CENTER AWARDS: Directors Choice: Kelia Anne MacCluskey
This week and next, Lenscratch will be sharing the CENTER Awards winners and the statements by the jurors to help understand their choices.
Congratulations to Kelia Anne MacCauley for her Third Place win in CENTER’s Director’s Choice Awards. Her project, The Contest of Meaning, uses color, light, memory, and surrealism to create a new reality.
Kelia is a Colorado native currently solidifying her dreams, which she describes as ‘elsewhere’. Often illustrated as a renaissance woman, her obsession with photography began during an adolescent trip abroad and has since realized that travel and her art have been symbiotic. Kelia is studying photography at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Acknowledging symptoms of wanderlust, Kelia packed her bags and traveled to London where she was working alongside some of the most talented creatives in the world. Finishing her last year of school, Kelia is temporarily based in Savannah working as an Editorial Assistant for Aint-Bad Magazine, still trying to cure her bad case of wanderlust.
DIRECTOR’S CHOICE: Juror’s Statement
Louise Clements, Artistic Director, QUAD & FORMAT International Photography Festival
Being part of the Center Awards Jury this year has been a real pleasure; the submissions were of a consistently high standard throughout and offered a great reflection on the current diversity of international photographic practice. The works shared countless points of view and unique visions; they varied hugely in terms of approach from street photography and portraiture to longform documentary, collage, archive, tintype, landscape and more. The hundreds of projects presented some brilliant, engaging and innovative photography from around the world, with so many valuable ideas, thoughts and expressions it was a serious challenge to select single winners from such a diverse pool. For me the most arresting images are the ones that make us think harder, look longer, read more deeply and those that provoke wonder. I’m interested in photography that dares to be different and that tells unfamiliar stories, aesthetically as individual images or in series, as well as pictures that disrupt expectation or surprise us, these are the kind of images that open your mind to new possibilities. There were many projects of this kind that stood out amongst the hundreds of entries, alongside these of cause there were many talents who are also moving in the right direction and should not be discouraged.
Inevitably for the awards I have made a very personal selection of works all of which resonated with me and demonstrated strength of originality together with a high level of visual communication and production.
The third series that I selected is The Contest of Meaning, by Kelia Anne MacClusky which is focused on the romanticisation, manipulation and fallibility of memories, I was really attracted by her playful yet sophisticated aesthetic and deceptive collage, combined with a focused tonal range. For all of the winners I was drawn to the pictures which forced me to return and those with an elusive quality that is only possible to articulate through photography, images that I couldn’t forget. The three selected series encapsulate what photography is about today, although very different from each other, they all intelligently record and imaginatively examine important aspects of our human existence and environments.
The Contest of Meaning
The Contest of Meaning is a series of images that imitate and romanticize memories. The selective process of our memory is explored through each image. Some memories, though completely irrelevant, are lucid and clear, where others are almost hazy, and tiny details tend to be manipulated or missing completely. These images were created out of enthusiasm for nostalgia — a desire to remember.
I have a strong desire to document my youth in a naive and romantic way; absurd qualities existing symbiotically with the ordinary. This desire is accompanied by an obsession with color and what might be regarded as temporary – love, location, and adolescence. The ability to be sporadic and spontaneous is essential to being young. The sense of immediacy is pertinent throughout the series by concerning myself with the ‘now’. The photos exist as rich, visual representations of fleeting memories.
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