A Message from Gord…

Holly Roberts, Man with Red Lips, 2015, Mixed Media on Panel


Good Thursday, All!

I want to take a moment to write a thank you and issue an update from the director’s chair.  I used to write all of these Candela newsletters with an irreverent air, tucking in a photo koan or limerick but as with so many things, our operation has matured somewhat over the last 7+ years.  And so have I, maybe? …pausing for the wave of existential nausea to pass… but we have been dancing pretty hard, trying to pull you onto the dance floor with us. And so, our general goal is to put out the most effective PR and messaging we can for the artists and institutions with whom we are partnering.  To wit:

  • We recently hosted a pop-up benefit exhibition, along with Steven Casanova, to benefit non-profit relief efforts in Puerto Rico.  
  • I have just returned from FotoFest in Houston, where I met with maybe 70 photographers in a brief four days and also presented on a panel about Working with Galleries.  Which was a great (and tiring) opportunity for us.
  • Meanwhile back in Richmond, we are currently exhibiting What The Living Carry, by Morgan Ashcomwhich I feel is a must see exhibition.
  • We are attending the CURRENT Book Fair this weekend, and we are heading out on Monday to AIPAD in New York.  
  • We will be hosting an inaugural benefit auction for Oakwood Arts on June 23rd, which you really, really need to join us for.  
  • We are working on a new book to be released in the fall, with more on that later.

Why then, am I returning to my old rambling stemwinder style of communication?  Because I hope to engage photographers – ALL OF YOU – with our Unbound7! exhibition which is currently seeking submissions.  The deadline for your submissions is April 17th.

IF you check out the Call for Submissions, you can stop reading this.

Unbound! is a concept we came up with in our first year and we haven’t budged much from the original premise. Essentially, we have been hosting a photographic free-for-all once each summer for seven years.  And a cool aspect about this series of exhibitions is that we throw a great party and use proceeds from that party to buy work from this exhibition.  We have founded the Candela Collection based upon this exhibition concept and to date we have collected 57 artworks and 4 artist’s books.  One day, we promise we will donate this collection to a significant permanent collection. We do not accept donations to the Candela Collection.

Last year was the first year we had fewer submissions than the year before.  So, this has me thinking. Now, I understand some of you may have rejection fatigue because – and I mean this sincerely – this exhibition is pretty competitive.  But I am asking as a personal favor, to keep playing along with us on this because it is a cause worth supporting. We have received as many as 500 entries from different artists most years.  So, we review between 1500-2000 images looking for about 30 or so works. AND because my goal is to reflect a cross-section of contemporary styles, subjects, and processes, we present work that is more varied across the board than our normal programming usually does.  

  • If you have exhibited in Unbound! before, we want to see your work again.
  • If we have collected your work already, we want to see your work again.
  • If you are so big for your britches that everybody thinks you are amazing, we want you to prove it one more time.
  • If you are a close friend, we want to see your work again.
  • A major goal for us is to discover new work so each year we want to see new ideas, new names alongside of the old friends.
  • We have featured works from artists we have met through Unbound!
  • We have featured artists who’ve been rejected from Unbound!
  • We want students to be in the mix and we do try to select a student or three.

And if you are a student, I do have a bloated soapbox monologue about how rejection is good for the soul and how Instagram is basically a transmitted photographic disease.  AND you should be jumping through these hoops just for the experience really. AND, AND… if selected, I will work with students, if necessary, to make sure the work is finished properly. AND, AND, AND… it is FREE to submit.

Anyway, I will leave this here as I have spent more time writing than I expected to.  But this little adventure is a love affair. Even if we don’t say it often enough.  We love you.  Now, get your submissions in by April 17th, sweet photographic lover.

Call for Submissions


The Management


Priya Kambli, Dada Aajooba and Dadi Aaji, 2012, Archival Inkjet Print