“the imperfect lens”

Plastic and homemade lenses along with pinholes eschew perfection — like drawing with the charred end of a log or singing opera to the accompaniment of ukuleles.  The drawing can be exceptional and the music sublime, unexpected.  Removing the technical and using simplistic tools allows the image maker to focus on what is in front of them to achieve their creative vision.  Images captured using toy, pinhole and homemade lenses are eligible for submission. The camera that the lens is attached to is immaterial.  Creativity is encouraged….


JUROR | Susan Burnstine will be the juror for “The Imperfect Lens”.  Burnstine is an award winning fine art photographer originally from Chicago, now based in Los Angeles. Represented by galleries around the world, and widely published across the globe, she also conducts workshops internationally and has written for numerous photography publications, including a monthly column for Black and White Photography Magazine (UK).

Burnstine is one of the few photographers today avidly pursuing alternative processes as she creates an idiosyncratic and deeply personal visual landscape drawn from her dreams and night-terrors. She captures these dream-like visions entirely in-camera, rather than with post-processing digital manipulations. To achieve this, Burnstine has created twenty-three handmade film cameras and lenses. The cameras are primarily made out of plastic, vintage camera parts, and random household objects. The single-element lenses are molded from plastic and rubber. These unique creations are frequently unpredictable and technically challenging. Learning to master their possibilities and overcome their extensive optical limitations has required Burnstine to rely on instinct and intuition—the same tools that are key when attempting to interpret dreams.

Burnstine has had over 25 solo exhibits internationally. Her work is held in numerous museum and private collections, including: The Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, Ca, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, The University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor, Maine, The University of Texas Jerry and Marilyn Comer Collection, Dallas, Texas, The Candela Collection, Richmond, Virginia, Res Med, San Diego, CA, The Capital Group, Los Angeles, Unire Real Estate Group, Brea, CA, The Dalad Group, Independence, Ohio and Elgea Inc, Montreal, Canada.

Burnstine’s first monograph Within Shadows was published by Charta Editions in September 2011, earned PX3’s Gold award for Best Fine Art Photography Book of 2011 and was selected for the Photo Eye best of 2011 book list. Her second monograph, Absence of Being, was published by Damiani Editore in September 2016 and has since been receiving high praise in reviews and press.

SUBMISSION | Guidelines: Digital images should 1000 pixels on the longest side saved in JPEG format at 72 ppi. Each image should be labeled with consecutive numbers followed by your name, i.e. 1FirstName_LastName.jpg. The number should correspond with the number on the application form.  Please do not watermark your images.  

SUBMISSION | Online: Fill out our online application to apply, send images, and make payment with Paypal. You will receive an email confirmation upon receiving the entry and payment. You can also fill and submit the online application, print out your confirmation email, and mail it with a check for your fees to the address below. 

SUBMISSION | Mail: Please prepare a submission form with your name, address, email address and phone number along with a list of the titles and printing process of each entry.  The number of each title should correspond to the image number on the cd.  CD’s and submission form should be mailed to:

A Smith Gallery
P O Box 175
Johnson City, TX 78636

The gallery will send an email confirmation upon receiving the entry and payment.

SUBMISSION | Entry Fee: $35 for the first 5 images, $6 per each additional image.  Entry fees are not refundable.

ELIGIBILITY | Submissions are open to all photographers both professional and amateur. International entries are welcomed.  Work that has been previously exhibited at A Smith Gallery is not eligible.

AWARDS| The awards are as follows:

Juror’s Selection – $325.00
Director’s Selections – $250.00
Visitors’ Award – $100.00

SALES | The gallery will retain 40% of the sales price.

USE RIGHTS | Photographers retain full rights to their own images. The gallery will use the photographer’s images for publicity purposes as well as in the Blurb exhibition catalogue.

FOR MORE INFORMATION | amanda@asmithgallery.com