SANCTUARY: A Pop-Up Amateur Photography Show

Juror Statement

Amy Kurtz Lansing, Curator, Florence Griswold Museum

The Florence Griswold Museum’s gallery show “Nothing More American:” Immigration, Sanctuary, and Community, an exhibition by Matthew Leifheit includes contemporary photographs and historic paintings. [3D Tour of Exhibition] The artworks tell the story of immigrant and refugee families who have found sanctuary from deportation or persecution in local churches and in the town of Old Lyme, where they have begun new lives. https://florencegriswoldmuseum.org/nothingmoreamerican/
 
When the idea was floated to stage SANCTUARY, a pop-up photography exhibition inspired by the gallery show, little did we know how relevant the theme would become. Submissions for the exhibition opened as news of COVID-19 intensified, and soon, the Museum closed to visitors as social distancing was implemented as a key public health measure for reducing the virus’s spread. Plans for a physical exhibition during the month of May were reconfigured so that we could instead present the photographs online.
 
As we reviewed the photographers’ submissions in early April, it was evident that their works registered the new importance of sanctuary as Americans sheltered at home. Artists entered works that depict the places they feel safe and inspired, as well as the people (and pets) who stimulate their minds and surround them with love. Our horizons have narrowed to our apartments, houses, and yards. The photographers celebrate those environments as well as the hiking trails, beaches, and even travel destinations that have felt like sanctuaries to them. We particularly enjoyed the view of sanctuary reflected through the lenses of high school students, who submitted work as part of an academic assignment. Confinement to home, away from friends and school provided an alternative way to think about their lives.
                                                
Given the intensely felt and moving photographs that were submitted, the decision of which ones to include was not easy. We looked for photos that exemplified the concept of sanctuary as outlined in the call for submissions, taking into account both the imagery and the photographers’ words. Grain, lighting, color, and other technical qualities mattered to us, as did composition and a sense of intention from the photographer in achieving the results on view in each image.
 
While we did not include every submission in what is now an online exhibition, we marveled at the views of nature so many of the photographers captured, and are looking forward to seeking out the gorgeous locations they put before our eyes. Across the 300 photographs that were submitted to our site, nature prevailed as the embodiment of sanctuary, a place for contemplating not only the environment but also the individual, the communal, and the existential. As one of the few places outside our homes that we can explore these days, nature can offer sanctuary to us all through its beauty and dynamic of renewal. As you view SANCTUARY, we hope that you can share in that journey.

Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges 

 

All Categories

Sanctuary
Jeffrey Cooley

City: Old Lyme
State: CT

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: Sanctuary...to be in nature and celebrating its magic
Fallen Leader
Claire Daniel

City: Trenton
State: Me

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: This is my favorite place to meditate, offshore of a beaver pond. This day I sank through the ice into the pond and took this photo of my dogs who were on terra ferma. I laughed..I felt safe; after all they weren’t concerned...after all it was a place of sanctuary.
Exploring #1
Joseph DeLaurentis IV

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: The purpose of these photos is to show how I use exploring nature as my sanctuary during the quarantine.
Embrace
Chloe DeLima

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: The connection of people as sanctuaries with complementary colors, though not every picture depicts a person they all connect through light pastels juxtaposed to high dark-point and deeply saturated color. This represents, to me, the necessity of both darks and lights in human lives, you cannot have one without the other to compare; in order to find oneself in need of a sanctuary, there has to have been an element of dark that drove one towards that sanctuary.
My Sanctuary is Me #1
Jonathan "Finny" Ensminger

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: A collection of me hanging out with my favorite person
My Sanctuary is Me #2
Jonathan "Finny" Ensminger

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: "A collection of me hanging out with my favorite person"
My Sanctuary is Me #3
Jonathan "Finny" Ensminger

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: A collection of me hanging out with my favorite person
Safe Place
William Evertson

City: Lyme
State: CT

Medium: photography
Artist Statement: Our rescue dog Jessie frightens easily. Whenever she hears a strange noise, she finds her safe place.

Cloudy Day at Harvey Beach
Victoria Foley

City: East Haven
State: CT

Medium: Photograph
Artist Statement: I took this photograph at Harvey Beach in Old Saybrook. In summer, it will be packed with families enjoying the beach. On a cloudy day in March though, it is quiet, with only the sound of a few seagulls squawking. In the off-season, this place is not only a sanctuary for wildlife, but also for people searching for a break from the hustle and bustle of their lives.
Father's Day
Christopher Fox

City: Old Saybrook
State: CT

Medium: TMax 120
Artist Statement: Despite the bustling of college kids and heroine addicts, there was a calming sense of security when being among this towering young man and his two sons in front the Yale green. He and his two sons had a kind of magnetic pull on me that the other mundane working class people and suit and ties never seem to have; or on rare occasion. This photo represents Sanctuary to me because these three figures attributed a kind of allure to the already seemingly beautiful aesthetic to Yale and it's park.
Barber Shop
Christopher Fox

City: Old Saybrook
State: CT

Medium: TMax 120
Artist Statement: This photo represents Sanctuary because many men and women flock to their local Barber Shop for a sort of rejuvenation; so that they can start Monday fresh, and feeling better than the week before. I suppose some Barbers may have a kind of mystique surrounding themselves and their shop, many individually decorated to reflect the Barber's interests and style.
Stray Cat in Ravello, Italy
Laura Frommer

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: photo
Artist Statement: A stray cat takes a nap on the steps of a home in Ravello, Italy. I photographed a number of stray cats on the my travels in Italy; often, people set out water and food for the cats.
Ripped Net
Sterling Frost

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: These photos all represent my sanctuary, not only physical, but also they represent a place I can clear my head. I spend tons of time here when I need to think, or just need a place to go or relieve stress.
Working Parts
Quinn Furgueson

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: During the quarantine, besides school, I have been exercising my creativity through digital mediums. My computer is the central hub to my projects: running a software development business, creating Snapchat filters, developing a game, creating phone applications, and editing and piecing together my photography and short films. I have always felt safe on my computer, whether I was nervous or just wanted an escape, the beauty about computer programming is that reality is what you want it to be. There is a comforting rhythm to learning syntax and seeing patterns in the code, and it is satisfying when after tweaking and running the code 100 times, the problem is finally solved. This has been my sanctuary during the pandemic. With my digital photos, I wanted the theme to revolve around a sort of busy, meta, impossibility, which was what initially piqued my interest in computers. The creative process can be seen throughout each stage. Each photo built upon the last, however each previously taken photo is left unchanged, despite the reality of the situation. I was inspired by how I felt when I made my first computer program: confused but intrigued. I saw impossible things happening on my screen, but there they were. A person can’t actually jump that high, they can’t shoot lasers out of their eyes, but the program was telling me otherwise. This feeling is portrayed through the photos by seeing that the live preview of the photo on the phone in Final Product is not different from the photo Working Parts. The phone camera is not properly reflecting the reality of the digital camera in front of my face. Computer programs have the power to invoke many emotions within people, both directly and indirectly, and within these digital pieces the workflow can be felt inside and out of the computer, literally.
Birch trees by pond
Jane Gordon

City: Chester
State: ct

Medium: photo
Artist Statement: The woodland as sanctuary.
SilverMaple2.24.20o12
Amy Greenleaf

City: Guilford
State: CT

Medium: archival giclee print
Artist Statement: Nature, in particular land and water, bring me solace. In this series of images land and water are merged into one. Precious hand-made palladium prints are immersed in water and made vulnerable as the two blend into one. The resilience and transformation of the images in water allows for reflection on the fragility and adaptability of life and how our experiences ripple through and shape our lives. This series utilizes different photographic processes involving a large format camera, 4x5 inch black and white film, a palladium print, a digital camera and an archival giclee print.

"If These Walls Could Talk"
Kathleen Griswold-Larsen

City: Biddeford
State: ME

Medium: Digital
Artist Statement: Taveau Church on The Cooper River near Monks Corner, South Carolina This church was built in 1835 by Martha Carolyn Swinton Taveau the wife of a plantation owner using the slaves from the plantation to build it. This is a recent photo as it stands today. There is an active cemetery on the grounds. There is something very powerful that takes hold when I walk these hollowed grounds.

God is Still Speaking
Kathleen Griswold-Larsen

City: Biddeford
State: ME

Medium: Digital
Artist Statement: Old Sheldon Church Yemassee, South Carolina In 1753 Gov Bull paid to have this Anglican Church built and he is buried in the church yard. The church was built to completion in 1753, and remained in service until 1779, when it was burned at the order of a British general during the American Revolutionary War. Parishioners rebuilt the church, and it was active again until 1865, when it was again burned during the American Civil War. The ruins as seen in this photo are historical, beautiful and peaceful.

Endless Possibilities
Braedon Hansen

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: It is my room, as that is where I go when there is conflict or I am feeling anxious. It includes my bed and my computer (where I talk to friends and play games) Shadows and light/darkness contrast to make the subject stand out. My goal is to make the photos relatable as possible until just by looking at them you can tell that this is somewhere that comforts me.
The road I took
Sang Ah Jee

City: Old Saybrook
State: CT

Medium: Iphone
Artist Statement: Just beautiful

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