After entering our works in any juried event, we are all by now familiar with that standard response that begins, “We were overwhelmed with the number of submissions received this year . . . “
So let me be the first to say that . . . I was overwhelmed by the number of truly outstanding submissions to the SECP’s themed exhibit, ‘Color.’ To be asked to view 873 images, almost all of which were impressive in one way or another- many of which were downright stellar- was both an honor and a real treat. To then have to make the hard choice of what would go and what would remain on the walls, was both difficult and heartbreaking. I became possessive of each of them, as though they were my own. As an exhibiting photographer myself, this process helped me to see that, all too often, equally compelling and strong imagery is eliminated from juried shows just like this one. And those final choices are almost always subjective ones.
My own subjective process included going through more than 30 passes of your work. I looked for images where color was integral to the image, even if that color was monochromatic, where tone and hue- and light that has the power to transform- added to the story-telling. Beautiful compositions, smart use of light, and thoughtfulness in both the image-making and in the printing, all fed into the decision-making. I also considered the difficulty in making the image, whether that was what was first seen and composed in-camera, or in the (found or choreographed) graphic design, or in the printing itself. And I cannot stress enough how much I appreciated those who resisted the urge to over-saturate their colors. Almost always, less really is more.
Finally, I love an image that weaves a narrative all its own. So I also chose images that reached out to me and made a connection, told a story, or offered me just enough information and mystery that made me ask questions.
I gave the Juror’s Choice award to the mysterious mise en scene that is ‘Blue Curtain,’ an image that stayed with me from start to finish. I never tired of seeing it on my screen. I loved that this was a found image, and that the photographer had the awareness and the eye to see and capture its strange and unexpected beauty. Aside from the simple yet perfect composition -the curtain just slightly off-center- I love the quality of light, the darkness, the less-than-perfect rainy day, and where the intense blue of the half-wet gathered curtain— against all that darkness— makes the image. More importantly, that photograph tells a story. I can still see it in my mind’s eye and really want to know more.
I thank Michael Pannier for this opportunity, and to you all for entrusting me with your works— such difficult choices to make in a grouping of such solid, strong imagery. And to each of you, I say— keep photographing and sharing your unique visual stories.
~Diana H. Bloomfield
September 27, 2016