ArtHaus MPA Photo Essay Winners Exhibit

This year the second MPA awards was separated into two parts, with the second and main MPA exhibit being held  this year in SOHO Digital Art Gallery in New York City, in conjunction with 11/97 Mobile Photography Conference. While the ArtHaus MPA Photo Essay winners exhibit is being held this month at ArtHaus in San Francisco.

The directors of ArtHaus, James Bacchi and Annette Schutz reviewed the numerous submissions to the category ArtHaus Photo Essay, and while this is a subcomponent of MPA, the winners were still eligible for the grand prize MPA Artist of the Year.

I decided to stop by the ArtHaus a day before the shows opening, since I was in the area visiting the team at Hipstamatic for the Rick Rocamora exhibit, in the hope of meeting Daniel Berman, the man behind the Mobile Photography Awards.

Daniel Berman, founder of MPA

Upon arriving at ArtHaus, I found Daniel on the floor in the offices of James Bacchi. He was deeply involved in last minute preparations of matting and framing the Photo Essay winners. This permitted Daniel and me to catch up on each other’s news, especially since it was also the first time we meet face to face.

Looking back in from the street

The framer responsible for hanging the exhibit was waiting for Daniel to finish and as I left, I had a final look back inside from the street when I photographed the framer making his suggestions to Daniel, leaning against the office’s back wall. 


Melissa Vincent and Jen Pollack Bianco at ArtHaus

Returning on the day of the artist’s reception, I waited for Melissa Vincent and Jen Pollack Bianco, the only two who would able to make an appearance.

In the first ArtHaus Photo Essay awards, Melissa Vincent’s “The Rooms of William Faulkner” takes the top prize. Her hauntingly beautiful images not only reflect the ambiance of Faulkner’s residence, but Melissa’s post production work, all on an iPhone 4S, introduces other elements into the photograph which relates to Faulkner. 

Personally I was not aware of the intricate weaving of these elements, the story within a story, until I had the pleasure to meet Melissa Vincent. She spoke with a southern-drawl, a true Mississippi twang that made one feel like being back in the South, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, sipping on a tall glass of ice cooled tea and inhaling the fragrance of flowering Magnolia blossoms.

Melissa Vincent with patron

With bubbly excitement Melissa shared of her experience at the Faulkner’s house, the many different rooms and their influence on the development of her images. She told us of how her mother read every book Faulkner published and how his stories on the printed page fueled also a daughter’s imagination years later in the creation of this set of five photographs, all of which were executed with clean technical precision, but also the beauty Melissa felt in her heart of what she saw.

The Rooms of William Faulkner
Melissa Vincent

All photographs above ©2012 Melissa Vincent - All Rights Reserved


The intensifying morning sun reflecting off the domes, drenches the surrounding colors, compounding it’s richness into sumptuous unworldly realms to which the dedicated aspire to, in humbling mystic dedication. The mesmerizing euphoria fuzed with prayer and burning incense rising to the heavens above under protective gaze of Buddha’s, is what Jen Pollack Bianco observed and quietly captured with her iPhone 5.

Jen Pollack Bianco with patron

Travel images that make you want to pack your bags, reach for your passport and clean out your savings account to book the next flight to Yangon, Myanmar, formerly known as Rangoon, Burma.

Jen recounts her two days in Shwedagon with passion, the same kind of passion that is evident in her photographs, which seem to come to life right off the printed page as walking monks appear to float above the ground.

Scenes from Sunrise at Shwedagon Pagoda
Jen PollackBianco

All photographs above ©2012 Jen Pollack Bianco - All Rights Reserved


Third Place: Benamon Tame - The Lost Toy Room
©2012 Benamon Tame - All Rights Reserved

Honorable Mention: Catherine Restivo - Peony in Extremis
©2012 Catherine Restivo - All Rights Reserved

Honorable Mention: Helen Breznik - The Basement
©2012 Helen Breznik - All Rights Reserved


The ArtHaus MPA Photo Essay exhibit ran simultaneously with The Chosen One, featuring some of San Francisco’s interior designers favorite artists. As much as I enjoyed visiting with all parties connected with the exhibit and especially seeing the beautiful work that was created by exceptional mobile artists, I felt the exhibit suffered from lack of space and lighting. 

The work was displayed in tight vertical groupings and due to the room facing the street, some daylight produced reflective glare on a number of pieces. Disregarding any limitations, I still feel one should acknowledge the important work by these innovative mobile artists with a visit to The ArtHaus

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Daniel said...

Thank you for the thoughtful and thorough review Egmont - with all due respect I must correct a couple of things.

A) the front gallery space at ArtHaus is not an office, it's merely the front gallery.

B) We specifically requested the front space for the exhibit precisely because of its intimacy. We feel strongly that a photo essay presentation should be tight and coherent in order that it's narrative be experienced as a whole. In a larger space, with the size of prints we chose to present, the images would float and lose their sense of proportion and relation to one another. Moreover, we wanted passersby to see our exhibit from the sidewalk and entice them to enter. As for the glare, we use anti-glare reflective UV acrylic so I'm not actually convinced that any visible glare is present. I didn't see glare - although I won't doubt your impression.

That said, nice review - thanks for taking the time to experience the show and share your thoughts.


Jen Pollack Bianco said...

Thanks for taking the time to come to ArtHaus and see the show Egemont. I thought ArtHaus did a great job with the show and loved looking at Melissa's work and Benamon's and Sarah Jarretts. I would have love to seen the honorable mentions, too, but all in all, I was thrilled with the event and thought Annette and James and Daniel put together a marvelous event.
I had such a fun evening! Glad you could join us!

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