Critical Mass Success Stories
Winning the Critical Mass book award has really changed my life. It has exposed my work to so many people, and over the past couple years I've been lucky enough to work with some of them.
David Bram of Fraction Magazine first saw my work as a juror, which then led to a feature on Fraction and that led to gallery representation with Jennifer Schwartz Gallery. Since then I have had my work featured in PDN, Flak Photo, and One One Thousand. I’ve shot assignments for The New York Times and Oxford American Magazine. Not only has my work been exposed to over 200 jurors in the photo world, but it is still being seen in a new and more final way through the publication of the monograph.
I can’t express in words how thrilling it has been to work on the monograph and share it with so many people in the photo community.
— Jeff Rich
My biggest “success story” was being invited by Lesley Meyer, a Critical Mass juror, to present my work at an IRIS Lecture, Annenberg Space for Photography in L.A., as part of the Digital Darkroom exhibit. The lecture in April went well and was great exposure. Also, Dan Cooney, another juror, invited me to put a piece of my work in his on-line auction for emerging artists. My collage sold and, again, it was great exposure.
I was overjoyed to be voted into the Top 50 for Critical Mass 2011. I thank you deeply for the opportunity and your beautifully-run organization.
— Nadine Boughton
My Critical Mass experience has been wonderful. Not only has it raised the profile of my work, it has opened doors. I was contacted by Light Work and encouraged to throw my hat in the ring for their AIR program. The director mentioned “Dealership Wreck” specifically from her CM judging experience.
— Kirk Crippens
A direct benefit of submitting work to Critical Mass was that my work was featured on Lenscratch. The indirect benefits have been significant: At FotoFest in Houston several of the reviewers I saw mentioned seeing my work before and simply noting that I was a finalist in Critical Mass (coupled with a strong portfolio) almost always meant that I had their full attention. Consequently I had a very productive time.
— Christopher Chadbourne
As a result of entering Critical Mass 2011, Hamidah Glasgow offered me a solo show at The Center for Fine Art Photography. I was offered a show by Gemma DeSantos in Houston, which will be on exhibit in June. Paula Tognarelli of The Griffin Museum of Photography saw my work again and offered me a solo show, which is up at this writing (May).
— Susan A. Barnett
In January 2011, my work was shown at the JK Gallery in Los Angeles. Javad Kheradmandan saw my work because he was one of the jurors for Critical Mass. The gallery is in Culver City — the art trendy section of LA — and it was great to have my work seen there.
— Mary Parisi
I've sold a couple of small prints as a result of the Critical Mass exhibition. And I’ve had lots of positive feedback from jurors and from photographers. It has certainly helped put my work on the map.
— Michael Marten
After submitting work to Critical Mass, and making the Top 50, my work was picked up by the Corden/Potts Gallery. Critical Mass is a great way to have your work seen by the movers and shakers of the photography industry.
— Jane Fulton Alt
On the day after my inclusion in the Critical Mass Top 50, I received an email from an art researcher at Random House Books, asking to use an image for a vintage international book cover. Now one of the photographs from my submitted series “By The Grace Of God” is the cover of William Faulkner’s “Requiem For A Nun”, and I can only hope that it’s on some teenager’s summer reading list this year. I was also featured in Oxford American Magazine’s “100 Under 100: New Superstars of Southern Art”. One of the people who nominated me had just reviewed my work through Critical Mass.
— Susan Worsham
After seeing Chris Capozziello’s work in Critical Mass 2011, I am happy that I will be working with him.
— Arlette Kayafas
Critical Mass is a great marketing tool for giving ongoing exposure to photographers. Sometimes there may be a fast “success story” that is a direct result of CM, as when Dana Salvo of Clark Gallery invited me to be in a group show after seeing my work in CM 2009. Or, when the editor of ‘Picnic Magazine’ out of Mexico City was introduced to my work through a CM juror, and they published a 5-page spread of my work.
Sometimes it may take more time: the editor of ‘The Picture Professional’ Magazine contacted me about featuring my work in their summer 2012 issue. The publisher, Jain Lemos, had seen my work in CM 2009 and had commented positively so I had kept in touch. Additionally, I have been juried into exhibitions where the juror was a CM juror, so perhaps this was an indirect result from participating in Critical Mass. And finally, there are a number of contacts that I have made over the years, and Critical Mass is a nice way for them to see my new work and keep my work in the forefront of their minds for possible new opportunities.
— Deborah Hamon
In judging critical mass this year I found a couple of projects that we highlighted in PDN. We wrote about Svjetlana Tepavcevic’s “Wave Portraits” and Corrine Vionnet’s “Photo Opportunities.” Both articles appeared in the February issue of the magazine.
— Cheers, Conor Risch, Senior Editor, PDN (Photo District News)
I have received some very good exposure from placing in the top 50. Direct results have included an article on my series Natural History in the British Journal of Photography, Lenscratch, and the Photo Eye blog spotlight after receiving the Photographer’s Showcase Award. Most recently, I was fortunate to be interviewed by Susan Burnstine for B&W magazine and have received the cover! This article, published August 2011, discusses my black and white work, not the series featured in Critical Mass but Susan contacted me as a direct result of seeing my work in CM.
— Traer Scott
Not ten minutes after your email arrived the other day, I got another from a photo editor at a well-known magazine. He’d been a juror for CM this year, and saw my work. One of my images will illustrate an upcoming story about “The American Dream.”
I hope it’s the start of other opportunities to come; this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t participated in Critical Mass 2010.
We’ll see where it goes.
— Best, Michael Sebastian
I want to give you a quick update on some of the results that have happened at HCP due to my participation in Critical Mass last year and Madeline Yale’s participation in the past. Madeline left me with all her notes from Critical Mass and some things are just now happening from her participation so, here is a long list!
Pelle Cass—upcoming solo exhibition at HCP Fall 2011 Natan Dvir—part of 5 person exhibit at HCP that opened in May 2011 “Teenagers: Portraits of Identity and Expression” Rania Matar— part of 5 person exhibit at HCP that opened in May 2011 “Teenagers: Portraits of Identity and Expression” Matt Eich—solo exhibition at HCP spring 2011 and HCP fellowship recipient Kendrick Brinson—solo exhibition May 2011 and HCP fellowship recipient Corinne Vionnet—Portfolio featured in spot magazine accompanied with text by Madeline Yale Edmund Clark—Portfolio featured in spot magazine Scott Dalton—exhibition at HCP spring 2011 and Carol Crow fellowship recipient Caleb Cole, Jane Fulton Alt, Laurie Lambrecht, Ellen Rennard, Justine Reyes, and Lynn Saville all participated in the 2011 HCP Auction Exhibition that had the highest audience count during that exhibition period in HCP’s history.
If you need any more details, please let me know. Critical Mass provides a huge service to Houston Center for Photography and an important source for spot content and exhibitions.
— All my best, Bevin Bering Dubrowski, Executive Director, Houston Center for Photography
My series “Bachelor Portraits” was selected by Melanie McWhorter to be featured on FiniteFoto in Dec. 2010 and was included on the Conscientious Photo Blog on Dec 28, 2010. Critical Mass has been a wonderful experience and a great way to get exposure for my project.
— Justyna Badach
I juried the exhibition “Photo Alchemy — An Exhibition of Alternative Process Photography” at 23 Sandy Gallery in April 2011, and included work by (Critical Mass participants) Jody Ake, Loli Kantor, and S. Gayle Stevens. The show was up during Photolucida’s Reviews event and Portland Photo Month, and got great exposure.
— Laura Moya, Photolucida
I have great news to share to you that my work “Photo Opportunities’ that I presented to Critical Mass in 2010 will be published by Kehrer Verlag.
I’m sure that Critical Mass has helped a lot to go ahead with the decision of this publication.
— Corrine Vionnet
Critical Mass 2010 provided a platform for my project “Foreclosure, USA” to be seen, which in turn helped some doors open more easily. Personally, it was a validation of the work and served to encourage me to pour energy into my follow up series, “The Dealership Wreck”. In the months following Critical Mass 2010, I’ve had numerous exhibitions, features, lectures and events with the “Foreclosure, USA” series (and already a few from it’s follow up “The Dealership Wreck”).
— Kirk Crippens
I gave up a position as judge to submit a new series of work in 2010. And since there is no better way to introduce photo-based work to such a large influential group of jurors, I paid my entry fee and submitted another new series to the 2011 contest.....
— Helen K. Garber
Just wanted to share with you a positive outcome from my involvement with Critical Mass. I was offered representation and a solo show with the Corden/Potts Gallery in San Francisco! They saw my work on CM and interestingly, they contacted me the day the top 50 list was announced. Today everything was finalized, so I am able to announce the news.
Although I am of course disappointed I did not make the Top 50 list, I am very happy to have been a finalist. I’m not sure this opportunity would have presented itself had it not been for CM.
— Isa Leshko
It’s hard when things are slow or without a big ta da to see how much impact there will be in the long run. I would say that at the reviews pretty much everyone commented on knowing my work from Critical Mass and that being a big component. I’m now represented with Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, am currently participating in a group show at the Jen Bekman Gallery, publishing with Fraction Magazine in July, and will be publishing in Orion Magazine later this summer.
— Rachel Barrett
Winning the Critical Mass book award had a huge impact on me, and really changed my life as a photographer.
— Joni Sternbach
Thought you might be interested in a success story coming out of Critical Mass. I’m sure that you folks put a HUGE amount of effort into this competition — time for some favorable feedback.
One of your jurors, Robert Morton, a former long-time picture-book editor and now agent, contacted me after seeing my work in the 2009 Critical Mass and going to my website for more. He contacted me, offering his services to get my work published in book form. I had already started on a book project and was happy to join forces with him.
This is just what one hopes for in entering these competitions and your stellar cast of jurors is perfect for getting one’s work seen by influential people in the field. Thanks for all your hard work.
— Best Regards, Martin Miller
Just as an aside, Priya Kambli was selected by George Slade, our juror for ND09, for last year’s show. She is also, as a result of Critical Mass last year, someone we are showing now at the gallery....
— All my best, Crista Dix
Just to let you know, I found 3 photographers in the Critical Mass portfolios who I have proposed representing for book publication.
— Best, Bob Morton
I’ll be featuring Ellen Rennard in my January 2010 column for Black and White Photography (UK) as a result of seeing her work in CM09. I will also feature another CM09 photographer in an upcoming Spring column....
— Cheers, Susan Burnstine, columnist, B & W Photography
By posting my (Critical Mass) selections in my blog, it lead to some print sales from readers. Also, Dan Cooney, who follows my blog, was able to see the pre-screening selections and has chosen several Critical Mass entries featured for the current i-gavel auction. Also, I was asked to curate an emerging photography show in October 2009 at Randall Scott Gallery (another juror) and I am using several current and previous Critical Mass entries and finalists.
— Best, Ruben Natal-San Miguel
Newspace has Catharine Stebbins in the gallery this month. I found her work in last year’s Critical Mass, offered her a show, and then got to meet her in person/see her prints at the spring Photolucida. Gorgeous stuff. A success story!
— Laura Valenti, Newspace Center for Photography
I have also the pleasure to announce the upcoming Food For Your Eyes Slideshow at F/Stop Festival in Leipzig, featuring among others, three photographers I’ve discovered thanks to Critical Mass: Will Steacy, Jorg Bruggemann, and Graham Miller.
— All my best from Paris, Nathalie Belayche, Independant curator
Last month I showed Cristina Seely, who I first saw this past Critical Mass. I’m currently showing Andy Freeberg, recent Critical Mass book award.
— Ann Pallesen, Gallery Director, Photographic Center Northwest
To date I have curated the following artists into exhibitions at O Born Contemporary: Jessica Roberts (USA), JeongMee Yoon (Korea), Vanina Feldsztein (USA). Wei Leng Tay (Hong Kong), Morten Nilsson (Denmark) and others will be exhibited in upcoming exhibitions. There is a group exhibition slated for early 2009 that I am co-curating with another CM juror (Rick Perez of the Stephen Cohen Gallery) which will be dedicated specifically to new works by those we feel have a great deal of promise.
The artists I have mentioned above all came to my attention through Critical Mass. It’s been a pleasure to make a difference to these emerging talents and I look forward to reviewing this year’s entrants!
— P. Elaine Sharpe, Director, O Born Contemporary
I am not exaggerating or being dramatic by saying that Critical Mass changed my life, for it is very true that you can make the best images in the world but they mean nothing if all they see is the inside of a box. Critical Mass has been just that for me, that tipping point that has made so much more possible, like some video game I have found the gold key and may now advance to the next level!
Because of Critical Mass, JD Talesek found me, and told American Photo about me via Brian Clamp and since then I have had magazines from all over Europe and the US including Outside, Focus Magazine, and Men’s Journal publish my work. I even got a call from Time magazine. I have made many print sales through my galleries. I will be speaking at PCNW on Feb 1st and my big shindig at the National Academy of Sciences will be on March 2nd. Not too shabby, huh?
— Camille Seaman
As a result of seeing Cara Barer’s work during the recent Critical Mass competition judging, which I thought was not only unique, but spectacular, I have added her work to my stable of artists whom I now represent. Thank you!!
— Susan Spiritus, Susan Spiritus Gallery
I have purchased two prints by photographers in Critical Mass: Alejandro Chakielsberg from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Finn O’Hara, from Toronto, Canada.
— Joaquim Paiva
I’m sure happy to be one of the Critical Mass Top 50! At Review Santa Fe, some people already knew my work from the juror’s CD and Ellen Boerner included me in a group show out of that CD. Thanks!
— Ferit Kuyas
I featured 41 artists from Critical Mass 2008 on Flak Photo — the feature has been viewed by more than 15,000 readers.
— Andy Adams, Flak Photo
As a result of seeing Frank Relle’s haunting images of nighttime New Orleans on Critical Mass, I proposed them for possible use on a book cover — and one was chosen! The book will be published by Random House in the Fall.
— Mary McClean, Vintage Books
We are currently talking to Rachel Herman in Chicago about a possible residency or exhibition. I’ve had her on our short list since reviewing her work for Critical Mass.
— Hannah Frieser, Light Work
Molly Landreth has a new exhibition here in Cedar Rapids as a result of my seeing her work in the Critical Mass process. Molly was just here for a week doing more shooting for her project.
— Terry Pitts, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
About 15 photographers from the Reviews and/or Critical Mass kindly donated prints to our Benefit Auction 2008 which meant that they had an image exhibited in the Silver Eye Main Gallery for a month, as well as printed in our catalogue and illustrated in our color website catalogue. Also, Beth Lehman is on our walls as I write this, having an exhibition in our New Works Gallery.
— Linda Benedict-Jones, Silver Eye Center for Photography
Directly in response to Critical Mass 2007, Arianna Rinaldo contacted me and licensed my photographs for a feature story in D Magazine, La Repubblica, Italy. Additionally, I met Mark Sink at Fotofest and he mentioned that he first saw my photographs on Critical Mass. Since then he has sold a number of my prints.
— Lucas Foglia
I’m in a show that opens in September at a commercial gallery in Toronto. One of the jurors from CM 2007 is the gallery director. She first left me a comment with CM and then contacted me directly.
— Vanina Feldsztein
I curated the exhibit “Resurrection — A New Look at Old Photographic Processes” at 23 Sandy Gallery in May, and invited photographers whose work I was familiar with from Critical Mass. Joni Sternbach, Alison Carey, Chip McDaniel, Jeannette Palsa, David Prifti, Rosanna Solonia, Ian van Coller, Matthew Yates, and Ryan Zohlin all had pieces in this gorgeous show!
— Laura Moya, Photolucida
I plan to use the work of Heather McClintock in an upcoming two person exhibition here at the Halsey Institute. I found her through Critical Mass, and I’m deeply appreciative.
— Mark Sloan
I finished my Critical Mass reviewing earlier this week (REALLY GOOD this year!), and I have already arranged to show the work of seven of those artists in Lens Culture.
— Jim Casper, Lens Culture
Winning the Critical Mass award has been an important turning point in my career. Having my work seen and then reviewed by numerous curators and consequently having a book published has been crucial to the development of my career. Critical Mass in combination with Photolucida has opened opportunities for me that I could never have imagined.
— Louie Palu
One, the German publication PhotoNews published a portfolio of my “Domesticated” series in its May 2007 issue, after Anna Gripp saw my work as a juror. And less concrete, but perhaps more ultimately helpful, when I participated in Photo España this year, many of the reviewers I met with had already seen my work through Critical Mass. Curators such as Alison Nordstrom of the George Eastman House, Beate Cegielska from the Danish Galleri Image and Tim Wride of the No Strings Foundation were already fans of my work before I even met them!
— Amy Stein
I would definitely recommend participation in Critical Mass. I had a number of people mention they saw my work on the CD but on top of that I was asked to participate in a group show during Photolucida’s Portfolio Reviews. An LA gallery who saw the CD signed me up to do a solo show later in the year. The exposure was much more than I expected.
— Tom Chambers
I have worked with a few of the Critical Mass photographers before seeing their work as part of Critical Mass. I have since bookmarked a bunch of the artists while jurying, and hope an appropriate reason comes up to work with them as well.
— Paul Buckley, VP Executive Art Director, Penguin Books
I am doing a solo show for Karen Glaser after seeing her work as part of Critical Mass — it is opening this fall.
— Nelson Hancock, Nelson Hancock Gallery
My “Television Portraits” continue to receive a positive response. Currently, one of the images from the series has been accepted into the 13th Juried Exhibition by juror Brian Clamp of Clampart in NYC as part of an exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography.
— Susan Lakin
The Kresge Art Museum purchased one of Camille Seaman’s large prints for it’s collection. Two additional prints were purchased for personal collections. Also because of Critical Mass, I have been in touch with Donald Weber about his current Guggenheim project.
After finishing the Critical Mass review this year, my museum will start the acquisition process for one of Tom Alleman’s photographs.
— Howard Bossen, Kresge Art Museum
I saw Gloria Baker Feinstein’s work as part of Critical Mass and have scheduled an exhibition of Gloria’s work in March/April 2009. Gloria will exhibit international photography with an emphasis on water and people.
— Maya Jones, Curator, White Sturgeon Art Gallery
I reviewed Dorthe Alstrup and Lori Nix, whose work I saw through Critical Mass on The First Post website. They were very popular with our readers.
— Elaine Hake, Writer, The First Post
I would encourage photographers of all ages to participate in Critical Mass — it’s an amazing opportunity. Imagine how much time and money you’d have to spend schlepping your portfolio around or sending off CD’s to get 200 different curators, publishers, and gallery people to look at your work. Here, you send a few jpegs and you and the jurors are spared the awkwardness of the face-to-face response. Even if you’ve already had a book published, the rewards of having so many distinguished people in the field look at your work are incalculable. If there’s no immediate response, you may still get contacted about shows or other opportunities down the road — people do seem to make note of work they like for future use.
— Sage Sohier
As a Critical Mass reviewer, I saw the work of Eric Hansen and Tom Chambers, and we were able to offer them exhibitions at our gallery in LA.
— Sugar Brown, Director, George Billis Gallery, LA
I would certainly recommend participation in Critical Mass to any photographer if only because the exposure is so great. And I believe exposure is cumulative — the more it’s out there, the better your chances of connecting.
— Suzanne Opton
I was truly honored to be one of the book award winners in the Critical Mass contest. But even without an award, the contest itself (that allowed gallery owners, curators, publishers and editors from around the world to become familiar with my work) was invaluable. I come into contact all the time now with people in the business that say “Oh yes, I know your work. I was one of the reviewers for Critical Mass”.
— Julie Blackmon
There is no doubt Critical Mass helped me garner a show at the Sol Mednick Gallery for Photography in Philadelphia. I met Harris Fogel and when I showed him my work he immediately recognized it from the Critical Mass CD. Because he had already seen the work on the CD, it made it easier for me to connect with him when I met him in person. Definitely worth it!
— Dave Jordano
After viewing work for Critical Mass, I included one of the artists, Fiona Aboud, to be included in a show titled “Erotic Beauty”.
— Marita Holdaway, Director, Benham Gallery
Critical Mass was great. I was happy to have been selected as one of the finalists. One of the most valuable parts of the experience has been the CD of other photographer’s work. It has introduced me to a lot of work I would not have found otherwise, and reminded me of photographers I had not thought about in awhile. I like to think that works both ways.
— Todd Deutsch