‘Analog It’ highlights film photography
Several area photographers are being featured in an exhibit at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum that will run through March 7.
“Analog It” is a film-based juried photography exhibit that currently occupies the second floor gallery at the Blanden.
The idea for the exhibit came from a discussion with Blanden Director Eric Anderson and local photographers about having an exhibit that was for only film-based photography.
Film photography isn’t as popular these days as digital photography is, Anderson said. Unlike digital photography, film photography requires the extra investment in the film itself, which has a limited number of frames per roll. Shooting on film requires a little extra patience, he said.
“There’s a little bit of slowness in getting the shot exactly right and the composition of the image,” Anderson said.
The exhibit is part of the Fort Dodge/Kosovo Art Initiative, an international collaboration between the city of Fort Dodge and the country of Kosovo.
Last summer, Anderson had reached out to a few Midwestern photographers about jurying the exhibit, but had no luck in finding anyone interested. Then he had an idea.
“I had just got done being a juror for an exhibit that was in a Kosovo gallery, so I thought this would be perfect,” he said.
The Republic of Kosovo has been a sister state for Iowa since 2013. The Kosovan sister city for Fort Dodge is Gjakova.
Anderson reached out to the gallery director he juried for in Kosovo to see if they could help find him a juror for the Blanden’s exhibit.
“I thought it would fit right in with Fort Dodge’s sister city art exchange,” he said.
The gallery director from Kosovo was able to connect Anderson with two Kosovan photographers to jury the exhibit — Sehida Miftari, of Prizren, and Lulzim Hoti, of Mitrovica.
Anderson said the Blanden received submissions from 15 photographers, including anywhere from two to five images from each. He asked the two jurors to each choose 10 for the exhibit.
The exhibit features 18 images, as Miftari and Hoti had a selection overlap of two photos.
“It tells a great story of a partnership between Iowa and Kosovo, local artists … presenting a fantastic collection of images,” Anderson said.
Heather Jensen, of Fort Dodge, feels appreciative that three of her photographs were selected for the exhibit.
“Being from the Chicagoland area, I was around a lot of high-caliber art museums and I genuinely believe the Blanden is on par with those,” she said. “So it’s a prestigious thing for me, I really am so grateful that I got in.”
Hans Madsen, of Dayton, submitted five of his film photographs and four were selected.
“It’s an honor,” Madsen said of the jurors selecting his work.
Madsen, a reporter and photographer for The Messenger, said that choosing the five images to submit was difficult.
“Photographers, we have a tendency to get attached to certain images that may or may not be our best images, but we’re attached to them for whatever reason, so it’s hard to look at your own work objectively,” he said. “I wanted to submit images that were more reflective of my own ongoing photojournalism project, my ‘Iowa Blues’ project, more so than landscapes or portraits.”
Having an exhibit featuring the work of local photographers says a lot about the community, Madsen said.
“Fort Dodge and the surrounding area has a large pool of incredibly talented photographers,” he said.
Madsen said that after finding out he was selected for this exhibit, he was really looking forward to seeing the work other selected photographers had done and was “thrilled” by the quality of work of the other photographers.
“The other thing I like is that every photographer represented there works in a different style, with different subjects and a wide variety of things,” he said. “It’s a nice cross-section.”
In addition to asking the jurors to each select 10 photographs for the exhibit, Anderson asked that they each select their favorite, or “juror’s choice.”
Both images, “Memorial Day Dayton” and “Human Capital,” were photographed by Madsen.
“One of the things a photographer gets asked about is what kind of a camera they use, what kind of film do they use?” Madsen said. “I always tell people it doesn’t really matter — it’s whatever you happen to have in your hand at the time. One of those (juror’s choice) photos was taken with a really expensive Leica rangefinder. The other one was taken with a 1985 plastic camera rescued from a garbage can.”
Other selected artists are Denise Mellin, George J. McGhee Jr., Abbie Stewart, Zachary Farris, Judith Eastburn and Olivia Erenberger.
A reception for the exhibit will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 8 with an artist lecture at 4 p.m. Refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres will be provided.