December 14, 2017 – February 17, 2018
This year, the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center’s annual Contemporary Photography Competition and Exhibition garnered 176 submissions from across the country. The winning artists, chosen to showcase photographic narratives through concurrent solo exhibitions, are Christine Elfman and Mark Jayson Quines. Each artist will receive a $5,000 honorarium to aid in the development of a solo exhibition, which will be displayed in the PPAC gallery from December 14, 2017 through February 17, 2018.
Advancing PPAC’s mission to cultivate a more vibrant photography community and showcase a diverse range of artists, the annual Contemporary Photography Competition and Exhibition gives both emerging and established photographers the opportunity to progress their body of work and reach new audiences. This year’s competition was juried by Christopher McCall, Director of Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco, one of the largest photography-centered exhibition spaces in the world. Earning $5,000 honorariums for production and shipping costs, both Christine Elfman and Mark Jayson Quines will have PPAC’s support as they develop and build upon their winning submissions, which speak to their unique perspectives as artists.
Christine Elfman is an artist and educator based in Ithaca, NY, who has worked extensively with early photographic processes and with historic collections at the George Eastman House, the University of Rochester, and the Berkeley Art Museum, and is represented by Gallery Wendi Norris in San Francisco. Christine’s work examines the quality of change within picture making. Her photographs express the impossible desire for permanence. Her winning project, “Even Amaranth,” explores photography as a shifting medium, incapable of truly recording a subject or memory. According to myth, amaranth, a plant grown from seed to make photographs from its dye, is unfading. Yet, it yields a fugitive dye that cannot be fixed. This impermanent quality is emphasized in Christine’s fleeting depictions of landscapes, ancient artifacts and sculptures. She writes, “While attempting to secure the subject as image, landscapes turn barren, figures become statues, and still lives shift. As a series, ‘Even Amaranth’ explores photography’s defining features as a medium, both its incapacity to capture a subject and its corresponding fugitivity.”
Mark Jayson Quines is an emerging photographer based in San Francisco, CA, who has been published in Franchise Magazine and recently had his first solo show at Book & Job Gallery in the Tenderloin of San Francisco. Often present in his work are intersecting themes of spectacle, branding, subcultures, identity, and music. Mark was selected for his project, “NOBODY,” which explores the desire for apex through the symbol of Michael Jordan. “When I was about eight years old I recall staring at two pairs of Air Jordan XIIs—one my godfather’s and one my godbrother’s—they were sitting side by side in a Las Vegas hotel room on top of the room’s green patterned carpeting,” Mark writes. “The next morning, I woke up to the announcer on TV shouting Jordan’s name several times as he scored each hoop.” Through the photos in his series, Mark portrays the many cultural facets through which an icon’s legacy is magnified – trading cards, clothing, branded arcade games, and the quest for the sought-after sneaker representing the best.
Each year, PPAC’s Contemporary Photography Competition brings in a vast range of submissions from artists representing an assortment of backgrounds, aesthetics, perspectives and techniques. “We are thrilled to have two artists, based on opposite ends of the country, exhibiting side-by-side in our gallery this winter,” says PPAC Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director Sarah Stolfa. “Our Contemporary Photography Competition and Exhibition consistently opens our eyes to new and emerging talent, and we are proud to give Christine and Mark the chance to connect with the photography community in Philadelphia.”