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You wouldn't think a so-called "seasoned" photographer like myself would need reminders about the significance and beauty of black and white photography. But a reminder it was, and a terrific one at that. Sitting down with Lightroom and the 1200+ entries was a glorious visual feast. The images thrust me onto another plane of appreciation for those practitioners who have honed their vision into shades of gray, embracing one of photography's earliest and most honored ways of expressing the photographic image. It's fascinating to note that there is nothing "natural" about the black and white photograph. Had color been available to the pioneer photographers of the early 1800's, don't think for a moment they wouldn't have gone that route instead, recording a more "realistic" rendition of the color-filled world around them. Black and white photography is beautiful, but it's not natural or realistic. Why then do so many talented and dedicated artists choose black and white photography? Photographer Ruth Bernhard observed, "With color you see the subject — with black and white you see the form of the subject." The black and white photograph distills our range of perception, forcing a contemplation of the shapes, the light, and the stories behind the image before us. The image's design is in its tonality; the composition is in its tonality; everything about the image is defined by humble tonality. Put simply, it's magical! If your work wasn't selected for this exhibition, that means only one thing: it wasn't selected. It sure doesn't suggest your images aren't "good" or that you should abandon photography for, say, ceramics. The competition was fierce, with only one in 30 images chosen for hanging in the gallery. In another competition (with another juror) there's a good chance your images would be in the final selection. There wasn't an image among the submissions that didn't merit pause and examination. In short, this was one swell group of photographs, and that made it especially hard to whittle down to the final accepted pieces. Thank you for this opportunity to witness the continuing vibrance and energy of photography. If you love the medium, you'll be making images long after you forget whether your work was "accepted" or not. And honestly, in my heart and eye, you are all exceptional photographers.
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