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Artist Update: Photolucida's Critical Mass Top 50

Congratulations to Aaron Blum, Stella Johnson, Dave Jordano, Bear Kirkpatrick, Anne Arden McDonald and Jamey Stillings who have all been selected as part of Photolucida's Critical Mass Top 50. All selected photographers will be included in a group exhibition curated Jessica Johnston of George Eastman House and are all in the running for Critical Mass' top prize, a book published by Photolucida. View the full Top 50 list here.

Ormet Aluminum
Aaron Blum

"Born and Raised Outsiders have long fictionalized the narrative surrounding Appalachia. As a resident of West Virginia I have always been aware of the views others hold of my home, and they have guided me to create my own version of life in the hills. My Appalachia is a granulated depiction based on the false impressions of others, my idealizations and personal experiences. Light plays an important role in how I understand this place."

View Aaron Blum's portfolio on the Photographer's Showcase

Read the blog post on Aaron Blum

Roula! Mytilene, Greece 2007
Stella Johnson

"I photograph to counteract erosion of self. When our grandparents emigrated from Greece, we became hyphens between Greek culture and American, adding and subtracting American-ness and Greek-ness ad infinitum. This failed attempt at fine-tuning is an enigmatic game in which an individual rarely actualizes “selfness.” After years of investigating by camera the back roads of Mexico, Nicaragua, and Cameroon, I arrived at my grandmother’s birthplace, an island in the north of Greece near Turkey."

View Stella Johnson's portfolio on the Photographer's Showcase

Glemie, Blues Player, Raccoon Hunter, Westside, Detroit 2011
Dave Jordano

"Detroit: Unbroken Down Detroit is my hometown, but I’ve been gone for over three decades. These photographs are my reaction to all the negative press that Detroit has had to endure over the past few years. I wanted to see for myself what everyone was talking about, and like everyone else I was initially drawn to the same subjects that other photographers were interested in; the crumbling factory interiors, the empty lots and burned out houses that consume forty square miles of the city, and the massive abandoned commercial infrastructure."

View Dave Jordano's portfolio on the Photographer's Showcase 

Read the blog post on Dave Jordano

Wallportrait Ashley 2, The Triumph of Death
Bear Kirkpatrick

"As a very young boy I went deaf slowly enough that I was able to hide it for a year by learning to read lips and read visual clues. This handicap offered a kind of compensation: the power to witness. I began to see hidden things, other people living inside my mother and my father, strange flashes of other beings that arose as something fugitive, something dangerous and not-them. I couldn't say—and still can't—what they are, who they are, or from where they came, but I saw them and still do. Surgeries a year or so later repaired my hearing, but I have been transfixed, fascinated, and frightened ever since by things that change shape or appear about to."

View Bear Kirkpatrick's portfolio on the Photographer's Showcase

Read the interview with Bear Kirkpatrick

Atom Planet Installed
Anne Arden McDonald

"For years I have been experimenting with different ways of generating an image on photographic paper. I recently began thinking about the dialogue that painters and sculptors have with their mediums and realized that I wanted come up with ways that my process could inform the resulting image. While still working with photo paper, light and chemistry, I used some well-known processes like the photogram and invented other ways of producing images without using a negative. Some of these methods included painting bleach onto blackened photo paper, or building layered piles of glass and eggshells and moving around them with a flashlight to make an exposure."

View Anne Arden McDonald's portfolios on the Photographer's Showcase

#8796, 27 October 2012
Jamey Stillings

"The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar is an ongoing photographic essay that grows from my enduring interest in human-altered landscapes, particularly those at the intersections of nature and human activity. These intersections hold great visual, philosophical, environmental and political energy, as they urge me to ponder our individual and collective relationship to the world. An aerial perspective heightens this interest and contextualizes the marks we make upon the land. I am intrigued, inspired, indeed seduced by changes we make to the land to establish an order, pattern and structure that provide utility for our culture and ourselves. Yet such transformations often elicit differing, difficult, and dissonant responses."

View Jamey Stillings' portfolios on photo-eye Gallery

Read blog posts on Jamey Stillings