Cotton, Curator and Head of
the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography, Los Angeles County
Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA -
- Comment on Santa Fe Prize for Photography and Sentimental Education
More than any other year that I have been judging
contemporary photography competitions, there’s a welcome rise in
the number of nominated photographers engaging with our big social and
political issues, looking out in to the world for the stories of who
and what we are...
More than any other year that I have been judging contemporary photography competitions, there’s a welcome rise in the number of nominated photographers engaging with our big social and political issues, looking out in to the world for the stories of who and what we are...
Because I took my time, and returned
throughout the past three weeks to the photographers and bodies of work that
I felt were the strongest, I hope my choices for the prize and finalists
are not governed by the novelty of seeing a body of work for the first time
or dependent on my mood on a particular day! Instead, I gradually selected
down to the projects where I felt the photographer had meaningfully investigated
their subjects, created successful and enduring balances between their concept
and the real experience of their chosen subjects.
I have chosen Hiroyo Kaneko as the recipient of the Santa Fe Prize for Photography because, for me, the work and her artist's statement really intrigued me, perhaps even confused me at first. It is often the case for me that the first time I experience an enduring photographic project, it doesn't entirely reveal itself to me. I kept returning to Hiroyo Kaneko's images of her family bathing in hot tubs. I had questions about the work – is the subject of Japanese bathing with its visually seductive mis-en-scene make this project inherently too beautiful? What does the range in her use of portraiture say about her subjects and relationships to them? In essence, I needed a little bit of time to become comfortable with the better than formulaic way that Hiroyo Kaneko works and to trust that the ambiguous and unexpected threads that her practice weaves are both interesting and enduring. I appreciate the subtle layers of thought and observation that underpin her practice and I really look forward to seeing how the amazing support that the Santa Fe Prize for Photography offers will impact on her photography..