My black & white post of late last year got me thinking. As I chose to only submit 5 photo’s, there were some photo’s left. Not shared. But not anymore. Here they are :-)
For now here are the ones that didn’t make the cut. Let me know what you think!
P.S. my submission review by of one of Lens Culture’s reviewers was interesting and I will share it here. Maybe some of you have got something to add. So please feel free to share your opinion.
Hello Lilian. I chose your portfolio series, “Stillness” for review because it’s visually and conceptually fascinating. I have taken some time to study your photos, looking for visual clues that point to the story they tell. You are obviously a skilled photographer with a strong sense of what is happening around you, enough to be able to notice the potential in these found objects! You didn’t include a statement but it looks like you are working on making photos in a unique, artistic, and visually poetic way.
I know that a statement wasn’t required for this entry but it would be helpful for you and the viewer if you could develop a statement, telling the viewer about your inspiration for the photos you make. It’s important to be able to express those ideas in an artist statement because it will help you grow as a photographer. An artist statement will help orient the viewer to what you are interested in regarding your photography and what you feel is happening with the photography. Thinking about your approach and what you are trying to accomplish will help shed some light on how to continue to formulate a unique style. It will help bring more depth to the viewer’s understanding of the photos and more understanding about your own creative process. You did include short, informative statements with each photo, which is much appreciated. I will make some suggestions at the end of the review.
There are a lot of other visual dimensions going on in these images. I see the sense of timelessness in the photos as the mind travels across these moments of observation. At the same time the vibrancy of tonality communicates a sense of solitude and isolation. There is a sense that the photos invite curious viewers to explore these unique, peopleless places. From this perspective, the scenes are dream-like and magical, as if one could visualize these places only with their eyes closed. There is a kaleidoscope of dynamic form and gesture.
The photos also show us a glimpse of the relationship between making images and the experiences, the emotions, and the perceptions you have and the perspective of the photographer that made the image. Your camera is like a time machine that captures glimpses of the past. In this way the images are very meaningful. For me they talk about the way humans can create order from chaos. They also tell us about the vitality, excitement, and mystery that can be found in these dark scenes that communicate calm, serenity and silence.
To portray these scenes you capture visual layers of imagery – contrast, light, and shadow overlapping subjects, composed together to communicate the feeling of being at these scenes alone. Your use of black and white helps create a sense of stillness. The entire group of images becomes aspects of a single composition. In all the photos the light has been captured in a way that the photos tell stories about a historical, frozen moment. The appearance of these photos is as though we are looking through windows, into the past (in fact we may be in photos 2 and 3).
You have a sharp ability to communicate to us feeling, mood, and understanding of the situation. These moments, these interpretations of the original scenes could be described as “poetic” and I think your images certainly are poetic. In a sense, you are saying, “this is what I imagined this scene to be while the everything in these places was alive with light and shadow – in stillness.”
The more I look at these photos, the more I see that the compositions of the images seem layered with translucency and luminosity. It causes the eye to switch back from figure to ground and back again. There is a kaleidoscope of lights and darks that lead the eye masterfully throughout the photos. The eye looks for details and is rewarded the more the viewer studies. I appreciate this creative approach to these subjects where you are able to elevate the mundane, everyday scenes. It is unique and rewarding to see!
I have one observation/suggestion has to do with their presentation. I think that these photos need to be experienced as prints, to be seen as physical objects that the viewer knows they could reach out and touch. The photos also need to establish a relationship with the viewer’s human scale, so they need to be large. I think it is important so the viewer can be confronted with a sense of awe the large photos could communicate. These photos would bring a room to life! Or, in contrast, the photos could be in a book. With this presentation, the viewer can hold the images, making the interaction more intimate and personal. In the book you can explain the origin of the image and your ideas.
Your images are visually dynamic with all the leading lines and framing. Your images prove that focusing in and investigating the photographic past can yield very exciting results and who knows where it will lead. Also, don’t feel like you need to be married to the photography world. My advice is that you enter juried art exhibitions and/or show your work within art communities. I think that your images would do well in an “art” environment. Your photos would be well received in the art world. I suggest you keep an eye on http://www.callforentry.org for themed calls for artists.
You ask about my opinion of your work. I believe the photos fit perfectly in the broad theme of the competition, but know that I am not a juror. I don’t know exactly what the jurors are looking for. I am a professional reviewer. I look at each portfolio as a stand-alone entry, apart from the competition. I hope I have incorporated the rest of my opinions in this review!
I have enjoyed looking at your photos in your series and it is clear that photography is one of your passions! Your images are very beautiful, thought provoking and creative. I would strongly encourage you to keep pursuing your ideas. But, keep looking at lots of portfolios that will inspire you to make more photos. I suggest you look at SHOTS magazine for photographers you may connect with. I very much enjoyed looking at your photo and I appreciate the way your images are so thoughtfully considered and carefully designed these reinterpretations. I hope this review is helpful and I look forward to seeing what you will do next!