"On April 23, 2020, HCP launched Togethering, an open call for photographs from anyone around the world picturing life during the COVID-19 Pandemic. At the time, Houston, Texas had been on “lockdown” for five weeks, and for others around the world, it had been much longer. The New York Times called this an “act of solidarity” that was critical to controlling the virus, which began in December 2019 and has since expanded to every corner of the globe. We found ourselves alone together, and this permanent, virtual exhibition intended to provide a community platform for us to connect with one another during this time of great distance.
We were astounded with the response. Over 3,000 images were submitted from photographers from all over the world, from Italy to India to Brazil to right here in Houston, from high school students to practicing artists to coping parents. Among the submissions were photographs of military changes of command, bedrooms-turned camera obscuras, and elaborate, staged photos of family members, who whether by choice or circumstance were quarantining together. Yet, some of the most poignant images were of the intimate moments of our daily lives – cutting a loved one’s hair, waving out the window to a neighbor, looking at ourselves in a mirror. There is humor, there is deeply-felt isolation, and there are many moments of self-reflection in Togethering.
Yet, as I write this, the world does not seem the same. Houston is leading the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. As one of the first states to ease lockdown restrictions on May 1st, we just passed the 13th consecutive daily record for hospitalizations. That sense of solidarity has changed dramatically. The issue of mask-wearing has become political rather than one about shared public safety and responsibility while cleaning supplies continue to fly off the shelf. Protests to further open up more cities happen around the country, while many of us march masked demanding human dignity for our BIPOC community in the wake of the racist killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Antwon Rose among many others.
Togethering has taken on new meaning in just a little over two months, and it is clear, once again, that there is still a lot of work to be done on all fronts. If you’d like to support some of that work, I urge you to consider participating in one of these online photography fundraisers benefiting racial justice."
- Ashlyn Davis, Executive Director & Curator
Juror: Hannah Frieser
Early seafaring diaries tell of endless adventures while exploring the vast oceans. They reminisce about the abundance of fish, the mystery, the beauty, but also the dangers and hardships of taking to the sea. Across time and civilizations, water has lost little of its mesmerizing hold on us, inspiring countless paintings, novels and accounts of daring action. The photographers in this exhibition marvel at the magnificence of water in its many manifestations from microscopic ice crystal to endless expanse beyond the horizon, life-sustaining or threatening, gentle and generous, or savagely volatile. When people are present, they are usually submerged for a refreshing swim, as if mere observation from the shores is not enough. Water calls to us with a sweet and irresistible sirenâs call. In most image water and nature are shown in harmony, though there are also suggestions of civilization encroaching. Humans, it seems, are called to nature to take in its grandeur, while also becoming its greatest threat.
The exhibition drew an abundance of images that stretched to far corners of the world, yet also discovered adventures in photographersâ backyards. The images celebrate, glorify, immerse and connect. Image after image, we are enticed by natureâs wholesome beauty. While styles and viewpoints stretch the full gamut of highest quality, it is worthwhile to highlight a few of the submissions. The photographs by Jurorâs Award recipient Carlos Causo are breathtakingly beautiful. Image after image, the perfect place coincides with the perfect breeze, the perfect sun and the most dramatic sky pattern. The photographs convey a freshness in perspective combined with an overall sense of discovery. It is all too easy to imagine that we too could frolic at these beaches, lazily drift on our floating cushions in the pool, or take our raft into these gentle waves. On the other hand, the photograph by Directorâs Award recipient Teresa Meier is one of the few constructed images that has created rather than discovered its vista. This fantastical interpretation suggests mankindâs fraught relationship to nature. A man lies submerged on a scaly seabed, seemingly enjoying the view through a stereo viewfinder. A goldfish, freshly escaped from its glass cage, is compelled toward the lure of another one of steel, suspended tantalizingly by a woman. A storm is brewing, human civilization may be at its end, and yet the sun breaks through the clouds promising a continuation of life.
We just launched our Artcubator program this month! One of our studio spaces is dedicated to hosting visiting artists and cool projects. For December - February, we are hosting Teresa Meier Photography and Alexander Davis Dance - ADD to work on photography and fiber arts installation #spaceforartists #spaceforart #risktaking#experimentation #creativecommunity #concordma
I was honored to review so many remarkable and intriguing photographs. Thank you to all the artists who contributed their work. I believe it is imagination that connects the images in this selection, both the artistâs creative intent as well as the imagination inspired in the viewer.
When reviewing the images for Fictional Narrative, I found myself particularly drawn to images that made me curious about their greater context or storyline. These images made me want to envision the world they came from. I also looked for the mysterious images that conveyed intimate details while also relating to more universal themes. I was impressed by how aesthetically compelling these images are. From depth of atmosphere to elements of design, these images stood out to me for their visual strength.
To me, fictional narratives in photography allow us the freedom to explore our own lives through metaphor and fantasy, while also giving us room to nurture our creativity and escape from the mundane. Please take the time to be immersed in the stories these images tell and see where they take you.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Fitts at the New England Portfolio Reviews this year, thanks to the Griffin Museum of Photography. Jim took the time to look over my work with me, talk about the business of fine art photography, and offered some sage advice on navigating from an emerging photographer to a professional photographer.
Jim was knowledgable and a delight and I'm truly glad to have met him. I look forward to hopefully more of his humorous and straight forward advice in the future.
If you haven't been by his blog, Photoweenie.com, I highly recommend you check it out. There are some wonderful reviews and insightful musings on the fine art photography world. And the latest feature is yours truly, so you know it must be good
Thanks Photoweenie for a beautiful feature!
To view the entire feature as well as many more thoughtful articles and some useful advice visit Photoweenie.com
Thank you Andy Duncan for a lovely feature
If you haven't visited 52 photographers yet, you're in for a treat. Andy has been busy curating a wonderful selection of artists for your viewing pleasure.
I noticed Andy recently featured the lovely work of Diana Bloomfield. If you're intrigued and want to know more, Elin Spring over at "What Will You Remember" (another fantastic resource) recently included Diana's work in a lovely post.
Andy himself is wonderful photographer. Find out more about him at http://www.andydduncan.com/
Come see all the amazing new work and join me at the opening night, Friday June 15th!
The Approach in response to "Why Photography?"
COOPH asked questions and I answered with imagery. Enjoy!