ROB STEPHENSON JURIED BY JOEL STERNFELD

 

We’re thrilled to jumpstart the new academic year by welcoming SOLO V EXHIBITION AWARD Winner Rob Stephenson and Runners-Up Ariana Gomez & Clay Jordan to the FotoFilmic exhibition pages!

American color photography pioneer Joel Sternfeld, our distinguished juror for this 5th award edition, spent two weeks delving into the details of all applications received this summer from 11 different nations. As the groundbreaking photographer that he is and a longtime faculty at St. Lawrence College, Joel undoubtedly stands as one of the most experienced and meticulous reviewers of photography one can hope or risk having lay eyes upon their very best work.

Harnessing new promising, high caliber photographic visions to the established ones constituting the rich legacy, to this day still overwhelmingly film-based, of the medium must indeed not be an easy task. And so we wish here to sincerely thank Joel again for all his time, as well as for lending his tremendous expertise and discerning curatorial instinct to this opportunity and our photographers.

It is thus with immense pleasure that we proudly present below our deserving SOLO V laureates! Kudos on the remarkable achievement of getting your work noticed and endorsed by such an extraordinarily seminal figure of photography as Joel Sternfeld!


WINNER & EXHIBITOR: ROB STEPHENSON


For the large format documentary series ‘From Roof To Table’ capturing New York’s revived urban agricultural landscape and the many economic, social and environmental concerns that keep on fuelling the Big Apple’s green mind.

“FROM ROOF TO TABLE”
Solo V Exhibition Dates TBC soon (Summer 2019)
PULP GALLERY
BOWEN ISLAND, VANCOUVER BC, CANADA


JURORS FOREWORD: Below are a few words of feedback on Rob’s work from Joel Sternfeld in reflection of his SOLO V Winner jurying pick:

” The highest state of Art is artlessness. 

This may be particularly so for Photography: a medium that finds its power in it’s ability to describe what lies beyond the lens in a way that invites a viewer to suspend disbelief, enter the picture’s space, and linger a while. 

The work of Rob Stephenson, marked by clear-eyed, contemplative pictures is a model of naturalness, of artlessness.”

— Joel Sternfeld


We’ve been in conversation with Rob this month discussing the ‘From Roof To Table’ body of work paired with large format film practice, as well as critical contemporary issues in the evolving field of documentary photography. Stay tuned for a full interview publication coming soon in October!

FOTOFILMIC FILM TALKS Interview #35: Rob Stephenson
Expected Publication Date: October 15, 2018

Biography:

Rob Stephenson’s work has been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums including The Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Jen Bekman Gallery, and The Museum of the City of New York. In 2011 he was awarded the Design Trust for Public Space Photo Urbanism fellowship and a darkroom residency at the Camera Club of New York. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Artist Statement:

In 1917 the Mayor’s Committee on Food Gardens issued a report documenting the creation of nearly 12,000 gardens and 1,120 acres of large plots dedicated to growing vegetables in New York City. One hundred years later, many New Yorkers have no access to fresh produce and those that do often eat food that has traveled hundreds if not thousands of miles. Economic, social and environmental concerns have fueled a revival of urban agriculture in the city.

This work is a visual document of the different approaches to implementing a sustainable food system in the city. That there is still arable land within walking distance of a subway and that a rooftop can produce as much food as a field challenges preconceptions of urban and agricultural landscapes. The project looks at how traditional methods of agriculture have been adapted to succeed in an urban environment, examining the evolving relationship between a city, its inhabitants and their food source.

Practice Statement:

I shoot on film because I love the process of working with a view camera, a practice that necessities a deliberate and considered approach. Often I value the restraints of this particular process as much as I value the final image I produce. The extreme descriptiveness of the large format negative results in a uniquely detailed, crystalline and transportive final image and print.

http://www.robstephenson.com
IG: @robstephoto

RUNNER UP: ARIANA GOMEZ


Congratulations as well to Brooklyn photographer Ariana Gomez on making it to Joel Sternfeld’s award shortlist with her 3-year documentation of the Manhattan Financial District portraying in mesmerizing tableaux a complex societal scene where quiet mundanity unravels this all-American topography of power in a new light!

Biography

Ariana Gomez was born in Austin, TX, and moved to New York City in 2010 where she lives and works. Her work concentrates on documenting the small, fleeting moments throughout the city and the ways in which people interact with their environment within these ephemeral spaces.

Ariana has exhibited in three group shows both in the US and internationally – the most recent showing a selection of works from her travels in Cuba at Gallery R in Rochester, NY. She has also shown work at the Juraplatz Public Art Space in Biel/Bienne Switzerland and ThePrintSpace Gallery in London.

Artist Statement

I’ve been photographing the Financial District of Manhattan for the past three years. Initially, I was drawn to the light of the place. No matter the time of year, there is a glow that emanates from the buildings that tower over the small alleyways and side streets. It’s as if there is a giant mirror hanging above the lower quarter of Manhattan. But the more I photograph here, the more I find this to be an enclave of juxtapositions. Light and dark. Geometric and organic. Natural and civilized. Chaotic and silent. There is immense beauty in opposition and I wish to document the space between and the loneliness that emerges from within. It is an emptiness that doesn’t quite exist in the same way throughout the rest of the city. And the more I contemplate that loneliness, the more I find myself a part of it.

Practice Statement

I’ve found shooting on film to be therapeutic. There’s a specific process to go through and a ritual to follow, and this allows me to more easily focus on the types of images I want to make. I am able to slow down and consider every aspect of the image that when shooting digital is harder for me to do. With digital, you can snap images as quickly as your finger can press the shutter, but with film the nature of the camera forces you to slow down. You have to press the shutter, advance the film, setup your shot, focus, shoot and repeat the process again. The quality and ‘look’ to each image is important to me as well. Film, for me, has a vividness, but openness of tones that isn’t as achievable in digital and I enjoy that aesthetic very much. It’s the aesthetic I think about when composing images in my mind.

http://www.arianagomez.com
IG: @_arianagomez

RUNNER UP:  CLAY JORDAN


Last but not least we wish to sincerely congratulate Georgia photographer Clay Jordan for coming so close to winning a FotoFilmic SOLO Award for the second time in a row! Clay’s work was already selected last fall by SOLO IV jurors Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb. The fact that a different series gets picked by Joel Sternfeld this time around speaks for itself and is a clear indication that Clay’s photography deserves more attention and should be watched closely in the near future. The imagery presented here reflects his longtime dedication in paying a vibrant and honest tribute to the everyday men and women of the American South, giving regular folks and self-perceived ‘nobodies’ a much needed, heartwarming voice in these times of political turmoil.

Biography

Clay Jordan is a photographer and musician who currently resides in Athens, Georgia. His work has been shown in numerous national and international exhibitions and his first monograph, “Nothing’s Coming Soon”, will be published in early 2019 by Fall Line Press out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Artist Statement

All of these images were taken in the American South within the past six years and deal with existential issues such as mortality, death, and decay. These photos were inspired by the Buddhist notion that “life is suffering” and attempt to lyrically document the disappointments and tribulations, as well as the ephemeral moments of beauty, that one may experience.

Practice Statement

Unlike digital, shooting on film forces me to slow down and consider every relevant variable before pressing the shutter.

 

http://claymaxwelljordan.com/
IG: @pacificuv

SOLO I [JURIED BY TODD HIDO]: JILL BETH HANNES

SOLO II [JURIED BY ALEX SOTH]: MARISA CHAFETZ

SOLO III [JURIED BY MARK STEINMETZ]: MATTHEW GENITEMPO

SOLO IV [JURIED BY ALEX WEBB & REBECCA NORRIS WEBB]: RYOTA KAJITA

Kajita_Ryota_14