Saturday, September 18, 2010

The 2010 Berenice Abbott Prize

"Congratulations!! You are amongst some very talented photographers.
I took notes throughout the process and here is what David Fahey( said about your work: completely different, unique approach to familiar subject matter.”

The 2010 Berenice Abbott Photography Prize winners:

Christopher Capozziello, Hamden, Connecticut

Project Title: For God, for Race and for Country, a project about the Ku Klux Klan in the South

10 Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

Alexandra Strada, Brooklyn, New York

Jukka Male, Helsinki, Finland

Kendall McMinimy, Appleton, Wisconsin

Lisa Wiltse, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Marjorie Salvaterra, Los Angeles, California

Michael Frahm, Antwerpen, Belgium

Mike O’Toole, Kildare, Ireland 

Pej Behdarvand, Los Angeles, California

Ryan Spencer Reed, Ludington, Michigan

Teri Havens, Marble Colorado

You can see my project here
and read about it here:

“The Shrinking Horizons of Childhood”     
Mike O’Toole’s series “The Shrinking Horizons of Childhood” was developed from reading an account by Reins Michels, a Dutch football coach about how he saw a family pull up their car near a woods in Holland.The dog ran out immediately but the children did not run out and explore the woods.The children did not see the woods as a place of play, of freedom or adventure.
Alas this has become the norm and today local children know more about the wildlife and environment of the Rainforest than of their own country.
Like most parents O’Toole worries about how much time children spend indoors, using modern technology and about health issues such as obesity in childhood.
In this work he contrasted the fact that the children were staying indoors while it was sunny outside, using the reflections on the windows to bring nature indoors while playing with the idea of the underlying tension and the culture of fear that surrounds childhood.
Although the outdoors are no more dangerous than at any other time in history, parents worry about what ‘might happen’ outdoors. Apart from the dangers for children outside, children themselves are being seen as a ‘threat’ to society by playing football in the streets or simply being out and about.
We bring adult ideas of how children should be, control their activities and over-schedule their lives insofar as there is little agency or autonomy for children themselves, in short we don’t trust children.We keep them “safe” in their glass boxes like exotic birds from the Rainforest.One parent in America wrote to me about the removal of recess at her child's school. In other areas recess coaches are being brought in to show the children how to play !

Tim Gill a writer on childhood says “I see the benefit of time away from adults as an important way for children to grow up as engaged, self confident, resilient people with some control of their own lives. What's needed is frequent,unregulated,self directed contact with people and places beyond the immediate spheres of family and school and the chance to learn from their mistakes. Part social commentary, part fiction, part autobiography, this project is the start of a series on issues around childhood. 
What interests O’Toole is a new kind of social documentary photography, less about reality and more about reflection. 
The best photography approaches something of a dream,Its through photography that illusion becomes reality.

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