For the judging of Photolucida's Critical Mass, the jurors get to score the entrants with four different scores. The best of which is Wow. It is difficult to define what Wow is exactly even though you are given a definition by the staff of Critical Mass. My decisions were based on strength of the entire project. If every image was strong, in my opinion, it often got a Wow. If the concept of the work was different from anything I have seen before or took a theme or concept that I had seen and expanded upon that idea in a totally different, it often got a Wow. Out of 170 photographers, I selected 10 people who received the top score. It might seems like a ridiculous way to communicate an appreciation of an artist's work, but you have to have a way to show your appreciation for this artist's efforts. I can hardly buy all my favorite chocolates (nor do I really need to do so) much less all my favorite images. So for a show of my appreciation, I will post a few images from each artist with a small statement about why his or her work seduced me by pulling my heart strings, giving me some good eye candy or forcing me to actually use my brain. Today's selection is from Christopher Capozziello.
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"Initially, photographing my twin brother was not something I set out to do; but over the years, one picture has lead to another, and a story has emerged. The time I have spent photographing him has forced me to ask questions about suffering and faith, and why anyone is born with disease. Nick has Cerebral Palsy. Born with this neuromuscular disease, he is able to walk and speak and function on a fairly normal level, except for the fact that at any moment his muscles may spasm and cramp. When this occurs, his body becomes contorted, and he is unable to talk. A cramp may last minutes, or hours; sometimes his body is cramped for days. The pictures have been a way for me to deal with the reality of having a twin brother who struggles through life in ways that I do not. CP has kept Nick from many common things in life that most may take for granted: playing sports, holding a job, learning to drive, having a girlfriend. One of the hardest parts of being Nick’s twin is living my life, knowing that most of my experiences will forever be out of his grasp. Suffering raises countless questions. From time to time, someone will ask if I ever feel guilty for ending up the healthy one. I do. I look at him and think that it could have been me, and am constantly reminded and aware of his struggle. I wonder why he has to be the one who struggles on a moment-to-moment basis. It stirs up this process of grieving that never seems to end, like one long lament. Nick recently underwent Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery. For the first time in our family’s lives, we wait with great anticipation and hope that things will change for him. The doctors say that while the surgery may not completely stop his muscles from cramping, it may significantly decrease the effects of the cramps on his body. Already, Nick has seen improvement, lifting everyone’s hopes and expectations."-- Christopher Capozziello