Spring Awakening: What the Artists See

As Spring arrives, there is an evident change in the environment and human behavior. We view spring as the commencement of new life, the eruption of hope, expression, inspiration. When conceiving the idea of a photography competition, we were curious to find out more interpretations and visions of awakening. Here are the featured stories of the Winner and the Finalists of the Photography Competition, “Spring Awakening”, 2015.

Eunika Rogers, the Winner: “Medusa’s Glare”.

"Medusa's Glare", by Eunika Rogers

“Medusa’s Glare”,  Eunika Rogers

Eunika Rogers, a contestant from Memphis, TN, grew up in Eastern Europe. At that time to have a doll was considered as luxury – the doll was perceived as something really expensive and special, and little Eunika was not allowed to play with it as much and often as she wanted to. Thus, the little girl was growing up very creative – she would find inspiration in natural materials and would play imaginative games. “I’ve always looked forward to Spring and Spring flowers – even as a little girl, I would go out and play in the flowers, and ‘decorate’ myself in them, or just turn them into dolls I would play with… Flowers and the coming of Spring was my time to be a girl and, eventually, a woman – it is when I make changes and create goals for myself and allow myself to dream.”

In her image, Eunika is wearing a dogwood tree bloom outfit. Eunika explains: “The dogwood trees grow in abundance in Mid-South, and they always look like dresses to me. The great idea about being an artist is that I can make some dreams come alive in pictures where I can chose my dress and go running or dancing in it, and feel alive.”

Being a long distance runner, Eunika Rogers often plays little pretend games to keep the run more interesting:
“With this image, I pretend to run, jump, and twirl as to not be seen – thinking that if I do get discovered the dream will end…”

A beautiful story, which – we wish – will have many inspiring episodes.

Ann Langdon, a Finalist: “Spring River Rush”.

"Spring River Rush", by Ann Langdon

“Spring River Rush”,  Ann Langdon

The object of Ann’s artwork is not a river. Ann Langdon is experimenting with blending substances and textures which results in such unexpected abstractions. This picture reminded the artist of a frozen river that had awakened with the warmth of Spring  and was rushing down over rocks.

Ann explains: “It is part of my Viscosity Series: a photo of the chemical reaction from adding a dispersant to food coloring in milk. I wait for an image that I like, photograph it, and, after occasional manipulation, I print it on canvas. The canvas is not critical, and I make clear that it is a photograph, not a painting.”

Christy Chapman, a Finalist: “Spring Awakening”.

"Spring Awakening", Christy Chapman

“Spring Awakening”, Christy Chapman

“To me, Spring Awakening means something that was happening within”, – says Christy Chapman. “Within” is Christy’s key word to explain her artwork. “The lighting contrast in featured picture represents the contrast going on within, when a person is still struggling a bit to get rid of the slumber and darkness of winter but awakening to the new spring of life within.”

“Every time I see it I’m taken right back to the moment”, Christy Chapman explains, “Everything about it screams “Spring Awakening” to me. The morning light,  the cool crisp air, the fresh greenery starting to spring forth, the shadows of the new buds on the trees making their appearance, reaching out to be seen. I can almost hear the birds!”

Bing Feng, a Finalist: “The American Dream – Starring Jackie Chan and John Cusack, Dragon Blade 3D IMAX will be released in February 2015”.

“The American Dream - Starring Jackie Chan and John Cusack, Dragon Blade 3D IMAX will be released in February 2015”, Bing Feng. Digital C-Print, 40" x 60", 2015, Edition 10.

“The American Dream – Starring Jackie Chan and John Cusack, Dragon Blade 3D IMAX will be released in February 2015”, Bing Feng. Digital C-Print, 40″ x 60″, 2015, Edition 10.

Bing Feng moved to the USA from Shanghai, China. He sees the purpose of the photography in awakening an interest in a foreign culture. You are probably captivated with the long artwork title – this is Bing Feng’s exact translation of what the newspaper tells us. In the image, you can see an Asian man reading a newspaper in Chinese. “Being an outsider here, I feel isolated, especially because of the language barrier”, – Bing Feng explains. His notion of the awakening means to stop being distracted with the media and information – such as celebrity news – which prevent people from recognizing the significance of their own lives and creativity.

Michael Sweet, a Finalist: “Sun Bath”.

"Sun Bath", Michael Sweet

“Sun Bath”, Michael Sweet

This photograph was taken in Coney Island on a very sunny day. Michael Sweet says: “I chose this image because in Spring what we look forward to, perhaps, the most is the sun! Spring gives us hope that a scene like this one will in fact happen again – as the idea of this image becomes so foreign to us over the long winter months.”

Michael Sweet is in search of his signature photography style. These image and theme – street style photography, vital, realistic – show the direction he wants to pursue as a photographer.

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