November 5 - December 10, 2022


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First off, it was a true pleasure seeing the varied and skillful entries from all the participants. I am always amazed at the range of work submitted in an “open” call for entries, which in this case resulted in images that were highly personal, very colorful, well composed, and, in numerous cases, fanciful and even dream-like. There’s no doubt here that the digitization of imaging has opened the door to highly expressive imagery through the use of processing tools and apps, all fair game in creating works of art.

In selecting images, I work with the idea that photography is a two-way street between the creator and the viewer. On the part of the creator, there is an assumed intent, be it illustrative, allegorical or referential. In some cases, these intentions may overlap, whether the creator is fully aware of it or not at the time the shutter is snapped. In essence, the image becomes a symbol, and signifies something that, once recognized as such, can be visually enhanced by the creator. This may entail working in monochrome or color, with sharp or soft focus, with special attention to tonal effects, with layered multiple exposures, and photographed from a unique point of view, all of which are featured in these entries.

This search for expression is then passed along to the viewer, a sort of puzzle they are asked to solve (and the human mind loves puzzles) given their own projection into the elements and techniques that have been arranged within the borders of the image space. Yes, there is “surface” pleasure in a well-done and pleasing (and even disturbing) image, but the viewer can also derive a deeper experience (and empathy with the creator) by allowing their own symbolic references to take hold and see the image as a moment in their emotional life, or even as a dream that may hold keys to attaining heightened visual experiences when awake. Photography, then, can be thought of as a two-way street and become an exercise in visual awareness for both creator and viewer.

This was in large part my criteria when selecting the images for the virtual gallery. As to awards, my selections were based on image and execution, and particularly on the blending of content, idea, and technique. This was difficult, as a good number of other images were very close contenders. I have made some brief comments on the award recipients below.

George Schaub