PhotoshopNews.com
Mar 13, 2006

Capturing chaos

Photographer illustrates the art of family living.

Source: Springfiled News-Leader
Written by Sony Hocklander

Springfield photographer Julie Blackmon’s whimsical, somewhat surreal series, “Domestic Vacations,” captures the messy, charming chaos of family life.

Peopled with her children, nieces, nephews, sisters, husband — whomever most fits an imagined scenario — Blackmon’s photos reflect moments of life and then some: play group time, a front porch family gathering, little girls lounging on a lazy Saturday, a toddler crying, a little boy in time out.

Springfield photographer Julie Blackmon’s whimsical, somewhat surreal series, “Domestic Vacations,” captures the messy, charming chaos of family life.

Peopled with her children, nieces, nephews, sisters, husband — whomever most fits an imagined scenario — Blackmon’s photos reflect moments of life and then some: play group time, a front porch family gathering, little girls lounging on a lazy Saturday, a toddler crying, a little boy in time out.

Blackmon calls them “fictional reality” — photo illustrations based on real family experiences, which she understands all too well as the eldest of nine and mother to three.

They are about her family.

They are about any family.

They are getting noticed.

In February, Blackmon won the $5,000 first prize in the Santa Fe Center for Photography’s prestigious Project Competition, which honors a body of significant work. Nearly 700 artists submitted. Among seven other finalists, five were from New York.

“Ultimately, only the photographers who submitted 20 strong images made it to the final stages. Even then, good work was eliminated,” jurors wrote in a statement.

Blackmon is represented now by three reputed galleries: Gallery Kayafas in Boston, the Susan Spiritus Gallery in Los Angeles and Photo-eye Gallery in Santa Fe, N.M.

In Springfield, images from “Domestic Vacations” are shown at Gilt Antiques and Decorative Arts on Walnut Street and were exhibited in January at Good Girl Art Gallery. Also in January, several pieces were selected for “Group Portrait,” an exhibit at the Photographic Resource Center of Boston University and for “Photo L.A.” in Los Angeles.

The series will be shown this summer at the Society of Contemporary Photography in Kansas City and Gallery Kayafas in November. An earlier series, the black and white “Mind Games” about children at play, was at Arts Center of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Ark., in January and will be at a Portland, Ore., gallery in July.

That’s not all.

A producer for the Halle Berry/Bruce Willis project, “Perfect Stranger,” contacted Photo-eye Gallery about using Blackmon’s black and white “Trampoline” on a movie set.

National Geographic has expressed interest in her work for a digital photography book.

And she’s featured this month as a one-page profile in Popular Photography, currently on stands.

The growing swell of attention doesn’t quite fit comfortably yet for Blackmon who, in torn jeans, a baseball shirt and little-girl pigtail braids, looks younger than her 39 years.

Don’t make her out to be famous, or anything, she implores. Besides, she jokes, talking about her budding success might jinx it.

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