2022 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.

© Sari Goodfiend

In these difficult times, creativity is more important than ever. When the world doesn’t make sense, we look to art to allow us to glimpse the world outside of ourselves. Art can give us comfort. It can take us to places that soothe us, and it can offer us another way of seeing the world.

The work I saw was full of quiet moments, families, a foreboding of climate destruction, and self-exploration. And yet, like life itself, there are moments of color, beauty, optimism, and even humor. It is always such a gift to be able to get a glimpse into the larger community of photography, and this time is no exception. The ability of photography to lift us up, educate, and surprise us is what we hope for.

Stella Kramer
Photo Editor & Publisher, STELLAZINE
New York

Photography can shape our perception of the world; of its past and present. It allows us to peep into intimate family spaces, bear witness to the fragility of our humanity, highlight injustice and advocate for those with voices that have been silenced, and offer them a platform to show their side of the story.

During this process, the work that I have had the privilege to consider has moved, inspired, and informed me. The content was, in many cases, complex and challenging. I was offered insight into the discourse around social, ethical, and environmental issues. Through these collections of windows, the artists shaped new narratives and dispelled existing myths.

So much of our society runs on stale, outdated standards of who should have power and who shouldn’t but many of these stories revealed the disruption of archaic structures. I witnessed projects that scream at the patriarchal, white hegemony, that love is love, and that Black lives matter. These are stories that need to be told.

The female perspective is one that has been historically underrepresented leaving us with a distorted looking glass through which to view this world— I am always enthusiastic when shown work that reflects a diverse female perspective.

The various approaches to form were exciting and imaginative. I love the physicality of analogue photography and was delighted to see large format, polaroid, and expanded processes amongst the sea of digital imagery.

I am drawn to photographic practice that digs deep into family to make sense of personal histories through the dissemination of archives. Pearl is a tender look into the artists’ relationship with the grandmother she never knew, Margaret Dowd, creating memories through collages of found photographs and personal possessions.

As humans, we have wounded the planet we call home, and yet it is a human imperative to connect with nature and find community. There were several series documenting spaces of pleasure and relaxation. Devils Pool celebrates urban green spaces, in doing so revealing the often-unspoken enjoyment that people gain from their existence. The beautifully observed colour tableaux share and celebrate spaces often taken for granted.

Photography can also offer healing. The viewer can bear witness to the personal stories of melancholy, pain, and isolation. The lost relationship between a brother and sister, the death of a beloved son through drowning, and an intimate look at the vulnerability of the relationship between the artist’s husband and her two sons, were brave photographic explorations through which the camera became a powerful tool to show pain, love, and joy in varying ways.

We are living in complex and uncertain times. In the past couple of years, we have lived through a global pandemic, finally confronted the urgency of climate change, seen the return of Afghanistan to Taliban rule and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The work submitted bore testimony to the, often ugly, truth of our time and the actions leading up to it. I was overwhelmed by the courageous authenticity of the global photographic community to witness, document, and share stories that are both local and universal. That is how photography will bring about change.

Cheryl Newman
Photography Director, Artist, Curator & Consultant • Review Santa Fe Alum

© E. Brady Robinson

As a member of the selection committee for CENTER’s Portfolio Review, I enjoy having the first look at all the work being considered for inclusion. It’s a broad and wonderful window into the photo world at large, and particularly the state of practice and purpose for members of this creative community.

The range of work is always astonishing and eye awakening. Projects range from extremely personal, through documentary, political and scientific investigation. While COVID compounds all of our challenges to create, we still manage to look at the varied themes of our times; issues of race, gender, violence, climate science, the meaning of beauty, relationships, isolation, and political gridlock. These are ingredients, but the photographs are the result of an individual alchemy.

When I am looking at work I am always hoping for a fresh perspective, something surprising, something that rings authentic. Whether it is the power of an idea, or the power of a fleeting moment, the image that demands your mind to return to it, again and again, is the coveted goal. This collection of work illustrates that there are many paths to that goal.

Molly Roberts
Visuals Editor, Independent Curator & Documentarian – Former Senior Photography Editor, National Geographic
Washington, DC