Critical Mass 2017 Pre-screening – what is important to photographers today?

A big heartfelt thanks to the diligent pre-screeners for completing their jurying – Critical Mass 2017 finalists will be announced shortly!
In the meantime, feel free to peruse a loose recording of image content, methodologies, and artistic influences that I jotted down during my own pre-screening experience. This is not an all-inclusive list, and no topic has more weight than any other. The point of this is to simply give a broad look at what photographers find compelling enough to create work about.
What matters to photographic artists today? What new angles are being explored by using this medium? What familiar topics are being looked at in the same way? Differently? Are people embracing technological advances? Embracing historical processes in new ways? How are our current events and societal shifts being documented?
Geographical Places: Zion National Park, Provincetown, American West, Venice, Italy, Yosemite, Bombay Flats, Swiss Alps, Gulf Coast of Florida, Cairo, Berlin, Cuba, New York City, Hungary, Tibet, Japan, Mediterranean Sea, Mexico, Athens, Central Asia, Crimea, Chicago, Salton Sea, the South, Detroit, Saudi Arabia, Louisiana coast, Burkina Faso, Northern New Mexico, Greenland, United Arab Emirates, India, Swaziland, Sichuan province, Vietnam, Miami, Silicon Valley, Great Salt Lake, Hudson, NY, Iceland, Gowanus, The Castro, Key West, Northern Iraq, Cypress, Great Rift Valley, Russia’s Lake Baikal, Rural Italy, Disappearing West, Coney Island boardwalk, Ellis Island
Specific Topics: grand libraries, roadside shrines, death, the idea of ‘Home’, mental illness in family, pilgrimage in South of France, intimacy, suburbia, climate change, political corruption, sex, underwater Zen, chaos of nature, climate change, fatherhood, second marriages, protest marches, forced immigration, renewable energy, housework, breast cancer, brain tumor, flotsam, childhood, fake flowers, real flowers seascapes, used bookstores, estate sales, fruit & vegetable skin, homosexuality, chaos theory, zen, pigs, mountain ranges, trees, teenage years, cross-culture life, sleeping children, disguised cell towers, Goodwill, diaries, Hurricane Katrina, guns, privacy, death of family member, Greek mythologies, industrial sites, cultural artifacts, terminal illness, mother-daughter relationships, goldfish, female archetypes, tribal casinos, capitalism, bowhead whaling, slide collections, children growing up, animal sanctuaries, religious fundamentalism, Greek muses, military cemeteries, slavery, Minamata disease, forest fires, burn areas, the American Dream, moon cycles, the weather, insects, parrots, nudes, water lilies, rodeos, Quaker meetinghouses, KGB prison, infertility, houses at night, photography paper packets, the Holocaust, wild horse sanctuaries, prescription drugs, planets, architecture, whisky, corporate environments.

Creative Influences/Inspirations: Abstract Expressionism, W. Heath Robinson, Rebecca Solnit, Edward Weston, Minor White, Alfred Steiglitz, Diane Arbus, Helmut Newton, Lee Friedlander, Ralph Gibson, Man Ray,
Robert Adams, Fred Sommer, Lee Miller, Atget, Hudson River Luminists, Wabi Sabi, Emmet Gowin, Hieronymus Bosch, W. Eugene Smith, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Paul Graham, Georges Seurat, Phillipe Halsman, Walt Whitman, George Tice, Aaron Siskind, Todd Hido, Arthur Rothstein, Alberto Giacometti, George Tice, Peter Lindbergh, abstract expressionists, William Faulkner, Mark Twain, Susan Sontag, Virginia Woolf.

Psychological/Emotional States: loss of love,
past vs. present, solitude, dementia, loneliness, insomnia, guilt, identity, dreams, ideas of ‘self’, void left by absent parent, noisy brain, depression, clown personas, queer identity, disenfranchisement, fugue, vulnerability, addiction, self-harm, racism, separation anxiety, stroke recovery, paranoid schizophrenia, postpartum depression, fragmented sense of self, interplay between facets of nature and urban life, effect of divorce on children, memory slipping, grief, tension between presence and absence. 
Socio-Specific Groups: Irish Travellers, skateboarders, heavy metal community, rural rodeos, Picasso’s ex’s, farming communities, protesters, Yup’iik Eskimos, baby boomers, disaster-preparedness community, strippers, blondes, gun culture, church congregations, Romani, refugees, teenagers, American Legions, Nazi WWII reenactment community, Hell’s Angels, geishas, yoga community.

Cameras Used: 8 x 10, 4 x 5, 35mm, Holgas, Lomos, large-format Polaroids, digital, pinhole, IPhone.

Print Mediums:  collodion, platinum on vellum, pigment prints on aluminum, photogravures, cyanotypes, salt prints made with blood, developer on plexi-glass, ziatypes, photograms/lumens, tintypes, digital collage, manipulated vintage images, infrared film, salt prints.

General price range of prints: $100 to $6,000.



Thanks to all who have put forth their projects and artistic visions out into the world via Critical Mass 2017!