2014 Winners - Runner-up: Sadie Wechsler
“I create and reflect upon a natural landscape as it explodes and re-forms around its last survivors,” writes Sadie Wechsler, a recent Yale MFA grad, noting that photography is “a medium that speaks to a life in flux, fluttering between tangible and imaginary states.” Her series of untitled images describes an off-kilter, if not quite sci-fi, vision of our world: a group of tourists calmly take in the spectacle of a dramatic brush fire, two inexplicable holes appear in an ashen landscape, and a pretty girl photographs a garish pink sunset, while simultaneously posing for a photograph herself. These pictures underscore their artifice and point to photographic tropes such as the moody landscape, the psychological portrait, tacky CGI, and the contrived stock image.
Wechsler intentionally avoids creating a coherent series, instead offering oblique hints at narrative, the images linked only by their thematic weirdness and ambiguity. The viewer might find the results disorienting, maybe even a little maddening, but hopefully not at the expense of the pleasures offered by this playful, aestheticized dystopia that suggests this photographer has more in store for us.
– Michael Famighetti
Sadie Wechsler (born in Seattle) received her BA from Bard College and her MFA in photography from the Yale School of Art. Her work has been exhibited across the United States, including at Aperture Gallery, New York; Johalla Projects, Chicago; and Green Hall, New Haven, Connecticut. Her work has been published in print in the 2013 edition of Yale’s Shannon, and online in I Wish Every Day Was Sunday, Miranda July’s Joanie 4 Jackie video chainletter project. In 2006, she was a recipient of Bard College’s Delavan Grant.