PROCESS (Failure) | SUMMER 2017

Jurors: Gwen Cinelli and Sarah Hamburger

"Photographs, which fiddle with the scale of the world, themselves get reduced, blown up, cropped, retouched, doctored, tricked out. They age, plagued by the usual ills of paper objects; they disappear; they become valuable, and get bought and sold; they are reproduced. Photographs, which package the world, seem to invite packaging. They are stuck in albums, framed and set on tables, tacked on walls, projected as slides. Newspapers and magazines feature them; cops alphabetize them; museums exhibit them; publishers compile them." - Susan Sontag, On Photography
In this Open Call we want you to explore the relationship between process and the final image. How does failure affect your process? What constitutes a failure that happens in your work, and what is born from that failure? In essence – what happens in your process when you encounter failure, how do the limitations of the medium contribute to this failure, and what does this failure do for your work?

Amy Belotti |

Unintentional double exposures, light leaks, grain or color-shifting from expired film, and inaccurate exposures are typically considered failures when using 35mm still photographic film. 35mm film has been my primary medium since I was a poor teenaged photographer. I always used hand-me-down cameras and sought out expired film in order to cut as many financial corners as I could. I would take one exposure of my intended image and move on -  If I got the shot, I got the shot. If I didn't, that was just considered part of the process. If the shot came out in a way other than I intended, I would consider it anyway. More than a decade later, my process largely remains the same. Failure contributes to my process.

Amy Belotti was born in New York state and is currently based in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a BFA in film and an MS in Library and Information Science, both from Pratt Institute. She has been creating photo-diaristic imagery on 35mm still photographic film for more than a decade. 

Chris Yates |

For this current body of work, I am documenting failure on 3 levels. First, I am examining the technological failure between my computer and projector through the natural distortion of the image that the poor connection between the two makes. Second, the films photographed are mostly during the World War II era, a clear failure of the acknowledgement of human rights. And lastly, the film I am using – AGFA Portra 160 – has been expired for over a decade; resulting in a failure of the intended characteristics of the original film. I am most interested on how these three failures intersect. I can only prepare for the unexpected rather than expect what I have prepared. For that reason, I am able to embrace failure and not resent it. 

Chris Yates is a photographer and director from Denver Colorado. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in Screenwriting and a Archaeology minor. His work either in still or motion picture consists of long term, story driven based work.

Sam Schmieg |

As a person who loves control in day-to-day life, it may seem contradictory to purposefully leave space for error in my photo process. Whether it’s shooting from the hip or experimenting with long exposure, embracing light leaks or allowing dust marks to build up, a lack of thoroughness can lead to unexpectedly beautiful results. There is a term in Japanese culture called Wabi-Sabi which, in short, refers to art that reflects the fragile, but divine impermanence of life. In practice this allows the “flawed” features of a given piece to be embraced as its defining characteristics. This mentality seems to breed some humility in the artist--instead of filling every step with your own vision, the artist offers a space for natural order to take over. Although a genuine message and proper technical execution is the foundation for any good piece of art, I’ve found that losing control of the process can often add the final touch that you didn’t know it needed. 

Hailing from the suburbs of Minneapolis, I took to film photography in high school after my dad passed me his old AE-1. While I have been honing my photographic eye since, the move to Chicago in 2012 for college marked a turning point in my perspective. Living a rather isolated life in the huge metropolis pushed me to find a true purpose. 
My work is intended to overturn some of society’s misguided beliefs, with a keen focus on life’s often irrational juxtapositions. Progression & tradition, life & death, now & forever, pride & doubt. Photography has allowed me a space where I can play with these dynamics of life, and resonate with viewers’ subconscious. The prospect of awakening even one person to the contradictions of modern life is what keeps me striving to improve my work.