The Nocturnes 2008 - Award Winnners

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We are happy to have Mark Hobson of The Landscapist Blog judge The Nocturnes 2008! It's obvious from his comments below that much thought was given to his selections, the process, and NPy in general (and our movivation for doing such a thing!). Here is what he had to say:

"In an effort to put first things first, let me state right away that Night Photography is a genre of the medium of photography with which I am only tangentially familiar."

[ Curator's Note : see some of
Mark's "tangents" to the right!

"I do, in fact, visit The Nocturnes from time to time in order to see what's going on with NPers and, often enough, I find pictures that garner my extended attention - which, it should be noted relative to my position and responsibilities as The Jurist, is one of my primary criteria for good photographs.

"Simply put, if a picture can not hold my attention visually, emotionally, and intellectually beyond whatever its initial impression might be, it's just eye-candy to me. And we all should know that a steady diet of sweets (of any kind) turns something into mush. In the case of eye-candy pictures, I would opine that it's the brain and its aesthetic sensibilities that are endangered.

"That said, let's move on to some of my thoughts about the night and night photography.

"My attraction to NP is essentially the same as it is to any photography - I long to see what others make visible. That, which without them, might perhaps never have been seen. If there is any genre of the medium that is, by it's very nature, better suited to making visible what might never have seen, it has to be NP.

"For many, the night is a place of darkness and shadow, both literally and figuratively. You can count me amongst them. Although I love the night - I live in the largest wilderness in the Eastern US and a night spent in a canoe, gliding quietly across still waters, under the moon and the Milky Way, listening to the calls of the wild (the loon, bobcat, owl, coyote) is a pure pleasure that is one part mystery and one part magic - I have never made a serious attempt to picture it.

"I did spend a period of time enamored with and picturing during that time known by the French as entre chien et loup - between the dog and the wolf. A time of day known to others as the gloaming - the time after sunset and before dark. My body of that work is quite small, due in large part to my picturing MO. An 8x10 view camera on a sturdy tripod with 160 ASA color negative film that, at f64, required a 20 minute exposure (about the same duration as that of the gloaming itself) was not a recipe for making a lot of pictures.

"My fascination for that picturing was the exploration of the feeling and thoughts that I experience when I allow myself to be enraptured by the darkness and shadow, mystery and suspense of the night. That feeling, for me, leads to an emotional state that, in turn, leads to place in my head filled with ideas about confronting the unknown, or, with a little bit of luck, to glimpses of the unthought known. For me, a great night picture is one that takes me to feelings and thoughts that touch upon the consciously forgotten primeval in the human DNA.

"The photographer in me also appreciates the interesting and often seemingly bizarre colors that result in night pictures made under artificial light of differing color temperatures. Once again, IMO, this reveals something else that human vision most often self-corrects or doesn't "see". In addition to the feelings and emotions that the night incites, these colors can create an other-worldly feeling in NP pictures that helps transport the observer to an unfamiliar place in space and time, or so it seems.

"With these thoughts in mind, I undertook my jurist Duty. I was not disappointed in any way by the pictures I viewed. many did possess the quality of mystery and light that I appreciate. Deciding upon the award recipients was not an easy task, made specially so by the fact that I was the sole jurist - no one else with whom I could exchange thoughts, ideas, and impressions. Nevertheless, after careful thought and consideration, here are my picks."

Best of Show - 20 Kayak's Gate
by Szymon Seweryn

"This picture just grew on me with repeated viewing. In fact, upon first viewing, it was not my favorite of Syzmon's entries. The more I looked, the more I could feel the stillness. The more the air seemed thick and damp. The more I became disconnected to the real and the more I was able to drift - visually, emotionally, and intellectually - towards the receding void. The more I looked the more it was obvious that there simply was no other picture in the show quite like it.

Honorable Mention # 1 - Wire Tree
by Kim Eagan

"The burst of burning energy that comes from the bright and tangled "wire tree" creates a sense of an unknown creature of the night. There is a feeling of agitation and unease that is reinforced by the deep dark trellis, fence, and beyond.There is also a real sense of depth in which it is easy to wander and lose oneself.

Honorable Mention # 2 - Alley
by Deb Rourke

"My personal preferences veer towards subtle color and, because of its color palette, this picture speaks in a voice that is both soft and hard. The color soothes and seduces, yet the soaring industrial metal surfaces seem hard and unwelcoming. Overall, the picture has a bold, graphic look and feel despite its soft and subtle color. And then there's that broken window that beckons . . ."

Mark Hobson

Curator's Choice - Battery Mendell
by Dennis Dowling

Curator's Choice - Mare Island Building # 126
by Dennis Dowling

"A little different criteria for the "Curator's Choice" award this time around - there were two images selected! These two images struck us immediately - for what Dennis has done is match technical excellence (both, with the use of the panoramic format and the sensitive handling of ambient and supplemental lighting) - and yet maintained an atmostphere that is true to the nocturne. With all the technical advancements of late, in photography, we feel it is very important not to lose sight of the reason why we were attracted to work done at night in the first place: the mystery of it, the "consciously forgotten primeval " as Mark so aptly puts it . It's case of mood and atmosphere over technical perfection. Again Dennis has found that balance in the dark.

Tim Baskerville

Nocturnal image by Mark Hobson

Nocturnal mage by Mark Hobson

Best of Show

20 Kayak's Gates
by Szymon Seweryn (Poland) ©2008

Honorable Mention

Wire Tree
by Kim Eagan (Texas) ©2008

Honorable Mention

by Deb Rourke (Northern CA) ©2008

Curator's Choice

Battery Mendell
by Dennis Dowling (Northern CA) ©2008

Curator's Choice

Mare Island Building #126
by Dennis Dowling (Northern CA) ©2008