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Alaska Positive 2006

Back to exhibit > Juror Statement

Alaska Positive 2006 Awards List

Juror’s Choice Award:  
Da-ka-xeen Mehner “7/16th”

Award of Recognition:

Beverly Cover “Path With Wind”
Aleda Yourdon “White Rabbit”

The three photographers above will receive cash awards courtesy of 
The Friends of the Alaska State Museum.

Special Honorable Mention:  
William Heath “Light”
George Provost “Stone Steps”
Honorable Mention:  
Jay Barrett “The Music”
Carl Battreall “Rainbow Creek”
Greg Bledsoe “Fire and Lights”
Jane Cloe “Clean Rooms”
Buddy Ferguson “Southbound Solitude”
Shar Fox “Peace Prayer”
Jayne M. Jones “Discontent”
Barry McWayne “Decadent Fireweed #1, Bird Form”
Richard J. Murphy “Fortymile River”

The juror for Alaska Positive 2006 was Patrick Nagatani.
231 photographs were submitted by 65 photographers. 
Of these, 49 photographs by 35 photographers were selected for the show.
See list of all photographers in the exhibit. (PDF file)

Juror's Statement by Patrick Nagatani

Past jurors have said it all. I will mention a few choice comments that I feel are poignant and relevant to my thinking as well. Michelle Dunn Marsh commented, "As I reviewed the juror's statements from previous years I found a range of comments- critical, instructional, explanatory and complimentary. I found myself wondering, do I have words to offer that have not been ably said by my predecessors? Probably not." Ralph Gibson remarked, "The only thing for an artist to remember is that he or she is the only one fully entitled to judge the work. The artist who makes the work is the one who will spend the most time looking and ultimately understanding the content of the work."

Anne Wilkes Tucker defined juried exhibitions, "For each juried exhibition, the variables include the rules of submission, the vagaries of who decided to submit work to the competition, the pictorial traditions of that locality, and the visual inclinations of the juror. Each resulting exhibition reflects the particular tastes and responses by that particular juror to those particular submissions, both to the specific images and to the whole range submitted. The individual pictures are not seen in isolation. Comparisons can be enlightening." Judy Dater explained, "My baseline for judgment was a demonstration of technical proficiency no matter what the approach.

I then looked for ideas, a personal or unique vision and sensibility; evidence that the artist was in control." And Les Krims exclaimed, "Exuberant after looking at the work submitted to the Alaska Positive exhibition, and the collections of the Alaska State Museum which reflect the creative history of Alaska's peoples - their ingenuity, skill and vitality; the extraordinary beauty and symbolism..." So, that's the formal, intellectual and juror judgment justification part.


Personal scattered thoughts seem to form the most important overlay for me now. It was great to interact with real objects rather than representations. For the most part, the artists displayed professional presentation and mastery of the chosen medium. There were hardly any amateurs. I enjoyed submissions that had a vision or style woven through the group of entries. I looked at every image entered with respect and careful analysis. The overall work was of high quality.

Older processes were hardly present. Mixed media work that combined with photography was missing. Still under represented was the "post-modern esthetic and appropriation, and work dealing with major social and political issues..." Exploration with the juxtaposition of images in relationship to one another was non existent. The work was mostly descriptive and explanatory. No cameraless images. Hardly any play with scale and challenging viewing distances. Most taken in the hunter mode of finding and recording a precious moment, a beautiful landscape, a visually interesting person or a graphic design. Most visual exploration was over well traveled pathways.

For a brief moment, I felt time had stood still within the medium. But stood still in a good place. The work was mostly traditional and romantic. Very good traditional and romantic images. Thank goodness. Much of the work is poetic. As Michelle Dunn Marsh suggested, "Look at each and every photograph. Step inside its frame and feel its surface - matte, glossy, weighty, thin, textured, digital, darkroom - brush your very being. Wander through its color, tonal range, composition and content. Live for a moment within that image, and by all means be silent, laugh or cry as the spirit moves you." The work submitted allowed for this. If work falls into the two categories of response being the "HMMMMMM" of thought and analysis or the "AHHHHHHH" of feeling an emotion, the Alaska Positive 2006 exhibition brings forth a great "AHHHHHHH".

Congratulations to all who entered and put your work forward. Congratulations to those who are in the exhibition and who tantalized me in some way. Congratulations to the award winners for being special in this artist's eyes. Thank you to Mark Daughhetee and the museum staff for hospitality and professional and personal assistance. The job was a pleasure. Thank you for sharing.