2009 Members’ Exhibition
Work from Photo Center NW Members
Juror: Eric Fredericksen, Director, Western Bridge, Seattle
On view: December 4, 2009 – January 15, 2010
In the main gallery, Eric Fredericksen, Director of Western Bridge and former editor/writer for The Stranger, selected compelling work from PCNW’s members representing various genres & photographic media. 107 entries were submitted to this year’s competition.
Selecting pictures for this show posed a personal challenge. I work with many artists who use photography in their practice, but few who call themselves photographers. This has prepared me to consider critical issues concerning photographic practices, but less so to consider photography as a self-contained medium. The difference is that between critical engagement with the medium of photography and uses in which practitioners operate unselfconsciously, interested in producing interesting images of the world around us. To the extent that work along critical lines was submitted, it often suffered from too-close formal links to well-known work, rather than extending the earlier projects’ lines of inquiry.
I thus tried to judge the work submitted on its own terms, finding good, well-made pictures. I looked for interesting subjects, provocative or elegant compositions, and formal interest. I was unable to judge based on technical skill. Certain categories of work recurred with uncomfortable frequency: industrial ruin, abstracted nature, work using windows or mirrors to fragment perspective or achieve collage-like effects. I selected work within these categories that I found most surprising or skillful in its use of familiar approaches and motifs. But this created an overwhelming sense that photography has created its own world, one in which certain kinds of views are endlessly valued and sought out, creating a highly selective composite picture of the world. Novelty, too, is overvalued, but I am convinced that it is possible to find new subjects, new ways of presenting subjects, and new approaches to the practice of photography, and I encourage artists to push toward these goals.
Thank you to Ann Pallesen and Photographic Center Northwest for the invitation to serve as juror.
1st Place Jarvi Kononen, WA
2nd Place Aaron Thomas Pultz, WA
3rd Place Andrea Bakacs, NY
William Rugen, WA
Larry Larsen, WA
Kristen Imig, WA