Lensculture review

In June I entered the Lensculture Art Photography Award 2018. It’s the first time Lensculture has run this type of competition.

I wrote about how one of my images was chosen for the promotional gallery in a previous post – Lensculture Art Photography Awards 2018 – while I also decided to request a review of my submission, which included a description of my project along with the images.

I wrote the following descriptor and chose the images below that:

Harena Now aims to highlight a lesser known environmental and humanitarian issue; the global sand crisis.

Some experts predict that due to the booming demand for sand in industries such as construction, sand may run out. That seems impossible for such a ubiquitous material.

It also seems unimaginable that this has also led to a growth in sand mafias, and that people have lost their homes, livelihoods and even their lives.

To create my non-documentary images, I work at a coastal location, using sand, sunlight and sometimes seawater.

It is also important to me that I work in a way that minimises my own photographic footprint and I have opted to use camera-less processes that need minimal or no chemical solutions.

By creating a juxtaposition between the aesthetic and the message behind the work, I aim to discover more about how people respond to non-documentary photography when used to promote environmental and/or humanitarian issues.

As part of the review, I was able to ask particular questions. I wanted to see how the reviewer felt about non-documentary images being used to illustrate a very ‘real’ problem.

I received the review recently. It reads as follows:

I am incredibly inspired by this review. And I do think the person is spot on when they suggest I need to be clearer about my motivation behind the work. Is it a project of two halves, or should, as suggested, I focus on one element to bring more clarity to the work.

Giving an explanation for the title is also a great recommendation. Having decided on this some time ago, perhaps I have been a tad complacent in assuming everyone should know Latin, surely?

Harena is the Latin word for sand. I wanted the title to remain current over time, to give a sense of urgency but also one of mystery. By having a slightly less than obvious title, I feel it reflects my desire that my work encourages people to find out more. With the world at our fingertips a simple internet search (forgoing the fake or non-factual info that proliferates) we can now find out about many subjects relatively easily.

I also agree that the information I include with each image (as below) would work well within my statement:

This work is made in response to the global sand crisis. It is created in a coastal location with sand using camera-less techniques. It melds various sources of inspiration from the passage of time to geology, the microscopic to the vast, anthropocentric to ecocentric ideologies, and the past to the present.

I am also keen to perhaps utilise the quote images I created for my social media as part of my show, to help tell a story. I am also delighted that the reviewer has mentioned the potential for a book. This is something I plan to research further following my MA.

As I already have chatted with Kiran Pereira from SandStories.org about possible future collaborations, the advice about working with other disciplines bolsters my commitment to do so.

Receiving this type of external feedback is essential to reevaluating my work and seeing it from another person’s perspective.

The reviewer also provided a list of useful information as follows:

Additional Recommendations

Recommended Books & Photographers

Recommendations for Gaining Exposure

Other Resources

Books (monographs)
Books (fine art philosophy & criticism)
Photo Competitions (fine art & street)
Photo Competitions (nature & wildlife)
Photo Business & Practice Resources

These will all be considered and either implemented or noted as I review my artist statement, how I title my images and begin to finalise the details of my MA assignments.


Harena meaning. Available at: http://www.majstro.com/Web/Majstro/bdict.php?gebrTaal=eng&bronTaal=eng&doelTaal=lat&teVertalen=sand [accessed July 23, 2018].

Lensculture Review. Available at: https://www.lensculture.com/submission-reviews/56132 [accessed July 23, 2018].

PURCELL, Josie. 2018. ‘Lensculture Art Photography Awards 2018‘. josiepurcellphotographyma. Available at: https://josiepurcellphotographyma.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/lens-culture-art-photography-awards-2018/ [accessed July 23, 2018].

PURCELL, Josie. ‘Sand Stories – Thank You‘. josiepurcellphotographyma. Available at: https://josiepurcellphotographyma.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/sand-stories-thank-you/ [accessed July 23, 2018].