Tag Archives: Award Image

Karen Divine

I don’t own an iPhone…yet, so I was excited to juror the recent call for entry by the Kiernan Gallery, iSpy: Camera Phone Photography to see how photographers are approaching this new tool. I was wowed by the array of images and stellar examples of technology’s newest tool. The exhibition opens on today, March 6th, and runs through April 7th. A catalogue of the exhibition is also available on Blurb.

The image I selected for the Juror’s Award was by created by Karen Divine. I had seen her images elsewhere, but had no idea that they were created with a cell phone.

Juror’s Award image

Born in Texas, Karen is a self-taught photographer, who has attended workshops and studied with a long roster of image makers. She was introduced to photography during a career as a model in NYC, and later discovered the possibilities of Photoshop. “I view the world in layers, stacking colors, textures, forms and stories onto each other as if one were walking through their day with blurred vision, not taking in specifics but piecing together various parts and overlapping them. Images that tell a story are important to me, images that are suggestive, a reflection of one’s inner turmoil and dreams, a personal documentary, images where the boundaries are somewhat obscure. I want to look at an image and be forced to look again and again. A sense of structure and design is important of course but behind my shapes and colors, there is usually another order of meaning, however abstract that may appear.”

Karen has created the project featured below, Shooting the Nude, where she explores the idea “Do women shoot the nude with a different vein of intention than the male?” She states, “Being the genesis of the greatest art, I wonder if the viewer of the image perceives the nude differently depending on the gender of its maker! Are we shooting the female form for it’s lines and shapes that make any composition visually appealing or is the image a reflection of our own sensuous or objective being? In answering these questions, I discovered a woman, playful, sinuous, provacative, a bit off in her antics and movements, confident, doubtful but always wanting to present herself in freedom.”

iSpy: Camera Phone Photography

Laura Hartford

When I was determining the Juror’s Selection Award image for the Center of Fine Art Photography’s Dreams Exhibition, I was looking for an image that felt unexpected and original. I did not have to look hard to find Laura Hartford’s image of her son, from her series, Like a Weed. It is mysterious, evocative, and creates a wonderful narrative.


Laura has BFA from the Universtiy of Louisville and an MFA from Indiana University and teaches photography and digital art at Bellarmine University, currently serving as the art department chair. She has exhibited nationally and has received artists grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Society for Photographic Education, and the Kentucky Center for the Arts. This spring her image “Hovering Between Us” will be included in volume two of “Light and Lens” by Robert Hirsch from Focal Press, and she will be completing a month-long artist’s residency at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, England working on calotypes at the William Henry Fox Talbot Museum.

Like a Weed is from an on-going series of portraits of my son Jake, which began in 2002 when he was six. The project originated as a play on the concept of Mother Nature and evolved from my interest in how women are portrayed in art, literature and popular media. The work is a personal reflection on the hopes and fears of parenting and on the pervasive metaphors linking the female form with nature. Many argue that this association creates a dichotomy between the feminine world of intuition and ‘fecundity’ and the masculine world of analysis and construction, with the fruits of rational (masculine) efforts inevitably more valued than those of the intuitive (feminine).

While working on an artist’s book I discovered the Victorian language of flowers and began “planting” Jake in my studio, constructing sets for him with lumber, plants, fabric, dirt, paper, photographs and other materials. The project became an extended meditation on my relationship with Jake, using gardening as a central metaphor. Moss, which represented motherhood to the Victorians, appears in many of the photographs and serves as a symbol for the complexities of maternal love, with which one struggles to find balance between embrace, entanglement and release.

Although digitally output, my work is essentially “straight” photography. Root was shot on a Canon 5D, developed in Photoshop Camera Raw and output as an archival ink jet print. I don’t digitally composite my images. Instead I prefer fabricating imaginary places with simple tools and materials.