Group exhibitions are hard to describe without devolving into a list of every artist that is featured. They are often more about the skill of the curator than the ability of the photographers. Natural Selection is a selection, natural or otherwise, of emerging photographers from around the world. The opening event was fun and as eclectic as you would expect a group of emerging photographers would be. The exhibition begs the question – what is an emerging photographer? Are they students who are graduating with their MFA or completing an internship; being pushed out the end of the college system? Or are they simply photographers who have toiled away, but have yet to gain popular recognition. This collection seemed more of the former, and depending on your views on social darwinism the case could be made for either a Natural or an Unnatural selection being made.
As photography has become a totally accepted art form, schools, galleries and museums have created the school to museum path that comes with the other fine art MFAs. That is not to say that there are not many fine photographers emerging from these programs, but those programs are inclusive from the beginning. The availability of ready made and acceptable art makes the curator's job easy – there is a lot less footwork required. This is not saying that Natural Selection shows the result of lazy curating; the show was good, but we are now using it to discuss a larger point.
Review by John Hutt
Photos by Lena Vasillilou