by David Warner
“I liked the range of images from bizarre to what would seem the ordinary, but which, with a few words and a careful examination, opened up the richness of this marvelous world.”
Those are the words of Dalì Museum Executive Director Hank Hine, one of the four judges in CL’s InstaFame Photo Contest. They sum up quite eloquently both the appeal of the winning photos and the inspiration for this contest: the Andy Warhol retrospective currently at the Dalì, which juxtaposes two artists who shed new light on both the everyday and the surreal.
Stepping off from Warhol’s infamous dictum on fame — that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes — we asked photographers to choose as subjects someone or something that they felt deserved 15 minutes or more of fame (or to comment on the whole notion of fame), and to submit photos in a format as universal today as the Polaroid was for Warhol: Instagram. We also asked the contestants to write a short explanation of whom or what they chose to photograph.
The images, as Hine suggests, covered a wide gamut, ranging from sweetly expressed admiration for spouses and friends to self-portraits that are themselves commentaries on the pursuit of fame. Creative Loafing Visual Art Critic Megan Voeller appreciated the “sincerity” of the entries — “how genuine they feel as tributes to individuals who have inspired the people they know.”
The photographers’ written explanations offered a dimension that completed the narratives, but the images themselves revealed the most. As Florida Museum of Photographic Arts Director Jane Simon remarked, “I think we expect portraits of people to be happy, and they can be, but they’re so much more interesting when they include more than just happiness and perceived beauty.“
The judges, who also included CL Creative Director Todd Bates, considered 78 entries in all. Their top 10 is seen here and on subsequent pages, and an overall judges’ winner was to be announced on Thursday, Mar. 20, in a reception at FMOPA in downtown Tampa, where a Readers’ Choice award was also to be presented to Marija Preradovic, whose shot of an important moment in the life of a young St. Pete businesswoman won the most votes from readers.