Technology can be a hoot sometimes. James was on the couch with his iPad and I was here at our desk computer and for a good half hour we were both looking at the Critical Mass top 50 web page at the same time, keeping up a running dialog while we checked out the winners. We were having a lovely time going back and forth telling each other to "check out so-and-so" or "so-and-so's work bores me" or "so-and-so's is hilarious (in a good way)" when we soon we realized that there were quite a few instances where one artist's work uncannily resembled another person's. For example:
I wonder whether it would feel weird to see images that were so similar to my own in such close proximity. Moving on, here we have:
Jane Fulton Alt
In reading the statements that correspond to the matching series I'm reminded of how subjective the act of interpreting one's work is. Let us move on to developing trays vs. viewfinders:
Or Russia vs. the Ukraine, just add or subtract snow:
All of this perhaps points to a potential issue with the CM means of judging: because the winners are based on a blind mathematical system of voting there's a large possibility that there could be a lack of variety, as seen above (and in other work on the list which I'm not showing here). I'm not sure if this repetitiveness has always been in evidence--maybe I've just never scrutinized the winners this closely in the past. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to knock Critical Mass, it's a great opportunity for photographers and Photolucida is an amazing organization. But it's an interesting conundrum--jury by a group of 200 can lead in the end to a sort of non-curated whole that gets, well, a little monotonous when all is said and done.