REVIEW BY JURY OF ART PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2019 (by LENSCULTURE)
“I chose your portfolio series for review because it’s visually interesting. I have taken some time to study your photos, looking for visual clues for how you communicate ideas in your photography practice. You didn’t include a statement but I think you are making photos that are expressive, provocative, and alluring. I see the images as stories, or hints to stories where there is one central female character. You use the juxtaposition of models (lips) and physical environments to peak the viewer’s interest, to invite them in and explore the stories that are unfolding.
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.
The approach to the photos seems very rooted in the fashion industry since the lips and mouth and, especially, red lipstick are central themes in fashion. The mouths you use fit within cultural ideas around beauty, open mouth – sucking, licking. They also express ideas around society expectations for how beauty is portrayed in photos and the struggle to uncover the authentic self. Ultimately the series really ends up being a story about you and your interests. That being said, I think you also have a sense of humor that comes through the photos!
Each of the photos features, in some way, a single woman who is expressively posing and performing for the audience (the viewer). In each of the photos the subject is featured as a mouth, a pair of disembodied lips. Its interesting the way you use the lips to create a fusion between two dimensional and three dimensional forms. You juxtapose the two dimensional lips with physical objects like a straw, a sucker, and a red pill. You create surreal environments by bridging perceptual worlds. At the same time the images express confidence, individuality, originality, non-conformity and all the unique emotions and expressions that set a person apart from the conforming masses.
An interesting quality of your work is how there is an element of performance. As these mouths move through the photographic frames you capture moments when very specific performances are occurring. The performances have to do with the things most people do when no one is looking. Your images strike me as illustrating a lot of ideas having to do with the way people become characters, real characters, and how all those characters perform and function in their own hidden worlds.
Part of what makes these photos so interesting to look at is because they are poetic and narrative. They are rich with atmosphere and mood, partly because they contain so many atmospheric elements but also because of your use of dramatic, directional light. The intentional lighting and even the color add a sense of standing on the line between the fashion and art realms. I find this makes your photos very mysterious in the stories they tell. Each image has a narrative of its own and brings the viewer in to tell a story that ends up being integrally linked to your own life.
I can imagine these photos printed large, to inspire feelings of “awe” by creating a sense of scale in relationship to the viewer. Large-scale presentation could prompt the viewer to feel small when confronted by the ideas of standing in front of these intimate fashion/portrait compositions. Viewers would feel confronted with unexpected perspectives and that could inspire creative interpretations. But, then again, are these photographs or photographs of sculptural installations?
My next observation/suggestion also has to do with presentation. I suggest that the photos would be effective in a book. I think your ideas and stories, combined with the photos will make a more cohesive presentation. Also with a book, the viewer can hold the images, making the interaction more personal.
Your images are very dynamic. They are full of observations and questions about life, individuality, and beauty! Your images prove that being creative, both digitally and in the studio is very exciting 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 really do cross a lot of boundaries, which is highly encouraged in the art world. I suggest you keep an eye on http://www.callforentry.org for themed calls for artists.
You ask, “Does my art make you look twice? Do my artworks move you, excite you, surprise you, make you smile, give you the feeling you had never seen the world this way? Does it disturbe you(hopefully in a positive way)? Do I make you cringe? Do I make you wonder? Were you left with the feeling of wanting more of this art?” I think I can answer all these questions with “yes!” And, I think my review elaborates on my answer!
Your images are very dynamic, interesting, and FUN! I have enjoyed looking at your photos and it is clear that you are a talented photographer and that photography is one of your passions! Your images and your project are very thought provoking and creative. The photos are full of stories waiting to be discovered! I would strongly encourage you to keep pursuing your interest in these fashion compositions. But, look at lots of portfolios that can provide inspiration and creative energy for future projects. I suggest you look at Robert Mapplethorpe’s, Helmut Newton, and David LaChapelle’s photography. You may find some inspiration in their approaches. I very much enjoyed looking at your photos and I appreciate the way your images are masterfully considered and carefully designed. I look forward to seeing what you will do next!“