NVAL 2016 International Juried Photography Show Silver Selections
JUROR STATEMENT • Jack Fulton Professor Emeritus, San Francisco Art Institute
21st Century State of the Art: Trying to Incite Insight
In this 21st century the World Wide Web would not be what it is without photography as a prime medium of communication. One might go so far to say it has become a verbal medium as one might view and comment on a site like Snapchat.
Apple, the world’s largest company, with its iPhone & Pad, created such a simple imaging tool, which along with the WWW has made ‘the photograph’ the world’s most ubiquitous visual experience. The medium, in which let us include video, is presently changing destinies, traditions and political realms in countries throughout the world.
With this onset of non-verbal communication are ‘hits’ or ‘likes’ from web sites that not only garner attention but influence others to emulate successes with the result being tens of thousands of look-alike photographs. Such constant input ultimately creates prevailing themes and ways of doing things to or with the photographic image. In recent years apps, add-on programs for Photoshop/Lightroom software, have provided yet more image enhancement and manipulation. Companies now provide quality printing such as the supercilious named Giclee print, the dye sublimation print, prints mounted on aluminum and a host of presentations of a multitude of papers, canvas, silk etc. The majority of these tools and methodologies are intended to elevate the image to the point where it can be called Art.
Therefore, with these advantages, the majority of which provide the user with a very good quality photographic presentation, it is increasingly difficult to say that one image is ‘better’ than the other. Accompanying this multiplication of digital imagery is a renewed interest in the medium’s historical processes, once called alternative. These too have been aided by digital techniques but it is a pleasure to see cyanotypes, Pl/Pd, gum bichromate, carbon, bromoil et alia techniques practiced today in light of the preponderant digital ink print.
Due to this ease of excellence, which has been observed in judging other photographic contests, composition related to content is of key importance as is context, metaphor and even simile, all tools of the writer. The idea is to peruse each image in order to find the author, the one who has seen the ordinary and turned that into the exceptional . . . or, perhaps better put, has proffered to the viewer insight into what is being thought by the photographer about what they are observing. A simpler way is to say the photographer has made an image, not taken it.
Plagiarizing, emulating and success with either of those tactics does not create an outstanding work, one that holds emotional content . . . and while the term lyrical comes to mind that is but one of the human expressions available to pursue. Ultimately it is about expression . . . the chiaroscuro of a non-color photograph; how, in the viewing one’s perspective rises to see a poetic description; what sort of a dialogue has been created by the author with the viewer; and, in the context of our time does the dialogue speak in the visual language of our time to provide meaning in our lives. What the goal is is to be a person of content living in an age of style.
Jack Fulton has been involved with photography as a fine art since 1965. He has taught in the Photography Department of the San Francisco Art Institute from 1969 to 2013 and was Chair of the Department for approximately half that period. He designed the complete darkroom facilities and curriculum, also introducing color, historic processes and the digital environment.
He has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, Colorado College, Emily Carr in Vancouver, Ansel Adams Yosemite workshops, the Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego, Anderson Ranch and in Lisbon Portugal.
His practice is interdisciplinary and presently primarily digital. His body of work has earned him numerous awards among which are two NEA Fellowships (1970 and 1990) and an NEA Publishing award, which brought forth a book on walking in the Sierra Nevada: 2 Saunters: Summer & Winter.
His work has been exhibited and collected in Paris, London, NYC, Portugal, and a number of national venues, including SFMOMA; Oakland Museum; Los Angeles County Museum; University of AZ; Chicago Art Institute; Biblioteque Nationale, Paris; Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris; Seagram’s; UNOCAL; DiRosa Foundation (Napa, CA); San Jose Museum of Art, and multiple private collections.
He has been selected to judge photography and fine arts work in Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada and California. Jack enjoys and appreciates a wide variety of style, technique and subject matter, but to see some of his more recent work go to his website – JackFulton.net. To learn more about Jack view — https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/81636-jack-fulton