2021 Review Selection Committee Statements

Members of the photographic and arts communities comprise the Review Santa Fe Selection Committee. Their responses to the experience selecting the work for the Review Santa Fe portfolio reviews are below.

Elliot Erwitt once said, “photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

It’s a great honor that comes with a huge responsibility to be one of the jurors for this years’ Review Santa Fe. I looked back as a participant and can’t imagine what the jurors were thinking when they experienced my photographs for the first time. Well, now I know. The range of projects dealing with almost an infinite amount of subject matter was overwhelming, from landscapes to portraits to still-life to self-awareness, all produced in a very unique style. What stood out on the top were those projects that were visually clear from the very first image and as the sequence unraveled the project became even better, then the images enhanced the project statement, and the project statement enhanced the images.

Bravo to such commitment and dedication to the art of observation.

Tony Chirinos
Artist, Photographer, & Associate Senior Professor of Photography at Miami Dade College • 2019 Teaching Award Recipient & Review Santa Fe Alum

It should come as no surprise that hard times were repeatedly reflected in this year’s Review submissions. The world and its challenges enveloped us all, with artists attempting to translate, learn from and reflect those challenges in image-making. Expanding their own skill sets, world views, and coping mechanisms, photographers share their varied and occasionally revelatory worlds with us.

Entrants cope with prejudice, politics, climate change, aging, sex, identity, anxiety, environmental issues, and disease, to the occasional outburst of good-natured fun. Methodologies range from document to abstraction, portraiture, the use of vernacular imagery, and even to images that break the boundaries of what typically is defined as photography.

I’m not terribly fond of the notion of competition when it comes to art. It seems antithetical to me. I generally couple that with the fact that I’m looking for something that makes me sit up in my chair – something fresh. Originality and having something profound to say and saying it well, both verbally and visually, are not easy things to come by. With that in mind, my selections of photographers to attend Review were aimed at supporting works and artists that I felt would most benefit from the experience and from the potential dialogue they might have with each reviewer.

Kathleen Clark
Photographer, Editorial Photo Editor, & Former Gallerist • 2020 Project Launch Grant Recipient

In reviewing portfolios for the award for exposure at Review Santa Fe, or for book projects I take on to get published, it comes down to one thing: does the work move me, can I feel the photographer’s intention, their heart? Because I know that if I am moved, others will be as well. Even very abstract or manipulated work or work about non-living things (like buildings) has heart in the sense that the photographer is motivated by a desire to express or capture some essential element.

And work that is moving is always well-conceived and well-produced; that’s how the photographer creates the magic that moves us, that gets us to sit up and take notice. That’s one of the things that I love most about photography: it unites the head and the heart, the philosophical and the technical. It shows us a new way to think about the world, and celebrates its beauty and diversity.

This year I was struck by how much of the work was about transformation. Even in a pandemic, where many people could not leave their homes, they managed to chronicle their own emotions as well as physical transformation as well as transformation in the world around them; time standing still and the passage of time as reflected in health, the environment, culture, ethnicity, changing genders, crossing borders––the range was fascinating, incredible, and illuminating.

Joanna Hurley
HurleyMedia, Photography & Art Book Packager • Former Board Chair, CENTER
New Mexico