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Portrait: Self and Others

Deadline for submissions: Mar 11, 2024
Prints due: Apr 19, 2024
Exhibition: May 3 - May 24, 2024

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.

Juror's Statement

I’ve always felt that taking a photograph of someone else, is in fact, a form of self-portraiture. The decisions that the photographic artist makes—faces they are drawn to and the ways they interpret the experience, says a lot about the subject but also about who is taking the portrait. Though this exhibition celebrates the faces of others, the self is ever present.

I have just spent the last week immersed in your photographs, revisiting and reconsidering each image. It was an exciting and daunting process, and, in the end, I selected about 3 times the amount that could be included in the exhibition. So, thank you for submitting so much excellent work and making my decisions so difficult! It was inspiring to see the range of approaches and the array of imaginative imagery. Thank you to all who submitted such varied and spectacular approaches to considering each other.

The photographs selected for the awards were images that I returned to again and again over the jurying. Each portrait has a particular essence: an immediacy, a sense of humor or pathos, and they were well seen and well crafted. As a juror, I look for intention and a level of excellence. With the ubiquitous-ness of photography today, creative approaches to all genres of photography shift the norm and reinvigorate the medium, as evidenced by all the submissions to this exhibition. The photographs selected for the exhibition are like small novellas--moments of someone’s life captured somewhere between the beginning, middle, or ending of a personal narrative.

It is not an easy task to juror an exhibition, especially one where storytelling, intention, and the essence of a human being needs to be conveyed in a single image. With all exhibitions, there are many wall-worthy submissions that come steps away from the finish line, only to be rejected due to constraints of space. Finally, I am not only selecting single images, but also curating a group of photographs into an exhibition that needs feel fresh and have a strong point of view. 

  —  Aline Smithson

Call for Entries

A great portrait reveals something of the depth, history, and emotional state of the subject, at least as captured in a single moment in time. Although many portraits zero in on the face, many fine images don't show the face at all, instead using light, gesture, context, and other nuances of expression to create an informative portrait.

For this exhibit we seek portraits, self- or otherwise, that go beyond the surface to explore a deeper vision of the subject and, hopefully, draw an emotional response from the viewer.

We are very pleased that Aline Smithson will jury the exhibit. She will select approximately 35 images for exhibition in the Middlebury gallery, and up to 40 for our Online gallery. All 75 selected images will be promoted on social media, reproduced in the exhibition print catalog, and remain permanently on our website, with links to photographer’s URL. 

Banner image: Tammy Swarek
Thumbnail:  Archana Kumar
Information about our printing service and free matting and framing here.

About the Juror

Aline Smithson is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and editor based in Los Angeles, California. Her practice examines the archetypal foundations of the creative impulse and she uses humor and pathos to explore the performative potential of photography. She received a BA in Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara and was accepted into the College of Creative Studies, studying under artists such as William Wegman, Allen Rupersburg, and Charles Garabedian. After a career as a New York Fashion Editor working alongside some the greats of fashion photography, Smithson returned to Los Angeles and her own artistic practice.

She has exhibited widely including over 40 solo shows at institutions such as the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, the Shanghai, Lishui, and Pingyqo Festivals in China, The Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco, the Center of Fine Art Photography in Colorado, the Tagomago Gallery in Barcelona and Paris, and the Arnika Dawkins Gallery in Atlanta. In addition, her work is held in a number of public collections and her photographs have been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, PDN (cover), the PDN Photo Annual, Communication Arts Photo Annual, Harper’s, Eyemazing, Soura, Visura, Shots, Pozytyw, and Silvershotz magazines.

Smithson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lenscratch, a daily journal on photography. She has been an educator at the Los Angeles Center of Photography since 2001 and her teaching spans the globe. In 2012, Smithson received the Rising Star Award through the Griffin Museum of Photography for her contributions to the photographic community and also received the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award from CENTER. She has won numerous awards and commissions since 2014, and her books are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Getty Museum, the Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, among others.

With the exception of her cell phone, she only shoots film.

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