2020 CJL Finalists

2020 Clarence John Laughlin Award 
Paul Martineau, juror

Congratulations  to our ten  finalists for the 2020 Clarence John Laughlin Award.  Scroll down to view galleries of highlights from the finalists’ submissions along with a brief statement about their work.

52 Card Pickup
David Armentor
An exploration of the architecture and atmosphere of the ubiquitous roadside casino in Gulf Coast Louisiana. There’s a strange beauty in the architecture of opportunism. Sometimes they are glistening beacons, and others worn unmasked version of the desperation within. This beauty is represented in the capture and output of the prints, the highest materiality was used allowing for the hope or possibly of rendered beauty. The deck of cards is a testament to the typologic homage to this pervasive seductress of loss and hope.

David Armentor Website 

It was there all along
Frank Hamrick
It was there all along’ is a handmade artist’s book of tintypes made in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee responding to growing concerns related to water, whether it is food, recreation, flooding, drought or coastal erosion. Water from Tennessee caves move through creeks and rivers to the Gulf of Mexico. A Louisiana mural states, “In a flood every raindrop feels responsible.” As the grandson of a well driller, I learned early on that water does not originate from a faucet, nor simply disappear after going down the drain.

Frank Hamrick website

Where You Come From is Gone
Jared Ragland
Using a 100-yr-old field camera and portable darkroom, WYCFIG documents sites from more than 30 counties in Alabama and Florida and seeks to make visible the erasure that occurred in the American South between Hernando DeSoto’s first exploitation of native peoples in the 16th cen. and Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act 300 years later. Yet the landscapes hold no obvious vestiges of the Native American cultures that once inhabited the sites; what one would hope to document, preserve, and remember, is already gone.

Jared Ragland website

Tech Vanitas
Jeanette May
My “Tech Vanitas” series addresses technological anxiety and love for obsolete machines. I reference both advertising imagery and 17th Century Dutch vanitas still lifes: suggesting craft guilds, international trade, and personal wealth. In my photos, the sheer quantity of gadgets indicates mass production, waste, and the passing of time. Each photo includes references to optics, audio, time, light, and communication. I construct the still lifes in my studio using found props, then shoot and print with digital technology.

Jeanette May website

Conversations with Myself
Jo Ann Chaus
Conversations with Myself is a 75+ image series of visually rich self-portraits that conjure up scenarios drawn from memory and cultural iconography that explore female identity, traditional roles of wife and mother, and ultimately serve as an homage to women of all time.

Jo Ann Chaus website

Krista Svalbonas
“Displacement” captures the traces of former WWII refugee camps in Germany. Today, the buildings give no hint of the tumultuous lives of the postwar refugees they once held. To better understand and honor their struggles, I turned to archived copies of plea letters the refugees sent to the United States and Canada. I merge these accounts with the photographs through a process of burning. Eventually made entirely of lace-like text, the buildings grow fragile, inseparable from the precarious lives they housed.

Krista Svalbonas website

Kristina E. Knipe

My story is intertwined with those I photograph- we cohabit spaces and experiences within a community of artists, activists, and healers. I am interested in how objects, symbols, and spaces function as markers of identity. In New Orleans the altars, masquerades, and decadences create a visual and material excess that heals as it depletes. I collaborate with my sitters to create images that reflect shared stories.

Kristina E. Knipe website

Lost Ground, Envisioning the Veil
Linda Alterwitz
This work correlates directly to our current environmental crises. I photographed landscapes that reveal places in the natural environment that have offered me a sense of personal sanctuary. I then sutured gauze “veils” representing human thoughts and emotions onto archival pigment prints of the landscapes. Imposing the veils onto the landscapes references how we rely on our natural environment for sustenance and refuge, while paradoxically engaging in decisions and behaviors that in the end, will destroy us.

Linda  Alterwitz website 

Keepsakes of Strangers
Malcolm Easton

I’m drawn to the shapes, colors and textures of well-used domestic objects, along with the associations they may evoke. I combine diverse objects, mixing flexible with rigid, rough surfaces with smooth, old with new. My elements are precariously placed, the pieces held together only by friction and gravity. I aim for spatial ambiguity, my arrangements seemingly afloat in the void. My intent is to explore clarity vs. mystery and constancy vs uncertainty, suggesting–through metaphor– issues in today’s world.

Malcolm Easton website

Where Shadows Cease: Resonance of America’s Dream
Susan Burnstine
Through visiting iconic locations across America I have explored the corridors of this land through visual metaphor to uncover hidden uniformities that reside within the nations’ collective unconscious. By infusing common themes found within the familiar, I’ve observed universal memories and representations found at places connected to the ethos of the “American Dream,” which reflect the collective hopes, fears and aspirations found in the social topography of America.

Susan Burnstine website