The CENTER Awards: The Gallerist’s Choice 2nd Place Award: Barbara Hazen
Last week and this week, Lenscratch will be celebrating the 2014 CENTER Award Winners. We are thrilled to align with such a wonderful organization that honors, supports, and provides opportunities to gifted and committed photographers. For 20 years, CENTER has launched careers, provided incredible exposure and inspired photographers to create work that excites and challenges the photographic dialogue.
Today we celebrate Barbara Hazen‘s Gallerist’s Choice 2nd Place Award starting with juror, Steffi Schulze’s, statement.
GALLERIST’S CHOICE: Juror’s Statement
JUROR STEFFI SCHULZE, Gallery Management, Camera Work, Germany
First of all, I would like to express my thanks to all applicants for their diverse portfolios and for the opportunity to assess and evaluate the work. I am very impressed by the variety and diversity of the presented photographs.
Almost all of the submitted portfolios convinced with professionalism, creativity and technical knowledge. Corresponding to that, it was not an easy decision to choose three winners. Single images or whole stories needed to be able to leave a strong impression and catch your eye or your emotion.
For me, it is of utmost importance to see continuity, a personal handwriting, and images with a personal touch. Individual pictures aroused my interest directly, but the further photographs within the portfolio didn’t convince quite as much. In some portfolios, the idea behind the image or the story was terrific but the final result respectively the photograph was unfortunately not that persuasive to go for the next round.
Creativity, craftsmanship, continuity and ability are the important factors, which I saw in most of the submitted portfolios.
In particular I was impressed by those portfolios, which documented either a political or a private story and presented a balanced mix between portraits and still life.
Finally I decided for the three portfolios by Jeanine Michna Bale, Barbara Hazen and Ryan Zoghlin – although are very different, they were touching in a very special way. In my opinion they are outstanding, because of the dramaturgy of light, the composition and the preservation of old photographic techniques that merge with modern aesthetics.— Steffi Schulze, Gallery Management, Camera Work, Germany
Barbara Hazen‘s Project Statement: Perfectly Imperfect
“If you try to view yourself through the lenses that others offer you, all you will see are distortions; your own light and beauty will become blurred, awkward, and ugly. Your sense of inner beauty has to remain a very private thing.”-John O’Donohue
I began this project as an exploration into my personal feelings about feminine beauty and identity when my daughter asked me in an interview if I thought I was pretty. Answering this question honestly was more difficult than I’d expected. In short, my answer was that I felt that I was ‘perfectly imperfect’, because beauty comes from within. I feel that beauty is far more complicated than our physical selves, but rather includes our mental, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social selves as well. This is what I wanted to capture in photographs of women–their inner beauty emerging out of their physical body. The strata of light in these silhouettes are a metaphor for the ephemeral layers and illusions of what we look like and what we imagine, or wish we looked like. Even though these are not self-portraits, each image resonates with my life experience at one time or another. My ambition with this series is to leave a bit of mystery in what you are seeing, the uniqueness of the imperfect. When the body, whether dressed up or unadorned, is viewed as a beautiful shape, a landscape or canvas, it takes on a powerful draw. The need to bare all is not necessary to excite the senses and imagination. Beauty is a personal and private journey for every woman to learn to live in her own skin, letting social expectations fall away, allowing her own sense of beauty and individuality to emerge.
Barbara Hazen bio:
Photography is the biography of my imagination. It is a tool for me to tell a story. I am drawn to subjects and objects in life that are often over-looked or ignored. I find that beauty can be found in the many unlikely places that I comb for inspiration. The spark to tell a story opens the floodgate of my imagination followed by a focused determination to capture this photographically. Each project I fixate on is a reflection of my values and creativity no matter what the subject matter or technique used. As a photographer my goal is to encourage viewers to be curious, to observe the bit of mystery in all things, and to bring light and life to that which we don’t understand.
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