March 11, 2012

Salt: 'Flash Forward' showcases rising photography stars

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

The future of photography is on view at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland.

click image to enlarge

"The Urban Topography Figure 02" by Jung-Wook Mok.

Courtesy photo

click image to enlarge

"Astronaut" by Mat Thorne.

Courtesy photo


WHEN: Through May 4

WHERE: Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, 561 Congress St., Portland


INFO: 761-0660;

A group exhibition by the Magenta Foundation, "Flash Forward," showcases emerging photographers from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

A panel of jurors considered 10,000 images submitted by more than 1,000 photographers before selecting a few hundred images by 120 photographers.

The Salt exhibition offers a cross-section of the finalists, said executive director Donna Galluzzo.

"These are the best and brightest," she said. "These are the photographers who have the most promising careers ahead of them. We wanted to host this show to demonstrate to our students what others are doing and also to give the public a chance to see the kind of work that's out there."

"Flash Forward" is an annual competition. Judges from the three countries review submitted work, then identify those they believe show great promise in fine art and documentary photography.

Part of the goal, said curator Maryann Camilleri of Toronto, is to encourage photographers to stay in the field by offering them exposure and the chance to show their work to a wider audience.

It's about building confidence.

"I graduated from a class of 40. Only six of us are still working in our field," Camilleri said. "If you could encourage and educate people about how to have a career, things could change. This is an interesting time to be an artist, but you must have confidence. That is the basic necessity of what we are trying to build here, the confidence to move forward."

This is the eighth year of the "Flash Forward" competition and exhibition. It began as a small group show in Toronto and New York, and enthusiasm swelled.

It now serves as a launching pad for careers among photographers across the three countries represented.

The competition is limited to photographers who are ages 34 or younger, Camilleri said.

"I'm confident with that age," she said. "I really do embrace people who change their lives at 50 or 45 or 60 and go into art, and I don't want to discourage them. But their mental abilities are much different than a 22-year-old, and that is a pure reality. We are looking for the essence of emerging artists."

She characterizes the artists included in "Flash Forward" as the next "superstars of the art world," and encourages those who attend the exhibition to consider collecting their work.

These are the artists whose work will be priced out of reach for most people in just a few years, she predicted.

While no specific theme emerges among the work in this annual show, Camilleri said she detects a common thread of economy. Many photographers gravitate toward work that captures a country's economic mood.

Another element is a sense of independence. Because of the burgeoning opportunities in the field of self-publishing and in the social media realm, there are many opportunities for photographers and other artists to reach audiences, Camilleri said.

In addition to this traveling show, which features a small sampling of the work chosen for "Flash Forward," the competition includes a book that features the work of all of the finalists.

Magenta is a Canadian foundation that specializes in publishing works by Canadian and international artists.

"Flash Forward" is on view at Salt through early May. 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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