The third annual Camera USA 2013: National Photography Exhibition and Award drew nearly 200 entries from across the United States. Harry Benson, the juror from the Naples Art Association’s first Camera USA, returned to help judge the 2013 competition. He was joined by Christopher Rauschenberg and Ron Bishop. All three juried the artwork submitted, and the top 45 photographs were accepted for the exhibition. Of those, 14 photographers were nominated to receive the National Photography Award.
The Naples Art Association is proud that five local artists were a part of that list. Below, read the stories behind their photographic art.
Erin D. Williams: I set out to capture authentic portraits, rather than casting models into fictional narratives. I also limited myself to the basics: black and white images, plain backgrounds, sparse props and “whatever you were wearing when you made breakfast” for wardrobe. I found that by limiting the environment, little was known about the context of the subject. This forced me to develop a new visual vocabulary. Subtle details and context clues gained importance. The texture of ones skin, a piece of jewelry, a hair out of place all became part of the story. I also tried to capture the “in between moments” when people weren’t posturing for the camera. I became very conscious that my best shots where when I was just “testing my lights.” This became part of my process. Some subjects were relit 5 times just to get the shots they thought “didn’t count.”
As I began to get comfortable behind the lens again, I realized I could give back to the community at the same time; the Eugene Community Photo Project emerged. I set up photo booths around town and opened my studio to the public for free portraits. In exchange for their time, each of the almost 700 participants were given prints. All participants were also included in a book and an exhibit that presented the collection of images in the form of a community portrait. The project brings together demographics, personalities and characters that you might not otherwise find shoulder to shoulder. These juxtapositions are intended to be as engaging as the individual portraits.
Dennis T. Goodman: Nature’s beauty has always amazed me. I realized that I had a tremendous passion for preserving my visions through photography when I was in high school. Most of my photography comes from the Florida Everglades and Florida’s natural beauty. The connection I have when I am in the Everglades is indescribable. My inspiration comes from the beauty in nature and it has become a spiritual expedition as well. Being outdoors and being a witness to God’s creations inspires me every time I go out to take pictures.
My goal as an artist is to showcase the beauty and wonders that surround this world today as I see it. The ever changing light and the details of the swamp are captured in the hidden world we often do not see or experience.
Nic Provenzo: When photographing “Street Art” photographers must be cognizant that new images are being created from others’ works. Photographers must respect the other artists’ works and realize that their images are now elements of new artistic creations. It is imperative that the new images are not plagiarized copies of others. The new images should be vibrant statements appreciated on their own merits.
Gareth Rockliffe: I have a desire to capture the “soul” of a scene not just the light that falls upon it. By that I mean I want to bring more to the photograph than just what can be seen by the naked eye…
I want people to “feel” an emotion when they look at my work. By doing this, I believe, all viewers will connect with my images in a deep and meaningful way.
Colleen Provost: Day on the Water Photography is an expression of how I live my life in the belief that nature is a gift. Focusing a light on what is often unseen and making it tangible for others inspires me. There is always an adventure when out on the water; from exploring the mysterious River of Grass waist deep in the swamps looking at virgin cypress hoping not to surprise an alligator to witnessing a mother dolphin teach her calf to fish in the 10,000 Islands. I hope to capture this beauty given to us in a lens and share it with those unable to enter into this magical world.
Other artists included in Camera USA 2013: National Photography Exhibition and Award top 14 were:
- Overall winner: Tony Hertz, Pismo Beach Califorina
- Cindy Seip, Coral Gables, FL
- David Rowell, St. Petersburg, FL
- David Wensel, Geneva, Illinois
- Zel Brook, Corvallis, Oregon
- Caleb Charland, South Portland, Maine
- Marita Grotee, Mississippi State University
- Richard Auger, Summerfield, FL
- Jason Windebank, West Hollywood, California
Also featured alongside this exhibition, “Capturing Our World” showcases the work of Naples Daily News photojournalists’ work, including 30 captivating images by six photojournalists.