L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
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R. J. Kern says, "The Best of the Best records champion animals at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair, one of the most competitive animal contests in the world. Animal breeding, like photography, is an arena of technical and material evolution. This series explores the relationship between the present and the past, drawing parallels between early animal contests at agricultural fairs and the first major exhibition of photography at the 1851 World’s Fair in London.

In this project, I document an event in which 12 pairs of animal species are judged supreme champion— the best of the best. Using a digital camera, I photographed winning exemplars of domesticated animals then combined 19th-century salt printing techniques and contemporary inkjet technology into images that emphasize changes in breeds over time and advances in photographic technology. It is science and art; it renders both an objective typology of animal husbandry and commentary on animal contests at this time and place. The hand-crafted portraits reference similarities between the history and development of photography and the advent of animal contests.

As with life, animal breeding, and photography, the contributions of chance remind us that we are not in control. Two champions do not guarantee champion offspring. The unforeseen result of science and chance can be the embodiment of beauty or success. When several animals meet and exceed the standards that judges rely on to guide their decisions, the winner becomes a subjective choice. 

Salt prints, a photographic process popular between 1839-1860, connect to photography’s historical roots; printing on them digitally connects to the present. Combining these two printing processes softens photography’s particularized quality. The subtle tones of salt printing express mood and emotion, a contrast to the sharpness of a digital print. Subject, process, emotion, science, and chance combine to make both an immediate document and a comment on photography’s past, present, and future."

R. J. Kern (b. 1978) is an American artist whose work explores ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place through the interaction of people, animals, and cultural landscapes. 

His work has been exhibited in a number of notable exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art (Tbilisi, Georgia), the National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), the Yixian International Photography Festival (Anhui, China), and a solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Boston, MA). Awards and accolades include PDN’s 30 2018, Critical Mass 2018 Top 50, CENTER 2017 Choice Award Winner (Curator’s Choice, First Place), the 2017 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize (Finalist), and two Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board (2016, 2018).

Kern's work has been presented in a number of publications, including a feature in National Geographic (November 2017), with his series The Unchosen Ones and Out To Pasture. Kern published his first monograph with Kehrer Verlag titled, The Sheep and the Goats, awarded one of  "The Most Beautiful German Books 2018” by Stiftung Buchkunst and awarded Bronze by the prestigious Deutscher Fotobuchpreis 2018-19.

Selected collections holding his work include the Center for Creative Photography, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, the General Mills Corporate Collection, the Plains Art Museum, the Masur Museum of Art, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. 

He is represented by the Klompching Gallery in New York and Burnet Fine Art & Advisory in Minnesota.

{instagram} @kernphoto

Solo exhibition: The Best of the Best, August 8 - 31, 2019 at Burnet Fine Art & Advisory
Proud to be the 2019 Minnesota State Fair Commemorative Artist
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
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L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
(Click on image for larger view)
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
HESITATION by Rusty Weston
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Review by curator SameSource:
"I follow a lot of photographers on Instagram, and I’m frequently puzzled when a few of them will post both black and white and color versions of a photo and ask people to weigh in on which one is better.  I think one of the most important lessons to learn as a photographer is to know why you are using color.  If you are going to shoot in color, light the shot for color and have the color be a fundamental element of the photograph. This lesson is clearly not lost on Rusty Weston, who offers us a saturated delight of color in Hesitation.  

This shot embodies the spirit of No Happy Accidents by giving us a work of art that is carefully considered in composition and design as well as with respect to technical execution.  Using the Sony/Zeiss collaboration FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS lens, Weston accomplishes the shot by pushing the lens to its maximum 35mm focal length and smallest aperture at f/22, necessitating a relatively high ISO of 2500 on the Sony body.  

Even that ISO still required a slow 1/8s shutter for proper exposure.  The result is an atypical use of this normally sharp lens, introducing softness for an overall warmth with a deep depth of field conducive to the lighting in the pool hall, pulling us into the scene.  At f/22 we certainly don’t have any chromatic aberration, so the colors are crisp even though the objects are not.  

At first glance the viewer may think the table lighting is coming through a lampshade, but that’s actually a screen close to the lens (either a wall panel or a cucoloris), softening the entire scene by creating the unusual duplicity of bokeh-esque shapes with a long depth of field and mid-short focal length.  

The overall effect places the viewer in a voyeuristic position of a live moment, further underscored with the slight motion blur from the model in the shot, due to the long exposure.  Like a great novel, a great photograph catches your attention but has extra layers to enjoy if you go back and give it deeper consideration, and that’s what Weston has accomplished here."

"The theme "No Happy Accidents" can be interpreted two ways; the subject is doing something defined, as well as the photographer in capturing the moment, is also very careful in the planning and execution of the resulting photographic image. The image by Weston plays these two elements off each other in a wonderful manner; the character of the pool player appears to be carefully determining her set-up as to maximize her break, while the photograph image has all of the elements of a carefully set-up stage. Each of which underlies that what results, either on the pool table or image capture has been pre-visualized by both; what eventually occurs will be very intentional.
Regretfully what I did find distracting was the use of the a screen that created the odd lighting patterns throughout the frame, especially on foreground table top, an element that is difficult to determine its source when contemplating the image and unsure that it helps with, if not distracts from, the intended narrative.
The staging is very subtle and nicely composed, the red highlights in the upper left corner leads the viewers eye to the woman's arm and down toward the balls on the table. Then the highlight on the edge of the foreground table draws the eye back up and then towards the main chapter; creating a nice circular rotation that keeps the viewer engaged."
Douglas Stockdale

SameSource asks Weston, "There are several planes of interest in your shot. Can you talk about how you composed it, and your thoughts on composition in general?"

Weston says, "Landscape aligns to my mode of shot composition. In my view, something in the image - usually a light source - must justify the wider perspective. Ideally, everything in the shot enhances the mood. In composing this shot, I wanted to frame sharp angles of the table combined with the harsh light of the billiards hall on blue felt. It was tempting to prop Eilyn (a fabulous Los Angeles-based model) on the pool table, but her moment of hesitation really punctuated the moment. The long exposure was intended to add a bit of softness, and mood, too."

SameSource says, "You embrace the strengths of color in your work. Is it part of the narrative, or just aesthetic?"

Weston says, "Ideally, it’s both, in that the color accentuates the intrinsic character of the setting; aesthetically, I want my images to reflect the moment and not a classic look. I live in and often shoot in San Francisco’s Mission District, a colorful and somewhat gritty urban area. Color is often tricky to control, but I don’t tend to ‘see’ in black & white so it's my preference."

SameSource says, "How do you know when you have a setup ready to take the shot?

Weston says, "I don’t shoot under truly controlled circumstances so I depend upon test shots to gain confidence in an exposure or composition. You try to spot what stands out, or looks flat, or to identify light leaks or other hazards. Time is a critical variable and shooting outdoors (especially with people) you must act fast when people, cars or other factors may muck up your shot."

Rusty Weston says about this series,  'Unrealized', "Night occupies a prominent space in the gray area between dreams and reality. But night is a tricky canvas. When our vision is obscured, we misperceive our surroundings, and things don’t always add up. The interplay of light and movement can distort our perception and our awareness. Yet from the barest of details our innate powers of pattern recognition enable us to stitch together a sense of place or even intuit an emotion. These images shot in San Francisco spotlight our urban anxieties — revealing false impressions that can happen in the blink of a shutter."

Rusty Weston is a fine arts photographer in San Francisco, California. A former journalist and content creator since his teens; in recent years, he’s pursued a dream to explore fine arts photography, transitioning from a macro style into more abstract explorations of time, reality and movement. A lifelong fan of abstract expressionism, his photography influences include Ernst Haas, Diane Arbus, and Saul Leiter.

Career Highlights -
Work from Rusty Weston's series Unrealized were included in juried competitions by Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon in 2018 and 2019, and The Photo Review, a publication, in 2018. In April 2019, four images from the series were featured in a group show at KG+, part of Kyotographie in Kyoto, Japan. In September, three images from his series Night Gamers will be included in Marking Time, the 20th Anniversary Exhibition by the Bay Area Photographers Collective.

L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
LEANING by Rusty Weston
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L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
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L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
PAULA & LIN, CLUJ by Sylvia de Swaan
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Sylvia de Swaan says, "The three submittedd photos are from a series that I started in 1990, right after the fall of the "iron curtain" and worked on for ten years.

My intent was to explore the terrain of my early childhood and to retrace routes my mother, sister and I traversed as stateless refugees at the end of the second WWII.

Since I was aware that I would be unlikely to find anything in present reality that would connect with my personal history, the question I asked was "how does one photograph an absence?"  I brought along a few family photographs and other items of personal significance  to hold before the camera eye as proof of my connection to the lands of my ancestry.

All three are staged photos, my only use of photo shop was to adjust tonalities

I‘m a fine art and documentary photographer, whose work has dealt primarily with issues of personal and collective memory and identity, the remnants of history that linger on the landscape and the lines of destiny that shape our lives.

I’m currently initiating a book project with the preliminary title “Intersecting Narratives: Life Stories,” about my personal trajectory from the post WWII era in Europe with my mother and sister, survivors of the Holocaust, being shuttled from one refugee camp to another while awaiting immigration to the United States; my life in New York City as an art student at the High School of Music & Art and Hunter College; my decision to venture on a six months visa to Mexico City where I knew no one, but easily connected with the culture and the people and ended up living for eleven years; a year in Amsterdam in 1970; five years in New Orleans and many experiences in Central New York where I’ve resided since 1976.

In Mexico I began my career as a painter, a maker of artist books, installations, Light Boxes and taught design at the University of Mexico. At a certain point, having come to the end of an extensive body of work, the photographer Rodrigo Moya invited me to go out “shooting” with him. It was great fun and felt liberating to step out of my studio into in the “real” world. I had an old Nikkormat, and Rodrigo traded me an enlarger for a transistor radio and helped me set up a darkroom, where through trial and error I learned to print.

I initiated my practice by taking pictures of urban street scenes and at a ranch in Veracruz belonging to the extended family of my first husband. In New Orleans I was involved with the music scene, made portraits of friends and was invited to be photographer in residence at the Madewood arts Festival. In Knoxboro, NY I documented small town life and made portraits of my neighbors in their homes. Later, in the mid 1980s I began a series on crowd identity through political protests, that took me to the 1988 Democratic national Convention in Atlanta; a residency at the Washington Project for the Arts and the Women’s Peace encampment at Seneca Falls.

But it was the fall of communism that led me on the greatest adventure of all, a series of train travels through post communist Eastern Europe to witness history in the making and explore the almost forgotten terrain of my early childhood. It was a journey of discovery into a dark and sometimes frightening terrain, that made me ask the question, “how does one photograph an absence?” and to break through the strictures of documentary photography by incorporating metaphor and symbolism in order to depict the bygone and the invisible and to mark my connection to the lands of my ancestry. My work seeks to explore the place where the personal and universal intertwine.

My work has earned me numerous awards, including four NYFA photography fellowships, an Aaron Siskind Fellowship, travel grants to Eastern Europe and others. It has been exhibited national and internationally.

Image: Holding photos of my sister and me that were once affixed to our displaced person's identity papers, against the backround of the Jewish cemetery in Cluj, Romania"



L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
THE PORTAL by Sylvia de Swaan
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The Portal - I hold a photo of my mother & sister taken circa 1941, just before I was born, against the gate of one of the only remaining sysnagogues, in my native city, Czernowitz.

L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
THE WAR GAME by Sylvia de Swaan
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"The War Game" the airplane in this picture is a P38 bomber that I assembled from a kit at my kitchen table in Upstate NY.

I brought it along on my circuitous journeys through Eastern Europe to stage a recurrent nightmare from my childhood years. "Memory is the source of liberation as forgetfullness is the root of exile," said a wise old rabbi of the nineteenth century.
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2
COOKIE NOIR CUT by Terri Lloyd
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Terri Lloyd says, "I navigate an abyss which lies somewhere between Alan Watts and Hunter S. Thompson. Zen in one hand, Gonzo in the other.

I do not believe there is a purpose or reason for things happening. The universe may be ordered, but it sure as hell is unreasonable. Humor and wit become necessary tools for survival in an otherwise absurd and self-destructive culture.

The images I generate reflect both my quirky humor and love of language. The work has been described as “being drawn into a private joke that can only be appreciated by members of a secret society.” I prefer to liken what I do to an optical illusion, or well executed pun. The objective, either way, is to get you to look a second time.

Scenes are set against backdrops of what could be described as a sort of Zen Surrealism. Compositions host a subtle yet lyrical meticulousness. Key elements are recognizable throughout much of my work: a simple vertical three panel layout, sky at top, horizon line and ground. My palette within a series tends to be rigorous. Action, much like thought occurs on both upper and lower planes of the image.

My influences include Manga, Film Noir, classic cartoons, comics such as Krazy Kat, surrealism, conceptual art, branding, and advertising."

Terri Lloyd is a visual art renegade living and working in Los Angeles.

She began her exploration into the absurdities of the human condition at a fairly young age and attributes this to her 1960s latch-key-kid youth.

In the late 1980s she accidentally landed a computer graphics job and spent the next 25 years in commercial art working as a print media designer.

In 2010 she founded The Haggus Society, a non-profit feminist arts group for women over the age of 40.

She divides her time between a vibrant visual arts practice and a Dadaist performance act known as Pink Buddha.

Terri has authored two books, When I Grow Up And Other Mantras, and The Little Red Book Of Commie Porn (out of print) with artist Norman Conquest.

Terri is also a frequent contributor to Black Scat Books and during 2016 wrote a monthly advice column, "Ask PB" for the online magazine Le Scat Noir.

Exhibition highlights:
Gestalt Projects, BG Gallery
Bergamot Station
Santa Monica, CA
September, 2019

ShockBoxx Gallery
Hermosa Beach, CA
April 4 – 4, 2019

ShockBoxx Gallery
Hermosa Beach, CA
January 12 – 30, 2019

Dab Art
Ventura, CA
December 8, 2018 — February 17, 2019

CA Open
TAG Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
August 4 —24, 2018

stARTup Art Fair
The Kinney
Venice, CA

Shockboxx Project
Hermosa Beach, CAIMAGE LIST


If that's not enough nonsense for you, check out my book, "When I Grow Up And Other Mantras" on Amazon! You can blame Black Scat Books when you're done. 
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' EXHIBITION #2 (Click on image for larger view)
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