The exhibition of color and black and white images, both film and digital, by photographers from throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine and New York, is sponsored by the New Canaan Society for the Arts and the Barbara Benton Davis Fund at the Fairfield County Community Foundation. The show will run through Feb. 20.
The opening reception will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a presentation of awards at 6:30 p.m. All of the photographs are for sale.
The juror for the show is Joshua Chuang, the associate curator of photography and digital media at the Yale University Art Gallery. Most recently, he organized the touring retrospective "Robert Adams: The Place We Live," as well as a related series of publications devoted to the photographer's work. He also led Yale's acquisition of Lee Friedlander's archive and master sets of work since 1990. For the gallery, he curated the exhibition "First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography," co-curated "Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century," and was the guest editor of its "2006 Bulletin: Photography at Yale." He has written widely on modern and contemporary photography and has overseen the production of photobooks by Judith Joy Ross and Mark Ruwedel.
"We were very fortunate to have Mr. Chuang select the 80 images in the show from over 540 that were submitted for consideration," said Lydia Viscardi, gallery director and curator at the Carriage Barn.
"Of the many qualities one might want in an image -- beauty, originality, skillfulness and personal vision among them -- I found myself looking for one in particular: Is the picture memorable? The quality and range of this year's submissions made the job of choosing which ones to include in the exhibition and which ones to award quite a challenge, albeit a delightful one. There was, for instance, an abundance of excellent color work, and I wish I could have recognized more than just a few. Cash prizes were awarded in the following categories: Best in Show, Color, Black & White, and Student.
Chuang awarded the $300 Best in Show grand prize to David Ottenstein's "Picnic Table" and "Simkins." "At once elegant and surreal, David Ottenstein's photographs of utilitarian structures are elevated by his technical mastery and taut, clear-eyed vision of the world."
The $200 first prize in the Color category was awarded to Robert Sachs for "Desert View" and "SoNo."
"One a boisterous riot of color in an arid land and the other an evocatively subdued scene closer to home, this pair of pictures depicts two very different landscapes, both distinctly American. "Especially commendable is the photographer's daring and inventive sense of composition," Chuang said.
Chuang awarded Colin Harrison's "Blue Reflection" the $100 second prize wfor Color.
"I had a strong emotional response to this piece, whose saturated color and evanescent light make the experience of lingering in front of it time well spent."
He awarded honorable mention to Andrew Lerman's "Little House on Icelandic Prairie" and Stacey Cleveland's "Indian Rock Wyoming."
In the Black and White category, the $200 first prize awarded to Art Potts for "Untitled 05 Cuba."
"Plucked from flow of life, this charming scene of a boy whose tentative gaze locks with our own, is oddly arresting. The other students' absorption in their own activities, and the looming likeness of Castro in the background, only add to the authenticity of the moment," Chuang said
The second prize of $100 was awarded toYee-Fun Yin's "Untitled." "I was struck by the freshness of this portrait, whose understated sophistication is matched by a beguiling sense of narrative ambiguity," Chuang said.
Honorable mention went to Sara Augenbraun's "Swimmer."
In the Student category, the $50 first prize went to James Tautkus' "Untitled." "We can only guess what this young man is really thinking, but this much is true: this photograph of him has about it the tense, unguarded quality of a confessional," Chuang said.
Olivia Donner's "Tree Scars" was awarded the $25 second prize.
"It is always difficult to judge the merit of a photograph solely by its screen presence," he said.
"Sometimes a picture turns on subtleties that can only be conveyed in a finely crafted print. But the fact is that we first encounter most images today in digital form, subject to whatever idiosyncrasies or shortcomings our computers may have. With this in mind, I reviewed every submission on two different viewing devices -- it seemed to me as contemporary and democratic a way of looking as any other."
The gallery at the Carriage Barn Arts Center on South Avenue is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, call 203-972-1895 or visit www.carriagebarn.org.