Something I love about photography is that it is so specific to time. What makes an image remarkable to the viewer, is most likely different than the reason the photographer took it. The collector buys a piece because they like it. The photographer makes the image for many different reasons.
A few months ago, we had an artist come talk at the gallery that I work at. She talked about her work, her process, her inspiration, etc. In the midst of the audience was a person who had previously purchased her work. I think when he heard her speak so frankly about her work, which has a strong documentary element, he became a little unsettled about his purchase. Now this is all speculation, based on my observations, but I think he may have liked his piece less.
At the end of the lecture, he asked how she felt about people like himself, who have purchased her work, who aren’t “getting” what she had just communicated about the picture. This opened up the debate about artist’s intentions and reading art. I loved the debate and the struggle this collector was facing. As a person who digests a lot of photographic work, I know that the stories that I create while looking at images are often misrepresentations of the work’s intended purpose. Every viewer has an independent experience with the work. They take their own history, the image in front of them, and implement a story or narrative to connect the two. It’s an unspoken dialogue between the artist and the viewer.
I still prefer to call them mistakes. And I even love to make them. The above image was shot in New Mexico over the new year while I was visiting my family. I’ve always struggled shooting in New Mexico (and when I say “always” I allude to my one previous visit), and this year it was no different. It was shot early one morning… and it is real confusing. And I really enjoy that.
Last year I submitted to the Photo Review’s annual competition, which was juried by Brian Clamp of CLAMPART in New York City. Although I was not selected as a portfolio prize winner, the image below was curated into an online exhibition dealing with the issue of Identity.
Steven Alvarez, Jeffrey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2010
Call for Submissions:
Flash Forward 2011
The Magenta Foundation is pleased to announce Year Seven of its Emerging Photographers exchange.
- This is an open call for submissions.
- All photographers in Canada, the UK and the US 34 years of age and under may submit.
- All submission requirements and instructions are located here on their website
The Bright Spark Award winner will receive $5,000.
As in the past, all competition Winners and Honourable Mentions will be published in a high quality catalogue. Along with being published, select 2011 Flash Forward Winners will be featured in a touring exhibition.
In January 2011, a significant additional component will be announced to complement the program’s alternate festival years. Stay tuned and sign up for our newsletter.
The submission deadline has been extended to Monday, January 10, 2011.
With the opening of my new blog, I wish to inform you of an exhibition that I have been curated into. The wall space gallery‘s annual juried show, New Directions will be opening on January 3, 2011 in Santa Barbara, California. Juror David Bram of Fraction Magazine selected the above image to be included in this exhibition. Click here to see all the work in Moments of Being.