Light Work Annual Student Invitational

Light Work is pleased to announce the results of the Light Work Annual Student Invitational, featuring photography students at Syracuse University. Jason Houston from Orion Magazine served as our juror to select a Best of Show winner: Varvara Mikushkina, a junior in SU’s Transmedia Program.  Houston also selected four Honorable Mentions: Elif Yoney (first year graduate student), Erin Geideman (freshman), Hannah Nast (freshman), and Rose Cromwell (freshman). Over thirty students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication submitted excellent work to the invitational. The exhibition will be presented on Light Work’s flat panel screen from April 1 through May 29, 2010. Congratulations to the winners, and our thanks to all participants and our juror.

Juror’s statement by Jason Houston:

It is difficult to select ‘the best’ from such a diverse series of images. There are sports images that captured the peak of action, emotional and intimate documentary portraits, creative fictional scenarios, poetic landscapes, and thought provoking fine art images. Photographs are made for so many different reasons and in so many different contexts. Still, a good photograph will always be a good photograph.

The images I chose as Best of Show and for Honorable Mention transcend their genre and hold up without context. They show technical skill and creative vision, but also, and more importantly, go beyond the literal retelling of what is happening around us. They interpret. They help us see and they show us something new about the world.

For Best of Show I selected the portrait of the man drinking from a tea cup made by Varvara Mikushkina. It has the wonderful feeling of being both deliberate and natural. The fundamentals such as great color, composition, and lighting are balanced by the spontaneous moment captured by Varvara’s camera—a moment that engages us, yet promises only to introduce us to the subject’s character. The intimacy makes it feel familiar, but we are kept ever so slightly off balance by the opposing tilts of the head and the cup, and by his partly covered expression. We are left to wonder about his mood and seek the source of his gaze. We explore the image for clues, drawn in to where we notice details such as the tentatively balanced spoon on his thumb or the slightly skewed art on the wall above his head. It is an image you want to look at.

Image: Varvara Mikushkina, Deda and Tea, 2009, pigmented inkjet print, 16 x 20″

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