Prints of most of these images are available for purchase. Please inquire.All photographs are the copyright of the individual artists and may not be reproduced without their permission.
I have to be careful not to be lured back by my past in coastal Maine. Years spent in Rockport and Camden. The thick fog over the water most mornings. The memory of the sound of the ice breaking on the lake in late spring. The way the harbor would miraculously freeze into windblown peaks in the winter. The ice on the windows making me think of Minor White and his time in Rochester, but then bringing me back to my childhood in upstate New York near the Adirondacks, winters so intense we could climb from the snow banks onto the roof…(icicles still grow to several feet in length, the ponds still freeze over smooth for hockey and skating, my son is gleeful every year when we visit my parents).
These photographs of water pull at me in unexpected ways. I feel a longing to return to the extremes of the Northeast, away from the sun and drought of California, to the crushing humidity of summer and the ceaseless snow of the winter. I know this is nostalgia at its finest, but jurying this exhibition of Water has surprised me by not just the flood of memories, but the surprising quality and variety of the pictures. I’ve actually honestly never had a more difficult time jurying a show. When I narrowed the nearly 3000 photographs down to 290, I stared at them and thought: I could curate a show of the sea, the wild, unpredictable sea. Just the sea. Sometimes black, sometimes azure, sometimes tumultuous, sometimes like glass, sometimes opaque, sometimes translucent. It was tempting to think of a line of fathomless oceans on the walls, their horizons only shifting with storms or broken by lightning bolts or occasionally a couple embracing way too far from shore.
But there were too many other excellent photographs entered into this competition that only an intensity of seeing could discover: bubbles trapped in the ice, pristine snow beneath heavily laden branches, fissures in the frozen lake’s surface, sheets of ice patterned like feathers, figures floating underwater, people disappearing into the sublime water, strange dramatic landscapes with odd islands or red pools or impossible waterfalls, figures waiting on that edge where the water and land meet, dioramas of potent and somewhat terrifying scenes, hands gripping edges, night skies over the surf, pinhole and plastic camera images of the moving water and the shifting tides….there was so much to take in and all of it so moody and a lot of it dark, but some of it celebratory, like a man in a tiny bathing suit sailing into the water while an audience of people wait on the frozen ice around the hole or the delicate memory of a faded slide held up against the landscape or children playing in the spray on the summer lawn.
Congratulations to all the artists and thank you for bringing me back to the places I’ve loved and left and also for allowing me to feel the power of the ocean and the gift of the seasons. It’s been a spectacular journey
- Ann Jastrab
Ann M. Jastrab is an independent curator, photography consultant, editor, and writer. She writes extensively about photographers and photography for the acclaimed website All About Photo where she is the Editor-in-Chief. She worked as the gallery director at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco for the past decade until their recent closure in June 2017. Ann has curated many exhibitions for RayKo while simultaneously jurying, curating, and organizing numerous exhibitions for other national and international venues outside of San Francisco.
She has reviewed portfolios for a multitude of organizations including the Seoul International Photography Festival in Korea, Fotofest, Photolucida, GuatePhoto, Review Santa Fe, Medium, Palm Springs Photo Festival, Filter, and Lishui International Photography Festival in China as well as being a juror for Critical Mass. While being a champion of artists, she created a thriving artist-in-residence program at RayKo where recent residents Carlos Javier Ortiz and McNair Evans both received Guggenheim Fellowships in 2016. Besides being a curator, Ann Jastrab, MFA, is a fine art photographer, master darkroom printer, and teacher as well. She has been leading courses in the San Francisco Bay Area and at the Maine Media Workshops (formerly the Maine Photographic Workshops) in Rockport, Maine since 1995. She is also currently working at Scott Nichols Gallery in San Francisco.
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” – Loren Eiseley
Water: sustainer of all life, ever various in its sources and forms, a magnet for imagination, meditation, fear, and wonder. Photographers have been making images of water since photography’s birth, drawn to the beauty and changeability of fog, mist, spray, ice, oceans and rivers, lakes and streams, rain, sleet, snow, puddles, and waves.
For this exhibit we sought photographs that captured the unique qualities of water—the way it catches the light, cuts through the earth, falls from the sky, sustains or threatens life, and changes its forms.
...We were very pleased that Ann Jastrab juried and curated this exhibition, selecting approximately 35 images for exhibition in the gallery, and 35 for our Online Gallery Annex. The recipients of the Juror’s Award and the Director’s Award receive a personal portfolio review by Ms. Jastrab.