Answer the Call: Turning the Lens on Photographer Ian van Coller

The National: Best Contemporary Photography is a hybrid invitational and juried exhibition, anchored by photography standouts Melanie Walker, Raymond Thompson Jr., Morgan Barrie, Jack Sharkey, Karen Klinedinst, Ian van Coller, and Jeanette May. The call for entry, now live, is turning the lens toward the photographers, looking for talented artists from across the country who are pushing the boundaries of the medium with adventurous techniques and original subject matter. In terms of aesthetic quality, technical innovation, and cultural relevance, contemporary photography has increasingly proven its dominance as a 21st century art form.

With submissions for juried entries now open, we wanted to introduce our invited artists! Leading up to the submission deadline, June 19th, 2022, we’ll turn the lens on these photographers. Next up: Ian van Coller!

Ian van Coller, South African, b. 1970. Scheibreen Stratigraphy (Schei Glacier). Archival pigment print. Image courtesy of Ian van Coller.

When I think of photographers like Mary Ellen Mark, Nan Goldin, and Dorothea Lange, I think of their portraiture and how they captured the times they were in; documenting difficult moments and making them impossible to ignore, from children smoking to the opioid epidemic and extreme poverty. Instead of photographing people, Ian van Coller captures the environmental issues we face today, even working with archeologists and geoscientists. In fact, when I first reached out to him all the way back in 2019, he told me he was out in the field in Antarctica with limited Internet access. The photograph featured in The National, Scheibreen Stratigraphy (Schei Glacier), depicts a massive glacier, stoic and proud, but also delicate considering the climate issues we’re facing today.

“Ian van Coller was born in 1970, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in the country during a time of great political turmoil. These formative years became integral to the subject matter van Coller has pursued throughout his artistic career. His work has addressed complex cultural issues of both the apartheid and post-apartheid eras, especially with regards to cultural identity in the face of globalization, and the economic realities of everyday life.

Van Coller’s most recent work focuses on environmental issues related to climate change and deep time. These projects have centered on the production of large-scale artist books, as well as direct collaborations with paleo-climatologists.”

We are now accepting entries! Open through June 19th, 2022, submit your photo(s) now for the chance to have them displayed at the Museum alongside Ian van Coller’s work! The National will be on display September 17th, 2022-January 8th, 2023.

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