"Collectively, the works in the 41st Center Annual spoke to me about self-awareness and vulnerability, and about precarity, safety, and comfort. These photographs include observational and experimental approaches, personal meditations, and collaborations," writes Leo Hsu, Juror, Executive Director, Silver Eye Center for Photography.

Artists show us how photography can be used to describe worlds greater than ourselves that are nonetheless ours. These worlds are formed out of desires for a connection–with the past, with others, with our own experiences, or with our transforming selves. In making we expand ourselves. The worlds that we call into being may set comfort alongside ache, affirmation alongside grief, and recognition alongside uncertainty. The act of describing such worlds has always required both audacity and humility: the audacity to say “this is how things are or could be,” and the humility of knowing that what you say today may not stand true forever. The ability to acknowledge and address what’s unsettled is something we can give to and accept from one another.

Every piece here struck an emotional chord for me. Two bodies of work stood out. Eleanor Oakes collaborates with mothers to create salt prints using breastmilk as the salting solution. The images in love’s labor assert their materiality and their status as unique objects essentially connected to the collaborator. Oakes takes the language of formal beauty of early photography as a point of departure for her own explorations and commentary that complicate the categories of motherhood, labor, and nature. In his project Veiled Inscriptions Dean Terasaki superimposes letters written by Japanese-Americans during World War II over contemporary photographs of the American concentration camps where they were incarcerated. The letters were requests to Terasaki’s uncles who owned a pharmacy in Denver, for everyday goods that were unavailable in the camps. Terasaki, acting as both witness and custodian of historical memory, in a way repatriates the letter to the letter writer, honoring the ask for aid. In a letter from Manzanar, one writer asks for soap, coffee, candy; 'send me anything.'"

For more information, visit Houston Center For Photography.