CENTER’s Project Launch Grant Winner: Tamara Reynolds
Huge congratulations to Tamara Reynolds for her 1st Place win in the 2018 Project Launch Grant, recognizing her remarkable series, The Drake. The Project Launch Grant is granted to an outstanding photographer working on a fine art series or documentary project. The grant includes a cash award to help complete or disseminate the works, as well as providing a platform for exposure and professional development opportunities.
Juror Sarah Hermanson Meister, Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art shares her insights on her selections:
Photography is—simultaneously and paradoxically—one of the easiest and most difficult means of artistic expression. And the distinction between those projects that offer original insight and enduring value and those that simply reveal an unknown corner of our common physical or emotional landscape can be both subtle and, admittedly, subjective. I was certainly curious to encounter aspects of the world that had been previously invisible to me, and touched to see photographs that poignantly captured the vulnerability of the artist and/or subject, yet the strongest portfolios managed to weave into their compelling images a sense of urgency, so that what might have begun as a private inquiry could assume broader significance in our current moment. This is an exceedingly difficult thing to do, and I am in awe whenever I encounter a body of work that seems to open up new paths towards understanding the world around us.
Sarah Hermanson Meister, Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art
Meister’s recent exhibitions include From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola (2015; co-curator), Nicholas Nixon: Forty Years of The Brown Sisters (2014). On photography she writes “my travel across South America has piqued my interest in a broader view of photography’s history and its future.”
Tamara Reynolds graduated with a bachelor of fine arts and for the past 25 years, she hasbeen working as a commercial photographer. Her work has been published in many national magazines as well as being a part of many national advertising campaigns.
Along with her commercial career, she continued to pursue her personal projects. The series Southern Route, a photographic series that took herthroughout the south, has been recognized by Review Santa Fe and was included in the Finalist List of Photo Lucida 2012, 2013, featured on Lenscratch, Bitter Southerner, NYTimes Lens Blog and PBS News Hour as well as having images “Selected” for AI-AP 29, 30 and 33 publications. Communication Arts and All About Photos also published part of the work. A selection from the series is held in the prestigious photographic collections, The Do Good Fund and Cassilhaus. Tamara is one of the 50 photographic artists included in the National Endowment for the Arts and Robert Mapplethourpe Foundation supported exhibition entitled Southbound curated by Mark Sloan and Mark
Long of Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. The traveling exhibition opens in the fall of 2018. In 2017, she was awarded a master of fine arts degree from Hartford University Photographic International Limited Residency Program. Tamara was born and continues to call Nashville, Tennessee her home.
The Drake offers a means to delve deeply into a world both far removed from my own but also perilously close –– how my life might have looked had I not found the resources that led me to recovery. The work continuously challenges my concept of empathy and how to photograph my subjects in such a way as to “make the unseen seen.”1 I am passionate in my intent to push back against a society of increasing culturally endorsed behavior to not acknowledge the marginalized. I hope the intimacy of the portraits engages the audience in such a way that they identify with those suffering. Rather than resentfully tolerate and disregard, they may feel the healing powers of empathy. Everyone suffers from the ramifications of addiction on one level or another, either being directly affected by the loss of a love one or witnessing the indignity of a society losing a battle to drugs. These are not easy pictures, but my hope is that the images give space for viewers to move closer, to enter the stillness of the photographs and consider the lives of those looking back.
1 Linfield, Susie, The Cruel Radiance: Photograph and Political Violence, (Chicago Press, 2010), p. 258
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