Silver Eye Center for Photography 2005 Fellowship Exhibition, Leslie Martin - Juror's Statement

Juror’s Statement for Silver Eye Center for Photography Fellow 2005 Exhibition

I consider it an honor to have been asked to jury this year’s Fellowship competition, especially with the knowledge that the photographers I have selected will be the first to exhibit their work in the newly renovated gallery at Silver Eye Center for Photography. My kudos to the staff, members, and supporters of Silver Eye for encouraging emerging talent in concrete ways— an invaluable contribution to the photographic community at large.

Selecting one Fellowship winner and ten Honorable Mentions from 264 submissions would have been difficult without careful coordination and seamless presentation of each photographer’s work. I thank Silver Eye staff members Amanda Bloomfield, Kaoru Tohara, and Sylvia Ehler, along with Carnegie Mellon University Intern Natalie Gonzalez, for organizing everything so smoothly. I also thank Silver Eye director Linda Benedict-Jones for providing an open-ended yet clear objective: to select a strong, well-developed body of work demonstrating a coherent photographic vision.

With this in mind, I viewed over two thousand five hundred images (ten images for each participant). The truth of the matter is, I’m easily captivated by a single image. Yet, the real power of a clearly articulated photographic voice is in its ability to bring together a set of images to tell a story, enlarge our understanding of an issue, or illuminate a new and different way of looking at the world. It is the ability to hold the attention of the viewer beyond a single image or even two or three images that makes a good photographer. A remarkable photographer uses every single image to further our engagement with—or even alter our perception of—the subject.

The ten Honorable Mentions were selected from a top tier of twenty-five or so photographers carefully winnowed out of the larger set. The photographers represented here are the ten I felt most deserved recognition for presenting a strong and considered investigation of their subject. However, one project stood out for its extraordinary consistency of vision and control of the series as a whole.

Jeff Krolick, this year’s Fellowship recipient, works image by image to immerse the viewer in the lush, painterly landscape of Emigrant Lake, Oregon. The work, while acutely aware of the principles of abstraction, relies greatly on photography’s ability to render the world around us with precision. It is partly this tension between the abstract and the real, a shift between (and sometimes compression of) the foreground and background that gives these otherwise classic landscape scenes their added impact. Each is tightly composed within a square format and uses a carefully managed palette, alternately restrained and exuberant. In #6 Emigrant Lake 1-22-05, brilliant, flame-like orange and red twigs emerge as short, sharp, brush strokes set against a ground of dry, faded grasses. The top edge of the frame is crowned with a dusky swath of rich greens and blues. #3 Emigrant Lake 1-22-05 carefully balances round, red berries bursting with color against tiny, geometric grey and white reeds. Delicate sprouts of green, barely visible beneath a layer of tan underbrush, lace together the two contrasting halves of the frame. Krolick speaks of his images as “appropriations of the textures, colors, and shapes from a unique locale.” Yet, these images are also grounded in personal recollection: the artist recalls wearing his grandfather’s fishing boots during late, unseasonably warm winters and wading through melted snow in an untended orchard. He remembers being “fascinated with little scenarios of tangled branches, mounds of dead wood and sandstone boulders cleared and piled years ago.” It is this childlike fascination that Krolick successfully filters through his formal, deftly rendered landscapes.

Lesley A. Martin
Executive Editor, Books
November, 2005