Spring 2019 Juror’s Statement: Aline Smithson
The Film Photo Award has been one of the most challenging calls for entry I have ever juried. I was asked to do something that I love: to look at photographs, made with film—and to consider proposals that could use the potential of the medium to elevate the projects submitted. I spent days cogitating and revisiting hundreds of entries, essays and thousands of photographs - a daunting task to say the least. I am happy to share that there was an incredible amount of fantastic work--rich with intelligence, deep seeing, and a bit of film magic, and honestly, it made me wonder if being a film photographer elevates our art making beyond the nuances of the medium.
Does shooting film bring a different experience not only to the creation of the work, but to the concept and storytelling? Does it make us better photographers? I have always felt that the slowed-down tactile nature of making work with film brings more thoughtful considerations to the subject matter when we limit the amount of images taken, bringing a particular reverence to the act of taking photographs.
During this jurying, I discovered or revisited many stellar projects and selected over 40 that could have made it to the top. Much to my dismay, I could only select three. I likened the process to going to my favorite restaurant, hungry, and wanting to order everything on the menu—what would make me select the pasta special over the steak?
Was it simply the subjective nature of making a decision on that particular day? This experience shifted and inspired me, and I am so appreciative to have spent time with every single proposal. As the editor of Lenscratch and a reviewer at many photo events, I look at tens of thousands of images each year and I can state without hesitation, that this is some of the best work I have seen in years.
Congratulations to those who were selected and please know that this was not a cursory examination, but a long hard look at your work. I am one person with a particular perspective, so I encourage you to continue to support the unique medium of film photography and submit to future Film Photo Awards. Thank you to all who submitted and a big thank you to Eliot Dudik and to Kodak Alaris who have worked tirelessly to celebrate the art of film photography and continue its legacy. I am so honored to be part of this inaugural Film Photo Award.