently of each other. I am impressed with the variety of subject matter, scale, photographic techniques, and price point. I think patrons of the gallery will have a wide spectrum of choices and a broad overview of the quality of work being produced in the five states and Canadian province that comprise the selection area. Like Laura, in the process of viewing the images, I came to the conclusion that there was no overriding “Pacific Northwest” school of imagery. I am delighted that we selected work from all five states and from British Columbia. I, too, look forward to seeing the real objects.
Blue Sky 2012 Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers from Blue Sky on Vimeo.
Make Blue Sky a stop on your Portland Photo Month tour and be sure to have a look in our Drawers.