Auckland Festival of Photography Annual Commission finalists announced for 2016
The shortlist is down to three artists to be the 2016 Annual Commission by Sacred Hill photographer, with the winner’s work to be displayed at this year’s Auckland Festival of Photography, on June 2–24. The three shortlisted photographers are Russ Flatt, Solomon Mortimer, and Helen Clegg.
Russ Flatt’s image (far left) is titled ‘Dias’, and is from his series Nationals.
On making the shortlist, Flatt said, “I am honoured to be shortlisted for the Auckland Festival of Photography’s Annual Commission and see this as a great opportunity to make a body of work centred around the theme of ‘home’. The images that I have submitted for the commission talk to the notion of identity by looking forward to the past in order to recognize the present, showing narrative-driven constructs of a young boy depicted within a suburban landscape. By looking through the boy’s eyes, the sense of being an outsider within one’s own life is apparent. The tension and awkwardness associated with coming of age help illustrate an inward tension within the family unit, of something that is about to happen or of something that has happened.”
Flatt said that the images have all been photographed in Auckland, and the locations selected are an integral part of this self-narrative series.
Solomon Mortimer’s image (above centre), Pacific Rose (Zahra), is from his series When the sun sets your eyes change colour (I hope this is true).
Mortimer says that, “Being shortlisted for the Annual Commission is a great validation, not only of one’s efforts and contribution to the photographic field but also as a sign of the confidence the festival has in my abilities to produce relevant contemporary work around this year’s theme, ‘home’. “... The series When the sun sets your eyes change colour (I hope
this is true) was unique to my practice to date — it was produced in collaboration with Zahra Killeen- Chance for a specific exhibition. It exists primarily as a book,” Mortimer explained. Helen Clegg’s image (above far right) is from her latest series, For
a long time, I went to bed early. Clegg said, “Being shortlisted for the Annual Commission is incredible recognition and encouragement to keep making my artwork — it’s really nice to know that all the hard work and effort is in fact being noticed. I’ve exhibited in a couple of previous years of the festival, and have always wanted to be a part of the Signature Programme. It really means a lot, and I’m incredibly grateful to have been selected.”
She explained, “For a long time, I went to bed early was based around reconnecting with the landscape of my childhood and the intersection of memory, dreams, and the body’s ephemeral experience of place. It was exhibited as part of Artweek and selected works at Bath Street Gallery’s photographic group show, Without to Within, at the end of 2015.”
The photographers’ works will be examined by a selection panel, which this year consists of Associate Professor Linda Tyler — who is the director of the Gus Fisher Gallery — Auckland Festival of Photography founder and director Julia Durkin; and international curator, art consultant, and former director of Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney (as well as current Asia Pacific Photoforum ambassador) Alasdair Foster.