The CENTER Awards: The Director’s Choice Award 3rd Place Winner: Cody Bratt
Congratulations to Cody Bratt for his First Place win in CENTER’S Director’s Choice Award for his project, The Other Stories. The Choice Awards recognize outstanding photographers working in all processes and subject matter. Images can be singular or part of a series. Winners receive Complimentary participation in Review Santa Fe , work in the Winners Exhibition at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, and an Online exhibition at VisitCenter.org
Juror Rubén Esparza, Independent Curator; Founder and Director, Queer Biennial shares his insights:
I was impressed by the quality and diversity of work—it was truly difficult to select top-tiered work. I made new discoveries that I will follow and explore.
My own personal criteria for discerning art and photography is to look at work that represent technical and aesthetic shifts from what is already out there; a new take or observation of the zeitgeist, the sociopolitical, and cultural pronouncements. The work that I selected touches on these points. These particular works of art (photography) shine a light on people living in the margins of communities and are usually maligned and, or scapegoated. To focus on these subjects is to acknowledge them and to speak truth to societal ills.
Work that mostly focuses on clever composition and color imaginations is much appreciated, but not enough for highlighting at this particular juncture.
Rubén Esparza (Founder, Queer Biennial) is an artist and independent curator based in Los Angeles. Esparza’s studio practice spans painting, drawings, and photography, mixing it with elements of Conceptualism, ethnicity and Queer Culture. His curatorial work focuses on under-represented artists primarily in the queer and ethnic communities. His work is included as part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Santa Barbara Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, Illinois, among others.
He has created events and curated exhibitions across the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Esparza is the Founder and Director of the Queer Biennial anchored in Los Angeles, with satellites in New York, Mexico, Miami, Paris, Tel Aviv. and Zürich. He has curated exhibitions at the Ace Hotel/LA, Coagula Curatorial/LA, Industry Gallery/LA, Navel/LA, and the San Diego Art Institute.
The Other Stories
My family grapples with a lineage of abuse and neglect which converge at my great-grandfather, who described himself as a poet, labor champion and photographer. As I began to restore his photographic archive, I wondered whether these other, hidden stories were visible from the photographs and, if they are, what they might mean to me. Had I also inherited this darkness? I explore these questions utilizing tears, tape, glue and other techniques to combine and remix the photographs with ephemera from the archive itself.
Cody Bratt (b. 1982) is a San Francisco-born and based artist. His father, a photoengraver, and his mother, a multimedia artist, inspired his love of photography and book making, in particular. He holds a BA in Rhetoric with a formal concentration in Narrative and Image from the University of California, Berkeley (2005). Shying away from a literal approach, Cody’s photography employs primarily non-linear emotional or psychological approaches to exploring subjects and concepts. Unreliable memories, displacement, loss and coming of age feature centrally in Cody’s work.
He has exhibited internationally at Berlin Art Week, Month of Photography Los Angeles, Griffin Museum of Photography, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, ICP Museum, Brighton Photo Fringe, Filter Photo Festival amongst others. Cody is a 2016 LensCulture Emerging 50 Talent and 2018 PDN 30 nominee. Cody’s first monograph, LOVE WE LEAVE BEHIND, was debuted by Fraction Editions in 2018. The series was awarded a 2018 Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 distinction, named as a finalist for the 2016 Duke University CDS/Honickman First Book Prize and had images selected and published as winners in American Photography 34 (2018).
His work is in private collections in several states across the US, as well as Europe. Cody’s work has been published worldwide in print and online venues including PDN, LensCulture, Lomography Magazine, iGNANT, Gente Di Fotografia, Blur Magazine, Aint-Bad, Float Magazine amongst others.
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