Sunday, December 06, 2009

Rube Photographer in the Big City

As I reported earlier, I recently managed to garner an honorable mention in in The Camera Club of New York’s (CCNY) 2009 National Juried Competition for my photograph of a Savannah Police Statue. The CCNY, established in 1884, is the oldest camera club in the country and among the most respected. A total of 300 photographers submitted their work.

On Saturday, I attended the reception for the competition exhibit, which was held in a Manhattan gallery. All the winning photographs were on display and many of the winning photographers were present, including the top three finishers: Antonio Chirinos, Mark Fernandes and Curtis Hamilton. It was humbling to say the least.

There were handouts with bios and artist statements from all the winners and I believe just about everyone but me had a degree in photography (most commonly an MFA) and had previously exhibited their work nationally and/or been selected for other juried competitions.

I faked my way through my bio since I've done that often enough in my crime-fiction writing career, but the artist statement really had me sweating. I'd never done one before. Here's what I came up with:
"Savannah Police Statue" comes from a documentation of crypts, funeral monuments and statues undertaken to illustrate my Fall 2009 novel, The Big Wake-Up. In making the image, I sought to emphasize the dripping Gothic atmosphere as a contrast to the rather severe and rigidly upright (stainless steel) representation of law enforcement.
I was particularly leery of having the thing made public because I had poked fun at artist statements in my novel Candy from Strangers. Here's what PI August Riordan says about one from a character who has an exhibit at a Noe Valley Starbucks:
I lingered a moment at the table and then went back to the photo exhibit. I found an artist statement tacked up in one corner ... which included quotes from Plato, Carl Jung and the obligatory reference to Joseph Campbell.
I guess mine quite wasn't quite that pretentious--despite my use of the word "documentation"--but I did find it hard not to do what I ascribed to the character in Candy: watching people as they examined my photograph!

It's for sale at the gallery for the low-low price of $300 throughout the rest of December. Get it while it's hot.


At 7:06 PM, Blogger Todd said...

I like your artist's statement, Mark. Congratulations on being honored by the Camera Club of NY. And, I'm glad to see that Riordan drinks Maker's Mark.


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