TRACES LEFT BEHIND
3 Park Street, Middlebury, Vermont. Exhibition will be on view at the PhotoPlace Gallery.
Juror Matthew Christopher selected Mary Doering’s image: “What Remains” out of a field of 1,400 applicants as one of the forty images to be printed and hung at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury Vermont. An additional thirty five images can be viewed on line www.photoplacepgallery.com
With a record number of images submitted for "The Traces Left Behind", several of which were strong if not phenomenal, narrowing the selection to 75 was tremendously difficult. It was a pleasure to see how different artists chose to approach the subject and responses ranged from literal to abstract and spanned a broad range of aesthetic approaches. I found influences of some of my favorite artists: Eugene Atget, Clarence John Laughlin, Edouard Baldus, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Troy Paiva, and Bernd and Hilla Becher, to name a few. Some entrants chose to approach the subject via landscape or architectural photography, others through triptych, scanning of old photographs and objects, constructed images, and collage.
The photograph is itself a trace. In Camera Lucida Barthes observes the photograph as a portal to a moment which has already collapsed in on itself: "From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here; the duration of the transmission is insignificant; the photograph of the missing being, as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.” Each of these images tells its own story, about the subjects and those that shaped them, but also about the artist's reaction to and perception of the individual moment they captured. While there were many other images from the entrants that I would have liked to include also, in my selection I tried to capture a cross section of different approaches and styles, from the intimacy of a lost balloon trapped beneath a skylight and its implications about one child's story, to a sweeping view of a valley filled with rusting barrels and its ominous portent about the echoes of our civilization itself.
I felt each of them had something important to say and were worthy of reflection.