Honorable Mentions: Katherine Clayton, Sara Silks & Melanie Eclare (click)
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' Honorable Mentions: Katherine Clayton, Sara Silks & Melanie Eclare (click) (click on image for larger view)
TETHERED by Katherine Clayton
(click on image for larger view)

KATHERINE CLAYTON: "I am a photographer. . . sometimes. I am a mother . . . all the time. A mother to three young daughters. Motherhood grounds me. Motherhood is sobering as I realize that my little ones have the power to expose my insecurities. My daughter was not supposed to be shooting with me the day I shot “Tethered”. If I am honest, I took her along with me out of guilt. As I turned to walk out the door, there was this solemn little blue-eyed girl asking to spend time with her mama. Her words pierced me as she pushed out her bottom lip and said, “You never take me with you.” Honesty. That is what you get from children. Mama guilt engulfed my mama heart and I caved. She trailed along. Mother-daughter time.
“Tethered” was the result. I took the photo, yes, but it was my daughter who grabbed ahold of me that day. She is the one telling the story. This is an image from her point of view. I see a mama who must leave. A woman out the door. Preoccupied with purpose. Maybe it is work. Maybe just the groceries.

The child does not see the duties. The work. The obligations. She only see her mama leaving. The heart of a six year old resonates loudly within this image. This girl desires her mama’s presence. The arms of a child reach out longing for her mama’s affection. I hear a small voice quiver as a child speaks, “I never get to go with you. Just stay with me, Mama.” Choose me. “Tethered” is that moment of pause where mother considers and child waits and hopes.It is a struggle more real than I often like to admit."
Some more back story which we at L.A. Photo Curator love is the following from Clayton: "I did not intend to create an entire series of self-portraits. It just happened.
I had just emerged battled and bruised from a two-year fight for my daughter’s life. She had been diagnosed with liver cancer when she was 9 months old. I spent many dark days in fear and on edge.
One day I realized that, perhaps, the darkness was over and it might be possible to return to “normal” life.  Self-portraits were a safe place to work through my emotions.  At the time, the work was about self-preservation and returning to a place of peace and grace. The work was about re-discovery and claiming something special for myself.  I could be in control while at the same time letting the experience shape the final product.
When I look at the images, I see dreams and fantasies .  . .Truth and fiction. . . Short stories, visions and histories. . .I see a face strangely familiar and as familiar as that face is, I still find myself discovering who she is."
 A lover of grit and grain and everything imperfect, Katherine is a “shoot-from-the-hip” photographer living in the cornfields of Illinois.  She began her self-portrait series, entitled, Mother Dreams as a way to work through the emotions that accompanied her infant daughter’s diagnosis, battle and victory over cancer. 
Using a combination of pinhole and zone plate digital photography, Katherine creates dream-like and often haunting visual narratives that resonate and touch her audience.
Her fine art work has been exhibited across the country in galleries and in print including A. Smith Gallery, Kiernan Gallery, Newspace Center of Photography, The Sun, One Twenty-Five Magazine and Center for Fine Art Photography.
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' Honorable Mentions: Katherine Clayton, Sara Silks & Melanie Eclare (click) (Click on image for larger view)
(Click on image for larger view)

SARA SILKS: "the layers in my current themes are all bits and pieces of my visual recordings through time. I find myself sourcing and sampling things that I photographed at different times in my life, much as our memories seem to function.

As I began working on the layers in this piece, it felt very much like a puzzle was being put together before my eyes…the image began as a photograph of my daughter with a large granite sculpture by Isamu Noguchi nearby. As I continued adding layers and bits and pieces, the form of the image began to merge into geometric and organic forms. The positive and negative spaces formed tensions in the piece that began telling her story of a young woman encountering struggles and successes, a universal story.

 'Encountering Isamu Noguchi' became a story to be read on many different planes.
This is a palladium print that is made from a large negative that has been contact printed on fine art rag paper.  The paper is coated with palladium salts and sensitizer, exposed to UV light, and then developed through darkroom chemistry."
Silks has been featured in Lenscratch, The Hand Magazine, Seities publication, and others. Silks has taught photography and drawing in both high school and college for over 20 years, most recently serving as a continuing education instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute. She is the recent recipient of the coveted 2015 CENTER teaching award (honorable mention), and her students have gone on to be film directors, fashion photographers, fine art photographers, and respected creatives in academic environments.
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' Honorable Mentions: Katherine Clayton, Sara Silks & Melanie Eclare (click) (Click on image for larger view)
(Click on image for larger view)

MELANIE ECLARE: "This image is from an ongoing project, 'Pandora's Box', as part of my MA in Photography and the Land at Plymouth University. This series looks into the possibilities for transforming trauma through the innocence of play. By harnessing the magical realms of the dressing-up-box, an instinctual space can be found where narratives can be lifted and reframed  through visual metaphor.  The medium of the dressing-up-box allows imaginary theatre to take place and a quality of presence and stillness to be felt and witnessed. Here is a world of childlike exploration where personal myth and fairytale merge to illuminate the truth of our light and perfection.
The image of my daughter Rose with a child's fox mask, wig and burning heart speaks to me of the two aspects of my own childhood, one in the so called 'real' world where truths were masked, the other in the twilight underworld of amnesia, secrets and lies." 
Melanie was shortlisted finalist in the Royal Photographic International Print Competition 2015 and The Renaissance Photography Prize 2015.
Currently she is working on a series 'After the Fire' about the community and land around Middletown, Lake County, Northern California where there were devastating wildfires in September 2015.  

Eclare's photographs have been extensively published in the UK and internationally in books and publications.  As one of the leading UK garden photographers Melanie worked for the Saturday and Sunday Times, Saturday and Sunday Telegraph, U. S. Garden Design Magazine, World of Interiors, Country Life, Country Living, Gardens Illustrated and House and Garden Magazine. She also contributed to many books as well as having her own books published by Quadrille, Kyle Cathie and Weidenfeld and Nicolson working alongside writers such as Elspeth Thompson and Tom Petherick.