Critical Mass Top 50 exhibition, Houston Center for Photography

Success Stories

I can’t tell you how big of a fan I am of your Critical Mass competition. I entered a couple of times and even if I didn’t make it to the Top 50, the feedback and the exposure was great. People (read: reviewers, potential publishers, and gallerists) often know my work from the 200 reviewers round. I experienced many times in a review (like in Paris) they would say “Yes, I know your work from Critical Mass.” The reviewer’s feedback in your email after the competition is so wonderful. Only for that feedback it’s worthwhile for entering! So supportive!

 After my last entry, I made it to the Top 50. What a party! I got a publication on Slate and Il Post out of this. I couldn’t believe I was invited for Photofestiwal Lodz as well. That was such a great award! I enjoyed myself big time and felt very welcome! And I got to meet other Top 50 photographers! It was great to see Alison Nordstrom’s show with the Top 50 on the wall and do the portfolio reviews, all for free. Thank you, thank you for this invitation! Keep up this great work with Photolucida and Critical Mass! You’re one of the best in the world!

—Vivian Keulards

I just wanted to tell you that the work of Critical Mass entrants Carol Erb, Nicole Campanello, Robert Moran, Tod Bradley and Zhou HanShun will be published in Square Magazine October issue on October 15th!

—Christophe Dillinger

To everyone with a photographic series they are passionate about, don’t miss your opportunity to enter Critical Mass! While jurying Critical Mass, David Rosenberg (Editor, Behold Photo Blog at Slate Magazine) was exposed to my series “Lost.”  Mr. Rosenberg published an article about the series on Slate and within four weeks my series went viral – being published in over 50 countries on 6 continents! In addition, four of my “Lost” series images will be showcased at the Center for Fine Art Photography’s Center Forward exhibit and I have an established artist feature in the upcoming Musee Magazine Issue No.15. Personally, I wholeheartedly thank Photolucida for supporting and promoting my work as a Critical Mass finalist; the emails I have received from across the globe in response to “Lost” are profoundly rewarding. Professionally, I thank Photolucida for providing a platform that allows artists to showcase their work to the most influential jurors in today’s fine art industry.

—Dianne Yudelson

What a wonderful opportunity for photographers across the globe to be able to participate in Photolucida’s annual Critical Mass! I was thrilled to be chosen as one of the Top 50 and then the proud winner of the appointment to the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, FL. I took up residence from September 23rd – October 24, 2015. The only words to describe my experience at the residency are “life changing.” It’s impossible to find extended uninterrupted time in everyday life to work on one’s art, but here there are no distractions other than the gorgeous location, beautiful weather, fascinating artists, and a staff whose motto is “How do we get to yes?”! The time allowed me to find a new artistic voice and practice that will be with me always. I was able to work on three projects – one ongoing, one inspired by the flora and fauna of the island, and a video piece. Because of this generous gift of time and luxurious help from a knowledgeable staff, I’m going to have an installation next year at a contemporary art museum. Nothing is more important than getting your work in front of the right people, and Critical Mass has all the right people. Thank you Photolucida and Critical Mass for the important connections you provide to dedicated photographers everywhere!

—Tamara Staples

I received the email alerting me of the call for the next Critical Mass, and it occurred to me that I should write to you and thank you for the opportunities you have provided me, and others, over the years. Truly
though, this is a thank you meant for you and the team you so successfully put together year after year. I owe all of you a debt of gratitude. So many opportunities have come my way recently – proof positive that
participation and engagement in the events you put forth have a very deep and lasting impact on the lives of not just me, but everyone that I now encounter on the road to seeking out beautiful, thought-provoking, and heartfelt images. Once again, thank you for all you do.

—Michael Kirchoff

Jurying Critical Mass has led to these stories: next week I am featuring Amy Friend and her ‘Dare Alla Luce’ series on the New Republic’s Instagram account – it was great to receive her book! Last month I did an interview with Kimberly Witham on her ‘Wunderkammer’ series that also was featured in our Instagram feed. I also saw Jamey Stilling’s new work in Critical Mass, and published his images from his ‘Ivanpah Solar’ series at the New Republic.

—Stephanie Heimann

Multiple publishers have approached me about doing a book, and the feedback from Critical Mass jurors helped me tailor my edit for contests and a book dummy. Thank you!

—Theo Stroomer

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say an enormous thank you for the amazing opportunity afforded by Photolucida and the Critical Mass solo exhibition award. The exhibition has been a great experience for me and all the feedback and enthusiasm I received from yourselves, the gallery staff, the exhibition committee, and all the people who came to the reception and the talk has been a real confidence builder and truly inspiring. I feel very honored to have been part of Blue Sky’s program. Also, in March 2016, Beta magazine Issue #19  included a 24-page spread of my work alongside the work of five other Critical Mass Top 50 photographers, which coincided perfectly with the exhibition at Blue Sky. At the moment I have other opportunities in the pipeline thanks to Critical Mass. I am meeting with Regina Anzenberger in the summer as she is very interested in seeing prints of the work, and I am in an ongoing conversation with Princeton Architectural Press about the possibility of doing a book.  And – I am looking forward to visiting Fotofestiwal Lodz this summer as part of the Critical Mass Top 50 exhibition and programming!

—Amanda Harman

Because of entering Critical Mass I received a gallery show at Blue Sky Gallery this December. Just a couple of years ago I would have never dreamed of this opportunity – so thanks, Critical Mass!

—Calvin Chen

It is hard to describe the impact Photolucida’s Critical Mass has had on my life. I need to start with the people behind the scenes – both the staff and board of Photolucida. Their generous spirits and enthusiastic support come through in every part of the process. This program is so much more about connecting than about winning.  As for me, just having so many respected members of the global photo industry see my work is worth any price. I have not yet been selected for the Top 50 but have been fortunate to be among the Finalists twice. Submitting in 2015 led to my being invited by Christophe Dillinger to have my iPhone project “Tea For Two” included in his January 2016 issue of Square Magazine. The most significant impact Critical Mass has had on my life is still in the future: In 2017, I will be spending 5-6 weeks on Captiva Island, Florida as a participant in the Rauschenberg Residency. Receiving this award for Critical Mass 2015 is the most unexpected and life-changing event of my 73 years on the planet!

—Patricia Lay-Dorsey

This spring I had my first solo show after being in the Top 200 in Critical Mass last year. Gallerists Michael & Chelsea Granger from LightBox Photographic Gallery reached out to me at the end of last year about having a show. Although I had submitted to a group show in years past, having a cohesive portfolio in Critical Mass, and the exposure that it created, was what led to that opportunity.

—Jen Kiaba

After entering my work in Critical Mass 2015, I was invited by Harris Fogel to exhibit my series “Arts Redacted Topographies” at Gallery 1401 at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The exhibit was up from January – February of 2016. It was an incredible opportunity, for which I am most grateful both to Harris and to Critical Mass!

—Nicolò Sertorio

We just launched the new issue of Photographer’s Quarterly and it features two artists I found in Critical Mass – Cheryl Medow and Laura Husar Garcia.

—Jonathan Blaustein, Photographer's Quarterly

As a result of jurying Critical Mass 2015, I was happy to include the portfolios of  Amanda Harman, Ben Altman, Christopher Payne, Craig Becker, and Ransom and Mitchell in the BETA developments in photography, Issue 19, as part of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale’s programming. You can check out this issue, along with all the previous 18 editions of BETA, including #12 which features artists from Critical Mass 2014 at https://issuu.com/ballarat_foto_biennale

—Jeff Moorfoot, Founder and former Creative Director Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Editor BETA

Critical Mass is by far one of the most important photography opportunities out there for emerging photographers. I will always be thankful for their support and I encourage everyone interested in putting your work in front of photo-industry leaders to apply!

—Alejandro Cartagena

Just a quick thank you. I got published in the New Yorker on Monday, that led to a forthcoming publication in The Financial Times this weekend. This is a direct result of photo editor Siobhan Bohnacker reviewing my work for Critical Mass and commenting on the images. Photolucida/Critical Mass (and both of you) have done so much for so many careers! I really appreciate it.

—David Pace

I served as a juror and pre-screener for Critical Mass 2015. From the pre-screening pool of applicants, I selected Daniel Grant and Francine Fleischer to publish in Don’t Take Pictures Issue 6 (released March, 2015). From 2014 pre-screening, I selected Robert Shults to publish in Issue 5 (released September, 2015) and Maxine Helfman to publish in Issue 4 (she was also the cover). Numerous other applicants have been featured on Photo of the Day on Don’t Take Pictures online. For anyone questioning whether they should submit their work or not, keep in mind that three of the four photographers I have published never made it to the top 200!

—Kat Kiernan, Don't Take Pictures

After being chosen for the Critical Mass Top 50, my work was featured in The Guardian and in Esquire Russia. A story in National Geographic’s Proof blog is also in the works along with a show at the Center for Fine Art Photography.

—Elliot Ross

As part of Denver’s Month of Photography’s 2015 programming, I was happy to include the work of CM14 participants Patty Carol and Amanda Barker in the Redline exhibit ‘Playing With Beauty’.  Also included from CM15 is Thomas Alleman.  MoP Denver is a biennale, so in 2017 we look forward to including many more from CM15. Critical Mass is a super great talent resource I have been drawing on from its start!

—Mark Sink, Denver's Month of Photography

I saw Bill Yates’ “Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink” series (photographed in 1973) for the first time when  was a juror for Critical Mass 2013.  I am happy to say I offered Bill Yates a solo exhibition at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans – it opens on October 3, 2015 and runs through January 17, 2016.

—Richard McCabe, Curator of Photography, Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Blue Sky has found many photographers over the years for exhibition in Blue Sky Gallery through Critical Mass programming. Here are some recent artists: Tamas Dezso (2013), Patricia Galagan (2014), Jaime Travezon (2014), Francine Fleisher (2014), Cheryle St. Onge (2015), Scott Dalton (2015), Romain Blanquart (2015), Birte Kauffman (2015), and Amanda Harman (2016).

—Christoher Rauschenberg, Blue Sky Gallery

I feel like I should become a poster child for both Critical Mass and Photolucida as so many fabulous things have come from my participation in them both. The experience has been crazy great.

—Cheryle St. Onge

I am delighted to be working with Jeanine Michna-Bales after having the pleasure of reviewing her work [in Critical Mass] last year. I am grateful for Photolucida facilitating the introduction and look forward to her solo show here at the gallery February 2017!

—Arnika Dawkins, Arnika Dawkins Gallery

There have been many opportunities that came about as a result of my exposure on Critical Mass. My work will be included in an upcoming exhibition at Castell Photography Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina and is currently in the juried/invitational “Unbound” exhibition at Candela Books & Gallery in Richmond, VA. My work has been featured on several sites including feature shoot, Lenscratch, Huff Arts and My Modern Met to name a few, which has resulted in some work publications! I have a few other opportunities “coming up” as well and will keep you posted.

—Amy Friend

Winning the Critical Mass Book Award has been the most important turning point in my photography life. It was thrilling to work on the book and I got great support from Photolucida to realize it according to my ideas. After publication the book has been sent to nearly 1000 professionals, among these 200 curators from all around the world, most of whom I would never have been able to meet. The response was immediate: Wally Mason from Haggerty Museum offered me a solo show on the same day he got the book from Photolucida. Thanks to the book I had a solo exhibition in the West Coast Museum of Art in Germany earlier this year and took part in several group shows. Suddenly doors have opened for me; several galleries in Europe have offered me representation, the work got published in a French magazine and I got a chance to share my vision with a wider audience by giving interviews and presentations on the book. Besides that, I got really inspiring messages from people who got the book from Photolucida, telling me of their appreciation for the work. It’s hard to believe that all these have happened in less than one year. Taking part in Critical Mass has opened opportunities for me that I could never have imagined.

—Mila Teshaieva

I am incredibly grateful for all the attention my work has received as a result of Critical Mass. My participation resulted in my work being featured on Slate.com and Petapixel.com, and in upcoming one person shows at photo-eye Gallery in Santa Fe and Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles.

—Richard Tuschman

My upcoming exhibition at RayKo Photo Center came about through Photolucida and Critical Mass. I reviewed with Ann Jastrab (RayKo Gallery Director) in 2013 at Photolucida, and she contacted me after seeing the work again in the Critical Mass submissions that year, inviting me to be a featured artist during their 2015 Plastic Camera show. So, thank you! Another portfolio review/Critical Mass success story.

—Jennifer Shaw

As a gallery director and curator it was amazing to judge Critical Mass and see so much good work. I ended up giving two, one-month solo exhibitions to different artists I first found through Critical Mass.  A benefit to my gallery,  Documentary Arts Asia, and a benefit to them. I also invited a few promising photographers to apply for our no-cost Artist in Residence program. I’m already looking forward to seeing this year’s work.

—Ryan Libre, juror

I was fortunate to discover a few artists via Critical Mass, people whose work I thought would fit well in square magazine. I contacted them and I was doubly fortunate to see them accept to publish their work with us!  Anne Berry, Jim Kazanjian, Clay Lipsky and Brandon Thibodeaux, all were featured in our pages. Clay Lipsky is now also part of a touring exhibition that started in Birmingham, UK, in April and that will land in Rennes, France, in May, before ending up in Oxford, UK in August. I think Photolucida is a trove of new talents, people who are approachable, friendly and keen to show their stuff. And of course, it is also thanks to them that the magazine is flourishing.

—Christophe Dillinger, juror

I have made a new short list of recent discoveries from Critical Mass..there are dozens…Craig J. Barber, Steven Benson, f & d cartier, David Maisel, Jonathan Moller, A. Leo Nash, Morten Nilsson, Lori Nix, Abby Robinson and Maggie Taylor. I have since shown Lori Nix and others as recently as last year at RedLine and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

—Mark Sink, juror

I am happy to let you know that the work of five photographers from Photolucida’s Critical Mass were accepted for exhibition by the committee of the 2015 Shanghai International Photo Festival. The photographers that will be included are: J. Scriba, Jim Kazanjian, Debora Schwedhelm, Heidi Kirkpatrick, and Fritz Liedtke.

—Yan Li, juror

I was thrilled and honored to learn that I had been offered a show at Blue Sky Gallery. This was a result of Critical Mass.

—Francine Fleischer

I was honored that Hamidah Glasgow at The Center for Fine Art Photography selected my body of work “The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar” for one of the three Critical Mass 2013 Solo Show awards. Another direct result of Critical Mass was my inclusion in the Top 50 Traveling Exhibition, which was at the Corden|Potts Gallery in San Francisco in March 2014 and is at the Houston Center for Photography during May 2014.  Previously, my work was included in the 2012 Top 50 Traveling Exhibition, and exhibited in both the Jennifer Schwartz Gallery and the Southeast Museum of Photography.  It’s been great exposure!

—Jamey Stillings

I first saw Yaakov Israel’s work through Critical Mass, where he was in the Top 50.  Then, I had the opportunity to visit him in Jerusalem last fall.  His work, The Quest for the Man on the White Donkey is now hanging on the walls of my gallery (Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art), and he is on his way here on September 9th for a lecture.  This is the first time his work has been shown in the US.  We have organized a national traveling show for him. 

—Mark Sloan, juror

I am pleased to report that in June we will be opening a solo show of work by Richard Tushman (from Critical Mass) — and that the exhibit will be the first in our new gallery space!!

—Anne Kelly, juror

I was honored to be selected to the Critical Mass 2013 Top 50. My work was featured on Lens Culture, Lenscratch, Wired, Featureshoot, and more.  My work will be known all over the world. And, the sales of my photography book increased in USA.

—Tsutomu Yamagata

I am happy to let you know that we will be exhibiting Mila Teshaieva’s “Promising Waters” body of work here at the Haggerty Museum of Art in January, 2015. We will be showing the 47 prints that are included in her monograph, and we are excited that she may come over from Berlin to present a lecture.  Also, we acquired eight prints from Aaron Blum for the Haggerty Museum’s permanent collection after seeing his work in Critical Mass.

—Wally Mason, juror

I am very happy to tell you that I will present [Critical Mass participants] Jonah Calinawan and Wendy Sacks’ work at the 2014 Shenzhen Photo Week here in China, which will be a high end museum show. And, I will be working with the See+ gallery in the 798 Gallery District in Beijing, to show this work after the Photo Week.

—Yan Li, juror

As a result of people seeing my work as a Critical Mass Finalist, I was featured on Lenscratch, and had an article in Wired online. The Wired article then led to a piece that recently appeared in The Independent in London.

—Kirsten Hoving

In addition to awarding Patricia Galagan the Critical Mass award exhibition (in April 2014), Blue Sky Gallery is offering solo shows to five other photographers discovered from this year’s Critical Mass.

—Chris Rauschenberg, juror

I saw Kendall McMinimy’s series, Cropping to Circles, in last year’s Critical Mass. I invited him to include a piece in our current exhibition at Photo Center Northwest.

—Ann Pallesen, juror

Gregory Jones, after seeing my project during the jurying process,  published this interview on PetaPixel: Primate Portraits: an Interview with Anne Berry about Behind the Glass.

—Anne Berry

I have so much excellent new work on the radar that I might not have seen without Critical Mass. We were able to do a solo show this year here at Pictura with Brandon Thibodeaux, and I have several people in mind for group shows.  Thanks for assembling some of the best new portfolios.

—Lisa Berry, juror

I have featured (or will be featuring) these artists on Plates-to-Pixels in 2013-2014 after being exposed to their work in the 2013 Critical Mass submissions: Jonah Calinawan, Diane Pierce, Ernie Button, Tara Sellios, and Alison Turner.

—Blue Mitchell, juror

As a result of Critical Mass, I featured Alison Turner in the Christmas issue of my column in Black & White Photography Magazine (UK). And, I featured the work of Christine Osinski in the March issue of my column.

—Susan Burnstine, juror

Our next show in the main gallery at RayKo is a Photolucida find: Jenny Riffle and her Scavenger series. Fantastic work. In October of 2013, we gave Nancy Newberry a solo show. I’m also giving Lindsay Morris a solo show in June 2015 (to coincide with Pride here in SF) of her “You are You” series. A truly moving journey and great pictures. Also, Rubi Lebovitch is having a solo show at RayKo with his “Home Sweet Home” series in January 2015. We also just showed Heidi Kirkpatrick’s “Lost and Found” and sold a number of them, too.

—Ann Jastrab, juror

I discovered Zachary Burns. We represent his work in our gallery and agency now. We have sold the work to a high quality magazine in Germany and also to a weekly in China. We have sold six of his prints in the gallery and we will exhibit it during a show called HANDMADE II in September and October 2014.

—Regina Anzenberger, juror

From work I saw and commented upon while judging Critical Mass, ClampArt now carries Bob Avakian’s beautiful prints.

—Brian Clamp, juror

I included two photographers – Victoria Crayhon and Andrew Fillmore (whose work I learned about through the 2013 Critical Mass jurying) in an exhibition that was part of Boston’s 2013 Flash Forward Festival.

—Michelle Lamuniere, juror

Critical Mass 2012 was really great for me. Recognition as one of the Top 50 and hearing the encouraging feedback from those who wrote notes was really useful. Most of all, I ended up getting a solo and representation from Carte Blanche in San Francisco. Gwen Lafage, who was one of the jurors, contacted me from seeing my work in Critical Mass 2012.

—Donna J. Wan

I am delighted with the exposure Critical Mass has given me. As you know my work will be part of a group exhibition at the Jennifer Schwartz Gallery and the Southeast Museum of Photography. It has also been featured in Wall Space Gallery/Flat File, FoCo, and I was invited to join Galleray all directly related to Critical Mass. In addition I have had a solo show “Area Conurbada” at the Museo Archivo de la Fotografia, signed with Mexico’s only gallery specializing in photography: Patricia Conde Gallery who showed my work at both the Zona MACO and Paris Photo LA art fairs. I won Mexico’s prestigious National Endowment for the Arts grant (SNCA/FONCA) and will be showing my new project “moving portraits” later this year at Mexico’s National Museum and then in Madrid. I am sure Critical Mass had something to do with all of these exciting events if not directly, certainly indirectly.

—Adam Wiseman

To participate in Critical Mass has been a great experience. After being awarded one of the Top 50 in 2012, I was contacted by different jurors, which has led to a feature of my work on NPR’s Picture Show and Wired’s Raw File. Also I have started working with Anzenberger Agency, which has resulted into a feature in Zeit Wissen magazine. Overall it was great exposure for my work. Thank you!

—Freya Najade

Being in the Top 50 is an incredible honor and thrill for me. I am preparing for a show which was a direct result of being a Finalist last year when Hamidah Glasgow of Center for Fine Art Photography offered me the solo show in her comments. It has been a year in the making and opens March 1. I will keep you updated as so many good things are happening. I remember meeting you [Laura Moya] for the first time in Atlanta and you told me to “keep at it.” Words of wisdom I have followed. I said at the time “Photolucida was the gold standard” and I continue to hold that opinion. Thank you for Photolucida and all you have done for me and our community. It is very much appreciated.

—Susan Barnett

Through the Critical Mass jurying process, I lost count of how many unique and exciting portfolios I discovered for the first time. I’ve already begun the process of contacting artists, not only to feature on In the In-Between, but for interviews and features for several other publications as well. When all is said and done, I think I’m going to end up publishing work from 10-15 artists I discovered through the contest. Congratulations to the Top 50, and kudos to the many, many photographers who didn’t quite make the cut but who are still deserving of higher recognition. It was such a privilege to see so much quality work.

—Gregory Eddi Jones, juror

Critical Mass was a fantastic way to be introduced to photographers I hadn’t already known and work I hadn’t previously seen. Preston Gannaway’s “Teddy Ebony” series floored me. In addition to the subject, I found Preston’s particular visual approach highly unique for this type of story. I was captivated. And, as a picture researcher and contributor to Slate’s photo blog, Behold, I am constantly on the lookout for great work. I knew Preston’s work, and this series in particular was a natural fit for Slate. And, as difficult as it is, and increasingly so, to keep up with the constant stream of good work, the first time I’d seen Preston’s work was through Critical Mass. I am so grateful I did.

—Alyssa Coppelman, juror

I was fortunate enough to have been selected among the Top 50 in 2012. The benefits are many and well worth the investment. I received several direct contacts from gallerists and curators interested in exhibiting my work and, in two cases, offering me representation. More, I’ve been amazed by how many high-placed gatekeepers I meet who are familiar with my work. Introductions are much more fruitful when I am talking with someone who has spent time with my images as a CM judge. More, the honor is one that’s widely respected in the photo community. Whether deserved or not, Top 50 Finalist status is phenomenal validation. While winning a competition with one juror can be written off as a potential fluke, it’s difficult to dismiss the word of more than 200 industry professionals. Doors have opened for me; my work has been given more serious consideration; and countless colleagues have reached out to offer congratulations and support. In addition to fantastic web coverage, this year, finalists’ work will be shown in three high profile non-profit gallery spaces. It should not be overlooked that Photolucida has a well-deserved reputation for fairness and integrity. More importantly, Laura Moya and Laura Valenti Jelen are earnestly invested in advancing the careers of emerging artists. In all my interactions with them, they’ve been responsive, professional, and just plain kind. (That fact is pretty heartening in an industry that can at times seem competitive and even heartless.) I don’t disagree that the cost is substantial, but it is so substantially outweighed by the benefits, it’s difficult for me not to view the decision as a no-brainer.

—Noah David Bau

Having been in the Top 50 in 2009, I still find people reaching out to me because of my work being archived on Photolucida’s website. Several times I have made the second round but not the Top 50, and I don’t regret paying the money. When I enter I’m advertising my work for 200 influential viewers to see. It’s part of the cost of running a business.

—Alexis Pike

I have to tell you how I am using the Critical Mass 2012 CD with all the entrants’ submissions on it. I am going through and looking at each one of the entries, reading each artist statement and looking at the ten images. Yes, it will take me a long time but this is the most amazing way to get a sense of where contemporary photography is today. Even if nothing else were to come of my having submitted work to Critical Mass, this CD would be well worth the entry fee! Thank you.

—Patricia Lay-Dorsey

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

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.

—Conor Risch, juror

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.

—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.

—Bevin Bering Dubrowski, juror

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, juror

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

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

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.

—Martin Miller

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.

—Crista Dix, juror

Just to let you know, I found 3 photographers in the Critical Mass portfolios who I have proposed representing for book publication.

—Bob Morton, juror

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.

—Susan Burnstine, juror

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.

—Ruben Natal-San Miguel, juror

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.

—Nathalie Belayche, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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, juror

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

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