The Slow Exposures Exhibition
This week, Lenscratch celebrates the SlowExposures Photography Festival.
For 12 years, SlowExposures has offered a photography exhibition that celebrates the rural South. Each year, more photographers participate and we were delighted with the high level of submissions. Today we are featuring the award winners, but there the entire show was filled with stellar work. Photographers included Ken Abbott Ashville, NC, DC Baker Griffin, GA, Angelina Bellebuono Rutledge, GA, Anne Berry Newnan, GA,Aaron Blum Oakmont, PA, Andrea Bonisoli Alquati Columbia, SC, Britt Boyles Portland, OR, Lee Brantley Midland, GA, Stephanie Bryan Atlanta, GA, Sandy Burr Nashville, TN, Mark Caceres Smyrna, GA, Ken Callaway Hiram, GA, Aaron Canipe Durham, NC, Christopher Chadbourne Marblehead, MA, Sebastian Collett Asheville, NC, Myrtie Cope Marietta, GA, Mary Claire Crow Old Hickory, TN, Nicholas Dantona Franklin, TN, Jack Deese Douglasville, GA, Benjamin Dimmitt Swannanoa, NC, Jeani Elbaum Douglasville, GA, Michael W Ellison Savannah, GA, David Ferguson Canton, GA, Tracy Fleischman Morgenthau Los Angeles, CA, Michael Foster Oxford, MS, Terri Garland Soquel, CA, Ann George Shreveport, LA, Uliana Goncharova Greenville, NC, Kenny Gray West Point, GA, Amanda Greene Athens, GA, Meg Griffiths Columbia, SC, Shannon Johnstone Cary, NC, Ashley Kauschinger Alpharetta, GA, Diane Kirkland Atlanta, GA, Brittainy Lauback Athens, GA, Fred Link Sharpsburg, GA, Elizabeth McAdory Opelika, AL, Noelle McCleaf Venice, FL, Sue McGlothlin Louisburg, NC, Alicia Milner Lithia Springs, GA, Mark Mosrie Nashville, TN, Jerry Park Nashville, TN, Betty Press Hattiesburg, MS, Maureen Price Glendale, CA, Jared Ragland Birmingham, AL,Tamara Reynolds Nashville, TN, Donna Rosser Fayetteville, GA, Liam Sinnott Austin, TX, Vinson Smith Jonesboro, GA,John Sumner Atlanta, GA, Cynthia Todd Gainesville, GA, DB Waltrip Pensacola, FL,Billy Weeks Ringgold, GA, Debra Wells Brooklyn, NY, Clara Williams Cartersville, GA, Julie Wynn Phenix City, AL, Kyle Yamakawa Durham, NC.
Juror’s Statement from Alexa Dilworth:
What does the South, especially the more rural South look like? What can be understood through a single photograph? Each year the Slow Exposures Photography Festival in Pike County, Georgia, asks two people to jury the entries for the festival’s main exhibition—as Slow cofounder Christine Curry put it in the Oxford American online, “We try to match a native of the South with someone ‘not from here.’” This year, Aline Smithson (of Los Angeles), and I (of Springfield, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida) were charged with selecting 70 images from the over 1,000 photographs that were submitted. Looking through the individual images (which are given to us randomized and without names) and curating the Slow Exposures show along with Aline was an unusually involving and rewarding experience. I’d never juried as a duo before, and I’d never selected single images for exhibition before, only series of pictures submitted as essays or book-length works. Together, we needed to agree on 70 images that resonated with an imagined, yet not overly trope-y, South and the reality of contemporary rural southern life (and so much of the South is still country, not yet defined by urban and exurban experience). We went through all of the images separately and then compared notes. At least two-thirds of our picks were the same, which was a relief and a pleasure. We then went back and forth a couple of times about the last twenty or so pictures, but it was an easy and congenial process as we found that we were starting to understand each other’s sensibilities, ways of looking. Of course, we wished the show could have had 100, 150, images, as so many wonderful pictures were in the pool. The selection of photographs we ended up finding together tells a story of a South both familiar and new—twists on a place we only think we know.
Juror’s Statement from Aline Smithson:
I really enjoyed spending time with all the submissions as it was a window into the South and allowed me to understand a culture that has inspired so many literary greats. It’s never easy being a juror, narrowing down such a rich outpouring of images means that I will be leaving behind photographs that are not only worthy of wall space, but that I have become attached to. As a juror, you are in a sense, curating an exhibition. That means it’s important to show a wide variety of imagery and consider all the creative approaches to expressing the Southern way of life. We worked hard to celebrate classic Southern imagery, but also bring a fresh voice and vision to the curation. Most important was the quality of the work and did it stand apart with a unique voice. We didn’t agree on everything–Alexa and I each stood our ground and argued for our favorites, but in the end we felt a unity and commitment to the exhibition. As the jurying process was anonymous, we had no idea who the photographers were. In some cases, we selected two from the same photographer and it was a surprise and delight to walk into Stickland’s and learn who the photographers were. Alexa and I both want to compliment Andrea Noel for her consideration of how the show was hung–there was great thought behind the visual connections and it truly enriched how the work was experienced.
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