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L.A. Photo Curator: International Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' FIRST PLACE (click) (Click on image for reviews)
EASELS by Luke Jordan
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CURATOR JOHN MATKOWSKY: “Luke Jordan's photograph stands out for me. It is an informal semi-nude portrait executed in a formal style by way of location and lighting. The quality of light provides a haunting quality that produces an aesthetic of an Old Master painting; a tableau of an almost timeless quality. Yet dress, style and pose are clearly contemporary. I am a great believer that an image should stand on its own without description. However, in the case of this photo, (and possible series) it makes me want to know more. What is the back-story and inspiration for this photograph? Is it part of a larger body of work? Film or digital?

LUKE JORDAN: There are probably multiple "back-stories" for the image that John  Matkowsky has selected, so I'll try to illuminate/obscure some of my thinking process as best I can! First, I have long been interested in what I will oversimplify and describe as "The Nude" vs. "The Naked", or the Ideal vs. the Real. Photography has a tendency to make us aware of this difference through specificity and detail, and by giving the impression that photographic images are selected rather than constructed. However, I'm sure we are probably going though a major shift 'perceptually' on our understanding of photographic images as Photoshop and its effects become an assumed part of the image making process. Nonetheless, I sincerely believe that figures/bodies without clothes are 'naked' in photographs: ask someone to take their clothes off for a photograph, and it raises very different and interesting" questions about "why" their clothes are off...

The images I submitted for consideration were made in the drawing studios at the school where I work, and these studios/classrooms include rooms that I teach in; it's worth noting that these rooms serve as a place where some students are beginning to think about what it means to make art. I also really like these rooms as 'spaces', especially when they are almost empty, and I love the light that filters in through skylights and the single window in each of these rooms, early in the day.

I have been making pictures relating to the statement above for over 35 years; the following link is an example of work from 1985.
http://collection.spencerart.ku.edu/eMuseumPlus?service=direct/1/ResultDetailView/result.inline.list.t1.collection_list.$TspTitleImageLink.link&sp=13&sp=Sartist&sp=SelementList&sp=0&sp=0&sp=999&sp=SdetailView&sp=0&sp=Sdetail&sp=1&sp=T&sp=0&sp=SdetailList&sp=0&sp=F&sp=Scollection&sp=l16541
I am currently working with digital capture (Easels was shot with a Canon 5D Mark III, and I also work with a little Lumix GX-I and my iPhone), but I am pretty sure that I have shot more film in my lifetime than most people out there!

If I were allowed to interject my own tagline for the posting of my work on your website, I would replace The Nude as Art with The Naked as Art!"
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Luke Jordan is currently a lecturer and Academic Programs Associate, Dept. of Visual Art at the University of Kansas. He has his M.F.A. in Photography and B.F.A. in Visual Art. He has exhibited widely and his works are in the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas and in the collection of the late Samuel Wagstaff, NY, NY
Contact info:
lukej@ku.edu

CURATOR CAROLYN HAMPTON:
I like the informal quality of this photograph, as it reminds me of being back in an art class. I also like how the light falls on the model, and that she is surrounded by easels. Well done!

CURATOR JANE SZABO:
Luke Jordon’s winning image selected for the contest "The Nude as Art" channels historic portrait painting in a modern context. The use of color photography to reference the paintings by the old masters plays an important role in the image as chiaroscuro lighting confronts unabashed partial nudity for a compelling image. The setting also brings to mind the artist studios of yore as portrayed in many master paintings.
I fully support the selection of this photograph as the winner - it is a striking image. Well deserved!

CURATOR STEVE ZMAK:
This is not a glamour nude. And this in no way is a comment on the beauty captured by photographer Luke Jordan. The subject’s beauty is real, and stands up even in an uncomfortable environment. The harsh lighting and cold studio absent of any other life brings all the attention on the model without distraction. Her pose suggests she’s working on a stage before an audience of painters in an instructional or working environment, yet the artists are mysteriously absent. The image provokes many questions, and keeps the viewer’s mind spinning. Does the model erase the artists from her perception when she works? Is this a statement on loneliness and isolation? Are the scribblings on the canvases surrounding her an illustration of her consciousness? The ballet slippers also are an interesting prop and accent. Yes, a very thought-provoking piece!
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A percentage of artist fees from this competition will go to:
John Matkowsky's chosen charity- www.soidog.org
& to Luke Jordan's chosen charity-
www.van-go.org./about

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