Just wanted to let you know my success story from Critical Mass. My first monograph will be released at ICP book signing October 21st. The relationship I developed with the publisher, Charles Lane Press was a direct result of Critical Mass. Richard Renaldi became familiar with my Interior Relations portraits through reviewing work on Critical Mass. We subsequently made contact with each other and things went from there.
Thanks for your efforts with supporting the photo community.
Ian van Coller
I thought you'd like to know that our next show, Mary Ellen Bartley, is definitely a Critical Mass success story. We saw Mary Ellen's early book project the first year we were Critical Mass jurors. Saw the Paperbacks and Blue Books the following year and now are blown away by the Standing Open series.
So my Photolucida opportunity wasn't directly from the 20min meetings (still working on those) but through the Indie Photobook Library and it's director Larissa Leclair.
My artist book project is now a part of the IPL collection and subsequently has been included in an exhibition at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, MA. The exhibition opens this month.
All the best,
Thought you might be interested in a success story coming out of Critical Mass. I'm sure that you folks put a HUGE amount of effort into this competition - time for some favorable feedback.
One of your jurors, Robert Morton, a former long-time picture-book editor and now agent, contacted me after seeing my work in the 2009 Critical Mass and going to my website for more. He contacted me, offering his services to get my work published in book form. I had already started on a book project and was happy to join forces with him.
This is just what one hopes for in entering these competitions and your stellar cast of jurors is perfect for getting one's work seen by influential people in the field. Thanks for all your hard work.
I'm pleased to inform you that Jesse Louttit was one of the photographers included in the September Issue of PDN for our feature "Film School: 8 Things Photogs Need From Video Clients," we ran three of his images for the piece.
I reviewed his work at Photolucida, and he just showed me his video work during the session based on my bio requesting to see video project.
We just announced the representation of Jennifer B. Hudson as a print room artist with the gallery. We met and reviewed Jenn's portfolio at your review event.
Debra Klomp Ching
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
As previously noted, the 200 Critical Mass 2011 Finalists have been selected! As these photographers complete their finalist registration and we prepare the work to go out to the 200+ Jurors (listed on the left), we would like to take a moment to share a bit about the Critical Mass process:
First - the voting.
We currently use a custom-designed, web-based program to accept and distribute images and text. (In the early days of Critical Mass, submissions were on CD and voting was done on paper!) Since then, we have developed an online system that can both accept incoming image files and text AND allow secure access to jurors around the globe so that they can view and score the projects. This system is also used to tabulate the rankings, track entrant payments, generate the 'All Entrant' and 'Finalist' CDs, among other banal behind-the-scenes administrative tasks. While this program is one of the Critical Mass expenses (that necessitates entry fees), we've invested years into it's development and this year it is at the top of it's functionality. This is important both because it makes submission the easiest it's ever been for photographers and runs seamlessly, so the Jurors can focus on the photography itself and not the system.
What the system does is show each Juror EVERY image by EVERY photographer. In the Pre-Screening round, that means that 25 Pre-Screeners saw EVERY one of the 7,000+ images submitted (for the Finalist round, more than 200 Jurors will see ALL the Finalist images). Each photographer's images are all presented on one page with links to the artist statement and artist info. Jurors have the option to enlarge the images to full screen and as well read the statement and pricing info - they can choose to read the artist statement before or after viewing the images. As Lauren Henkin mentioned in her post about her experience as a Pre-Screener "Remember, all of what you apply with, from website addresses, to pricing, to writing, to image preparation, gives jurors clues as to your credibility as a working artist—best to use every opportunity to show that you are working and connected to what is happening in this community." Each aspect of one's submission is an opportunity to distinguish oneself. While not every juror will pay the same attention to every aspect of a submission, the information is there for them to spend as much time as they wish with.
About those Pre-Screeners.
Some might wonder - Why the Pre-Screening phase? Why not just send all the work to the Jurors? Our Jurors are some of the best and brightest photography book publishers, collectors, curators, editors, festival directors, gallerists, and more from around the world. Their time is often limited and in order to fit Critical Mass into their busy schedules, we have to keep the volume of work presented at a reasonable level. Our Pre-Screeners are a dedicated group of Jurors who want to be a part of the process of culling all of the submissions down to the Finalist group. Their contribution is huge and greatly appreciated!
Votes, scores, and rankings and...where do all the numbers fall?
First, as mentioned, all of the Pre-Screeners voted on all of the entrants. If a Pre-Screener (or Juror in the Finalist round) doesn't submit a vote for every entrant, we don't count their votes when tabulating the rankings. Statistically, the difference could be small, but given the fraction of percentages we're dealing with, one person's incomplete votes can actually change the rankings. So, we make sure a vote is entered for every participant in order to keep things statistically fair for all.
As for the hard numbers: Our programming automatically translates the subjective personal rankings into a numerical system in order to come up with the Finalist and Top 50 lists. When tabulating rankings, the programming gives us numbers that look like this: 1.7916666666667. The point is - try not to worry about the specific number that is be linked to your entry. Yes, they are used to rank the work. But, in the end, the goal is to get your photos in front of people who will connect with them. Numbers are the most efficient way to narrow all the submissions to an amount reasonable for the Jurors. While it is an honor to be selected as part of the 'Finalist' or 'Top 50' group, the real "winnings" come in the form of being a part of a community larger than oneself and connecting with people who want to see your work. Remember, all work ends up on the "All Entrants" CD, which is distributed internationally.
An additional note: we specifically seek out jurors with a wide range of tastes, preferences, and photographic needs so that entrants have the best chance of connecting with a Juror who might love their work. This means that the "winners" are not limited to the Top 50 or even the Finalist group. Which brings us to the last topic of this post.
Photographers who didn't make the Finalist round, but have found fans among the Pre-Screeners:
It happens every year - Pre-Screener favorites don't always make the Finalist round (ie: when former Photolucida Board Member and Critical Mass 2009 Pre-Screener, Chris Rauschenberg, recently posted some 2009 non-Finalist favorites on his website). Since the 2011 Finalists were posted, we've been receiving emails from Pre-Screeners about work they loved that didn't make the list:
Susan Spiritus was the first one to email. She wrote immediately following the announcement "I am VERY sad to see that Ellen Jantzen did not make the cut! Her work is not only fabulous, but so unique in style!" She also mentioned, "...Tim Hyde, whose work I have been watching for years, now, and am very surprised that he did not make it to the finals either."
Paula Tognarelli followed by writing "Two people I was disappointed that didn't make the cut for Critical Mass were Bremner Benedict and Tara Sellios. Both are from the Boston area and both have stellar bodies of work that deserve note."
George Slade "would have gone to bat for inclusion of Sarah Christianson, Gina Dabrowski, Tara Sellios, and several others as Finalists." Slade also noted that there's "something about a jury selection process that eliminates submissions that are more unusual; consensus typically smooths out the rough edges, those 'outliers' whose jaggedness calls for attention."
Claire Annette Mussard wrote "I found interesting the work of Alinka Echeverria. And she received a big prize from the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation."
Christina Spielvogel emailed the following:
Three of my favorites didn't make the Finalist list:1. Dimitri Mellos - It's difficult to believe that his submission didn't make the cut! Mellos's NYC street photography is richly layered and surprising; his brings new energy to a disappearing genre.2. Emma Powell - strangely beautiful collodion images.3. Shaun Hines - finely-crafted black and white images.
Finally, Photolucida Director, Laura Moya, gave the following report:
Twenty-one photographers that I gave the highest mark did not make the Finalist list! Of course there are a strong handful that I wish had:Brooks Dierdorf's series "Trophy" is a powerfully eerie series that shows hunting trophy images sans hunter, giving the visual importance to the slaughtered animal and suspending it somewhere between life and death.Elizabeth Orcutt's "Mother Series" is like sitting through an art history class - but viewing the familiar images with the artist's self-imposed facial features. Her version of Dorthea Lang's iconic 'Destitute pea pickers/Mother of Seven Children' image will be forever seared in my memory.Ross Sawyer's "Dismantled Rooms" series documents intentional destruction to rooms vacated because of a house's foreclosure. They are images of vandalization, but also beautiful abstractions.Kirsten Hoving's "Night Wanders" series is gorgeous - inspired by Joseph Cornell and his work with astronomy, she photographs objects placed under disks of ice to create the feelings of galaxies and spiral nebulae.
We strongly believe that even if your work didn't make the Critical Mass 'Finalist' round, if it found a fan, that fan will remember! Keep working, keep sharing the work and eventually, great work will get noticed.