Context 2015 to feature work of Columbia professor


Kelly Wenzel

Alice Hargrave has been attending Filter Photo Festival events for the last two years, but Context 2015 is the first time she has submitted work to the festival. 

By Campus Reporter

Alice Hargrave, an adjunct professor in the Photography Department, was selected from a pool of more than 600 artists to show her work at the Filter Photo Festival’s annual spring exhibition, Context 2015. 

Running from Feb. 6 to March 27, the exhibition will feature Hargrave’s piece, “Untitled (expeditions); mangroves,” along with the work of 25 other photographers from across the world.  

Context 2015 will be the first event to take place in the Filter Photo Festival’s new, permanent gallery space at 1821 W. Hubbard St. The opening reception is set to take place at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, and the event will be the eighth juried exhibition produced by Filter Photo Festival, which focuses only on fine and documentary art. 

Jurors are selected for their professional experience in the industry and whether they are working in galleries or museums, or as professional photographers themselves, said Sarah Hadley,  executive director of Filter Photo Festival. The organization selected Michal Raz-Russo,  the assistant curator in the Department of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, to be this year’s juror. 

In the past, the juror has selected a theme for each exhibition, but Raz-Russo decided to keep the theme open, allowing photographers to submit three to five images of their choosing. 

The chosen pieces are unified by the idea of layering and demonstrate this idea in a variety of ways, according to an exhibition statement. The statement said all pieces are deeply affected by the narrative and context surrounding them rather than being simply about the process. 

“I think Michal was really looking for people who are sort of pushing the boundaries of photography today and trying to use the medium in new ways, which is hard,” Hadley said. “It’s a medium that’s been around now for over 100 years.” 

Because the medium has been experimented with for so long, visitors will not see an abundance of landscape, cityscape, portrait or still-life photographs, according to Hadley. 

“[The show is] very much about the state of current photography,” Hadley said. “There’s a use of a lot of layering, there’s use of a lot of interesting techniques, both in Photoshop but also in using the camera in different and new ways.”

When selecting images to submit to the exhibition, Hargrave said she evaluated her most recent body of work, “Untitled (expeditions); mangroves.” The artist previously exhibited the collection in the fall at an independent show and two group showings. 

“The pictures are really a lot about the passage of time and about loss and about memory,” Hargrave said.

In her artist’s statement, Hargrave, who has worked in the photography industry for nearly two decades, said her process involves revisiting and reimagining experiences after a certain amount of time while allowing her emotion to work its way into the image. 

“It’s actually quite a mysterious, dark piece,” Hargrave said. “It’s a personal narrative. I’m interested in finding these moments of the sublime when you’re experiencing landscapes. I’m interested in catching ephemeral moments.” 

Also selected for the exhibition is a piece by 2010 MFA photography alumnus Jason Reblando. Reblando is currently in the Philippines as a recipient of a 2014–2015 Fulbright Scholar grant and could not be reached for comment.