Jurors' Commentary, in Conversation:
Joe: Our process for reviewing the images submitted for Auto-Nocturne was to each pick 3-4 favorites. Proving once again that Troy and I have different styles and taste, there was only one image in common on our lists. We were happy to see a number of strong images from the Pearsonville Night Photography Workshops.
Troy: Yeah, I really figured on seeing more urban street scenes and shiny new cars too. Almost every vehicle in the show is a derelict! For a second I thought I was looking at the 'Abandoned Auto-Nocturne' show. A little pandering to the judges going on, or is this really what most night shooters think of cars?
Joe: Perhaps the entries reflect the interests of night photographers who are tuned in to our work, and interested in exploring the same types of subject matter. Let's get right to the "Best in Show" award. After quite a bit of discussion, Troy and I chose David Dasinger's Garage as the winning photo. Compared to many of the entries, this image is not a show-stopper upon first glance. However, after repeated viewings of my favorite entries, this image won me over because of the unique location, beautiful warm/cool mixture of moonlight and streetlight, and subtly layered composition.
Troy: For me it kinda was a show-stopper. I love the quietude in this image. The mysterious moody-broody silence of it. It's tastefully lit too.
Joe: To clarify, I meant show-stopper in the sense of the trope you've engendered: super-wide framing that emphasizes line, combined with brightly colored light painting.
Troy: Yeah see, that's probably why I like it. Sometimes less really is more.
Joe: The medium view is more documentary upon first glance. Upon closer study, the camera position is slightly unconventional.
Troy: Right, it's like you're hiding in the bushes, sneaking around being voyeuristic.
Joe: The dense branches are overlayed against the car and garage, juxtaposing the chaos of dark natural forms against the long lines of the car, and geometric skeleton of the building. The image really reads as a mysterious, out in the middle of nowhere, lonely desert night scene. The diagonal cloud movement on the left side of the sky moves your eye down to the garage, and parallels the power lines. The star trails complete an arc that blends nicely with the roofline. Warm against cool. Natural forms on top of rusty, gutted man-made relics.
Troy: Yeah, it's simply loaded with examples of tension/release and juxtaposition, traits I always find to be common in good images.
Joe: Really, there's not a better recipe for a night photograph that I'd want to hang on my wall. This photo makes me want to get in the car and go back to the area around Tecopa and Shoshone again, to do more exploring.
Troy: I'm ready! Lets go now!!
Joe: Picking an honorable mention was the toughest part of this process, and once again Troy and I had very different opinions. Troy: Yeah, we went round on this for a while . . .
Joe: Dave Evans' Long and Low (by Chrysler) shows superb subject selection, an exaggerated perspective, nicely controlled light painting, and monster star trails.
Troy: Yeah, I loved this one, it's the image that was on both our lists. That exaggerated perspective that leads into the center of the image is eye-popping. I love the juxtaposition of the strong linear elements with the circular star patterns. The hood, just hanging there offers a wonderful moment of tension, as well.
Joe: Aaron Siladi's In Yo Face cleverly fills the frame with a comically tilted semi-cab that appears almost three dimensional, and blends beautifully with the wonderful rushing clouds.
Troy: I pushed hard for this one. Where Joe sees comical, I see deeply troubling and ominous. It's funny how our reactions are so different, but to me that's just a sign of a strong image provoking strong reactions. This has lovely textures -- the rough creosote leading you into the scene, the shadowplay of the wipers on the front of the truck, the spectacularly tasty, textbook clouds layered between you and the stars. The 3-dimensionality in that sky is amazing. That single red light scratches my red-rule itch too-I can't stress enough how important that little spot is to the overall impact of the image. There's just so much to see in every corner of the image, I can look at this one all day.
Joe: Leaving the red light on distant horizon is really key, and the clouds are really fantastic. I suppose comical and ominous are not mutually exclusive. I also really like Maryann Bastyr's Holly Allen. The creative composition blends sunset light with the moon rising through a texturally dense dashboard and cracked windshield looking out on a junkyard view. Greta & Manu Schnetzler's Crushed - New Orleans was my favorite urban night image. The square and triangular geometric forms of the buildings and smashed up car become a wonderful playground for moonlight and multiple types of city lighting to bounce around. The colors have that classic film look that is less and less common in night photography these days.
Troy: Yeah, there're lots of nice things in this group. Hunter Luisi's HDR clouds are otherworldly (and this from an admitted HDR-hater), Joe Reed's color sense is outta sight, and Kerstin Nelson's handling of location mood is very nice too.
Joe: We'd like to thank everyone who submitted images to this online exhibition, and also thank Tim Baskerville of The Nocturnes for putting the show together. We look forward to hearing about your favorites in the show in the comments section on the Nocturnes blog.
Troy: Yeah, big xoxoxo to Tim, he doesn't get enough credit for all the things he's done for night photography over the centuries.
Your Choices / Thoughts / Rants
For participants and viewers alike - Be sure to drop by The Nocturnes NPy Blog - where we posted an announcement this weekend - and leave a comment or two (we're sure you'll have some!) re: this exhibit.
Be sure to check out the Auto-Nocturne Flick group we've established - this was the preliminary 'casting call' for the show - and many of the artists in this show have more Auto-Nocturnal work to show there!
And, to see what we might have been looking for read the original Prospectus for this show.
We hope you enjoy the show!
Tim Baskerville, Curator