Visual Culture Awards . 2010 exhibition

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Welcome to tVCA 2010 online exhibition

This year, heading up the Visual Culture Awards was a growing place for me personally. I enjoyed this process in all of it’s array: it’s wonders, frustrations, truths, thrills, education, hopes, encouragement, and everyone involved. Thank You; to all who participated, aided, all the sponsors (Nikon, Young Photographers United, FOTO8, and the Charleston Center for Photography) who were so generous this year, the jury (Jeremy Lock, Stacy Pearsall, Gary Geboy, Amelia Phillips Hale, Elyse Butler, and Matt Mallams), and in particular a great thank you to Stacy Pearsall, the director of the Charleston Center for Photography, who stepped out with me to present this exhibition again this year in all of it’s fullness, as well as Alice Keeney and Sally Hayes who aided in the administration, printing, and hanging of the exhibition. I am so happy with the exhibition online and with tVCA’s 2010 Visual Maker of the Year, Larry Louie’s live exhibition. I hope that this call for exhibition will continue to encourage and uphold visual makers, internationally. This year, participants came from Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Guatemala, Holland, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, Poland, and the USA. It was a joy to see the differentiating stories of, ‘Cultural Peace,’ presented. Following, you will find tVCA’s Visual Maker of the Year’s exhibition that will be opening at the Charleston Center for Photography at 6 p.m. on Friday, 05 March 2010, then the Silver and Bronze exhibitions, rounded out by the Singles Awards of Excellence. We hope they move you, inspire you, and that you stare-still, and grow further into these cultures. We hope you are smiling; Good day!

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Mikayla Mackaness . tVCA founder

Gold . Larry Louie . Canada

Exhibition 05 March 2010 at the Charleston Center for Photography, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Edmonton, Canada, Larry was educated as a doctor of optometry and now divides his time between his practice and his art. Larry increasingly focuses his lens on remote cultures facing rapid change, assimilation, even disappearance, as urbanization and globalization erode traditional ways of life. He also explores the challenges that arise where people’s lives are caught between the past and present, documenting the social issues of groups that modern society has touched but left behind. His photographs show the strength and perseverance that mark people the world over, revealing the light sometimes found in dark places.  Both as an optometrist and as a photographer, Larry is an avid supporter of Seva Canada, a non-profit organization that has joined the VISION 2020 initiative aimed at eliminating avoidable blindness in the world by the year 2020.


Vanishing Cultures – Tibet

‘I have always felt a special connection with the people of Tibet, but over the past few years, I an increasingly urgency to document these people as their traditional ways of life, ancient knowledge and customs, languages and identities are threatened by rapid urbanization and globalization. The Tibetan culture is one the cultures in the world where people’s lives are caught between the past and present.   People often talk about endangered species and the loss of biodiversity in nature.  Some are beginning to notice the threat to the diversity of cultures.  The changes brought by industrialization and urbanization affect not only animal and plant species – societies that have been around for thousands of years are also at risk.  I hope through my photo documentaries, I can share with others the variety and beauty of the world I see. Through contact and experience, we learn to develop tolerance and appreciation of others.  In my travels, I have come to recognize that all the world’s peoples, with their different beliefs, customs, and languages, have important connections.  When any group disappears from this world, we lose a part of ourselves.  Cultural loss means the disappearance of memory and history, but it is also a loss of potential – a loss to the future.  By documenting remote societies, I hope to inspire others to take note of what’s at stake.’ – Larry Louie

Silver . Evi Lemberger . Germany

‘My name is Evi Lemberger and I come from a little village in the Bavarian Forest, which is South East Germany, next to the Czech Republic. Lately I was studying at London College of Communication, was Photojournalist in Moscow, did a project in Ukraine and started to write for the magazine in Germany. I love photography, cause it is for me the perfect and most effective communication tool.’


The fairy tale of the galoshes of fortune

‘The project “ein nichtort- or the fairy tale of the galoshes of fortune” is a documentary project about the region Transcarpathia. Transcarpathia is a border region in the west of Ukraine, which underwent a lot of nationality changes within the 20th century. The people of this area belonged within this time to six different countries such as Hungary, Czech Slovaia, Soviet Union, Hungary again and then Ukraine. Nowadays it has 90% unemployment, is highly multilingual, – national and – religious and in no sense connected to the Ukrainian government. I went there in order to explore the peoples’ identity within their loss of national and cultural identity. The project was commissioned by Norfolk Contemporary Art Society.’ -Evi Lemberger

Bronze . Aaron Vincent Elkaim . Canada

Originally from Winnipeg, Canada, Aaron Vincent Elkaim is an award-winning photographer who currently freelances and resides in Toronto. His cultural history is divided with a Moroccan Jewish father and an Irish English Prairie Canadian Mother.    His personal work focuses on documentary photography with a cultural investment. Aaron has a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and a diploma in Photojournalism, he was awarded the News Photographers Association of Canada’s College photographer of the Year in 2007, and selected as one of Photolife Magazines Emerging Photographers for 2008.

Aaron believes that the greatest photography is open ended; he doesn’t believe in a beginning middle or end to a photo story but simply wishes to illuminate it, urging the viewer to ask questions rather than simply providing answers. Aaron’s goal as a photographer is to create work that will stand the test of time both as art and document.


Jewish Morocco

‘As the son of a Moroccan Jewish immigrant, I found this project through a desire to explore my roots. In Morocco, I discovered fragments of the past, a cultural history struggling to survive yet still profoundly at the heart of the country.

Moroccan Jewish history began over 2000 years ago. Since the 7th century they have lived within a Muslim nation.   As dhimmi – a protected minority under the Islamic Principle of Tolerance – Jews flourished, holding high positions in trade and even government. Prior to the arrival of the French in 1912, Moroccan currency had the Star of David affixed to it, a symbol representing a prophet holy to Jews and Muslims alike. They were separated by religion, but united by culture and Kingdom. During WWII, King Mohammed V responded to Nazi demands for a list of Jews: “We have no Jews in Morocco, only Moroccan citizens.”

In the 1940’s, there were approximately 300,000 Jews living throughout Morocco, today fewer than 3000 remain. After the formation of Israel, Zionists targeted Morocco’s Jews for their ability to co-exist with Arabs. Giving promises of prosperity in Israel, recruiters targeted overcrowded, impoverished Mellahs, or Jewish Quarters, and rural Jews with agricultural expertise. Those who remained became increasingly alienated with rising Muslim-Jewish tensions during Israel’s Six-day War of 1967, with many leaving for France and Canada. Today, the remaining community primarily resides in Casablanca, with a few in tiny communities in cities, or alone in the countryside. The population is aging and the youth seek education elsewhere. The Jewish community in Morocco will soon be gone.

This collection of images taken in the summer of 2009 reflect an exploration of Jewish Morocco’s history, its ghosts, artifacts, places and remaining lives. They represent a journey into the void that remains after this cultural exodus, as well as a retrospective of a time and place where Jews and Arabs lived peacefully, culturally united as neighbors and as Moroccans.’ – Aaron Vincent Elkaim


Awards of Excellence . Singles

Selections from Mark Altman of Israel, Jordan Bower of Canada, Scott Brauer of the USA, Philipp Engelhorn of Germany, Giovanna Godard of the USA, Des’ola Gunter of the USA, Kurt Hoerbst of Austria, Ikuru Kuwajima of the Ukraine, Laura Montanari of Italy, Eric White of the USA, Wiebke Wilting of Holland, Georg Worecki of Germany, and Isabell Zipfel of Germany.