2020 Michael P. Smith Finalists

2020 Michael P Smith finalists
Sarah Leen,  juror

Congratulations  to our five finalists for the 2020 Michael P Smith Fund for Documentary Photography.  Scroll down to view galleries of highlights from the finalists’ submissions along with a brief statement from our juror, Sarah Leen.
Winner will be announced June 12, 2020

It Was There All Along
Frank Hamrick
The presentation of this artist’s book moves me to start writing a check. Yes please, I want one. This project is built from cover design to mapping to the lush perfectly pitched wet plate collodions so aptly conceived for a project about water. This feels like history yet is addresses issues that are as contemporary as it comes.
Frank Hamrick Website 

Young Cash Karen
Jade Thiraswas
This inside look at a community of young men bonded by being ‘strangers in a strange land’ amplifies their pride and their vulnerability. Jade also found a place of acceptance in their midst that confirmed her own identity as a mixed-race Asian woman. This collaboration led to the creation of telling artworks that adds to the texture and depth of this project. I for one want to see more.
Jade Thiraswas website

Kristina E. Knipe
 “Mess and its attendant spectacle.” These are the words that Kristina uses to describe her project Talisman.  Her work is very much a spectacle, much like a raucous Mardi Gras Parade both during and after. It is so very lush. I am struck by the jungle of color, the fractured forms and bodies, yet that beautiful surface can barely hide the sense of foreboding, that something bad may have happened here. The images are like stills from a narrative or a movie that may not have had an entirely happy ending. Like a pagan rite or a tarot card much meaning is layered in this work.
Kristina E. Knipe website

Chasing Light
Riel Sturchio
The work by Riel and her sister Bianca is a tender revelation. This collaborative project uses the visual language of portraiture, still life, moments and landscape to explore queerness, illness and sisterhood. It is also fearless in how it represents identity and disability. It is a story of survival topped with triumph and no small measure of beauty.
Riel Sturchio website

Land of Dreams 
Ryan Hogdson Rigsbee
Ryan’s nine-year of commitment to documenting the traditions of this community of artists, musicians and followers that surround Mardi Gras and its krewes of aristocrats and Indians is at its strongest when it goes beyond the obvious and takes us into the lives of the people who are the heart and soul of New Orleans. There is more to come as the photographer continues to peel back the layers to reach the soul.
Ryan Hogdson Rigsbee website