Art of Photography hits SoCal

200605bc_artophotogburma This spring, San Diego boasts more than nice scenery. The 2006 “Art of Photography Show” was culled from 9,535 images submitted by 2,700 artists around the world, in the largest art competition in the city’s history. Arthur Ollman, director of the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, was charged with choosing the 100 best images for an exclusive presentation. He actually picked 104, for a collection that thrills event organizers.

Caption (right): "Suspended, Burma 2005," Monica Denevan, 1st Place

There were no categories for the exhibition. Instead, organizers asked artists to submit images that excited them. The only guiding principle was the exhibition’s theme and the title of the show, the “Art of Photography.”

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Caption (above): "Nan on Porch," Craig Johnson, Honorable Mention

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Caption (above): "Sideshow — Greed," Wayne Schoenfeld, Honorable Mention

“I think we have put together a stunning body of work,” says Art of Photography curator Steven Churchill. “People are going to be impressed by the volume and quality of the images.

“One of the key things we were looking for was originality,” Churchill continues. “We had some images that were very, very good, but they were similar to other things we had seen. Arthur was often looking for more subtleties and nuances within certain photographs, smaller things that helped tell a story. If something was the slightest bit contrived or gimmicky, it got passed over. He preferred images where the essence was in the initial image, not in effects put in by Photoshop.”

During the show’s reception in April, special awards were presented to the artists, including more than $3,000 in cash prizes for top entries. The exhibition runs through June 4 in the two-story gallery in the Lyceum Theatre, in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. For more information, visit www.artofphotographyshow.com.

—Jeff Kent

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Caption (above): "Heriberto, Steelworker," Ken Merfeld, Honorable Mention

Comments (2)

photogmom:

I am again disappointed by a photographic competiton, because it is no longer simply photography, but who can tweek an image in Photoshop. It is surprising that "Sideshow — Greed," by Wayne Schoenfeld, was given an Honorable Mention in light of what photography curator, Steven Churchill, said about how Arthur Ollman, director of the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, had judged the images submitted for the competition. Churchill said of Ollman, "...If something was the slightest bit contrived or gimmicky, it got passed over. He preferred images where the essence was in the initial image, not in effects put in by Photoshop.” If what I saw posted on this site was Schoenfeld's initial image, then I'll eat all my film and media cards!

Julia:

I think Steven Churchill's definitions of 'gimmicky' and 'original' are unusual. Have you looked at the pictures chosen this year? They're the kind of cliches you'd find on any photo sharing site, such as flickr, deviantArt, photo.net... A nude in darkness with a spider web, an anxious man behind frosted glass, photoshop filters applied to film stills, the ubiquitous travel shot. You've cherry picked the least gimmicky for this post but if you go to the site expecting original and interesting photographs you will be sorely disappointed.

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