The Clarence John Laughlin Award 2018 Grantee Kimberly Witham The Laid Table
These images are from a recent series entitled The Laid Table. Each image is staged as it appears in the image, no post production manipulation is used.These photographs are a very personal meditation on beauty, fecundity, fragility and the inevitable march of time. The visual language of these images is borrowed from classical Dutch still life painting. Like these paintings, my images are intended as both a celebration of beauty and a reminder of the inevitability of death. The materials used in my images are all culled from my surroundings. The flowers and vegetables are from my garden. The animals and birds are all road kill found close to my New Jersey home.
I am honored to be selected as the recipient of the 2018 Clarence John Laughlin award. As I look at the incredible and moving work made by the other finalists, I can’t quite believe my good fortune. Receiving the grant allows me to continue work on a new project and to prepare photos for upcoming exhibitions.
Finally, and most importantly, it provides validation for many hours spent working alone in the studio. As an artist, it is fulfilling to know my work is appreciated by others. Thank you to the Photo Alliance and juror Marcela Correa.
I chose Kimberly Witham as the recipient of the Clarence John Laughlin Award. While her work does not blatantly portray current political issues that we are facing today, she does refer to some aspects of it in the demurest manner, much like the symbolic undertones of the great Dutch still life masters. Her connection to nature and the themes of beauty, fragility and decay are things we often overlook, particularly in an age where we consume things (physically and metaphorically) at a rate that has never surfaced in the history of humanity.
With the growth of technology, our relationship to nature (and each other) has deteriorated in so many ways. We are a society that is ravenous for “more” and forget to “stop and smell the roses,” so to speak. Being present has become a chore in a digital age. As a result, I suppose it was this “stillness” of Witham’s photography in conjunction with the incredibly rich colors and textures that truly caught my eye and impregnated my mind. These emblematic images of our disconnected relationship between humans and nature are important for people to appreciate and consider life’s transience.
~ Marcela Correa