I had the pleasure to participate again as a reviewer in the 2022 New England Portfolio Reviews over the March 12th-13th weekend. The program brings in gallerists, educators and photo professionals from far and wide to look at new work, offering feedback in a joint venture produced by the Griffin Museum of Photography and the Photographic Resource Center (PRC) supported by sponsorship from, Digital Silver Imaging and Stanhope Framers. For me the reviews offer the chance to look at new work, projects in progress as well as projects resulting from years of thought and development and offer the artists a fresh perspective on their work. This year there was a nice mix of work in progress alongside exhibition ready projects and included work from established artists and those just starting out and those starting on second careers. The review sessions provided an opportunity to speak with artists new to me and also preview new projects from photographers who have exhibited at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts previously.
Due to lingering COVID-19 concerns this was again held as a virtual event. While viewing and reviewing work online is less than ideal it also provided some clear advantages over in person portfolio reviews. For anyone hesitating to participate in a virtual review session I would suggest the virtual format is both less stressful and less expensive. It offers the participating artists the comfort and safety of presenting from your own studio or home. The trade off, like all Zoom based meetings, is that the opportunities to socialize and make new connections among your peers are much more limited.
Personalized reviews and one on one consultations are also available with me directly through the the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts. In person or Zoom based sessions can be booked on our website. Complementary sessions are also available annually for active members.
Full program details are available at https://www.riphotocenter.org/portfolio-reviews-and-consultations
What follows is quick look at the photographers who’s work I had the pleasure to review, presented in alphabetical order. I have no doubt we will be presenting more of their work in the future, in the meantime, have a look and I encourage you to visit the websites for a more in-depth look at the work you find interesting or to connect with the artists on social media.
– David DeMelim, Managing Director Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts
Selections from the 2022 New England Portfolio Review
Presented by the Griffin Museum of Photography and the Photographic Resource Center since 2009
Unfortunately, due to a technology hiccup I didn’t actually get to meet Anthony or review his work. While we wait to reschedule, I am including him is this collection without knowing which work he planned to present. Anthony uses his camera as a tool to “illustrate the essence of the day to day found in small urban spaces, and as a means to bring cultures and lives together.” Anthony’s work is infused with a quality of light that makes his images very engaging. He shows a respect for his subjects with a direct approach and a clarity that evokes the grace and dignity he is seeking promote through his work…
Sage Brousseau: What’s Left Behind
Sage is …drawn to photography for its ability to capture time, beauty, and vulnerability in ways that aren’t easily articulated with words. Sage presents a well formed and resolved vision as she explores both the inevitability of loss and coming of age in a somewhat light hearted, yet serious and more importantly honest exploration.
What’s Left Behind is an autobiographical narrative I began creating after my mother’s passing as a means to contemplate, unpack, and sort through her legacy–seeking to discover not only who my mother was, but also what motherhood is, and who I am now without her… – Sage Brousseau
Learn more at www.sagebrousseau.com @whatsagesees
In Mythic Nature Sally recontextualizes local monuments and sculptures into new environments with a nod to the reclamation of the land by nature. Digital compositions are converted into hand colored Cyanotypes in a form and imagery the references both the Japanese scroll and medieval tapestries.
In Mythic Nature I create compositions of an imagined world. I am fascinated by statuary in the private and public space. These monuments have been erected to embody the mythos, ideals, and spiritual aspirations of the community. They are tributes to the sacrifice of local heroes, ancient gods, or religious icons and form the basis of my imagery… From these composited images, I create digital negatives which I use to print in the 19th century cyanotype process… The vertical orientation is a nod to the Asian scroll format and accentuates the upward movement of the statuary and the flowering plants as they both reach for the light and our ideals. – Sally Chapman
Andrew Epstein: CityScapes
Born and nurtured in post-war and later contemporary abstract art, Andrew presents an up close and personal exploration of the city he occupies. A well developed aesthetic and keen observations are manifest in his carefully framed details presented in CityScapes. These are not high-rises and grand skylines, but cityscapes at a more human scale, abstracts formed by a combination of reflections, construction details, abandoned shops and street level scenes.
Once I saw the connection, a new visual world revealed itself in my camera. It was always there, but missed, disregarded, and devalued. A world of color, form, gesture, transparencies, and reflections. A lost world of people, events, and purpose passed; lingering traces of life lived; a mood of yearning, melancholy, and loss.
CityScapes is a portfolio of images from my ongoing project to capture and present this world in images. – Andrew Epstein
Learn more at aepsteinphotography.com
John Hesketh: The Stucco Sessions
The Stucco Sessions is an exhibition ready project that explores John’s relationship with grief. John sculpts his images with light on a wall of the house he shared with his wife, Forms are revealed in a process of slow carefully controlled long exposures creating a visual record of an experience we are not able to appreciate or process in realtime.
The writing was on the wall, but I couldn’t see it… I scraped stucco at night, for ten years, on the same wall…
I’m blind while the long exposure records my performance. The open shutter sees me for who I am. Such is the process when you play with time and light…
These images gave language to those things we should have talked about but didn’t. The work created during The Stucco Sessions is evidence of this. I sold the house and its stucco wall, but not before shooting the last sessions. I continue to process these sessions to understand what it takes to let go.
The Stucco Sessions attempts to preserve and honor the process of grief through these performative equivalents, with the hope that others will find resonance… (in the grief we all share) We are not alone. We never get over this, but we can get through it… – John Hesketh
Learn more at www.johnhesketh.photography or connect @jchesketh
Hannah Latham: Bring Me A Dream & What is left Behind…
Hannah’s work is both personal and universal at the same time. With family as subject matter, her project, Bring me a Dream presents an interesting visual exploration of the gradual process of loss, loss through the natural aging process & loss through Alzheimer’s. Conceived as a separate project, What is Left Behind continues the exploration with a focus on what gets remembered and what is cast off as life moves on. I expect the themes from two projects will come together to provide a new direction… exploring and questioning how those left behind move forward…
Learn more at www.eshbaugh.com
The images being developed for Thirteen Hours to Fall, a work in progress, explore the ghost forests of North Carolina and the other changes to the Mid-Atlantic landscape driven by rising ocean levels and related consequences of climate change. Margret makes use of nautical references and scientific charts to provide a tangible scale in an attempt to measure or at least remind us of our impact on this rapidly changing landscape.
Learn more at www.margaretlejeune.com @margaret_lejeune
Jürgen Lobert: Industrial Beauty
Power plants are a necessary part of modern society and we are dependent on these industrial sites, yet they are often overlooked or actively avoided by many… If photographed at all, they are typically presented as a blight on the land or decaying monuments to past glories. Jürgen’s series, Industrial Beauty on the other hand is an ongoing project seeking to find and share beauty in these industrial landscapes.
During the day, we consider industrial installations to be unsightly, noisy, maybe smelly, filled with people, machinery and trucks, something you wish away or pass quickly… Photographing them at night turns those mundane sights into something more akin to a tourist attraction. That’s because night photography is very transformational, when I start recording and visualizing time: fume streaks blend into the sky, clouds diffuse, waters smooth over to a mirror finish to reflect the scenery… That is also when they start using bright, mixed colored lights, which create stark shadows that often seem to reach out at you, trying to pull you closer.
By positioning myself at a distance, those noisy, smelly, unsightly places suddenly take on a serene and peaceful character, which is the opposite of their nature, but it transforms them into surreal, otherworldly places, making them Industrial Beauty. – Jürgen Lobert
Fruma Markowitz: Searching for the Kahina
Fruma’s project combines Cyanotype with hand coloring and gold thread combined with historical images and seeks to correct or at least re-contextualize once dominant female representations. The work is hand formed, with individual figures collaged or sewn into a handmade piece that attempts to remove or at least reduce the European male gaze that colored the original images.
My project, “Searching for the Kahina,” intertwines the cyanotype process with a collection of found archival portraits of North African women (dating from the turn of the 20th Century and now in the public domain), to challenge the Orientalist, male gaze that first made them, by creating an alternative visual space where women’s stories of a shared Jewish, Muslim and Amazigh culture can be re-told from a feminist perspective.
Learn more at www.frumamarkowitz.photo @frumamarkowitz.photo
Vicki McKenna: The Fragmented Landscape
Vicki’s developing project explores the familiar yet hidden, she focuses not on the grand landscapes but calls our attention instead to the micro-scapes found in and between the developed landscape. Beauty and power can be found in the spaces between, the small green spaces, swales and drainage ditches that populate our urban world.
Learn more at https://mckennaimages.com Connect @riverwandering
Shelby Meyerhoff: Zoomorphics
Zoomorphism is the device of giving animal-like qualities to humans…
Strongly focused on promoting environmental initiatives, Shelby is an educator with a focus on arts and nature programming. Her project seeks to preserve or at least raise awareness to the declining numbers of a wide variety of animals. She uses herself as model to transform into these animals so they may be preserved through her photographs.
I live near the woods and treasure my morning walks there. Among the plants and animals, I am not self-conscious. I am at ease just as I am, part of an interconnected web of life that transcends any social construct. Perhaps that is why I turn to the natural world for inspiration in my work. The creatures that I become are hybrids, both human and non-human. They are beyond gender, and when I inhabit them, I am free. – Shelby Meyerhoff
Learn more at www.shelbymeyerhoff.com Connect @shelbymeyerhoff
Ellen Mitchell: Benches
Ellen is an observer who embraces chance, often shooting without looking through the viewfinder to document the people, places, and dramatic situations that present themselves. In Benches, we are presented with a parade of very day people along the New Jersey shore. The images are direct and without judgement capturing a momentary pause between destinations and celebrating human diversity.
Learn more at http://ellenmitchell.photography Connect @i.ellen.m
Personalized reviews and one on one consultations are available directly through the the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts. In person or Zoom based sessions can be booked on our website. Complementary sessions are also available annually for active members. Full program details are available at https://www.riphotocenter.org/portfolio-reviews-and-consultations