Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A few questions with Amber Terranova

Committer member: Amber Terranova, Photo Editor, Photo District News (PDN)
Interviewer: Laura Pressley, Executive Director, Center

Q: Why do you think you were chosen for the 2009 selection committee?
A: At PDN I’m continually exposed to an incredibly wide range of photographic genres—from reportage, fashion, and advertising, to editorial and fine art—which provides me with a rather unique & fresh perspective on what is at the forefront of photography today.

Q: As a previous reviewer, what are your expectations of a Review Santa Fe participant?
A: I expect them to be at a semi-professional level or committed to their photography; to be organized and articulate.

Q: Please describe the work that was chosen by the committee.
A: The work is intriguing and inventive no matter where the project is in its development and it showed that it was going somewhere, that it had promise.

Q: What kind of work typically didn't get selected?
A: Unoriginal work. Repetitious themes executed in a format that is familiar to many other photo projects that have been done before. Also, work that feels like it’s all over the place, showing one image from a variety of styles & genres.

Q: Describe the role that photographic trends play in contemporary practice.
A: It’s quite simply cause and effect. Magazines and Advertisers need to stand out from their competition and appeal to a wide variety of tastes by emphasizing a new and distinctive look. Then their competitors tend to sway in the opposite direction. There’s a constant ebb and flow. Photographers define trends and representatives “tastemakers,” i.e. the industry professionals, react to the trends by using or accepting the trends. Each trend marks a time or period and then in the long run that period becomes a defining point in the history of photography.

Q: What kinds of negotiating happened during the selection process?
A: Because we represent different parts of the industry, we have different tastes. When it came to selecting photographers, we discussed reasons why we each chose the work and the particular strengths of the project with the other selection committee members. When we didn’t agree, we were open to hearing the perspective of the other selection committee members’ expertise in the industry. Because of the variety of different kinds of reviewers who participate in the event, we all agreed we didn’t want it to be all fine artists or all documentary – we discussed having a balance and choosing work that would be most relevant to the reviewers. We valued each others point of view and we could make a case to the other committee members if they didn’t agree initially to a certain point of view.

Q: What comprises a cohesive body of work?
A: A body of work with a clear and focused concept that has something to reveal is part of what makes it cohesive. A tight edit - a well thought out sequence of images that flows in a way that grabs the viewers attention, and holds it from start to finish. Also, work that displays ingenuity and is supported by an articulate and concise artist statement.

Q: Do you have advice for photographers submitting to Review Santa Fe 2010?
A: Be true to yourself!
Find someone to help edit your submission. Do not submit work from more than one project within one submission. If you do shoot a variety of subjects then look at what gels the images stylistically and thematically. Its important to spend a lot of time on the project and seek feedback, you should not submit a project that is too premature in process or development. Show your distinctive well thought out concept.

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