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The call for entries for Photo Noir invited noir-style images that include “contrasty lighting, unexpected camera angles, dark anti-heroes, high drama, and a lurking sense of danger.” While the style has been variously described over the decades, we rely on the call for entries as our standard in judging.
We received many images that contained one or two of these elements—a man standing in the shadows, someone holding a knife or gun, someone descending a dark subway staircase, or an after-the-fact crime scene—but what was missing in many was a sense of lurking danger, tension, or some action that has just occurred or is about to occur. A sense of drama, of an unfolding story, is an essential ingredient of noir, by our definition.
The Juror’s Award is given to Norwegian photographer Ketil Born for his image The Game, which manages to refer to two stories on two different visual planes. Beautifully lit, it poses questions about who the characters are, why they are there, and what is going to happen next. One gets the sense it may not end well.
The Director’s Award is given to Don Russell, whose technically excellent image possesses all the essential elements of light, shadow, and suspense about what might happen next.
My thanks to all who put themselves out there by submitting their work. It was a pleasure to see it all.
— James Barker
The film noir genre was extremely popular in the American films made in the 1950s. Among them were Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo and Out of the Past. All were known for contrasty lighting, unexpected camera angles, dark anti-heroes, high drama, and a lurking sense of danger.
Film critic Roger Ebert described the style: “Locations that reek of the night, of shadows, of alleys, of the back doors of fancy places, of apartment buildings with a high turnover rate, of taxi drivers and bartenders who have seen it all.”
For this exhibit we are looking for still images that capture the spirit of a noir film — color or black and white, and any kind of lighting that conveys that noir spirit. All capture and processing techniques are welcome.
Information about our printing service and free matting and framing here.
Banner image: Amy ArbusClick to enlarge image.
James Barker is the Director of PhotoPlace Gallery. He has owned the Gallery since 2014, and has mounted close to 100 exhibits in that time. His work in photography began at the School of Visual Arts in 1970, and he has been involved with photography in one way or another ever since as a wet darkroom technician, a staff and freelance editorial photographer, a studio photographer, juror, and gallerist. He has served as a juror for Photolucida’s Critical Mass for the last four years.
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