EDITOR’S CHOICE: Juror’s Statement

Chris McGonigal

Photo Editor, The Huffington Post

It’s not easy going one-by-one through beautiful images and being the one to make the hard choices on who has to go and who has to get left behind, but we all know in editing you have to make those hard decisions. It was such a pleasure to go through these entries. I based my decisions on those submissions on which I would think to myself “This would be really great for our site.” These images offer a view of something different, compelling and a series that just make us want to see more from their creator.

The first place prize goes to Eva Fazzari’s images of a rescue dog group traveling the country uniting dogs with new owners. It is a really special piece and once I saw it, I knew it would end up at the top of the list. It’s one thing to document a journey, it’s another to document a life changing experience for an animal and a human. Both of these situations combined make this a wonderful winner.

In second place is Melissa Kaseman’s adorable series where she photographs the objects left over from her son’s pockets after a day at preschool. Without even seeing a photo of her son Calder, we can already get an image of this child in our minds. This project has such an innocence to it and is quite playful in its execution, I couldn’t help but include it in our winners.

Third, but not at all least, are Eric Kayne’s striking photos that show the people and landscapes in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline was definitely a divisive issue and Eric’s photos are able to show us in perfectly framed images that there is beauty in these places that is at risk of being changed.

Thanks to CENTER for the opportunity and trusting me to judge all of these submissions.



Press Release: PAUSE, Notes by Allen Frame, 2013

Six photographers, presented by Foley Gallery, stalk the space of nowhere, anywhere, and somewhere and arrive “here” in the eerie calm of Pause, their exhibition of photographs depicting lives and landscapes on hold, barren, bleak, forgotten, anonymous, abandoned, and random. Their views of the world are rooted in memory and marked by transience. They are travelers poking into voids, looking at emptiness, examining the anxiety of unresolved questions. The artists are melancholic progeny, gazing at the family tree after it’s been chopped down, and unfolding maps to forgotten places.

EVA FAZZARI returns to New Jersey landscapes and finds post-storm ruins and abandoned houses overtaken by nature, amid undisturbed domestic scenes of uncanny quietude. Her stark reality is stalled between chaos and niceties of middle-class taste.

PETER RIESETT mines familial settings, but chooses households left behind by grandparents now deceased. Evocative traces of their lives and the fragile, still beauty of their abandoned objects create a sense of both serenity and absurdity.

While most of the photographers depict unpeopled environments and passing landscapes, RACHEL LANGOSCH deals mostly with the female figure, finding (and staging) private moments in the situations of daily life. A woman lies face down in jogging clothes in a carpeted office setting. Has she just been jogging, or is she succumbing to some corporate pressure? The ambiguity is unsettling.

AUSTIN NELSON, making pictures “on the road” mixes portraits with quirky scenes of buildings and landscapes. A Southern mansion in disrepair is just a glancing view on his rambling trip; an old storefront doorway draped with an American flag feels eccentric, if forgotten. Both his places and people are sleepy, on Southern time with no agenda. A friend standing in a field in Texas looks as if he just woke up, probably with a hangover. A car parked outside a nondescript building looks forsaken.

The two Taiwanese photographers in the show, I-HSUEN CHEN and LIANG-PIN TSAO complement each other, both doing road trips but with radically different visions.

CHEN, under the spell of the classic road-trip photographers Robert Frank, Stephen Shore, and Joel Sternfeld, idylls through Taiwan, but instead of finding the drama of Frank’s diverse demographics, or the wonder of Sternfeld’s American anecdotes, he discovers a society in a state of suspension. Time seems to have stopped for this island culture, and Chen focuses on the inadvertent poise of routine and the everyday. A group of people stand at the edge of the sea, gazing off. Another group sits in a bus station, killing time. A man in shorts bends over a guardrail on a road, looking for something in the brush, but what?

TSAO, on the other hand, journeys through the U.S., zigzagging from state to state, but he observes less than he emotes: a primal scream or an utterance of puzzlement. His scenes, relentlessly captured, are generic and anonymous. Patches of landscape glimpsed at night are like mirages seen by someone in a fugue. His vagueness is as disturbing as LANGOSCH’s ambiguity or FAZZARI’s piercing precision.

— Notes by ALLEN FRAME