W.M. - Bill - Hunt is a champion of photography: a collector, curator and consultant who lives and works in New York. He teaches and writes (“The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious”) and looks at many pictures. His most recent project has been “Foule - American Groups before 1950” for the Rencontres d’Arles.
Cruel and captivating
PX3 is a photo competition that has two curators, myself and Daphne Angles. We have been told there are NO RULES in making our selections. The Curator’s Challenge is to make our own rules. Hopefully, you will find our selection worthy. As a judge you never have any sense where a new photo competition will lead you. You want to be confronted with fresh talents and imaginations that surprise you and take you on unexpected journeys.
So I looked and what I have done with PX3 is to locate 20 images by 18 photographers that make me curious to see more. Rather than show 4 or 5 series, It seems more generous to encourage you to look and react and to do some exploring. There is good work here.
Surprisingly I reacted most strongly to the humanistic work That is not usually the case with me. The best, but not all, of my choices here have to do with photographers working on stories of misery and violence, which is not to say these are without strange beauty and hope. The light at the end of the tunnel is not always that of an oncoming train. Photography can take you to difficult places. Talented photographers take you to these places where they enchant and provoke you.
My favorites are the “Photography for Nairobi" workers by Adam Balcarek (Poland), described as a "charitable project aimed at stopping human trafficking in Kenya”. The images are dramatic and contemporary, oddly referencing of all people, at least for me, David LaChappelle. Balcarek seems to have used digital technology to clean up the images so that they look like they might be staged or composited. You don’t know. Whatever, they are stunning.
Execution images from Iran are shocking and surreal. “Photojournalism” is by Mohammad Ali Berno from Islamic Republic of Iran with public hangings captured in a dizzying and disorienting fashion, (slow shutter speed?), seemingly timeless in black and white. These are cruel and captivating.
There are news stories from photographers sometimes working close to where they have chosen to live or are stationed, as in Tyler Hicks’ (American) horrific "Westgate Mall Attack” or "At the edge of Jiahd: Oyub the Mujahideen” in Pakistan from Fausto Podavini (Italian) and "Quweiq River's Massacre” (Syrian) from JM Lopez (Spanish) or "Battle in Kiev” from Giorgio Bianchi (Italian).
Longer term projects here include "Live and Learn” (Education in Ghana) from Warren Zelman (Canadian), "The Road to the Future” (Education in Kenya) from Francesco Fratto (Italian), "Beauty In Hell 2013” (Kenya) from Tony Corocher (Italian) and "Forgotten Afghanistan - Zarghona” Gloriann Liu, (American).
The most striking color work is "Angels in Hell”, child labor in Bangladesh by GMB Akash/ Panos Pictures (Bangladesh), an unfortunate report that we have not evolved far from the days of Lewis Hine. Glenna Gordon (American) makes a much brighter, less despairing case with her "Nigeria Ever After” (Weddings in Nigeria)
There are also less representational, graphically good looking works included like the quirky existential Polaroids set ups from "Black Mood” ("Intimate alienation”) by Alan Marcheselli (Italian). The enigmatic and seemingly organic studies of magnetized iron shavings in black and white, "Absolute Being” by Jin Won Bang (Korean), are unexpected and good looking as are the “nervous" water series, "Liquid Glass” by Jean Berard (Mexican) and stylistically consistent "Energy Experiments” by Mitch Payne(Indian?)
Some commercial work is particularly noteworthy because of its playfulness yet cosmic sensibility. Look at the "Ages of Man" in Vincent Dixon’s (American) "Garnier: Hide Yesterday” and how reality is rearranged in Tomy Ingeberg’s (Swedish) “Solitaire”.
There are works here by professionals and non-professionals, but you are unable to tell the difference. Collectively this is work that strikes me as having an edge, something exceptional.
Now you can look further.
Copyright W.M. Hunt 2014