With tomorrow's Hey, Hot Shot! entry deadline on the horizon, it seems apropos to have a grand summary of just a few of the entrants - think of this is as the big loud long burst of fireworks at the end of the display.
Swainson's Thrush, 2007, by Todd Forsgren
I love this bird, from a series called Bird Banding Project by Todd Forsgren. The bird is tangled, delicate, pitiful, with that one big eye. I thought at first that he was stuffed, dead, and displayed in this net the way captured butterflies are tacked to a board, until I read this:
Ornithologists now use mist nets instead of shotguns for data that cannot be obtained with the help of binoculars, microphones, or telephoto lenses. These nearly invisible nets are set up like fences and function as huge spider webs, catching unsuspecting birds. The researcher carefully extracts the bird from the net. Each bird is measured, aged, sexed, and banded with an individually numbered anklet...Then the bird is released, unharmed.
That being said, I can almost feel that little guy trembling as if I were holding him in my fist. Mr. Forsgren explains in his work statement that these images showcase a "fragile and embarrassing moment" for the birds - and I think this hits very close to that mark.
into the cave, by Tim Gerdes
In this snapshot of wholly different fauna there is palpable power and motion in the primate vaulting himself into a cave, like it's a still from a clip of the whole action (for the sake of continuity, one could say that this is the escape after the capture depicted in the previous image - why not). It could be Godzilla, with the head and shoulders already having disintegrated into the ominous shadow of that hole. But, I think I'll let Mr. Gerdes speak for himself:
I've been long enamored with the films of Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Wellesâ€"among countless others. The cinematography of Gordon Willisâ€"particularly on "The Godfather" and "Manhattan"â€"was my first realization in the artistic importance of lens-work.
Church, 2007, by Bryan Keefer
I've worked to channel this inspiration at "Traumnovelle," to present images with a cinematic flavor, and that tell a storyâ€"or rather where each images tells the single frame of a much larger story.
Leaving the animal world and entering the world of the hyper-human, Bryan Keefer portrays the interior of this church with an overwhelming sense of lack of presence, that there should be someone at the lectern and people in the space, but it is conspicuously empty. With the brilliant, raw light streaming in from the window and the chandelier above unlit, it seems even more like people haven't breathed in this room for years. There is a feeling of rustic modernity about the structure as well, but the feeling of abandonment is undeniable.
Self Series #8, by Gabriela Herman
Here, human is entirely present in the image, although in a collaged and somewhat awkward way. What is interesting about this photo by Gabriella Herman is that the body doesn't look like it actually exists in that place even though it fills it so totally. The shadow on the floor is the only quality of the body that moors it to its surroundings. The legs and bizarre bend of the upper body, which seems to angle deeper into the floor than is logistically possible, make it look like a twisted marionette that has been lowered in. Even though the body is still it exists in a strange state of flux, with the torso moving against the hips and the legs going in their own way altogether; indeed Ms. Herman herself says it has always been her habit to "incorporate a lot of movement in [her] images."
Facsimile I (Alaska), by JD Gaul
For a change of pace: this photographer presents a series of "facsimiles," images which act as exact reproductions of places and things. What I like best about this photo is the little piece of flotsam in the lower center on the ground; amidst such a broad expanse of gravel and wet that little detail somehow anchors the larger structure in the back and gives it a ring of authenticity. The photographer's other photos seem to each have a similar small detail that pulls the larger image into the space of reality and beefs up the statement that they are in fact facsimiles of something preexisting.
Wadi Rum JORDAN, by Marie Sauvaitre
This image is another broad landscape with some minute but all-important detail, detail that takes a second or third look to differentiate: the ant-size trail of figures cutting across the photo from the left. It's a detail that makes a big difference when understanding the photo, from a series about which Ms. Sauvaitre says,
Reflecting on globalization, mobility and the new roles of borders, ERRANCES - French term for something between exile and wandering - explores and pays homage to nomadsâ€™ home through color landscape photographs...From my own experience of exile, I am drawn to these tensions between the pulls of nomadism and the search for the feeling of home. When looking at nomadic dwellings, I am touched by their vulnerability, their transience and the enigmatic play between interiority and exteriority that they engage with the landscape in which they integrate.
I think this image communicates this tension as well as transience and vulnerability loud and clear. It exists not only in the trail of nomads, but also in the ambiguity of the sky, the blanket of nutmeg-y ground rolling out, and the sheer size and isolation of the various rock formations.
Wave, by Slava Deryuga
The first thing that jumps out of this photograph is it's similarity to The Great Wave off Kanagawa, a familiar Japonese woodblock print made in about 1830. The detail and sharpness of the foam on the crests of the water and the depth and range of blue is massively appealing in a way similar to the crashing wave of the aforementioned print. The photographer explains that her "goal is to make every picture true to nature," and I think there is great adherence to that rule in this photo in the crushing density of the wave and the rushing froth on the surface.
Restaurant, by Remi Thornton
From big ol' waves to sleeping buildings: Remi Thornton explains that pictures taken at night are the most exciting to him,
I seek out objects that are taking a break for the night. A water fountain in a park, a construction vehicle, a pedestrian bridge - these things have totally different personalities when there is no one there to use them. What I'm capturing is not complex and only partly conceptual--I make an effort to keep things pure, simple and eerily beautiful.
This photo seems very Edward Hopper Nighthawks
to me, minus the people. There is something of the all American to Thronton's pictures, albeit with a dash of the eerie and otherworldly contributed by the absence of people. In keeping with the idea of the restaurant "taking a break," I love that the light on the front sign seems almost like a little nightlight.
Leslie's Keys, by Erika Ritzel
This is another picture of things without people that still show the everpresent footprint of the people who have been, but from an entirely different angle than the previous image. Ms. Ritzel explains her work better than I do:
I focus the camera on domestic interiors; these are the spaces I believe have the most emotional resonance. When people leave, objects remain which hold the meaning of their owner. These environments may be void of human life, but a residue of presence remains, which retains the meaning of their inhabitants and embodies the history of the space. The people might leave the location, but they are never really absent. When photographing, I respond to places that are familiar to my own experience of domestic space, whether directly or indirectly.
Nobody Belives You!, by Massimo Cristaldi
VoilÃ , from conspicuous lack of people to plenty of people. What is so mesmerizing and pleasing about this photo is the way it seems to transport the viewer to a different time and place. Mr. Cristaldi says of his work, "Taking images is for me a way to transform into physical things my inner visions and memories." Looking at this image takes you by the hand and guides you into Mr. Cristaldi's memory and shows you this humorous, sweet, visually engaging scene.
That brings us to the end of the Hey, Hot Shot! Grand Finale Tour. For all you procrastinators, peruse the posts, get your work together and throw in your lot before it's too late - the extended deadline ends at 11AM tomorrow. Best of luck to all competitors!