Thursday, November 1, 2012


That time of year again. Photolucida has just announced the Critical Mass Top 50. I spent some of last night and today reviewing them all, which I guess is the idea since CM wants to foster exposure. As usual there are some familiar names, many not so familiar, and a wide variety of subjects and styles. Just when you thought everything in the world had been photographed CM shows you 50 ways it hadn't. 

Congrats to all who made the cut. Of course everyone will have their own favorites. For me, Kai Loffelbein, Donna J. Wan, Tom Wik, Noah David Bau, and Toyoshi Watanabe in particular made a strong impression. 

If I understand correctly, now a book award winner will be chosen and also two solo shows awarded. The exact mechanics of this decision are a bit unclear, but based on a few factors I think one can make an educated guess about who the photographers are likely to be. Taking into account book award winners from years past, trajectory of photographic career, and wider societal and photo world currents, I've handicapped the race.

Note that the odds below were arrived at unscientifically, and do not reflect my personal favorites. I know what I like, but writing about that is boring. It's far more fun to guess what will be liked by others (and even more fun to guess what people will guess will be liked, but that's another topic). Anyway I could be way off on these but here goes.

Jamey Stillings 6:1
Aaron Vincent Elkaim 8:1
Michelle Sank 8:1
Deborah Bay 10:1
Thomas Jackson 10:1
Kai Loffelbein 11:1
Anne Berry 12:1
Maxine Helfman, Al Tidwell 12:1
Christopher Colville 15:1
Laura Semivan 15:1
Donna J. Wan 18:1
Steven Smith 19:1
Ikuru Kuwajima 20:1
Alinka Echeverria 20:1
Rachelle Anayansi Mozman: 22:1
Noah David Bau 25:1
Sarah Cusimano Miles: 25:1
K.K. DePaul 25:1
Ohm Phanphiroj 25:1
Kyoko Hamada: 28:1
Tony Fouhse 28:1
Mary Ellen Bartley 30:1
Lydia Panas 30:1
Rachel Papo 30:1
Enrico Fabian 30:1
Kathleen Robbins 32:1
Mila Teshaieva 32:1
Toshiya Watanabe 35:1
Lucia Herrero 40:1
Tom Wik 40:1
Gloriann Liu 48:1
Susan A. Barnett 50:1
Paula McCartney 53:1
Nadia Sablin 55:1
Ilona Szwarc 59:1
Thomas Deszo 60:1
Brad Temkin 60:1
Carlos Gonzalez: 65:1
Julia Kozerski: 65:1
Jennifer Kaczmarek 70:1
Fyodor Savintsev 70: 1
Meike Nixdorf 74:1
Clarissa Bonet 75:1
Nate Larson, Marni Shindelman 75:1
Carrie Will 78:1
Monica Denevan 80:1
Heidi Kirkpatrick 80:1
Freya Najade 80:1
Adam Wiseman 85:1
Urszula Tarasiewicz 95:1


SR said...

My bias=I would like to see a book by Deszo or Bonet. I find, rather than 50 new approaches, a rather consistently derivative approach to subjects and styles that reflects little change in apparent tastes of curators from years past and the present commercial gallery esthetic.....

Blake Andrews said...

An interesting test of that thesis is to compare results of Critical Mass from past years. They are all available as links from the main site. I think you're right that some of the same subjects and styles (and occasionally some of the exact same portfolios) turn up year after year and that's partly the basis of my projected odds.

Blake Andrews said...

Results now here:

I was way off. Oh well. Congrats to the winners, and to unpredictability.