This piece was juried into the 13th Annual National Alternative Process Competition at SohoPhoto Gallery (NYC), by juror Morgan Post.
“NOTHING SPECIAL” — L.A. Photo Curator: International Photography Awards – ‘Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet’
Curator Bree Lamb
Lamb says, “From the spontaneity and unpredictability of street photography to the artfully crafted still life to the happenstance urbanscape and far beyond, photographers have long been able to create powerful, beautiful work drawing from the banality of everyday life.
How do you make something compelling out of nothing special? This question has become compounded as the ubiquity of image-making and image-sharing has reached at an all-time peak and is steadily growing through various social media outlets. In a time when we are sharing, “liking,” and viewing more images than ever, how are you
seeing and capturing the world around you?
This call is looking for well-seen images of the everyday – the benign, the boring, the overlooked. I’m curious as to how you view the world, and in particular how you capture the subtle, in-between moments, people and spaces that are such a large part of our daily lives. Whether found, staged, or manipulated, all subject matter and methods of capture are welcome.”
“Other Worlds” with juror Tom Chambers
SE Center for Photography
1239 Pendleton Street
Greenville, SC 29611
“We asked to see Other Worlds, real or imagined, dreams, nightmares,
the impossible and the unusual. The SE Center was looking for images that pushed reality to the edges of the frame, staged, contrived or candid, digital,
analog, or antique processes.”
Juror Ann Jastrab
207 N Gilbert Rd # 201, Gilbert, AZ, 85234
March 7 – April 15
Light Sensitive, an exhibition dedicated to presenting art created using traditional darkroom and alternative photographic processes, has grown to become an internationally acknowledged signature exhibition for this art genre. In the current trend of imagery presented on computer screens and the overwhelming volume of digitally printed pictures, Light Sensitive reaffirms and
promotes the art of handcrafted prints that uniquely belong to the tradition of light sensitive creative processes.
Work this year comes from national and international artists and includes processes like cyanotype, gelatin silver, gum bichromate, wet plate collodion tintype, carbon printing, and more.
“In graduate school in 1993, I took my first and subsequently last Photoshop class. I realized the technology was going to change rapidly and dramatically and constantly and…need I mention the frustrations of Photoshop before layers? (I imagine more than one of you is heading to the kitchen to pour a drink right now just remembering those early days). Anyway, thanks to this experience, my concentration in graduate school quickly became historical processes. I put away my 35mm camera and picked up a wooden view camera and started making my own emulsions and studying all those beautiful techniques from the 1850s onward. I eventually settled on platinum/palladium printing as my medium.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when Alan Fitzgerald from the Art Intersection asked me to jury the 2017 Light Sensitive exhibition. Having a chance to revisit the traditional photographic processes that are near and dear to my heart has been so rewarding. And inspiring. I’m fairly certain that if I go to hell, I’ll be making 4 color gum bichromate prints for eternity and that every time I submerge the paper with the fourth layer perfectly registered, all the layers will float off and I’ll have to start over. And yet, in this coming exhibition, many artists proved that they were not just up for the task of making gum prints, but they made exquisite ones. I take my hat off to Diana Bloomfield, Michael Puff, Megan Smith, Jane Wiley, and the rest who not only had all their layers adhere to the paper, but created superb images.
And then there are the collodion artists….painstakingly poured plates, the pressure of time, of drying emulsion, of moving subjects, of so many variables that can either destroy the image or elevate it to an otherworldly plane where I marvel at how the imperfections make it all the more strange and wondrous. I’ve watched Jenny Sampson’s skateboarder series for years and was excited to put her work in this show along with Tabitha Soren’s baseball tintypes from her long-term project, “Fantasy Life.” And then there were wet plate artists I didn’t know or whose work I didn’t recognize, and the thrill of discovery was upon me, along with the tough decision about which plates to select from Katy Tuttle, Shari Trennert, Rebecca Ross, Kaden Kratzer and Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer.
The sublime blues of the cyanotypes and the dynamic tonal range of all those platinum/palladium prints and the photogravures and what must be an orotype, the lumen prints, the chromogenic prints, and to see Mordançage prints again (another old nemesis from graduate school – we experimented with this in advance B&W craft, respirators strapped on, gloves snapped on, ventilation systems on high, and stood back and watched as the emulsion lifted off of our gelatin silver prints and, with varying degrees of success, were either transformed into shimmering veils of shadows and light, or more frequently, we witnessed the emulsion wash right off the print and flow into the sink and swirl down the drain. The reaction was usually tears, but sometimes laughter. Another reason I decided to become a platinum printer. There are masochists and there are artists that enjoy making prints… the Mordançage process separated us swiftly. Alex Krajkowski and Judyta Grudzien, you know who you are). And of course, all the gorgeous silver gelatin prints…the birth of my love of photography happened in my high school darkroom thousands of miles from here and decades ago.
The power of this year’s Light Sensitive exhibition lies not just in the fact that these artists are keeping traditional photography and historic techniques alive, but that they’ve also created images that speak to the processes and also speak to us, the viewers. Bravo!”
l had a wonderful time making wet plate collodion photograms with a fun and talented group of photographers. J Jason Lazarus, a photographic educator at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, had this to say:
“Nadezda did a terrific job with making the material approachable for beginners and advanced alt-pro photographers alike. Although I’ve certainly possessed a basic understanding of the process, she demystified so many elements of this complex process – one that I’ve always seen as magical… From coating the plates with silver through exposure and development, I quickly developed a cautious confidence in what I was doing thanks to Nadezda’s hands-on guidance. Students were encouraged to play with several alternative processing methods that would alter the final result – and that exploration only fueled my interest in the process even more.”
I am grateful to all the participants for making this such a rewarding workshop experience and look forward to seeing the results of their future forays into the process! Again, many thanks to Michael and Chelsea Granger at LightBox Photographic in Astoria, OR, for their hospitality and dedication to antiquarian photography.
Kaden and I are pleased that the Remnants exhibit is featured in a beautiful catalog, now available here! Many thanks to Michael Granger at LightBox Photographic.
For “Remnants,” we wished to put together an exhibition that showcases the experimental and innovative possibilities in antiquarian photography, while placing an emphasis on the crafting of the physical object.
The artists in this exhibition have each made a deliberate choice to step into the obscure and exciting world of analog photography in pursuit of their own artistic vision. A vision that is distinctly contemporary and avant-garde even as it revisits the past. A vision that rises above process (for process sake): Where the artist integrates historic technology into the narrative and uses it to shape the experience of the viewer.
Playful children are superimposed onto a forgotten playground covered by a tangle of vines, the disjointed chronology and chromatic effects suggesting remembrance and loss.
A ghost-like figure in a white gown, head invisible, arms stretched as if feeling her way through the enveloping darkness.
A male nude materializes from bands of partially applied emulsion, simulating beams of intimate light gently illuminating a beloved.
The imprint of a mummified bird, avian bones hanging like chimes: Echoes of shamanic rituals.
Still life with a scale: Distorted image of an infant floating inside a bottle is weighed against a single egg in a bird’s nest.
It is evident that artists featured in this exhibit know their craft. The investments in time and the appreciation for the handmade photograph are palpable in each image. These artists are also eager to experiment in order to construct a personal vocabulary from a palette of artifacts, as a painter might. Each unique art piece embodies the tension between chance and control, entropy and order – as if reflecting on the very nature of life.
We wish to thank everyone who submitted their work and to congratulate all artists selected to participate in this exhibit.
Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer and Kaden Kratzer
I’m honored to be included among Photolucida’s 2016 Critical Mass finalists for my Solvitur Ambulando series. A complete list of finalists can be found here.