The Clarence John Laughlin Award 2015 Grantee Adam Davies Non-spaces: Industrial architecture of the Mid-Atlantic regionAdam Davies’s unmanipulated photographs explore points of intersection between architecture and the natural world. He received a Ed.M. from Harvard University and a M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University. From 2010 to 2013, he held a full-time position as Lecturer & Media Specialist at the National Gallery of Art, Washington and previously held teaching positions at Carnegie Mellon, Robert Morris, Catholic, and Harvard universities. Davies is a past recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Endowment Fellowship and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship. His photographs have appeared in a number of publications, including East City Art, Photo Review, and Triple Canopy Magazine. He has held residencies at Yaddo, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Chinati Foundation, Jentel, and the Edward Albee Foundation. Recently, Davies was awarded multiple fellowships by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities in support of his current long-term project examining nineteenth- and early twentieth-century public transport infrastructure in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Juror's StatementThank you to all the photographers who entered the CJL competition, specifically those in the final ‘Top Ten’ list whose work was beautifully realized and intelligent.
I wrote my Masters Thesis on Clarence Laughlin, visiting New Orleans several times, viewed his archive and met his family and friends. At Louisiana State University, I studied his library of 30,000 books dominated by myth, fantasy, history, psychology, science fiction and the occult that informed his thinking and photography. Laughlin was also a commercial architectural photographer. He was passionate about history and coupled this with the content of his imagery.
Hence, choosing Adam Davies for the CJL Prize was a natural fit. Davies photographs are in direct lineage with Laughlin’s architectural career and attraction to ruins. Both photographers studied the regional histories of their subjects, the economic fluctuations, Civil War, and natural disasters that shaped them. Davies’s in-depth blog reveals his commitment to research. His imagery yields complex compositions and vantage points, subtle color balances and detailed, dynamic line from both the manmade and natural worlds, each image artfully printed. They were a pleasure to view.
I asked NOPA to create two equal “Honorable Mention” categories since the portfolios were so strong. Kimberly Witham and Don Norris are both dedicated master photographers. Witham’s seductive ‘still lifes’ with animals (taxidermied by the photographer, with all materials gathered from her immediate surroundings) evoke Dutch vanitas paintings. They are “a celebration of beauty and a reminder of the inevitability of death,” writes Witham. Her images are lavishly, lovingly realized down to the raking light, textured tablecloth and “fruit and flesh” arrangements. Her witty blog reflects the thought and passion behind her image-making. Norris photographs vernacular buildings from the 19th century South, simply, elegantly. He cites Strand and Caponigro as influences. His printing process and resulting graceful images hold receding depths, textures, light and shadow that give the aging structures and enveloping forest-growth a presence rarely found in the photographs by his predecessors.
Lastly, I applaud NOPA for making the actual prints a part of the final jurying process.
Curator of Photography, Harn Museum of Art
Congratulations to all of the Finalists in the 2015 The Clarence John Laughlin AwardCongratulations to all the finalists for the sixth annual Clarence John Laughlin Award.
Kimberly Witham Honorable Mention
Don Norris Honorable Mention
Annu Palakunnathu Mathew
Cheryle St. Onge