What is Critical Mass? The aim of Critical Mass is to provide participants with career-building opportunities and to promote the best emerging and mid-career artists working today. Critical Mass is about exposure, connection, and community – as well as some very notable awards! Photolucida is excited to once again offer our Critical Mass MFA Student Scholarship Awards this year.
How is the selection done? Critical Mass gets photographers’ work in front of 200 top museum curators, gallerists, publishers, editors, and media producers. That’s a lot of eyes. As an individual photographer, it’s difficult to make connections with professionals at this level – much less with 200 of them. In Critical Mass, photographers (from anywhere) submit a 10-image portfolio. The 200 finalists who proceed past the first, pre-screening round then have their work reviewed and voted on by the full panel of 200 jurors. It’s an unprecedented way to get your work in front of the right people!
Who are the jurors? Our Critical Mass jurors are an international group of industry professionals representing a wide variety of photographic interests. We make a great effort to invite a wide range of professionals in the field (gallery owners, agency art buyers, curators, publishers, editors, media producers, etc.). In addition to seeing the work during the online voting process, jurors also have access to a database of the finalists’ work for future reference.
I am honored to have been selected as Critical Mass Top 50 (2016 & 2018) and Critical Mass Top 200 (2017). All three projects that I submitted are included in my monograph – Cultures in Transition: Spirit, Heart, Soul. More information can be found at www.culturesintransition.com
In 2016, I submitted the first chapter: The Spirit of the Village. Entering a village is stepping back in time. Narrow streets, sometimes paved, most of the time dirt paths. Un-numbered homes are the norm, as everybody knows each other. Streets wind in un-orderly fashion over streams of running water, sometimes fresh often as open sewage. Early morning feels like a metronome wakes up. Few words are exchange among neighbors, prayers and chores get on the way, people leave to go farming. Late afternoon, the center of the village gets busy as daily stories are shared over many types of beverages. People retreat to their home when darkness approaches. Description might be symbolic but the feel is pretty accurate. My interest was to capture the inner belly of the Village, what happens inside people’ homes, how they think, how they feel. Spirit of the Village is changing, mainly affected by the modern world innovation. Rapid changes often comes at the cost of old-world customs, rituals and social relationships. This is especially true in Asia, where a search for new opportunities in urban areas has led to a mass exodus of the middle generation in rural communities. Those left behind are balancing a growing tension between the cultural diversity of the past and the homogenized present. Villages are populated by those on opposite ends of the generational divide — grandparents and children. The net result often creates a situation where those desperately looking to preserve tradition are caring for those most-willing to embrace change. From a western perspective it may look like time stands still in the Village, and it some ways it does, but below the surface there exists a struggle between old and new, tradition and modernity that ultimately must come into balance as villagers hold onto their Spirit while coping with the reality of a modern world.
In 2017, I entered the Heart of the Yi. For centuries, the Yi people have been surviving in the remote mountainous regions of China. In relative isolation, they have developed their own language, costumes and customs. Unfortunately, their detachment has also left them vulnerable to poverty, famine and the ever-encroaching reach of commercialism on their land. Exacerbated by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, a disaster that killed 69,000 people, the Yi are struggling to rebuild their world as it has always been. Traveling deep in Yi territories is a trip back in time. The “last mile” is seldom as described, often restricted, but rewarding when you reach the “heart of the Yi” culture. The parents are hard at work, cultivating the land for subsistence. The young split their time between morning school, helping with daily chores, and taking care of their infant siblings. The nightly activities are basic as many of the homes have little to no electricity. But the lure of comfort in form of new homes and modern amenities has the Yi fiercely resists as they want to protect their homeland and authenticity. These images are a glimpse into the heart of the Yi. They showcase their daily joys and struggles not by embellishing them, but by showing them exactly as they are. Yes, their customs and way of life are antiquated, but their instinct of survival and resistance to change is commanding and full of hope.
And in 2018, the entry was about the Soul of the Burkitshi, the eagle hunters of Mongolia. (see statement above).
Don’t miss the opportunity to own all three body of works, with essays from Anne Wilkes Tucker, Peter Finke, Geir Jordahl, over 15,000 words detailing the journey (15 years) and the stories of all the people photographed.
Book is available as a limited edition and collector edition. www.culturesintransition/orderform
Issue 130 – December 2018 (on the stand October 1, 2018) – Article by David Best
California photographer Oliver Klink lives a life of adventure and exploration, and, of course, photography. His camera acts as a sort of passport to some of the more exotic and remote regions of the planet, and his photographs show a world that most people will never see outside of the pages of National Geographic. Of the 112 countries he has visited, we will focus for now on just one; China, and in particular on a remote and mostly inaccessible ethnic group of people that most have probably never heard of and fewer still visited: the Yi of Southwest China.
Galen Rowell once said that his legs got him into photography and they also got him to places where there were stunning photographs to be made. The same is true for Klink. As an avid skier growing up in Switzerland (he was on the national Swiss ski team), Klink’s physical aptitude and stamina got him to places in the Swiss Alps that were breathtaking, and it soon became apparent that he needed to chronicle these moments.
“When you are raised as a competitor,” Klink says, “You like to push the boundaries and find new frontiers. Photography also offers me these feelings. When out shooting pictures you are alone with your equipment and your subject, and you push the boundaries of what is possible. Skiing competition is also a long-term investment in terms of training and keeping focused on a goal. I find the same is true with photography. I’m never worried about how long it takes to successfully complete a long-term photographic project I am excited about.”
One project that has occupied Klink for the past seventeen years is his exploration of the Asian cultures. He first visited China in 2001 and has since made numerous visits. “Photographing the Yi, one of the 55 ethnic minority cultures, was full of surprises.” He says. “I was so remote in the Chinese countryside that I knew if anything should happen, nobody would ever find me. The roads were muddy, the visibility was awful and we often had to traverse heart-stopping cliffhanger roads, and then switch to horses to complete our journey”
The regions Klink explored in the Sichuan Mountains are very remote, and the Yi people are mostly unfriendly to outside visitors, especially photographers. Klink had three failed attempts to make contact with these people when one night he was kicked out of his hotel room to make room for visiting government dignitaries. With no place to stay, he met a local farmer who took him under his wing. “He enabled me to make impromptu stops along our way,” says Klink, “To take side roads, visit his village, and gain insights and access into the Yi culture. I was transported to a world that I could hardly believe still existed, and had flashbacks to images made in the 1930’s.”
On each subsequent trip, Klink’s explorations became even more rustic and further off the beaten path. It was only by visiting the region over and over that he started to lose his ‘tourist goggles’ as he calls them. He established trust, and began to focus on the true essence of the people; their daily joys, struggles, hopes, and fears of an uncertain future. China is developing at such an astonishing rate that even the most remote corners of China are subject to rapid modernization. “When you venture all the way down the road, says Klink, “Not just halfway, you can witness the histories and traditions of the people that are quickly disappearing from view, and from our planet.
“When I photograph, I like to operate like a movie director. I like to plan ahead, and I always have an idea of what I am looking for. But like most good movies, the best scenes often come from improvisation, when the elements come together at random before your camera lens. Some of my favorite mottos include: Be true to yourself. Never rest on your laurels. Read a lot. Be out there rain or shine. Don’t reinvent the wheel, but reinvent yourself constantly.”
Klink’s approach to photography is very therapeutic for him. He tries to become one with the people he meets and then hopes his viewers will also connect with his subjects through his photographs. He tries to observe a lot and shoot little. It is not uncommon that he comes back with just a few ‘keepers” from three weeks of strenuous wandering in a foreign country.
“A photograph is a kind of time travel,’ he says. “It transcends geography and culture to share a moment, however brief, of true connection. I hope this collection, which I’m including in my book to be titled, “Cultures In Transition,” can transport my viewers as well. The lives I capture are diverse. I believe the photographs I make are attempting to tell the same story: illuminating the spirit, heart, and soul of us all.” — David Best
Images are part of a monograph, published by True North Editions, titled Cultures in Transition: Spirit, Heart, Soul.
The book is available for purchase at https://www.culturesintransition.com/OrderForm
Press Release: Oliver Klink featured in The Palo Alto Weekly (Africa: The Struggle of Beauty – Group exhibit with Sebastião Salgado, Andy Wegst, & more)
October 1, 2018
Article in the Palo Alto Weekly by Karla Kane
The elephant is one of the most enigmatic creatives in all of the animal kingdom. To some, they are majestic creatures worthy of worship, to others merely beasts of burden. Regardless of human perception, they are incredible animals that are full of intelligence, empathy, and a genuine curiosity for the world.“Life” is a photo series that attempts to showcase elephants in their totality — not just a small fraction to be misunderstood. Approaching this project with a painterly touch, I’m aiming to create vivid portraits of these animals as they navigate between freedom, domesticity, and destruction.
The final touch was the appearance of the book, the cover, the Limited Edition, the Collector edition. We browsed thousands of books for ideas and came up with new and creative ones! In early July, I traveled to Italy to monitor the first test prints. AMAZING! As I wrote in my essay, it rekindled my youth working with my dad, who was a printmaker. When there, we brainstormed on the material for the book cover and the Collector edition. The never-ending quest for uniqueness and authenticity.
Today the book was sent to Italy, so they can build the plates, custom mix Pantone colors, and get ready for Geir and me to visit the Longo press and the bindery (both in Northern Italy) in early September. The journey has been nothing but thrilling, exhausting, full of creativity. And I have never produced images with such printing quality (hundreds of hours reprocessing images to match the feel of the book).
In this second of the 2018 awards black and white a prestigious international jury composed of renowned photographer, Reza (Paris), The Managing editor of Getty Images, Jay Davies (New York), Shanthi Jeuland, Founder and Director of Coco Communications (Singapore), Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and collections of International centre of photography (New York), The galleries’ directors; Klompching Gallery (New York) and Catherine Edelman Gallery (Chicago), the professional photographer Gurdas Dua, Brand Ambassador for Sony (India) and Maria Oliva, Marketing director of Dodho Magazine, have selected through a hard-working process, due to high quality and the large numbers of projects and portfolios received, the award-winning photographers as the best projects in black and white 2018.
The selection process has been very complicated but we are proud of the final result, and the great reception obtained. In the coming weeks will be published the book Black & White – Best photographers of the year 2018 where they will show the works of all winners and finalists. The edition will be published in hardcover and also in digital format and will be put up for sale on our website; it will also be distributed to the best galleries and agencies around the world in search of opportunities for the photographers who have applied to this contest.
Grand prize winner: Oliver Klink for his work “Spirit of the Village” (part of Cultures In Transition).
Additional information about the work can be found at www.culturesintransition.com
About Dodho Magazine:
Dodho Magazine is an independent international magazine, born with the vocation to promote the work and projects of emerging photographers and professionals from all over the world. Since its launch in April 2013, Dodho Magazine has uncovered countless photographers and put their work in the spotlight of professionals in the photographic industry. With more than one million annual visits and half a million pages viewed monthly, Dodho Magazine has managed to become the fastest growing photo magazine and become a benchmark among galleries, agencies and other publishers around the world.
Dodho Magazine is published daily in its online version and every six months in its printed version. Each version is focused on a totally different audience, while the online version seeks a public as broad as possible, the print version is aimed exclusively at a more professional audience such as galleries, agencies and other professionals in the photographic and art industry, both editions have as objective and priority standing out any good photographer or project within the crowd. Highlighting their work and offering the right promotion tools.
Dodho Magazine allows all amateur and professional photographers from around the world to spread their projects around the world in record time and share their passion and ideas about photography through their community.
May 11, 2018 – Press Release:
Story and Photography about Oliver Klink’s Black and White Imagery is being published in the Light and Shadow magazine (Issue 3).
In the article, Klink expresses his views and tips on how to tackle the challenges of B&W Photography.
” Darks Darker: This is a favorite trick of mine: making the darks darker so the lights appear brighter. By association—and nothing else— when we make darks go darker, the mind just assumes the other elements have to be brighter, even though in reality they are not”.
Other thoughts are related to visualizing, printing, and getting creative inspiration.
The magazine can be downloaded free of charge at http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/magazine
For additional information, visit colorawards official website
We are delighted to announce as a Winner at the 12th Annual Black & White Spider Awards your work has been published in The Journal Collection No.9.
The Journal is a digital publication featuring curated collections of the award winning photography, produced to promote your achievement at the awards. You can view and download the Journal at: www.thespiderawards.com.
My image, “Ancient Farming” won the 2nd place in the Silhouette category and is featured on page 508-509.
“The quality of the work is astounding. I love to quietly and contemplatively look at the images. You can feel the creativity and personality of each photographer featured in volume 9. Well worth the time!
Want to know more about Ancient Farming? Check the body of work it belongs to at http://www.oliverklinkphotography.com/CulturesInTransition/LifeoftheVillage/
Press Release, January 12, 2018
Rfotofolio was founded to give photographers access to a larger audience, and to educate the public about all types of photography through our sites, exhibitions, interviews, and articles.
We feel that art can make a difference in the quality of life for many individuals. Who has not been affected by the images we see? From showing the consequences of climate change and pollution, to finding solace in the image of a single flower. Art also serves to remind us that there is beauty in this world.
We feel that photography can make a difference in the quality of life for many individuals. Who has not been affected by the images we see? From showing the consequences of climate change and pollution, to finding solace in the image of a single flower. Art also serves to remind us that there is beauty in this world.
It is an honor to be featured as artist of the month at the CPA (www.photography.org). The root of the organization goes back to the Ansel Adams of our world.
Tracing our roots back to the Friends of Photography, founded in 1967, the Center for Photographic Art (CPA) remains the second oldest members’ photography gallery organization in the country. A short walk from Ocean Avenue in Carmel, CA brings you to the venerable gallery launched by iconic artists Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock and Brett Weston. Today, CPA continues to serve as a valuable asset to its members, the community and the greater world of the photographic arts.
CPA’s gallery, which is free to the public, features the finest works of contemporary photography. In addition, CPA also offers the unique PIE Labs (Photography + Ideas + Experience) creativity program in the fall and the new PIE Tech! program in the spring. The award-winning PIE programs present an uncommon array of talented facilitators and are designed to spark creative thinking and artistic development. The CPA Lecture Series brings artists, curators, educators, and other leaders in the field of photography to our venue at the Sunset Center for in depth examinations into a variety of relevant topics. Special monthly events are planned for CPA members only and include critiques, film viewing, book reviews, and print exchanges to name but a few.
If you have an interest in photography and in networking with other enthusiasts and appreciators, you’ll enjoy our exhibitions, artistic-development programs, lectures, and special members’ nights. If you’ve wanted to learn more about photographic art and collecting, we encourage you to join CPA’s vibrant, supportive and ever- expanding photography community by becoming a member.
“Thank you CPA for your continuous support of artists and your inspiration with activities and exhibits”. Oliver Klink