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The Poetry of Shadows

Exhibition: August 16 - September 10, 2011

Prints of most of these images are available for purchase. Please inquire.
All photographs are the copyright of the individual artists and may not be reproduced without their permission.

Call for Entries

As a counterpart to PhotoPlace Gallery's recent exhibition, "The Language of Light," we are pleased to present "The Poetry of Shadows." Light and shadow are key ingredients to photography. From dark and moody images to abstract designs, shadows can work in a variety of ways.

For this exhibition, esteemed photographer, teacher, and writer Christina Z. Anderson selected forty photographs for exhibition at PhotoPlace Gallery. She also chose an additional thirty-five photographs for the gallery's "Online Annex." Her selections represent a remarkable cross-section of national and international work by photographers from thirty states and eleven foreign countries.


Juror's Statement

It is a most difficult task to narrow these excellent entries to a mere 8% of all submissions: 75 works out of nearly 1000 photographs from 167 photographers were selected, 40 for the gallery, 35 for online exhibition, and all selected entries for the show's catalog. The hard choices were based on a number of decisions, first being, of course, how did the image express the theme? Was "shadow" stated or implied, literal or metaphorical? Then, did the work say something about the theme in a new way? And in the final curating of the exhibit, did the selections strengthen one another as a whole, with repetition of subject matter a rhythmical, poetic element and not a weakness? 

Throughout the submissions there were recurring threads of such things as literal shadow making its mark on snow, grass, pavement, walls, and bodies, or psychological shadow evinced by chiaroscuro or photographic blur. The specter, or shadow, of loss or death was a recurrent theme as well. Susan Bryant's vacant lawn chairs are inviting at the same time they indicate a loss of presence by the photographer's aesthetic choices. Greg Sand's Snapshot Brothers appears at first glance to be a normal image but on second look, no children are there to create the shadow. Norman Lerner's Waiting, depicts an aged woman with gnarled hands, face hidden by the stark shadows in the room; what is she waiting for? Death? A doctor's appointment? With the way she clutches her purse, certainly not for better things to come. So, too, is the feeling one gets from Aaron Blum's Lifetime Resident, a contemporary portrait of a man staring blankly into space, perhaps in a nursing home, shoes far too big for his feet. 

Shadow in a more contemporary aesthetic, a sort of vacant banale that serves as counterpoint to what we usually think of when imagining shadow as subject, is well expressed in Marina Golubkova's scene of a simple ironing board. Pale shadows of a seemingly mountainous landscape echo an existence far more exotic than the cleaning task at hand. Merrimon Crawford's Metro Garden, in contrast, attempts the exotic in its Asian-inspired manicured tree which deflates in juxtaposition with its background of corporate brick wall.  
Other intriguing images: Maria Bartrum's Fallen Cross which, by nature of the way Bartrum has composed the image, appears to be levitating, not falling. Arunas Kulikauskas' Beach foregrounds shadowy figures occupying a setting sun landscape—a lone figure on the left distanced from the others, baggage in hand. Joan Ladendorf's gorgeous image Window, invites the viewer into its setting where bright morning light and slatted shadows interplay across an empty oak chair. In Chrystal Nause's Cecilia an innocent yet all-knowing child is engaging the viewer while a shadowy figure lurks in the rear.

 This statement would be far too long if I were to write what attracted me to each of these 75 choices, but each does have an element that gives it staying power to make it rise to the top 8%. I congratulate all selected photographers and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

     — Christina Z. Anderson

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