Aaron Blum, Appalachian Woman #3, 2015.

Silver Eye Center for Photography
Through April 2
Various times

From 8,000 miles away in Hong Kong to nearby Appalachia, two contemporary photographers are exploring a sense of self, community and place in new exhibitions at Silver Eye Center for Photography. This Friday night, the South Side-based arts venue will unveil new work by its Fellowship 16 winners during an opening reception that is free to the public. The two featured portfolios will remain on view at Silver Eye through April 2nd.

Ka-Man Tse, Untitled, 2015.
Ka-Man Tse, Untitled, 2015.

Marking its 16th edition, the Fellowship International Photography Competition recognizes both up-and-coming talent and seasoned photographers from all corners of the globe, including right here in Pittsburgh.

Attendees will be the first in Pittsburgh to see the winning portfolios by International Award winner Ka-Man Tse and Keystone Award recipient Aaron Blum, and will have the chance to meet the artists and hear them speak about their work.

Aaron Blum, Back in the Holler, 2015.
Aaron Blum, Back in the Holler, 2015.

Both Tse and Blum use contemporary photography to present an intimate look at authentic communities that are “often stereotyped, or underrepresented by popular media.” Shooting with large format film, the two featured artists create complex, poetic and layered works that also consider how specific communities and subcultures are balancing tradition with the modern world.

Based in Brooklyn, Silver Eye’s International Award winner Ka-Man Tse—who was born in Hong Kong in 1981 and raised in the U.S.—will present her portfolio entitled, Narrow Distances. A series of portraits and landscapes, Narrow Distances explores connections between LGBT culture in contemporary Hong Kong and Asian Pacific Islander communities. Themes in her work include identity, home, tradition and isolation.

Representing the local photography scene is the Fellowship’s Keystone Award winner Aaron Blum. A Pittsburgh resident, the 33-year-old artist will showcase his new portfolio called, A Guide To Folk Taxonomy. Featuring photographic portraits, landscapes and ephemera, Blum’s sensitive work explores the mysteries and myths surrounding Appalachian culture. Creating a type of personal folklore made up of haunting visuals, Blum’s artistic process draws from his experiences growing up in an area that spans the southern regions of the Appalachian Mountains. A Guide To Folk Taxonomy also explores intergenerational symbols, regional identities and dialects, and what it means to be “Appalachian.”

Ka-Man Tse, Untitled, 2014.
Ka-Man Tse, Untitled, 2014.

This year, the competition received 187 applications from 14 different countries.u The juror for Fellowship 16 was Jon Feinstein, co-founder of the New York City-based Humble Arts Foundation. The Fellowship 16 program also awarded Juror’s Commendations to five artists for their exceptional portfolios. Recipients for 2016 are: Alexandra Lethbridge (Southampton, UK), Rory Mulligan (Hastings-on-Hudson, NY), Lida Suchy (Syracuse, NY), Leonard Suryajaya (Chicago, IL) and Paul Thulin (Richmond, VA).

All of the inkjet prints in the show will be for sale. Tse’s works are 24 x 30″ and are $1,800 framed or $1,500 unframed. Blum’s prints vary in size and range in price from $100 to $2,000.

Looking for more events? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in January feature.

Jennifer BaronEvents & Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.