Wednesday, January 2, 2019

'And the winner is.... Say what?'

9:25pm, Liverpool
Selecting twelve nominees for my 2018 Best Photo of The Year award from over 2500 candidates was daunting but proved to be relatively easy compared with picking a winner.

2018 was an important growth year for my photography as a transition from ‘representation’ to ‘reference’ marked more and more of my work. While evolutionary changes featured prominently in the selection of the final candidate pool (11 of the twelve finalists employed ‘evolved’ capture or processing techniques to infuse the images with emotion, mystery or other emphases referencing my interpretation of the scene rather than merely providing an accurate representation) as well as in the selection of my favorite image from 2018, ‘revolutionary’ progression turned out to be the discrimating factor in the identification of what I considered to be my most important image of the year. So in trying to identify my ‘Best’ image from 2018 I was confronted with the need to pick between the ‘most important’ and ‘my favorite’. 

Or was I? 

After much hand-wringing I resolved the conundrum by making two choices. In short - I cheated. Only the second day of the New Year and I have already cheated!

By way of rationalization, I feel it is important to explain the categorical distinction between ‘Most Important’ and ‘Favorite’ categories since the criteria used to identify the most important image differ significantly from those viewers (including myself) likely apply in the selection of their personal favorite(s).

My Favorite image of the year is “9:25pm, Liverpool” (above).  This long exposure (50 sec) capture was the most and best planned image I’ve ever taken; location, angle, time of day and effect of shutter speed were all carefully considered and refined on site.  The resulting ‘blue hour’ image conveys the vitality of the Albert Docks of Liverpool by revealing the movement of the water, the clouds and the traffic while showing to advantage the bright colors of the Liverpool's illuminated iconic architecture and their reflections in their urban environment. The capture and processing decisions effectively convey my feelings and experiences of that evening, transcending a static view of the location that in earlier stages of my work would easily have qualified for best image consideration.

I consider “Kokopelli” on the other hand, to be my Most Important image of 2018. The creation of this image was far more ‘revolutionary’ than ‘evolutionary’ as it represents a complete fabrication of an image without reference to or interest in the subject of the original photograph.  The original photo (below) served only as the first step in a transformative creative process culminating in a final abstract image conceived entirely from my imagination. While a great image in its own right IMO, ‘Kokopelli’ takes on greater significance as a representative of a large body of unique abstract images created via a similar process of photographic assimilation and transformation inspired by modernist painting traditions. While perhaps not unique to me (though I haven’t discovered others doing the same thing) this approach to photographic art distinguishes my work from the overwhelming majority of other photographers and fine art photography. And it is just the first ‘revolutionary’ act in what I anticipate will be an exciting revolution in my art.

So there you have it. My Favorite and my Most Important images. 

So what is my Best Picture of 2018?  That's up to you ..... as it should be.

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