L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' FIRST PLACE: PRESCOTT LASSMAN ''SMOOSHFACE'
SMOOSHFACE by Prescott Lassman
(Click on image for larger view)

Curator Michael Rababy says, “I've noticed that I've always drawn my camera toward children and older people. maybe we are so busy in middle-age looking for a partner, or trying to make money, that we don’t have time to be whimsical or get lost in a moment. I feel like this image absolutely captures a window into the soul of these two girls. there is an inherent silliness but also a depth in their eyes. the black and white really makes this timeless and reminds me of the humanist photographers from the beginning of the 20th century. the heart necklace is a nice bonus.

Does this image fit into your overall body of work?  If so, how?"

Prescott Lassman says, "I’ve got numerous different bodies of work spanning different genres of photography, including documentary, landscape, street photography, and even abstract. But my primary body of work has focused on my family and feelings about family life, culminating in a long running series called “Domesticated Animals.”  The series explores the inherent tension at the heart of domestic life between conformity and connection. Some of the photographs focus on the less than idyllic aspects of family life – the roles we are forced to play, the masks we are taught to wear, the needs and desires we sublimate (and sometimes don’t), and the tremendous pressures we must bear to maintain our happy domestic lives.  Others indulge a more sentimental view of family life, highlighting the tender, silly, fun and quiet moments that sustain families through all the trying times. I’ve never included this photograph in the Domestic Animals series, but on further reflection I think it fits nicely within that body of work by highlighting both a silly family moment and a small act of defiance.  
To me, this tiny defiant gesture signals a move away from conformity and towards independence - a natural progression.  In other words, I think it nicely captures the inherent tension between conformity and connection that the series as a whole explores."

Rababy says, "Was it hard for you to select images for this theme of “the human spirit"?  Does this theme resonate with your style and general work you create?"

Lassman says, "Yes and no. It was not hard to find images that fit the “human spirit” theme but it was quite difficult to narrow them down to only six images for submission to this call. And I was particularly surprised to find that there were multiple images that fit the theme from many different projects and bodies of work.  I think this is because when I shoot, I’m generally trying to capture images that resonate on an emotional level.  And I am also drawn to situations that focus on the more absurd or silly parts of human life — which is where I think the “human spirit” really shines through.  So I have to conclude that the theme of “the human spirit” resonates strongly with my style and general bodies of work."

Rababy says, "What are your thoughts on color vs black and white?" 

Lassman says, "I have been firmly in the black and white camp for most of my photography career and thus have not given much thought to working with color — until very recently.  I think that is because I started doing photography seriously before the advent of digital photography, and developing my own black and white negatives and prints seemed a lot easier than developing color negatives and photographs.  I think it is also because most of the serious photographers I was exposed to, admired, and aspired to be like — Andre Kertesz, Eugene Smith, HCB, Dorothea Lange, Weegee, Gordon Parks, and Elliott Erwitt — worked in black and white.  I of course knew that there were other serious photographers working in color, but I was always drawn to the work of photographers working in black and white, particularly the documentary and street photographers (which is one reason I’m thrilled that you likened Smooshface to the work of humanist photographers from the beginning of the 20th century!). When the iPhone came along, I began taking color photographs like everyone else, but I always viewed my color photography to be for just family snapshots and vacation photos, not for “serious” photography, which was reserved for black and white.

That view, however, is beginning to change.

I bought my first digital camera for street photography a few months ago and am beginning to explore color photography as a creative outlet.  I’ve also recently been using color photography for some abstract work, and I love the results.  My first love is still (and will always be) black and white analog photography, but I’m excited to begin exploring color and digital photography to see where that leads."

Additional reviews by past curators:
"In “Smooshface,” Prescott Lassen captures so much in this single image. There’s the delightful capacity for quirkiness in these girls, mixed with the defiant contrast in the expression between the eyes and the mouth of the older girl and the younger girl’s mimicking of her sister though with her eyes saying something of her own both to the one taking the photo and also to her sister.
He does all this via the strength of his technique in composition where the two halves of the image add other layers, almost mirroring each other while holding an independence of their own. In addition, his technical skill transparently captures the girls clearly while not letting the glass their lips were pressed against to be glaring or distorting."
Carl Shubs

"There will always be a welcome space for photos of kids-as-kids, but particularly now in this semi-post-Covid time it’s like a sweet breath of normalcy and a reminder of the enduring nature of childhood.

Compositionally there is a nice alignment of the kids’ heads and the railing and a slight counterbalance with the walkway."

Steve Grody

"'Smooshface' by Prescott Lassen underscores an important human bond for me, a bond that has been catalytic to my survival during the pandemic--the bond of sisterhood, family and love."
Dianne Yudelson

More about Lassman:
Lassman says, "I am an amateur photographer based in Washington, D.C. focusing mainly on black-and-white photography — somewhere between street and documentary with a strong dose of minimalism for good measure.  My subject matter and interests are eclectic, but my approach is mostly intuitive.

I have always been drawn to the writings of Carl Jung and his students, and I view my photography as a Jungian exercise in synchronicity.  In other words, I search for images that resonate, for moments of synchronicity in everyday life. Because this approach relies on unconscious triggers, my photographs are often richly symbolic, though their meaning is not immediately clear (at least not to me). 

For me, this is the essence of photography: capturing an image that resonates and then, over the course of months or years, figuring out why. The photographs submitted here are likewise eclectic but nevertheless have a common thread: they all reflect the human spirit by capturing that spark in people who are comfortable in their own skin and fully committed to enjoying the moment."
Career Highlights
City Hall Art Collection, Washington, DC
Individual Artist Fellowship, DCCAH, Washington, DC
Monochrome Awards, Honorable Mention
DC Photo Slam, Audience Choice Award
Being Seen: The Photographic PortraitMorean Arts Center, FL
Privilege and Consequence, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, CO
Notions of Home, Lucie Foundation (online)
Published in: Black & White Magazine, Shots Magazine, The Sun Magazine, Antietam Review, and The Washington Post
Contact: Prescott Moore Lassman