More than 100 photographs were narrowed down to a Top 40 with about half as many artists for the juried photography exhibit RAW 2017, taking place at the Noyes Museum Gallery at Stockton University’s Kramer Hall through May 1.
Encompassing pro as well as amateur photographers, Saskia Schmidt, director of education of the Noyes Museum of Art, says that they had “high standards” when selecting the finalists.
“Mainly we were looking for a creative and a unique point of view, photographers who were thinking outside the box — but not only an interesting approach, they needed skills,” Schmidt says. “We did not necessarily want what you’ve seen before and we were looking for diversity.”
“RAW” is a type of image file that contains minimally processed data — in other words, it’s essentially the image as seen by the camera’s sensor. There is no particular theme to this exhibit, other than being RAW images. In it, you’ll see everything from portraiture and still lifes to landscapes and architecture to color and black and white photos.
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Rachel Adams specializes in fantasy-themed photography. A relative newcomer in this field, she wound up scoring Juror’s Choice in the competition — first place — for her photo titled “I Want to Feel Weightless.”
A soft-spoken young woman of 24, Adams has a penchant for the dark side.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy and surrealism, those are definitely big inspirations,” Adams says. “I try to create unusual, otherworldly places in my artwork … (with) surreal, magical, dark, sometimes even nightmarish tones.”
Adams submitted the maximum of five photographs to RAW 2017, four of which were chosen for the exhibit. It turns out that her winning piece happened almost by accident.
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“I had seen this technique that I always wanted to try (where you put) milk in a bathtub to create a surreal look,” Adams explains. “I was just kind of messing around when the photo wound up looking like my model was floating or that she was in a cloud or she was even submerging herself to try to forget something — or maybe even becoming a cloud.”
Her work often skews toward fantasy, as she admits that she misses the “feeling of being a child” and “having a magical feeling about life,” therefore she tries to create something that brings the viewer back to that charmed period of time or that takes them out of their reality for a moment. As a Fine Art major at Rowan University, she dabbled in painting and sculpture, but chose to concentrate on photography for her unique art because she was better able to blend reality with her vivid imagination.
“I liked that with my photography I could create these fantasy worlds and make it look lifelike because I’m using real people, as opposed to painting them,” she says. “I’m bringing to life these images that I have in my head.”