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Art Photography Awards Competition 2019

Review of Entry "Betwixt"

Your images are wonderfully fantastical. They are an invitation to explore your spaces yet also to engage my own creative thinking and feelings. Which in turn allows me to draw my own associations into the experiences that you are creating through these photographs. There is rich and fertile ground for me to do this...

[W]hat honestly moves me about these photographs is how humans are being intertwined with the "natural world." I put "natural world" in quotes because that is a dicey term; as if we can separate humans from the so-called natural. Either humans are natural or the natural world has become so tamed or influenced by the actions of humans that it is no longer the idea that we commonly associate with "nature." Anyhow, your images explore the intersection in very compelling and interesting ways. Especially the Sirin-like forms you are playing with. And while the Sirin is more of a Russian mythological creature, your collages, for the most part, capture the spirit of the region you are working in. There's a quality of your work that reminds me of Graciela Iturbide's aesthetic; though she clearly wasn't making these sorts of collages.

So, while your images are inspired by this beautiful and personal narrative that you are exploring, they have a relevance that could extend beyond that... On the one hand, I personally prefer projects that are authentic, personal, and revealing. And this work definitely achieves that through the content alluded to in the imagery but also what you have shared in the statement....[T]hese images could be a reflection of a dream of how things could be or how they once were relative to the relationship of humans and the environment. To me, one of the very odd paradoxes of this work is that though I am immersed in the photographs and enjoying the aesthetics, there is also a slight sense of disbelief. In other words, even native cultures that lead relatively secluded lives still feel either influenced by the evolving landscape of humankind or at the very least impacted by it (polluted water sources, deforestation, etc.) So, when I remove the family aspect to this work, these photographs bring up a very powerful paradox. And if framed within the idea of a vision of what things were, what they need to be, what you dream about, etc., perhaps there is something to be explored. 

Or, maybe there's an intersection between your very personal narrative and the narrative that zooms back to global issues.

I greatly enjoyed reviewing your work Ri. I find your photographs both moving and thought provoking. And I appreciate how you are investing so much in issues that are bound to have a deep relevance to the lives of so many people (of all genders) around world. 

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