Losing & Finding

"You have some very strong work in your submission. Your images are quite enticing overall. You employ a rather novel approach to image-making via a multiple exposure technique which results in images that are quite soft, fluid and painterly. This instills a sense of subjectivity, or at least the aesthetics of subjectivity, to every picture. The fluidity of lines and shapes also helps to foreground a sense of time and motion quite palpably in your images.

I particularly enjoy the color contrasts of "Stone Ghosts" and "Metamorphosis", as well as the two-point perspective of "Dimensions of Darkness" which helps to emphasize the implied spatial depth of the photograph. This is also the type of subject matter that I don't often see with a multiple exposure approach so I enjoy that you are exploring relatively new subject matter.

"Over the Hill" looks the most like an Impressionist painting as the memory of a fleeting scene seems to pass before the camera lens. "Golden Blue" is much different than the other pictures in that there is a general deployment of leaves and branches which I find quite fetching and a bit abstract. This is one of your finer somewhat non-objective image.

"The Reunion" is perhaps the least effective picture. While I certainly identify various human shapes, the interaction between the figures and any sort of physical or social context means that too much detail is obfuscated here. For example, the figures do not have the vibrant color contrast and phantasmic shapes and seen in "Stone Ghosts".

In regard to your project statement, I applaud your thorough and thoughtful words." 

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Losing & Finding BW

"This series give us layered images that are designed to alter our perceptions of reality. The in-camera and post-processing effects that you use contributes to a sense of mystery in these images.

"Dimensions of Darkness" is a good example. The low vantage point of your camera helps to elevate this house making it seem more ominous and threatening. The double exposure or layering effect makes it feel dream like—it is as if you captured a still-frame from a nightmare. This is one of your more successful images in this series.

Your photographs "The Reunion" and "Stone Ghosts" present dark shadowy figures. Perhaps you have given us a glimpse into the afterlife? Are we observing a reunion of souls? The strength of these images is that the possess an implied narrative. You have given us a set of clues to a larger mystery. The viewer is left to resolve this visual puzzle. This is an effective way of engaging the viewer, but carefully consider the reward that is offered to your viewer. Is our time with your images well spent?

In "Expectation" you apply the same aesthetic to a portrait. It is a well composed image that is a bit more specific than others in this series. Perhaps this character might play a role in a larger narrative? Consider expanding this project. Work to create a more complicated story or narrative arc that will keep your viewer engaged.

Your final two photographs seem to set the stage for a larger drama. We see a dark and foreboding forest. This is an ominous and somewhat poetic set of images, but I wonder: what kind of experience are you attempting to facilitate for the viewer? What should we learn from an experience with your photographs? We live in a world that is saturated with photographs and photographers, so the important and innovative work will garner the attention of jurors curators and critics. Carefully consider the potential value of your photographs to your audience. How does your work relate and contribute to the history of photography? I encourage you to research the legacy of Surrealism and early photographers like Man Ray and Maurice Tabard. Use them as a point of inspiration but also carefully consider how your work builds upon this tradition. Respond to these issues in your statement and captions. Your ability to concisely articulate the value of your work in-writing and demonstrate that it is well researched will give you an advantage in future competitions.

There is some very strong work in this serie, Dominique. Your work does offer a compelling mystery to the viewer. You are an adept photographer and I appreciate that you are taking and experimental approach. I enjoyed reviewing your project and will do my best to follow your work as it evolves. I wish you the best of luck moving forward."

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Dazed & Confused

The collection "Dazed and Confused" of gauzy portraits and landscapes borders abstraction yet reads more like impressionism.

The hues and tonal range of this work are enticing and reminiscent of the works of the old master oil painters. I find "Dazed and Confused" to be the most compelling of the set, as more time is spent, as a viewer, trying to make out features of a face which is blurred beyond recognition, yet contains enough structure that I still continue to find something solid enough to grasp.

If you are not currently aware of the work of Jason Salavon, I highly encourage you to view his Portrait series. The work is strikingly similar to your own, however, he has not created the original source files for his multiple exposures, but rather *has* taken works of master painters such as Rembrandt, etc. I think it will be important to review his work and think about how your works are both similar and different. Salavon's work goes completely towards abstraction.

Ann Hamilton is another artist who comes to mind, but who is leaning more towards "the real". She photographed people through clouded glass. There is still a painterly quality to this work, but there is enough visual structure to make out clear forms with only portions of the image fading into obscurity.

Your work seems to stand in the middle of these two, which is interesting to recognize as you fear going "too far".

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On the Edge of Chaos

" I have taken some time to study your photos, looking for visual clues that point to meaning within your photos. You talk about making these photos as representing “the edge of chaos, concepts and ideas arise that fall outside the normal perspective with which one assesses images and sensations.” There is a sense of tension and frenzied energy within the frames. I definitely feel all these things in the photos. From the layering techniques you use, your compositions become very abstract in a way that communicates your experience to the viewer. I think anyone can relate to the feelings these images communicate.

On the surface these images have a type of visual complexity that concentrates on abstract shapes, lights, and darks, but I also find them to be conceptually complex ! I think you are also asking that the viewer be sensitive enough to look deeply at your images, to see the details you have included in the frame. To me, the photos are interesting because they blur the line between literal photography and poetic design. Your photographic vision has transformed these subjects into abstract tonality, patterns, and shapes. These visual effects are clearly important characters in your stories.

By the way you compose your abstracted elements, you help the viewer see relationships that form between structures of order and chaos. The viewer tries to identify elements in the photos as curves, lines and shapes. You also place a lot of emphasis on the frame around the images. Without those boundary elements the composition could not be contained or defined. Part of the magic of these images is what you have chosen to include in the frame and all the elements in the surrounding environment you deliberately choose to leave out.

I also see rivers of ghosts flowing through some of the images in the stream of chaos. For example, photos 1, 2, 3, and 8 appear this way. The photos also talk about the confusion and complexity of visual space and, for me, are about the movement of light and shadow within space. I see these qualities in photos 4, 5, 6, and 7. I have thought about suggestions for where you could go from here. The way you frame your subjects deliberately contains a sense of ordered chaos. One thing I suggest trying to incorporate into future photos is a visual element that is still and sharp. In this way viewers visually compares and contrast 3 levels of the images, being that which is sharp, that which falls out of focus, and elements that are slightly (or heavily) blurred objects in motion. The effect could enhance the visual qualities of the compositions because it would create contrast between that which is still and what is moving.

I really enjoyed looking at your photos and thinking about how they express your photographic style. I do suggest you try this stylistic and conceptual approach with other subject matter. Even photographing people as part of a study in the chaos of the human experience and the human condition would be interesting. I appreciate the way they are masterfully composed and carefully designed. I look forward to seeing what you will do next "

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Close to Darkness

"I find these images to be visually engaging and conceptually intriguing. I think you have, by using photography as your medium, created a powerful tension between our predisposed inclination to see the photographic image as "reality" and the symbolic and metaphoric possibilities of showing the viewer expanded time and space.

I assume you are familiar with the landscapes of Hiroshi Sugimoto and Todd Hido whom you seem to reference in these images. You have succeeded in shifting your content into the realm of the psyco/spiritual as opposed to the phenomenological.

For me the most successful of these are the ones which seem to create a sense of the dream before the dreamer awakens (images 1 to 7). In these there is a strong sense of light, atmosphere and space. I am also drawn to the figurative elements in a number of them (images 2 & 6)."    

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© 2020 by Dominique Genin