Kim Chevez works with drones, but not in the way one might expect.
Chevez, a Reston, Virginia-based photographer, uses the military-based technology to create color and light in her work, two elements that fascinate her, she said. “Presidents I,” currently on display at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, is one of her newest drone-lit works. It depicts a 20-foot statue of George Washington illuminated from above, inspired by the closing of Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The photograph is part of BlackRock’s’ “Captured Light: Current Photographic Processes” exhibition, its first-ever juried photography exhibit, on view through Dec. 21. It’s one of 86 works by 43 different artists from across the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. The exhibit’s goal is to highlight unique artistic approaches in photography — as well as a large body of different work, said Anne Burton, gallery director.
“We wanted to display the many different [and innovative] ways people choose to output their work,” said Burton.
Works include images taken in studio or on location, like Chevez’s, that focus on still-life, landscape and architecture. They also feature a variety of capture types, such as old-school film cameras or SLRs with difference lenses; and many different output methods — from traditional silver gelatin prints to digital pigment prints on paper or aluminum.
Of the 43 selected artists, eight were chosen as winners of the exhibition. Nate Larson, Chair of the Photography Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, served as juror. First, he reviewed each submission digitally to choose works for the exhibition; then visited BlackRock in person to select awardees.
Larson described his selection criteria as “choosing projects that were thoughtfully engaging, with a lot of intentionality.”
“I wanted to display and award works where the image and the artists’ statement aligned,” Larson said. “Photographs with a careful methodology with a larger context.”
Larson chose Jonna McKone, a Brooklyn, New York- and Baltimore -based photographer, artist and journalist, as the first-place winner. Her work, “A Note From Home,” a documentary series of five photographs featuring youth who have experienced foster care or homelessness, will be featured in a future solo exhibit at BlackRock.
“A Note From Home” is the result of a long-term participatory project where McKone worked closely with displaced youth to learn their family stories. Each of the five photographs features a different individual or group, with the goal of depicting their personal stories, according to McKone’s artist statement.
“For me, the act of storytelling itself can change reality,” she said. “The stories and photographs [in ‘A Note From Home’] communicate both an extraordinary resilience and the fragility of being between youth and adulthood.”
Other awardees included Benjamin Tankersley, second place, for his series on first-generation skateboarders and Catherine Day, third, for her selected silk and linen fabric work; as well as honorable mentions Heather Braxton and Eric Johnson and student awardees Mercedes Fernandez and Nathan Resnick.
Burton hopes the exhibition can offer many types of photographers an outlet for expression. “We often receive proposals to show a lot of work we’re just not able to accommodate,” she said. “This kind of jury exhibit gives artists an opportunity to show [at least] one or a few pieces of that work.”
And, on a larger scale, Burton hopes it will help bring the community together — photographers and non-artists alike. “We’ve had a lot of photographers here [to view the exhibition], but also people who didn’t submit entries. Just people who are interested,” Burton said. “It’s a way to bring everyone together.”
“Captured Light: Current Photographic Processes” is on view through Dec. 21 at BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. Call 301-528-2660 or visit www.blackrockcenter.org.