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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

British Journalist Wins Arnold Newman Award for Portraiture

Jason Larkin wins for his series "Past Perfect"

New York, NY – PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo has announced today that British documentary photographer, Jason Larkin, is the winner of the 2011 Arnold Newman Award for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture.  Larkin's winning image series, titled "Past Perfect," examines how the museums of Egypt use different styles of curating to present exhibits depicting the past to contemporary audiences.  Larkin's work was selected from a large pool of entrants who requested consideration for the Newman Prize from their entries to PDN's Photo Annual competition.  Larkin will receive a $15,000 cash award and an exhibit of his winning picture series at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine from July 2 -- November 27, 2011.

"By deciding how the past is presented and memorialized, museums not only preserve the past, they also play an important role in the construction of our ideologies, identities and the understanding and interpretation of ourselves," Larkin writes in a caption that accompanies the picture series.  "The architecture and design of many of these places still show the influence of Egypt's French and British colonialism.  These are museums that should be in museums."

This year's judges for the Newman Prize include TIME Magazine deputy photo editor Paul Moakley, Susan White, Photo Director at Vanity Fair magazine and Michael K. Komanecky, chief curator of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.

"Photography is usually so focused on capturing 'the moment,' but Jason Larkin's gentle photographs move the viewer to contemplate the artificial nature of trying to preserve the past," notes Paul Moakley when asked about the significance of Larkin's work.

"Having spent my entire professional life working in and traveling to art museums across the United States and Europe, I am intrigued by the subject of Jason Larkin's Past Perfect photographs," explains Farnsworth Museum Curator, Michael K. Komanecky.  "What his photographs also suggest is how museums create, consciously or unconsciously, narratives that affect their visitors and staffs alike."

Originally trained as a photojournalist in London, Jason Larkin has worked extensively in the Middle East, where he forged a successful career as a documentary photographer in Cairo beginning in 2007.  In his recent work, Larkin has moved away from the day-to-day activities of journalism to develop larger bodies of work that engage and reflect on current affairs, and exploring how identities fluctuate as environmental and social conditions shift and evolve.


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