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First Place- Paula Rae Gibson
L.A. Photo Curator: International Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' First Place- Paula Rae Gibson (Click here for larger view)
LATE DAD by Paula Rae Gibson
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From the UK, Paula Rae Gibson lives in the UK with her daughter, who is captured in these images.

Gibson was a 2015 a finalist award for the Julia Margaret Cameron Woman's Photography Prize, for fine art category, and portrait and childrens portrait.

In 2016 her image 'LATE HUSBAND' was selected by Roger Ballen as a Melbourne Photo Award finalist 2016

Curator Jody Miller: "This image struck me with an urgency of emotion. Grief is such a strong motivator for art, and this image tells such a story while at the same time provoking so many more questions about it. The soft tones, the sweetness of the girl and her affection for her loved one now gone, were the first things that drew me to the image. Secondly, it stands on its own as a strong execution that accurately conveys the essence of the story with a universality we can all embrace. Warm congratulations to Paula for such a fine image.
 
The question I have for the Paula is:
What prompted the photograph? Was it memory, an emotion? Was it pre visualized and composed because it looks
like a rather spontaneous moment."

Paula Rae Gibson: "When  someone you love dies I have understood that you are left changed forever - you live on and in my case I had all the reason to as I had our daughter to raise-she was two at the time of my husbands death.

This image is apart of a series I did totally spontaneously. This photograph was taken the week after my husband died. I remember little of the months that followed his death but I do remember gathering together prints I had on the floor I would have been printing- I remember my daughter around me - lying about, playing, knowing somehow her dad was gone, lots of questions, but not knowing that it was forever. I was haunted to say the least - I spent months printing photographs of him around the clock.

I remember her lying near his photo and I simply inched her closer and snapped the photo with my old Olympus and  I discovered the film years later and luckily processed it -it's a photograph that means  a lot to me as it shows exactly how small she was when he died.

It's them together, forever somehow.

The past is always echoing -  and though it is so beautiful to have loved so deeply and to have a real love child .everyday I struggle with the fact my daughter will never know him ."

www.paularaegibson.com

Additional review by curator Jane Szabo: "Paula Rae Gibson's winning image "Late Dad" for the competition, 'What Remains', caught my breath and grabbed me by the heartstrings. The subject's pose, with her closed eyes, and head resting on a photo father, is such a powerful gesture. We feel the loss tangibly. The torn edges of the photo of the father are so intriguing. This is not a mere 8x10 family photo. This is something bigger, and weightier. It feels like it has been torn off of a billboard, or a wanted poster, or something from a more public sphere. Of course that is all conjecture - but that is why it is such a successful image: it gives the viewer plenty of room to create a story."

Additional review by curator Sandrine Hermand-Grisel: "There is the moment where the missing father is gently kissing his daughter’s head. It’s there, this moment, even though the father is just an image, a much loved image with frayed edges and torn pieces, perhaps a rolled up larger than life portrait that is brought out often and caressed and held…and laid upon and snuggled. There is too the peacefulness of the sleeping girl, or the girl that appears to be asleep, but perhaps she is just closing her eyes to receive the kiss. Or perhaps she is far away, dreaming of her father. But clearly she knows that she is loved. Protected. Taken care of. Even in his absence. I receive all of this from viewing this photograph by Paula Rae Gibson. I can bring to it my own story, of love, of loss, of longing, of innocence, of dreams of the past…It is a powerful image in that it not only has its own narrative, but it allows me to project my own feelings and interpretations upon it while also stirring my emotions in unexpected ways. The title tells me a lot. Or rather, it informs me. This picture is also beautifully built, with the girl angled in from the corner, dreaming her dream, receiving the love of her late dad, in an empty room where there is nothing but him and her, the two, united in a dreamland. It makes me think of a Tom Waits’ song. It makes me pause longer than I normally do when I see a photograph. It makes me want to push my husband into the next room to embrace our children before it's too late. It makes me grateful for the power of photography to not just capture a moment, but to translate one. It is a gift, this picture, and one that is deserving of the first prize."
 
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