With this year’s Call for Entries in full swing, Lumen is pleased to be offering a free-to-enter student prize, open to any student in full-time education, for the third year running. We’re particularly pleased to welcome a new sponsor of the award, Christiane Monarchi, Founding Editor, Photomonitor. I sat down with Christiane recently to discuss her interest in this prize.
Why did you decide to support Lumen’s Student Award this year?
I have enjoyed working with photographers at many stages of their careers, including supporting students to help them gain visibility for their projects. The Lumen Prize Student Award is a great platform for artists making new photographic work with technology, and I’m excited to see what kind of images will be submitted this year.
Why did you launch Photomonitor and what are its goals?
Photomonitor was launched in 2011 as an online magazine focusing on photography and lens-based media in the UK and Ireland, to promote engaging thought on photographic work through commissioned reviews, interviews and essays on artistic practice, exhibitions and photobooks, as well as showing a mix of established and emerging artists in a monthly online portfolio. To date, we have published more than 1,000 features online from more than 250 artists and writers, and these stay free to read and share thanks to the support of the institutions whose logos appear on the side of the site. Photomonitor’s goal is to provide an ever growing platform for photographic work made and shown in the UK and Ireland, to be shared with readers internationally. Within this framework, I like to support and promote artists and institutions who may not yet be as well-known, perhaps working outside large art centres and networks, or in early stages of their careers. This is a great fit for my interest in the Lumen Prize Student Award.
How do you see photography changing as new tools develop?
Discussions on the merits of analogue versus digital photography may continue for some time to come, with perhaps an emphasis on the handmade and unique object made in the darkroom or algorithmically glitching an image from the internet being equally interesting to younger photographers exploring the medium now. The words ‘photography and technology’ today return about 8 billion hits on Google. This is just an indicator of the limitless creativity possible with the combination of light, chemicals, data, storage, imaging tools, film, internet, paper and so on.
Who are your heroes in the photographic world?
Every one of the artists I’ve met through Photomonitor has become one of my heroes, as I’ve gotten to know a little bit more about how they make the images that they do. Consistently, the stories behind the photographs inform their work for me; those who can communicate interesting concepts with all of these image-making tools make memories that have permanent anchors in this vast sea of images we are all awash in. We have all been to inspirational exhibitions of famous images from iconic and well-known photographers. However, increasingly I am interested in lesser-known artists who bravely make new images today, knowing all that has come before, and that are fresh and totally original. These are my heroes.
As the 2019 Lumen Photomonitor Student Award encourages moving image entries as well as still, how do you see video developing as an art form?
It is a natural progression with working in units of time, whether they are compressed into one image or performed in sequence, or moving along a continuum, that artists will want to experiment with. Moving image holds our durational interest, of course, and one can see this in applications in the commercial world as well as in the art world. This is an area which also invites more engagement with other senses, as sound and text can be brought together to communicate ideas with the visual.
What about new ways of creating still images, such as artificial intelligence and coded programming? Would these be allowed, i.e. can a student submit a still or moving image made without a camera?
There will be many answers to this but perhaps a guide could be that photographic work made using technology can include any image or moving image output that is visual, derived from time, data (optical input or other) and able to view as a physical object or on a screen – whether actual light and lenses were used is not necessary. I look forward to learning about the ‘technological inputs’ but also the reason for using them. A winning entry will use technology to manifest an interesting concept, as well as impressive execution.
What about traditional film photography – is this acceptable?
For this prize, the artist must have used technology in their process somewhere, this doesn’t exclude film, it just means it needs to be manipulated in some manner. Good luck to the entrants, and we can’t wait to see what photo+tech creativity looks like today.
For more about the Photomonitor Student Prize, how much you can win and how to enter, please click here.
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