TALKING POINTS: Eve Schillo

Applications for this year’s Exposure Award are now open and to give you a deeper insight into what the judges are looking for, we’re putting each judge under the spotlight. Next up in our fortnightly series is Eve Schillo. Assistant Curator of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

© Exhibition View of Lens Work: Celebrating LACMA’s Experimental Photography at 50, 2015. Courtesy of LACMA

One of your many interests is photographers from Latin American. What is the photographic community like in this region and how do you think a programme like the Exposure Award can benefit the industry?

The photo communities in Mexico, Central America and South America are immensely varied – as varied as each of these regions are in many other cultural arenas. So first I want to break down that silo that, for brevity sake, I and others often identify Latin America too broadly. I do feel that Latinx art is often presented in a vacuum, rather than as part of the global arts community. For that reason I hope that we hear from this area of the world and are able to expose work to yet another region of the world that is often perceived to be uniform in it’s approach to the arts.

What makes you want to know more about a particular artwork?

It may be cliche, but I’m drawn into a piece that has a bit of mystery that I need to ‘solve’. I put that in quotes as each viewer creates their own narrative. When work is more abstract – which I’m a fan of – it’s more about finding your space in the image.

© Exhibition View of TV on Film, 2017. Courtesy of LACMA

How can we make art and photography less elitist?

I’ll answer for Photography (capital P now that we are in fact considered Art) and leave the rest of the art world to other curators! I actually think photography is quite democratic, not elitist, simply by being demystified as a tool, if not by the analog or digital process.

Many would say works driven by concept are at the vanguard of photography. Is this moving away from the literal necessary for the medium’s development or do you feel it is more a reflection of the time we live in?

I feel there is still a healthy balance of documentary-driven imagery and conceptual photography, they just tend to live on separate platforms. A bit bifurcated, much like our world in general. Documentary photo essays that accompany text are often in print or online magazines (with the size of the imagery perhaps not as much an issue), while conceptual works are often more suited to be experienced bodily, in 3D, so that we literally – pun intended – use all of our senses, perception and cognition to ‘read’ the work.

© Exhibition View of Figure and Form in Contemporary Photography, 2012. Courtesy of LACMA

What insights do you feel you’ll bring to the judging panel?

I’m a good judge of a good photo? Kidding! There must be something more…I will say that I still categorize myself as a curator/artist and hope that those dual insights will aid my selection process.

What advice do you have for emerging galleries thinking about submitting to this year’s Exposure Award?

Be bold! Really look at this year’s jurors. We’ve all seen a lot of work collectively and the reason we’re in this is because we’re always thirsty for more and we love making a good discovery.

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