We all have defining moments in our lives. A parent dies. A child is born. Divorce. Marriage. Love of your life. Car accidents and miraculous healings. As artists we also have defining moments. First exhibit. Retrospects. Major awards. Grants. And inbetween those major moments we have a different kind of pivots. Mine was last week when I received a review from the Lensculture Exposure Awards. I don't know who wrote the review. It could be from one of the jurors. It could be from a secretary who had time to look.
Doesn't matter tho. What matters is the depth of the review. Someone obviously took a lot of time with my work. Its the best review I've gotten from anyone. Seriously. This kind of willingness to share insights and pass along thoughts and information to help me find my way does not come often from reviewers. And whomever this is I wish to thank them over and over for garnering a pivotal moment in my work. There are places to submit my work that she/he shared. There are 2 books to read. I've spent 2 days researching every artist in "What is a Photograph" (Carol Squiers, author). I've looked at their work. I watched interviews and talks in galleries. I've looked at retrospects. I've read their artist statements. And, all of it helped me with a few things.
1. Helped show me where my work lands in this oh so large artworld.
2. Gives me a more defined language for my work.
3. Gives me insight into fresh ways I can work.
So here is the review. And a link to the work I submitted to Lensculture.
I hope you enjoy and once again, I thank the reviewer.
Thank you for submitting your work to LensCulture.
You have a series of gorgeous, bold, sensual images here. You have taken a subject matter that has been photographed over and over and made it feel new and personal. These photographs have a voice and a sensibility that is rich and exciting.
The work feels considered but also natural, there isn't an image that doesn't work or feels out of place. The black backgrounds are striking and the color feels vibrant and alive. Images 3,5,9, and 10 are standouts for me. Something about these in particular feel incredibly well resolved, each part, each bit of color and form feels wonderfully intentional. You also manage to capture enough slight shifts across the images to keep the rhythm and pacing moving and consistent.
Miranda Lichtenstein's book of polaroids of flowers is a lovely example of a work to look toward. Dillon DeWaters, a NY based photographer, has an aesthetic that comes to mind when I see your work - not the same, but something connected. The Israeli photographer Ori Gersht's photographers of flowers exploding and disintegrating are another great reference to look at. Dutch artist Ruth Van Beek's book works, How To Do The Flowers and The Arrangement, are beautiful contemporary looks at photography, collage, and still life.
I would definitely consider further sharing this work - for exhibition and for publication. I could certainly see this work in the pages of publications such as Pleasure Garden, Plant Journal, etc. The website The Garden Edit has opportunities and connections between the art world and botanical scenes that might be of interest. These images could make a beautiful book or just an entrancing exhibition. I would experiment with a statement that extrapolates out from your work to include with the images, for reviews, and to pitch for publication, exhibition opportunities. Perhaps at a gallery or at a botanical center?
This is a beautifully conceived and composed body of work and I hope to see it out in the world!