Thank you to Carolyn Schlueter and Kim Carr for helping photograph the reception and to Linda & Chrissy Wilmes for creating and staffing a delectible reception table!
About the Juror:
Bill Barrett is a teacher and documentary photographer. Presently Professor of Photography at Webster University in St. Louis, he has also taught photography in New York, Paris, Germany, and in Central America. He spent much of the 1980s working on a documentary project among refugees in Honduras and El Salvador, and is currently working on a documentary project about Shakers in America. His academic interest focuses on the pre-history of photography, and he is currently working on a project using a room-size portable camera obscura.
As director of the May Gallery, which is dedicated to photography, I have the annual pleasure of watching working professionals in the arts face many dozens of prints as they try to decide what to include in our juried shows, and what just might not be hung. I can tell you, and anyone who has been in the position of a juror for an exhibition will also say if they are honest, that it is a very difficult process. The same juror might on another day make a different selection, and different jurors would almost certainly hang different exhibitions from the same initial group.
One must make choices, of course. The available walls aren't enough to show everything, even if everything were of superlative quality. A too-crowded show doesn't benefit anyone. I apologize deeply if I didn't take out enough for those included to feel that their work is well seen in the space! Sometimes choices are because of issues of quality – say, a color temperature that just doesn't work, or overuse of a Photoshop filter, or another technical flaw. Sometimes choices are because of subject matter – how many photographs of an antique barn can a single show sustain? (It wasn't barns, but some recurring themes recurred far too often.)
In selecting the images for this show, I tried to include a variety of photographic styles and subjects, and a range of presentation styles as well. The overall quality of the work submitted was quite high, and the choices were not always easy. And naming just a few pieces as prize-worthy? I have a better idea of the difficulty my jurors experience. One wants to name more prizes than is really possible, but at the end one can only say here, this one, this one. And hope that an honest judgement, even if flawed by being human, will encourage all to keep trying to find that elusive amazing image that makes you stand back
and say, "Yes." ~Bill Barrett